World Campus business and management portfolio prepares students for success

Expanding one’s knowledge

Alexia Kirkwood wanted to learn how to translate data. She works with information related to clinical trials at her job and wanted to better understand her work as director of accounts at mock5 design Inc.

“I wanted to be able to help my clients in a more meaningful way when marketing their products,” she said.

Kirkwood enrolled in the Master’s in Marketing Analytics and Insights online through Penn State World Campus. The program is led by the Penn State Smeal College of Business.

The program teaches the theoretical and practical concepts that professionals need to effectively analyze data and information to use in digital marketing, customer experience, and brand management. The coursework culminates into a capstone project where students showcase their skills in a real-world issue.

“I use my degree every day in my full-time career,” Kirkwood said. “My new knowledge of analytical insights allows me to understand the data at a deeper level and in turn create more successful resources for my clients.”

Kirkwood also serves as a teaching support specialist for the Smeal College of Business. The program brings a variety of professionals and industry knowledge within access to students. Kirkwood enjoys the opportunity to provide knowledge to the students and give back to the program.

“My experience in this program has been amazing. The professors truly care about the content and are able to offer a wealth of real-world knowledge,” she said.

Joining the Penn State family

In 2018, Luis Carrillo traveled with his family to celebrate the graduation of his wife, Tracey. The Carrillos drove from Georgia to State College, Pennsylvania, to attend the commencement ceremony. After listening to the commencement speakers, watching the graduates, and seeing the campus, Carrillo felt like he wanted to be a part of it, too.

“Well, why not?” Carrillo recalled thinking. “It was about a feeling of belonging to something amazing.”

Carrillo told his wife on the 14-hour drive home that he was thinking about going back to school — again. He had earned his MBA about 20 years prior but wanted to be a Penn Stater.

Carrillo enrolled in the Master’s in Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship offered online by the Smeal College of Business. The program focuses on strategically managing corporate innovation and has multiple customizable learning options, including Carrillo’s choice of business architecture.

The master’s program expanded Carrillo’s skillset and strengthened his leadership potential.

“What normally we would pay consultants to provide us, I can do,” he said.

Carrillo is proud to be a Nittany Lion and values the culture of being a Penn Stater. He earned his own Penn State degree in 2020 and his family made the trip to Happy Valley again for his rescheduled commencement ceremony in 2022.

In July 2022, Carrillo became a Penn State World Campus Alumni Society board member. The World Campus Alumni Society, an organization established in 2014 within the Penn State Alumni Association, provides a way for World Campus alumni to meet and network with graduates from other colleges and campuses.

Finding support for her academic journey

Leah Boyd found the support she needed to pursue her Bachelor of Science in Business through Penn State World Campus. The undergraduate degree is offered online in partnership with the business schools from 17 of Penn State’s campuses.

The program offers students the opportunity to specialize in a business discipline like accounting, entrepreneurship, and Boyd’s choice of management and marketing. She applies her education to her job as a marketing freelancer at Cask NX and DodiHome.

Boyd said she enjoyed her program experience and appreciated how faculty members pushed students to think outside of the box and truly understand the course material.

“All of the professors have a Penn State glow about them — you can tell they like what they do and that means everything when you are trying to learn difficult subjects from them,” Boyd said.

Along with the devoted faculty members, Boyd added that the quality of the lessons and homework was one of the biggest highlights of her program experience.

“I honestly cannot say just one course was a highlight over another. They all had a special element to them,” she said. “I was so impressed with this program and the fact that I could immediately apply these new skills to my life.”

Learn more about the more than 70 degrees and certificates offered in the business and management portfolio online through Penn State World Campus.


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