Friday, April 29, 2011

Second Years Still Give Back

In high school and undergraduate, you may remember “senioritis,” where seniors stopped caring and just cruised until the end of the school year. In your current or last job, you may recognize those free-riders who have announced that they’re on their way out – and then avoid all work or confrontations in the final month.
As the second years enter their final week of their time as MBA students, they’re not cruising on fumes – they’re giving back. The first years, faculty and staff couldn’t be more appreciative.
On Tuesday, James, who used to work for the associated press, conducted a workshop for other students on how to conduct live, online meetings (through formats such as WebEx or Go To Meeting). It was very well-attended, and James gave some excellent tips that will help all of us as business gets more international and more digital.
Yesterday I attended a meeting of the Curriculum Advisory Council (CAC), which is the student-led team that helps improve and build upon the MBA course curriculum and associated materials. Even though they will be gone in just one week, almost half the students in attendance were second-years, striving to maintain and grow the best two year MBA program they can for future students.
Next Friday, the second-year band Cowboys & Indians will be playing their final show at the Bluebird to build upon MBA student activities, and it will be the debut of the first-year band. It’s expected to be a blow out!
Even on a group presentation I have due Monday, one of the natural leaders on our team is a second-year, Ji, who’s putting a great deal of creativity and effort into this final class presentation.
And just on Tuesday, our first-year class attended an orientation meeting so that we can volunteer for the first-years this fall as they get oriented to the school – we’ll carry on the tradition.
The point is that there are few schools, of undergraduate or graduate, where the classes are so integrated and work so hard for one another. Collaboration is one of the key aspects of the Kelley culture – and it truly intertwines with everything we do here. I rarely feel like we have a first year and a second year class – we are all Kelleys.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"Perform" Checklist for Your New Job / Internship

Discover (in advance)

• “Re-research” the position, organization, & industry Refresh memory on items such as the position description, the organization (your unit and overall), corporate culture, financials, personnel, work, politics, and norms. What are the key business strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT)? Know key issues within the industry. Research online presences of people. Organize a database to track this information.

• “Level set” with your manager If you know who your manager will be, contact him/her to thank for the opportunity, express how energized you are to start ,and further discuss about your orientation training, roles, responsibilities, and expectations. Among the conversation items at this meeting:
o Asking what you can do to prepare between now and when you begin your position
o Understanding boss’s key priorities and your performance objectives
o Identifying any immediate challenges you will face in the position
o Inquiring about the key people you should meet with prior to beginning

• Develop an “entry strategy” Enable solid relationship building on the first day you start in the position. This is a great time to start building your internal network. If possible, obtain a copy of the orientation program and an organization chart to avoid duplications when setting up entry tactics. Attempt to contact and / or set up meetings with those your boss recommended and with whom you will be working in your functional area. This should be done in purposeful order versus starting at the top or making random contacts.


• Establish a solid work “reputation” Display a positive attitude and energy. Demonstrate effectiveness and efficiency early on. Focus on “early impact projects” to achieve significant positive feedback. Write and present professionally. Show your passion. Stay current on developments in your industry and profession.

• Do a “superior job” Ask for clarity on scope, help, and feedback. When you first start a role, it’s not only acceptable but expected to ask questions. Frame your suggestions or ideas as enhancements rather than criticisms. Provide periodic updates on the progress of projects. Over communicating is generally preferred to no communication.

•Know your “elevator story” Particularly include what you want people in the company to know about you. Be able to expand or contract that story as time allots.

• Build your “brand” Schedule meetings, coffees, and meals with as many people INDIVIDUALLY as you can. Develop your network from the first day on-ward. Set a number per week as a specific goal. Prepare some professional development, informational interview, current events type questions. Listening skills are important to demonstrate. Be likeable through asking questions about them as much or more than you talk about yourself. Be respectful of time. Dress professionally. Smile.

• Find a “sponsor” This senior alliance’s influence can help you throughout your career while supplementing your mentor(s).

• Maintain “career momentum” Stay energized in your career—including revisiting your interests, skills,and values to make sure they are still aligned with your career path.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Few Simple Personal Branding Tips for Students

Most people in business hope to be known for something – after all, that is the stuff personal brands are made of! Some people hope to be known for solving problems or to serve as the go-to person on a particular subject matter. Yet, from my perspective, there are some personal branding basics that are a must.

1) Be on time. This is common courtesy. If you begin developing a personal brand of consistently being late, eventually people won’t take what you have to say seriously.

2) Be present. If you are speaking with someone, focus on what they are saying. Listen. You may learn something! (And, it may be something that can help you with your personal brand.) Additionally, if you are in a meeting, close your laptop. Building effective business relationships is how most work gets done, so make the person or people you are meeting with feel valued by listening to their ideas.

3) Have joy for others. When something good happens to or for others, be happy for them. For example, if someone you work with gets promoted, send them a congratulatory card or offer to buy them a celebratory Starbucks! People remember this, trust me. And utlimately, this too becomes part of your personal brand, the part people remember.

4) Make sure people can find you. Make sure you can be found you on sites like LinkedIn and Twitter and utilize these resources to build your brand. See 10 tips for Effectively Using Your LinkedIn Status Update (especially #5).

5) State your name. I have attended so many presentations where a student asked the speaker a great question, but did not state his or her name before asking the question. Why not add to the beginning, my name is Jessica Sremanak, and my question is as follows…? This is a personal branding opportunity!

6) Cultivate your network. As I have shared in earlier posts, your personal brand often resides with those in your network who are then able to communicate with others about what you stand for and who you are. See 10 Ways to Nurture your Network for ideas. To this point, if someone offers to connect you with someone in their network, take them up on it! This is a great way to extend your personal reach and build your personal brand.

Friday, April 22, 2011

How Do You Get the Most Out of Your Network?

I recently read a very interesting study by Rob Cross of the University of Virginia entitled "How Top Talent Uses Networks and Where Rising Stars Get Trapped". The article really brought to mind how you think about networking - is it how big your network is or is it the quality that counts?

Networks need to be thoughtful and make sense. It doesn't really help you to go out and connect with hundreds of people that you met once just to drive your LinkedIn or Facebook numbers up. You really want to build your network with people who you know, respect and/or have something in common with. As this report states, "most high performers succeed by developing targeted networks that extend their abilities". These can be abilities used through work, common interests, volunteering, whatever. Cross also found that "as much as 90% of the information employees take action on comes from people in their network". I, at least, found this point to be pretty telling.

Care for your network. Networks need to be attended to...and need to be monitored on a regular basis. Generally you will add to your network, but you should also evaluate your contacts to see how they all fit together. Are all your contacts in one industry? One company? Or do you have a significant amount of diversity among your connections that can be leveraged for many different situations? Aim for the diversity, as more varied contacts can help you see the bigger picture and allow you to get a better variety of information. You want to be connected with people who can help you continually learn and grow.

Be creative. Take a minute and think about your network and how you are all connected. Does your network cover all of your interests? Does it cover where you are and where you want to go in terms or your job or your life? What can make it better? Then start looking for ways to connect to people who can make it better and who can fulfill that certain area you are looking to gain expertise in. Or network with a group who gets together to discuss something you are interested in. This creative thinking will help to expand who you know, how you know them, and increase the overall quality of your connections.

Happy networking!

Failure and your development as a leader (Part 1)

The April 2011 issue of the Harvard Business Review was an inspiring issue for me - surprising since the main theme was Failure. I think HBR did an amazing job by taking a wide-angle view of failure, covering everything from operations to innovation. They provided numerous stories from very successful executives who've failed, and subsequently lived to tell about their experiences. I would highly recommend buying a copy while it's still on the shelves, and studying the lessons in depth.

Failure is an issue that makes us uncomfortable, especially when it's a failure that we own, or contributed to in some way. We generally don't talk about failure unless it involves someone else and we weren't involved in the outcome. That said, failure is a fact of life. If you haven't failed at something, or many things, you probably are not stretching yourself in your personal / professional development. Embrace failure as an opportunity to learn and grow, even when those around us may see the outcome otherwise. As I've spoken about in previous posts, many young managers seek "the right way" to do something via a checklist or guidebook, and forget to learn from the experiences right in front of them - both good and bad.

As you think of failures and how they relate to your career management, please consider the following key points;

1) Demonstrating that you've failed, but that you've learned from failure is absolutely required during any interview process: Companies want to hire talent with a few "battle scars" who've learned from failure, and have proven that they're not afraid to stretch themselves in meaningful ways. If you can't effectively communicate a time you've failed and then learned, you will not be successful in the interview process.

2) Failure provides opportunity to create your personal development plan: As you fail, you should learn. As you learn you may realize that you are missing key experiences or skills that will help you succeed in the future. Capture these insights and create a plan to develop yourself in the future - maybe a class, assignment, experience, etc. A thoughtful development plan enables you to communicate to current and / or future employers that you are on top of developing yourself.

3) Failure is a good chance to practice reflective management: Conducting regular After Action Reviews (AARs) is a key way to learn, both for yourself and your organization. As mentioned above, failures are generally contain wonderful insights on what to do, and not to do in the future. But there's a catch - you must have an active process to learn from the failures. Conduct regular AARs, or reflection sessions with yourself to get the most from the experience.

Ultimately, failure provides an opportunity to demonstrate what type of leader you are. Are you someone that hides failure or doesn't own up to times you've fallen short, or are you someone that fully owns your experiences and can communicate how you've grown from them productively? How you handle failure in your life communicates a ton about your Personal Brand.

Tom Peters is one of my favorite management thinkers. He released a wonderful series of videos in support of his Little Big Things book. I'd like to leave you with a short video of his entitled "Don't Fear Failure" in which he discusses Sam Walton and his attitude towards failure.

I'm interested if you've learned from failure. How have you processed the experience? What helped you to communicate your growth to others?

In Part 2 I'll cover the concept of Mindset from Carol Dweck.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

An American Hosts India Night

It’s no secret – I love international education, culture and experiences. But last night was a true honor – I was fortunate enough to co-host the Asian MBAA’s Annual Cultural Night – and I’m from Connecticut!
Each year, the MBA Association and the International Business Society put on International Week – a great, intensive week rife with opportunities to learn about doing business globally. Monday night we had a trivia night with one of our star faculty from the core of this two year mba program, Professor Matt Semadeni, who taught Strategic Management. On Tuesday night, we had an incredible presentation kicked off by our faculty chair, Phil Powell, and then an incredibly moving and insightful, and sometimes funny, presentation from our Japanese peers about Japanese life. Following it up were presentations from fellow students about doing business in Colombia, Brazil and Spain. And then last night the week culminated in India Night.
To finish International Week, the Asian MBA hosts a themed country evening to enrich MBA student activities – Korean Night, Japan Night and this year was India Night. Kelley culture is all about international collaboration; and in an effort to echo and showcase that incredible asset, the president of the Asian MBAA made a strong effort to incorporate students from around the world in this year’s showcase. A month ago she asked me, and one of my best friend’s from Bombay, to co-host the event as the emcees. We were honored – and the wild ride began.
With a background in theater from undergrad and community acting, I was able to lend a lot of help and insight to acts and stage managing – as this was a HUGE production. In the end, including everyone, I would say it took at least 40 people to pull the whole event off – from the performers, to stage-hands, music and lights, video-editing and more. Aakarsh and I spent the month writing jokes and bits and a story to flow between the acts – which was basically me finally fulfilling my promise and visiting Aakarsh, and all our old classmates, around India sometime in the future.
The Kelley atrium was PACKED with people – we had two rows of chairs deep on the second floor! The night kicked off with amazing, belly-filling Indian food and pictures in front of the “Taj Mahal.” I then arrived at the “airport,” and the Aakarsh whisked me away to see all of our incredibly talented classmates singing, dancing and acting.
Had I not come to Kelley, one of the top ranked mba colleges, there is now way I would have ever had an opportunity like this anywhere else for MBA school. It was an incredible night, ending in a huge dance party, and I’m honored to call these people my classmates and my friends. If you’re not here yet at one of the most incredible masters of business administration programs – what are you waiting for?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Kelley India Night - Você sabe o que é Sari, Bindi, Chicken Masala e Mango Lassi?

Conforme tinha prometido anteriormente, nessa semana temos a noite cultural chamada India Night! Esse evento é super tradicional no programa de Kelley MBA. O evento é organizado pelo Asia MBA Association( com participação dos alunos que tem origem na India. O evento India Night consiste em apresentações culturais como danças e concertos de diferentes lugares da India, apresentações sobre as diferenças culturais em fazer negócios na India e um jantar com comidas tipicas. O evento reune por volta de 200 estudantes, sendo que normalmente eles convidam estudantes que não são da India para participar na perfomance.

No ano passado eu e meu marido fomos convidados para participar, minhas amigas Indianas me emprestaram seu sari(a roupa tradicional que as mulheres usam na India, é um lenço gigante lindissimo que elas enrolam em volta do seu corpo de um jeito especifico) e colocaram um bindi (um ponto vermelho ou uma pedrinha na testa que simboliza a força feminina (shakti) é acredita-se que proteja as mulheres e seus marido), discreto pois sou casada. Como forma de gratidão, eu maquiei as estudantes que estavam participando.
Foi uma noite incrivel, a comida estava sensacional e meus amigos Indianos super orgulhosos em mostrar a cultura deles. Eles até fizeram uma demostração de um casamento lá, óbvio que rapidinho e não em 7 dias! Amanhã teremos mais uma India Night, dessa vez vou ser expectadora!! Não vejo a hora de tomar mango lassi (bebida feita com manga e iogurte), comer chicken masala (delicioso molho com especiarias tipo cardomomo, noz-moscada) e fazer um mehndi nas minhas mão (tatuagem de henna)!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Semana Latina: Una Semana, Una región

Dentro de un programa de MBA tan intenso como el que tenemos en Kelley es muy fácil perder de vista esas diferencias que sutilmente nos enriquecen todos los días. Celebrar estas diferencias y compartirlas hacen parte también de la Experiencia Kelley. Fué a partir de esta idea de “celebrar las diferencias” que nos dimos a la tarea de crear nuestro espacio dentro de la escuela, fué así como nació Semana Latina. Semana Latina es el espacio donde todo Kelley: Estudiantes, Profesores y Directivas, se reconectan con nuestra región y amplían su horizonte de lo que representa Latino América en el contexto global. Este año tuvimos la primera edición de Semana Latina con la exitosa realización de tres eventos:

Café Latino
Por espacio de 3 días, trajimos lo mejor del café latinoamericano a Kelley (que pena Starbucks!). Profesores y Estudiantes compartieron variedades únicas de México, Costa Rica y por supuesto Colombia. Así mismo, aprovechamos la oportunidad para ambientar el Atrium del edificio con información acerca de nuestra Biodiversidad, Lenguajes, Ciudades, Gastronomía y Música.

2. Latin Talks: Avon in the Amazon
Con la colaboración del Centro de Estudio Latino Americanos y del Caribe de IU, llevamos a cabo una charla sobre un exitoso caso de Avon desarrollando su modelo multinivel en las Amazonia Brasileña.

3. 1st Latin American Business Forum Kelley.Latin
Con el auspicio del Institute for Global Organizational Effectiveness IGOE llevamos a cabo el primer Foro de Latinoamericano de Negocios Kelley.Latin. El objetivo de este espacio es traer a Bloomington lo más sobresaliente del liderazgo Kelley en Latinoamérica para compartir de primera mano sus experiencias y perspectivas sobre la región. En esta primera edición contamos con la participación de Pedro Albarrán MBA´02, COO de Toyota México y Blas González MBA´85, Director de Mercadeo para Johnson & Johnson México quienes compartieron con nosotros la evolución de la regióndesde la industria automotriz y de consumo masivo.

What is Common Between {grow}, ExactTarget, Southwest, MindFrame and Slingshot SEO? – Part I

You wouldn’t know unless you attended the amazing Get Social conference organized by the Beth Wood Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America at Indiana University last weekend at the Kelley School of Business. I learned a lot and I couldn't resist sharing my experience on the MBA Program Blog. I am currently taking a deep dive into Social Media through the M595 Digital Marketing (one of the best courses I have taken in my Two Year MBA Program) taught by newly-minted PhD - Sarah Smith-Robbins (aka intellagirl). So the timing of the conference could not have been better.

Here are the highlights of a couple of sessions I attended (I will cover two more in the next part of my post):

Paula Berg and Kyle Lacy - Case Studies from the Pros
Paula covered three interesting case studies from the airline industry. Paula Berg was instrumental in leading the social media strategy at a major airline. Today the social media channels have become an integral part of their direct engagement with customers. Two of the examples involved awkward customer service situations. Both incidents were blown up in the media and the airline was able to directly communicate through their social media channels to lay out the facts of the cases. The third case involved another airline that experienced a crisis situation due to an emergency airplane landing. The incident forced the airline to create a twitter account, especially since other unofficial accounts had quickly sprung up. However, an essential part of your social media strategy should be to build trust and not wait until a crisis situation to dive into social media.

Kyle Lacy highlighted how mobile has made communication real time and personalization has made customization the norm. He shared a case study that involved a non-profit that was looking for more donations. The initial Facebook page and group got some 435,000 members/fans and $3000 in donations. But they were able to raise far more money by letting the people who were part of the cause share their story with their Facebook friends directly. He also included another case study that again focused on the human element of social media.

Jeremy Dearringer - Social Media: A Revolution in Search
This session began with a quick exploration of why search is still important despite the hype surrounding social media. And what is the value of being on the first page of a search result? When someone enters a search query, they are by definition looking for something. The chances that they will click on the organic search results at the top are very high. eMarketer estimates that Google’s US Search revenues will cross $10 billion in 2011. Essentially every user on the internet is using search.

He talked about three big phases in the evolution of search: 1994 to 1998 was when the initial search engines like Yahoo!, WebCrawler, Lycos, Infoseek and Excite captured the attention of the public. Yahoo! gained popularity but was based on web directory listings. Some of the factors used to determine relevant search results were page titles, metatags and keyword counts. The algorithms used for returning search could however be easily gamed. 1998 to 2002 saw the rise of Google. The PageRank algorithm was akin to a link popularity contest - If you had good references, you did not need a resume. Websites then began trying to game the system by creating a web of interconnected links designed to push pages up the rankings. Between 2003 and 2009, Google updated their algorithm more than 600 times to include more sophisticated signals.

Since 2003, social bookmarking sites such as, StumbleUpon and Digg have been important factors in search algorithms. Facebook has had a user data sharing relationship with Microsoft since at least 2008. Social graph data has become extremely valuable. Google recently launched Realtime search (twitter feeds) and the +1 feature comparable to Facebook likes. He argued that brands that use social media effectively to spread content through Facebook shares and twitter retweets can push themselves higher in the organic search results.

Key Takeaways:
For me the key takeaways from these two sessions were: First, create a social media strategy that aligns with your goals and implement it early to build trust before a crisis occurs. Second, don’t ignore the importance of personalizing your story and message to increase engagement. Third, social media should be an important part of your search engine optimization strategy. These are important lessons, especially for MBA Product Marketing or and MBA Consumer Marketing students.

I was proud that Indiana University lived up to its name as a Top Business University, attracting several movers and shakers from the world of social media. Access to such awesome events should be yet another motivation for prospective students to pursue their MBA Professional Degree at Kelley.

Oh! And if you are still trying to resolve the puzzle in the blog title, here is part of the answer: All the terms are related to the speakers at the conference. Paula Berg led Southwest Airlines’ online communication strategy and Emerging Media Team. Kyle Lacy is a Principal at MindFrame. Jeremy Dearringer is Co-Founder and Chief Research Officer at Slingshot SEO. Stay tuned for the next post for the rest of the answer.

Giving Back to the Community

If we’re going to have the humble honor of receiving this incredible education from a two-year MBA program, what worth is it if we don’t give back? That’s why this week I’m volunteering in the Bloomington Community.
Kelley is currently hosting a three-school volunteer competition between Mendoza of Notre Dame and Krannert of Purdue. If we're one of the top ranked MBA colleges, of couse we have to be the host! It’s a one-month long competition ending in just one week, and winners are based on the average number of volunteer hours per school per student and percentage of students at each school who participated. What MBA doesn’t love a little competition?
Kelley Cares is one of the myriad of student clubs at the Kelley School of Business that coordinates and oversees volunteer opportunities for Kelley MBAs to participate in and help the Bloomington Community. Their Facebook wall and emails have been on fire the last three weeks promoting all sorts of great events, from donating blood to weeding gardens. Word on the street is that we’re ahead, but there’s no room for losing steam now.
For the week, I’ve cast my afternoons in with the Middle Way House of Southern Indiana. The Middle Way House “offers many award winning programs and services to women and children victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.” Set next to a beautiful park inside what was once a Coke bottling plant, the newly renovated building harbors women and children in safety, surrounded by rich gardens that weave throughout the property. After I finished classes yesterday, I put on my jeans and work-boots and headed on over.
I met up with the undergraduate intern, Stephanie, who’s currently overseeing the MBA volunteering opportunities. Two other second-year MBAs, who are always getting involved in everything, were already ankle deep in mulch weeding out all the gardens and removing the straw from the previous summer when grass had been planet. I got on some work gloves, got myself a trowel, and got to work clearing up this beautiful opportunity.
We spent the lovely spring afternoon chatting about Little 500 coming up, our prospective internships and jobs, MBA student activities and just general knowledge about gardening (I learned a lot, I’m not much of a green thumb). It was a great way to spend the afternoon; and by the time we were done, three whole garden plots were clear of weeds, ready to be used in therapeutic gardening programs for the women and children of the Middle Way House.
I’m headed back tomorrow for a little more mulching and weeding, and I feel good about doing something for the community. Bloomington is a beautiful, wonderful community to spend an MBA education in, and it helps to know that I contributed to a tiny bit of that beauty on one little block. Volunteer when you’re here, you’ll feel good about it.

The Kelley Experience

This weekend, I was able to be a part of my third Experience Weekend for admitted students. I met so many amazing people and the sorority girl in me loved feeling back at home recruiting. Throughout the weekend, I was asked by multiple people both why Kelley and what experiences have really shaped my two year MBA program and being that graduation is just around the corner, I became extremely sentimental. I found myself reflecting on all of the progress I have made both personally and professionally since joining Kelley to pursue a strategic marketing MBA and it is remarkable to see just how far I have come.

My experiences have been shaped by the people around me in the program, and I truly believe this is Kelley's true point of difference. The people, meaning classmates, professors, and administrators, have such an impact on the overall quality of your experience and I would not have been able to make the progress that I have over the past two years without their individual involvement pushing me. The people also shape the culture and our culture is something that I have found to be very special and unique to Kelley. It was amazing to see how proud my classmates are of the program and to see the next group of Kelley students also excited about all of the experiences that they will soon be undertaking. All around, Experience Weekend was a big success!

Sappiness aside, I also had a chance to be a part of two fun and incredibly different social events. On Sunday, I joined five of my very good friends for a six course Italian meal at the home of Ann Bastianelli, a marketing professor at Kelley. We purchased this event at the Kelley Women Faculty Auction last year and had so much fun that we decided to do it again. Ann has amazing experience in the advertising world, not to mention an amazing set of friends and family and we had an amazing evening. The second is that I attended the Lil' Wayne concert for Little 500 at Assembly Hall last night. In a packed arena, we jammed out to some new and some familiar favorites and took in the amazing people watching that brought undergrads, rap fans, and a few Kelleys together. While I am not a huge fan of any of the artists from last night, I think this is another great example of the benefits of living in Bloomington in that you can afford to do a wide variety of things while still having access to mega shows.

Spring is officially here and while the countdown to graduation continues, I look forward to a few more fantastic weeks on campus!

Mi experiencia GLOBASE

Una de las razones principales por las que escogí Kelley fue la oportunidad que ofrece el programa de ayudar a compañías pequeñas en países como el mío: Costa Rica. Me refiero al programa de GLOBASE “Global Business and Social Enterprise”. El programa es parte de un curso al que asistí el primer periodo del Spring Semester. Este curso te da la oportunidad de aprender no sólo sobre la economía de un país en vía de desarrollo, sino que también te da la oportunidad de desarrollar un proyecto de consultoría con una compañía en el país asignado. Yo escogí GLOBASE Perú porque estaba interesada en aprender más de un país ejemplar en Latinoamérica y porque quería saber cómo se puede ayudar a un país en esta región que tiene tantas oportunidades maravillosas.

Mi experiencia fue muy especial porque pude aprender mucho con mi proyecto, como por ejemplo cómo importar bambú Peruano al mercado Norteamericano; también pude crear amistades con muchos de mis compañeros por medio de la experiencia. Fue interesante trabajar con una compañía, en un contexto distinto a las demás oportunidades que nos brinda Kelley. El proyecto presentó muchos retos que incitaron el aprendizaje de todo mi equipo por medio de la superación de los obstáculos propios de un país como Perú.

También fue una buena experiencia para mí, siendo Latinoamericana, de poder compartir parte de la riqueza cultural con mis compañeros. Yo pude actuar como traductora y también en muchos casos les podía explicar por qué las cosas pasan o funcionan como funcionan en nuestra región. Para mí, fue una experiencia única porque también me ayudo a ver todo desde una perspectiva nueva e interesante.

Claro que también nos pudimos divertir. Tuvimos la oportunidad de conocer una de las 7 maravillas del mundo: Machu Picchu. Una experiencia inolvidable.

Esta experiencia ha sido una de las más ricas que Kelley me ha podido ofrecer. Fue una excelente oportunidad para aprender, crecer y ver el mundo de negocios desde un punto de vista muy distinto.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Connecting with others - does it make sense to them?

Have you been the recipient of one of these messages?

And when you read it you wondered - hmm, haven't talked to them in awhile or, worse yet, who is this person? In the last week or so, I've received at least three messages like this each week. I'm telling you this, not because I think it shows that I'm in high demand, rather because it has become increasingly frustrating. It doesn't take long to create a LinkedIn Connection request - which may be part of the problem... we are all moving so fast, that we stick with the standard greeting because it's easy. There's certainly some value in easy these days...

At the same time, when I receive a message like that, a few things go through my mind, including - "really, they couldn't take the 5 minutes (that's being generous) to tailor this message to me?" More important than my annoyance at this point, is the question that keeps coming up as I work with MBA students and others on building relationships - "why didn't they choose to tailor this message?" My first thought goes back to the bit about being short on time, so they just hit send. Then I start to wonder if they have really thought through why they are connecting to me and how we can build a mutually beneficial relationship. The latter is non-trivial. In order to build a relationship you have to know how you can contribute, which means you need to understand yourself - your values, interests, and motivations AND you have to understand the other person. Back to the former, because we are all so busy, we sometimes forget to think about these things.

As you continue to develop your network, I encourage you to take the time to tailor your message. It's easy, here are a few basic steps:
  1. Remind them of how you know them
  2. Explain the why
  3. Focus on forward momentum
1. Remind them of how you know them: Back to an earlier point, we are all busy these days and through social media, among other things, we are meeting more and more people. We also have more than enough ways to keep track of our contacts. Give your contact a very brief reminder of how you know them - it's as simple as "it was nice meeting you last week at XYZ conference"; and will vary depending on how well you know the person.

2. Explain the "why": all LinkedIn connections are not created equal. Many of us crossover professional and personal boundaries with our LinkedIn connections, which means there are different reasons for keeping in touch. With a friend, for example, I might just be interested in keeping up with their career. In the case of a classmate, I may look to them as a potential collaborator on a future project and want to use LinkedIn as a way to stay in touch. The reasons to connect are many, but the underlying premise of building mutually beneficial relationships should not be lost.

3. Focus on Forward Momentum: Some people look at LinkedIn as a passive environment, where they collect contacts and reach out when they are in need. Others monitor their network regularly to see how they can be helpful to their network and/or who might be in a position to help them. In your connection request, it's always a good idea to 'generate forward momentum", a phrase I first heard from Jodi Glickman, while presenting to the Kelley Class of 2011. Give your recipient a reason to accept your request AND reach out to you. You never know when that request will turn into a client, job offer, or exciting project opportunity.

Here are a few examples to get you started:
A new acquaintance

It was so nice to meet you at Jill's party. I enjoyed our conversation about your most recent article and would love to stay in touch through LinkedIn. In fact, I just tested the process you described in your article, and hoped we could find some time to discuss my experience with it. Best,

A former colleague

It's so nice to see you on LinkedIn. I've thought of you often since leaving Acme Corporation. How is Beta Corporation (their current employer) treating you? I'd love to hear more about what's happening with you, Cindy, and the girls (they must be close to college age now).

As you can see, personalized doesn't mean long and drawn out - a short and sweet message can go a long way. Tailoring your message shows your contact that it's about them, more than it's about you. Take a few minutes to personalize your outreach messages and see if you create a more active relationship...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Second year social life

I cannot believe we are so close to the end of our time in Kelley's two year MBA program! While I am taking a fantastic cost accounting course, A 576, (bet you never thought the words fantastic and cost accounting would be in the same sentence, but it is true, Professor Laureen Maines is so good) and working on a strategic consulting project for Nestle, it feels like the majority of my time is spent involved in MBA student activities. There have been so many great speakers, Kelley events, and fun with friends trying to soak up Bloomington before graduation that it is hard to stay in the building any longer than you have to!

Last Monday was our second month of having our own Chef's Dinner for the MBA program at Scholar's Inn, and it may have been the best menu yet. The theme was spring. Following the dinner, a smaller group of us went to this hole in the wall place in Bloomington called House Bar for some great catch-up conversations. Tuesday, I donated my hair to Pantene's Beautiful Lengths program as a way to do some good and have a new change to start working full-time. The best part is that they were able to count my donation as time towards our volunteer competition headed up by Kelley Cares against Purdue and Notre Dame. That night, I joined 20 Kelley's at Professor Albright's home for dinner and an evening of amazing classical music that we purchased at Kelley Women's faculty auction last fall. Professor Albright played the piano and he was accompanied by a first year student, Gerardo Ubaghs, on his 200 year old violin. It was incredible. I missed Kelley Follies because I was out of town this weekend, but there are plenty of videos on You Tube that are pretty hysterical. My favorite is Office Space-The Printer.

Last night, a group of seven ladies went to see the Joffrey Ballet at the IU auditorium. As a dancer, I was so excited to get to see them and we had amazing seats at the student ticket price. I am going to miss that pricing when I go back to being a "real adult."

I have always been the type of person to work hard and play hard, and it is nice to be able to spend some time playing the past few weeks. Next up Experience Weekend and Little 500 week, including a Snoop Dogg concert, the Little Little 500 and Beer Olympics!

The Internship Search Thickens

We’re just four weeks away from the first year of one of the top masters of business administration programs in the world – and I am one of the less than 30% of first-year MBAs without an internship. The fight is not over though and my army is strong.
An MBA School that's a top two year MBA Program is not without its tools to get you an internship – in fact, they’re some of the best tools on the market. The Graduate Career Services office fully functions just to assist students in finding internships and jobs, and they are good at it – REALLY good. With a full staff that hunts job boards around the world, calls corporate recruiters in all corners of the globe and tirelessly brings Fortune 500 recruiters to campus and connects students with alumni – they do an amazing, around the clock job. But they’re not the full fight – the students have to put in a great deal of effort too.
There’s Me Inc., which took place during the summer prior to arrival and during the first couple weeks – an intensive program where you refine your resume, interview skills, telling your story and really preparing you for the full-frontal assault of recruiting. It brands you with your best qualities – and helps you carry the Kelley brand as well. On top of that, students can reach out in their own personal networks to friends, family, past-coworkers or bosses, or go on their own job-hunt making phone calls, emails and application submissions. Lastly, there are countless workshops put on by GCS and by the MBAA to help refine your skills and help you search – there’s even a peer buddy system to give people the best chance they can have.
I’m a tough bug though – my focus is on international tourism, travel or entertainment in a marketing capacity (I guess you can say I'm working on my MBA for Non Business Majors from undergrad) – and not many of those kinds of places come to campuses to recruit – so most of my search has been off campus. I have had a few interviews on campus, thanks through GCS and their incredible GTS website – which allows students to create profiles and recruiters to drop opportunities and meet digitally first, then in person. I was fortunate enough to have two internship opportunities; however, neither fulfilled both industry and job role hope – and so I took the terrifying, and lesser traveled road, of rejecting both without another offer. It was a really scary step, but deep down I felt it was the right move. With four weeks left, five big names remain on the table and all I can do is hope.
With my off campus search, in total I made 86 unique contacts; and each of those contacts I had an average of three interactions with. Each one has its own long story, and while some trickled off and fizzled to nothing, five incredible companies have boiled to the top as prospects for the summer. No offers yet, but I’m to final-round interview periods in four of the five, and I’m confident at least one will happen. Keep your fingers crossed and dream big – this could be a summer for the books.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Kelley Karnival version 2.0

As I'm coming close to finishing out my two year MBA program, one of the greatest experiences this spring was seeing how the 1st-year MBA students planned the Kelley Karnival, an event I came up with and helped plan last year. Last year we had a Brazilian band and capoeira dancers and some appetizers, along with some arts and crafts for children and families that attended the event. It was one of the better attended MBA student activities during the year.

This year they pulled out all the stops and brought in food from several countries, had three different dance groups, and topped it all off with the IU latin drum band.

I'm so happy how this event came together for a second year and it really shows off the cultural and global elements of Kelley's masters of business administration program. There are so many opportunities to plan events or programs here in whatever it is you are interested in. And if they are successful then it is really easy to pass them on to classes under yours. This makes such a difference for the people planning the events that make up a lot of the MBA social life. Since they have a blueprint for how they should run they don't have to worry about so many of the little logistical things and can really make the highlights of each event shine.

As I'm winding down my time here and thinking about the legacy that I can leave behind at Kelley, I think that this event is something that will stand the test of time. And that ability to affect the school and create a legacy is just one of the reasons that Kelley is the best MBA program around.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Tips for Second Round Interviews

You have written a resume, networked with corporate contacts, and made it through the first round of interviews. Congratulations! Now, you are preparing for a second round interview and may be unsure how this round will differ from your on campus interviews. Although second round interviews vary by company, here are some tips to help you.

Tip #1: Talk to others

Don’t forget that one of the best ways to learn about the interview process, the function, and the company is to talk to others who have been in your shoes. Talking to classmates, alumni or others in your network who have interviewed with or worked for the same company can provide a great deal of insight. Remember that some companies go beyond the behavioral interview and may include case interviews, technical questions, writing samples, etc.

Tip #2: Concentrate on what you can control

While it may be true that there are only a certain number of positions available and many strong candidates vying for those positions, that is out of your control. Focus your energy on what you can control. Your time is best spent enhancing your candidacy, not worrying about everyone else. So, ensure you have great stories in the CAR format and well thought out questions for the interviewer(s). Also, go beyond thinking about your answers and say them aloud. Practicing your answers with someone will help reveal your strengths and opportunity areas. Remember, control what you can by preparing, practicing, and knowing how you as a candidate can add value to the company. In essence, prepare and show up with your A-game!

Tip #3: Plan ahead

For a lot of us, familiarity makes us more comfortable. So, plan ahead to ensure you know what to expect. If you are traveling to the second round interview, review your travel arrangements ahead of time and leave enough time to avoid you rushing to your interview. Often times, the second round encompasses a pre-night dinner. If you know where the dinner will be held, check out the restaurant’s menu in advance online and decide on two or three dinner selections that you would feel comfortable eating in front of everyone. This may just help you avoid ordering fettuccine alfredo, a perfect dish for dinner with friends, but not so perfect for an interview situation!

Tip #4: Know why and what’s game

Recruiters and interviewers can sense passion and genuineness. The company is likely to ask you why you want to work for them and your answer should convey “authentic enthusiasm.” Even if they don’t ask, preparing for that question will help you better understand the company and why you would be a good fit there. The company may also ask if you’re currently interviewing with other companies. You should feel comfortable in sharing an honest response with them. In other words, you can tell them if you’re interviewing with other companies. Additionally, you can let them know of any other offers you have received as long as you do so in the spirit of sharing information and not in a threatening way.

Tip #5: Trust your instinct

Don’t forget that the second round interview, which is commonly an office visit, is a time for you to evaluate the company as well. During your visit, take note of the people. Can you see yourself working with them? Do they seem happy to be there? Would you be happy working there? The office visit is not only a time for them to evaluate you, but for you to evaluate the firm and the opportunity. Good luck with your second round interviews!