Thursday, September 30, 2010

Anatolia, One of 4th Street's Finest

When I need a break from my MBA course curriculum, I take a moment to enjoy the MBA social life with friends from the program. One of our favorite things to do is enjoy the amazing local food around Bloomington. Last year, the first year women in the program created a ladies dinner club where we could get together once a month away from school and just catch up outside of the walls of Kelley. We take turns hosting each month, and activities in the past have included things like grabbing dinner at a local restaurant, manis/pedis, and game night.

This month, we visited Anatolia, an amazing local Turkish restaurant found on 4th street. Inside the walls of this quaint, character-filled restaurant, we found a cozy table and just chatted about classes, the job search, and how fast time flies while in the program. We ordered a variety of different dishes, but the one thing we all had in common was a bowl of the amazing red lentil soup, and it was the perfect way to warm up on a fall day. As my time as a second year continues to fly by as a part of a top ranked business graduate school, I am looking forward to more moments like this, and of course, any excuse to get out and enjoy some of Bloomington's amazing local food!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Enjoy Opera and Orchestra at IU!

If you thought that the MBA Social Life at IU is mundane and only about tailgates and parties, think again. What makes Kelley rank highly among the top ranked business graduate schools in the world, is not just the high standards for MBA Admission and the quality of the MBA Course Curriculum, but also the great opportunities to explore and enjoy the rich experiences on one of the most beautiful campuses in the US.

The talented cast of the opera

Friday night was the opening night of the Opera season at Indiana University. Over 70 MBA students including family and friends headed over to the Musical Arts Center for the grand opening night featuring the Opera "Il barbiere di Siviglia" (The Barber of Seville). The performance was an amazing production by the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, one of the top music schools in the world. Check out the video to get a taste of the experience.

A couple of weeks ago, I also enjoyed the opening night of the Orchestra Season at the Musical Arts Center led by Conductor Leonard Slatkin. And believe it or not, these amazing orchestra performances are free! If you happen to visit Bloomington, ensure that you do not miss these excellent events. How many Masters of Business Administration programs around the world can truly boast of such rich cultural experiences on campus!

The Philharmonic Orchestra

Generational Leadership In Action

One of the things I looked for in a program was the opportunity to get involved and develop my soft skills, in addition to the technical skills learned through MBA course curriculum. This year, I am incredibly excited to be a part of the inaugural year of the Peer Coach Leadership Team or PCLT for short. Traditionally, Kelley has offered a second year peer coaching program that the first years can voluntarily be a part of and the primary goal was to aid the first years in their development. Under the new PCLT program, it takes the same concept of helping the first years navigate their career search through generational leadership, but also adds a component of professional development for the second years as well. The new program kicked off a few weeks ago with an incredible all day session led by Rick Gregory from P&G's Gym, where we went through several creative exercises to land at our team's vision and individual action plans for the upcoming year.

Since then, each team of Academy peer coaches have been working to develop individualized action plans to assist their first years in their development. The Consumer Marketing Academy, as well as several other of the Academies, kicked off their programs on Friday by announcing the Program at the first Academy day. Later, we had a chance to get to know the first years a little bit better at through a mini-networking exercise and got meet individuals that came to Kelley for their MBA in product marketing, MBAs with non business majors as their background, as well as several other unique stories that make up the great first year class. Today we officially will be reaching out to the first years with their coaching matches, and we are excited to build this program into the other programs at Kelley focused on providing individualized attention that you cannot find at other top ranked business graduate schools.

There's More Than One Power Tie in Business School

Learn how you will practice, and never again say, "when will I ever use this?"

There was a day, long ago in your illustrious career, where you careened from classroom to classroom learning US government, Asian History, Literature, and calculus. These were all fantastic classes; but, did they ever align? How often did you look at Charles Dickens and calculate the economic benefit of getting paid by the word, and how his sales did in Italy?

Welcome to the best MBA program in the USA: the integrated core of the MBA course curriculum.

Today I experienced something I've never experienced before in my education: two separate classes, two separate professors, attacking the same business problem with different tools. The "integrated core curriculum" functions just like you will as a manager in your future - looking at problems or opportunities in your firm from every point of view, not just as a finance brain or a marketing brain. You'll have the ability to see the whole picture, and use tools from the entire palette to paint the most lasting masterpiece. It's why we're continuously one of the top ranked MBAs.

For three hours we looked at vs. Barnes and Noble, as our two esteemed professors, Kyle Cattani and Matt Semadeni tag-teamed the issue from an operations and a strategy angle. The guided us along, and as we learned new skills and insights from one professor, we were immediately able to apply them to problems proposed by another. It was brilliant - it's something incredible to be a part of.

So what's my take away for you? You've started your search, you're here on this blog now, because you want to be better in business. Want to tackle huge issues with a limitless tool-belt of skills and intelligence? Stop searching - apply to Kelley.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A fun weekend in B-town

As promised, here is a snapshot of MBA social life at Kelley. One of the great things about being in Bloomington is everyone lives within about 5-10 mins of each other and there are lots of things going on all the time (either self-organized or school/club events) so there is always something to do and it is really easy to get together.

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
Friday night I went to see Wall Street 2 on opening night with the Investment Club. I am sure all top ranked business graduate schools did this as well. About 25-30 people came out to see the movie together which was a good-sized group. I would give the movie a C+/B-. If you are not getting your MBA in Corporate Finance or if you are not familiar with trading stocks, some of the topics may go a bit over your head. The love story in the movie also took up too much time and diverted from Oliver Stone's rehashing of his 'fictional' version of what transpired at the time of the economic downturn.

Tailgate for the IU-Akron football game
Saturday afternoon I parked my car in the Kelley School of Business parking lot and walked over to the Kelley MBA Association (MBAA)-hosted Tailgate near the stadium. Imagine a thousand people in IU cream and crimson grilling and drinking cold drinks as far as the eye can see. That's what you can expect when you are at a Big 10 school. MBAA brought 18 ft of sub sandwiches (pictured above) which we all quickly devoured. Some came for just the Tailgate and others went on to watch the game. IU ended up winning 35 to 20. It was an exciting game with fireworks going off every time Indiana scored.

Meeting friends at a bar downtown
After resting a bit from the Tailgate, later in the evening I got together with a couple friends and headed to downtown Bloomington. We met up with other MBAs who were already out at a bar (The Vid) and had drinks and played darts. I had not been to The Vid before and I was impressed. From there we went to Steak and Shake where we enjoyed a late-night snack before heading home.

So, yet another fun weekend in B-town!

MBA Course Curriculum - Timbuk2 Operations Case Discussion

All first year students take a set of classes called the Core as a part of their MBA course curriculum during their first semester at the Kelley School of Business. The Core consists of 8 classes - Accounting, Critical Thinking, Economics, Finance, Management (Strategy), Marketing, Operations, and Quantitative Methods. Needless to say, it's a busy schedule. As one of the top full time MBA programs, it's imperative that we learn it all!

A large part of many of our Core classes consist of case discussions. All top ranked MBA schools utilize case discussions as a part of their curriculum, and I can see why. Case discussions are a great way for students to really learn important business concepts and how these concepts apply in the real world. It also prepares business school MBA students to "think on our toes" and be able to make decisions with limited information, since this is what we'll have to do in our future careers.

This week in Operations class, taught by Professor Kyle Cattani, we discussed a Timbuk2 case. Professor Cattani had set the stage for a lively and exciting discussion the previous class session, where he pulled up Timbuk2's company website and, in front of the class, customized and ordered a Timbuk2 bag. He selected the box for overnight shipping to, as he explained, see how efficient their operations were and ensure it arrived by our next class.

Tuesday came and Professor Cattani had the bag with him! He started by raffling off the bag. My name sadly was not the name chosen, but I'm happy to report that my classmate Stephanie has a brand new Timbuk2 bag!

After the raffle, we got into the case discussion. The question looming was whether or not Timbuk2, a company that had been very successful utilizing a mass customization manufacturing model, should pursue the option of offshoring its manufacturing to China. Although the cost savings appeared attractive, there were many other factor to take into account when making this decision, such as: How would Timbuk2's customers feel about moving a U.S. based operation from San Francisco to China? How would Timbuk2's customers react to the longer lead time between placing an order and delivery? How would Timbuk2 be able to ensure the quality of its product if management wasn't onsite to oversee it?

After some lively class debate about the pros and cons of each argument, and an introduction to a new operations term, spackling (a flexible factory produces custom products and fills any remaining capacity by producing standard products), the class came to a close. Professor Cattani ended the class by letting us know that the company did eventually offshore some of its operations to China, but has also continued to make customized bags in San Fransisco.

Lively case discussions happen several times a week during the Core here at the Kelley School of Business, and I enjoy participating in them. With engaging classes like these and excellent faculty to guide the discussions, I can tell why Kelley is a top ranked MBA program (I would argue the best MBA program in the USA)!

My First Day in the Consumer Marketing Academy

Here at the Kelley School of Business, part of the MBA course curriculum is that all students are members of an Academy, an innovative program unique to Kelley. Academies are career interest groups in which students are placed based on their future career goals. Academy directors are professors who are experts in the academy's designated field of study. Instead of classes on Fridays, we meet with our academies to work on projects, learn industry lingo, participate in mock interviews, meet with companies, and network with our peers! Kelley has various academies that cover a wide range of career interests; these include: the Business Marketing Academy, Consulting Academy, Consumer Marketing Academy, Corporate Finance Academy, Entrepreneurial Management Academy, Investment Banking Academy, Investment Management Academy, Supply Chain & Global Management Academy, and Academy Plus Life Sciences.

Because of my marketing career interests, I am a member of the Consumer Marketing Academy (CMA). The CMA is co-directed by Dr. Jonlee Andrews and Ray Luther, who both bring unique perspectives and great consumer product marketing expertise to the program. The unmatched experiences we gain in the Consumer Marketing Academy is part of the reason why we believe Kelley offers the best consumer marketing MBA!

This past Friday we had our first Consumer Marketing Academy session, and I can already tell it's going to be a great semester during which I'm going to learn a wealth of new marketing knowledge. We started the session by getting an introduction to the CMA and some marketing terminology. Following that, we had a speed networking session with other CMA members to get to know each other a little better. I learned that I have some extremely interesting classmates, including one who formerly ran her own handbag design company, and another who previously worked at a start-up that grew from 30 to 200 employees during her 4 years there!

After getting to know our first year classmates a little better, we were introduced to our second year peer coaches. These peer coaches will help us throughout our first year internship search. They will teach us how to perfect the art of networking, give us interview tips and advice, and offer to answer our career-related questions.

I am excited to see what the rest of the Consumer Marketing Academy Fridays will bring! With such a great academy led by amazing directors like Jonlee and Ray, it's no wonder Kelley is known as a top MBA Product Marketing program!

Additional Resources for Your Search

My last post discussed several resources available to assist you in the MBA search and application process. In addition, I would encourage you to spend time on, the official site of business school. This is not only the site you will use to register for the GMAT, it also provides several practice tests and GMAT prep resources as well as information about business school in general and profiles of each business school. You can even utilize the search options to find schools that may match what you’re looking for in a program. Take time to familiarize yourself with this site and the free resources available to you!

Another great resource to utilize in the process of determining your future career path, whether an MBA is right for you, and throughout the application process are the people around you. Consider your friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, supervisors, clients, and even those people you may have casual conversation with on the train or sitting next to you on a flight. Learn about their backgrounds and how they got to where they are today. You’ll be surprised how much people will actually share about themselves and how they got to where they are today. In doing so, you may learn more about potential paths to your future.

While many times this conversation can be simply informal, you may also want to utilize what are commonly referred to as informational interviews. This type of “interview” is a simple conversation. Identify someone that you see as a mentor or in a position that you may like to pursue at some point. Ask that person to lunch or out for coffee. Let him or her know that you’re considering your future plans and perhaps even an MBA. Ask how they got to where they are today and learn more about their background. Again, it can be a simple conversation and doesn’t have to be a formal interview by any means. The goal is simply to learn about various career paths and the options of getting there that are available to you. At the same time, you’ll likely find yourself building deeper relationships and gaining mentors along the way. This will help throughout your career as well as in the application process. (Don’t forget you’ll need letters of recommendation at some point, which I’ll discuss in a future post!) Taking the time to discover and learn these things will also help you formulating “your story” and essays. (Again, I’ll discuss these things in a later post.)

Well, my flight is about to land in San Francisco and it’s time to shut down the laptop. I look forward to sharing more soon!

Update from the admissions committee: Our online application is now available and there is no application fee! Be sure to read all of the instructions carefully. I’ll be posting more application tips in coming posts so be sure to come back and visit!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Net Impact Chapter at Kelley

One of the things I chose to focus on while going through the MBA admission process was the Net Impact program at each of the top ranked business graduate schools. I did not know which route I wanted to take and was considering doing either a social entrepreneurship MBA or an MBA in corporate finance. I did know however that even if I chose to go the corporate finance route, I wanted to be at a school that took corporate social responsibility seriously. It was Kelley's openness to student ideas that caused me to take a second look. While GLOBASE was a clear example of this, the introduction of Net Impact's Board Fellows program was another.

The Board Fellows program is one that provides students in MBA programs the opportunity to sit on the boards of local non-profit organizations and help those organizations with different types of projects. It does not matter if you are looking to get an MBA in entrepreneurship, marketing, finance, or supply chain management, the Board Fellows program has something for you.

Last year I worked with Wonderlab, a children's science museum in Bloomington, and was amazed at how many different aspects of business my project touched on. What started out as a pretty clear cut retail store profitability analysis soon exploded into much more. It became about marketing and ensuring we were selling the right products to the right customers. It became about supply chain and ensuring we were ordering the right amount of product from the right vendors. It became about the accounting system and ensuring that the information being given to the board was accurate. What started out small, grew and helped me to understand how a nationally ranked MBA could really help me to attack a problem from all possible angles to reach the best solution.

In addition to wanting to participate in board fellows, I had clear goals coming into the program of additional changes I wanted to enact. The first thing I wanted was to change the MBA course curriculum to include more material related to sustainability and CSR. After becoming a member of the Net Impact chapter and a part of the leadership team, I decided to take the idea of curriculum change to the MBA administration and faculty. My request was willingly received, and I am thrilled to say that a case has been added to the MBA core curriculum this year. All of the first year MBAs are going to be learning about Hindustan Lever (Unilever) and their marketing of Anapurna salt to Base of the Pyramid consumers in India. This willing change in the curriculum came in response to one student's approach of the administration, and this is why I believe I am in the best MBA program in the USA!

While I have PLENTY more to say on Net Impact, I will save it for another post. Take care and come back soon!

Corporate Finance Academy

We had our first Corporate Finance Academy (CFA) meeting yesterday. We heard from our Graduate Career Services representative and learned how to better craft CAR statements for use in resumes and interviews. This was followed with a little breakout session where we worked on crafting our own CAR statements in groups of two and then some students were able to present their CAR's to the rest of the academy. It takes practice and effort to create effective CAR statements and the experience yesterday will benefit me down the road.

In other news, the CFA will be taking a trip to either Minneapolis or New York City next month. I'll be part of the trip to Minneapolis to visit Target, Best Buy, General Mills, and Ecolab. Those going to New York City will be visiting General Motors (Treasury Division), Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Toys R' Us. I look forward to being on campus at these companies to see first-hand the opportunities available for those with an MBA in Corporate Finance.

While on these trips, we'll have an evening to network with Kelley School of Business alum. This is what makes the Kelley MBA one of the best MBA programs in the USA. The alumni base is very strong and always willing to help.

Since I'm a career switcher MBA, these academy sessions will help me gain relevant experience in corporate finance and better prepare me for internship interviewing season.

Friday, September 24, 2010

1/4 way through the core

It's hard to believe that the first four weeks of classes are already in the books. Mid-terms are coming up in a couple of weeks and the time will just keep on flying. Pretty soon, the internship interviewing season will be here. It's a challenge to not just focus on my studies right now. There is definitely a balancing act to perform between doing homework and researching companies and networking trying to land the perfect internship to qualify for the perfect position right out of MBA school.

The best part of this first month has been the professors. While going through the MBA admissions process, I was impressed with the classroom experience ranking and professors at the Kelley School of Business. My personal experience has been fantastic. Each professor is driven to make sure that I understand the concepts. They are patient with those who don't have as much experience as others and who may be hearing about their subject for the very first time. I know that any time I'm struggling with the material, they will always be available to teach me one-on-one in their office. I can't imagine trying to suceed in a nationally ranked MBA program without this level of support from the professors.

How I landed in Bloomington

When I decided to pursue admission into a nationally ranked MBA program, there were a few things that were really important to me. Of course there were the usual things like the MBA course curriculum and MBA social life, world-class faculty, and being a part of a top ranked MBA program, but one thing that initially drove my decision was location. Now, I grew up in Salt Lake City, went to school in Phoenix and lived in Orange County prior to school and considered myself a bonafide city girl looking at programs in all of the major cities across the US.

As a consultant, I spent a fair amount of time on airplanes traveling across the country. People would regularly initiate small-talk and we would have a brief conversation then go back to whatever it was we were doing to pass the time. One day, I had my MBA admission essay book out and a man sitting next to me asked where I was applying. I told him my list of schools, and he replied, "What, why aren't you considering Kelley?" He was an MBA alumni of the program, and I had heard of Kelley through my work in Indianapolis, but replied, "Bloomington, no way, it's not for me." We continued our conversation about my interest in marketing and my background in advertising and consulting and started getting into the specifics of what I really wanted out of an MBA and before I knew it, we were getting ready to land. As we were deboarding the plane, he turned to me and said, "After hearing what you are looking for, I think you would be a great fit at Kelley, you really should consider applying." I thanked him and we went our separate ways in the Denver airport. Later that week, curiosity got the best of me and I went online to learn more about the Kelley School of Business and their consumer marketing program and was pleasantly surprised with what I found.

The rest of the story goes a little like this. I apprehensively applied after thinking to myself, "hey, why not," came to campus to interview and fell in love with the program. What had originally been my largest area of concern-location and what I thought would be limited access to major companies, turned out to be one of the biggest selling points. Bloomington is a one-of-a-kind place and the culture of the school is a direct result of its location in this quaint college town. It's central location provides easy access to cities like Chicago, Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Louisville, etc. and I learned that not only do companies come to our campus through our Graduate Career Services, we go to the companies through our Kelley Academies. I am excited to be sharing more of the reasons I love Bloomington with you this semester, and if you have a chance to come here, do-you might be surprised with what you find!

I Can See Alumni.....Everywhere!

As your search continues for the perfect nationally ranked MBA program (luckily it can stop here), many programs will profess their great connections to their alumni. After nearly two months on campus, I can tell you that everything the MBA admission office promised me is coming true, and more so....

There are alumni from top companies recruiting here on campus every, single, week.

Of any organization, company - even long term friends, I've never seen such commitment from alumni to stay connected and work to forward the next generation of top ranked MBAs. It seems that at least two nights every week our beautiful atrium is packed with proud individuals bearing an "I-U" on their shirt, talking about their experience here at Kelley and looking for new recruits at their business or in there industry. I truly feel like they're really looking out for me, and the rest of my classmates.

Are alumni relations something that's going to make or break your decision? There's something about Kelley that keeps these brilliant and motivated people connected 1,2, or 30 years out - and helping us get the dream jobs we want.

Stop searching, and come here. Welcome.

Social Gatherings

So, at the Kelley School of Business, we have a lot of opportunities to get involved and engaged in a number of things. For example, I'm a member of the Student Admissions Council and am a graduate assistant for MBA admissions; I'm also a member of the marketing club, the wine club, and am now a peer coach for some of the Consumer Marketing Academy first year students. But, my favorite thing to do and get involved in is probably the 'wind-down' at the end of the week. We have what's called a D-Bar (designated bar or restaurant) that the MBA students are invited to congregate at and socialize. It's a great way for the students to mingle and get to know each other better, and frankly do some intra (and inter) class networking. But, most of all, it's fun! It's great to go out on a Friday night and see your friends and maybe have a beer while relaxing after what was likely a week full of homework, team projects, club duties, and more.

I'm very much looking forward to hitting up the Bluebird for some Hairbanger's Ball (amazing 80's cover band) this weekend! This is what the MBA social life is all about...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Why I chose the Kelley School of Business for Supply Chain & Operations

Kelley is known among top ranked MBAs as a top entrepreneurship MBA, social entrepreneurship MBA, and life sciences MBA, but why choose Kelley for Supply Chain?

Supply Chain & Global Management Academy (SCGMA)

The SCGMA at Kelley provides you with a unique opportunity to augment your education and work experience across three dedicated Academy weeks. In Academy Week 1, you learn about different career paths in Supply Chain & Operations from industry experts and focus on developing competencies in global business. In weeks 2 and 3, you work on two live “real-world” consulting projects for multi-national companies. For example, in Academy Week 3 we analyzed sustainability across industries in the state of Indiana and made data-driven recommendations on areas for growth and investment. In the SCGMA, you are also paired in a 1:1 mentoring relationship with a seasoned executive that can serve as a strategic resource for you. Anytime I have a question for my mentor, he always gets back to me right away and is more than happy to talk it over with me. Simply put, the Supply Chain & Global Management Academy gives you an important edge over other MBAs by increasing the breadth of your Supply Chain experience.

2) Supply Chain & Operations Major and World-Class Faculty

Kelley gives you the opportunity to specialize in Supply Chain and to gain expertise in pertinent subject areas. The MBA course curriculum includes classes such as Project Management, Sustainability, Revenue Management, Strategic Sourcing, Business Process Design, Data Mining, and Spreadsheet Modeling. However, the faculty is really what differentiates Kelley from other nationally ranked MBA programs. The quality of teaching at Kelley is, in my opinion, unrivaled. Professors are dynamic and challenge you to think and grow. In addition, our professors write all of the textbooks we use which are many of the same ones used in other top MBA programs. They are all regarded as experts in their fields. For example, Wayne Winston is my professor for spreadsheet modeling. He writes the Microsoft Excel book that you find in bookstores and works directly with Microsoft to improve each new version of Excel.

3) Systems & Operations Management Association (SOMA)

SOMA is a student-run professional club that supports Supply Chain & Operations majors. SOMA supports students by filling in the gaps with additional programming. We arrange company visits (to FedEx, Amazon, and Toyota to name a few) to create networking opportunities and to learn more about how these companies operate. We also organize a student-led Trek the first week of January to network and to increase interest in recruiting at Kelley. Last year, our trip to Chicago included visits to the company headquarters of Sears, Walgreens, and Grainger. We bring in speakers from different companies on topics such as Procurement, Project Management, and Six Sigma. We also sponsor students in case and simulation competitions, hold social events, and organize mock interviews. Each semester we survey students to find out what types of activities would provide the most value and schedule events accordingly.

4) Graduate Career Services (GCS), Dedicated Supply Chain Career Coaching, and Peer Mentoring

As an MBA student at Kelley, expect to receive a lot of personalized attention to support your career search. Kelley has a dedicated career coach for Supply Chain & Operations who has significant industry experience. This career coach is available to help you craft your story, your resume, and help you prepare for interviews. As a first-year, you also select a 2nd year student to serve as your peer mentor. Your peer mentor gives you further advice, answers questions about recruiting and courses, and helps you prepare to interview and land your ideal internship. Finally, GCS brings in top companies that hire Supply Chain MBAs for summer internships and full-time positions.

5) The State of Indiana

You may not know this but Indiana is known as “The Crossroads of America.” What does that mean? Running through Indianapolis are major highways including I-70 (going East-West) and I-65 (going North-South). This makes Indiana the perfect location for companies to locate their distribution centers. For example, FedEx’s 2nd largest hub in the US is in Indianapolis. Many major companies have operations in the state and Indiana has a strong manufacturing heritage. We are home to manufacturing plants for Toyota, Honda, Subaru, and a multitude of other types of companies. I could go on all day. Suffice it to say, the Kelley School of Business is perfectly located in the center of a huge amount of Supply Chain activity that students can take full advantage of from an educational and career perspective.

Those are some of the major reasons I chose Kelley for Supply Chain among other top ranked business graduate schools. Interested in an MBA in Corporate Finance, or an MBA in Entrepreneurship, or an MBA in Marketing? Or, still have unanswered questions about Kelley? Look at some of the other blogs or feel free to contact a current student.

Stay tuned for a future post on MBA Social Life. I hope this one helped clarify why Kelley is among the best Masters of Business Administration Programs available for Supply Chain.

Art Exhibition at Kelley

Kelley is a Nationally Ranked MBA school that is known for its collaborative culture. The focus at Kelley is not just about creating Top Ranked MBAs. The school actively encourages students to explore their true passions and creates well-rounded leaders who are positioned to succeed when they graduate from school and enter the workplace.

I am passionate about art, and I try to incorporate that passion into everything I do. "Arts at Kelley" is a student group that facilitates exchange of information about art events on campus and in Bloomington. Currently the group led by Jean Luo and Amber Dimkoff, is organizing a weeklong art exhibition featuring works of art by several talented Kelley MBA students. A couple of pictures are featured below. The first one shows the paintings by several Kelley MBA students displayed in the atrium and the second one includes two of my own paintings that were part of the exhibit.

A tip for prospective students applying for MBA Admission to Kelley: Ensure that apart from your story around how an MBA in Corporate Finance or an MBA in Entrepreneurship might help you achieve your dream goals, you also include stories about your passions and how you could make a difference at Kelley.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Social Enterprise and a Top Ranked MBA

One of the things that drew me to Kelley when I was looking at all of the nationally ranked MBA programs was the focus on social entrepreneurship. Specifically, the new student led initiative, GLOBASE. It doesn't matter if you are getting an MBA in corporate finance, an MBA in entrepreneurship, or an MBA in marketing, this program has something to offer.

GLOBASE is an incredible opportunity that sets Kelley apart from its peer schools. It is an innovative course that combines real life leadership experience with social entrepreneurship, marketing, finance, and supply chain management. What began as one trip each year to Lima, Peru, has now become three trips to Peru, Ghana, and India. I was thrilled when I was given the chance to go to Peru last year, but nothing can compare to what I am experiencing as a member of this year's leadership team for India.

As a student leader, I am getting to see a whole different side of the program. It's not just about working with our partner organization and making their business better, it is also about developing the strongest experience possible for my classmates. Being a part of a top ranked MBA program, this is a daunting task!! I am looking forward to sharing more about the experience in upcoming posts, so stay tuned!

The Economics of Culture

We think on global levels; and although every class is a voracious challenge, we take a huge bite out of it and come back for more. Why? Because we're Kelleys.

Our Economics professor has been in Peru for three weeks laying the foundations for one of our Spring Break work-abroad programs - these kind of programs are just a small slice that contribute to this being the best MBA program in the USA. We've only had one class from him, but he's returned and it's time for another double-session from his feverish, contagious, heart-racing teaching-style. It's a sickness - and it's one we all want to catch as part of this nationally ranked MBA.

We come into the room and take our normal seats, the lights dimmed, and we go over our notes for today's case discussion on the aluminum industry - case studies are an essential part of the MBA Course Curriculum. Russia's flooded the market with aluminum, prices have stagnated and we're trying to determine whether to build a $1.6 billion new facility to produce more. And then he enters......

Phil Powell erupts into the room just a few hours after dawn in a pinstripe suit and exercises the full space of the room, up and down the aisles, back to his notes of on the overhead, leaning on desks to chat one on one. His voice fills the space and his convictions are certain - this case event may have happened 16 years ago, but he has elected us to the board of directors and this event is looming on our doorstep today. Cold calls come left and right; but we're ready and ex marketers, investors, PR managers, non-profit grant-writers and accountants reply with insights and solutions back and forth.

When the whirlwind is over, we walk from the room with smiles and open eyes - we can actually physically feel that we are smarter. We have collaborated on a global solution concerning billions of dollars and thousands of livelihoods, and Phil's energy and passion has exhausted us. But as Phil tells us, every time the work hurts, we need hear a "chu-ching" in our head, paying off making us more brilliant for the future. He reassures us, time and again, that we are Kelleys and people will look to us in the future for leadership and certainty. And we will deliver.

It's a global mind-set - and it's exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time. I can feel myself getting better.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

MBA Course Curriculum for Second Years

Ah, it is an amazing feeling to be a second year, and when I returned to campus this fall, one of the things I have been looking forward to the most are some of the amazing classes I get to take. While the first years are starting to get knee deep into the Core, I am exploring some of the program's best classes. MBA course curriculum at Kelley allows each student to take a total of eight courses each semester-four classes each of the two, seven week sessions. Over the next few entries, I will be providing some highlights from my coursework and my very animated nationally ranked MBA professors.

My two marketing courses this semester are Jonlee Andrew's M537 Consumer Channel Management, which focuses on understanding the retailer's perspective in consumer marketing and Neil Morgan's M512 Marketing Strategy, where we are learning how to approach marketing strategy and understanding the implications of those strategies. I am also taking Roberto Garcia's D503 Environments of International Business, and Professor Hayford's W505 Negotiations and Managing Conflict. The faculty are an integrated part of our program and are one of the driving factors making Kelley the best MBA program in the USA.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Headed home! Diversity Weekend and Women's Weekend

The past three weeks have been a whirlwind of sorts, but I’m finally preparing to return to the US. It’s hard to believe my time in Asia has come to an end, but having been to seven cities in eight countries I’m ready to be home for a few days to get caught up on some things and prepare for some of our on-campus events, including Kelley In Focus Diversity Weekend and Kelley Women’s Weekend. These two programs are a highlight of the year and provide potential candidates an opportunity to experience the Kelley MBA Program firsthand.

Kelley In Focus takes place Friday, October 8 through Sunday, October 10. There will be a number of optional activities on Friday, including a tour of the Godfrey Executive Education Center, lunch with current students, and an opportunity to complete an admissions interview. The weekend will officially kickoff with a welcome reception that evening. Saturday will be filled with sessions to learn more about the Kelley MBA Program as well as the value of the Consortium for Graduate Studies in Management (The Consortium). The Kelley School is a founding member of the Consortium, an organization that includes 17 top MBA programs in the US. The mission of the Consortium is to promote underrepresented minorities (namely African American, Hispanic American, and Native American) in business. All students that demonstrate a commitment to this mission are welcome to apply directly through the Consortium. Applicants utilizing the Consortium application are able to apply to up to six member schools as well as be considered for Consortium membership and a full-tuition fellowship to one of the member schools. Membership in the Consortium offers several benefits such as a special Orientation Program (the OP) for all members, early networking opportunities with corporate recruiters, access to an alumni network across all member schools, and more. The Consortium provides amazing support and opportunities for its members. I encourage you to look into this option as well as register to attend Kelley In Focus to learn more about the benefits of the organization and more specifically the Kelley MBA Program.

Similarly, Kelley Women’s Weekend will take place Friday, October 15 through Sunday, October 17. All women interested in pursuing an MBA should register to attend in order to learn more about the Kelley MBA Program, life in Bloomington, and being successful as a woman in business. Kelley is also a member school of the Forte Foundation, which seeks to promote the role of women in business. In addition to Kelley Women’s Weekend, you can also attend a Forte Forum to learn more about the specific benefits of this organization. Several programs are offered throughout the US and I would encourage you to take advantage of the resources offered by Forte including fellowship opportunities, networking, and professional development.

As you can see, there are several resources available to assist throughout the MBA search and application process as well as your career. The Kelley MBA team participates in a number of events throughout the US with these groups and they are a great way to learn more about the organizations as well as the member schools. I encourage you to research these organizations and attend an event in your area to learn more about the resources they provide.

And now, here are a few more photos from a rice barge tour I took in Bangkok earlier this week. See you again soon!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Back on Campus and Busy with the Second Year!

Well, I'm back on campus and deep in the middle of juggling all the responsibilities of the second year of an MBA student. I'm juggling my job search, classes, my graduate assistantship, other extracurricular activities, and the MBA social life.

I'll get to all that's going on now in my next post, but now I wanted to give you a recap of my awesome consumer marketing MBA internship at Taco Bell.

Hello, May I take your order?

No, I didn't spend all 12 weeks working the drive-thru. I did work one day in the store and got this awesome picture of me using the skills I gained at a nationally ranked MBA program to good use.

At Taco Bell this summer, I was working on a future-looking project that we're testing. So I have to be a bit hush-hush on the specifics, but it was a great experience getting a look at the future of the brand. Like many other marketing MBA internships, I had a strategic project, a creative project, and a leadership project. I worked on projects that had a wide ranging 20,000-foot high view of the brand, and then also worked on projects that affected the company at the restaurant level.

One of the biggest development opportunities I got from my internship was great experience testing out some of the methods and practices I learned in my MBA course curriculum. This is so valuable and shows the importance of an MBA for non-business majors.

Yum! Brands is just one of a huge list of companies that offer great internship experiences to Kelley MBA students. I'm so happy I had a great internship and am looking forward to using my Taco Bell experience at school and in all my future jobs!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Hello! Kannichiwa! Ni hao!

While I did mention various upcoming MBA fairs and recruitment events in my last post, I failed to provide much detail. My initial post last week was written from Tokyo, Japan and today I’m coming to you from Beijing, China (with a quick trip to Shanghai, China in between). I’m currently in the midst of a three week trip throughout East Asia as a part of The MBA Tour. It’s quite an exciting experience, being in a new city (or country) every other day for another event!

The MBA Tour is an excellent resource for students considering business education. The event includes various panel discussions of admissions representatives from a number of top business schools to discuss how admissions decisions are made, how to manage your career search, the opportunities for women in business, and others. Some cities also include alumni panels as well as individual school presentations. Each event culminates with a two-hour MBA fair that includes some of the top MBA programs from around the world. As you can tell, these events can be quite beneficial and provide a wealth of information about the opportunities for an MBA. Again, I would encourage you to take advantage of these opportunities throughout the United States and the world as you are researching and applying to business school.

An added benefit of the MBA Tour from the perspective of admissions representatives is the opportunity to take advantage of professional and cultural activities as we travel. Today I visited Google China with a group of colleagues to meet with some of the executives and employees. It was quite interesting to hear the perspectives of their leaders, especially given Google’s recent challenges in China.

In talking with the employees of Google China, we spent quite a bit of time discussing the value of an MBA and the benefits it can provide. These are popular topics with potential MBA candidates, especially those considering a career change. An MBA is not merely a credential, nor should it be treated as one. Rather, it is a way of thinking and approaching situations. Throughout the MBA experience, you will be challenged to think differently, across all aspects, and consider as many factors as possible. Rather than focusing on one particular aspect of a problem or situation, you will learn to take into account multiple solutions and think analytically in order to come to the best conclusion. These points may sound somewhat general in nature, but that is also the essence of the value and benefit of the MBA being useful across disciplines and in all industries, even in daily life itself. In addition to gaining broad technical knowledge and building skills in leadership and team dynamics, the MBA experience changes the way you approach situations. Many candidates are looking for a better career outlook and an MBA can help with that, but even more so, it changes your outlook. An MBA not only helps to advance your career, it also enhances your life.

As you think about the MBA, I would encourage you to really focus on how it will not only help you professionally, but also consider how your life will change. Consider not only the technical skills you will take away but also how the overall experience will build upon what you have learned in your career up to this point. Take time to truly think about these points and why you may be pursuing an MBA. It’s always hard to find extra time to just sit and think about things like this, but doing so will not only help you clarify your goals and focus, but outlining these things will help you tremendously when it comes time to write your application essays! Again, we can get more into the specifics of essays and other aspects later, but for now, schedule time to think about these things. You’ll be surprised how clear your path and next steps may become!

Here are a few pictures from my time in Asia thus far. I’m looking forward to sharing more again soon! Enjoy!

Meiji Jingu (a Shinto shrine) and the Tokyo skyline

Entry to the Peninsula Hotel Beijing and our group at Google China

Social Impact through women entrepreneurs

By Rocio Ortiz
Second-year MBA

After spending nine days in Fiji, I am convinced this experience has changed my life forever.
I can highlight so many things about this trip, but the best was being part of this amazing project whose main objective is to make a positive impact in the life of women entrepreneurs and their families. That’s definitively one of the things I always wanted to get from my MBA, and it happened!

We met our goal; we interviewed 101 women who never stopped surprising us with their stories. They were so open to share their ideas, their culture and even welcome us at their homes. I am so impressed with the enormous potential that this country has, not only because it is so rich in terms of material resources but also because its people are great – including all the organizations that are willing to help and improve the lives of people in these communities. 

Throughout these days, we gained a better understanding of the importance of the role of culture in Fijian microfinance and the huge need for projects like SPBD’s to make a real impact in the life of these communities.

I can’t wait for SPBD to start operations and know how the life of these women and their families is being changed.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Hello World!

Welcome to the Kelley MBA Admissions blog. This forum will serve as a resource for you throughout the business school application process and offer several pieces of advice from the perspective of the admissions committee as well as insight into the Kelley MBA Program. My name is Brad Rosenwinkel and I will serve as your host. I have been a part of the Kelley MBA admissions team since August 2008 and am excited to share my experience and perspectives with you. I hope to provide insight as well as share some personal stories from the world of admissions professionals. So let’s get going!

The subject of this first post is quite fitting—referencing a typical message utilized when learning a new computer programming language as well as the timing of the admissions and recruiting cycle. The school year has begun and it’s time for my colleagues and I to “hit the road” to begin building relationships and meeting a new class of MBA candidates. This is one of my favorite times in admissions, both traveling and meeting new people to serve as a business school resource. I know that my colleagues feel the same and look forward to meeting you as we travel the globe in the coming months. Be sure check our list of upcoming events and meet us in a city near you! (This is a great way to learn more about the program, as well as allow us to meet you and provide additional support in the MBA application process.)

An update from the Admissions Committee: the Kelley MBA application for Fall 2011 will be available online shortly but you may want to learn more about the admissions process and deadlines. There will be little change in our application for this year and the essay topics will remain the same. All aspects of the application will be submitted online, including transcripts and letters of recommendation. International applicants will also note that we will now accept the IELTS in addition to TOEFL. For students considering application via the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, the Consortium application is now available online! (More to come in regard to the Consortium in a later post.)

I suppose I should keep this short and save some content to include in later posts. Check back for weekly updates! I look forward to sharing more!

Fijian Salt Entrepreneurs

The past two days have been invaluable to our project. Yesterday we were able to meet with a group of women in Ba who make a variety of traditional crafts, primarily for Fijian events such as weddings and funerals. The women make the majority of their crafts by hand, and it was amazing to see the time and effort that went into their work.

We were then able to meet with “friend” an organization in Fiji which works with women on income generation initiatives. Generally, the women friend works with are more interested in making a business out of their work, and it would appear these women would make excellent use of a microfinance opportunity.

Finally, we met with a village that makes traditional Fijian salt. This was our most productive visit to date. The women of this village are extremely entrepreneurial and are anticipating turning their salt into a real commercial product. The village will be a place where tourists can come and watch the traditional salt being made…for a price of course. Upon leaving, tourists will be allowed to buy the salt, known for its restorative properties…again, for a price.

These big plans all come at a cost though, and this is where microfinance could really help. Additionally, these women could benefit from advisory services which an MFI could provide.

Today we’re in Suva, and have several meetings on the agenda. We’ll be sure to keep the blog up to date as we conclude our time here in Fiji. As much as we’re all missing Kelley, it will be hard to leave the people and island of Fiji.

Guest blog post provided by Matt Hutchens, Kelley MBA 2011.

I Have No Dignity, But I Have My Costume…

After a successful Friday working with Microfinance West and vendors in Lautoka and Veisese, we decided to spend another day learning from entrepreneurs at the Lautoka market.

This time Dr. Sharma, our new friend and dean of the UniFiji business school, escorted us there and helped us track down a man called the Market Master. Before today, we weren’t really aware that the market had a master, but apparently all the Fijian town markets have them; Lautoka’s Market Master is Ponsamy Mudaliar. He was kind enough to spend about an hour talking to us, explaining his role and his perspective on how the market operates. As the master, his primary responsibility is to collect daily market fees, but he also sees himself as the person who the vendors can come to for help with whatever needs they may have. (Luckily for the market vendors, he’s a benevolent master.) As yet, he hasn’t been involved with any of the microfinance companies in operation, but given his prominent position in the market he is definitely a useful connection for anyone wanting to work with small business owners who sell at the Lautoka market.

Mr. Mudaliar introduced us to an amazing woman named Makareta Rika, who has worked in the market for 41 years, and who currently serves as President of the Lautoka Market Vendors Association (an organization comprised of about 1,200 small business owners). She is a gracious and kind woman, and she knows just about everything about anything that goes on or has gone on in the market. She introduced us to several handicraft vendors who we then interviewed for our microfinance study.

After we put in a few hours speaking to women in the Lautoka market (we’ve spoken to about 40 women so far), our driver Ravin took us to a beach he knew about on the west side of the island. It was down a long dirt road and there weren’t many people there, but we did run across a group of boys who were busy burying one of their friends in the sand. They claimed they had killed him, but his breathing betrayed their story. Since they weren’t killers, we talked to them for a while, and Melanie in passing asked if they could climb the trees by the beach. Not only could they climb the trees, as it turned out, but they could also throw down coconuts, produce machetes seemingly out of thin air, and cut the coconuts open for us to drink. When we finished drinking coconut milk, they cut the coconuts open, fashioned spoons out of the coconut shells, and gave them to us to eat. I felt pretty silly and useless as a sheltered American at that moment, but it didn’t stop me from enjoying the coconut.

Walking back along the beach, we met a group of young men who called us over to where they were sitting. We told them what we were doing in Fiji, and, taking us to be business experts, they asked us a lot of questions about how credit cards work. The idea that a person could take out a loan with a card and instantly use it to pay for something like a vacation was fascinating to them. We tried to warn them about the dangers of consumer debt, so hopefully they won’t fall into the trap that most of America fell into.

As we were leaving, one of them got the idea to trade T-shirts with me. I have no idea where he got the shirt he offered me (he wasn’t wearing it himself, and it was purple with pink lettering), but I went ahead with the trade. The exchange might have been Fijian “kari kari” in action, but I’m not really sure. In any case, now he’s got a Kelley School of Business t-shirt and I’ve got a T-shirt that is about two sizes too small and says, “I have no costume, but I have my dignity.” In a nice pretty script. Wearing the shirt back to the hotel, I doubted if either of those assertions was true. In fact, the opposite was probably more a lot more accurate.

I plan to present the T-shirt to Dr. Powell as evidence of our Fijian cultural immersion, so feel free to stop by his office and check it out. We’ll write more soon!

Guest blog post provided by Jacob Hiatt, Kelley MBA 2011