ABINGTON, Pa. — The Penn State Abington Business Leaders (ABL) student organization hosted a conference recently highlighting the experiences of six business people, including an entrepreneur in supply chain management, a realtor and an attorney. About 100 students attended, and they left with specific suggestions for advancing their careers and maximizing opportunities to achieve their goals.
The conference is just one forum hosted each semester by ABL, which boasts the largest membership on campus thanks to its model of presenting large, targeted events that bring professionals to campus and defined biweekly meetings that address useful topics, such as public speaking, with the support of an expert guest.
“We want to support the business ecosystem at Penn State Abington and help all students achieve the best outcomes. We appeal to a lot of students because everyone needs business skills regardless of their interests. We also want to create connections that outlive our time at Abington,” said Brett Duffey, president of ABL.
Duffey, a third-year business major, co-founded the group during the spring of 2022 with Justin Heckler, who transferred to Penn State's University Park campus.
“Justin realized we needed a broad and diverse organization on campus that addressed the interests of all business students as well as current events. He pitched the idea to me, and I signed on right away. We branched out to all of our networks to recruit members” he said.
The ABL board, which is comprised of 12 to 15 officers, uses its size to its advantage. The officers are constantly expanding their personal networks and draw on them and share them with other members through events and meetings. They also are aggressive about promoting ABL.
“We ask faculty and staff to come and to promote events to students and alumni. It works because our slate of speakers is local and diverse, and it’s a privilege working with them,” Duffey said.
ABL reinforces the value of getting involved on campus, and ABL’s faculty adviser, business program chair Thomas Stone, has become a mentor to Duffey.
“I’m a member of the Finance and Investment Association, the Cybersecurity and IT Association, the Nature Club, and I’m a Student Government Association senator. I noticed that I enjoy my experiences more and I get more out of them since I got engaged on campus,” Duffey said.
Duffey chose to enroll at Abington due to the quality of its business program. The strong alumni network and the campus’ proximity to his home in Bucks County also were important factors.
“This is the only school I seriously considered,” said Duffey, who works in supply chain management at the federal Defense Logistics Agency in Philadelphia.
About Penn State Abington
Penn State Abington provides an affordable, accessible and high-impact education resulting in the success of a diverse student body. It is committed to student success through innovative approaches to 21st-century public higher education within a world-class research university. With more than 3,100 students, Penn State Abington is a residential campus that offers baccalaureate degrees in 25 majors, accelerated master's degrees, undergraduate research, the Schreyer Honors College, NCAA Division III athletics and more.