Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Education Pivots on a Dime in Real Time

This week marks Academy Week #1 at the best MBA program in the USA, the Kelley School of Business. While Academy weeks can be hard to describe, and I highly recommend you visiting the website to learn about this completely unique, one-of-a-kind program at one of the top ranked MBAs, here it is in a nutshell:

All classes stop for one week and you and a group of your peers take an intense, focused look at your chosen industry of study: marketing, entrepreneurship, investment banging, etc...

In my academy, Supply Chain and Global Management, our head and inspiring speaker, Roberto Garcia, was leading us in a discussion for identifying international business opportunities across the world. One of our very socially-minded students spoke up with the question:

"Is it ethical to set up a factory in a country in which the money you pump into the economy directly funds genocide and human rights violations?"

Our class began to discuss back and forth, as this was no easy question to answer. What completely surprised me, and what I will remember the rest of my life, is Dr. Garcia interrupted all of us, scrapped the agenda for the entire morning, and gave us nearly an hour to pick our sides on the debate, develop an argument and then present to the class.

What followed were 24 logical, passionate, well-thought-out arguments to attempt to address this incredibly difficult issue. I felt so fortunate to be sharing the same classroom as these brilliant minds, just listening was a privilege. There was no harsh debate or personal attacks - simple logic and probing questions to get at the heart of the issue.

What impressed me so much though was how quickly and easily Dr. Garcia was willing to scrap his carefully crafted schedule when he saw an opportunity for brilliant discussion. I feel that is simply a recurring trend at Kelley - the faculty and staff's ability to turn on a dime to seize opportunities and make the most of enriching educational opportunities. Being one of the top ranked business graduate schools, Kelley's program is nimble and smart; and when an opportunity comes along to change our minds forever, the faculty and staff are more than prepared to capitalize on it and take us to new heights.

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