Sunday, October 30, 2011

Academy Week 1

The Consumer Marketing Academy

By Meghan Ackerson
First-Year MBA

Last week, we suspended classes to join our Academies and focus on professional development.  It was an intense experience that immersed us in our respective careers and exposed us to top companies in our fields.  As a member of the Consumer Marketing Academy, I hopped on a bus with 50 of my classmates to tour the Midwest: five companies in five cities in five days.

We participated in presentations on exciting trends, tools and growth areas in brand management.  Procter & Gamble gave us insight into the impact of e-commerce and social media on its portfolio of brands.  At ConAgra, we participated in an interactive project, which tasked us with developing a new product, marketing plan and retail sales pitch.  And at Scotts Miracle-Gro, where the goal is to deliver 50% of growth through innovation, we got to see how a disruptive new technology was conceived, developed and brought to market.

True to the Kelley way, we made some time for fun throughout the week.  Sushi in Chicago…Karaoke in Cincinnati.  It was a bonding experience that I won’t soon forget.

What impressed me above all this week was the power of the Kelley network.  The alumni at each of the companies we visited committed time and energy to give us a truly unique look at the current state of brand management.  It’s fascinating to see how the craft has changed over the last decade and how companies are adapting.  I’m inspired and excited by the challenges ahead.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

KIPs Brazil: Taking shape

Embraer facilities in São José dos Campos.

By Reggie GustaveSecond-Year MBA

I’ve been hard at work with the rest of the KIPs Brazil leadership team (Kelley International Perspectives). The excitement is building as I realize how fast this is moving.

 We began working on this KIPs trip in the spring semester of 2011 and continued through the summer. As a KIPs Australia New Zealand participant in my first year at the Kelley School of Business I didn’t realize what it takes to put together a trip of this size. But the learning experience is worth the effort.

We recently received some great news. We were able to secure a visit with Embraer. One of the largest jet manufacturers in the world. I’m excited to see what they have for us. I know a few U.S. airlines that use their jets so they should have a lot to talk about .

As more companies have begun to finalize their confirmations and we narrow down the cultural elements of the trip, my excitement builds. We want to have elements in this trip that will be both enjoyable and educational, and we’ll continue working until we find that perfect balance and create the right MBA global experience in Brazil.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

INTERNATIONAL STUDENT U.S. JOB SEARCH #4 – Considerations and Resources

This is the fourth part of the compendium. It covers some tactical considerations and resources to tap.

Overall: It’s primarily about your career, not a visa

Concern yourself with articulating your unique value, compelling business reasons for hire, and levering relationships -- not company visa policies. Reinforce that you are more than “just a student”. Most Kelley MBA students average over 5 years of prior work experience.
  • Company policy is not the final word on visa sponsorship – exceptions are made.
  • Never appear that you are just taking a job as a convenient path to U.S. citizenship.
  • Build on your Me, Inc. program foundations. Use your GCS Coaches.
Minimize unsolicited internet job applications
  • Use multiple job search channels. The internet on its own has not proven to be effective. It is an impersonal media where no response is required. It represents a very easy way for employers to screen out international students. The position may not actually exist, or be already mandated (slotted for another candidate).
  • Apply on-line when you have a “warm body” follow-up contact.
  • Use key words in resumes and cover letters to foster matches with automatic filtering tools
  • Prefer to spend time discovering hiring managers / decision makers / true buyers at targeted companies. Communicate with them after thoughtful preparation.
Minimize initiating first contacts with HR departments except for information, as HR is typically:
  • Charged with preserving standard hiring rules and processes (including the articulated company visa sponsorship policy!). They ask “Which applicants can I eliminate?
  • Not the ultimate decision maker – they say “no” or “maybe”. Only the hiring managers own the positions to be filled – they say “yes”.
  • Detached from the underlying substantive businesses, not really understanding jobs, and thus not fully appreciating where you differentiate yourself
  • Often considered an obstacle to a company’s own business partners
Avoid asking: “Do you sponsor international students?”
  • Suggests a stronger interest in a visa sponsorship than in the company or working for it
  • Not a positive way for building a relationship at a company that interests you
  • A “No” answer effectively ends the conversation, while any reactions may give negative impressions
  • Offers an easy exit if a company representative is looking for one. Note: under the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and Justice Department guidelines, in the hiring process, employers can inquire about legal employment status, but not citizenship, unless required by law, regulation, executive order, or government contract. See
  • Reduces the flexibility to explore referrals to a parent company, sub, partner, or other units which may have different recruitment policies
Have a system to track your job search
  • Log your connections, applications, responses, follow up dates, critical information, personal facts, etc. Use to refresh your memory of past interactions prior to having future interactions. Format does not matter, but keeping track is, whether it is an old fashioned spreadsheet or a tool like a paid subscription to
  • Be cautious of anyone who requests money or a transfer of funds for: reviewing or distributing resumes, conducting job searches or placements, seminars, etc.
Set daily goals from your plan. Achieve them.
  • Prioritize and work the best investments to further your career, not things that are just nice to do. Obtaining a good job can almost be likened to a full-time job.
  • Make them specific, quantifiable, and objective. Things like: X# of new LinkedIn connections, X# Informational Interviews, etc., within a specific time frame
  • Find a partner to keep you honest to your plan -- Don’t discount the power of support for you in this process.
Prepare for questions regarding specific employer international hiring and visa information so your answers reduce procedural angst about making you an offer. Confidently be able to talk with non-experts about features, procedures, alternative authorization paths, specific country programs, and actual activity within their own companies:
  • Review GCS website tools related to international careers: and OnCourse GCS PD-Network which include lists of companies who have hired Kelley students in past years.
  • Consult: Indiana University’s Office of International Students Share work objectives with them to explore visa options and related logistics. This office represents a great resource for international technical questions.
Division of the Office of the Vice President for International Affairs
Franklin Hall 306, 601 East Kirkwood Avenue
Bloomington, Indiana 47405
Phone: 812.855.9086 Fax: 812.855.4418 Email:
  • Reference accessible public sites about visa information:
  • Access actual visa sponsorship data: Search for specific H-1B visa information by company, including job title, status, and work location. Use its filter capabilities to find sponsors by occupation, industry, economic sector, and state. Another source is the Foreign Labor Certification Data Center: Improve business communications skills
  • Take advantage of the free one-on-one public speaking and writing training available for Kelley students at, or call the Business Communication Office at 812.855.5613
  • Enroll in the Indiana University Writing Tutorial Services (WTS) campus-wide courses
  • Participate in Indiana University English Conversation Clubs through the Leo R. Dowling International Center
  • Join the Kelley Toastmasters Club or other similar speaker associations to practice speaking and meeting people. Contact Robert Lowe at or Adam Borson at
  • Seek out native English speakers to review and proof read all job search correspondence prior to sending
Get a driver’s license, if you do not have one.

Refresh knowledge of U.S. business etiquette. There are many internet articles and books for your reference. Ask questions and for feedback in low risk, non-recruiter environments. “You don’t know what you don’t know.”

Attend corporate presentations. Conduct subsequent, relevant conversations with the presenters, make a good impression, and retain contact information for use at a later time.

Read: POWER TIES – International Student’s Guide to Finding a Job in the United States by Dan Beaudry (2009). It was a helpful resource for this blog series compendium.

Please share any of your ideas on this topic with Paul Binder at: These may serve as content for additional articles. Best wishes for your success!

Learning from THE business intelligence guru

Kelley School MBA candidate Nachiket Kale talks with SAS CEO Jim
Goodnight about how he developed the idea to create the analytics company.

By Nachiket Kale
Second-Year MBA

Kelley students had a rare opportunity Monday to learn directly from Jim Goodnight, business analytics guru and CEO/Co-founder of SAS.

In 2009, according to one estimate, people generated more data than all the years before combined. Goodnight spoke about how this enormous amount of data spells a range of opportunities for today’s businesses. He dived deeper into how SAS is helping harness the power of this data to draw some powerful and actionable insights for businesses to help them serve customers better and become more profitable.

Goodnight explained how SAS has always remained focused on application of data in helping improve business practices. It was very interesting to learn in how many diverse ways SAS and similar data analysis companies are touching our lives.

For example, SAS works closely with the IRS to analyze which tax returns out of the millions of filings should be scrutinized and why. SAS also works with some of the top-bracket banks in helping them assess the amount of dollars at risk at any given point. In light of recent financial crisis, leveraging predictive technology to moderate the financial sector is extremely crucial.

Given my background with digital and mobile advertising, hearing about some of the challenges SAS faces in the field of social and mobile data mining was particularly interesting. As one may expect, building classifications of specific phrases to be monitored, deciphering use of the latest slang, and building robust tracking systems are some of the biggest challenges in harnessing data in the fast-changing mobile and social space.

As a Marketing major and Business Analytics minor in the Kelley School Full-Time MBA program, it was a one-of-a-kind opportunity to speak to Goodnight, who typically visits only one college campus a year, and I am very grateful to the Kelley School of Business for affording such great learning opportunities to the students.

I am certainly excited about the buzz around our new MBA in Business Analytics and look forward to many more exciting speakers and opportunities.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Kelley Culture in Action

The Beautiful IU Campus in the Fall
By Meghan Ackerson
First-Year MBA

The leaves are changing here in Bloomington and fall is in full swing.  We’re halfway through the semester now and have just survived the toughest week…MIDTERMS.  It’s funny that this week is the one that made me fall in love with the Core.

“Trust the process.”  From day one, that’s what we’ve been told.  Have faith that everything we’re going through is purposeful and will pay off in the end.

Well, they were right.  Yes, midterms were grueling.  Four back-to-back exams on top of group projects is no cakewalk.  But I was struck by the outpouring of support from faculty and classmates alike.  Everywhere I turned, there was someone willing to lend a helping hand, take a coffee break or share a study guide.  Many students sacrificed their own study time to host review sessions for fellow classmates (thanks Veena, Sean and Ed!).  And after a long, hard week, we all celebrated together down on Kirkwood Avenue.   

Next week, we will register for Spring classes.  I’m reminded that this is the last time that we’ll all be going through the exact same experience together.  Fortunately, we’ve come to rely on one another, and have built relationships that will last throughout our Kelley experience and beyond.  

Saturday, October 15, 2011

GLOBASE Ghana kicks off

Student photo from GLOBASE Ghana 2011
By Christine Robinson
Second-Year MBA

As a student leader for GLOBASE Ghana, one of the great Kelley MBA global experiences, I can't wait to officially kick things off with our team. After an extremely competitive application process, we have selected 21 incredible first-year MBA students who will participate in the program this school year. GLOBASE Ghana will host its first event in just a couple short weeks with a welcome dinner, and I am very much looking forward to getting to know everyone who will be accompanying me on this incredible journey.

While our first-year MBA students are knee deep in the core, as student leaders we are moving things along and are very excited about how the GLOBASE Ghana program is shaping up this year. We have begun the project selection process and are confident we will have some amazing projects for our participants to work on. GLOBASE Ghana is fortunate in that we have fabulous exisiting partners in Accra in Kingsbridge Corporate Services, Aid to Artisans Ghana, and EMEFA Jewellry, and we cannot wait to see what projects they propose for our teams.

Additionaly, as a leadership team we are not only passionate about serving the Kelley School of Business and our clients, we are also passionate about serving the people of Ghana. To do this we will be incorporating an aspect of service into our program. With this new direction we hope to educate our participants on some of the social issues that exist in Ghana and do our part through fundraising, volunteering, and business consulting to make a difference.

As I continue to do my part in coordinating this year's GLOBASE Ghana program, I am continually amazed by the work of the Kelley MBA students who preceeded me, and look forward to making my own mark on this outstanding program.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Kelleys At National Black MBA Conference

Recruiters and job-seekers network at the career fair at the National Black
MBA conference in Atlanta.

By Nachiket Kale
Second Year

The National Black MBA conference took place in Atlanta. National Black is one of the major conferences for both MBA students and employers in terms of recruiting.

I should have seen the conference dates approach and registered myself and booked a flight. However, as you could guess, procrastination got the better of me and four days before the conference, I had only managed to register. I still had to figure out my travel arrangements and accommodations. Flight tickets were through the roof and it was hard to find an affordable accommodation. In summary, the outlook didn’t look good at all.

I was considering cancelling my registration when a fellow Kelley School MBA student responded to my Facebook post about car-sharing. I decided to drive down with him and his friends. We wrapped up classes on Wednesday at about 5 p.m. and drove for the next 9 to 10 hours to Atlanta.

With about a couple of hours of sleep, we showed up for the conference and jumped into the routine of shaking hands, handing over resumes, and pitching ourselves to the relevant companies. 

As easy as I want to make it sound, it was the exact opposite. The conference is a crowded and a noisy place, other MBA students are waiting in the line behind you for their chance to impress the recruiter. You have to take rejection with a smile on your face and thank people for the opportunity. It can really get stressful. It did for me.

I was really fortunate to have some of my Kelley friends around to help me re-focus. I went back to Kelley’s booth. Interacting with folks from school definitely helped me de-stress and get back to the job hunt.

It was a very good learning experience. I didn’t secure any interviews but got some leads to work off of. The most heartening experience of the trip was to experience the Kelley culture, where Kelley students went to the extent of referring other Kelley students while talking to companies, and helping each other out.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Hands-on learning in the Marshall Islands

Emory Zink learns to make a flower petal
from women whose handiwork is sold
in the Marshall Islands.

Fourth in a series of posts from Kelley MBA students working in the Marshall Islands on a project with the South Pacific Business Development Foundation, a microfinance institution that enhances opportunity in underdeveloped Pacific countries by supporting women entrepreneurs.

By Emory Zink
Second-Year MBA

We’ve interviewed more than 20 people in the Majuro community during the last seven days. It has been intense, but revealing. 

This may be hard to believe, but in the classroom, even with a prepared business case, everything appears so simple. You have limited information and you make a decision with that information. 

Here in the Marshall Islands, as we gather information on behalf of SPBD, we’re faced with the challenge of never-ending perspectives. It is simultaneously frustrating and exhilarating to have meetings with three individuals in an afternoon, and while all three are respected and integral to the local financial industry, each approaches the Marshall Islands with a different agenda and an independent viewpoint. 

While this project appears superficially simple – whether the Republic of the Marshall Islands is an attractive or unattractive microfinance market – making a recommendation, knowing as much as we have gathered in the past week, is far more complicated. 

Of course, this is business in the real world, and to be honest, far more interesting than anything we could discuss in a classroom.

For example, we’ve explored the quality and types of educational opportunities available on the Islands. Obviously, this is an important factor feeding the likelihood of successful future female entrepreneurs, and rather than just talk about the programs, we visited schools. In particular, we paid a visit to the NGO Juren Ae, which is running a handicrafts training program in a facility funded through the government’s Ministry of Internal Affairs. 

This initiative seeks to give young women, ages 16 to 24, who have been pushed-out of the more traditional educational system, an opportunity to learn how to make traditional handicrafts for a living. There is a similar program for young men, who learn to make traditional Marshallese outrigger canoes. 

The fingers of the young women in their school workshop were moving frantically and producing beautiful woven arts. I tried my hand at a flower petal, and, well, thank goodness that I have other skills! The patterns can be quite elaborate, and the young women who were working the most intensely appeared to be in zen-like trances. 

The whole experience meant so much more than merely being told that this type of program exists. Seeing it in action and asking the participants their opinions makes gathering the information richer and more relevant to our eventual regional economic assessment.

Back To School

By Dylan Chatterjee
First Year

Three weeks deep, one midterm done, and the only thing I’m certain of is that I cannot expect anything with certainty.

My name is Dylan Chatterjee, and I’m a first year MBA student at the Kelley School of Business. I hail from all over, most recently Los Angeles, California where I worked in Hollywood in various roles in production and development. I chose to come to Indiana University because of the culture, curriculum, and caliber of the faculty and my classmates. I also came to break out of my comfort zone – I believe that is best way to grow and outpace your formal self. So far, I can honestly say I do not even remember what my comfort zone was.

The Core – an integrated system of eight foundation classes - is as tough as everyone said it would be. My days are now filled with insane amounts of reading, endless homework, and the incessant need to constantly prioritize your tasks and manage your time, plus networking and internship searching. More than occasionally I find myself at bars with my classmates, or forcing myself to go to the gym to maintain some resemblance of a balanced life.

Thanks to Kelley’s first semester curriculum, my comfort zone is dealing with uncertainty. By uncertainty, I mean lack of routine. Class is not repetitive, and the workload is not mundane. The variety of what I have done in just three weeks rivals some of the big productions I was involved with in my former career. I take comfort in the lack of routine – it is challenging and gratifying, and there is no doubt in my mind, thanks to Kelley, I am growing, both professionally and personally, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store tomorrow.