New Penn State Smeal master's program attracting diverse interest

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — In the few short months since the Penn State Smeal College of Business began accepting applications for its new Master of Professional Studies in Management and Organizational Leadership (MMOL), a wide range of individuals — some from far-flung locations — have expressed interest.

The first class of students in the MMOL, an accelerated master’s program designed for recently graduated baccalaureate students from technically oriented, non-business disciplines, will begin in fall 2017. The program has predictably drawn strong interest from students at Penn State and surrounding universities. More surprising is the diversity of locations and disciplines the applicants originate from.

“The program is uniquely focused on those with STEM backgrounds, so we have naturally received applications from a diverse array of students in the Colleges of Engineering and Information Sciences and Technology,” said Michael Waldhier, Smeal director of admissions for MBA and MMOL. “We have also been thrilled by how much interest we are getting from students in pre-med and economics, as well as top students from the Pennsylvania College of Technology.”

Nearly 30 students have been accepted and more than 100 applicants are still being evaluated. Around 60 percent of those applicants are domestic students from Penn State and nearby schools.

The MMOL is modeled after the first year of the internationally ranked Penn State Smeal MBA Program. It will feature the same faculty, core MBA course content, and a tight-knit environment with an emphasis on teamwork and collaboration. 

During the two semesters of the 30-credit MMOL, students will complete foundational business courses in areas such as accounting, finance, management, marketing, strategy, and supply chain management. Spanning both semesters will be the college’s highly lauded leadership communications program, a hallmark of the Penn State Smeal MBA that provides the tools to persuasively and professionally present ideas in a business context.

Those communication skills seem to be of particular interest to a growing list of companies, including the likes of Google, Siemens, Lockheed Martin, and Tesla.

“Our corporate partners have been telling us that it is difficult to find a STEM student who can bridge the gap between the technical and business sides, who has experience leading a team, selling an idea, building a financial and marketing plan, or pitching a project to a decision committee or CEO,” Waldhier said. “MMOL grads will have those skills.”

More information about the program and an overview of the application process can be found online. Specific questions can be directed to or (814) 863-0474.

Last Updated March 20, 2017