2018 MBAs To Watch: Matt Furniss, Penn State (Smeal)

Matt Furniss

Penn State University, Smeal College of Business

I am curious about the world and in constant pursuit of success.”

Age: 32

Hometown: Bechtelsville, PA

Fun fact about yourself: I built a custom motorcycle.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Virginia Tech – BS Mining Engineering, Virginia Tech – MS Mining Engineering

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Corsa Coal Corp – Assistant Surface Operations Manager

Where did you intern during the summer of 2017? Kiewit – Omaha, NE

Where will you be working after graduation? Kiewit – Project Manager

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: Finance Club President, Penn State THON fundraising events (including hosting extravagant meat themed dinners), accounting tutor, Society of Mining Metallurgy and Exploration (SME) Young Leaders Committee Vice Chair. SME senior design judge. SME “Move Mining Competition” Judge.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? SME John T. Boyd Memorial Young Engineer Award – This award is highly respected within the mining industry. When I first began my career, I studied the paths of those who received the award and strove to emulate their successes. I received this award in Fall 2017 and was humbled to join the ranks of the many impressive previous recipients.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Becoming a Registered Professional Engineer (PE). Becoming a PE was a goal that I set when I began college. The path is difficult and takes a minimum of four years of school, five years of work experience, and 16 hours of certification exams.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Dr. Kim Cornaggia. Dr. Cornaggia was the most dynamic professor I have had. Her teaching was extremely effective, challenging, boisterous, humorous, and never failed to hold my attention even during the most difficult of material.

What was your favorite MBA Course Power and Influence. The biggest insight was about different types of power and how I can implement them to become a more effective leader in my career.

Why did you choose this business school? Penn State Smeal offered small class sizes, extensive alumni network, great name recognition, and a FULL SCHOLARSHIP

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Do not rush the decision to get an MBA before you get work experience.

What is the biggest myth about your school? The SMEAL MBA is purely supply chain focused.  Although our program has a great supply chain concentration, we also have strong finance and marketing concentrations.

What was your biggest regret in business school? My experience has been amazing and I don’t have any serious regrets.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Andrew Matrick. Andrew is a joint MD/MBA candidate. Andrew is one of the most personable and intelligent people I have ever met. Andrew is just beginning his career in the medical field but his ability to converse on almost any topic and gain key insights is truly impressive.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? I decided to pursue an MBA after speaking with my mentors and many of their contacts. These people helped me to learn that an MBA was a great way to expand my knowledge base from just a technical expert to someone who could be adept at running the company. An MBA would also expand my ability to be challenged more by receiving more diverse projects throughout different areas of the business.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…working as an engineer in the mining industry.”

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience?  More interaction with technical colleges on campus to apply the MBA curriculum.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? 1. Travel southeast Asia extensively. 2.  Build a fast car.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I want to be remembered as a good friend who excels in all of my pursuits.

What is your favorite movie about business? The Wolf of Wall Street – Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Extreme success must be balanced with responsible checks.

What would your theme song be? Tubthumping by Chumbawamba

Favorite vacation spot: Colorado/Utah for snowboarding

Hobbies? Cooking, brewing beer, tinkering, motorcycles, snowboarding, traveling, and cars.

What made Matthew such an invaluable addition to the class of 2018?

“Matt has to be one of the best and brightest MBA’s not only at Penn State, but also, in the entire country. Inside the classroom, he asks thought provoking questions and helps his classmates with any questions they may have on the material. Outside the classroom, Matt is the co-President of the Finance Club, and also attended the 2016 Net Impact Conference in Philadelphia, as part of the Penn State Graduate Chapter of Net Impact. In addition to all of this, Matt has been a Teaching Assistant this year for the MBA courses this year in Microeconomics, and Risk and Decisions. Matt interned with Kiewit over the summer, and will be heading back there full-time.”

Smeal Faculty Member





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