Friday, December 11, 2009

Running the Gauntlet

Yesterday was the last day of classes in The Core, and today we start a run of 5 finals in 8 days. It's known as The Gauntlet and is a real test for even the top MBA students. Here's the schedule:
  • Friday: Marketing
    • At one of the best consumer marketing MBA programs it will not be easy
  • Saturday: Accounting
    • The textbook written by our teacher is used at top MBA programs across the US
  • Monday: Operations
    • Talking to the second-year students this one was the toughest one last year
  • Wednesday: Finance
    • When even the best MBA finance students are worried it's not a great sign
  • Friday: Economics
    • Taught by MBA program chair Phil Powell, I will just want to be done at this point
So it's time to run the Gauntlet. It will be tough but I will survive.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Understanding consumer values through Marketing

This week I had the chance to participate in some hands on marketing research for one of my marketing classes. The assignment involved interviewing a colleague to determine the values they associated with toothbrushes. I know it sounds like a strange assignment, but it was interesting to see how if you ask a person why they like their toothbrush and keep asking why each attribute is important, they will actually arrive at a value that the consumer holds about their life. In the toothbrush example, the end value was that my interviewee cares about social interactions. Who knew your toothbrush could mean so much?

As one of the best programs for MBA Consumer Marketing, there are a host of excellent marketing classes that are available to students of any major. One of my favorite classes has been the Strategic Marketing MBA course, which is taught by Professor Neil Morgan. The class is great for career change MBAs because it focuses on business strategy across numerous industries and knowledge about many different business functions is needed to fully analyze each case. Professor Morgan also teaches another great class at Kelley, which is Brand Asset Management. The class gives students insights on the value of a brand name, and the final project revolves around doing analysis to come up with your own value of a global brand. The final benefits of Professor Morgan's classes: he is a true character and has incredible passion for his line of work.

The Women of Kelley

Like most top ranked MBA schools, the men outnumber the women here at the Kelley School of Business. The club Kelley Women allows women MBAs to network with each other and learn about some of the challenges women face in the business world. The club is very active and has numerous speakers, volunteer events and networking opportunities. The club is also affiliated with the National Association of Women MBAs (NAWMBA), and Kelley was one of the sponsors for the 2009 NAWMBA conference. The club is really one reason that Kelley is one of the best business grad schools!

The women at the Kelley did some serious bonding this weekend during the annual Kelley Women Holiday Party. The event is always one of the favorite MBA student activities of the year for top MBA students because it is a chance for all of the women MBAs to put on their best cocktail dresses and enjoy a night together. The party was loud, but a lot of fun stories were shared and there was a lot of socializing between the first and second year women. The highlight of the event was probably the three special visitors who crashed the party... (yes the elves are wearing real tights!)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

First Years vs Second Years--MBA Student Soccer Showdown

On Saturday a team of First Year MBA students took on a team of Second Year MBA students at the Bloomington Sportplex in a game of indoor soccer. It was another of a series of friendly competitions between the first years and second years. The first years won the football game, the second years won trivia, and in this one the second years were victorious again.

They were in control for most of the game and won 6-2. As a team they got most of the 50-50 balls and were just a bit bigger and more aggressive than the first years.

This event is a great example of some of the fun competitions we have at our top MBA business school. These events provide a good view of the day in the life of an MBA student and of the fun team atmosphere we have at Kelley. MBA program students planned all of these events and funding came through the student government. We will continue to be a top ranked business graduate school because our students love planning these amazing events.

Entrepreneurship at Kelley

I'm not sure I'm a natural entrepreneur: I'm risk averse and perhaps more analytical than creative. But during my time at Kelley, surrounded by smart entrepreneurial classmates, I've begun better cultivating some of my venture leanings.

The entrepreneurship opportunities here are everywhere:

  • Many of my classmates seek a social entrepreneurship MBA, which includes a social entrepreneurship certificate.
  • Others utilize the Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship, and the flood of ideas coming from there.
  • Just last week, IU's President announced the creation of a $10 Million Venture Capital fund on campus.
  • Dr K's hands on leadership in the Johnson Center helps make Kelley the top Entrepreneurship MBA program in the country.
I've had increasingly frequent discussions with classmates about beginning a venture. And though this could be 10-15 years down the road - the atmosphere at Kelley promotes the creative exchange of ideas. And in my case, it's helped open my mind to entirely new different business world.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Independent Study

One of the great things about the Kelley MBA program is that it offers students the opportunity to participate in independent study for credit. This allows students the chance to pursue their own interests. This semester I have been working on an eye tracking project in the Consumer Interface Lab with 5 other students who are pursuing their MBA in marketing management. The Consumer Interface Lab is a state-of-the-art facility that simulates virtual shopping trips to understand how shoppers make their decisions at-shelf.

For this project, we are working with a corporate sponsor to determine how product assortment and layout in the retail environment can drive sales. At the end of the study we will present our findings and analysis to the sponsor. The fact that we have this exposure to cutting edge technology sets our program apart from other top ranked MBA schools. It is really exciting to be involved in a project with real world implications and I know that the skills that I am learning about consumer research and shopper marketing will help prepare me for my future goals.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

China Night

One of the best parts of our nationally ranked MBA program is the prevalence of international students. Last night we had China Night hosted by our program's 38 students from China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. It was fantastic from beginning to end.

We started out with a buffet of Chinese food. The kung pao beef was really good. I definitely had seconds! My friend Rob got this awesome fortune in his fortune cookie:

Then after the buffet there was an amazing performance in our atrium. Kelley has the most talented top MBA students! I was so impressed with the singing, dancing, and cultural learning! Professors got involved too. That's our program chair (and core Econ professor) Phil Powell in the top photo with the two dragons. Another core professor, Rockney Walters, also got up and did some great dancing. He was mo-mo-ing!

Other MBA program students got involved with a Tai-Chi demonstration, a skit about cultural differences when doing business in China, and some great bamboo dancing. I want to be involved in China Night next year!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Back from Thanksgiving Break

As I flew into the Indianapolis airport yesterday, I was glad to be back in Indiana, but I knew classes at the Kelley School of Business would be back in full swing in no time. This is the time of the semester at top MBA business schools when finals take place and papers and projects are all due. As top MBA students, I think most of my classmates are ready to give it their all in the next three weeks to ensure final grades meet expectations.

However, there are a lot of events coming up in the next couple of weeks that should be fun. Between China Night, the Kelley Women's holiday party and a handful of Hoosier basketball games, the upcoming weeks will be busy with of MBA student activities.

Probably the hardest part of the semester coming to an end is that I know my MBA experience is almost over. I can't believe how quickly the past three semesters have gone by, and it is really sad to think that I will be leaving Bloomington and all of my friends in a few months. But right now there is no time to get teary eyed in my MBA student blog- I still have to finish my homework for Monday's classes!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Leading a trek of MBA marketing students

To start off the Thanksgiving break, I led a group of 4 of the best consumer marketing MBA students on a trek to Boston to visit with Hasbro, TJX, and Staples. While TJX and Staples were fantastic and we learned a lot, I think that undoubtedly the highlight of the trek was visiting Hasbro. It's hard to beat a company headquarters that has a 20 foot tall Transformer on their "Main Street".

Our host for the day was Ana Dachroeden, a Kelley alum who is the Global ABM on Play-Doh. She started by giving us an overview of Hasbro and how they market themselves globally and leverage their brands in entertainment vehicles. Then we heard from some summer interns who got to stay on to work in the Fall.

The creator of the Game of Life was in the office because it's the 50th anniversary of the game's creation.

Afterwards we saw their video and photo studios where they shoot ads and the Fun Lab, where they do consumer (kid) testing of their toys. An amazing building with a huge amount of resources to show off to our group of MBA consumer marketing students.

Lastly, we were able to meet with Ana's boss for a brief interview, and met briefly with HR about the process to apply for an internship there. I am looking forward to the fantastic opportunities they have there!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Case Competition!!

Last week, instead of classes, we had a case competition within our cohorts of top MBA students. On Thursday, November 12 we got the case, which consisted of just 6 questions and a link to this presentation:

My team decided to take Thursday night off and get to work on Friday. That was a particularly hectic Friday for me because I had my Kelley Kickoff mock interview in the morning (with Walmart), some hours at my Graduate Assistantship, and the slate presentation that evening in addition to the case comp.

The slate presentation went well, but we found out on Monday that we didn't win the election. It was still a great experience to get out in front of one of the top ranked business graduate schools and share some of my viewpoints. I'm very glad I decided to take part in the process.

Getting back to the case comp...on Friday my team met and mapped out all the questions we had to answer in order to hit on the points that Eaton wanted us to touch. It was about a 4-hour session, and by the end of it we had filled up two white boards that looked like this:

That helped to shape our research. We spent all day on Saturday researching. The core teams are built so that different backgrounds can contribute. There are MBA finance students, MBA marketing students, and MBA management students, and they all can bring something different to the table.

On our team we split up the research and would meet back after 3 hours to give a mini-presentation on what we found. By the end of Saturday we had our basic storyline. On Sunday and Monday we did more research and spent time shoring up holes in the story. Tuesday we spent the whole day finalizing the deck and practicing as much as possible. We had three different second-year students come in and critique our presentation. That way we were ready to go on Wednesday. The first round judges are core professors, faculty, alums and some second-year students. We had five judges and gave a great presentation and then a fantastic Q&A. Our feedback was really positive and we made it to the second round!

One of our team goals at the beginning of the semester was to make it to the second round and we achieved that. We were very happy and decided to take the night off. Then the next day we practiced our presentations some more and went in front of our classmates and the second round judges, who were executives from Eaton, Cummins, and other companies.

We again did great in the presentation and Q&A and got great feedback. Unfortunately we didn't win our cohort, but we were a very close second place.

While we are known a lot for being a top MBA marketing program, this case competition really proved that we are one of the best MBA management programs in the country as well.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Trivia Night

One of the best things about Kelley is the close involvement of the faculty with students. The faculty here is extremely approachable, friendly and stands ready to help you with anything you might have. The interaction is not just restricted to the classroom and more often than not you see them turning up at weekend social events. Top ranked business graduate schools are all about a sense of togetherness and this close interaction between the students and faculty at Kelley really stands out for me.

We had an international business trivia night this Friday which was hosted by Wayne Winston, one of the most recognizable and popular faculty faces at Kelley. The turnout was absolutely amazing with more than 80-90 students crammed into the venue. The great part about it was that the questions were about various countries and subjects thereby ensuring everyone had fun.

The questions ranged from who was the first woman prime minister of an Islamic nation to Warren Buffet's investments and tested the general awareness of students. The competition was intense but Kelley students being what they are, there was a sense of camaraderie and fun with teams complimenting each other for good answers.

Prizes included cash prizes as well as signed copies of Mathletics by Wayne Winston. It was one of the best social events organized and all credit to the International Business Society headed by Jonelle Lofton and Prof Winston for pulling it off.

P.S: No we did not win, although with "Tiago's Tigers", I personally felt we had the best team name!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Dinner and Conversation with Kelley MBA Exchange Students

Last night my roommate and I hosted a dinner party with a few of our friends and two exchange students who are studying at the Kelley School of Business this semester. While we provided the drinks and food, the exchange students did the cooking, and it was delicious! Stefano, who is originally from Milan, made an awesome pasta dish and Johann, from Austria, made a variety of schnitzels.

While the food was great, the conversation was really the highlight of the night. It was really interesting to learn how MBA student life differs in the U.S. from European countries. I also really appreciated getting the exchange students’ perspective on Kelley compared to their top ranked MBA schools abroad.

I personally will not be studying abroad this year, but I will be making a trip to Europe to visit my roommate who will be studying in Paris. Kelley offers a huge variety of international programs, and it is fun to think that my classmates will potentially be cooking traditional American cuisine for their new friends abroad. Hopefully my roommate will have learned to cook by then!

Monday, November 9, 2009

A big win at the Faculty Auction

I know this blog has been focused on work at a top MBA business school, so I wanted to show the lighter side of life for top MBA students.

On Friday night we had our Faculty Auction, an annual event where professors and faculty donate events and groups of MBA students bid on them. All of the proceeds go to the Walt Blacconiere College Fund, which honors the memory of a beloved Kelley School of Business accounting professor who died of pancreatic cancer in 2007.

Some examples of events:I had my eyes set on this last one and knew the bidding would be intense. I put together a group of ten MBA students, each willing to spend up to $75 ($750 total). The bidding started at $300 and it was clear we were against one other main team. We had it won at $750 when a third team got into the bidding! They raised to $800 and I came back with $850 and we won it there. All in all a great night.

Now we just have to figure out what to do with him...

Hitting the road for a case competition

This weekend I had the pleasure of traveling to the great state of Minnesota to represent the Kelley School of Business at the 9th annual Elite Eight Case Competition. The competition features the best marketing MBA schools in the country and it was an honor to represent Kelley. The team consisted of five top MBA consumer marketing students, and we had a great time working together. Case competitions can be hard because typically each team only has 36 hours to work on a real life business problem, and we worked many long hours to finish our analysis and prepare the presentation. This year's case revolved around launching a consumer product for 3M.

While I am sad to report that the Kelley team did not place at the competition, there are some insights I thought I would share about how to successfully compete at a case competition and a picture of the team:

1. Always start by understanding the consumer.

2. Ensure that your recommendation is feasible in a give time period.

3. Presentation style matters! Leave time to practice.

4. Make sure to socialize with the top MBA students from the other schools- it is a great way to expand your network and understand what MBA student life is like at other schools!

Kelley Cares

This may be an unique blog post, but I think it will help show how Kelley is a top MBA business school and how faculty/staff/administration really care about the students here.

With H1N1 breathing down our necks, the entire IU campus has been very health conscious. As luck would have it, I got very ill this past week - not with H1N1 but with asthma turned bronchitis turned pneumonia. Such a lucky string landed me a 5 day hospital vacation.

So what makes Kelley a top ranked business graduate school? Sure it's the excellent course curriculum; sure it's the camaraderie among students; but for me, at least this week, it's the individual support and concern woven into the Kelley culture.

I've been overwhelmed by the support I've received. A number of fellow students and staff came to visit me. Faculty and professors emailed and conveyed their concern. Perhaps the most touching call came from Dan Smith - the Dean of the business school, who expressed how worried he was for me. I think people would be hard-pressed to find a comparable caring Dean.

So if you're considering Kelley, yes Kelley offers one of the best Entrepreneurship MBAs in the country. But the intangibles, like the personal care and concern, really help Kelley rise to the top.

Women's Weekend

This past weekend was the first ever Kelley Women's Weekend, a recruiting event for women considering two year MBA programs. The weekend was an overwhelming success with women visiting from all over the country to learn more about why we consider Kelley to be the top MBA school in the country.

The event started on Friday morning where our visitors were greeted by the Dean of the school, the Chair of the MBA program and also had the opportunity to meet some of our incredible faculty. The events were rounded out by a tour of Bloomington and a case discussion with one of our strategy professors. Friday evening, our guests attend the faculty auction, a beloved Kelley tradition that I'm sure will be discussed in more detail on this blog.

On Saturday, the prospective students met with the Graduate Career Services office and learned about MBA student life through panels of current students and alumnae. MBA Admission interviews were also conducted Saturday afternoon for interested students. That evening, everyone gathered at a local restaurant downtown to enjoy a nice meal and hear one of our impressive alums speak. Maggy Siegel is currently COO of Dylan's Candy Bar in New York City and she shared her thoughts about pursuing your dream career, life in the MBA program and work/life balance. Current and prospective students alike were able to benefit from her words of wisdom.

All things considered, the weekend was a remarkable success but I would be remiss to recap the weekend without mentioning the origin of this idea. The whole concept of Women's Weekend was developed by two second year students and they took the initiative to launch this event themselves. This kind of visionary leadership speaks volumes to ways in which the Kelley school equips its students to be leaders and how everyone here has the opportunity to see their ideas come to fruition!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Running for the MBAA at a top MBA Business School

In my last post I mentioned that I was running on a slate for the MBAA. In this post I wanted to elaborate further on what it takes to run for student government in a top ranked MBA program.

The way the slate system works is that instead of running individually for specific positions, you run as a group for all of the positions. This year, there are three groups running, all with eight members on their slate. The group I'm part of is called The Kelley Advocates, and I am running for VP of Student Affairs. That will mean overseeing all the social events, athletic events, tailgates and some clubs. It's a big job and will involve helping to organize and execute about 80 events over the next year.

The rules of the campaign really limit how much you can campaign. So since we have constraints, we have to take advantage of the best MBA for marketing. The way you can campaign is via word of mouth, one flyer, and one poster. While we are still finishing our poster, we did drop our flyer:

This week the campaign involves:
  • Answering questions from top MBA students during the coffee break on Monday
  • A 15-minute presentation on Friday
  • Q&A of potential presidents on Friday after the presentations
I'll let you know next week how we did!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Questions about a MBA

I had a ton of questions when I was applying to various MBA programs. Certainly the choice to pursue the MBA degree is an important one, and it's important to have answers to the dozens of questions you, or your family, or your boss may be asking. Here are a few questions I had, and some of the answers I came to.
  • Why should I consider Kelley? Kelley really is a top MBA business school. I've touched on this before. The faculty here are awesome, the classes amazing, the collaborative culture refreshing, and the career placement is excellent.
  • But I'd have to live in Southern Indiana? True, we're not downtown NYC. But Bloomington is a robust cosmopolitan college town, bustling with excitement, culture, and flavor. There's always exciting things to do here; for example, I have tickets tonight to the Wizard of Oz.
  • What's Bloomington like for families? The school and community are family-friendly to the max, ranging from Kelley Kids to activities at the local library to the weekly farmers market to the fix-it-yourself bike shop downtown. There are always activities for families with young children.
  • What is Kelley's most known strength? Kelley is one of the best marketing MBA schools - whether a strategic marketing MBA or MBA in marketing management. That's not to say that finance guys, like me, feel left out. The finance classes here are robust in their own right.
  • How do you know which top ranked business graduate schools you should consider? Look into the ones which fit your career objectives, fit your personal style, and ones where you feel comfortable learning, exploring, and growing. I think you'll find Kelley easily includes a variety of prospective students.
  • All of these questions and more can be answered by visiting us here at the Kelley of Business. Feel free to drop me a line, reach out to me or other students, and let us know how we can help you answer some of your specific questions.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Kelley Kick Off

A proud tradition at Kelley has been Kelley Kick off (KKO) which in my opinion really sets apart Kelley as one of the top ranked business graduate schools.KKO is a unique exercise in which our first year MBA students are provided with an opportunity to interview with alumni/corporate recruiters in a "safe" environment which essentially means that these are mock interviews. As a follow-up to the event, the first years are then provided with detailed feedback after the interview which they can work on as they approach the internship season in spring.

KKO is traditionally scheduled for the second week of November and is organized by the professional development council - a student led body belonging to the MBA students association. Having experienced KKO last year, I found it to be an extremely useful checkpoint as I geared up for my internships. We had recruiters/alumni come in from Cummins, Deloitte, P&G, Kraft, Nestle, GE, Whirlpool and Philip Morris amongst other companies. The scope of companies coming in for KKO varies from year to year but it is ensured that students pursuing all majors i.e. finance, consumer marketing, business marketing, strategy have adequate choice in the list of companies on campus to choose from.

This early preparation afforded is one of the key factors that Kelley graduates are amongst the most sought in the country. On the flip side, it is a great way for recruiters to gauge the quality of students at one of the top business grad schools. Every year one or two firms use KKO as an avenue to get engaged with the school and talk to students.

I will be writing more about KKO once the event takes place. With the kind of firms we have lined up this year, it should be an amazing event. Look out for more on this on my MBA student blog after November 13th!

Business Etiquette Dinner

MBA student life can get a bit stressful at times with endless projects, submissions and assignments and it is vital that there are enough alternate student activities programmed which not only act as a stress buster but also teach business school students some real-life soft skills. As one of the nation's top ranked business graduate schools, Kelley offers a constant stream of avenues available to students to constantly better themselves professionally. This is quite essential as top MBA students are not only supposed to be on top of their game in the classroom, but also outside, where potential recruiters continuously evaluate and judge their conduct.

This past Tuesday we had organized a business etiquette dinner which was intended to give Kelley MBA students an insight into the nuances of formal dining. Organized by the consulting club, Asian MBA and the Latin MBA, this was a unique event where in students were guided step by step through a delicious 6 course dinner (for just $10!!). The host was Joseph Boes, a business etiquette consultant at Indiana University (IU) who pulled off the 2 hour session with great humor and wit. This also was a particularly useful session for international students as for many of them it was their first introduction to formal dining Vis a Vis the American cuisine.

All in all it was a wonderful occasion with more than 70 students showing up to enjoy a great dinner and of course a wonderful dinner host as well.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Registering for Spring Classes

I was able to register for spring classes on Monday. The great thing about Kelley is that outside of the Core and an accounting class, everything else is electives. It makes it a great MBA for Non Business Majors because you can get a wide breadth of classroom experiences.

This will be link-heavy, but here's what I'm taking in the spring:

First 7 weeksSecond 7 weeksSo a good range of classes and all were recommended to me by the very helpful 2nd-year students. I'm excited to move beyond the Core and start my MBA focused in Marketing.

So many things to do in a top ranked MBA program

This week has been a really busy one (when is it not?), but mostly because of all that's going on outside of classes.

I started this week off with an interview for Bloomington Brands. I was interviewed by a 2nd-year student who is on the current brand team. The nice part about this program is that it gives an MBA product marketing experience. There was tough competition from all of the top MBA students at the best marketing MBA program. Unfortunately I didn't make it to the second round, but it was a good experience getting to practice my interviewing skills.

The other thing that I'm spending a lot of time on is that I'm running on a slate to run the MBA Association (MBAA). I'm running for VP of Student Affairs and this week we are refining our strategy and developing our message. So it's been a lot of meeting and sending emails back and forth with the rest of my slate. Running the MBAA is like running a business, so it's a good thing we have the best entrepreneurship MBA program. There are three other slates running so it will be competitive and there will be a good range of viewpoints offered for the future of our top-ranked MBA program.

The other thing keeping me busy is my graduate assistantship working in the MBA program office. I help with external marketing and am looking at the positioning and promotion of our Kelley Accelerated Admission Program (KAAP), which is aimed at graduating college seniors. It is a time-consuming project, but I'm able to apply some of the positioning and segmenting principles that I've learned in class.

Hope that gives you a good look at all the opportunities available to you at the best Marketing MBA Program.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Finals, Football and Friends

The last week has been busy for business school MBA students at Kelley! The first quarter of classes wrapped up last week so of course that meant one thing- finals! While finals at college MBA programs are typically pretty tough, this year for me was a mixture of exams and papers. Being that Kelley is one of the best marketing MBA programs, the marketing classes are a real challenge, but the hardest final of the year came in Spreadsheet Modeling for Marketing, which is taught by Professor Wayne Winston. Professor Winston is a real character, and he recently wrote a book called Mathletics. It was really interesting to learn about the publicity events he took part in during this semester, but the final exam for the class was less than fun!

Once finals were over it was time to enjoy the lovely fall weather in Bloomington and spend some quality time with friends. As my fellow MBA blogger Molly Lyon's wrote in her blog a few weeks ago, Bloomington is absolutely beautiful in the fall. There are two State Parks within 30 minutes of Bloomington and I have been hitting the trails with friends every weekend. It was also the 30th birthday of one of my good friends this weekend, and that of course called for a huge birthday party! While the average age of a Kelley MBA student is 28, there are many students who are in their 30's. No matter the age of the top ranked MBAs at Kelley, we were all excited for finals to be over and to have fun at the 30th birthday party! Here is a picture of my roommate and me right at the start of the party:

The party turned out to be a total blast, and the birthday girl was happy to have spent such a big day with her MBA friends. After recovering from the party, it was time to get ready for the next quarter of classes. However, there are already some Halloween parties in the works, and I think the weekend will be here in no time. Check back next week to see the pictures of costumes!

Teamwork at Kelley

If you've ever done a campus visit at Kelley, one of the things you will hear a lot is how our student body is very collaborative and that teamwork is crucial to our success. This is something that is near and dear to my heart and I wanted to share with you just a few examples of how students work together at Kelley.

1) Classwork: The MBA course curriculum really emphasizes group work. In the CORE (the first semester of the first year) teams of 4-5 people are assigned and the work that they produce together comprises a large portion of their overall grade. While it may seem like a challenge to work with the same team every day for a semester, in some ways it was easy because all of us were on the same schedule (more or less). However, this seven week period, I am taking four classes that each require a team ranging from 2-5 people. It has been a challenge finding mutually convenient times to meet when you are trying to coordinate the different schedules of so many people!

2) Career Development: One of the great things about Kelley is that almost all students here go above-and-beyond to help their colleagues attain their dream job. This is particularly helpful for career change MBA's. Second year students act as peer coaches to first year students and help them prepare for interviews by reviewing resumes and mock interviewing. We also help one another by sharing our contacts and facilitating networking with companies of interest.

3) Social Activities: MBA's at Kelley are very social and we enjoy spending time with one another outside as well as inside the classroom. We have some very active Social Chairs who plan fun activities each weekend such as bowling, dinners, and tailgates in order to bring the student body together. In fact, some of the best friendships I've made with MBA's in Bloomington have been at social events in Bloomington. MBA social life is always very busy, but it helps reinforce the bonds between our classmates and strengthen the friendships we form at school.

These are just some of the ways that the Kelley program encourages teamwork and one of the reasons I am so happy to be here!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Academy Week Update: Procter & Gamble

Now we get to the final stop on the whirlwind academy week tour: Cincinnati for a visit with P&G. Kelley alumni have a huge presence at P&G and their success is one of the reasons we are regarded as the best consumer marketing MBA program.

We got into our hotel (located across the river in Covington, KY) in the late afternoon on Thursday. After a quick rest at the hotel, our group of top MBA students headed to Bar Louie to network with some Kelley alums who work at P&G. It was a great opportunity to get their perspective on P&G, marketing, getting an internship, and which classes in the MBA course curriculum to take next semester.

A few of us skipped the bus back to the hotel so we could stay and network some more. Afterwards, we did a small "foodie" tasting tour of Cincinnati. We went to Graeter's for some ice cream and then went to Skyline Chili. It was my first time having both and they were fantastic. Chili and ice cream go so well together...

The next morning we got to P&G's headquarters in Cincinnati and started on a busy day filled with a huge amount of great insight into marketing from one of the biggest marketing organizations in the world. All of the speakers were IU Alumni, showing how we are the best marketing MBA program.

We first heard from Chad Brizendine '08 and Scott Deal '02, who talked about marketing Febreze and the launch of Febreze Sport. Next we heard from some of the Kelley alums in P&G's Consumer & Market Knowledge (CMK) group. They showed us how they conduct research into a consumer's behavior and emotions in order to market a product designed for their needs. They led some MBA student activities where we got to interview (or be interviewed) by a classmate about our use of tissues. We then broke into groups and analyzed the results and what they say about how to market tissues.

Our group then broke for lunch and in groups of 7-8 networked with a P&G marketer who is a Kelley alum. My group got to talk with Carrie Costello '05, who is the Brand Manager for Gain. We talked at lunch and then got a tour around some of P&G's offices. We got to peek into the archive and then saw where the beauty marketers sit and where laundry care marketers sit.

We finished off the day by hearing from Ryan Dullea '05 and Carrie Costello about how to evaluate advertising creative work and how to work with an advertising agency to get the best creative work possible. Since my background is in advertising it was really interesting getting P&G's perspective on the process. They view their agencies as partners and really respect their opinions and place in the process.

Overall a really fantastic day at P&G for our group of business school MBA students. A great way to end a whirwind week where we met with 6 companies (all that hire top ranked MBAs) and traveled through 5 states.

Time to rest up this weekend and prepare for a very busy next week. I'll update you next time about picking classes for next semester, preparing to run on an MBAA slate, and conducting mock interviews to prepare for internship interviews in January.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Academy Week Update: Whirlpool and Eli Lilly

I'm going to combine a couple of full days into one post here because, while at both companies we covered great insights into consumer marketing, we had to sign confidentiality agreements so I can't talk much about the content (and no pictures).

The focus on the consumer continued at Whirlpool. They are a great corporate partner of IU and their CEO and CFO are both Kelley Alums. We heard from a variety of marketers and they all hammered home a familiar point: marketing insights come from studying consumer behavior. Even for a durables company it is imperative to see how the product fits the consumer's needs.

We split into groups for lunch and networked with a Kelley alum who is in Whirlpool's Leadership Development Program. He gave us great tips on how to be top MBA students and how to take advantage of the best MBA for marketing.

We finished out the day hearing from the head of New Business Development. My lips are sealed on that one, but they have some great products in the pipeline.

On Thursday we had a very early (6:45AM) start to head to Indianapolis to visit with Eli Lilly. At first I wasn't so excited for this visit because I don't have much of an interest in Pharmaceutical Marketing, but it ended up being fantastic.

First off, their headquarters is gorgeous. Very new and with some great artwork and architecture. We were hosted by Michelle DeRidder, a 2008 Kelley alum. I've told you before, but we have alumni all over marketing because we have the best consumer marketing MBA program.

The highlight of the day was a case discussion about the launch of Cialis. If you don't know, it's a drug that treats erectile dysfunction and is now outselling Viagra. The discussion was lead by the Director of Global Marketing who oversaw the launch. Lots of fun and frank talk about the drug and it's benefits. Really a very interesting case on how to market a prescription drug to the end consumer. One of the hurdles they face is that they have to market to the patient, the doctor and the payer (HMO/Medicare).

We finished the day with a panel discussing the similarities and differences between Pharma marketing and CPG marketing. The similarities really are bigger than the differences, especially in the emphasis put on the consumer. The differences come in the regulatory environment and the respect for privacy. Because of this they can't really play in the social media space.

All in all, two great days, and so many takeaways for the best consumer marketing MBA students in the country!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Some Oil Firms Now Accept Iraq Terms - Do you?

Ok, so today's MBA student blog will be about something that is of very close interest to me (no, I'm not saying everything else I've written about isn't of interest, but this is of high interest, lol).

The oil and gas industry is something that is a new and interesting world to me, as I recently completed a summer internship with Chevron. I have continued to grow my knowledge in this realm by reading as much of the latest info and speaking to as many people in the industry as possible.

I was able to get the job at Chevron in part to Kelley's great relationship with Chevron and actually being a student at one of the nation's best entrepreneurship MBA programs did not hurt my chances either.

Please take a look at this article that I have recently come across and respond with some comments...

Some Oil Firms Now Accept Iraq Terms -

It is pretty clear that Iraq's current political ideology towards FDI within the oil/gas industry is one of radical protectionism... This can be easily gleaned from this article, since it states, over 90% of their government's revenue is derived from oil/gas production.
It seems now however that foreign investors are beginning to yield to Iraq's highly protective terms whereas before they did not, it looks like many of them are trying to acheive first-mover advantage even at risk of forgone profits...

I'm going to do something crazy here, but, I'm very curious, please share how you feel about oil/gas companies with a home base in US working with Iraq and what you think of the current strategies to yield to Iraq's request?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Academy Week Update: MillerCoors & Jewel-Osco

On Tuesday the Consumer Marketing Academy visited two companies in the Chicago area that hire students from the best marketing MBA program: MillerCoors and Jewel-Osco.

We went to MillerCoors in the morning and were hosted up in their penthouse bar area. They know how to roll out the carpet for top MBA students!

Alright, all the other consumer marketing MBA students are to the left of this picture, but you can see the awesome bar with lots of products on tap and in bottle.

Kevin Reilly, a 2006 Kelley grad was one of our hosts for the day and talked to us about managing channels for craft beer brands such as Blue Moon and Peroni. We also heard a lot from a variety of MillerCoors marketers about consumer input and finding the best way to solve the problems of the consumer. That's definitely been the main theme this week, which is great for consumer marketing MBA students! They even showed us a new product they are launching, a draft beer box for the fridge.

After spending 3 hours at MillerCoors, we headed out to Itasca to visit Jewel-Osco. Out there we learned about retail category management from Damon Grimes, another Kelley alum (we are all over the place because we are the best MBA for marketing). It was interesting hearing how he decides which products to stock in his category (frozen foods) and how quickly he gets the results of the decisions he makes (within a week or so).

After Jewel-Osco, we headed over to St. Joseph, MI to stay at the Boulevard hotel before seeing Whirlpool on Wednesday. To have fun with our MBA social life, we all split up to go out to eat. My group got some mongolian BBQ and checked out the beach.

My MBA student blog will be back tomorrow with an update on our day at Whirlpool.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Gotta Love Technology!

Today's business mba blog will be an expression of my extreme glee, in how much I appreciate technology both at school and out!

Thanks to technology it has made my life as a business school student so much more managable! If it was not for technology, the pursuit for a MBA management degree would be more difficult and be an extreme challenge.

I'll take an example of a day so that I can help you understand what I mean:

7 AM: Before I even get out of bed, I am responding to emails through AOL, Gmail, and IU's Outlook Exchange -- Emails that are connecting me with people in CT, NY, MA, CA, AZ, Antigua, St. Thomas, and India; all before I even brush my teeth... I also check my Outlook Calendar to see what the day holds.
8 AM: I catch up on news in Antigua and CT.
9 AM: I jump in my car and tune into my Sirius/XM radio and jam to the vibes as I prepare myself for my day at school
9:30 AM: While in class, I jump onto Oncourse, so that I can pull the guidelines that we need to review for the project that's due in a two weeks-- Oncourse is an online tool that we have access to as students that has all of the information we need for our classes minus our text books.
10:30 AM: Text message my sister to see how her new job is treating her
11:30 AM: We utilized Groove, within our team to collaborate on all of the sections of the business plan to ensure that we were all on the same page!
12:45 PM: Order Jimmy Johns and get it delivered straight to the room, I'm in
1 PM: Ran a practice dry-run using one of the classrooms for a presentation for a class -- at Kelley, a top ranked MBA colleges, most of the rooms in Kelley have projectors, computers, laptop connections, cable access, vcr/dvd/cd capabilities, and some rooms even have teleconferencing capabilities
2 PM: I sat in the middle of our atrium to connect with a current first year to help them prepare for interviews at a conference and we used the school's wireless capabilities to show them a couple of resources online and we printed some things out all while sitting down completely wireless.
3 PM: I learn more about blogging and how to create blogs like this one
4:30 PM: I have a virtual meeting through Skype with one of Kelley's staff member who is currently in Peru regarding GLOBASE
5 PM: I kill some time by tooling around Facebook (catch up with friends) and LinkedIn (connect with potential employers, classmates, and colleagues at other masters of business schools) & then end up arguing with some friends about why Twitter is wack!
11 PM: Once I finish up my school work for the day, I end up jumping on Hulu to catch the latest episode of Heroes, Fringe, or Family Guy

By the time I'm ready to go to bed, I throw on my neo-soul streaming station so that I can peacefully fall into slumber...

As you can see technology is something that we interface with on a regular basis, think about this in the perspective that I laid out and it will actually shock you how dependent we have become on technology!

I know that the high tech industry is definitely something that is of interest to me -- if it something of interest to you, feel free to join IU's JCEI and School of Informatics at the Bay Area Information Technology Professional Networking Series

Teamwork at Kelley

It's hard to have a MBA student blog - at least here at Kelley - without mentioning how vital teamwork is to each student's success and classroom learning. And while teamwork isn't structured per se into the MBA course curriculum, it definitely helps hold the school together.

I remember visiting with the former MBA Chair, Jim Wahlen. He stressed over and over how collegial (and not cutthroat) the students are at Kelley. And he was dead on! It's not uncommon to head down to the MBA student lounge or atrium and see dozens of teams engaged in discussion or working on projects.

The academies are a major source of collaboration as well and really set Kelley apart as a top business grad school. The first-year students are in the middle of their first academy week. I spoke to them yesterday about my internship and could see the benefits of their collaboration already. I know I benefited greatly from my association and friendships in the corporate finance academy.

Yet the students aren't the only ones exhibiting this contagious collegiality. Faculty have a standing open-door policy that really is open door. The faculty's collaborative focus is unique; the professors here are not only great teachers and researchers, but they are sincerely interested in the success of the MBA students - and students know it. When I had an idea on modeling future commodity prices, a professor offered to take me under his wing and tutor me about forward prices, seasonality, etc. And I could repeat a similar story with nearly every class and every professor.

Pushing Limits: That Extra Degree

Pushing Limits: Life at Kelley & Beyond - This title just seemed the most fitting for my blog, but you might be wondering why would I name my business school blog this.

As part of the closing to our class yesterday for Corporate Innovation (Kelley School of Business actually has one of the nation's best MBA Programs for Entrepreneurs) we watched this video:
212 degrees: The Extra Degree

I have seen this video a couple of times before, but every time I end up watching it, I can't help but to think about my parents who told me time and time again growing up that, "you have to continuosly give 150%, cause every time you think you're doing well, the reality is you could be doing better."

As I have grown up and developed, I realize that in order to be successful, at least by my standards, it's important to always challenge and push your limits (thus the name of this blog) because if you don't there is no guarantee that you will ever arrive where you want to be.

Being at Kelley, as a top ranked MBA school, life here is no different. They told me that the 2nd year is always easier, but to be very frank and honest, this semester has been kicking my behind... but don't worry your boy hasn't been taken me out of the game yet and has taken a couple of lumps and bruises but I'm still standing staring the remainder of the year dead in its eye.

I have fully immersed myself in the b-school experience over committing myself to everything and anything that I could be involved in that is of interest to me. It has been a very careful balancing game I have been playing and I have no one to blame but myself for saying yes. I guess it's one of those things I've learned to accept and work with being a part of one of the nation's top full time MBA programs.

Academy Week Update: The Wienermobile!!

Academy Week is really making it clear why IU has the best consumer marketing MBA program. The company visits this week are providing us with a unique view on how successful marketing managers make decisions and what employers are looking for from us as marketers.

Yesterday we started in Bloomington and had a presentation from Kraft about how to "use your marketing gut" and really listen to what the consumer wants. Then, use that to judge your creative messaging. Kraft/Oscar Mayer is so great at reaching out to us. We have many former MBA students working there and their successes are examples of how we are the best MBA for marketing.

After that the fun really started. A couple of the Oscar Mayer HotDoggers came into town with the Wienermobile! They parked it right outside of Kelley and then anyone who sang the theme song got rides in it. My group impressed with some original choreography and got to enjoy the roomy bucket seats and take the Wienermobile named "Bologna" for a spin around campus. We abused the loudspeaker system a bit and made lots of jokes about "buns" "catch up" and "relish".

After the ride and some lunch, we boarded a bus headed to Chicago. Luckily, the bus has WiFi so I can update this Business School Blog. The hotel they put us up in was really nice and was right downtown in Chicago. Pretty sweet view from the room too:

We had the night free in Chicago so a bunch of fellow MBA program students and I went to RockBottom brewery. My old roommate and a couple other friends came down to meet up. It was a great night with old friends meeting new ones.

Stay tuned next time for a recap of our Tuesday visits to MillerCoors and Jewel-Osco!

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Bad and the Ugly for FARE @Kelley

So it's shortly after 1 am and I'm still not done with my parts for two group projects that are both due on Tuesday. It's times like these that I wonder why I subjected myself to this torture called the last week of a 7 week quarter. This first Seven weeks of my second year has not been easy. I decided to put a lot of my efforts in to my job search, and decided to neglect my course load. Now the payday is upon me. SIGH. The good news is that I'm waiting to hear some good news in the coming weeks from a few companies. The bad news is that this will be a long week of late night cramming. For me the saddest part is not being able to take full advantage of the learning to be gained from my classes. For example, I really like my finance class. The book is easy to understand the few times that I was able to skim it. I was unable to gain everything I could have from the class because half the time I was not there. Even when I was physically there, my mind was more focused on my recruiting efforts. I would say this is the bad and the ugly for top MBA students. Don't get me wrong, I love Kelley and I love being a full time MBA but some days are hard. Some days you have to make choices that you don't want to make. There will be a trade off and you will feel the consequences. With that...I'm going back to feeling the consequences as I work on my slide deck for my marketing class. The expectations on a person when attending the best marketing MBA program in the country is great. But my motto will get always does.
As always, if you have any questions for me please feel free to email me:


Diversity in MBA students

One of the key things you look out for a in a top business grad school is diversity and variety in the student body. Business school education is as much about what you learn from your peers outside the classroom as what you learn within.

Kelley places a huge emphasis on encouraging and nurturing diversity within its student community. At Kelley, diversity is not just the presence of students of different nationalities, but the harvesting and sharing of their cultural wealth and their business acumen. I have been fortunate enough to have interacted with some of the top MBA students you could ever hope to have as peers and learnt quite a lot.

Apart from the class room, there is a vibrant international element in the composition of MBA student activities. Just this past year alone, as part of MBA student activities, we had the pleasure of witnessing Japan, China and India nights which had students from those countries showcasing their nations' heritage, customs and of course the delicious cuisine! In an increasingly global world, Business school MBA students need to be aware and sensitive about different cultures and their nuances. Kelley, with its reputation for being one of the best Business school MBA program prepares us extremely well in this regard.

This whole ecosystem of appreciating and encouraging other cultures plays a huge role in making international students feel completely at home and allows them to fully realize their potential at Kelley. Kelley for me has been a phenomenal experience it feels amazing to be part of a program where in you are feted and treasured for the diversity you bring to the community!

Consulting Academy Week Experiences

As my profile indicates, I am a part of the consulting academy at Kelley. Academies are one of the crown jewels of the Kelley MBA experience and are a blessing to those of us who are career switchers (in my case from information technology to management consulting). They are also what make Kelley, in my opinion, one of the best business grad schools in the country.

The academies are an integral part of the MBA course curriculum and fit seamlessly into the whole academic framework over two years. Typically consisting of 20-30 students, academies require us to go through three rigorous weeks of training. In this post, I wanted to share my Academy week 3 experiences which was with Deloitte BTM in Chicago.

We worked as a team of four and were at Deloitte's Chicago office for the whole week. Our project concerned recommending a new organizational structure necessitated as a result of internal restructuring within Deloitte. Not only was it exciting to be working onsite but also a great education with regards to how we should conduct ourselves and communicate with the client - key tenets of any consulting engagement. It was hard work and we were working more than 18 hours a day but as business school MBA students at a top business grad school shirking from hard work is not in our ethos.

Our final presentation (pulled off solely due to the rejuvenating powers of large amounts of coffee) was hugely appreciated by the client. Doing good work helps you put down a marker and makes the companies you work at sit up and take notice of you. That is precisely the reason why I think of academy weeks as not academic exercises but as mini-internships. Kelley ensures that we get this unique opportunity to interface with the industry and it is incumbent on us as top MBA students to fully grasp that opportunity and make use of it!

Rejection: Why B-School Sometimes Reminds Me of Dating...

So, not that this ever happens to me (lol), but have you ever found yourself in a position where you've recently begun "talking" with someone new, feel like everything is where it should be: similar interests, matching ideals, cohesive visions of the future, you've spoken on different occasions and everything just seems to click for you -- then suddenly out the blue, you get that phone call, text, email, instant message, smoke signal, or message in a bottle letting you know, "hey, you're great, but..." at that point you already know where the conversation is about to go and your mind starts to run... How could this happen?! again?!?! and of all people, why me?!?!

It is an age old question, that many people struggle with, especially top MBA students. Why? Well, it just comes down to the fact that when we as humans see something that we like, appreciate, feel a strong connection with, and know that the future with this as a part of our life can only be sweeter we expect reciprocity to occur, especially with students in top nationally ranked MBA programs and their egos! Unfortunately not only does rejection occur in this sense, but it happens in college MBA programs on a regular basis.

Most business school MBA students have fought tooth and nail to get where they are currently at and being accepted to a top business grad school leaves many feeling like they have arrived. Let's face it, it is a tumultuous process between the GMAT, essays, interviewing, school visits, networking, and schmoozing... once you get through all of that and get accepted you feel a great sense of accomplishment -- little do you realize it has all just begun!

As you begin your "b-school career", you hear about the boundless opportunities and begin to create your vision and plan of where you will be by the time you graduate. You formulate the classes you will take, the leadership positions you want to hold, the international programs you want to take part in, the case competitions that best suit what you're looking for, the jobs you'll apply for, the events you want to attend, in your head you choose the people who you want in your groups in different classes, and you even begin to choose the folk you'll want to hang with. You end up doing all of this because there is typically a reason you come to b-school and you create this career/life road map based off of the opportunities that you think will best get you there... but guess what? So has everyone else in b-school! This creates a very highly competitive environment in which everyone may be vying for spots that many others are as well. This can only lead to some of those that threw their name in the hat being rejected. This throws many people off, because they feel like they had it in the bag or all signs pointed to yes for them and now they are wondering, "why me?"

The magic though in being rejected, not only in b-school, but anywhere in life is the lesson learned from it. Don't beat yourself up in anguish, don't become bitter and angry at the world. Ask yourself, why do you think I didn't get that job offer; why didn't I get onto the GLOBASE team; why didn't my slate win the elections; just ask why... If you can't answer it for yourself, b-school is one of the few places in life that you can actually ask someone may it be a professor, staff member, or fellow classmate. It's school and it's meant to be a learning environment, usually these channels will be fairly transparent with you, delivering a message that you sometimes don't want to hear but need to.

As Willie Jolley states, "Every setback is a setup for a comeback" - This is a mantra I live each day by, regardless if I succeed or fail because you are guaranteed to fail at something sooner or later, but it's how you react to that failure that determines if later on you will actually be successful!

So the next time you get that phone call, text, email, instant message, etc (I'm speaking figuratively here)... that starts off, "hey, you're great but..." just smile to yourself because you already know that you've already made it this far and this is only a slight bump in the road on your road map, just stay steadfast and true to what drives you, and the only thing that can hold you back will be yourself.

Friday, October 16, 2009

When Walmart comes to class

One of the advantages of going to one the best consumer marketing MBA programs in the country is that some really amazing speakers come to campus to share industry knowledge with you. This fall has been no exception, with a handful on speakers presenting to my Consumer Channels Management class. The speakers have included brand managers from Target, Danaher and dunnhumby. My favorite speaker was from Target, and he walked us through the launch of their new private label products named Up & Up. This week brand managers from Walmart came to class to discuss the challenges of competing in the global retail environment, as well as their focus on three segments of shoppers and their new investment in the Great Value brand. As someone who is going to work for a consumer packaged goods manufacture in the summer, it was truly interesting to learn about how Walmart treats manufacturers and their commitment to providing the best mix of branded products for their shoppers. Throughout my career at Kelley I have read countless articles on Walmart, this was the first chance I had to meet their marketing team and get to ask them some questions myself.

Kelley business school MBA students were also given the opportunity this week to attend a presentation by HP's CEO Mark Hurd. Mr. Hurd shared with students his insights on the growth of HP products worldwide, as well as HP's ability to enter emerging markets that are only beginning to have Internet access. The CEO also shared his insights on managing people and ensuring top talent is appropriately rewarded. As top ranked MBAs, there was a lot of interest in understanding how one can prepare to be a CEO, and Mr. Hurd's advice was this: Take time early in your career to build the foundations of business and to work in many roles within your organization. I do not know that I will ever become a CEO, but I know that right here at Kelley I am in the process of developing the business foundation that will allow me to be successful in the future. As can be seen with both Walmart and HP's business models, the global business environment is ever changing, and obtaining a MBA from a top ranked business school will provide my classmates and me with unlimited opportunities in the future.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Busy Week, even by Top MBA Program Standards

It is now in the middle of week 7 in the Core, which some of us jokingly refer to as "Hell Week". Outside of case competition and finals week, the assignments this week count for the highest percentage of our Core grade. Here's what's due this week:
  • Marketing Memo based on a case we've read
  • Accounting "Return on Equity" ratio analysis
  • Quantitative Methods Homework #3
  • Finance midterm take-home test
  • Finance in-class midterm
While it is a lot of work, the benefit is that it's forced us all to rely on our teams. Delegating and divvying up the work is a requirement to make it through this week.

The collaboration between all the MBA program students has been fantastic. Among schools offering MBA programs, Indiana is known as one of the most collaborative.

Also, having to work on assignments for a bunch of different subjects really helps the career change MBA students, such as myself. I'm taking charge of the Quant homework to get some more experience in that area. I plan on being an Excel wizard by the time I get out of school!

So count down with me....only three more days until "Hell Week" is over and Academy Week is upon us!

Fall is Here!

Autumn is definitely my favorite season. I love the changing of the leaves, the cool breeze and all the yummy seasonal food like pumpkin pie and apple cider. Of all of the cities I have lived in, Bloomington is hands down the best to enjoy the Fall! One thing people don't fully appreciate until they come to visit is how pretty a town Bloomington is. The IU campus is consistently ranked one of the most beautiful in the US and taking a walk around this time of year it is easy to see why. The colors are at their peak and everything looks gorgeous. I have included a picture below of our campus at it's best.

As busy as we are as MBA students, we make sure that we take time to enjoy the season. There are official MBA tailgates for every home football game and numerous intramural teams in a variety of sports. Beyond the formal MBA student activities, there are lots of things to do in Bloomington to spend time. The city boasts an impressive selection of international restaurants, a great live music scene (check out Dan's business school blog post), and more nightlife than you would expect. On top of it all, we are a short drive from some gorgeous state parks. It is not unusual for groups of students to go camping, hiking, or even compete in the Hilly Hundred, a local bicycle race that's not for the faint of heart! This weekend I am looking forward to apple picking with a group of students before the homecoming tailgate. In true MBA style, I think we are going to engage in a friendly bake-off the next day. It's events like these that make it fun to be an MBA!

Monday, October 12, 2009

GE Live with Kelley and other top MBA schools

Last week, IU was one of seven top ranked MBA schools to participate in GE Live. The event was a broadcast discussion with GE's CEO Jeff Immelt and CFO Keith Sherin and covered a variety of topics of interest to MBA students. Follow the link above to watch the video of the vent. Just enter your undergrad info when it asks you to register.

While the event was at another school, Kelley had a classroom full of students watching and had two students ask questions live on camera. It was great exposure to GE's culture and vision for the future and a unique experience that is representative of the kind of MBA student activities they offer here. GE is a great recruiter on campus and one of the top employers of MBA students from our program.

The two things they stressed most in the presentation were their green intiative and the growth of their healthcare business. These are two areas where the growth potential is huge and the need is high for students from top MBA programs.

They also stressed the need for students to have a vision for their career when they leave an MBA program so they can go full force towards that. So as you start to look at MBA admission try and think about what your career vision is and how each MBA program can help you achieve that.

Dating in the MBA Program: Good idea, or recipe for disaster?

During the last year I have been able to meet with many prospective MBA students at Kelley. I really enjoy meeting with prospective students because it is fun to share my stories and experiences with them, as well as to learn a little about the person visiting. One questions that comes up fairly frequently is around dating within the MBA program. Given that it is a common topic, I figured I would include my two sense on this topic into my MBA blog. While I am currently single, I admit that I have some experience with this in this area!

Do Kelley students date within the program? The answer to this question is YES. Business School MBA Students by definition have a lot in common, whether it is their love of entrepreneurship or a desire to work internationally, and this can lead to students forming deep connections with their classmates. In addition, the average age of a Kelley student is 28, and about half of these students arrive in Bloomington single. MBA student life is very busy, but there is still time to hang-out and get to know your classmates. Sometimes this leads to a lasting relationship....

What happens if you date someone in the program and you break-up? This is where it can get messy. If you are dating someone in the program, odds are you have many common friends and that can make things more awkward if you break-up. In addition, each class at Kelley only has about 240 students, so it can be hard to avoid people if a relationship turns sour. However, there are some steps to take to minimize your chances of a break-up affecting your school work and friends:

  • Don't date people in your own class. As a 1st year MBA student I dated a 2nd year student. It worked out really well for us because we didn't have all the same friends, and we rarely had any classes together.
  • If you decide to date someone in your class, DO NOT date someone on your Core team. This is a recipe for disaster. The Core team consists of 4-5 people and you have to spend a ton of time with this group working on homework, projects and case competitions. No matter how much you like someone, it is inevitable that you will get into disagreements that will be awkward for your other team members and hurt your relationship.
  • Again, if you decide to date someone in your class, make sure they are not in your Academy. Each Academy only has about 20-50 members, and almost all Academies do some form of group consulting project. There is nothing worse than having to email your Academy director and tell them that you can't work with someone because you just broke-up with that person. You don't want to have to tell Dr. K, who runs one of the best entrepreneurship MBA programs in the country, that you recently hard your heart broken and can't work with a classmate.
Now I'm not trying to scare anyone away from potentially dating within an MBA program. Some people are against it, but many students find that "someone special" in the program. In fact, almost every year there are at least a pair of top MBA students who meet at Kelley and are married within a year after graduation. The key is to follow your heart, but almost make sure you are managing your reputation and your work-life balance. Your two years as an MBA student go by very quickly, and the most important thing is to make sure that your MBA experience lives up to your expectations.

Music to my Ears

When I was looking at top MBA schools, I certainly wasn't thinking about those same schools' music programs. But after having chosen Kelley, I'm amazed at the other benefits Bloomington has to offer. Indiana's Jacobs School of Music is one of those amazing benefits.

Arguably one of the top 3 music schools, the Jacobs School provides a musical outlet for my MBA studies. The music school's talent is literally out of this world. Not only are there dozens of free concerts each week, but there are significant artists and productions as well.

For example, last fall, my wife and I hit a free Joshua Bell concert, himself a Bloomington native. Later, we attended an amazing production of Swan Lake. My wife also went to Mama Mia with some friends from the Partners Club. In a few weeks, we're going to Wizard of Oz. And of course, we're excited for Beauty and the Beast and Yo-Yo Ma in the spring. This amazing music and arts scene literally feels like I was living in New York City. Yes, Bloomington really is a cosmopolitan college town bursting with culture.

So for anyone in the MBA Admission process, Kelley has so much more to offer than a MBA in Entrepreneurship or an excellent MBA in marketing management. Rather, the entire MBA experience is complimented by amazing MBA student activities outside the business school. For me, the music scene here couldn't be better - and has harmonized perfectly with my studies in the business school.

Kelley Kids

In past posts, I may have mentioned I'm in a top business grad school with a family. One of the MBA student activities that gets a lot of my time is Kelley Kids.

Kelley Kids is run by spouses of MBA students who also have kids. Activities happen each week. Weekly activities include playdates, potlucks, trips to the zoo or the world-class children's museum in Indy.

We had a bonfire and hayride this week, enjoying charming and beautiful Brown County. On the docket are a Halloween and Thanksgiving party. The events are well attended and have been immensely beneficial for my wife and kids. Not only has it strengthened their network and support system in Bloomington, but it has allowed us to get together with other MBAs and their families in a relaxed setting.

Kelley Kids underscores how supportive the MBA administration is for students in a variety of life situations. And though Kelley Kids certainly won't be a factor in the business school rankings, it has helped make my 2 years here all the more enjoyable.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Consumer Marketing Academy

Welcome back to my business school blog!

One of the best opportunities that Kelley offers is the Academy program. I'm in the Consumer Marketing Academy (CMA), which is the largest one and is what I think sets Kelley apart as the best consumer marketing MBA program.

Led by Jonlee Andrews and Ray Luther, the academy's job is to help students build the specific skills they will use in jobs as consumer marketers. After you gain admittance to the academy through an application and interview process, you start attending Academy Fridays in the Fall.

So far we've had two Academy Fridays each of the past two weeks. The first one we spent meeting the rest of the first-year academy members and networking with them. It was amazing how many people are career switchers. We also learned specific insights and metrics to use when discussing marketing in job interviews.

The second friday we spent networking with second-year students. We learned about what each student had done for their internships and what we need to be doing now to prepare for interviews and internships (aka NETWORKING!!!). We also got a presentation from Bloomington Brands, which gives 4 students from the CMA the opportunity to market a product for Scotts-Miracle Gro.

I'm definitely looking forward to our Academy Week October 19-24, when we get a break from classes to hit the road and see 5 companies in 4 cities in 5 days. Here's the schedule:
  • Monday: Presentation by Kraft and then hit the road to spend the night in Chicago
  • Tuesday: Visit with MillerCoors and Jewel-Osco in Chicago
  • Wednesday: Visit Whirlpool in Benton Harbor, MI
  • Thursday: Meet with Eli Lilly executives in Indianapolis and then head to Cincinnati for a dinner with Procter & Gamble
  • Friday: Spend all day at P&G and then head back to Bloomington
It's going to be amazing. I promise to take pictures and tell you all about it! The access to companies is the reason we are the best MBA for marketing.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Let the interviewing begin

This week marks the wonderful beginning of the fall recruiting season. I'm always amazed how many companies are committed to Kelley and recruiting Kelley MBAs. Surely the consistency of these recruiters to return to Kelley year in and year out helps differentiate the school. I'd even go so far as to say that Kelley's alumni relations and career services support is well orchestrated on a variety of levels.

1. It provides resources/mentoring for students switiching careers. That was vital for me as I transitioned from real estate to a MBA in Corporate Finance.

2. The parade of recruiters for the major disciplines is impressive. Specifically, the number of companies recruiting for marketing and finance is worth touting. Just a glance at the sheer number of consumer marketing positions evidences Kelley's positions as one of the best Consumer Marketing MBA programs. But the number of finance companies is strong as well. Traditionally, the number of corporate finance positions have exceeded the number of MBAs. And though the current economy strains that statistic, graduate career services is continually courting companies to campus, which helps maintain Kelley's national ranking.

3. The career counseling is individualized - both generated from career services and the academes. I've benefited from multiple individual career brainstorming sessions.

And though it's a tough economy, the current interviewing atmosphere encourages me.

Learning Espanol

I may have failed to mention so far in my business school blog that I will be spending this January studying abroad in Santiago, Chile at Pointificia Universidad Catolica! I am very much looking forward to the experience. I have never travelled to South America before, and I am anxious to be immersed in the culture and learn more about the business environment of that area. However, I am a little nervous about the language barrier I am sure to face. I have no formal Spanish training and although the MBA course curriculum is taught in English, I'm planning to live with a host family and I'm sure I will need to communicate more broadly than the 10 Spanish words I am already familar with!

In order to help me prepare for my experience, I am taking advantage of a wonderful program at the Kelley School, The Center for Business Education and Research. The CIBER office provides affordable private language tutoring with PhD language students. I have been meeting with my Spanish language tutor twice a week and he has been working to prepare me for my trip. Because the classes are one-on-one, I can learn what will be most critical for me in Chile and at my own pace. Although I know I won't be anywhere near fluent by the time I arrive in Santiago, I am definitely more prepared! I'm not sure what to expect from my time abroad, but I am positive that it will be a great experience!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Kelley students collaborating, and then competing

One of my favorite aspects of the Kelley School of Business MBA Program is that the students are extremely collaborative, but also enjoy some friendly competition. This culture was very evident to me this past week as I spent hours mentoring first year students and then engaged in some inter-class games at the tailgate on Saturday.

I mentor four 1st year MBA students who are members of the Consumer Marketing Academy, and so far it has been a very rewarding experience. This week I met with each one of these top MBA students to review their resume and listen to their goals and aspirations after graduation. My job as a mentor is to ensure each student is prepared for interviews so that they can all land their dream internship. I have enjoyed sharing my networking and interviewing experiences with my mentees and it has been a great way for me to reflect on how much I have grown as a person in the last year. I can promise that there will be more to come on the progress of my mentees and how I develop my own leadership skills this this business school blog!

As one of the nation's best marketing MBA programs, there are a wide variety of companies that come to campus to recruit. Even in this bad economy, 100% of Consumer Marketing Academy students had internships this past summer, which is an amazing feat. I believe credit has to be given to Jonlee Andrews, the Consumer Marketing Academy director and the team at Graduate Career Services for all of their help. I believe the personal attention that Kelley provides to students really differentiates this program from other top business grad schools across the country.

And now for the fun stuff; the tailgate! The Hoosiers faced the Ohio State Buckeyes this weekend at home for a night game. The tailgate started at about 3pm and some "friendly competition" was underway within an hour. I am proud to report that my team won 4 events in a row, but we lost before making it to the finals.

The tailgate as a whole was a blast though and was attended by about 150 MBA students. Unfortunately, the Hoosiers did not win the football game that night, but I think everyone had a great time regardless. The Homecoming games takes place in two weeks, and the countdown as already started for the next tailgate!! I love MBA student life!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

From Opera To Tailgate: A FARE Weekend @ Kelley

Last night I attended my first opera, L'Italiana in Algeri. It was great, especially after I looked up saw the lyrics translated on the screen above the stage (two scenes had gone by before I noticed this LOL). Indiana University doesn't only have top tier business and law schools but it's music program is ranked second only to Julliard. During this year I intend to take full advantage of the Broadway caliber shows that play here.

Today, I hung out with my classmates at the tailgate sponsored by the MBA Association. Only top MBA students would have lamb kabobs, shrimp skewers and brats at a tailgate. LOL It was so good though. Although it was cold, it was fun to hang out with my friends. Unfortunately IU lost to OSU, but we have the Best Marketing MBA Program, so I don't feel so bad. LOL

I've had a great weekend, but I haven't done a lot of work. Because our MBA Course Curriculum is so rigorous, I will be hitting the books tomorrow. I'm also in the middle of interview season for 2nd years, so I also have to dedicate time to company research and interview prep.
For now, I'm off but please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions you may have about life here at Kelley.