Friday, February 25, 2011

Experiencing Different Cultures Through Your MBA Classmates

When looking at where you want to pursue your MBA management degree, it is important to look beyond just the business graduate school ranking. So much of your experiences from your two year MBA program come from your fellow classmates, so finding top ranked MBA colleges that have diverse classes in terms of gender, backgrounds, nationalities, and more can be just as important, and is definitely something taken into consideration by MBA admission teams. The Kelley School of Business definitely offers a diverse class profile, with ~30% international students, ~30% U.S. minorities, and ~30% women. I have personally felt the benefits of being part of a diverse class of students in a multitude of ways.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, as a first year MBA student at Kelley, you are placed into a team of 4-5, and as a general rule, at least one of your team members will be female and at least one will be an international student. I had an international student from South Korea, Tae Hyun, on my core team and had the pleasure of learning about Korean culture through my interactions with him. Tae Hyun even treated our team to lunch at a local Korean restaurant.

Outside of teams, there are also many other opportunities to explore other cultures. For example, the Asian MBA Association put on Korea Night last fall, where all Kelley MBA students and their partners and families could "travel to Korea" and get a taste for the cuisine, music, and culture.

Managing Multiple Teams at Kelley

As a first year MBA student at the Kelley School of Business, you feel such relief when you have completed the first semester of your two year MBA program. At Kelley the first semester of your masters of business administration program is called "The Core", and it is an intense time period to say the least. One of the key learnings that comes from "The Core" is time management. Not only are you managing your workload as it pertains to your MBA management degree courses, but you are balancing that with MBA student activities, and professional and career development. Given all of this, I was surprised to hear many second year MBA students at Kelley as well as faculty warn that time management would be even more difficult once out of "The Core".

Time management is done out of necessity in "The Core", and I'll be frank in saying that there really isn't that much time left to manage after taking out the time that is managed for you. After "The Core" as a Kelley student you choose the courses you wish to take to complete your MBA professional degree. Generally, students take eight courses per semester, which are subdivided into two sets of four seven week courses, where as in "The Core" students are taking eight courses simultaneously. As a result, there is a lot more "unscheduled" time after "The Core" just as a result of the course structure. Having more "unscheduled" time however means that as a student you must be more efficient about managing that time. This become challenging because instead of working on one team for all eight courses in "The Core" you may have a different team for each of your four seven week courses, which is a lot more schedules to coordinate.

What surprises me about the two year MBA program experience is how much of the valuable learnings occur outside of the classroom. At a top ranked MBA college you are learning so much more than what is taught in the classroom. I recall someone telling me before I started my MBA management degree that I would schedule everything, including grocery shopping and working out on my Outlook calendar. I thought they were crazy, but they were right. One of the most important tools in managing multiple teams is making sure all team members keep their Outlook calendars up to date so that meetings can be scheduled with minimal conflicts and minimal effort, so my advice, start using it now.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hands-on Learning

One great feature about Kelley is the countless opportunities for experiential learning. Hands-on real-world projects are a feature that really defines that Academy experience at the Kelley School of Business. In the Entrepreneurship Management Academy (EMA), students are working to help commercialize real inventions in high tech and life sciences. This has been a fantastic opportunity to apply what we’ve learned in the Academy along with the classroom. It's another reason that Kelley is the Best Entrepreneurship MBA. The semester long team project will culminate with a client presentation on Monday – yet another opportunity for students to polish their presentation skills.
To give you an idea of how real these projects are, I actually cannot talk about them in detail because we’ve all signed confidentiality agreements.

After we present our business plans, the EMA members will all be heading out to San Francisco for the remainder of the week.

Preparing For the Road Ahead, Coming From the Road Less Traveled

Ever since we returned to school in January, the Kelley MBA experience has been a flurry of activity that in many ways is even more intense and demanding than the transformative Core curriculum in the fall. Students become (even more) familiar with the Graduate Career Services office, meeting with some of the many on-campus recruiters sent by a variety of different organizations. Over and over, we have the opportunity (and the challenge) to sell ourselves, to articulate our professional and personal goals, and to convince interviewers that our background and skill sets are relevant and valuable in pursuit of the internships they offer.

Oh, and by the way, all this is happening in conjunction with the same rigorous academic courseload (complete with even more group projects and meetings than in the fall) that made the Core so much fun. Still, as challenging as my schedule is, I would expect no less at any other top-ranked, two-year MBA program, and I know that I am going to be all the better for it.

The need to paint a convincing picture of our personal story for all those interviews is one reason I am glad we spent part of orientation involved with the "Me, Inc." material developed by the GCS team. Especially because my work experience after college was not in a traditional business environment, the "Me, Inc." curriculum got me started thinking about how to shape my personal brand and story before I even began learning about SWOT analysis or Nash equilibria. As I think back on the many interviews I've had in the last few weeks, I know that being at Kelley was the right fit for me and has been instrumental in helping me chart the course of my professional development.

Training is Happening Now...Are you Open to Learn?

“Training is Happening Now.” That was the sign which sat on the desk of a former manager. I loved that sign because I knew the manager was interested in my professional development just as much as his own business results. He operated in a continual teaching mode ensuring that his employees were not only working on the business to drive sales, but were also learning from daily business challenges which ultimately made better employees with broader skill sets.

However, I must admit that it took me years to appreciate the true wisdom of the concept. I ultimately realized that the phrase needed to become a mindset rather than just a passing saying in order to develop myself as I truly wanted – especially as it relates to Leadership. For some people it’s probably an incomplete phrase and could be enhanced by the following; “Training is Happening Now…Are you Open to Learn?” I’ve failed in the past by not learning from experiences right in front of me - I wasn’t open to the insight. I see many students and young managers fall into this trap quite a bit. They want to be trained but somehow expect the only time that happens is when they’re in a formal training session. They miss the opportunity to actively learn from their daily interactions and challenges. I just read a great blog post from Linda Hill, and HBS professor, about this exact situation.

Translating your leadership experiences into meaningful stories is critical during a job search. Recruiters want to understand How you lead based upon your past experiences and challenges. Creating a habit of reflecting on and learning from these experiences will ultimately make you a stronger leader, better manager and hopefully a better teacher down the road. It will also enable you to confidently tell a story of what type of leader you are, and how you've developed over the years. “Training is Happening Now…Are you Open to Learn?”

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Day at Deloitte

It was a pleasant Friday morning. The air was crisp. As I pushed the revolving door of the Deloitte office in Chicago on South Wacker Drive, I eagerly looked forward to what the day held in store for me. I hoped to learn more about the Technology Consulting practice and the firm culture through this “Explore Your Opportunity” event.
The day began with an introductory presentation about Deloitte. Students from some of the best Masters of Business Administration Programs including Stanford, Wharton, Booth, Kellogg, Ross, and Duke listened attentively to the facts about the firm. (I also began to see how Business School Rankings matter!)
During lunch at the Townhouse Restaurant, I got the opportunity to interact with one of the Managers at Deloitte Consulting. After I finished the pan-seared tilapia, we had a session where some of the Consultants described their internship experience. We toured of a couple of the floors to see what the workplace and cubicles looked like. They have a reservation kiosk that you can use to book any free cubicles you want when you are in the office!
The Straight-Talk session with a Senior Manager and Principal was especially enlightening as we got direct answers about sticky questions around performance evaluations, mistakes past interns have made and career progression. The one-on-one session with a Director was also an excellent experience. Some of the topics we discussed included hiring challenges in the current economy, being open to explore possibilities in areas beyond your expertise, and ways to achieve a better work-life balance.
The theme that kept recurring (apart from the endless introductions!) was the traits displayed by successful interns in the past. Here is what I took away as the key recommendations: Focus on delivering quality work to the client, participate actively in firm activities including reaching out to the community, exhibit a positive attitude and continually looks for ways to make things better – qualities that would be expected from all the interns they hire from the top MBA Management Programs.
We ended the day with dinner at the Carnivale restaurant. (Interestingly enough there was a Carnivale event going on at Kelley as the same time!). Overall, it was a wonderful experience.
I spent the rest of the weekend exploring downtown Chicago with a couple of friends. The Cloud Gate at Millennium Park, and the view of Lake Shore from the Signature Lounge in the John Hancock building were particularly memorable. The Chicago art scene excites me too, and I have a lot to look forward to in the summer!

Consejos para el MBA

Quiero compartir contigo un par de tips que pueden llegar a ser útiles ahora que empieces tu MBA.

1. Se agradecido. Decir GRACIAS hace toda una diferencia.

2. Ten el mind-set correcto.

3. Recuerda que la universidad es un ambiente seguro en donde puedes compartir
tus ideas y desarrollar habilidades.

4. Antes de empezar el MBA pregúntate ¿Qué quiero hacer con mi vida? A veces se nos olvida que un MBA no es para conseguir el trabajo que te llevará a dónde quieres estar dentro de 10 años.

5. El MBA es un programa muy demandante, pero es importante que tengas un balance en tu vida y pases tiempo con tus compañeros de clase.

6. Nunca subestimes a una compañero de clase porque él o ella podría convertirse en el CEO de una Fortune500 o podría ser su socio para arrancar un negocio.

7. Aprovecha la diversidad que existe en un programa Top 20 de MBA. Los mejores programas atraen a estudiantes de todo el mundo. Haz un esfuerzo para aprender de otras culturas porque muchas de las oportunidades probablemente estén en otro país por lo que aprovecha el MBA para aprender a trabajar con gente de otro país.

8. Nunca olvides que un MBA es como un club y cada uno es responsable por el valor de nuestra membresía.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Brand Management Projects in the Consumer Marketing Academy

As a part of our two year MBA program training in the Consumer Marketing Academy, my fellow first year CMA peers and I are working on brand management projects for real world clients. The companies we're working with throughout the second semester are: General Mills, Scotts, Whirlpool, and Target - a great mix of industry and project types!

In addition to the diversity of company projects we were offered, the projects provide a great depth of different business problems for us to solve. One of the projects focuses on analyzing a company's current struggling product line and having the students assess whether or not the line can be revived (and if so, how). A second project involves finding a unique way to target a new demographic customer segment, while another project involves evaluating the market for and implementing a customer loyalty program. The last project involves developing a global marketing strategy for a new product line. One of my classmates on this team will be lucky enough to go on a trip to China to present the team's recommendations!

For the rest of us not traveling to China, our final presentations with take place on Friday, April 8th - right before the admitted students' Experience Weekend starts. Admitted students coming for the weekend are invited to attend the final presentations, so we hope to see several in attendance!

The great training these projects are providing are a huge help for career switch MBA students like myself. As one of the best marketing MBA programs, Kelley provides a great combination of classroom and real-world marketing training to ensure Kelley students succeed in their internships and beyond.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Personal Branding

What Is It and Why Is It Important?
Everyone has a personal brand; it’s just that some people are more purposeful in managing their brands by ensuring they are the ones articulating their brand to others. In other words, they own and take charge of their brand story.
William Arruda, a personal branding expert, says that “true brand success comes when you can engage others with your brand by successfully expressing and exuding to them what your brand is that they, in turn, can speak of and communicate your brand through the credibility of their own voice to the people who know, like and trust them.”

Your ability to convey your brand so people are then able to describe it to others may impact your career path, as evidenced by a
research study conducted by catalyst research. In the study, respondents were asked to list those factors that played a role in developing career and advancement opportunities. The top 5 factors they named were:
• 71 %: Network and build relationships within and outside the organization
• 52%: Articulate, good communicator, influential
• 51%: Find ways to become visible
• 45%: Play politics and lobby for yourself and your work
• 43%: Communicate effectively and ask for lots of feedback
Interestingly, “knowledge/competence” came in at 37% and “works long hours” at 29%.

The key take-away is that the top 5 factors are dependent on you having a personal brand, managing it, and ensuring others know what it is so they can articulate it to others and/or help you refine it along the way.

How to Tell Your Personal Brand Story
So, you may be wondering how you tell your personal brand story. Think back to when you were in the fourth grade. It was probably around that time you learned to write a story using the “6 W’s and an H” – who, what, when, where, why, and how. Your teacher almost certainly explained that when you cover these areas, you provide readers/listeners with all the information they need to understand the full story. The same is true of how you define and tell your brand story. Here are some of the factors to consider:

• Are you and who do you want to become (i.e. what are your goals)?
• Are you targeting?
• Is in your network?

• Do you stand for in the minds of others?
• Are you known for in your field?
• Are your skills, interests, and values?
• Do you offer that helps you compete in the market and what do you need to do
to differentiate?

• Are your time lines to achieve your goals?
• Are you yourself?

• Are people meeting you and really getting to know you (i.e. are you networking
and building relationships)?
• Can people find your brand?

• Should people believe in your brand?
• Do you stand out compared to others?

• Do you represent yourself (in everything from your attitude to written
communication to style), and how do others perceive you?
• Do you add value?
• Do you bring your brand to life?

In upcoming posts, various aspects of personal branding will be explored. I look forward to an ongoing conversation!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Here comes Spring

This post is probably going to backfire since it's only mid-February, but after the winter we've had I can't resist.

Bloomington absolutely comes alive in the Spring. It's like a whole new town. You're probably thinking that every city with a 4-season climate sees the same transition, and to some extent that's true. But often the springtime here comes earlier and is more consistent than other cities I've lived in. After alternating between nothing but sleeping and studying for the duration of the dark days of winter, students make an effort to enjoy the outdoors as early as possible. Fields are filled with students exercising. There's a palpable energy from the students, faculty and staff alike. IU's campus is absolutely beautiful as things start to bloom; the grounds team keeps everything immaculate.

This week we got a sneak-peek of Spring - Bloomington was 60 and sunny today. Convertible tops were down, music was playing, and I took the long way into school just to enjoy the drive with my windows down. Later in the day I went for a ride (internal combustion, not pedal powered) because the day was too perfect. I made my way south & east over the winding roads & gently rolling hills of Bloomington. I ended up at Lake Monroe, a fantastic body of water about 10 miles from Bloomington proper. It's a must-see for any student at IU. I snapped a picture from this spot:

I'm planning on bringing more little-known locations to my blog as the weather keeps getting nicer. In the meantime, if you've got questions about Bloomington, drop me a line. I'm pretty familiar with the town.

Nailing the first interview question

I have often been asked, "What is the most important question during an interview?" The answer is the FIRST.........Period!
That said, when you are being interviewed you often perceive the first question asked to be the easiest. Many times an interviewer will actually begin the interviewing with words like, "Let me start with an easy question for you...", or something similar. They hope to give you the impression they want to help you relax.

These "easy" questions usually fall into variations based on these 3 subjects:

1. Tell me about yourself?

2. Walk me through your resume.

3. Why are you interested in working for our company? (or working at this job?)

The 3 sound different and appear to focus on different subjects. But in reality, they are the same question! As the interviewer begins what he/she really wants to do is start quickly and determine as soon as possible what they are there to determine: Why should I hire this person?

When the dust settles and interview concludes, that is really the only thing that matters to the interviewer. As an interviewee, you want to get that question answered and clearly embedded in the interviewers' mind at the onset of the interview - meaning in question #1.

So, be prepared to tell a story about yourself, one that includes your interests, career decisions, goals, skills, and an understanding of the company and the specific job being sought - all in 2 minutes or less - in your first answer.

After two minutes, you want the interviewer to be thinking, "OK, he understands my company and the specific job, and he feels he has the right skills for it based on all his experiences, and he wants to work for us.... good!" The rest of the interview simply will be the interviewer digging in to your experiences to verify all that you have alluded to is true. After the first question, you should already have them on your side - and that is a good place to begin!

Remember, if the interviewer has to say to himself multiple times during the course of an interview, "I am still not sure why I should hire this person", then I would not count on an offer letter arriving anytime soon.

David Thompson

Internship 301

Most Kelley MBAs are in the home stretch for this 7 week class period. Some are beginning preparation for finals followed by work for Academy Week 2 or the Simulation, while others have serious spring fever given the break in the winter weather.

Wherever you are in the space time continuum, I would encourage you to also think about what you want to accomplish over break and in the coming semester. Some of you may have accepted an internship and are working to prepare for success in it. Others are trying to decide between firms, while some are seeking the perfect job for the summer and beyond.

For those of you seeking an internship/full-time offer or trying to make a decision, be sure to meet with your coach and buddy. Reflect on what went well this past semester in the interview process and what did not go well.
- Did you have a concise and compelling story to tell recruiters?
- Do you need to polish your brand?
- How is your network? Have you been in contact with people and are you working to activate it?
- Do you have a laid out plan with weekly goals?

For more insight, see Internship 301 which has some great hints and steps to take for a successful search.

Finally, best of luck on finals next week!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

MBA Application Review and Notification Process

As I mentioned in my last post, we're in the "peak season" for interviews and application review. While it may be a relief to have your application completed and submitted, we know the anxiety of waiting to hear back on your application status can be difficult so I would like to provide some insight into our process.

First and foremost, unfortunately it is not possible to check the status of your application. If any further information is needed, we will contact you via email.

Secondly, many candidates are anxious to interview. Remember from my last post that admissions interviews are not required. While not all applicants will interview, an invitation to interview may occur at any point in the process. Invitations to interview are sent on an ongoing basis throughout the review process.

Lastly, we publish our admissions timeline so that you can know when to expect a decision. This timeline is accurate and you should not expect a decision earlier. We do not offer rolling admission. Our admissions decisions are released via email as published.

I hope this helps to understand a bit more of the review and notification process. The admissions committee is working diligently to review applications in a timely fashion but also wants to be sure each individual application is given the appropriate amount of time to get to know each candidate. In fact, each application may be reviewed individually at least 3-4 times before a final decision is made. We appreciate your patience!!

We Won!

It's feels good to say it - we took first place!

When I was a kid, I never won anything. All those random drawings in elementary school raffles, my first and only lottery ticket when I turned 18, my one and only time in a Fantasy Baseball league.....

but last weekend, we won the Purdue Supply Chain Case Competition. Let me give you a little background before I get to the juicy victory.

Due to a friend of mine and me surprising our class by performing a silly skit one morning, I got invited by a couple of second years to join their case competition team. I had done two before internally as part of this two year MBA program, and enjoyed the process of cracking a problem and presenting a solution. So I said "sure." The three of us teamed up with another second year, and sent our registration in.

In late January, we received our case to crack from Purdue with 22 other competitors. In a nutshell, our case focused on the fictional country of Gombala, which was rife with disease and healthcare was fully funded by very, very picky international donors. Within the country, individual hospitals were able to order medication whenever they needed, communication was poor, and death rates were high. Our mission: free up funding and get the hospitals to pool their resources.

We had a week to work on the problem, and were relatively relaxed and paced in doing so, compared to the Core experience. We delivered a thorough, great deck to Purdue; and within a week, we had heard back that we were one of the final six teams. We had already beaten out schools like Vanderbilt, MIT and Michigan!

We spent the next week refining and perfecting our deck; but it was all in vain, because as we'd get to Purdue, they'd certainly surprise us. The four of us road-tripped up to West Lafayette last Thursday, listening to tunes and visiting one teammate's undergrad experience at Depauw. Once at Purdue, we signed in and went through the regular pomp and circumstance of an opening event - Purdue was full of very kind hosts.

They handed us our case update and we were given a break-out room from 6-11 p.m. In summary, the president of Gombala was going to announce free healthcare for pregnant women and children under five, and we had to figure out how to handle the massive increase in demand for medication the following day. We worked hard and tirelessly, but with plenty of laughter and graciousness. When we were booted out of the room at 11, we continued to work until 3 a.m. back in the hotel.

We were chosen to present fifth, and thus had until 4 p.m. on Friday to either attend a Supply Chain conference or practice. We chose practice, and spent the entire day in various alcoves of the school and hotel practicing and refining our presentation, often whispering so passers-by couldn't hear our solution.

When it came time to present, we spoke in front of a panel of 12ish industry judges and four of the finalist teams - Kellogg, Purdue, South Carolina and Southern California. It went without a hitch, we finished in time and the question and answer section went smooth as butter.

Fast-forward 45 minutes, and they're announcing the top three winners. My heart raced as our name was not called in the first two, thinking we either won or got completely destroyed. But when we were called, I felt like we were on the Price is Right, but had to compose myself and walk professionally to the stage.

People keep asking me what was our secret - how did we win? My answer is two fold:

First: I think we just had a perfect synergy of talent on the team. I have a not-for-profit background and one teammate has a strong supply chain background, while the other two have strong consulting backgrounds - so it was a perfect interest synergy for the case. Also, we just really got along and were very relaxed during the whole process.

Second: I think the Kelley case method is golden. One of the things things you get out of the MBA management degree and the entrepreneur MBA program is the benefit of being able to tell a story. The ability to draw the crowd in through a captivating problem, immediately assuring them with your solution, then logically and clearly walking them through how to solve that problem, and finally wrapping up with the results of your projected solution are essential. In our feedback, this was one reoccurring theme that set us apart from other top ranked MBA colleges. Maybe it was still worth it to originally go to college for theater.....

So, it was a blast, I feel humbled and honored, and I'd do it again. But first, I've got to talk someone about getting our certificate in the trophy case and a new case victory banner on the wall.....

Y... ¿Por qué Kelley?

¿Por qué Kelley? Esta es una pregunta que muchas personas me han hecho y muchos me harán de acá en adelante. Múltiples y muy diversas son las posibles razones pero cada cual tiene las suyas.
Si bien Kelley cuenta con instalaciones espectaculares, a algunos esto no les es tan relevante como el poder gozar de la vida tranquila o el bajo costo de vida de una ciudad pequeña como Bloomington. A otros les llama más la atención las empresas que reclutan en Kelley o la excelente preparación para el mercado laboral que nos brindan las academias y GCS. También hay algunos que les motiva el profesorado de primera calidad o lo reconocido que es el MBA en diversas ramas como mercadeo o emprendimiento entre otras. Tampoco es extraño escuchar respuestas sobre los pintorescos paisajes, la intensa actividad cultural o deportiva.
Si bien algunas de estas razones influyeron en mi decisión, tal vez las dos razones que más peso tuvieron a la hora de decidir solo aplicar a un programa de MBA son la estructura del programa y cultura colaborativa de Kelley.
Para mí es sumamente importante tener la oportunidad de escoger las materias que mejor se ajusten a mis necesidades y aspiraciones profesionales una vez termine el primer semestre. Es decir poder escoger en el segundo semestre las materias que yo considero me pueden aportar de mejor manera con miras a mi pasantía durante el verano.
Y sin lugar a dudas la más importante de mis razones es que Kelley Shool of Business tiene tal vez la cultura más colaborativa dentro del Top 20 de MBAs. El saber que siempre hay una mano amiga dispuesta ayudarte desinteresadamente con cualquier cosa. Ya sea un compañero, un profesor o un colaborador del Staff, cualquiera no dudará en lo más mínimo en ponerse a tu disposición y hacer de Kelley tu casa lejos de casa.
Y... ¿Cuál es tu razón?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Kelley Alumni Enhance the Classroom Experience

For this entry in my MBA program blog, I thought I would share a little about some of the ways we learn from our incredible Kelley alumni. Last week, both the first and second year Consumer Marketing Academy students had a chance to hear from Cie Nichols, Kelley MBA 1988. As the current CMO of Equinox Fitness and as the former CMO of Pepsico, Cie was able to share valuable insight into both managing brands and your career as a marketing professional. We spent the first part of the morning learning about some of the current projects Cie is a part of as she manages a luxury lifestyle brand and spent the second half learning more about some of the exciting experiences and career defining moments she has had while working as a marketer.
I’ve included my key takeaways, as they are helpful pieces of advice, regardless of your career aspirations.
  1. Your brand image is made of every interaction your consumer has with your brand or product, not just the traditional advertising points of contact that come to mind. The same is true of your personal brand.
  2. People skills and the soft skills are what get you places. Live by the things you were taught in second grade: play nice in the sandbox, don’t take things that are not yours, say thank you.
  3. 3. At the end of the day, all you have is your reputation. Be someone that people know they can go to listen and get the job done.
  4. You don’t have to be the one coming up with all of the ideas, you just have to be able to identify them and make them come to life.
  5. Be a consensus builder: be able to diplomatically disagree. I hear you, I understand, I disagree, here’s why, it isn’t personal.
One of the things I love the most about being a part of at one of the top ranked MBA colleges is the opportunity to hear from industry experts and learn from their experiences. I really enjoyed Cie's presentation and I hope you

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Kelley Net Impact kicks off with "The Green Machine"

Earlier this semester, the leadership of the various clubs at Kelley was handed over to the first-year MBA students. Naturally, recent MBA student activities have revolved around kick-off meetings. Kelley Net Impact is our local chapter of Net Impact and I attended their kick-off meeting last Thursday.

The new team began with a screening of “The Green Machine”- a short documentary that talks about Mayor Richard Daley’s efforts to make Chicago the greenest city on the planet. You can check out the video below from PBS:

After the viewing, we got into small groups to discuss our thoughts on the video and what could be done to encourage more green initiatives.

The 2010 club leadership team (Neha Kale, Naseem Ehsan, Karim Khan, Sowmya Gogineni, Joni Lewis) has done a great job of putting together a number of successful events in the past. Neha (2010 Kelley Net Impact President) adds: “We hosted a variety of events this fall to highlight the various aspects of Net Impact with a focus on socially responsible companies and nonprofits. We also expanded the board fellows program with additional partners this year and have initiated the Social Internship fund with the support of Cummins. We were also excited that the Kelley Net Impact Graduate chapter was recognized as the chapter with the highest increase in conference attendance nationally.”

Here are the links to some of the interesting blog posts by Kelley MBA students who attended the 2010 Net Impact Conference: (Thanks, Karim!)
Apart from having one of the best Entrepreneurship MBA Programs in the US, Kelley has an increasing focus on sustainability and social entrepreneurship. MBA students at Kelley have the option of pursuing a Certificate in Social Entrepreneurship through a cooperative program between the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA), the Kelley School of Business, and the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.

I wish the new Net Impact club leadership team (Theos Stamoulis, Patrick Kitchens, Tyler Kirsh, Nisarg Shah and Robert Herrick) good luck for the year! You should follow Kelley Net Impact on Twitter to catch up on the latest, especially if you are planning to get a Social Entrepreneurship MBA.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Valentine's Career Treat: 5 Tips to Reaching Satisfaction

The first half of the semester is nearly over for Kelley MBAs and many other programs - some of you (those of you who've accepted full-time positions or internships, I'm talking to you..) are on auto-pilot and you can't wait to get started. Others of you are cautiously optimistic about your career plans, while some of you are about to hit the panic button. Regardless of your specific category, I invite you to take some time to do something nice for yourself this Valentine's Day, a day when we often look to others to do something special for us.

Drawing on the work of Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans, co-authors of Love It Don't Leave It: 26 Ways to Get What you Want at Work, I share with you 5 tips to enable you to be successful in your internship or full-time job or as you continue the search to find a fulfilling career. Working with MBA students and professionals in their career search over the last 5 years, I've seen a tendency for individuals to focus on the external, what's happening to them, rather than focusing on their own actions. I've carefully selected and adapted the following 5 suggestions, from Beverly and Sharon's Valentine's post, to focus on soon to be MBA interns and full-time hires.
Opportunities… They’re still knocking. Don't wait for your career coach, faculty, student services, or your classmates to hand you the next opportunity. Make sure that when opportunity knocks, you not only hear it, but you're also prepared to open the door. And don't forget, you might need to show up on the door step to initiate the knocking.
You'll be hard-pressed to be prepared to open the door, if you haven't taken the time to figure out your...
Passion… It’s not just a fruit. Get clear about your passion and then go after it! Notice what’s missing and then ask for it. Having passion for your work is not only possible, it’s crucial. Launch a passionate search for ways to bring together your passion and your work.
Once you've found your passion and taken advantage of opportunities, you're likely to have secured a position. You still have work to do...
Information… Are you on board? Bringing yourself onboard and truly “finding the fit” can be challenging. Do your homework and learn as much as you can about the organization you’ve joined or are deciding to join. Don’t leave your own job fit to happenstance. If you find it isn't a fit once you're there, do some work to figure out if it is salvageable for the long term.
Have you forgotten to take the time to assess passion and fit? Or maybe you thought that was someone else's job...
Passing the Buck… Don’t pass it. Some people are tempted to hold others accountable for their work satisfaction. Ultimately you choose how much effort you put into the search - how many informational interviews you've done, how many times you've reached out to your coach, how many practice interviews you've done - and you have the power to improve. Accept that responsibility, complete with its challenges, and you’ll get more of what you want from your work and your workplace
Not sure if you are passing the buck or making a decision without having some critical data, take some time to find out.
Truth… It hurts - or does it? You need regular, honest feedback from your career coach, boss, co-workers, customers, and friends. Many people complain about not getting enough feedback. Don’t wait for your career coach, or others, to tell you truth. Go after it. You need the truth to know where you stand and how you can succeed.
While these tips have been modified to focus on people actively in the career search or about to start a job, don't lose site once you've been out in the workforce for awhile. Do you want to be part of the 48% of employees who are completely satisfied with their job; or, of the 52% who aren't.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Indiana University

No Fear: The Purdue Case Competition

Six weeks ago, my classmate and I were late to Academy Friday by just a few minutes. As punishment, we surprised the class with a rehearsed skit to bring some laughter and lightness to our Friday 9 a.m. start. The rule was: if you're late to Academy Fridays, you perform.

As a result, I was asked to compete in the Purdue Case Competition.

There's something fantastic about the culture at this top two year MBA program that I haven't touched on yet. Yes, the work is very, very hard - and we focus and participate in class, while completing our reading and homework, while doing the internship search and networking, while balancing our club needs, and at some point taking time to ourselves.

But at the same time, in the midst of the busy flurry, we have truly bonded in a culture of fun and lightheartedness, in the face of the strains, that can only be found at one of the top ranked MBA colleges like this one. We collaborate, socialize outside of class - but in the halls, we're still smiles, laughter, and know each other better than just a classmate or professional relationship. (In fact, as I write this, three classmates are debating four feet away where to go out Friday night)

At any rate, thanks to this fun and hard-working culture, I'm headed to West Lafayette tomorrow with three second-years for the final round of the Purdue Case Competition. There were 27 applicants in the first round, and now only six stand to complete for the top three monetary prizes. This is my third case competition total, first outside of Kelley, and I couldn't be more excited. I've got a brilliant team of second years who are almost done with their two year MBA program, so this time has been a little calmer and more focused than the previous two times.

Wish us luck in our Supply Chain competitionand hopefully I'll be reporting a first place banner next week!

Wow! A Great Example of Networking

I was at the Indiana Memorial Union for a board dinner last night. Ok, you are saying, why should I care? Well, while I was at this dinner I experienced an excellent example of networking in an arena where the person didn't have much in common with the attendees but worked her way into many conversations and did a great job tying it all together.

This dinner was for the Board of Directors of the Reese Fund, which is an MBA student managed investment portfolio within the Investment Management Academy. It was attended by a variety of Kelley alumni in the investment field as well as various Kelley School of Business finance faculty. One of the members of the wait staff was an undergrad Kelley student (which was a commonality) but she was focused on entrepreneurship and economics. She was extremely personable and ended up included in a variety of conversations throughout the evening. She and I started chatting, and she mentioned that she had seen information on the Forte Career Lab and wondered if I knew anything about it. (The Forte Foundation is a non-profit organization comprised of a variety of universities and corporations whose purpose is to drive more women to be interested in business.)

Turns out I am actually the Forte rep for Indiana University and am running the event. We chatted about the event and she made sure to get my card and let me know that she would be attending and would be happy to help promote the event via emails and flyers.

Now she didn't have to do any of this, but she did and it made a big impression on me and others in the room. If she ever asks for help on something in the future, I would definitely be happy to assist her in any way that I could. Something to think about next time you are in a room full of people that you may or may not have a direct connection with.

I will be writing more in the coming weeks on networking. Stay tuned...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Leadership Development

Reading the title above you may be thinking to yourself….wait a minute, I thought this was a blog on career management…why in the world are you spouting off about leadership development?

…and it’s a great question. Leadership remains a hot topic in the MBA community because it’s a hot topic in the corporate world. Every single MBA recruiter we see asks us if our candidates can LEAD - no matter function, industry or company! Recruiters have an expectation that candidates will demonstrate leadership abilities throughout an interview – no ifs, ands or buts. Think about it…without employee leadership there is no vision, no objectives, no strategy, no innovation, no collaboration and no ability to overcome – and you don't have a good recipe for organizational success. What recruiters want to see is that core ability to influence - align people to a vision, create an intelligent plan and then execute through the organization with excellence. The context can vary, the skill set is constant.

The study of leadership and management are critical to your professional development. The best MBA programs have classes that will provide you many of the frameworks needed to become a great leader and manager. That said, you should create a self-study program, including biographies of Various leadership temperaments and styles. Some of my current personal favorites include; The Truth About Leadership by Kouzes & Posner, The Extraordinary Leader by Zenger & Folkman, Shackleton’s Way by Morrell, Capparell and Shackleton, Gandhi’s autobiography. Study current leaders and managers. There is no shortage of press coverage for both good and bad examples. Look for diverse personalities that have demonstrated an ability to influence in their lives – after all, that’s what leadership is all about – through your vision, action, inspiration, activity, quiet reflection, writing, etc.…you get the picture. Embrace the debate between being a leader and being a manager - you will need to be both. Don't buy it when someone tells you management is not as important as leadership. As your reading, think about how you would explain these stories to others and how the lessons you're learning may help you tell your own story more effectively.

Most MBAs say they want to be leaders in some form or another, or at least called one, and some will search for a “magic bullet” of leadership development. Questions I’ve been asked by MBAs include; What book should I read? Which class should I take? Is there 10-step model I should follow to lead or manage a group? And my personal favorite…what’s the “right answer” to the leadership challenge in front of me? Frankly, those are all reasonable questions coming from students who seek to improve their leadership acumen. But there’s also a big missing question which I don’t hear asked often enough...

How can I practice leadership and management to get better? Practicing leadership, Reflecting on the process / results and then Applying the lessons moving forward is critical to leadership development. The US Army is a master at this game and has applied this very process to develop leaders from all walks of life. Recruiters want to hear about actual leadership examples from your past, not theory that you’ve read or philosophy of what you would do if given the chance. Get in the game to lead…either formally or informally. This could include a formal post such as class president, VP or club leadership. It could also include stepping up to lead a group of peers on a class project. Most importantly, you do not need to be in a leadership position to demonstrate good leadership qualities. It’s a frame of mind for how you intend to influence others in working with them. Ask for development opportunities at school or on the job – there are no shortages of problems to solve, people to influence and situations to overcome.

In the future I’ll continue to focus on topic of leadership from many different angles. I look forward to talking with you.

Interviewing - Do you really want the job?

In my long career as a business leader at GE, and now working as a Career Service Coach at a top business school, I have had the opportunity to interview hundreds and hundreds of individuals. The one thing that I always found surprising, and frightening, about interviewees was their apparent neglect to convince me that they "wanted the job".

Just this last week at Kelley one of our corporate recruiters talked to me at the end of his long interviewing day and reminded me of this fact once again. His words were, "there were two outstanding candidates that I interviewed but my only concern was that I am not sure they really want to work at ----------".

How can this be? As an MBA student you go through countless lectures and mock interviews with coaches, discussions with faculty and friends, and cover all the key areas of your experiences highlighting the ones you want to articulate in the interview and yet...... you fail to convince the interviewer that you "want the job".

There are many ways in which you can do this during the interview, and especially easy when responding to certain questions. But it is ALWAYS necessary to include it your first answer and your last.

When you stand up and shake hands with the interviewer at the end of the interview and depart the first and most important thing that you want that interviewer to think about as they sit back in their chair to review their notes is really simple. You want them thinking, "this person really wants this job!".

I will cover more on this topic and how it can tie into different types of interview questions in a future blog.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Kelley entre 2

Aunque durante el MBA he encontrado personas increíbles y con las cuales he forjado grandes amistades, he contado también con la gran fortuna de compartir esta gran experiencia con alguien muy especial, mi esposa.

Kelley como escuela de negocios, ha recibido tradicionalmente varios estudiantes con esposas y familias. De hecho, una de las organizaciones estudiantiles de mayor movimiento es el Kelley Partners Club, conformado por esposas o acompañantes de estudiantes del programa. Más allá de esto, la misma compenetración Kelley y de un lugar como Bloomington hacen que la experiencia sea muy completa. Bloomington tiene una de las más vibrantes (y económicas) agendas culturales que he visto; Temporadas de Opera o Ballet de primer nivel desde $5 son perfectas para compartir en pareja.
En términos de desarrollo personal para esposas (os), la gran infraestructura académica que tiene la Universidad de Indiana hace que haya una gran oferta de educación continuada así como uno de los mejores programas de ingles del país, que se ajusta a varios perfiles profesionales.

Más allá de lo que se adquiere en un salón de clases, junto a mi esposa hemos podido compartir eventos como
GLOBASE, los noches internacionales de India, China y casi la gran mayoría de eventos organizados por la asociación de estudiantes, y de la misma manera como yo he podido construir buenas amistades dentro de una salón de clases, ambos hemos hecho grandes amistades conviviendo por fuera de estos salones.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

4 Tips for your MBA Admission Application

I thought I would change it up a little bit and share some of the insider tips and tricks I am learning from being behind the scenes in the MBA Admissions Office. With application season well under way, hopefully this information is helpful as you are writing your essays and preparing for interviews at top ranked MBA colleges.

1. Be knowledgeable on programs unique to the school: I cannot tell you how frequently I am reading essays and at any given time, you could insert any other top ranked MBA program's name where Kelley is listed. Being knowledgeable about programs unique to the school and more importantly, how you would like to be involved in them or what you would like to gain from the experience shows you have spent time really thinking about the best path to your career aspirations and know how the school can help you get there.
2. Have a clear focus and solid understanding of short and long term goals: One of the main components I try and understand in an interview or essay is what do you want to do in the short term and long term, and more importantly, why do you need an MBA to pursue those goals? While people change their minds or are still exploring potential career paths, it is important to have a general area of business and some idea of potential career paths.

3. Proofread: This may sound obvious, but little errors throughout the application add up and make it seem as though you are not detail oriented. The last thing a company wants is to hire someone that when they present a memo or presentation to company execs to have formatting, spelling or grammatical errors. Take the extra few minutes to double check everything before hitting submit, including the spelling of the program's name.

4. Let your personality come through: Many candidates have asked me what we are looking for in an interview or an essay response. The truth is, there is not a formulaic answer and telling us what you think we want to hear usually makes your response feel insincere. Instead, use the optional and more creative questions to share insight into what motivates you, what you are passionate about and what your personality is like. This helps us assess "fit" and get a better feel for you as a person, not just as another application.

Hopefully these tips provide some helpful insight as you continue through the application process!

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Ideal Two Year MBA Program

If you have read my other posts on MBA Program Blog, then you know I try to highlight some of the finer points of the Kelley Two Year MBA Program experience for prospective students going through the MBA Admission process to demonstrate just how much our school has to offer.

For one thing, As a Kelley student not only do you have access to more typical University resources, such as our amazing athletic facilities, but you can also take free training courses from the University's Informational Technology Services on a number of software packages including:

Microsoft (PowerPoint, Sharepoint, Project), Adobe (Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign), and others. As a student going into an internship (or full-time position), these convenient courses can give you the extra edge to stand out. I recently took a Microsoft Access class which I really enjoyed.

And, just because you are gaining an MBA Professional Degree in Bloomington does not mean you have to leave any big city amenities behind when considering typical MBA student activities. I recently had the opportunity to attend a Jacobs School of Music Doctoral Chamber Recital which featured a friend of mine as well as several musicians playing a variety of interesting instruments (I say this as someone who never played an instrument).

The music was superb and it was amazing to me that the school and performance hall are just a few minutes walk from Kelley. I definitely have plans to attend other on-campus performances which really make the experience in Bloomington even richer.

Of course, everyone was at a Super Bowl party this past weekend and it was no different for the majority of Kelley students. My party included students from a range of disciplines including a Strategic Marketing MBA and a Social Entrepreneurship MBA. We enjoyed critiquing the various commercials for their effectiveness and it was interesting to hear everyone's perspective. Overall, a lot of fun!


En enero IU Cinema abrió sus puertas. IU Cinema está en el corazón del campus de Indiana University y cuenta con 300 butacas. IU Cinema es un espacio de exposición para los cursos de cine y festivales de cine patrocinados por los distintos departamentos de la unviersidad. La mayoría de las funciones son gratuitas (ver el programa para el semestre Spring 2011). Otra excelente noticia para los que somos amantes del cine es que a finales de febrero el director Spike Lee ofrecerá una conferencia en el IU Auditorium como parte del Arts Week y Black History Month.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The International Component of a Kelley MBA Experience

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to engage in part of a unique international consulting engagement that, in my opinion, sets Kelley far apart from any other MBA experience. As part of a team of classmates enrolled in Kelley's Global Business and Social Enterprise (GLOBASE) program, we are paired with small companies in emerging markets (this year's countries include Peru, India, and Ghana) and work closely with their management to develop strategic capabilities that will help them grow their businesses.

To jump-start the consulting process, several of the Peruvian clients were flown to Bloomington (with support through grant funding) and my team was able meet Diego, co-founder of a small entrepreneurial venture with his brother in Lima. Over the course of a whirlwind 36 hours, we learned more about his business, his family, and Peruvian culture, and showed him around a few of Bloomington's fine establishments as well. This was a great opportunity to develop a good working relationship with our business client and learn more about the nuances of their current market strategy before spending the remainder of the term researching and preparing our presentation, to be finalized and delivered in Peru (our trip to South America is just one of the many MBA student activities being planned over Spring Break).

The GLOBASE experience highlights just a few aspects of the Kelley MBA that set it apart from other top ranked MBA colleges:
  • A live consulting opportunity and the chance to convert my classroom experience into real value for a client;
  • An international experience that recognizes the unique challenges and market opportunities in an increasingly global economy;
  • An intense team-based project that leverages the diversity of personal backgrounds and professional experiences of Kelley's extremely collaborative student body;
  • The ability to make a difference and improve the profitability of an entrepreneurial venture in an emerging market.
Having met Diego face to face, I am even more excited now to connect with him throughout the next few months and to contribute to the growth of an emerging economy by helping develop his business.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Lessons from my Kelley Core Team Experience

Team work is an important part of any top ranked MBA program. The Kelley School of Business does a great job of preparing its students for the team environment they will face when they go back into the workforce after completing their two year MBA program. This team environment starts for students the moment they arrive on campus. During Kelley's two year MBA program orientation, students are assigned to a team of 4-5 students with whom they will work with throughout the first semester, known at the Kelley School of Business as "The Core". The Kelley MBA program staff does their best to create diverse teams with individuals with a variety of business and non business backgrounds. Kelley students will face a number of challenges with their core team, from their first case competition in orientaiton, to a number of deliverables for individual core classes, to a final case presentation where they can showcase just how far they have come since starting the MBA program.

I was blessed with an amazing core team, but that doesn't mean we didn't face challenges. One of the biggest learnings I had from my core team experience was the importance of understanding the personality types and temperaments of your team members. At Kelley every student takes the Keirsey Temperment Sorter test. Learning my Keirsey temperment (I am an idealist), as well as the Keirsey temperments of my core team members helped me understand how we all approach problems differently, what is important to everyone, and what frustrates everyone. Understanding this helped me to not take disagreements personally and to learn how to adapt to the team dynamics so that we could work together more effectively. I know this is a lesson I will take with me to future teams during my time in the Kelley MBA program and beyond.

Involving Your Partner in the MBA Admission Process and Beyond

There are a lot of things to consider when looking at masters of business administration programs. A lot of people will tell you that this is a time to focus on yourself and to do what is best for you, but let's be honest a lot of us come into a two year MBA program with a girlfriend, boyfriend, partner, or spouse, and being married I understand how for those of you with partners it is not just about you. When I was making my decision about where I wanted to pursue my MBA management degree, my husband was a big consideration.

Through my MBA admission process I found it very important to involve my husband in my decision making process and consider what impact my decision would have on him. In the end I chose Kelley not only because it is one of the top ranked MBA colleges, but because it made sense logistically for me and my husband. Since arriving at Kelley I have seen relationships end and I can't say my husband and I haven't had our challenges. The first semester, known as "The Core", is particularly demanding and finding the right balance between spending time with friends and family and completing the necessary coursework and attending networking events is challenging to say the least. The advice that was given to me and what I have tried to do is involve my husband in as many of the MBA student activities as I can. The Kelley MBA program does a great job of providing a variety of student activities such as Indiana University home football game tailgates, Kelley Friday events (Japanese Game Show Night, Oktoberfest, Kelley Iron Chef, etc.), MBA gala, Korea Night, etc. where students like myself can bring their partners and families and know that they will be welcomed into the Kelley family.

Quarta-feira passada foi o Ano Novo chinês, o calendario deles é baseado na no calendario lunar. Portanto, eles estao celebrando o ano 4709, o ano do coelho. Após o ano do tigre, que de acordo com a sabedoria chinesa foi um ano agitado e cheio de batalhas, o ano do coelho promete ser calmo e prospéro. Aqui no Kelley MBA, eu fiz muitos amigos chineses e eles em convidaram para a sua festa. Foi uma experiencia incrivel, eles me ensinaram a fazer dumplings um prato super tradicional que eles fazem na noite de ano novo junto com a familia. A fartura de pratos é um caracteristica forte na cultura deles, a comida estava espetacular. Definitivamente, o Kelley MBA esta me dando uma perspectiva internacional muito interessante. A oportunidade de interaragir e fazer amizades com estudantes de diversar partes do mundo não só me enriquece pessoalmente quanto profissionalmente. Eu tenho certeza que estou fazendo amigos para o resto da vida. Em termos de experiencia internacional, no próximo post vou falar dos Cultural Nights daqui de Kelley MBA, uma experiencia unica. Algumas fotinhos do meu ano novo Chinês em Blomington.

Looking Beyond the Basics

Like most people who pursue an MBA, I wanted the usual stuff: great faculty, cohesive business education, amazing classmates from diverse backgrounds, a nice facility. All the prerequisites for the top programs. But unlike many of my classmates, I wasn't interested in using my degree to change industries, or even functions. For the three years prior to returning to school, I worked in marketing for the pharma industry, and I really enjoyed the work. I knew I wanted to return to that space, although perhaps in a different role and for a different employer.

As a result, I had a few extra requirements when looking for a program. After all, the pharmaceutical industry is undergoing multiple changes as healthcare reform looms and the dynamics within the industry shift. And marketing is hardly a static field; its applications change as quickly as technology does. I needed an MBA program that would allow me to immerse myself in the integrated curriculum, but also stay abreast of the changes in my target industry and function. In my mind, it didn't make much sense to take time off to return to school only to graduate two years behind the times.

One of the reasons Kelley stood out during my MBA search was because of the Academy model. Every student has the opportunity to be involved in a supplemental 'class' organized by function (i.e. Corporate Finance, Business Marketing, etc). The experience runs through the entirety of the two year MBA program. I was excited to find out that Kelley offers both a Consumer Marketing Academy and a Life Sciences Academy. The former would allow me to stay current in marketing trends, while the latter would help me stay current with the healthcare industry. The Life Sciences program is truly unique; it's a collaboration with the Center for the Business of Life Sciences (CBLS). As a result of being part of the program, I've been able to attend professional conferences, hear expert guest speakers in the pharma industry, and work on real business problems facing various sectors of the healthcare space. It's been a great opportunity to learn more, with the nice side benefit of helping me prepare for interviews with some prospective employers.

The academy experience, and the Life Sciences academy in particular, is a great example of what differentiates Kelley yet isn't captured in traditional rankings. The school is filled with clubs, additional curriculum opportunities, and groups that allow students to truly customize their experience. If you have an idea of what you want from your MBA experience, or if you just want to explore as many avenues as possible, there are truly more possibilities than time.

My First Chinese New Year

This week marked another incredible, first-time experience - one that could only be provided by one of the top ranked MBA colleges. This Wednesday, February 2, marked Chinese New Year; and thanks to our school having such a wonderfully diverse student body, we were welcomed into one of the most unique and fun MBA student activities.

On Wednesday we were welcomed into the home of our Taiwanese friend and classmate (Alex), along with three of our Indian classmates, a Costa Rican classmate, and another couple from the US. Alex had prepared a "hot plate," which was electrically plugged in and glowed like it was on fire inside, and boiled a pot on top with various vegetables and meats that smelled (and tasted) delicious. She explained that it was like fondu. There were other snacks including shellfish, fish-balls, nuts and sausage, sweet sticky rice, and a special kind of tea that was very sweet. Dessert was filled with Pokey sticks and other tasty chocolates. She was a great host and we had a fun time trying traditional Taiwanese fare and telling stories of Bloomington.

Then on Thursday we were invited to our classmate's apartment at Tulip Tree for a South Korean New Year day celebration. We've celebrated with their family at many events before, including Halloween - Chul Woo is married and has three great children, who were quite energetic after having school cancelled for so many days from the ice and snow. Chul Woo's family made a traditional rice cake soup, glass noodles with beef, sunflower seed and sticky rice buns, and spicy vegetables. It was delicious, and we spent the night talking about how we had added years to our lives after eating rice cake soup, American politics, New Years traditions, how we all met and the kids' schooling.

I knew I was signing up for an international program when I came to one of the best two year MBA programs in the country, but I could have never known just how eye-opening and fun the experiences outside of the classroom were going to be. We're taking some of our international friends skiing for their first time tomorrow - I'll report back in next week!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Design Thinking with Kelley Creative Services

A role that I really enjoyed during my Two Year MBA Program at Kelley is being a part of the Kelley Creative Services. I would like to share with you in this MBA Program Blog Post some of the work I did as part of this committee. If you have an inclination or talent for art or graphic design this is the place for you. The Kelley Creative Services team was led by the amazing Unyi Agba, a Strategic Marketing MBA Student. Her expertise in marketing communication and strong grasp of graphic design principles made her an exceptional leader.

One of the most exciting projects we undertook was designing the club logos and signatures. We initiated the project by contacting the club leadership teams to find out whether any logos were currently being used or if they were interested in creating one. The next step was to schedule interviews to find out what were some of the ideas that represented the club brand. The brainstorming sessions were focused on a pyramid-based framework that started with the details of the club activities culminating in the abstract values that the brand represented. Based on these discussions, designers were tasked with creating a logo and signature that best matched the vision of the club leadership. We had a standard palette and guidelines that were used to create a consistency between the logos of the various clubs.

I was given the opportunity to create the club logos for the Kelley High Tech Club and the Finance Guild. Here is what I came up with:

The Kelley High Tech Club logo uses the letters H and T in the form of a capacitor. A capacitor represents stored energy and the waves represent radiating that energy for change. It also represents the connection between business and technology, and how bringing them together leads to greater synergy.

As for the Finance Guild, the discerning eye will find the initials of the club (F and G) within the $ sign. The $ sign, of course, represents money, investments, cash flows, wealth which lie at the heart of finance – be it Investment Banking, Investment Management or Corporate Finance. The $ sign also signifies the increase in value of the investments through the wise allocation of resources – skills that students will learn by being part of the Finance Guild.

I cannot speak about the experience at other Top Ranked MBA Colleges, but I can surely tell you that Kelley School of Business has given me the opportunity to learn and grow without giving up on doing things that I am passionate about. Come and visit Bloomington to find out for yourself!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Winter Wonderland!

O inverno em Bloomington é lindo!! Confira algumas fotos que eu tirei daqui! Adoro correr nesse parque, é super bonito fica ao lado da minha casa!

So you want to be a Peer Coach?

Joni and Nicci have previously shared their experiences about the Peer Coach Program at Kelley. So if you are trying to understand what it means to be a peer coach I would suggest starting with the blog post by Joni and by Nicci. You can learn about how the program is implemented by the Corporate Finance Academy and the Consumer Marketing Academy. The MBA Professional Degree is not just about the regular MBA Student Activities. Throughout the Two Year MBA Program you must make the most of the opportunities to learn and to grow.

The Peer Coach Program is one such golden opportunity. You might find it interesting to note that the Peer Coaches for each Academy were given the autonomy to design a program that best fit the schedule. Along with the flexibility came responsibility. I am part of the Peer Coach Team for the Consulting Academy that also includes John Bentley, Neha Kale, Stephanie Foulks, Tito Ghosh and Tom Paprocki. During a day-long kick-off session, where peer coaches from all the academies met, we created a vision for our academy. We then came up with a plan to meet the goals we had set.

Throughout the last semester, we conducted several sessions to assist our first-year peers as they went through the career search cycle. For instance, we had a resume review session where we provided our inputs on the importance of telling a story and bringing out your best qualities in a succinct manner. I led an interactive session on written communication along with Tom that was a fun learning experience (with some great pizza of course!). We continue to conduct mock case and behavioral interviews as required.

Most importantly, the Peer Coach Program is designed to help develop the leadership skills of the coaches as much it is meant to guide and assist the coachees. As a first-year student, going through the process of discovering your passion, searching for the right internship and interacting with company representatives, you end up learning a lot in a very short time span. Becoming a Peer Coach is thus an important channel through which you can give back to the school and share with your peers what you have learned.

The first-year MBA Students will be submitting their applications by the end of this week for Peer Coach positions for the next academic year. We will be interviewing the candidates before making our recommendations. The Peer Coach is a challenging role, but one that can help you grow enormously. If you are a first-year student, I urge you to take up the challenge and apply!