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 2020
Portrait Name/Email
 Portrait of Dami Bello.

Dami Bello
Hometown: Lagos, Nigeria
Undergrad Institution: University of Lagos
Undergrad Major: Economics
Previous Industry: Financial Services
Concentrations: Management Consulting and Finance
Connect with Dami

“I chose Smeal because of its sense of community. I wanted a “home away from home.’’ With an eclectic mix of students from all walks of life and various nationalities, and its emphasis on diversity and inclusion, I knew it was an environment I could thrive in and be groomed to be a better version of who I am. I loved the class size of approximately 60 students and that it would challenge me everyday to get out of my comfort zone, to stand out and not hide in a crowd. To learn and grow as a strong woman, both personally and professionally.”

 Portrait of Evan Buckingham.

Evan Buckingham
Hometown: St. Paul, MN
Undergrad Institution: University of Minnesota Duluth
Undergrad Major: Economics
Previous Industry: Financial Technology
Concentration: Supply Chain Management
Connect with Evan

“More than anything, I highly recommend assessing the fit of each MBA program for which you apply. If you are accepted into a program, that means they consider you a fit, but it’s incredibly important to ask yourself if the program fits you. Matchmaking isn’t easy, but each party should have a genuine interest in each other if the relationship is going to be successful. Don’t be afraid to connect with students, alumni, and admissions in order to get answers to the questions most important to you!”

 Portrait of Blake Douglas.

Blake Douglas
Hometown: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Undergrad Institution: Royal Roads University
Undergrad Major: Entrepreneurial Management
Previous Industry: Marine Transportation
Concentration: Supply Chain Management, Finance, and Management Consulting
Connect with Blake

“Once I visited the campus, interacted with the faculty, staff and students, the decision to attend Smeal was an easy one. I was looking for a program that had a sense of community to it, a place where relationships were valued and encouraged across all aspects of the program. From every touchpoint along the way, the college made me feel like a valued member of the team and invested in my success. This has continued on as the program has started, with second year students and alumni eager to assist in any way they can. Smeal’s small class size is a large contributor to this culture. All the tools are here for you to succeed if you put in the hard work.”

 Portrait of Bobby Ettore.

Bobby Ettore
Hometown: Doylestown, PA
Undergrad Institution: Penn State University
Undergrad Major: Economics
Previous Industry: U.S. Army
Concentration: Supply Chain Management, Management Consulting
Connect with Bobby

“I chose to return to Smeal for my MBA because Smeal prioritizes quality over quantity. There are 40,000 undergrads at University Park, contrasted with just 120 full-time MBAs. You aren’t just a number at Smeal, and nowhere is that more apparent than the services the program provides its students. Career and student services, and employer relations are here to make your dream career a reality. When I decided to return to school to pursue a MBA, the choice of where couldn’t have been simpler: Penn State or bust.”

 Portrait of JT Fairley.

JT Fairley
Hometown: Southport, NC
Undergrad Institution: Elon University
Undergrad Major: Economics
Previous Industry: Technology
Concentration: Supply Chain Management, Finance
Connect with JT

“When researching MBA programs I created a list of schools that hold the same core values that I myself hold in high regard. Mine were community and integrity, which Penn State has in spades. From there, find out what school is most capable of getting you to where you want to be. Rankings are useful, but they are arbitrary and much more of a guideline than anything else. I would match any of my classmates against another school and would be proud of the outcome. The one stat I felt confident using to compare schools was the employment rate after graduation, because the main reason almost all of us are getting an MBA for is career advancement.”

 Portrait of Thompson Hunt.

Thompson Hunt
Hometown: Rocky Hill, CT
Undergrad Institution: George Washinton University
Undergrad Major: Civil Engineering
Previous Industry: Engineering Construction
Concentration: Supply Chain Management, Marketing
Connect with Thompson

“Besides choosing Smeal for it’s world-renowned Supply Chain program, it was my experiences visiting Smeal that really made me feel like it was a program that I could and wanted to be a part of. From the first time I set foot in the business building, I felt welcomed by students and faculty alike and felt supported by all to pursue my passion for business and continued education. It was this level of community engagement that separated Smeal from other programs. This sense of community has only grown and the community is slowly becoming a family. I am proud to belong to Penn State and more specifically the Smeal MBA program and I love to share this pride with others.”

 Portrait of Karan Jain.

Karan Jain
Hometown: Hyderabad, India
Undergrad Institution: Maharshtra Institute of Technology
Undergrad Major: Computer Science
Previous Industry: Automotive
Concentration: Supply Chain Management
Connect with Karan

“Cliched as it may sound, do your due diligence when researching a program and school. Rankings can only tell you so much about a school, but the reason to pursue an MBA at this juncture in life is different for everyone. Decide what you aim to achieve from the next 2 (crucial) years and look at programs that fit into that framework. Wherever you go, you will be among smart people, but you alone can decide what values hold most importance for you. Make a list (small) of potential schools and start reaching out to current students and Alumni. Not only do they hold the answers you are seeking but you also get to practice and get better at Networking!”

 Portrait of Rachana S. Kathawate.

Rachana S. Kathawate
Hometown: Mumbai, India
Undergrad Institution: Mumbai University
Undergrad Major: Chemical Engineering
Previous Industry: Technology
Concentration: Supply Chain Management, Management Consulting
Connect with Rachana

“Do your homework! Attend webinars, connect with current students to learn about the community, and Google before anything else! Any MBA program is only as good as the network and opportunities you create for yourself. Find the right cultural fit before you turn in your application to a school.”

 Portrait of AJ Logan.

AJ Logan
Hometown: Hershey, PA
Undergrad Institution: Penn State University
Undergrad Major: Mechanical Engineering
Previous Industry: Energy
Concentration: Management Consulting, Finance
Connect with AJ

“Coming back to Penn State was like coming home. I applied to the program at first because it was where I did my undergrad, but when I came for my interview I learned that the small class sizes allowed for a family feel amoungst the students and faculty. It was then that I realized this program was the best fit for me. The students in my program are my favorite part. Everyone is so kind, smart, and goal oriented. There is a great community built up between us all that is both supportive and motivating. When considering a school to attend for your MBA, don’t just look at the “name brand”; look for a school that is going to help you grow in many aspects and help you become a well-rounded MBA candidate.”

 Portrait of David Luzinski.

David Luzinski
Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Undergrad Institution: Wake Forest University
Undergrad Major: Business Management
Previous Industry: Insurance
Concentration: Supply Chain Management, Finance
Connect with David

“I chose to attend the Smeal College of Business for my MBA because of the program’s small size along with its strong reputation. My favorite part of the program has been getting to know my fellow classmates because everyone has such a diverse background. I have grown immensely both personally and professionaly in my time at Smeal so far and know these experiences will have a positive impact on my career.”

 Portrait of Alok Pande.

Alok Pande
Hometown: Omaha, NE
Undergrad Institution: Missouri University of Science and Technology
Undergrad Major: Electrical Engineering
Previous Industry: Consulting
Concentration: Supply Chain Management
Connect with Alok

“I chose Smeal for the community. The 220 office does a great job assembling each class of 60 and this year is no exception. The sense of community around such a small class makes each one of us feel like the business building is a home away from home. I also chose Smeal for their world class supply chain expertise. The faculty tailors their curriculum around an ever-changing business landscape to really set up our class for success. On a personal note, I was really excited to join Penn State to get that “big school” experience. I went to a small school for undergrad so I missed out on the opportunities of sports, tailgating and overall networking opportunities. While I am new to PA and Penn State, I know my affection for the university will go far beyond my two years in the program!”

 Portrait of Alejandra Rubio.

Alejandra Rubio
Hometown: Caracas, Venezuela
Undergrad Institution: Universidad Metropolitana
Undergrad Major: Industrial Engineering
Previous Industry: Consumer Goods
Concentration: Supply Chain Management
Connect with Alejandra

“My favorite part of the program so far has been meeting people from different places and backgrounds. Interacting with smart people who have had very different opportunities, jobs, lifestyles and motivations encourages you to think differently about things. Focus on finding a program were you feel like home. There are many interesting programs but finding the right fit is the most important.”

 Portrait of Anuradha Tempe.

Anuradha Tempe
Hometown: New Delhi, India
Undergrad Institution: IP University, Govt. of Delhi
Undergrad Major: Electronics and Communication
Previous Industry: Technology
Concentration: Marketing
Connect with Anuradha

“After gathering 5 years of experience in various roles in the corporate sector in US and India, I felt like I needed some additional skillsets to take the next big jump in my career. I wanted to sharpen my business acumen and upon researching different MBA programs, Smeal seemed to be the perfect fit. Beyond the excellent opportunities available at Smeal, and the tight-knit professional network, what really struck a chord was the fact that the staff at Smeal really care for their students, and would go to great lengths to help them in their career pursuits.”

 Portrait of Sahej S. Thapar.

Sahej S. Thapar
Hometown: New Delhi, India
Undergrad Institution: Penn State University
Undergrad Major: Marketing
Previous Industry: Technology
Concentration: Marketing, Management Consulting
Connect with Sahej

“When making a major career change or investment in an MBA, support and direction are vital. Do not only look at the classroom experience, think about what matters to you outside of it too as most of your time will be spent learning and experiencing from the community around you. Look inward and realize what you want out of an MBA, why did you decide to do it now? Keep that vision in mind as you look at programs; see what program will be one you will flourish in. Find a program that aligns with your values and a culture you will thrive in. The MBA is a challenging program, so if you can fit your reason of wanting one in one sentence, and keep that clear in your mind when things get tough, you will be a giant leap closer to your vision.”

 Portrait of Amy Torgerson.

Amy Torgerson
Hometown: Nomadic
Undergrad Institution: University of Wisconsin Superior
Undergrad Major: Communications
Previous Industry: Athletics
Concentration: Marketing, Management Consulting
Connect with Amy

“I chose Smeal because it was everything I was looking for in a MBA program. Besides the incredible brand and alumni network we have here at Penn State, we put an emphasis on teamwork. The faculty and staff make sure to support you through your academic and career goals, giving you the tools you need to succeed. Another deciding factor was the global immersions program that is offer during your second year. I believe that it is important to understand how the work you do impacts things on a global scale. Smeal really gets that and does a great job of provoking those thoughts.”

 Portrait of Carolina Valdizon.

Carolina Valdizon
Hometown: Rogers, AR
Undergrad Institution: University of Arkansas
Undergrad Major: International Business
Previous Industry: Retail Supply Chain
Concentration: Supply Chain Management, Management Consulting
Connect with Carolina

“I chose the Smeal MBA program because I was looking for a school with a strong supply chain program and physically located to northeast, which is where I utlimatly want to work. So, my first step was to simply Google “best supply chain MBA programs in the US.” Smeal kept popping up on all my searches and, after a deeper look, it ultimately became my target school. However, I continued to compare Smeal against other highly ranked schools in the country. I built decision metrics, and considered other criteria such as emphasis on global studies, name recognition, leadership development, and sustainability courses. Smeal checked off each and every one of these!”


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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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."