UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Six graduate students from the Penn State Smeal College of Business have earned recognition from Poets & Quants, one of the top business education media outlets in the country.
Every year, Poets & Quants celebrates the work of the “best and the brightest” and recognizes students who embody the voices of their schools while becoming “leaders who rally, mentors who champion, visionaries who awake, and the volunteers who champion the heaviest burdens” of the business community, according to the organization.
This year, there were students representing Smeal in three different program categories: residential full-time MBA, executive MBA and online MBA.
Robert Bussey and Kristy Hine both had their accomplishments put on display in the online MBA category.
The two are part of the Penn State Online MBA program, which is an Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AASCB) accredited program, led by the internationally ranked Penn State Smeal College of Business and delivered online through Penn State World Campus.
Bussey graduated from Penn State with a bachelor’s degree in security & risk analysis as an undergraduate before earning his MBA.
He currently works as a regional cybersecurity analyst for the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and said he picked Penn State because he felt he was a good fit for the program.
“Mainly, they [Penn State] have a spirit of working collaboratively to accomplish a mission. The ‘We Are’ motto is similar to the Marine’s ‘Esprit de Corps.’ This aligned with my experience in the Marine Corps, where we looked out for each other,” Bussey told Poets & Quants. “Furthermore, Penn State is set up in such a way that it is ideal for the way I learn.”
Hine, who is from Lewistown, received a bachelor’s in accounting from the Pennsylvania College of Technology before completing her online MBA.
She said she chose Smeal for the school’s reputation and online flexibility, and said her favorite part of the program was being able to experience a tight-knit class atmosphere even while being online.
“The connection to classmates going through the program with me (was unexpected),” Hine said to P&Q. “I honestly didn’t expect this when I was beginning an online program. It has been fun starting with the residency experience and then seeing familiar faces in classes and discussions from semester-to-semester.”
In the 2020 Best & Brightest Executive MBA category, Reeta Pattanaik and Milo Thomas represented Smeal’s Philadelphia-area Executive MBA program for their work.
Pattanaik lives in West Chester and described herself as “determined, highly adaptable, performance-driven, results-orientated, and passionate about problem-solving.”
Her undergraduate education was received at the National Institute of Technology in India where she earned a bachelor’s of engineering in computer science.
She currently works at the AmerisourceBergen Corporation as a management consultant and said that her drive and accomplishments are what she is most proud about from her time at Smeal.
“I have always tried to be the best in whatever I take on,” Pattanaik said. “Being the valedictorian of a very talented and experienced class validates my effort. In addition, I am proud of my contributions as class representative towards improving the experiences of my cohort.”
Thomas was Smeal’s other representative in the executive MBA class and is from Detroit, Michigan. He said he prides himself on being “driven, passionate, and a leader that loves seeing dreams come to reality for himself and others.”
He works for Avail Technologies as the director of customer experience and is a martial arts practitioner and instructor and member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.
Before coming to Smeal. Thomas earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Eastern Michigan University and he said that what he is most proud of in his professional career is being able to give back to the community he grew up in.
“I am proud to work in public transportation,” Thomas said. “Working at Avail Technologies allows me to work with cutting edge technology and stay connected to the communities that rely on public transit all across the country.”
Lastly, two residential Penn State Smeal MBA graduate students were included on the “100 Best & Brightest MBAs: Class of 2020” list.
Farheen Ahmed and Vasudev Madasu are both originally from India and were recognized for their accomplishments with the inclusion on the ranking.
Ahmed attended Bradford University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences before coming to Penn State and getting a masters of biotechnology in the Eberly College of Science and an MBA in Smeal.
After graduation, Ahmed will be working at Amazon in their Pathways Leadership Development Program and is currently serving an MBA Fellowship with Smeal and as the vice president of finance for the Supply Chain Management Association.
She said one of the things she appreciates most about Smeal is its consistency in embracing people of diverse pasts.
“Smeal loves embracing the various backgrounds of its students,” Ahmed said. “It has platforms that allow us to celebrate people for who they are.”
Vadusu was also recognized for his work as a member of the Smeal community. He received a bachelor of technology from the National Institute of Technology Warangal in India before coming to America to earn a master’s in supply chain management from the University of Texas at Dallas.
He described himself as an “engineer and farmer turned business graduate and an avid traveler & adventure sports enthusiast,” and will be working as a global supply chain manager for TPI Composites after graduation.
Vadusu is president of the Supply Chain Management Association at Penn State and said he picked Smeal because of the care it offered in its education.
“In addition to the brand, faculty, and curriculum, I wanted a support system of people that respect my views and encourage me to maintain the lifestyle I value,” Vadusu said.