2015 MBA to Watch: Tatiana S. Kuzmenko

Tatiana Kuzmenko

Tatiana S. Kuzmenko


Penn State University, Smeal College of Business

Tatiana Kuzmenko has a dream: To someday become a chief operations officer. And this dream took her from cosmopolitan Moscow to rural University Park. Here, Kuzmenko found both success and community. A case competition dynamo, she has been part of four first-place teams, twice winning the Global Operations Case Competition at the University of Michigan, as well as the SAP Simulation and Chevron Supply Chain Case competitions at Penn State. In addition, Kuzmenko served as the VP of corporate relations for Smeal’s Supply Chain Management Association and a research assistant at the Center for Supply Chain Research. After graduation, she will be moving to Cupertino, California to work for Apple.

Age: 29

Home Country: Russia

Undergraduate School: State University of Management, Moscow, Russia

Undergraduate Degree: International Economics

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Starbucks, Moscow, Russia; Supply Chain Specialist

Where did you intern during the summer of 2014? Apple, Cupertino, California

Where will you be working after graduation? Apple, Cupertino, California; Supply & Demand Planner at AppleCare

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I realized I could not develop my career further without an MBA degree.”

“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…continuing to work in my role at Starbucks, Russia.”

What are your long-term professional goals? Become COO

Favorite Courses: Strategic Procurement, Manufacturing Strategy, Power & Influence, Financial Analysis & Valuation, Managerial Accounting, Global Finance, Strategy Implementation

Which academic or professional achievements are you most proud of? The one I have not yet achieved

Who would you most want to thank for your success (and why)? Parents for giving me the best education and supporting me in all my decisions; my sister and brother-in-law for believing in me; my boyfriend for making me believe in myself. Every single person which was and is in my life for good or bad, because without them I wouldn’t be who I am right now.

Why did you choose this business school? [Smeal is] one of the best programs in supply chain [and has a] small class size.

What did you enjoy most about business school? Meeting and interacting with students and professionals in my field of interest

What is your most memorable moment from business school? Will see in a couple of years. For now, every moment seem memorable and special

Fun fact about yourself: In Russian Schools there are no lockers to leave books [so you don’t have to] carry them around. That is why I had to carry 9-10 books, clothes for sport class every day. When I watched movies about American schools, I saw lockers and it became my dream to have one. At Smeal my dream came true!

Favorite book: “The Idiot” by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Favorite movie: “Coco Before Chanel”

Favorite musical performer: too many, I am listening to music almost every minute when possible.

Favorite television show: Don’t have one—haven’t had a TV since I was 16.

Favorite vacation spot: any spot on Earth where there are mountains

What are your hobbies? Reading, running, rock climbing, paragliding, snowboarding, hiking

What made Tatiana such an invaluable addition to the class of 2015?

“It is no small accomplishment to be a stand-out student when part of a group of high achievers, but Tatiana somehow managed to do it with ease. Her GPA rests comfortably within the top 12% of her class and her performance in all measurable areas is superb. What truly distinguishes her, however, is her work ethic and incredible drive. From the day she arrived on campus, it was clear that Tatiana would not let anything stand in her way. Situations and obstacles that stymie others do not even slow her down and she absolutely thrives on challenges. A tangible testament to this is that Tatiana has been a part of six MBA case competitions across the United States, with her teams placing in the top three five times over the past 18 months.” – Erik Orient, Director, MBA Student Services


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