MALVERN, Pa. — It’s safe to say Brooke Schneider is a Penn State fan — with a custom Penn State vanity license plate, several Penn State tattoos and an undergraduate degree from the University Park campus, her Nittany Lion pride is evident. So, when Schneider decided she wanted to earn her MBA, it’s no surprise that Penn State Great Valley was the only school she applied to.
In 2019, Schneider attended a week-long business program at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and finished eager to pursue further education. The next logical step was a graduate degree, and she knew she wanted it to be from Penn State, she said. The Great Valley campus was only a few miles from her home in Phoenixville, and, after looking into the program offerings, Schneider decided the MBA was the perfect fit.
Among the highlights of her two-and-a-half years in the program were the classes she took taught by Denise Potosky, professor of management and organization, and Rick Wall, adjunct instructor, who Schneider noted as her favorite professors. She also appreciated how her courses helped expose her to new ideas outside of the classroom; for one project in her entrepreneurship course, Schneider interviewed an acquaintance to learn how she grew a successful real estate business from flipping houses.
“I really feel like some of the value in the courses is learning to work with others,” Schneider said. “You’re all learning new material at the same time, focusing on one goal together. I think the life skills along with the course content kind of go hand in hand. I feel like the level of my work is elevated.”
But perhaps the most impactful part of Schneider’s Great Valley’s experience was the help she received from Career Management Services.
As she approached her final semester in the program, Schneider decided to reach out for help updating her résumé; as much as she enjoyed the job she had at the time, she said, she was ready to move on to a new role with more growth potential. For a few months, Schneider worked with Karen Carli, associate director of career services, on not only her résumé, but also identifying what kind of roles she wanted, determining what size company she would target, navigating the interview process, making personal connections at companies and more.
“I think Career Services is probably a resource that is underutilized by students. It made such a big difference to me,” Schneider said. “[Carli] helped me in ways I didn’t even know I needed. What really was one of my lightbulb moments was when I said, ‘I don’t really know what I want to do.’ She said, ‘Okay, Brooke, on your best days, what tasks do you do, and on your worst days, what tasks do you do?’ That kind of led me to start applying to more analyst roles.”
With Carli’s guidance, Schneider applied to about 10 roles, all of which she felt would be a strong match for her skillset and interests. In fact, Schneider felt so well prepared as she applied and interviewed for the jobs, she could visualize receiving an offer and “felt like the best version of” herself, she said.
One of the positions she applied to was as a supply chain analyst at Boeing — Schneider needed only one interview with the aerospace manufacturer to land the role, which she has been thriving in for about two years.
Schneider now has a 15-month-old son — whose room already has Penn State decorations — and said she hopes her return to school and subsequent career progression will provide him with a strong example of the importance of hard work.
“[Great Valley] was the next level for my education and what really boosted me in my career path,” Schneider said. “I’m a huge fan, and I really, really value the time that I spent there and the different connections I made. I’m just so grateful to have had that experience.”