Smeal MBA Ambassadors

Introduction to the Smeal MBA Ambassadors, a group of current Smeal MBA students who are available to connect with prospective students to answer questions and offer insights.

Smeal MBA Ambassadors are available to connect with prospective students to answer questions, offer advice and guidance, and provide insights from the perspective of a current student.


Smeal MBA Ambassadors
Class of 2021
Portrait Name/Email
 Portrait of Tasnuva Arif.

Tasnuva Arif
Hometown: Bangladesh (originally); Hazelton, PA
Undergrad Institution: Independent University, Bangladesh
Undergrad Major: Business Administration
Previous Industry: Entrepreneurship
Concentrations: Supply Chain Management and Marketing
Send an email to connect with Tasnuva

"My favorite part of the program so far is the size and diverse profile of our class. Everybody has different experiences and backgrounds that you can learn so much from each of them. This sense of community is what makes Smeal so unique."

 Portrait of Bitrus Baba.

Bitrus Baba
Hometown: Lagos, Nigeria
Undergrad Institution: American University of Nigeria
Undergrad Major: Information Systems
Previous Industry: Energy
Concentrations: Finance and Marketing
Send an email to connect with Bitrus

"When looking for MBA programs, make sure the program is the right fit for you! Reach out to the admissions team; visit the university (if you can); connect with current students and even alumni to answer those burning questions that will enable you determine whether the program is the right fit for you. I felt like part of a community the moment I started interacting with students, alumni and staff of Smeal. It felt like home and instantly became clear that this was where I wanted to be; this was the right fit for me!"

 Portrait of Payal Behl.

Payal Behl
Hometown: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Undergrad Institution: Kurukshetra University
Undergrad Major: Electronics and Communications
Previous Industry: Consulting
Concentration: Marketing and Consulting
Send an email to connect with Payal

"My favorite part so far is the quality class discussions and interactions with my peers. I like how MBA is providing a safe environment to speak up our minds and test concepts as business leaders. We analyze a problem from different angles - SCM, finance, and marketing. I'm enjoying the opportunity to learn - not just from my professors, but also from my classmates. The breadth of industries and experience in our cohort is impressive and has been instrumental in expediting my learning curve."

 Portrait of Samuel Eastwood.

Samuel Eastwood
Hometown: Brisbane, Australia
Undergrad Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Undergrad Major: Journalism
Previous Industry: Government and Australian Army
Concentration: Supply Chain Management and Finance
Send an email to connect with Samuel

"Smeal is a collaborative environment that fosters a feeling of teamwork rather than competition. The classes are small enough for you to really get to know your classmates and faculty, which means when you need to reach out for help, someone is going to be available to you. But more importantly, you are able to draw upon your unique experiences to help others in the class or provide an outside perspective that may help them make a decision or solve a problem.

The Alumni network is second to none and Smeal has a strong reputation in the business world. This is an excellent place to build the fundamental skills required to make a mark on the business world."

 Portrait of Santos M. Lopez.

Santos M. Lopez
Hometown: La Ceiba, Honduras
Undergrad Institution: University of the Ozarks
Undergrad Major: Management and Economics
Previous Industry: Consumer Packaged Goods, Banking
Concentration: Finance and Marketing
Send an email to connect with Santos

"Smeal’s small and selective cohort of maximum 60 students fosters a great sense of community and yields a close-knit class composed of talented individuals with very different backgrounds. Therefore, you have the opportunity not only to bond but also maximize the learning component of your MBA experience by understanding your classmates’ points of views in formal classroom discussions and outside the classroom as well."

 Portrait of Dan Nichol.

Dan Nichol
Hometown: DuBois, Pennsylvania
Undergrad Institution: Pennsylvania State University
Undergrad Major: Civil Engineering
Previous Industry: U.S. Navy, Engineering
Concentration: Supply Chain Management and Consulting
Send an email to connect with Dan

"My favorite part of the Smeal MBA program is the collective camaraderie. I did undergrad at Penn State and I’m thrilled to be included in the Smeal MBA program. It is an honor to be among this tight-knit group of impressive, smart, goal oriented people.  I already know many will be lifelong friends. Everyone is respectful and eager to help each other both in academics and in personal life. PSU is a big university with only 60 MBA candidates per class, and this sense of inclusion is hard to find, especially in other much larger MBA programs. I’m positive my experiences and relationships from Smeal will have a lasting impact on my future and career.  We really are a family at Penn State Smeal. We are Penn State!"

 Portrait of Ann Marie Petko.

Ann Petko
Hometown: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Undergrad Institution: Pennsylvania State University
Undergrad Major: Human Development and Family Studies
Previous Industry: Retail Management
Concentration: Marketing and Consulting
Send an email to connect with Ann

"Third time’s a charm for me as a Penn State student. After researching, visiting, and talking with other admission teams, I knew that what we have here, at Smeal, was something different and special. Two distinct factors made my decision one of the easiest (and so far, best) decisions I’ve ever made: the staff, and the structure of the program itself.

From the moment that I expressed interest in the MBA program and my first coffee chat with Mike, I felt that the admissions team was truly interested in me as a person. The ambassador who walked me through my formal visit was actually enjoying sharing his experience with me, and the current students interacted like the family that I know Penn State to be.

The team structured learning environment and accessibility of the professors, along with a shockingly supportive career coaching team solidified for me that a Smeal MBA was the way to go!"

 Portrait of Laukik Sardesai.

Laukik Sardesai
Hometown: Pune, India
Undergrad Institution: University of Pune
Undergrad Major: Chemistry
Previous Industry: Medical Diagnostics
Concentration: Marketing
Send an email to connect with Laukik

"I choose Smeal because of the small class size, the Smeal community, the alumni network and the world class faulty. Even before applying to the program there was a lot of support from current students and the admissions office to help me go through the application process. The collaborative environment and the sense of community was evident since my first class visit. The Smeal and Penn State alumni network is extremely helpful in making meaningful connections and providing useful career advice. Everyone here is extremely invested in your success since day one and help prepare you for your professional goals."

 Portrait of Supriya Sarkar.

Supriya Sarkar
Hometown: Kolkata, India
Undergrad Institution: Jadavpur University
Undergrad Major: Chemical Engineering
Previous Industry: Refinery and Oil Field Services
Concentration: Supply Chain Management and Marketing
Send an email to connect with Supriya

"I like everything about this program and after spending about two months here, I firmly believe that my decision to pursue MBA at Penn State University was one of my best decisions. For me, there are a couple of aspects that I wanted out of my MBA. First is a rich learning experience because it is something I believe I will carry with me wherever I go from here. I love the course structure and the entire learning process. Second, the way people around me – faculty, career services, employer relations, student services and admissions team - are contributing towards my success. Other than what we learn in class, if anything can truly contribute to our success in this program is the way each member of 220 tries to help us out. Especially as an international candidate, the warmth of the people around me matters and every individual here is amazing!"

 Portrait of Matt Tremblay.

Matt Tremblay
Hometown: West Chester, Pennsylvania
Undergrad Institution: Pennsylvania State University
Undergrad Major: Marketing
Previous Industry: Consumer Packaged Goods
Concentration: Finance and Supply Chain Management
Send an email to connect with Matt

"When looking at MBA programs, my advice is to be authentic! Let admissions teams get to know the you behind the numbers and the essays. Look to find a program for which you would be an excellent mutual fit, and be able to articulate your story. Lastly, be sure to take the time to make in-person visits at your target programs! This is unequivocally the best way to get a sense of each school’s unique culture and community."

 Portrait of Alexis Zawalensky.

Alexis Zawalensky
Hometown: Uniontown, Pennsylvania
Undergrad Institution: Saint Vincent College
Undergrad Major: Marketing and English
Previous Industry: Marketing, Legal
Concentration: marketing
Send an email to connect with Alexis

"Seek to utilize your MBA journey as an opportunity for reinvention and/or self-exploration. The MBA setting is an ideal climate for you to pursue challenges that may have intimidated you in the past. Taking classes or pursing opportunities outside of your comfort zone allows you to expand your professional network, skillset, and interests in a “no-risk” environment. In signing up for difficult, out-of-industry coursework, you might not earn the grade you would traditionally be accustomed to receiving, but you will acquire the skills needed to elevate your career post-graduation. Those experiences are priceless, and are truly what make the MBA journey so worthwhile."


Smeal MBA Ambassadors
Class of 2022
Portrait Name/Email

Lu Lu
Hometown: China
Undergrad Institution: Zhejiang University of Technologies
Undergrad Major: Chemistry
Previous Industry: Global Strategy
Concentration: Supply Chain & Finance
Send an email to connect with Lu

I wanted a small program and close-knit community where I can learn from my peers, forming long-term bonds and friendships. Smeal has the concentration of strategic management that I am interested in exploring and has a large alumni network that I believe that I can learn from. Smeal is a powerhouse for supply chain and corporate finance, which can enhance my pre-MBA skills. They invest in you.


Arjun Vasanth
Hometown: Tamil Nadu, India
Undergrad Institution: Anna University
Undergrad Major: Chemical Engineering
previous work experience: Partner, JEPL Projects
Concentration: Consulting & Finance
Send an email to connect with Arjun

After doing significant research about many programs and wanting to upskill myself by enrolling in one of the top programs in the country, Smeal has offered me the opportunity to upgrade my skillset and help me step up to a better position on a global platform.


Hayley Sharpe
Hometown: Virginia beach, VA
Undergrad Institution: Virginia Commonwealth University
Undergrad Major: fine arts
Previous Industry: Assistant Business Manager, University of Pennsylvania
Concentration: Consulting
Send an email to connect with Hayley

I wanted a switch from my previous industry and to build a career in a new managerial role. With research, it became clear that Smeal’s MBA program was the right fit for me. Smeal's administrators are focused on cultivating a considered curriculum and well-rounded community. The intimate class size allows you to truly learn from your peers and grow together. When you're just looking at programs online, it is easy to get lost in a sea of competing information. I'm interested in helping people know all the opportunities Smeal and PSU have to offer.  


Ibrahim Arala
Hometown: Lagos, Nigeria
Undergrad Institution: Agriculture
Undergrad Major: University of Agriculture, Abeokuta
Previous Industry: Graduate Teaching and Research Assistant, Southern Illinois University
Concentration: Finance & Consulting
Send an email to connect with Ibrahim

At a point in my career, I felt I needed to take a pause, re-evaluate my career pathway, learn other aspects of business management, build strong professional network and fast track my career to mid-management roles. The Smeal MBA appears to be the correct and single answer for me.

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Kyle Murray
Hometown: New York, NY, US
Undergrad Institution: Penn State University
Undergrad Major: Economics
Previous Industry: Enterprise Sales Director
Concentration: Marketing
Send an email to connect with Kyle

I've always been interested in the consumer and what causes people to buy and buy from certain brands. The MBA program allowed me to take my work experience and gain a more core understanding of business so I could tie everything together and make the move into consumer marketing and brand management.


Tara Hank
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA, USA
Undergrad Institution: College of the Holy Cross
Undergrad Major: Spanish & Sociology
Previous Industry: Manager of the Development Office, Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School
Concentration: Consulting & Marketing
Send an email to connect with Tara

I wanted to develop strong business skills to complement the foundational skills that I have learned through experience. I chose Penn State because of its dedication to integrity and its boutique approach to the MBA. I value the small class size and feel that it offers a unique opportunity to get to know the entire class in a way that a larger school would not.

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Kaitlyn Emerick
Hometown: Boston, MA, USA
Undergrad Institution: Simmons University
Undergrad Major: Finance and Economics
Previous Industry: Manager, Brown Brothers Harriman
Concentration: Supply Chain & Consulting
Send an email to connect with Kaitlyn

I chose to pursue an MBA to learn new skills and how to make an impact on the business world. I value Smeal’s renowned Supply Chain Management program and this was a contributing factor in my decision to attend Smeal. However, I specifically chose Smeal because I liked the community-oriented mindset surrounding the Penn State campus. The moment I stepped onto the Smeal campus for my interview, I felt like my ideas genuinely mattered to students and faculty alike – I knew this feeling would be hard pressed to be replicated elsewhere.

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Robert Lorden
Hometown: NY, United States
Undergrad Institution: Binghamton University
Undergrad Major: Financial Economics and History
Previous Industry: RPA Developer, Visions Federal Credit Union
Concentration: Finance & Consulting
Send an email to connect with Robert

I chose Penn State for a variety of reasons. First, the finance department at Smeal is one of the best in the country and this is an area of interest for me as I progress through the program. While going through the process of selecting a program, I felt connected with everyone that I spoke with at Smeal. I also felt that the prestige of the program and the culture was a perfect mix for me. I like the small cohort that this program offers, as the small class size allows for a student to truly build relationships with people in their cohort and the staff in the program.

 Tunde Agboke.jpg

Tunde Agboke
Hometown: Houston, TX
Undergrad Institution: Southeast Missouri State
Undergrad Major: Public Relations
Previous Industry: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Houston
Concentration: Supply Chain & Consulting
Send an email to connect with Tunde

I choose the Smeal MBA program because I wanted to acquire new skills that will help me get into the Education Technology sector. I hope to use this new knowledge and few key strategic partnerships, business operations, and CSR to help bridge the education gap in underserved communities.


Jack Henjes
Hometown: Kennett Square, PA, USA
Undergrad Institution: University of South Carolina
Undergrad Major: International Business, Supply Chain Management
Previous Industry: Peace Corps Cambodia- English Teacher Volunteer
Concentration: Supply Chain & Consulting
Send an email to connect with Jack

I chose Penn State MBA to build on my past academic and professional supply chain experience by learning from Penn State’s exceptional supply chain program. I have a unique background coming from the Peace Corps, and I would like to be a source of help for any Returned Peace Corps Volunteers.

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Ali Cianciulli 

Hometown: West Chester, PA
Undergrad Institution: Penn State University
Undergrad Major: Biology
Previous Industry: Sports Marketing
Concentration: Consulting & Marketing

Send an email to connect with Ali

I chose Penn State because of the tight-knit community, talented faculty, and vast alumni base. I am passionate about how science and business intersect within sports, and I decided to pursue a business degree to dive more deeply into sports business.