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Ebner named fall 2018 Penn State Smeal student marshal

December 11, 2018

Marketing passion leads to academic and career success

By Kristina Hahn
When Rachel Ebner started her educational journey at Penn State, she tried to keep an open mind about her path, but deep down she knew which direction her interests would take her.

Rachel Ebner
Rachel Ebner said her interest in marketing and consumer behavior only grew during her time at Smeal.

“I came into Penn State with a passion for marketing and through the Schreyer Honors College, Smeal College of Business, faculty, and networking, my passion has grown and flourished,” said Ebner. “Smeal helped me discover my dream job of brand management, and for that I will be forever grateful.” 

On Saturday during Penn State’s Baccalaureate and Associate Degree Ceremony at the Bryce Jordan Center, Ebner will serve as the fall 2018 Student Marshal for Smeal. She will be accompanied in the procession by her faculty advisor, Lisa Bolton, Professor of Marketing and Frank and Mary Jean Smeal Research Fellow. 

Inspired at Smeal
“At a very young age I was always drawn to marketing and consumer behavior,” said Ebner, who will be graduating with a 4.0 GPA. “I would see products on shelves or on TV and start to wonder what motivated it.” 

After meeting with Bolton for advice during her sophomore year, Ebner got involved with the college’s Marketing Behavioral Lab as a research assistant. Her work in the lab has led to a growing and deeper understanding of marketing research and has been an inspiration for her honors thesis.

Ebner says she owes much of her educational growth to Bolton and Jennifer Coupland, clinal professor of marketing at Smeal, who shared their love and excitement for the discipline with her. 

“They have contagious passion for marketing and it lights up the room,” said Ebner. “I want to emulate the energy they put into their work every day.” 

Launching a Career
Ebner’s excitement for the field and commitment to marketing led her to accept a co-op position at Johnson & Johnson in January of her sophomore year. She described her time with the company as incredibly transformative and a complete reassurance that she was making the right career choice. The following summer, she pursued experience in a different industry as a strategic revenue management intern at Mars, Inc. 

Ebner is a member of the Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity, the Presidential Leadership Academy, Penn State Prime, and Sapphire Leadership Academic Program. Her hard work and dedication earned her numerous awards throughout her time at Penn State including the Schreyer Honors College Research Grant and the Presidential Leadership Award/Research Grant. 

“To be able to represent my class and given the honor of the 2018 fall student marshal is such an honor and I am extremely humbled. The Smeal community has been such an integral part of my time at Penn state and given me so many opportunities,” said Ebner. “I can’t think of a better way to end my time at Penn State.”

Looking to the Future
After graduation, where Ebner will be joined by her parents, three sisters, and grandparents, she is planning a cross-country trip to visit the national parks before returning to the company that sparked her passion for brand management, Johnson & Johnson. She has accepted an appointment in the company’s three-year rotational marketing leadership development program. 

“I’m excited to see what the future holds,” the Pittsburgh native said. “I feel so incredibly prepared for the next step but at the same time no one is ever happy leaving Penn State. But I can promise you I’ll be back and ready to recruit the next round of students who share my passion.”

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