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Day in the life of an MBA student | Smeal

Written by Sameer Kamat

Kumar Pushkal wrote about how he got a phenomenal admission deal from the Smeal MBA program – a 100% MBA scholarship and a graduate assistantship.

If you missed that post, read it here –> Smeal MBA Penn State Full-tuition scholarship plus stipend.

He is back to share more details of a typical day in the life of an MBA student at the Smeal MBA program. He also includes the exciting update of being the first one in his class to get an MBA internship offer within 2 months of starting his MBA curriculum at Penn State Smeal.

That should be encouraging news for Indian MBA students and applicants who were concerned about whether MBA internships and jobs are coming back and whether international MBA students (including Indians) are falling behind in the race.


Day In The Life of an MBA student at Smeal
by Kumar Pushkal

Smeal MBA Penn State

How I got my MBA internship

Oh hell yeah! 5th of August reached state college, Pennsylvania and 5th of October I have my first official MBA internship offer. Least had I expected that the hard sought platform I had alighted on, would offer me a gift so soon. Guess it was my long put hard work paying off!

Nice time to mention that the MBA internship search is the most important aspect of an MBA program. Now I have just the other 2 MBA responsibilities; managing a demanding, on-campus teaching job, and of course, MBA academics!

This leaves me with just enough time to chat with my family or maybe go to the gym, only occasionally! It is a pretty involving life but this is what makes it so interesting too.

In my last blog post, I mentioned how I got into Penn State Smeal MBA. In this post I will be talking about my journey in the last 2 months to my readers, and share some do’s and don’ts on the basis of my experience.

60 days of nerve wracking, sleep stealing hard work and now the sweet taste of success. It took me 3 interviews, one 500 mile travel to Indianapolis to a career fair (again connecting to the same company) and now finally the MBA internship offer.

What I’ve learnt in the MBA program

For an average guy like me – Life hasn’t been so rewarding since the beginning. I wasn’t a genius at academics in school or college. But my career choices have made me a street-smart guy today, which I believe is the most important trait to stand out of the crowd of brilliant people surrounding you.

Also I consciously try to keep myself grounded at all times and will always do so. I am open to do all kinds of work, help your colleagues, build relationships. This will help you stride with confidence and you will always remember to regard the people who said even a word of encouragement in your journey up the ladder.

These well wishes are very important on your path to success. Collect them generously! This might sound primitive to you but is a truth.

OK! Back talking about my professional life, my first job at Accenture was the first step in right direction and it took me some (4 rounds!) effort getting there and here I am today – Achieved one of the first MBA internship offers in a class of 80 superb individuals from all around the world, backed with some good grades in MBA academics for a change!

Just to give a snapshot of the kind of people who are around me – one of my classmates is a U.S. Marine with 21 years of experience while another was already making more money on wall street than we MBA’s aspire to, post an MBA! Imagine where these people will land, and what learning can we have from them in 2 years.

What to do after getting an MBA admissions offer

Now let me tell you the To-do list as soon as you accept an MBA admissions offer:

1> Process the F1 Visa and get flight tickets as soon as possible.

2> Study accounting – loads of it {really helped me score decently in a very difficult course first up}. Smeal MBA actually had a solid pre-term accounting course which prepared us even before the start of class. Should be similar for other schools as well.

3> Make sure you are aware of all formalities, flight changes, currencies etc.

Things were not as sweet since I landed here : U.S. air lost my entire luggage. But with some effort from me not only did they deliver the luggage to my house, but also gave me a $150 reimbursement!

Day in the life of an MBA student at Smeal

Talking about a typical day in the life of a Smeal MBA student (me in this case)

1> 6:15 am – Wake up

2> 8 am – 10 am – Lecture 1

3> 10:00 am – 10:30 am – Use the free time to set up mini meets or coffee breaks with 2nd years to learn about their internships. {This is something awesome I did in my 1st two months}.

4> Finish second lecture at 12:30 pm, rush for lunch and then to undergrad class at 1:00 pm (to take SAP labs or hold office hours), sometime more MBA lectures !

Sounds like the day is over and we can head home for a nap around 2-3 pm. Oh hell no! Gear up!

5> 3:00 pm – Now is, when the team meetings (hugely time consuming), MBA job interview preparations, actual interviews, resume editing, additional sessions start. But with an MBA internship in hand, it seems like now I will be able to go home sometimes.

6> Reach home at 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm and then back to the study table to finish assignments.

7> Crazy how a guy like me studies everyday so that I don’t fall behind in the accounting class.

But life is not that busy, almost every weekend we go out as a big community. Someone posts a pub’s location on Facebook and so nice to see the entire MBA gang show up for some drinks and dancing. Quite a healing experience!

Besides above, the most amazing experience was to visit a warehouse (Office Depot) earlier this week this was something which I had only dreamt of being in a supply chain management school. The inventory management system, the robotics, understanding the logistics, was awesome.

Extra curriculars at Smeal MBA

Talking of extra curriculars, I hosted a show for Diwali in front of 200 people recently. It is difficult to put into words, the kind of experience I went through. I spoke in front of a huge crowd of executive individuals, my confidence level soaring to new levels.

And then same night, at the pub, when people compliment you for your show – you definitely feel like a rock star! Next year, in February we have the global immersion for which I will be travelling to Europe.

Guys! The Smeal MBA at Pennsylvania State University has been one of the best things that has happened to me. So best of luck to all of you applying. I will be glad to answer any specific questions you have on my post or in general. The forum link is provided below.

— Kumar Pushkal (bblast)


Kumar Pushkal (i.e. ‘bblast’) along with his Smeal MBA student colleagues has been answering questions on our forum. If you want to know about the Smeal MBA rankings, GMAT, scholarships, stipend, internships or jobs, post your queries here –> Smeal MBA @ Penn State.


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Sameer Kamat

About Sameer Kamat

Founder of MBA Crystal Ball | Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors Connect with me on Google+ | Twitter @mba_cb | Facebook

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