When Dupont CFO Lori Koch and her husband, telecommunications consultant Greg Koch, pledged $100,000 to create the Koch Finance Career Exploration Fund, they knew they wanted to help students consider career paths outside of investment banking.

That dream will start to become a reality when Smeal welcomes its first cohort of students to its new Corporate Finance Boot Camp program this fall.

According to Louis R. and Virginia A. Benzak Professor and Chair of the Department of Finance Kimberly Cornaggia, the program will “supplement what we do in the classroom with a selected group of students who are promising, ambitious, and disciplined, and better prepare them to be leaders in corporate finance.”

During the fall semester, participants will meet with and learn from accomplished corporate finance professionals each week to explore topics ranging from career paths to job search skills, professional protocol, and etiquette. In the spring, they’ll enroll as a cohort in FIN415: Advanced Financial Modeling, taught by Lou Gattis clinical professor of finance. The course will allow students to develop the quantitative skills and computation tools needed for roles in corporate finance, including Excel (VBA
programming), Python, and SQL.

Future plans include site visits to the corporate headquarters of a partner organization, participation in case competitions, and social and networking events that create a sense of community and begin to build an alumni network willing to mentor and recruit participants.

The college has tapped Delina Agnosteva to lead this effort. Agnosteva first joined Penn State as an assistant teaching professor of economics in 2019 and was appointed as an assistant teaching professor of finance at Smeal in 2022.

“We teachers have responsibilities greater than simply providing our students with the fundamental knowledge of the subject. We need to be their mentors, their role models in a professional environment, their confidantes, if necessary,” Agnosteva says. “I’m looking forward to getting started.”

— Anne Louise Cropp

Kimberly Cornaggia
Lou Gathis
Lou Gattis
Lori Koch
Lori Koch
Delina Emilova Agnosteva
Delina Agnosteva