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!