In 2020, Penn State was recognized as having the most reputable graduate-level supply chain management program in North America. The Penn State Online MBA added seven new concentrations, expanding the areas of study from traditional business topics to those that are science- and engineering-related.

Those are some of the accolades and milestones from 2020 for our professional graduate business programs, which we offer with Penn State’s internationally recognized Smeal College of Business. Here are some of the highlights.

We Are … #1!

Penn State has been a mainstay for years among the top universities that offer graduate education in supply chain management, according to Gartner, Inc., a leading global research and advisory company. 

At Penn State, the supply chain management portfolio is offered online and consists of a 12-credit graduate certificate and a 30-credit master’s degree.

In July, Penn State topped the Gartner Supply Chain University Top 25 for 2020. The rankings were based on program scope, industry value, and program size.

The Gartner report is intended to help supply chain leaders identify university partners best equipped to help them recruit the right talent.

The supply chain management program opened in 2008, and since then, more than 1,000 students have graduated.

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The interior of the Business Building at Penn State

New MBA concentrations

Students in the Penn State Online MBA have 22 areas to choose from to focus their studies; the program added seven new concentrations earlier this year. The additions were aimed at giving today’s business professionals the chance to shape their graduate education to align with their career goals to help them diversify their skill sets.

The new concentrations are in the fields of cybersecurity, engineering, health care, homeland security, international affairs, public administration, and economic development. A concentration consists of three courses within that topic area.

The online MBA already had concentrations in traditional business topics such as management, accounting, marketing, and more.

The Penn State Online MBA is a 48-credit degree program that focuses on the principles and practices essential to modern management. It ranked No. 6 in the 2020 U.S. News & World Report “Best Online Programs” rankings, and the program is accredited through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Earn a credential quickly 

As graduate business students want to have more flexibility to create the right degree for them, they can also benefit from obtaining additional credentials on their way to completing their master’s degrees.

At Penn State, professionals interested in pursuing a graduate business degree can begin by earning 9- or 12-credit graduate certificates on in-demand topics like business analytics, business sustainability strategy, strategic leadership, negotiation, and more. The certificates can serve as a springboard to master’s degrees.

Student Chris Becker received the Graduate Certificate in Marketing Analytics in 2019 and is pursuing a Master of Professional Studies in Data Analytics.

“Getting a graduate certificate is a good investment by itself because it gives you additional knowledge and skills without committing the time and money required for the master’s degree program,” Becker said. “For many people out there, who balance work and family, that might make more sense or may be the only realistic option. Once I finished up the certificate, I reflected on what I had learned and knew I wanted to expand on that.”

The portfolio of online graduate programs consists of the Penn State Online MBA, a master’s degree in marketing analytics and insights, a master’s degree in corporate innovation and entrepreneurship, a master’s degree in supply chain management, a master’s degree in strategic management and executive leadership, and 11 graduate certificates.

Virtual residencies

Two graduate business programs, the Penn State Online MBA and the master’s in supply chain management, usually welcome students to the University Park campus for a residency in which they participate in team-building activities with other students and network with their instructors. This year, however, the coronavirus pandemic forced the programs to rethink how to offer that experience.

The two programs adapted their in-person residencies to take place on Zoom.

A laptop screen shows the attendees who are video conferencing in the online MBA's virtual residence.
The Penn State Online MBA's virtual residency started at 10 a.m. ET to better accommodate students in different time zones.
Stacey Dorang Peeler

Almost 300 business students participated in the virtual residencies: 60 online MBA students participated in May, and more than 150 attended in August. About 85 supply chain students participated in that program’s residency in July.

The programs’ faculty members said the feedback they got from the students was positive.

Sean Kenney, an MBA student, said he was impressed with how everything came together.

“There seemed to be excellent awareness of the challenges of maintaining engagement over long periods in a virtual setting,” Kenney said. “It made me feel like I made the right choice.”

Visit the Penn State World Campus website for more information about our graduation business degrees.