Sunday, February 28, 2010

USA Hockey and Capstone simulation

If Business Week ranked MBA programs by the amount of cheering for USA Hockey, Kelley would be killing it after today! We had 8 people in our living room watching every second of the USA/Canada gold medal hockey game and rooting like crazy. Just a great time!

Unfortunately, after tying it up very late in regulation, the USA lost in overtime...

On more traditional MBA topics, we're preparing for our capstone business simulation. All of the 2nd year MBAs are assigned to teams, and we spend the week running a simulated business through an Excel program. This is a real opportunity for everyone to show off why Indiana is the best MBA degree, and how it's prepared us for the real world. Since I am an MBA finance major, I'm most interested in the financial statements and stock price reports for the simulation. However, I'm really interested in working with some of the best marketing and operations students in making our version of this company a success. This is a chance to be a real entrepreneur within the MBA program. This is another reason why Kelley is such a great MBA program for non finance majors from undergrad, and students without corporate experience...the program really prepares you and tests you to make decisions in a meaningful setting.

When you are getting ready to leave an MBA program, you're making a big transition. Most of the past 2 years have been spent in classrooms and working on carefully structured problems. Once you leave the program, you're working in a corporate environment without structured answers, and with a great deal of accountability. This week will be one of the first chances in a while to be thrown into a team and have to deliver results. I'm especially interested to have so much cross-functional information to sift through, and have to trust the marketing MBA students to interpret those results, and so on. It's pretty daunting to think that in a few months my life will consist of a series of projects similar to this capstone simulation. More than our bottom-line performance this week, I want to develop my teamwork skills for my future job. I am very grateful that Kelley, like the other top MBA schools, really understand and teach these skills, as well as technical ones. It feels strange to have basically hit the "pause" button on my life for 2 years, and now be ready to hit "play" again!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Do all Kelley Finance MBA students have this many TVs? Of course not...

Wow, this is going to be my first real entry in my MBA program blog. So, what exactly is the life of a 2nd Year MBA student at Kelley like? First, the main goal is to use my Finance MBA to land a job...and I am glad to say I have accepted a job with Best Buy as a Senior Financial Analyst starting in July! I guess you could say my MBA career switch is about to be complete. I definitely think that being at a top ranked MBA school really gave me the tools I needed to get to where I am today. There are a lot of schools offering an MBA, but not every one can offer the full package of a top MBA program that Kelley can. It seems so long ago that I interviewed with the MBA admissions office here, and I feel I've come a long way.

By the way, I'm a worm, If you could see the electronics setup at the townhouse I share with 3 other MBA students, you would understand why I'm so excited to be at Best Buy. Actually, why don't I share a few pictures of our living room...

So you can understand why the employee discount is a great deal. In fact, I used my new finance MBA skills from the program to do an analysis of the benefits...just kidding, but it's a good fit for me. But on another note, our TVs are a good transition for me to tell you about one of the most important parts of my two years in the MBA program at Kelley: the MBA social life of a 2nd year.

Transitioning from being in one of the top MBA programs in the country to a real job is going to be difficult, and that process dominates the last semester of the program. A day in the life of an MBA is very different from working at an actual finance job. The biggest thing that makes Kelley one of the best MBA programs, beyond the traditional MBA curriculum, is the community experience. It's a small program compared to other programs, but the experience of getting to know all of your classmates is priceless. I know if I need insight into consumer marketing, entrepreneurship, finance, management, operations, or even Excel spreadsheets, I have a friend at Kelley working in that area. Unfortunately, when I move to Minneapolis, I won't be able to see all these people again. Getting a top MBA degree is great for your career, but it also means that your friends will be able to get jobs across the country. Enjoying the time you have left to spend with them at school is key. Between camping, video games, going to wrestling shows, go-karts, and the Kentucky Derby, I'm trying to make sure I enjoy the freedom I have right now and the people I have around me. That's something that isn't captured in any graduate school rankings, and that's something that makes Kelley unique among the best business graduate schools.

If you're interested in getting an MBA, whether it's Marketing, Finance, Management, or even if you aren't sure what area you want to study, I would offer one piece of advice. Make sure you're going to enjoy your experience. Whether it's the city, the program, the students, or some other factor, make sure you are going to enjoy the university you choose for an MBA program. If you're an MBA student, you are going to be able to do the work and get the skills to land a good job. When your two years are done, don't be the person who's excited to the person who is going to miss their experiences. It makes every day a lot more enjoyable.

The Delicious Power of Research

A major part of Kelley's MBA Consumer Marketing academy, is our team projects. All of the CMA members were placed on a team of 4 or 5 students to do a "real life" marketing project for either General Mills, Eli Lilly, P&G, Toyota or Whirlpool. My team is working on a market expansion project for Whirlpool of the KitchenAid brand. Super exciting!

Being in the middle of Indiana doesn't put us at too much of a disadvantage though, we have amazing students from all over the world here that are happy to share their home country's cultures with us and on top of that Indiana University's Asian Culture Center is just down the street from the business school. Not all schools offering MBA can say that!

My fellow MBA Program Students and I decided to make a field trip out of the ACC's "What's Cooking?" series and learn more about Japanese cuisine and how to prepare sushi. It was a great experience and allowed for a lot of bonding over tons of sushi pieces (I seriously ate my weight in veggie rolls!) We didn't learn as much of the appliance market in Japan but got some great contacts to use in our future research.

Fun MBA student activities are abound here at Kelley, its always fun when you can have a "working" research dinner!

International Exposure: Israel

In today's business environment, international exposure and experience is becoming more and more important. Kelley, as a Top Ranked MBA School, offers student led KIPs (Kelley International Perspectives) that allow students to learn about business and culture in their destination. This year there are 4 KIP trips being led by second years going to China, Ireland, UAE/Egypt and Israel. While a tough choice, I decided to participate in the KIP to Israel.

The experience thus far has been great. Israel has a very unique business culture that really focuses on entrepreneurship (perfect for Entrepreneur MBA Program students!) We have been able to learn about the countries agriculture/sustainability, the selection processes of the defense forces and some of the politics. Our last class before our trip was a lot of fun as we were able to learn about Purim, the Jewish celebration commemorating the deliverance of the Jews from Haman who planned to kill them. The holiday is celebrated with:
  • the reading of the Megilla (ours graciously by Director of Student Services)
  • the giving of food to charity, we all brought in canned food
  • the wearing of masquerade masks
  • the eating of traditional foods
We ended the session by eating Hamantaschen cookies (which I got to help make this weekend!) It was a great opportunity to learn about the culture of Israel before our trip and give us more of a rounded view of the country. I am really looking forward to our trip, and so glad I have been able to have this experience at a top MBA business school!

Eating through Bloomington: Anatolia

One of the things that surprised me the most about Bloomington was the amount of cultural diversity that is here. Having come from a big city that had a lot of different restaurants and activities I wasn't sure how I would fare in the Midwest where I assumed it would just be one chain restaurant after another. However, Bloomington is the Midwest's gem and has so much to offer! The Kelley School of Business' location makes it a top business grad school.

This week, I had a Kelley Women Executive Farewell dinner for our second year MBA Program Students at Anatolia. It came highly recommended by one of our officers and we decided to give them a try. A fun example of MBA Student Life, dinner out with friends! The restaurant serves a mixture of Mediterranean and Turkish cuisine. We got the Feta Cheese platter to split and then I ordered Vegetable Moussaka (which came with bread and red lentil soup) Everything was delicious and the atmosphere was very homey. It is great when we can take a break from classes and really enjoy the MBA social life we get to have.

We are really lucky here at Kelley to have so many cultural offerings: the ethnic restaurants that line 4th street, the Ganden Dheling Buddhist temple and all of the wonderful activities at IU, you really get the best MBA college experience here in Bloomington!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Starting the off-campus job search

Well folks, unfortunately the on-campus interviewing didn't work out for me. There was a huge amount of competition from other Kelley students, as we do have the best consumer marketing MBA program.

So, I've switched over to off-campus networking and job searching. While I wish that I knew where I was going this summer, I am confident that I will find a very good internship in consumer marketing.

Also, the big advantage of having to go through the mba off-campus job search is that I will learn skills that will help me in every job search I have to do for the rest of my life.

Over the next week:
  • I will create a list of 30 companies that have MBA marketing internships and that I want to work for.
  • I will tier those companies into a top 10, middle 10, and bottom 10.
  • I will make 20+ contacts in the next week and work on coverting those into at least 8 informational interviews.
Additionally, Graduate Career Services and the Consumer Marketing Academy have provided some great resources to those of us still looking for an internship:
  • A networking buddy program, pairing me up with a student with an offer who will help me track my networking progress and set goals each week
  • Sessions on best networking practices and how to make off-campus contacts
  • Tutorials on how to best use LinkedIn and Kelley inCircle to maximize your network-based internship search.
I will keep you updated on the search. Also, make sure to check out my mba program blog in the upcoming weeks on CMA Academy Week #2 and my trip to China!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Study Abroad Adventures

I am recently back in the USA after spending 6 weeks in Santiago, Chile for a study abroad program at Universidad Catolica de Chile. I had an amazing time and I wanted to share some of my experiences with you!

The Kelley school is a member of the PIM network which means that we have access to study at some of the top MBA schools in the world. The exchange with UC is a bit unique as it lasted for just the month of January which is their summer term. I took really interesting class in International Business that was taught by a visiting professor from New Zealand. The subject matter took a whole new dimension in a classroom filled with top MBA students from all over the world, and I really enjoyed hearing their perspective on some of the issues we discussed. To top it all off, the MBA classes are held in a beautiful new building with gorgeous views of the Santiago skyline.

The summer term ended January 28 which gave me some time to explore South America before returning to Bloomington. During this time I traveled with some new friends throughout Southern Chile and Patagonia. I had lots of adventures including hiking a live volcano, taking a 3-day ferry ride through the fjords of Patagonia and visiting a Penguin colony. I am so glad that I got the opportunity to see this part of the world, and the laid-back pace at which we traveled was a welcome relief from the rigid schedule I sometimes follow in Bloomington!

Now that I am back in Bloomington, I am preparing for the week-long capstone project for second year students. I am really looking forward to getting back into the classroom here and showing my colleagues all that I learned in my time abroad!

MBA Student Life: Game Day at IU!

Welcome to my inaugural MBA Program Blog post.

"What day is it?" "GAME DAY!"

Negotiating your way through a top MBA program is a whirlwind lifestyle. Making time for your personal hobbies (sports for me) is a key MBA survival tactic. Indiana University not only offers one of the nation's best MBA degrees, it also plays home to one of the greatest college game day atmospheres in the nation. Today I'll talk about Hoosier football game day in the grove.

The fall tailgating scene at the grove across from IU Memorial Stadium is one of the most underrated tailgating venues in the country. There are over over 40,000 students here plus a slew of alumni who lay siege to a single, massive grassy field with lots of shady trees on game day.

The beautiful IU campus is electric on game day! As an MBA student you have a great opportunity to take full advantage of the game day experience. The MBA program has our own epic tailgate party for every Hoosier home game. Chef Goose will dazzle you with his grill skills (I highly recommend his firecracker shrimp ka-bobs). DJ Peterman will drop mad beats on a huge sound system owned by the MBA program (oh, it's quite the "Party in the USA"). Flip cup tourneys abound.

Game day is a great way to get some essential work/life balance while in the Kelley MBA Program. In future blogs I will talk about Hoosier basketball game day at Assembly Hall and other sports-related events and traditions.

Go Hoosiers!

Finding and Becoming a Great Mentor

The best MBA degree doesn't just prepare you for the analytical components of your career going forward but also the soft skills as well.

That is why I was really excited for Kelley Women's first speaker series of the year on the Role of Mentors for Women. The session was lead by Dr. Linda Dunn-Jensen, an assistant professor for the MBA Management Program and Director of the Life Sciences MBA Academy, and Ms. Ann Bastianelli, a senior MBA Consumer Marketing lecturer.

They both shared their professional experiences on how mentoring has shaped them, both being a mentor and a mentee. Linda discussed the technical aspects of mentoring, such as how to identify a mentor and build a close relationship. While, Ann spoke more about the experiential side of mentoring, such as how to gain the most value from your mentor.

As a best MBA university, Kelley has a lot of mentoring built already into the program: I have a peer coach and a MBA Consumer Marketing Academy Coach. However, when we leave the Two Year MBA Program the mentoring will not be so structured. MBA Student Activities like this one offer crucial information for our success in the workplace after we graduate, I know I will definitely be putting Linda and Ann's teachings to use this summer!

Coming Soon in April: India Night

The first poster for the upcoming India Night event in April graced the MBA student lounge today. The poster features a dancer performing Kathakali, which literally means "story-play". It is one of the ancient dance-theater forms popular in the South Indian state of Kerala. My parents are originally from Kerala, a state known for its beautiful beaches and landscapes filled with coconut trees. In fact, the state is popularly called "God's own country".

India Night is part of a series of International Nights held throughout the year by the Asian MBA Association - a celebration of the culture, and the cuisine of the country. Kelley School of Business, like most top Management of Business Administration programs, has always encouraged diversity. Even the best MBA degree would be incomplete if you do not take the opportunity to learn about the culture of the diverse international student community. The last event, China Night, was a great success. You should check Joe's post on our MBA Program Blog about the event that was last December.

Preparation for India Night has begun in full swing and I am sure that the event will be exciting. You should also check the India Night 2010 Website Salaam-Namaste. Some videos from previous India Night events are posted there. In India, Salaam Namaste is a welcoming gesture expressing appreciation and gratitude. The creatively designed tickets look more like postcards. And each one includes an interesting fact about India. I invite you to visit Kelley on April 16, 2010 and witness the event!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Take this class if you want to get videotaped!

One of the best classes I have taken this semester is the X575 – Effective Communication class. A brand new course introduced for the first time this year, it is taught by Prof. Susan Vargo and it definitely exceeded my expectations. Since this is an experimental course, you will not find an official listing of the course syllabus under the Kelley Course Descriptions. So here is my perspective to help you decide if this course will be beneficial for you!

Per the Wall Street Journal Business School Rankings, superior “communication and interpersonal skills” has ranked as the #1 criterion that recruiters look for in candidates from the top Business School MBA Programs. And this communication course focuses precisely on helping you improve your oral presentation skills.

Through one-on-one meetings with each of the students that took the class, Prof. Vargo helped us understand what image we portray to the audience when we speak, disabusing us of any false perceptions we may have had in the past about ourselves. The best part about this course is that you get the opportunity to speak in front of your classmates in almost every class. You are videotaped every single time! Facing feedback from the audience and Prof. Vargo can be unnerving at times, but definitely invaluable. You can watch the uploaded videos and decide for yourself what went wrong, how you can improve, and work on your weaknesses the next time you walk up to speak. Some of the common mistakes that presenters make involve non-verbal communication - gestures, body language and eye contact.

Some of our assignments included introducing ourselves, narrating a compelling story, answering questions impromptu, and analyzing a management hot-seat video. My team mate Tye and I left the audience in splits with our video voice-over for the management hot-seat assignment. My final presentation yesterday was about Microsoft - an analysis of the company’s present public image and recommendations on what it can do to improve the image. A couple of students on my team – Katie, a member of the MBA Consumer Marketing Academy and Daniel, an MBA Finance Major - are bloggers too!

The best part about the course is that it helps you discover your strengths and weaknesses. And every time you walk up to speak, you will feel more comfortable until it seems almost natural by the time you are done with the course. Of course, communication skills cannot be learned in just seven weeks, but being aware is the first step toward becoming an exceptional speaker!

Monday, February 22, 2010

On Campus Internships

Welcome to my MBA program blog!

One of the reasons why students consider Business School MBA programs is because they are looking for that one dream company or position that they want to be in.

Last week was the official end of on-campus internship interviews for the first year MBA students. Most of the students looking for a career switch were interviewing with their target companies. It was an eventful season with a large number of firms, who came for summer internship positions in Strategic Marketing, Finance, Investment Banking, Consulting, Supply Chain and Operations. Considering the tough economy, the students were not only competing with other students in the MBA program in the Kelley School of Business but also against students from the best MBA programs across the nation.

The faculty, academy directors and Graduate Career Services worked hard to ensure that the students were well prepared for the interview season. Mock interviews, discussions on interview questions and case discussions, helped the students gain confidence for a formal interview with the company of their choice.

Many have been successful in landing that lucrative summer internship position which would be their stepping stone into the company. I wish all the students Good Luck and hope they do a great job during the summer!

Kelley Carnival=Success!

In my last post, I mentioned the Kelley Carnival, which took place last Friday in the Atrium. It was such an amazing and successful event and I'm really proud of it. Top MBA students from four different clubs came together to put on a multi-cultural, family-friendly event. As you can see from the picture above, there were plenty of families with their kids there. We had food, arts and crafts, a capoeira peformance and lesson, a Brazilian band, and MBA students as fortune tellers! On top of it all, we were able to raise more than $400 for Haiti relief efforts.

One of the highlights of the event were the awesome capoeira performers. They showed the MBA program students and their families an example of the Brazilian martial art and then gave a lesson. Check out the video below!

I'm really just so proud of this event because I came up with the idea back in December after becoming president of JAMBA. It's really great leading business school MBA program students from a host of backgrounds in creating a unique event that got a great reception and has been getting our group a ton of deserved credit all through the weekend.

"Prom" at the Kelley School of Business

Have you ever attended a "prom" where the average age of the attendees is 28? Top MBA students at the Kelley School of Business dressed up in their best for the annual MBA Gala. This event is typically one of the favored MBA student activities of the year, and this year was no exception. The event took place at the Indiana University Union, and dinner and an open bar were provided. The theme of "prom" was masquerade and masks and beads were given out to all attendees. My personal favorite part of the event was the huge dance floor, but many students hit up the casino tables.

The event was organized by the MBA Association, and here I am pictured with the current President and one of the Vice Presidents of the MBA Association (I'm in red, I didn't feel the need to wear a mask!). The night didn't end at midnight, as buses came to pick everyone up and move the party to a local bar. While the partying went well into the night- and the next morning was not pretty- overall the event was a huge success and I and I'm glad I could re-live prom 9 years after graduating from high school!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Veteran MBAs

On Friday I got a call from my Army Reserve unit at Camp Atterbury and volunteered to help out with an event at the Colt's stadium in Indianapolis. It was a great time to bond with my new unit and also got me thinking about vets and MBA programs.

Pick up the recent Business Week MBA rankings and you'll see a listing of the best programs at the best schools. You may even encounter specifics about consumer marketing or management consulting but rarely will a reviewer mention which programs offer the best support for veterans. However, most veterans who attend top business schools do so with a few years left in their Mandatory Service Obligation (MSO), meaning they still owe the military a few years of service in a reserve capacity. Even if your mandatory service obligation has expired, its often quite difficult to drop everything and leave the military life behind you. Browse through some old pics (like the one of our old 2nd platoon below) and you miss the camaraderie and support.

I chose Kelley because of the personal touch and support I received both from the administration and from current veteran students. The Kelley Veterans Society really made me feel like I was leaving my old unit in D.C. for another group of understanding and supportive men and women who understood where I came from. The Veterans Society supports both 1st and 2nd year Vets not only through career services (resume, networking, conferences, etc) but also through other challenges in school such as scholarships and military commitments.

I'm also extremely proud to say that in addition to Indiana University's recognition, the Kelley School of Business MBA Program earned special recognition above and beyond IU Bloomington from G.I. Jobs Magazine as a Military Friendly School for 2010.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Kelley MBAs Review Superbowl Ads

As one of the country's top MBA Marketing Schools, students at the Kelley School of Business this week met to review Superbowl ads and determine which companies had the best return on investment for their ads. The event was arranged by the Marketing Club, and the mediator for the event was one of our career counselors, who happens to be an ex-P&Ger. About 60 top MBA students attended the event, and the discussion was certainly lively. In general, our favorite ad was the Google "Love Story" ad, because it was clear, focused on the Google brand, and captured attention. My personal favorite was the Betty White Snickers ad because I thought it was not only really funny but also captured the true benefit of Snickers (satisfies).
The debate around the success of Dove Men + Care was very heated. Many of the men in the room were Dove users, and they were unaware that they have been using a "women's" product. However, with so much success of late for beauty products targeted towards men, it is easy to understand why Dove invested so heavily in the brand during the Superbowl. I know that MBA program students really enjoyed the event, as we got to learn a little about each other as well. I will keep the details out of my business school blog, but lets just say that some people enjoyed the CareerBuilder "Casual Fridays" ad a little too much....

Friday, February 12, 2010

Leading an MBA Student Activities Club

This semester, I've become the President of the Jewish Association of MBAs (JAMBA), a support club for students who are Jewish or interested in Judaism. It's been great getting the opportunity to lead top MBA students in planning and executing events.

Here's our schedule for this semester:

Feburary 12, Shabbat Dinner at a faculty member's house

February 19, Kelley Carnivalé--JAMBA is pairing up with Latin MBA, Black MBA and Net Impact for this event. The Jewish elements of this will include a Purim skit, fun games, a facepainting booth, noisemakers (groggers), and hamentaschen. This will be a family-friendly, multicultural event.

March 29, Passover Seder

April 6, Post-Passover Pizza Party. Load up on carbs at the end of Passover.

A Saturday night towards the end of April--Social event featuring a Havdallah Service and board games or some other entertainment.

The event I'm most excited for now is the Kelley Carnivale. I came up with the concept and we've been able to get great involvement from other clubs in planning the event. It will be one of the best MBA student activities of the semester and will also serve partially as a fundraiser for Haiti.

I'll be sure to take tons of pictures and write a full recap next weekend!