Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hearing it from the roommates, and Wrestlemania

This wasn't a great weekend to be a Kentucky basketball fan. Saturday the team laid an egg and lost to West Virginia in the Elite Eight, missing out on a Final Four trip in Indianapolis (and a possible trip by me). I was in Chicago visiting my girlfriend, but that doesn't mean my roommates didn't take the opportunity to give me hell about it. First, every time Kentucky played someone during the tournament, they would email out to everyone about rooting for the other team. However, after the loss, they got pretty creative. I came home to a sign on our front door making fun of UK coach John Calipari. Then I went bedroom door was covered in signs like the following:

So basically, my roommates are all jealous of a real basketball program. Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, even Indiana...not getting it done. While UK may not be the best MBA university around, they know basketball. Too bad for them. It looks like UK is going to bring in another epic recruiting class this year, and they need to! They're probably losing 4 or 5 guys to the NBA Draft early. Ridiculous.

On Sunday, my girlfriend went with her mom to see Beauty and the Beast (the musical) while I was in Chicago. This gave me an opportunity to check out Wrestlemania 26, only one of the great spectacles of the year in fake sports. I don't think it's usually a big favorite of MBA finance students, but I got my roommates into it. I streamed it online for free, kicked back, an enjoyed. Here are some of my thoughts:

-Thank god John Cena is champ again...he is ridiculously popular
-How is Randy Orton getting cheered by anyone? He's one of the most convincing bad guys in years
-There's no reason any human being should not enjoy watching a ladder match
-Too bad Shawn Michaels is retiring...he's been one of the best in the business for years
-The Undertaker may have great themse music, but is anyone ever honestly excited to have him in a match? Where did all the casket matches go?

I would love to be a wrestling manager. Too bad there are no courses in that at the Kelley School of Business.

Finally, I couldn't care less about the Final Four now that UK is eliminated. However, I am not sure why West Virginia isn't getting more love...they play ridiculous defense, and are ultra-athletic and tough. This has probably been the least business-y MBA student blog ever.

Monday, March 29, 2010

My MBA Program Trek to China

Kelley International Perspectives: Just another reason why Kelley offers one of the best and most unique MBA degree programs. "KIP trips" are a great way for IU Masters of Business Administration Program students to enhance their global business savvy. The program is open to students with any type of career interest (MBA Finance majors, MBA Consumer Marketing students, Entrepreneurship MBA students, Life Science MBA students, etc.)

I recently spent 2 weeks in China with my fellow MBA students for my KIP trip. It would have been cool to write my MBA Program Blog from China, but I did not bring my laptop. Actually it felt glorious to be off the grid for 2 weeks!

I traveled to 4 Chinese cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Suzhou. You may not have heard of the latter 2 cities, but they are both massive. Hangzhou for example has a population over 6M and a skyline rivaling Chicago. One startling fact about China is that it has so many multi-million population cities that Americans have never heard of.

Here are a few highlights of my trip...

Site Highlight: THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA. I climbed the steepest part of the wall and was rewarded with a splendid vantage point of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Arguably the most beautiful and impressive site I have ever seen in my life (see pic below).

Best Food: Peking Duck at Quanjude in Beijing. Succulent hand-carved roast duck wrapped inside Chinese pancakes with scallions and mesmerizing Hoison plum sauce. Quack Quack! Yum Yum!

Best Drink: Longjing Tea (green tea) at the Tea Village in Hangzhou.

Best Entertainment: Karaoke bars. So far outside the typical day in the life of an MBA student, but surprisingly a blast.

Business Visit Highlight: Whirlpool in Shanghai (see pic below). Toured a retail mock-up room and learned about key consumer differences in China vs USA. I am seeking my MBA in Consumer Marketing so this visit was extremely helpful.

Chicago networking event

This will be a shorter blog, since I am in Chicago without my laptop power cord this weekend. A big topic for 2nd year MBA's is our job after graduation. 1st year MBA's also have to sweat out their internship offers. MBA student life is constantly filled with thoughts of future career plans, and the MBA office along with student leaders and alumni got together to put on an event to help current students do some targeted networking in Chicago this weekend. The gist of the event is that Kelley alumni in Chicago would come to this event to represent their companies and meet current 1st and 2nd year students. For students interested in working in Chicago, this is a great opportunity to meet companies who haven't come to campus. It's great to have alums who are willing to help students find their careers in this difficult economy, and to have student and faculty leaders willing to step up. Events like this are what help make IU a top MBA school.

As I already have a job, I came to this to meet some alumni in the area and support some of my friends who are still looking. With my girlfriend living in Chicago, it was an easy trip that could be productive. I also got a chance to hear Wayne Winston talk some more. One area I have been considering is using my MBA finance major and a career in corporate finance to transition into investment management down the line. I spoke with a couple finance professionals, and was encouraged that a career in corporate treasury could lead me to investments.

This event had amazing attendance by seemed like over half the program was there! It's tough to have enough companies for 200+ students, but I really hope some people got good leads and these companies hire some of my colleagues. Being part of the program at Kelley means you do care what happens to your classmates, and I hope they all can find great opportunities!

Networking in the Windy City

Spring break seems to be in the distant past now, and life is extremely hectic again! But it is great to contribute again to the MBA Program Blog. Last Thursday, several Kelley MBA students boarded buses to Chicago to attend the Windy City Networking event. It is a long bus ride to Chicago, but when great classmates surround you, you get to discover something new about them every time.

It was great to visit Chicago again. It was extra special for me since I am slated to intern there this summer. We checked in at the Hyatt Regency in the evening. The Dean’s Reception that evening provided a great opportunity to meet with Kelley Alumni and I ended up having some great conversations. It was great to see how an MBA from one of the best MBA colleges can help jump-start your career.

The next morning, after breakfast, we got the opportunity to listen to the entertaining talk by Prof. Wayne Winston. I am also taking his K507 class these seven weeks and the spreadsheet modeling techniques he teaches is just one of the many reasons why the Kelley MBA is one of the best MBA Degrees in the US. You should read Dan Newton's blog entry "The Excel Wizard" to learn more about Prof. Winston. He presented his analysis on the Chicago sports teams. The Career Fair that followed was an opportunity for students to explore possible avenues for internships and full-time offers. After a sumptuous lunch, I ended up going to the Navy Pier for a couple of hours with friends. While it was quite cold, the view of the vast Lake Michigan is always breathtaking. Soon it was time to head back home.

This was the first time that the Kelley Masters of Business Administration Program organized such a networking event in Chicago. It would be a great idea to make this a permanent event in the MBA calendar. Special thanks to Allyn Curry, the MBAA team and everyone else who put in their valuable time toward organizing this event.

Financial Modeling Training

Last weekend the Investment Banking Academy hosted Training the Street for leveraged buyout modeling training. It was fantastic.

One of the reasons Indiana was the best MBA university for me to choose was that Kelley designed an Academy system that allows more specialization, particularly in your first year.

The Academy system is quite simple. In addition to a basic Core similar to all top MBA programs, Kelley first year students identify a focus they'd like to pursue outside of regular classes from a list here. Their Academy consists of like minded students and faculty that meets throughout the first and second year with special programs and networking opportunities to sharpen your industry knowledge and support system prior to your internship or full time job.
Most MBA finance students at Kelley choose between the Investment Management Academy, the Investment Banking Academy, and the Corporate Finance Academy. This specialization allows people interested in specific industries to practice. For example, MBAs in the Investment Management Academy can spend a friday focusing on stock pitches and research while people like me can learn how to model a debt sweep in an LBO transaction.

I can't speak highly enough about the academy system. It was instrumental in helping me and many of my classmates secure full time offers in financial services or whichever industry they desired.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Back to classes...

Well, my last 7 weeks at the Kelley School of Business have now begun. I am taking 2 classes, plus doing an independent study in decision support modeling. It's amazing how quickly the MBA program has gone by! I've been through so much, but luckily I'll have everything wrapped up in a few weeks. It's definitely much easier facing the end of the program with a job offer accepted. Adding to that is the fact that Best Buy just had a great earnings announcement, and is doing really well. I'm really looking forward to starting there in July! But first, let me tell you a little bit about my classes and plans for the next few weeks.

First, I have finished all my classes for my MBA finance major, and am now finishing up a management major and decision support modeling minor. I am taking a class in Data Mining, as well as Strategic Management of Technology and Innovation. I have no experience in data mining, working with programs like SQL, so I am really glad to be learning that stuff. It also goes well with my Visual Basic for Excel class I just finished. I'm trying to integrate some of that know-how into data analysis, and really create value in my job through that. I'm also excited about the management class, since it focuses on managing organizations which deal with short life-cycle products...just like Best Buy. I should be really well prepared for my career, if I can pay attention and learn something.

However, my business school blog doesn't just cover business school stuff. I'm also planning on spending some time with my friends and my wonderful girlfriend over the next few weeks. My girlfriend lives in Chicago, and is likely headed to Germany for work this summer. I am trying to spend as much quality time with her before she leaves as possible. However, I also really want to spend time with my friends, who I may not see much of after this summer. We've got a fun Kentucky Derby trip planned, plus some trips to Indianapolis. Hopefully we can all enjoy May and June after graduation, and finish off our MBA experience together. This will be our last chance to live the MBA student life! I'll keep updating the blog with our plans, and let you know what's going on with me.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Trip to Ireland

I hope you have enjoyed reading about some of the amazing spring break experiences of my fellow bloggers. I wanted to take the opportunity to tell you about my travels in Ireland as part of the KIP Ireland MBA trip. My trip included a dozen Kelley School of Business Students, and a handful of partners and staff members for a total of 18 people on the trip. We spent 10 days in Ireland, starting in Dublin and heading towards Cork and Galway.

One of the highlights of our trip were the company visits that were arranged for us in Dublin. Because we are a top MBA school, companies really rolled out the red carpet for us. Group favorites was the trip to Cooley Distillery, Ireland's oldest whiskey distillery where the CEO spent two hours with us detailing their business strategy and a visit to Arnott's Department store, where we learned about merchandising in Ireland.

Our trip ended on St. Patrick's day in Galway where we saw how locals celebrated St. Patrick's Day. There was a big local parade, and all the businesses shut as locals took to the streets. It was an amazing experience that I will never forgot. If you want more details about our trip, I would encourage you to check out the group blog,

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Embracing Twitter to understand Social Media Marketing

As a new semester of classes start at the Kelley School of Business, I am very excited about the social media marketing class that I am taking. As a one of the country's best MBA marketing programs, the class is a key ingredient to ensure Kelley grads know how to execute social media marketing campaigns. Utilizing social media is obviously a growing trend for nearly all companies and I think the general thought is that few companies are really using the tools effectively. The instructor, aka Intellagirl, is challenging us to analyze existing social media campaigns during this semester, but we will also be creating our own campaigns for a variety of global and local businesses. Our first challenge is to see which team of students can obtain the highest number of new followers on Twitter, and yes this is a shameless plug to follow me on Twitter @kzo333. I will admit that up until now I had not been an active Tweeter, but that is about to change! So if you enjoy reading my business school blog, you may also enjoy learning about what I am up to when I'm not blogging and I will also be Tweeting with my classmates about our class, #M595. Happy reading!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring Break in Europe!

As I recover from jet lag, I wanted to make sure that I share my spring break travels as I had the opportunity to visit my fellow classmates at the Kelley School of Business who are studying abroad. Like most top MBA programs, there are a wide variety of study abroad options at Kelley, and lucky for me my fellow MBA classmates took advantage of these opportunities. My first stop was in Milan to visit my classmates who are studying at Universita Commerciale Luigi Bocconi. I had not been to Milan before, so it was great to see the architecture and enjoy all of the shopping. Oh and the food was of course amazing as well! The only bad part of this stop was that it snowed in Milan while I was there. The weather in Bloomington was in the 60's while I was gone, so the snow in Italy did not make me happy!

My next stop was Paris to visit my former roommate who is attending HEC, which is one of the best business grad schools in Paris. The trip was awesome, and a picture of my roommate and me on the Arch de Triumph is below. In my opinion the best thing about Paris is the super cheap wine and the crepes!

After a quick run though London (where we saw the show Jersey Boys, which I highly recommend) I was off to Switzerland to visit my classmates studying at St. Gallen University. There program, which last 9 weeks, was just ending so I was there just in time for all of their going away celebrations! This year five top MBA students from Kelley were studying in St. Gallen, and from what I experienced they all had a great experience in Switzerland, even though it is a very expensive country!

Meeting up with my classmates was a great way to spend my spring break, and it did make me a little sad that I did not chose to studying abroad during my MBA experience. However, it was great to see everyone, and it is exciting to know that Kelley offers to many different ways for students to grow culturally while obtaining an MBA. Look for other blog updates from my classmates who traveled the world as part of the Kelley International Perspective trips or my friends who visited Peru as part of the Globase program!

Monday, March 22, 2010

The real March Madness is Chicago weather!

A recap of the last 4 days in Chicago weather...
Thursday: High of 67 and pretty clear, BEAUTIFUL's a pic from the lake:

Friday: High of 55 and clear, another great day

Saturday: High of 37 and snowing...ridiculous.

Sunday: High of 46 and windy

For all of the Excel geeks out there, it's like the high is a RANDBETWEEN(35,70) function.

Anyway, I promised some basketball talk. For a little background, From 2002-2008 I ran basketball events in Lexington, KY. I ran all of the AAU state tournaments, a middle school state tournament, and some national events. It was a great experience learning about event management, and set me up to have a really interesting career switch MBA story. It's also a bonus with recruiters who are basketball fans! But, most importantly, it means I love the NCAA tournament opening weekend. So, why not shoehorn that into my blog?

First of all, I am a Kentucky basketball fan. Needless to say, this year has been pretty awesome. While Indiana may be what I consider the best MBA university in the country, the basketball team has been a little down the last 2 years. It's nice being able to pencil your favorite team in as the NCAA champ and have a good shot. Being in Chicago visiting my girlfriend, I have had a lot of free time during the day while she's at work. Thursday I went to Harry Caray's Tavern by Wrigley to watch some first round games. This was one of the absolute best 1st days of a tournament ever...I plowed through buffalo chicken strips, a bison burger, fries, and a couple beers while watching close game after close game. The 2nd year MBA student life is just great! Kentucky rolled over their 16-seed sacrificial lamb, I nailed some upset picks (Murray State, Washington) and it was a good day. My girlfriend, in her first ever bracket, even nailed Ohio over Georgetown!

By Friday, my girlfriend, who previously had no interest in basketball, was dying to watch games. She wanted updates on all the games, particularly Saint Mary's...she picked them for the Final 4 (not so crazy now!) When we took the train down to Indiana Saturday, we had to eat at a place with the games on, and I had my iPhone score updates the whole time. (Sorry to her, but no way was I leaving that cute story out of my MBA program blog) Kentucky rolled over Wake Forest, despite my roommates ganging up and cheering for Wake (sorry, Dreyer). I am still dumbfounded by Kansas choking...that school has had some bad ones. (Sorry, Trevor) When the weekend cleared, I was in the familiar spot at the top of my bracket pool. For everyone who reads an MBA blog but really wants to know about basketball, not MBA finance students, here are my thoughts on the tournament:

-No way should more teams be in...there are too many marginal teams as it is
-Kentucky and Syracuse have very few holes
-Syracuse will destroy whoever comes out of the Midwest bracket
-How did Washington stink so much this year? I loved them before the season and now
-Evan Turner sure has some "hog-the-ball" moments for a PG...if Georgia Tech had an offense they would have won

Alright, that's it for me. Back to Bloomington tonight, and back to classes tomorrow!

Climbing the Great Wall with Kelley MBA Students

One of the highlights of my trip to China was scaling the Great Wall with some of my fellow MBA students. We started our trek up the Wall at around 10am, not knowing how many students from the best MBA university would make it to the top. We were bundled up in our winter clothes and panda hats (which a top consumer marketing student had negotiated for the day before at the Temple of Heaven)

While it was cold and icy at the start, as we made our way up the steps towards the top it got sunny and pleasant. It was the first time we had really seen the sun since starting our trip in Beijing!

After climbing up the steps for about an hour we finally reached the top and could take our group photo with the IU flag! I got a solo photo in a triumphant pose.

So an amazing journey up to the top and a fun time coming back down the mountain. It was really special to share it with my classmates and create a memorable (and picture-filled) post for this MBA program blog.

New Classes for the Spring Semester

The two week break was a welcome relief after the first 7 weeks of the spring semester in the two year MBA program.

During the spring break students went all over the world as part of the KIPs (Kelley International Perspectives) and GLOBASE program. Some students also went on individual trips. China, Isreal, Iceland, Egypt, Dubai, France, India were some of the places visited by my friends.

After the relaxing two weeks we are back in Kelley (Bloomington), excited about the new classes for the next 7 weeks. Being a Finance student, I have a number of classes on Valuation and Financial Strategy. Some of the other classes include Introduction to Spreadsheet Modeling by Professor Winston (which I am really excited about) and Market Performance and Product Analysis by Professor Jonlee Andrews. New classes with new teams for assignments make everyday challenging during the MBA professional degree.

Students majoring in marketing, supply chain, accounting etc are concentrating on courses directed towards their respective majors. Some of the classes being offered during the spring are Marketing Strategy, Brand Asset Management, Applied Marketing Research, Financial Statement Analysis and Valuation and Supply Chain Management and Technologies. One of the most popular courses is the one offered by Prof. Winston, with about 240 students in the class.

It is good to see everybody back from their trips and even though the two lazy weeks in Florida were amazing, I am glad to be back in school.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Chicago Board of Trade Trip

So, while I am visiting Chicago, my girlfriend suggested I go visit the Chicago Board of Trade. As a MBA finance major, it sounded like a pretty good idea, so I booked a visit. Normally they only take tour groups, but they added me on to another scheduled tour...and when that tour was late, I basically got the red carpet tour to myself! Let me tell you, you can't imagine how busy that place is! There are traders packed in these pits, shouting and signalling to each other...all of them in colored vests, many of them with monitors harnessed around their necks. 5 years ago, before I pulled my big Career Switch MBA adventure, I wouldn't have imagined I'd ever be seeing this. Now, I could one day spend some time in those pits! It just shows you how you have no idea what direction your life will take.

Unfortunately they don't allow pictures inside, but picture 50-60 people in 250 square feet, shoulder-to-shoulder. It amazes me that an archaic system like complicated hand signals determines how millions of dollars flow. I'm in awe of my fellow MBA finance students who are heading into that area of really have to be on top of all this scattered info every second of the day. That's why finance makes the big bucks :-)

I've been busy the past few days working on some basketball stuff and checking out NCAA action...seeing as I used to work in basketball, I'll have a blog post or two this weekend about the NCAA tournament. I hope your favorite team is doing well, and Go UK!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

So what's next?

I'm going to be touring the Chicago Board of Trade tomorrow, and that got me thinking about where my time in the MBA program at Kelley has taken me and my fellow students. When I started thinking about MBA programs, I knew I wanted to change careers. I used the Business Week MBA ranking to help pick out programs, and ended up picking Indiana. When I got here I decided to get into corporate finance, and I've really enjoyed my experience as a finance major at Kelley. But now that we're about to wrap up our time, what's the MBA program like, and where are we going from here?

First of all, the big concern for 2nd year students is getting a job. Like most programs, it's harder the past 2 years than it ever has been. At least Kelley has been one of the top MBA programs in getting students jobs during this recession, however! I'm one of the lucky 55% or so who has a job. Because I am a career switch MBA, that's a huge deal...I don't necessarily have the connections to go back to my previous industry. Many of my friends have jobs, but many also don't. Last spring I didn't get my internship until 2 weeks before classes ended, so I've seen both sides. The toughest thing is staying positive and trying to find an opportunity. Even the best MBA program in the USA couldn't guarantee everyone a job. However, the support system at Kelley is one of the strongest in the country, and that's a big reason why so many students are able to fight through the tough times. From students reaching out to their past contacts to the alumni network, there are always people willing to help. Even if you don't feel ready to get back to the working world, the community here is willing to help out. I don't think I'll feel ready to "unpause" my working life until the people around me are ready as well. That way we can all leave MBA student life behind, together!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Never seen so many people wearing green

My spring break trip in Chicago continues! As you may or may not know, St. Patrick's Day is a huge celebration in Chicago because of the large population with Irish heritage. What I learned today is that the Saturday before St. Patrick's Day is a de facto holiday here too. The river was dyed green for a few blocks, and EVERYONE had on green except my girlfriend and I. I wonder if some of my friends with an MBA in consumer marketing would like to make a killing here in a weekend! Here's some pictures of crowds:

By the way, when I decided to chronicle my spring break trip in my MBA program blog for the Kelley School of Business, I never imagined I'd be including pictures of hot chicks...but here they are:

Ha! But in all seriousness, being here for the week has helped emphasize the difference between MBA student life and the life of your typical 20-something. Being at a top MBA school really does prepare you for the level of professionalism required in a real career. It's been amazing how working with other students at Kelley gives you an appreciation for maturity. In a few months we will be embarking on careers where we'll eventually be making important decisions for large companies. When you learn the intricacies of high-level business, you also have to understand not just the mechanics of business but also the characteristics of a successful leader. I'm not just getting an MBA in Corporate Finance...I'm learning how to solve problems, be accountable, and get results. So many of my classmates who are not career change MBA's really have understood that, and I am learning it as I go. I think that's one of the big advantages at Kelley...not just the details of a business education, but also understanding how to be a more effective businessperson.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Adventures in Chicago...

This being spring break of my 2nd year in the Kelley MBA program, I decided to spend it with my wonderful girlfriend in Chicago! Plenty of time for me to work on a couple projects during the day, and see more of this great city. It's definitely a contrast with Bloomington...Bloomington is more of a college town, and you can really still experience the city along with the top MBA program! If I was getting my MBA in Chicago, I don't think I'd be able to enjoy the city as much as I'd like. It's great to visit, and get some new material for my MBA program blog!

First of all, I hope all my friends from the Kelley School of Business are enjoying their trips. I have friends in Italy, Ireland, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Korea, Israel, Egypt, Dubai and even good old Bloomington! I'm getting to see lots of pictures.

Second, let me let you know what I'm up to! My girlfriend and I went to a lovely Italian restaurant in Lakeview, Angelina's, for dinner. After she spends her days at work and I work on some classes/projects for my finance major, it's nice to get out. We went running by the lake today, as the weather got very nice in the evening. I'll have pictures up later this week!

Like many of the dedicated finance MBA students already have, I am going to try to visit the Chicago Board of Trade next week. I figure I could get some great pics for my MBA student blog, and get a good view of that type of job. Even though I am getting into corporate finance, I am sure it will be interesting. Hopefully they still allow tours...

Alright, it's getting late and I should head to bed. I will update again this weekend with more of my spring break shenanigans!

KIP China: An MBA Program Blog from Halfway around the World

Well I've now been in China for 4 days and it's been quite the experience. KIP China just officially started today, but a group of MBA consumer marketing students got to China on Sunday night and took a side trip to Hangzhou.

Hangzhou is a gorgeous resort town (albeit one with over 6 million residents) that is based around West Lake. It's known for green tea, silk, and some amazing old pagodas and temples. My favorite part was the Linying Temple, which has some amazing statues of Buddha and is an active monestary.

Yesterday, we finished off our time in Hangzhou by biking around the lake, and then boarded a plane to Beijing to start the official KIP China part of our trip. It's been great so far and I'm so excited for the full experience with the group of 18 MBA students. We visit the Great Wall tomorrow, so I'm going to get some sleep to get ready for that. I'll be sure to post pics of that visit soon!

Classes in the Spring

I am mid way through the second seven weeks of the Spring semester. The courses I am taking are Introduction to Spreadsheet Modeling, Marketing Performance and Productivity Analysis, Asset Valuation and Strategy, and Advanced Information Systems Management. I wanted use my MBA Program Blog to give you a quick introduction to the courses.

Introduction to Spreadsheet Modeling taught by Prof. Wayne Winston provides the foundation for solving problems commonly faced in business situations. One of the exciting features of the class is the trivia questions he asks. If you get the right answer, you get a chocolate! “Archimedes” helped me get one so far!

Marketing Performance and Productivity Analysis taught by Prof. Jonlee Andrews provides great insight into improving marketing productivity through analysis of concepts like market size, market share and market segmentation. Prof. Andrews is the Director of the MBA Consumer Marketing Academy and the Associate Chair of the Masters of Business Administration Program. Her analytical approach to Marketing often appeals to MBA Finance Students as well.

Asset Valuation and Strategy taught by Prof. Andrew Ellul is a deep-dive into concepts like portfolio theory, risk and asset pricing models. The course is required for MBA Finance Majors. Prof. Ellul is an extremely passionate about the course he teaches and sets very high standards.

Advanced IS Management is a course taught by consultants from Deloitte’s Information Management practice and provides real-life examples of projects involving business intelligence, data management and analytics. Experts who have worked on the projects relevant to the subject area teach the course. It is a great opportunity to ask questions and bridge the gap between theory and practice.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My version of travelling abroad

Like any other top MBA school, many MBA students at Kelley study abroad in their 2nd year, or over their spring break on KIP (Kelley International Perspectives) trips. A hallmark of these trips are the photo albums filled with images of their adventures. These include unique experiences and meals, and are a great way to keep up with your fellow students. They are also a great way to make everyone jealous that their spring is spent in classrooms, instead of exploring culture in another country. To add something unique to my MBA program blog, I came up with a stunt worthy of a consumer marketing MBA (not the typical stoic finance stuff!): I'll treat Bloomington (and my trips to Chicago) like a study abroad! Here are some of my recent adventures!

After the Capstone simulation finished up (record profits in year 8!), I was very happy to start my spring break exploring Bloomington and Chicago! Up first, my girlfriend visited from Chicago to experience Bloomington, home of the best MBA program! :-) Saturday and Sunday I took her to some of my favorite places in Bloomington. First up, 4th Street and its selection of international restaurants. In a town of 120,000 people, it would be hard to believe that there would be a Burmese restaurant, 2 Tibetan places, and a Vietnamese eatery...but that's Bloomington! If there was an MBA program for entrepreneurs specializing in international cuisine, Bloomington would be a great case study. Saturday we ate at Amol India. We had chicekn curry and chicken tikka masala, along with a plate of various fried meats and vegetables. We got it a little on the spicy side, and it was delicious! We spent some time walking around and checking out the different tastes available. Just amazing! Any visitor could stop on 4th Street and find a place for their tastes.

Sunday we got sushi from Mikado...spider rolls and spicy tuna rolls! Because of Indiana's large Asian student population, there are several sushi places in town, all of which are quite popular. Watching the Oscars and downing sushi is exactly the way I like spending my Sunday nights.

Monday, we went to breakfast at a local institution, the Scholars Inn Bakehouse. Everything is amazing there, and all the MBA students I know absolutely love it. Unlike some other top MBA schools, Kelley School of Business is very integrated into Bloomington. Its local institutions are a part of what makes the program special. Breakfast at the Bakehouse is one of those things.

I moved near downtown this year, and being able to walk to all these places is a lifesaver. It's really allowed me to enjoy the unique parts of Bloomington, and has made my MBA program experience richer. Bloomington is just a wonderful college town, and it makes the Kelley School the best MBA college for me!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Training to be a Case Interviewer

Since I am on spring break, I will write about some of the interesting experiences over the past seven weeks that I have not covered in my previous entries in the MBA Program Blog. My post today is about the Case Interview Workshop that Prof. John Wisneski, our Academy Co-Director started for the first time this year. He selected a group of eight students from the Consulting Academy to attend a workshop to learn case interviewing techniques. Case interviews are a popularly used by consulting firms to gauge the analytical abilities of candidates from the best MBA colleges.

We met every Thursday during the last seven weeks. Each week one of us volunteered to become the interviewee, and John interviewed the student. I was the guinea pig for the first round. While it was not my strongest performance by any means, it taught me important lessons that I applied the next day during an actual interview for an internship. I was able to sail through successfully.

Those of us who attended all the sessions were “case certified” by John. We will be interviewing students this fall. Here are some tips for any of you who might face case interviews in the future: Listen carefully to the problem presented. Take notes as necessary. Take your time to build a structured framework to approach the problem solving process. Work collaboratively with the interviewer to solve the problem. Remember that the process you follow to reach the solution is more important than the actual solution itself. Finally, summarize in a concise manner including the objective, key insights and solutions. State some logical next steps. And of course, never forget to thank the interviewer!

The Consulting Club had hosted the author of the book “Case In Point”, Marc Cosentino earlier this year. The book is used by students in several Masters of Business Administration Programs. While the book is a great starting point, you must be comfortable enough to build your own frameworks depending on the case. The Graduate Career Services hosts mock behavioral interviews for MBA students and the Kelley Kick-off event is definitely the best. The interviewers fill out a feedback sheet at the end that allows you to see how they evaluated you. I designed a feedback sheet along the same lines for case interviews. We will be using it when we play the role of case interviewers next fall.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Academy Intensive Week 2: Consulting Academy

In my final MBA Program Blog post for this quarter of the spring semester, I will describe my really hectic "Academy Intensive Week 2" experience. It promised to provide us with an opportunity to work on a real problem facing a consulting firm. My team's task involved researching a new field in Business Intelligence and figuring out the market entry strategy - a challenging task for students from one of the top MBA Management Programs.
We had our first call last Friday, setting the ground rules for the engagement. I created a logo for our team. We went with the name "Quantastic Consulting Services" – where “Quantastic” signified "fantastic with numbers". Especially since the assignment was about a domain that is considered as heavily quantitative.
Even before the academy week officially began, we drafted the engagement letter and started working on the issue tree. Following the scientific method exemplified in the book "The McKinsey Mind", we got a great head start in solving the problem facing our client. We created a timeline with deadlines for various internal deliverables that would be necessary to stay on track.
We got a lot of good experience interviewing others. Conversations with our academy directors Tony Gerth and John Wisneski gave us great insights that allowed us to move a step closer to the final recommendations. Along with Shubhang, I interviewed Prof. Albright, who taught us Quantitative methods in the Core. He was also happy to lend us a book on the topic for a week. JP, Aayush, Shubhang and I worked very well as a team. It was often during a team dinner that we would hit upon a good idea and then incorporate it into our slides when we returned to school.
The final presentation went as planned. Based on the feedback we received, we know that the quality of the slides were definitely on par with the quality expected from students from the top Masters of Business Administration programs in the US. But the most interesting part of the week - apart from the engaging discussion on ethics and the “communication game” where I played the role of Picasso - was the “movie trivia” organized by John! The number of movies I successfully guessed pleasantly surprised me. And since the spring break is finally here, I should definitely treat myself to the latest box office hits and some quality time with my family in Boston!

Friday, March 5, 2010

China: The New Business Frontier

Welcome to my 2nd Kelley MBA Program Blog. Today I will discuss an adventure that spans far outside the average Day in the Life of an MBA student.

I will soon be travelling to China for a 2-week Kelley MBA International Perspectives (KIP) trip. I will be visiting marketing firms and retailers with my fellow MBA Consumer Marketing classmates. The MBA Finance students and MBA business marketing students will be visiting Chinese banks and manufacturers. Also we have lots of time for adventuring and sight seeing (Great Wall, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Shangai Bund, etc.) Cities I will be visiting include Shanghai, Beijing, Hangzhou, and Suzhou.

I have never travelled outside the USA before, so I am extremely excited to undertake this adventure and also learn about how business operates in China. These types of trips are offered every year at Kelley and are just another example of why IU-Kelley is one of the very best Masters of Business Administation Programs. Other KIPs trips that my MBA program classmates will be attending include Ireland, Egypt/Dubai/UAE, and Israel.


Consumer Marketing MBA: Academy Intensive Week 2

MBA Student Life is never boring, especially during the MBA Consumer Marketing Academy 2nd Academy Intensive Week. As we did a bus trip to visit companies this fall we stayed in Bloomington and had the speakers come to us.

On Monday, our speaker was Ralph Blessing, Managing Director of Chicago Office and Senior Partner at GfK Strategic Innovation (and a Marketing MBA Major alum). He talked about his career and some of the amazing products he had a chance to work on: Coppertone Sport Continuous Spray, Degree Antiperspirant, and Axe to just name a few. He explained the needs approach that GfK uses to help develop products to fill in shelf "white space." It was a really great presentation and it got even more interesting when we went through the process to create a new product.

Tuesday was a presentation on working with agencies and creative. It was a really helpful session to help understand the relationship between BMs and creative and how to get the best work out of them. We learned about what makes up a creative brief, and then were put into groups to analyze a print ad and reverse engineer the creative brief. Each team then presented to the academy so we could dissect the brief and see which ad best fit. And as our presenter, Eric Bauchet, was from Whirlpool the day would not have been complete without some Maytag ads and comparison to LG, GE and Electrolux in the space.

Wednesday was my favorite day though by far! We had Sarah "Intellagirl" Robbins speak to us about digital marketing and social media. It was an amazing presentation and now tons of CMA MBA Program Students are on twitter. Power of technology (and Sarah) Gotta love that she is a faculty member here, that's what makes us a Top Ranked MBA School.

Thursday was wrapping up some of our other academy activities and then we were given free time to work on our projects. My team had a call with Whirlpool to update them on our project and then it was home to keep working! It was a long week, but I learned a lot but that should be expected at great Two Year MBA Program.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

How do you keep an MBA grounded? Make them run a fake business...

Wow...after you spend 6 years having to take emergency loans and watching a simulated stock price drop, you begin to question whether you deserve to be at one of the best MBA colleges in the USA! In all seriousness though, the 2nd year students at Kelley have spent this week running a simulated company in a program designed for MBA programs. I think most of the students would agree that it's a unique experience that's seen a pretty wide set of results.

For the career change MBA's (like myself) it's a unique chance to make corporate decisions. Our MBA classes, whether in finance, marketing, operations, or management give us exercises that are pretty siloed...that is, you deal with one area at a time. This simulation integrates the disciplines, and give you an idea of what it's like to make decisions for a company. My group has seen mixed results, with some years showing great profits and others taking big losses. In real life, I probably would have been fired! Luckily, the MBA admission office didn't make me do this before I got in! It does feel good to turn it around and have a really great year...and our last year so far was our best yet!

On a more fun subject, our spring break starts Saturday and runs until the 21st. While some MBA's at Kelley are going on trips overseas (China, Dubai, Israel, Ireland for starters), and others are currently studying overseas, I am going to be broadening my horizons by visiting Chicago and Bloomington. I will keep you updated during my "travels" with pictures and stories!

Pushing Limits: Back in Action!!!!

I have definitely been remiss in keeping my MBA Program Blog up to date, I'm bringing it back for your reading pleasure...

Please allow me to reintroduce this blog since my hiatus has been so long. During this journey for my MBA, I find myself constantly being stretched and pulled in ways I never thought possible because of the challenges placed before me through academics, extra curricular activities (both at Kelley & IU), and even through my MBA social life!

I hope it can continue providing insight to those thinking about B-school and sharing why the Kelley School of Business may be an ideal school out of the multitude of options for masters of business administration programs. As well as entertain those going through B-school currently, recent graduates, and those who may just be curious about what happens within the walls of business schools.

I definitely don't want to hog the limelight either, be sure to check out these other Kelley MBA Program Blog s as well:

Katie - Class of 2010 -
Katie is focused on Marketing for her MBA and is definitely one of the cooler people in our class! Click on her blog to learn of her exploits here at Kelley.

James - Class of 2010 -
James is also focused on Marketing for his MBA and though not as cool as Katie makes up for it in other ways! (i.e. humor - definitely funnier than Katie). Click on his blog to see just how cool he is.

Joe - Class of 2011 -
Joe is also focused on Marketing for his MBA (Can you see the trend?) Joe's a first year, but we won't hold that against him, check out his blog by clicking on his link above.

Hope you enjoy the upcoming entries, for "Pushing Limits"!

Pushing Limits: Path to Employment Series - Vol I

When you talk to people who are at top tier programs as listed by the Business Week MBA Ranking, you find that a common response to the question, "Why pursue an MBA?" is better employment. Most b-school students hope to have significant career advancement, with the matching significant salary!

The month of November '09, a culmination point in my job search, was a very hectic one indeed. I not only balanced my classes, a graduate assistantship, extra-curricular activities, and a social life, but now, I found myself flying just about every weekend to a different location in order to interview with a prospective employer. This was probably one of the most time-consuming, adrenaline pumping, jet-setting, preparation heavy, research laden, suit/tie wearing, shaking hands and kissing babies experience of my entire life up to now!

I am very pleased to share with you through my MBA program blog, "Pushing Limits: Life at Kelley & Beyond," my full-time job search experience through the following series which will be entitled, "Pushing Limits: Path to Employment Series." There will be six different episodes, enjoy!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Indiana University MBA Students Celebrate Investments and Strategy Case Competition Success

Venture Capital Investment Competition

Indiana University's Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC) team won second place at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Final at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon. IU’s team consisted of third-year law students Casey Plant and Marshall Magaro, fourth-year JD/MBA Brian Villa, and second-year MBA students Emily Geiger and Perry Griffith. In the competition, students take the roles of venture capitalists, evaluating business plans, performing due diligence, hearing "pitches" from real entrepreneurs, and drafting term sheets and executive summaries for their chosen investments.

ACG Cup Competition

A team from the Kelley School of Business Investment Banking Academy recently entered and won the ACG (Association for Corporate Growth) Cup case competition hosted by the Indiana chapter on February 13th. The team previously won the internal qualifying round at the Bloomington campus on January 31. Team members included second year MBAs Matt Reus, Ali Rampurwala and Jeremy Sutton.

Illinois MBA Strategy Case Competition

Congratulations to the team from Kelley for bringing home the 2nd Place Trophy from the Illinois MBA Strategy Case Competition. Team members include Sage Raterman, Brian Seickel, Stephen Hilker, and Ingrid Warrner.

Kelley School of Business MBA finance students, marketing students, entrepreneurship students and Indiana University School of Law students come together for case competitions, competing head-to-head with the best business graduate students nationally.

A Stimulating Business Simulation

Like many other top MBA business schools, the 2nd year MBA students at the Kelley School of Business are participating in a business simulation this week. Students across all majors are grouped together to run a business and compete with other businesses in an competitive technology industry. While Kelley students in general are known to not be as competitive as other top MBA business schools, this week the claws have come out! As an MBA consumer marketing major, I have mainly been in charge of understanding the needs of the market as well forecasting for each segment. I have to admit that I have left all of the financing decisions up to my teammates who are MBA Finance majors. While I would say that my team is doing well, we have struggled a bit to control our variable costs. However, we are learned a lot and had some fun in the meantime!!

One note: all MBA program students at Kelley are spring break for the next two weeks. I'm traveling to Europe over break to visit MBA students studying abroad. This means no updates to my MBA program blog, but check out the blog in two weeks to hear about my trip and the adventures of my fellow bloggers!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Inspiring all girls to be STRONG, SMART & BOLD

MBA Student Life is never boring! This Friday, I took my Accounting final and then met up with some of my fellow Kelley Women MBA program students to volunteer at our local Girls Inc, an organization that empowers girls to become responsible, self-reliant, successful women. Sounds like future Kelleys!

Girls Inc. gave us free reign to plan an hour long workshop with their girls that focused on some aspect of business. We planned an activity for the girls that incorporated a lot of the skills we have learned at our Top Ranked MBA School. We created a deserted island that each girl had to decide what they wanted to bring...then for the twist: they could only bring half of what their team wanted. That's when we got the girls started on their MBA Management Degrees, we made them negotiate with each other to pick the best items for their island and make concessions with each other. It was straight out of the Negotiations MBA Course Curriculum! The girls seemed to enjoy the exercise and really got into it.

Participating in MBA Student Activities like this with my fellow Business School MBA Students really makes my Two Year MBA Program great!

Academy Week

With the finals over for the first seven weeks of the Spring Semester in the Graduate Business Program, time has come for the second academy week of the year.

The schedule for the Corporate Finance Academy looks extremely interesting and challenging at the same time. Cases for different companies and guest speakers from the industry make our schedule intensive for the next one week. This week gives students a chance to utilize their knowledge gained during the core and the first half of the spring semester, in a safe but real environment provided by the academy. The opportunity to interact with Senior Leaders from top firms in the country and to hear their views on the economy and current market conditions is one of the most important benefits of being a part of the Best Business Grad School.

Some of the other academies such as the Consumer Marketing Academy and the Business Marketing Academy are planning to visit different companies in Chicago and Minneapolis. As part of the Corporate Finance Academy, I had a chance to visit the High Tech firms in California during the first academy week in October. The academy experience is one of the best features in the Kelley School of Business.

The Battle of the Grad Student Bands

While many graduate students at Indiana University have unique talents, there are a select few who have special musical talents, and these skills were on display this past Friday night. Three bands took the stage at a local bar to perform to their classmates in the first annual Battle of the Bands. The Kelley School of Business had two bands in the show, and both rocked (literally). The challenger was a band consisting of law school students and I will give those guys a lot of credit for their ability to play classical rock. However, it was the guys from the graduate business program that really stole the show. The 2nd year band, pictured below, has been playing together for about five months.

Lead singer Steve Morgan even invested in some leather pants to really embrace the theme of the show (to his wife's embarrassment). Steve is a career change MBA, having worked prior to business school on and off Broadway. He is now an MBA finance major, and will be working for a bank in Cincinnati post graduation. I am not sure how often Steve and the other band members will be able to use their musical talents in the future, but I can't wait to their next show later this spring!