Leadership Communications

A description of BA 517 (now 817): Communication Skills, which is the year-long communications course that is part of the Penn State Smeal MBA program.

The focus of the Penn State Smeal MBA curriculum is to prepare you to act as a principled leader, armed with the functional expertise, integrated perspective, and global mindset today’s business world demands. BA 817: Communication Skills for Leaders, gives you the tools to effectively translate your knowledge in a way that resonates.

As the only yearlong course in the Penn State Smeal MBA curriculum, BA 817 covers four distinct themes across the first year of the program:

  • Theme 1: Positioning Yourself as a Solution
  • Theme 2: Clarifying Complex Information
  • Theme 3: Framing Value to Shareholders
  • Theme 4: Creating a Common Vision

For more than two decades, BA 817 has been a signature aspect of the Penn State Smeal MBA experience. The communication and interpersonal skills it helps to develop are highly valued by students during their internships and in their full-time roles following graduation.

“For MBAs to make an impact in their first jobs, they have to know what they want to achieve and get there quickly. We can’t get there unless we systematically start to understand ourselves and what it is that makes us successful or unsuccessful. In this course, students get the opportunity to be videotaped five times individually, about four times on a team basis, and countless other times they receive feedback about how they’re seen through the eyes of the audience.”
- Andy Gustafson, Assistant Professor