Twitter Contest Update

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With this week marking roughly the halfway point of our internships, we first want to take this opportunity to thank all those who have participated in the contests on Twitter and would encourage even more people to participate in the coming weeks. What’s the worst that can happen? It’s not like your twitter will be on private and we won’t see your tweet and you’ll get ripped off with points (once again, sorry Stephanie!)

We know these contests are the first thing you guys think of when you wake up in the morning so we thought it would be a good idea to give you an insight into the contest and give you that extra boost of confidence before you set up the grill for some serious BBQ’n this weekend.

Stephanie Reid – 7 pts.

Beth Novick – 5 pts.

Tyrone Pernsley – 4 pts.

Joshua Cole – 3.5 pts.

Julia Scavicchio – 3.5 pts.

Nicole Reigl – 3.5 pts.

Jim Murphy – 2 pts.

Kate McNally – 2 pts.

Patrick Schober – 2 pts.

John Benbrook – 1.5 pts.

Wannetta Turner – 1.5 pts.

Samantha Schwartz – 1 pt.

Glenn Junker – 0.5 pt.

Jim Murphy – 0.5 pt.

Kim Gentile – 0.5 pt.

Yvette Miller – 0.5 pt.


Please note that these points are correct as of Wednesday July 1. They do not include the contest winner for the week of 6/29.

Once again thank you for participating and have a safe and happy holiday! We look forward to continuing the contests after the holiday (:

Is College Still Worth It?



Just yesterday I received an email from my student loan borrowing service informing me that it will soon be time to begin making payments.  After I took a few minutes to think about how much I was going to be paying, I became curious as to how much my education was worth.

As an intern in the analytics department, I have been working in a program used for visualizing data. I decided to research some data regarding student loans, tuition, and anything else that could be relevant to me as a recent college grad. After some digging, I found a few data visualizations which tell some interesting stories.


The 20-Year College ROI by State

The first graphic I found was a map of the United States comparing the 20-Year Net Return on Investment for the average college student by state. By clicking on a state, you can drill down deeper into statistics for individual colleges in that state. Hovering the mouse pointer over a dot next to the college name in the list (sorted in descending order by higher ROI) or the sub map of the state, you can get a tool-tip with more statistics. Using a dropdown menu, you can also look at some other statistics including the 20-year ROI for those with financial aid, the percentage of people who stay in the same state after graduation, the graduation rate, as well as some other relevant statistics.


  Here’s the full link:

After looking at the visualization, I was able to find a few interesting details. The good news for me was that, as a Penn State graduate, I was set to make a return. Knowing this, I was curious to see what schools would actually cause you to lose money in the long run. According to this visualization, the worst school you can go to for your money is Shaw University in North Carolina with a 20-year ROI of negative $156,000. Interestingly, Alaska as a state has the highest overall ROI while Alabama has the lowest. Alaska really only has one school (University of Alaska), which is a small sample size. Alaska also has the lowest graduation rate at 29%, lower than any other state by 10%.  So considering the low graduation rate, the very cold weather, and how far it is away from everything relevant, you may not want to send your kids there thinking they have the best chance to make a lot of money. If you want your kids to come back home after they leave for college, you should probably make them go to a school in Vermont where only 27% of students stay in the state and have a below average ROI. If you’ve been counting down the days until you have the house to yourself again, you may want to consider getting your children to head to Texas. 84% of students stay in the state while it has an average ROI and a below average cost of graduation. This visualization would have been something great to look at when I was trying to decide where to go to school. It’s highly likely there are a lot of other factors affecting these numbers for each state and there’s no way this visualization tells the whole story, but it is a simple way to compare the costs and benefits of individual colleges.  


Tuition Shifts Since 2008

I was also able to find another interesting data visualization from CNBC regarding the changes in tuition in the United States since 2008. This dashboard illustrates spending by each state on higher education and the amount of tuition paid per student in those states. States are shaded in blue according to the percentage of state budget sent on higher education (darker = higher %). By hovering over a state, you can get a line chart and a bar chart comparing higher education budget to tuition over since 2008, and a snapshot of taxpayer money for this year in the form of a pie chart.  


Here’s the full link:

The biggest thing that stands out is the growth in the gap between tuition and spending per student. This is telling because not only has the amount that students have to pay for school gone up, but the amount of money given to help for college has gone down, increasing the burden on whoever is paying for college. I can speak directly to this as Pennsylvania cut the higher education for public universities by 30% in 2012, as I was entering my sophomore year of school. Penn State was forced to raise tuition, and I had to pay. Pennsylvania’s average tuition has increased 8% and spending per student has gone down 15% since 2012 when I started school. Over this same time period inflation has been slightly less than 6%. This trend exists in the majority of states in the US where the gap between spending on students and tuition is increasing, but Pennsylvania spends the second least of state tax money on secondary education at only 2% of overall budget.


There are many dashboards out there examining college education in different ways, such as these visualizations with career and compensation data from PayScale. Which majors and degrees pay the best? What jobs are the most meaningful as compared to how much they pay? How does the ROI of investing in college compare to some historical stock returns?

These were only a few of the more interesting data visualizations that resonated me as I will soon be paying off my student loans. Before I know it, I should probably start saving for my own kid’s education if the cost of college keeps increasing the way it has been.

How to succeed in business: The show and my take-away


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Main backdrop for How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

My eyes shot open at the sound of my alarm! The day had finally come!

Typically, my alarm goes off at 6 a.m. and I roll out of bed groggy, going through the motions half asleep until I find myself sitting at my desk at PBP. Last Thursday was completely different. July 3rd could not come soon enough, so when it finally did I jumped out of bed and got moving.

While I was looking forward to spending the holiday weekend with friends and family, that wasn’t the sole reason for my antsy behavior. I was also eager to take advantage of another great opportunity that PBP offered to all of its employees.

During my second week of work, I received an email about free tickets to a show at the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, and it wasn’t just any show. I had wanted to see How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying for a while – partially because Nick Jonas had once played the lead role.


Poster from Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia

Before I knew it, I was in the fourth row waiting anxiously for the show to begin. When it did, I sat wide-eyed and in awe of the talent and energy on stage.

The room filled with laughter every time the main character celebrated his devious victory with an innocent smile at the audience, and a standing ovation was necessary as the show concluded.

It was a great way to end the first half of my internship and begin the second half, because it lit a fire in me to continue working hard. It’s true the main character made it to the top without actually doing any work, but he did have endurance and a positive attitude. Mix those two qualities with a little elbow grease, and that can lead to success – in business or anything else.

Follow us on Twitter and bookmark our blog so you can keep up with everything we’re doing this summer! 

Starting off at PBP


One Cook-Wissahickon student hurries to join the volleyball game.

Tuesday, June 10th was my first day at PBP, and I felt a mix of emotions – excited, tired, and nervous – to name a few.  I was excited to finally be at PBP, tired from having to wake up earlier than I had for the past four years, and nervous because I was the last intern to start. Immediately, I was welcomed by everyone on staff and it felt like I had been an intern for weeks. I knew I would start writing immediately, but I had no idea I would have the opportunity to take part  in one of PBP’s philanthropy events during my first week!

On my very first Friday, PBP had planned a Mentor Picnic at Battle of the Clouds Park in Phoenixville. I had a few emails describing the event, but I didn’t really know what it was all about. So, a few of the other interns and I decided to check it out.

We left the office around 11 a.m. and headed over to the park. When we got there, a group of students from Cook-Wissahickon Elementary School were gathered at picnic tables along with many of PBP’s employees. After talking with a few different people, we learned the employees had been mentors throughout the year, and the picnic was an end-of- year celebration.


Students play a game of wiffle ball before lunch.

Throughout the afternoon, students spent time with their mentors playing volleyball, football, soccer and running around on the park’s playground. It was so exciting to see how much fun the kids were having, and it was the perfect day for a picnic!

For lunch, we gathered at the picnic tables for some pizza and salad. The interns had time to chat with students about school and meet any PBP staff we hadn’t already. Then, there was a small celebration to say good luck to each sixth-grader leaving the program. PBP mentors spoke about the many memories they’ve shared with their mentees over the past few years and encouraged them to keep growing.

The students had a lot of fun, as did all of the PBP employees and interns! The picnic was a perfect start to my internship, because I not only had the chance to see one aspect of the organization’s philanthropy, but also I was able to meet and bond with some of the staff.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and bookmark our blog so you can keep up with everything we’re doing this summer! 

Jumping Right In

2Granada, Spain is where I lived from January to the end of May.  I sent my job application to Progressive Business Publications from there. I conducted two interviews from there and another from Barcelona.  I worried about summer job offers while in Granada.  My worrying finally ended when I found out I got the internship at Progressive Business Publications.  So by mid-April I knew what I was going to be doing during the summer when I got back to the States.  I was sad to leave southern Spain but now I had something to look forward to, something I had never done, a marketing internship.  So eventually I boarded the plane thinking about how I was going to be starting my summer job almost as soon as I got back.  I was excited and a little nervous too.  Who wouldn’t be?

Forty-eight hours later; after twenty four hours of traveling, a long delay in Chicago, and my first thirty hour day ever, I walked in the front door of Progressive Business Publications.  I wasn’t sure what to expect and I was nervous.  I gave my name to the secretary and sat down.  After two or three minutes my soon to be boss, Pete, saw me waiting and pulled me into my cubicle.  He gave me a quick rundown of what I would be doing and all of a sudden I had a full schedule of meetings, training sessions, and reports due.  I thought to myself “Sheesh, that was fast”, and soon after meeting everyone in Product Marketing, I jumped right in.

Due to the fact that I was in Spain, I started a week or two after the rest of the interns.  I met them my first day at lunch, and since then, every lunch we go and sit at the tables outside.  I guess we’re the “intern crew” and almost always eat lunch together.  Most of the time we tell jokes and stories, talk about what we did that morning, or what our plans are for the weekend.

A few weeks after my start day, I’ve settled in with the Product Marketing team, the other interns, and daily life working at PBP.  I’ve learned an enormous amount about marketing and I can’t wait to share it in my next post!