Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The village of Viesese

Today was another great day! Ever since we arrived to Fiji I have been thinking that this project was one of the things that I wanted to experience during my MBA, and I still can’t believe my dream came true.

Our day started very early. It was 7:15 am when Ravin, our driver, picked us up at the hotel. After our meeting with Dorinda Work at Microfinance West Offices, we were ready to start our research. In order to cover more ground we decided to split into two teams. Jacob and his wife visited one of the Fijians markets in order to gain more knowledge about how women in these kind of businesses benefited from micro-loans; and Matt and I visited a Fijians Village, called Viesese.

Before getting there we were advised about how respectful we must be about their traditions, but really these women were very helpful and warm with us. They were anxious to share their stories with us and after an hour of conversation learning about their reasons for being involved in these kinds of loans we were offered a cup of coffee and a piece of homemade bread. They really wanted us to spend more time with them. I felt it was through coffee, bread and a nice conversation how they opened up to share a piece of their lives with us.

Guest blog provided by Rocio Ortiz, Kelley MBA 2011.

First day in Fiji

With only 10 days to investigate what type of micro-finance product would best serve women entrepreneurs in Fiji, and how to market said product, our team had little time to waste on our first day. Arriving at 4:50am we hit the ground running.

First we acclimated ourselves to the lay of the land. Our taxi driver took us to a local beach were we observed some local fishermen. We then took a drive along the west side of the island to get a better idea of the physical geography of Fiji. Lastly we took lunch at “Chicken Bites” a restaurant that in the USA would likely serve hot wings and chicken tenders, but in Fiji serves delicious Indian curries.

Alas the day was not all site seeing and merry making. At 2pm we headed to, what I can safely say is, the World’s Newest MBA Program at the University of Fiji (UniFiji). The program which launched on Monday August 16, 2010, has 40 students – mostly executives from Air Pacific, Fiji water and several Duty Free shops on the island. At UniFiji, which itself was started in 2004, we met with Professor and Dean of the MBA program KL Sharma, who talked to us about the business and economic climate in Fiji. He was happier to meet with us than the attached picture might let on.

We took several more meetings at the University and had the opportunity to meet our first female entrepreneur which was extremely informative! We ended the day with lecture on Global Supply Chain Challenges and how they impact Fiji.

Today we’re off to meet with a current micro-finance organization on the island which will introduce us to women business owners they currently serve. It should be another packed day and we’ll be sure to update the blog with more information as soon as we can.

Guest blog post from Matt Hutchens, Kelley MBA 2011.

Fiji project gets under way

This afternoon we left Indy at 5 p.m., we have been traveling for 17 hours and the good news is that in three more hours we’ll be landing on Nadi, Fiji. I’m so excited about this opportunity that I can’t hardly wait to be in this incredible place and start learning from this culture.

Our mission, as Greg Casagrande said last Friday in our phone call, is to talk to at least 100 women entrepreneur in different villages and learn about how a micro-loan can improve their business as well as their quality of life. We’ll be visiting Nadi, Lautoka and Suva trying to reach as many women as possible and make a positive impact in their communities. The most interesting part is that while doing this we’ll be also exposed to their culture and traditions which will make our experience even richer by opening our minds towards different realities and perspectives of life.

Being a member of the Kelley family has been one of the best experiences of my life, and opportunities like this have been a very important part of it. I remember that while we were talking with Greg Casagrande the only thing I could think about is how unique this opportunity is and what an amazing adventure it will be. I am sure this is going to be a life changing experience.

Our first stop after landing in Nandi will be Fiji University….stay tuned for more.

Guest post provided by Rocio Ortiz, Kelley MBA 2011

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Final Week at Midwest ISO

It is crazy to think that the summer is almost over and I am a week away from heading back to school. I am sad to be leaving Carmel, my summer home, and all my co-workers at Midwest ISO who have been patient teachers and great friends. As part of the end of my internship, I had the privilege of presenting my summer work to a room full of my fellow interns, my Supply Management colleagues, and members of the executive team who made time in their busy schedules to attend. Working for an energy company is certainly not without privileges as well. I shamelessly included photos of tall white wind turbines against a beautiful backdrop of rolling hills, generating clean energy for the heartland. In my presentation, I discussed my daily responsibilities, a selection of projects I worked on, my key takeaways, the skills I picked up along the way, and some of my favorite memories from the summer.

Those memories include attending a company-wide event at an Indianapolis Indians ball game, participating in the annual Midwest ISO Office Olympics (and contributing to my department’s first place trophy), and playing in an intern-mentor softball game. Reflecting back on the summer as a whole, I definitely feel Kelley prepared me for success. And, I also owe a great deal to the structure of the Midwest ISO internship program. Projects were designed around my MBA skill-set while maintaining enough flexibility so that I could really add my own personal touch to deliverables. The internship has piqued my interest in Supply Management as a potential career path and I have definitely come away with the tools and know-how to succeed in the field. From projects involving strategic sourcing, supplier risk assessment, and supplier diversity to work involving contract analysis, RFP writing, and much more, I have gained a broad yet detailed experience in the area of supply management which will be invaluable throughout my entire career.

Name: Aaron Kraft
GradYear: 2011
City: Carmel
State: IN

A typical week during the Summer Internship at Deloitte Consulting

It feels great to contribute to the MBA Program Blog once again. I have had an exciting summer internship experience at Deloitte Consulting and I would like to share what a typical week was like.

I began my internship based out of the Chicago office on June 1. It was a 10-week internship and the first week was devoted to training that gave us a good overview of Deloitte overall and the Technology practice in particular. Several interns from some of the top Masters of Business Administration Programs were there as well. I was immediately staffed on a project and I was really excited.

For the next nine weeks of my internship, I got to experience first-hand, the life as a consultant. Rather than a Day in Life of MBA intern, let me describe a typical week instead:

On early Monday morning, you fly out of your base location to the client site. After reaching your destination airport, you typically share a rental with some of your teammates. Once you reach the client office, start with calls with any teams distributed globally to get the latest updates. An important task is to prioritize everything that you have on your plate to ensure all the top tasks are completed by the deadline. Some of the tasks I worked on included creating the test plan for two new applications we were building, and leading the design for a reporting solution. On Monday night, you check into the hotel. Team dinners are common and are a great way to get to know your teammates on a more personal level. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the most intense workdays. I also got the opportunity to interact with the client. Check out of your hotel on Thursday morning, finish off any pending work for the week, especially if there is anything that requires face-to-face meetings with the client and you fly back home Thursday night. Fridays were usually filled with some interesting events for the interns and some client service work as necessary. Saturdays and Sundays were time to relax, recharge and explore the awesome city of Chicago in the summer!

I will need separate posts to give you more details of the various aspects of the internship. Look out for more posts soon. And don't hesitate to choose Indiana University for MBA Program - I know it makes a difference!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Laying the foundation for market research in Fiji

Greetings from Fiji … or “Bula” as the locals say. 

As MBA Program Chair, I’m here for a quick trip laying the foundation for a team of three MBA students who will arrive in two weeks to a complete a market research project for the South Pacific Business Development Foundation (SPBDF), a nonprofit micro-lender to women, who has operated for 10 years in Samoa and now wants to begin operations in Fiji. 

Greg Casagrande, the SPBDF’s founder (whose efforts in poverty amelioration are so successful that he was highlighted on the "Making a Difference" series on NBC News), called me, asked the Kelley School MBA Program for assistance, and we have obliged.

During their 10-day visit, the student team will survey women micro-entrepreneurs about their credit and savings needs, speak with banks and government agencies about current micro-credit offerings in Fiji, and recommend how the SPBDF can position its brand and products to insure a sustainable nonprofit business model

This fuels a larger strategic effort by the Kelley MBA Program to expand experiences for students in emerging markets. For example, the program’s Global Business and Social Enterprise (GLOBASE) spring break course that has been in Peru for two years will expand to Ghana and India in Spring 2011. 

These experiences are designed not only to expose students to global markets, but to accelerate development of micro-social and leadership skills that will make students effective executives in companies and organizations. 

The uncertainties and unfamiliarity of completing a Kelley School project in a developing country prepares students well for unexpected challenges in corporate America.

Guest blog entry provided by Phil Powell, Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy and Faculty Chair, MBA Program at the Kelley School of Business, from a planning trip in Suva, Fiji.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Internship Crunch Time!

This summer has flown by! Hard to believe that I will be back in Bloomington starting my 2nd year of my MBA in just 3 short weeks.

Tomorrow marks week 9 of my 10 week internship at Target. I am in their merchandise buying program in Decorative Home. Unlike some of my fellow Top MBA students at MBA Consumer Marketing internships at Target we only have one project. Mine was to analyze 10 categories (down from 13!) against the company's design axis to understand where we performing well and where we have opportunities to serve our guest. It has been a great learning experience and really let me understand all the cross functional a buyer interacts with on a daily basis - while giving me exposure to the day-to-day role, weekly sales analysis anyone!?

My presentation is quickly approaching. But the Kelley's Best Consumer Marketing MBA Academy really did help to prepare me for it. Our CMA projects really gave us a sample of what to expect on our internship projects so you wouldn't be afraid of the ambiguity or reaching out for feedback. I don't know what I would have done without that experience.

I spent this weekend making the recommended changes my manager suggested. Think its looking good - I 'm ready to get this show on the road.

While this has been a great experience, I am ready to get back to Kelley and my fellow MBA Program Students. I can't wait to hear what they all have been working on!