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 2019
Portrait Name/Email
Babb, James

James Babb
Hometown: Hampstead, NC
Undergrad Institution: University of North Carolina Wilmington
Undergrad Major: Spanish
Previous Industry: Professional Education
Concentration: Supply Chain Management

“The program is great for a million reasons, but what stands out to me was the immediate immersion in growing professionally and personally that has not let up one bit since day one.”

No photo available

Brian Caldwell
Hometown: Columbia, MO
Undergrad Institution: Truman State University
Undergrad Major: Psychology
Previous Industry: U.S. Army Medical Logistics Officer
Concentration: Supply Chain Management and Healthcare

“Pursuing a Smeal MBA to me was a natural choice. It offered an extremely relevant and competitive degree for my job as a medical logistician and the values of the program aligned very well with mine. The networking opportunities at Smeal are second-to-none, and the opportunities this program affords are vast.”

Nick Ferraro

Nick Ferraro
Hometown: Bellefonte, PA
Undergrad Institution: Southern Illinois University - Carbondale
Major: Economics
Previous Industry: Non-Profit
Concentration: Supply Chain Management

“My favorite part of the Smeal MBA program is the alumni network. Everyone has been very helpful in any questions that I have, even before I stepped foot on campus. They are so eager and genuinely happy that a fellow Penn Stater has reached out. I wouldn’t be where I am today in my internship search, this early on, if it wasn’t for the 2nd years and my alumni network.”

Grantz, Brad edit.jpg

Brad Grantz
Hometown: Ithaca, NY
Undergrad Institution: University of Washington
Undergrad Major: Communication and Media Studies
Previous Industry: Financial Services
Concentration: Marketing

“I wanted an MBA experience, not just an MBA degree.  Having worked in the industry and gotten a deep understanding of other programs, one thing became perfectly clear, and that is I had zero interest in sharing a degree with hundreds of people who I barely knew.  I wanted to share a transformative experience with a small, tight knit, and carefully selected class.  It was very important to me to not just build my professional network, but also, as corny as it might sound, build a network of people I’d want to share in some of life’s most important moments with.  After talking with current students and alumni and hearing all of these stories about weddings, holidays, tailgates, trips, reunions, etc. that they continue to attend regularly with their former classmates, I knew that this program and this community was going to provide me and my family something truly special.”

Harter, Diana

Diana Harter
Hometown: Temecula, CA
Undergrad Institution: Brigham Young University, Provo UT
Undergrad Major: Humanities

Masters Institution: University of North Texas

Masters Major: Library and Information Science
Previous Industry: Librarian
Concentration: Marketing and Finance

“My favorite part of the Smeal MBA Program is how easily alumni and classmates will help each other out and “pay it forward” with professional help. I feel like I’ve found my kind of people at Smeal!”

Jabaut, Peter

Peter Jabaut
Hometown: Lewiston, ME
Undergrad Institution: University of Southern Maine
Undergrad Major: Industrial Engineering

Previous Industry: General Management, Automotive
Concentration: Finance and Consulting

“I chose to pursue an MBA from the Penn State Smeal College of Business because of the educational opportunities that exist within the business school. My favorite part of the Smeal MBA Program is the diversity of our class, the strength of faculty, and the opportunity to learn business strategies that will unveil future growth potential within industry.”

Kataria, Pankhuri

Pankhuri Kataria
Hometown: Ludhiana, India
Undergrad Institution: VIT University, India
Undergrad Major: Information Technology

Previous Industry: Software Technology
Concentration: Supply Chain Management

“The well-designed MBA program structure at Smeal balances perfectly both business fundamentals and concentration courses. The interactive classes, case studies and group projects bring exposure to real time business scenarios and let me work with people from diverse backgrounds and differing perspectives. Most of all, Smeal provides me the opportunity to network with people in different industries and build connections that’ll last a lifetime.”

Kennedy, Liz

Elizabeth Kennedy
Hometown: Dallas, TX
Undergrad Institution: University of Arkansas
Undergrad Major: Accounting

Previous Industry: Accounting and Hospitality
Concentration: Supply Chain Management and Finance

“My goal is to use my career to build up and promote sustainable food systems.”

Khangura, Vikramjit

Vikramjit Singh Khangura
Hometown: Chandigarh, India
Undergrad Institution: Birla Institute of Technology & Science
Undergrad Major: Marine Engineering

Previous Industry: Maritime Industry / Oil and Gas
Concentration: Supply Chain Management and Finance

“Being one of the most highly ranked programs in supply chain, what I find fascinating about the program is the way it is designed, to not only prepare us for the business world through academics and career guidance, but to also help us develop our personality through all the courses and activities provided. Smeal has a strong focus on community which resonates with my personal values. The sense of belonging that I get when I interact with the alumni, faculty and other students makes me feel proud of having chosen such a world class program.”

Schroeder, Tracy

Tracy Schroeder
Hometown: Billings, MT
Undergrad Institution: Pennsylvania College of Technology
Undergrad Major: Finance

Previous Industry: Oil and Gas
Concentration: Supply Chain Management

“The community at Smeal is by far my favorite part of the program.”


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: Consulting and Finance

“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

“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 Consulting

“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, Consulting

“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

“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

“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

“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, Consulting

“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: Consulting, Finance

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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, Consulting

“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, Consulting

“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, Consulting

“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!”