Thursday, December 27, 2012

Advice from a Career Coach: Evaluating Multiple Offers

By Rebecca Cook
Director - Coaching and Development, Graduate Career Services
Co-Director, Capital Markets Academy

You’ve survived recruiting season, completed a multitude of interviews and you have been lucky enough to end up with a few different offers.  So now what do you do?  How do you decide which one to take?  How do you accept an offer?  How do you reject an offer in a way that would make the rejected company still want to hire you?  All of these are very important questions that need to be thought of as you move into the new world of end of school – new job.

Let’s start with how do you decide which offer to take.  There are many factors that play in this decision – salary/bonus, vacation, loving the job, family, geographic location, etc.  The key is that you need to figure out what is the most important to you.  Maybe it is location and you are willing to take a little lower salary to live where you want….or maybe it is salary and you will live anywhere for the largest dollar amount.  There isn’t a “correct” answer here – it is all personal preference.  Take the time to think through your offers, talk with your GCS coach and others who are close to you, and consider negotiating for certain things.  GCS has lots of data that can help you with this part of the process.  You can even “try on” the acceptance in that you can pretend you accepted one offer for 24 hours and see how feel and then pretend you accepted the other offer for 24 hours.  It sounds kind of silly but you will feel better on one vs. the other. 

The fun part – acceptance!  You’ve worked through your decision and decided on which company is the best fit for you.  Now you get to sign on the dotted line….but you continue to hesitate.  Why?  This is a big step and many people are afraid that they will make the wrong decision.  Let’s think about that though….you’ve reviewed all of your offers, you know the company cultures, you’ve figured out which offer seems to fit you best.  There is no reason to be afraid.  You are making the best decision for you at this point in time.  Be excited about this choice, go work at the company and make your mark.  Once you’ve been there for a little while, you can always re-evaluate and make sure that you are on the right track.

Now let’s talk about rejection.  No one likes to be rejected but you will have to say “no” to at least one company if you have multiple offers.  This isn’t a fun conversation and people often dread it, but it really doesn’t have to be that bad.  Ideally, you want to frame it very positively and highlight how much you like their company and appreciate the offer.  You want to let them know that you have thought about your decision and that unfortunately for them, you are choosing to go with another employer.  Tell them that you would like to stay in touch as you never know what will happen in the future – and then make sure you actually do it.

The key here is to enjoy the process.  Companies want you and that is a great feeling.  You have the upper hand in that you control the outcome.  Congratulations and good luck!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Journey of a Leader: Vision

By Kelly Giese
Kelley Staff

Learning to work in teams is a huge part of the Kelley MBA experience. Whether it’s on a Core team, Academy project, or global experience – our curriculum prepares students to navigate and thrive in team settings.

The third video in our "Journey of a Leader" series finds Meghan Curran and the GLOBASE India team in the thick of course planning and trip preparations. Their list is long and their decisions aren't always easy, but it's the team's shared vision that moves them forward, together.

In October, we introduced The Meg(h)ans - two inspiring MBA students who have graciously agreed to let us follow them this school year.  Their journey to leading global trips and becoming better leaders – and all of the highs and lows that come with it – will be shared.  We invite you to follow their stories on this blog, or on our YouTube page.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Take the 12 Days of Break Challenge

It's December 12, 2012. 12-12-12. There's never been a better day than today to present Graduate Career Services' "The 12 Days of Break Challenge."  

Take the challenge and maximize your winter break!

Watch 12 episodes of your favorite TV show.
  • After your first semester as an MBA, take some time to rest, relax, and rejuvenate
  • Schedule specific times to do career work during your break; don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today!

Connect with 11 new people.
  • This is a season of giving. So, connect with people based on what you can give.
  • Connections are made in many ways: events, volunteer activities, LinkedIn, alumni events, friends and family. Go in to each looking for common ground upon which to build.

Identify 10 companies that don’t come to campus.
  • Many great firms come to Kelley, but opportunities shouldn’t end there.
  • Conduct research to identify 10 companies that don’t recruit at Kelley. Ensure your understanding of the industry/function by identifying competitors, growth opportunities, and risks.

Attend 9 holiday events.
  • Holidays are a time for family get‐togethers, alumni events, and parties. Each offers you an opportunity to connect or reconnect with people you may be able to help or vice versa.
  • Having too much or too little focus on the job may cause you to miss opportunities right in front of you. Read these tips on connecting at social events.

Learn the 8 secrets of success.

Spend $7 on coffee with a contact.
  • Invite someone to join you for coffee. Perhaps a second-year MBA, alum, or mentor with whom you have already met, just to say thank you. Or, you might invite a Kelley prospective who reached out this semester.
  • Focusing on what you can do for them, not what they can do for you, is a great way to build a relationship.

Spend 6 minutes on Wordle.
  • What does your written communication say about you? Have fun, copy and paste a writing sample into Wordle to see what words stand out.

Answer 5 questions on InterviewStream.
  • A video is worth a 1000 words. Use InterviewStream to examine your interviewing presence. (Once logged in, click “Select Interview” then “choose this interview” below “General Interview.”)
  • Refine your non‐verbal presence, then focus on tailoring your responses to the company and culture.

Take 4 minutes to Elf Yourself.
  • If you don’t crack a smile with this one, you’re definitely not in the holiday spirit! 

Connect with 3 former colleagues.
  • Don’t forget to look back, while you’re moving forward! The many people who have helped you get where you are today want to know how you’re doing. It is your responsibility to keep them up to date.
  • Read this article which highlights the value of staying in touch.

Take 2 minutes to watch this video.
  • How do you follow‐up with new contacts?
  • Take 2 minutes to find out the value of following‐up and how to be memorable.

Create 1 marketing plan.
  • Just as you would create a marketing plan for a new idea, you should create your own personal marketing plan.
  • Putting your “Points of Parity” and “Points of Difference” on paper helps you articulate your story. Use your own format or ask your GCS coach for a template.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Journey of a Leader: The Paths that Lie Ahead

By Kelly Giese
Kelley Staff

John Quincy Adams once said, "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader."

The second video of our series, Journey of a Leader, features Megan Kuhn, a leader on the GLOBASE Guatemala team. It was her desire to inspire others, to accomplish something bigger than herself, that motivated her to develop her leadership skills at Kelley. With the responsibility of leading the trip looming, she knows her actions now will impact her team’s success in Guatemala. 

We believe the transformation to leadership is an ongoing process. Developing the skills aren’t easy or comfortable.  In October, we introduced The Meg(h)ans - two inspiring MBA students who have graciously agreed to let us follow them this school year.  Their journey to leading global trips and becoming better leaders – and all of the highs and lows that come with it – will be shared.  We invite you to follow their stories this here, or on our YouTube page.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Kelley wins GE's ECLP Midwest Case Competition

Pulak, Aryn, Me, Adam

By Britta Mueller
First-year MBA Student, Business Marketing Academy

Each year, the Kelley School of Business competes in GE’s ECLP Midwest Case Competition. I was this year's team leader of three other incredible individuals picked to go to the case competition --  Adam Elkington, Aryn Vastola, and Pulak Sharma. What was our assignment? We were asked to solve the following problem -- How should GE use the Industrial Internet to improve their Aviation Business?

Top team the second year
in a row!
Collaborating with last year's winners (Kelley won last year, too!) -- and working long hours to come up with a strategy to solve the problem -- we worked as a singular entity and barely found time to sleep. We gelled as a team as we focused on our goal to come up with the best solution and win the competition.

With two weeks to find a solution to GE’s request, we began by researching the Industrial Internet. In case you don’t know what the Industrial Internet is -- it is also known as the “Internet of Things."  It is the future. The Industrial Internet provides a system that allows machines to communicate with each other to make them smarter and more efficient.

Our next step was to involve our brilliant Kelley professorsOur Strategy professors assisted our team in the collaboration process. Using individual and group ideas, they encouraged debate and we all appreciated each other’s insights, knowledge, and strengths. We continued to research and began to focus on our solution. It was a long process, but we used the many of the skills we had learned in our Core MBA classes like case analysis from our Strategy classes, net present value calculations from Finance classes, and market segmentation from our Marketing classes.

Amazed how we were able to integrate our current course studies into the project, it was exciting,  challenging and convinced me I chose the right MBA program!

The competition was held at Notre Dame, and shortly after arriving we went to an evening event where we met some of our fellow competitors and current GE employees.  The other competing teams included The Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business, The University of Michigan Ross School of Business, and The University of Chicago Booth School of Business. As the team lead, I selected our number for what presentation order we were to go in the next morning.  The Kelley Team was ... Number 1.

The next morning we received many wishes of good luck from our fellow Kelley classmates. Our team continued to focus and practice on our presentation right up until we were called. It was time to present!  Our 30 minutes flew by and then -- it was time to wait again.  Since our team was first to present, we were able to watch the other three business school's take their turn. Now I know how an ice skater feels waiting for her competition results! There were some great ideas presented, but as the afternoon went on I kept reminding myself of how amazing our team was, our collaborative strategy, and the wonderful Kelley organization I was a part of. And as I watched, I knew we were going to win -- we had to win, we had a whole team cheering us on, and our previous Kelley classmates who won the year before were depending on it. Plus, we had a great power point presentation!

We won! Next year we will be back for 3-peat. We look forward to helping our future Kelley classmates!

Monday, November 26, 2012

It’s all coming together…

First-year MBA, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Academy

The last few months have been a mixed bag of emotions – excitement, exhaustion, surprise, anticipation, friendship, acceptance, confidence, frustration, trust, pride, and most importantly, realization. I am starting to realize why the integrated core is designed the way it is, and how the Kelley MBA is shaping my career and my personality. As we approach finals week and the end of the infamous and relentless integrated core, things are starting to come together and make more sense.

From an academic point of view, I was always curious to see how to make practical sense of all the eight subjects taught in the core. As I prepare for the finals and try to digest the concepts, overlap between the different subjects is starting to surface. The concepts of Pricing and Profitability take varied, yet complementing approaches from Marketing and Economic points of view. Asset Valuation and Financial Leverage are some of the key concepts introduced in Finance, and later tightened up in Accounting.  Strategy and Operations go hand-in-hand by preparing us to make crucial decisions on what to do and how to get it done efficiently. People often mix up these two concepts, just like they mix up our almost (but not really) look-alike professors Cattani & Semadeni. Finally, Critical Thinking and Business Analytics pull it all together with quantitative, technological and ethical leadership skills. Well, it’s hard to ignore the fact that Kelley boasts some of the best professors an MBA program can have, which certainly plays a key role in keeping the integrated core truly “integrated.”

I kind of explained how the classes are coming together. But the really cool part is how the people are coming together. I have a great group of friends at Kelley who are incredibly smart, yet down to earth – which is the main reason I chose to come to Kelley from my prior interactions with students and alumni. The journey is getting more exciting as we build stronger bonds and make new friends. I now see why our second year MBAs have formed such strong friendships and are so close with each other. I believe one of the reasons being the highly collaborative culture at Kelley, which creates an environment where we learn together and also learn from each other.

I suppose there could be many ways the rigor of the integrated core impacts a student. This is just my perspective. To sum it up, I believe that the essence of the MBA experience is just starting to surface, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Journey of a Leader: Catching My Breath

Meghan Curran, GLOBASE India 2012
By Meghan Curran
Second-year MBA, Consulting Academy

Happy Thanksgiving!  This year, I am grateful for many things, not least of all the chance to pause and catch my breath during this break.

Everyone talks about how crazy the first year of business school is, and at Kelley it’s no different.  The first semester of the second year has been a whirlwind, too! 

In addition to my classes, graduate assistantship and role as Net Impact President, I’ve been meeting regularly with my GLOBASE India leadership team.  Last week one of my friends asked, “Meghan – GLOBASE doesn’t start until January – why do you guys meet so much?!”

Well, in short, there’s a lot to be done!  Through September and October our team worked through three important processes: 
  •  Identifying our team vision. That might sound grandiose, but it is critical to our mission. It pushed us to talk through a lot of our ideas and opinions about what we envisioned for the trip, and make sure that we were working toward the same goals.  Once we had the strategy in place, we were able to set action plans and get to work.
  • Team selection. We interviewed each applicant to determine their interest level in GLOBASE India, learn more about their backgrounds, and answer any questions they had for us about the program – we selected those we felt were the best fit for the program. 
    Dozens of interviews later, we are excited to be taking 15 Kelley students and 5 students from the
    School of Public and Environmental Affairs to India with us in March.  This is the first time Kelley and SPEA have been able to collaborate on an international trip, and we are really excited about the breadth of experience our SPEA colleagues have working with nonprofits and in developing countries.
  • Finalizing preliminary trip logistics. We worked with the client to scope meaningful, realistic projects. We planned the group's travel and finalized the course curriculum for January.

Leading GLOBASE is no small job, but like everything, what you put into it is what you get out of it. 

I have an opportunity to work with an incredible peer group; to be coached by extraordinary mentors among the Kelley faculty and staff; to work with an inspiring team of partners in India, who are so dedicated to their work and the GLOBASE projects that it makes 7am Skype calls or weekend team meetings a total pleasure. 

For as much as I am putting into this experience, I am getting it back tenfold in the innumerable learning opportunities and depth of personal relationships that are being developed – in short, I win!  

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy Thanksgiving from Bloomington!

Watch Meghan take a moment to reflect on what she's learned, and what's ahead in Journey of a Leader: Reflection.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Gayraoke!: Kelley annual karaoke competition

By Leila Bahbah  
First-year MBA, Consumer Marketing Academy

This past Friday evening was our highly anticipated annual Gayraoke singing competition hosted by the Out @ Kelley club. The competition was held at the Root Cellar, which is a little hidden bar in downtown Bloomington that is actually in the basement of one of my favorite restaurants, Farm. The Kelley students were out in full force along with some of our professors! Our business analytics professor decided to dress up for the occasion. He was clearly very excited for the event.

Professor Heese channeling the 70s!

The night was jam packed with entertaining performances from Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” to Backstreet Boys to Billy Idol. All the contestants definitely brought their A-game. I was surprised at how many of my classmates turned out to be really good singers. My classmate Divya stole the show with her performance. Who knew she was such a powerhouse! Here are some of my classmates rocking out on stage!
Here's Kevin serenading the ladies!

Trent hearts Billy Idol!

Here I am with my roommates. Even though we’re in a top 20 program, we still know how to take a break from the books and have fun. Besides there was no way any of us were going to miss our Economics Professor, Phil Powell, get up on stage and sing his heart out. We all had a great time and can’t wait for Gayraoke next year!
Me and some of my most favorite 1st years!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

To Professor Neil Morgan

By Rajeev Gupta  
Second-year MBA, Entrepreneurial Innovation Academy

Professor Neil Morgan
“Don’t you make the mistake of calling me British, I am Welsh!”

These were first few words of yours I heard. And I knew in my heart that your teaching style was no exception to the general quirky personality of every professor at The Kelley School of Business MBA program. As subsequent classes unfolded, you have continued to show varying shades of your signature style.

In every class, you signal that you mean business by literally rolling up your sleeves as if you are about to get into heavy duty work. Indeed you are, because you do not force me to think, you force me to think harder. You push against most of my arguments and make me think deeper to push against your arguments, if at all possible. Business schools are often accused of encouraging ‘managing blah.’ But if someone is sitting in your class, he better think ten times before opening his mouth. It’s not that you will shoot him down or belittle him in any unhealthy way, but he should realize the futility of his comment if he was commenting only for class participation and not for contributing to the discussion.

You are a great story teller. When you give examples from your consulting experiences in Cambridge, you start with, “once upon a time, in a land far from here.”  As you uncover each new bullet of consequence, you animatedly describe  how each bad strategy backfired for the firms you consulted.

What mesmerizes me most is your speech – the clarity, the diction, the vocabulary. During the first half of the seven-week course so far, I have never heard you even once use such phrases as “kind of” or “like” or “I mean.”  Even more impressive is your ability to repeat a long sentence multiple times without any modification. When you define certain theory, with complicated words, you repeat the same sentence with same words in exact same order.

Studying strategy in your class is almost like learning the rules of success in a battlefield. When you discussed the case of American Airlines, your description of companies bleeding each other and cutting limbs of each other teleported me into a war zone of airline industry. 

The most entertaining and engaging moments occur during what you call “rant time.” You use real data with empirical evidence to show how stupid choices have huge costs to firms. Your rant against NPS score was clearly an eye-opener.

In my over one year of education at an American school, I realized that the best classes are the ones in which professor has to remind the student that the class is over. I am proud and glad that your class is one of them.

With Love,

P.S. - Neil has been nominated for Economist  Business Professor of the Year Award : The only global contest to recognize and reward excellence in business teaching. If you would like, you can vote for Neil here:

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Journey of a Leader: Reflection

By Kelly Giese
Kelley Staff

We could talk in length about our innovative program that develops valued leaders in the business world, and beyond.  Instead, we have decided to show it – where it happens and when it happens.  While the training starts in one of our classrooms, the transformation of our students often occurs outside of our building. It happens when our students apply it.

Last month, we introduced The Meg(h)ans - two inspiring MBA students who have graciously agreed to let us follow them this school year.  Their journey to leading global trips and becoming better leaders – and all of the highs and lows that come with it – will be shared.  We invite you to follow their stories this school year here or on our YouTube page.

The first video of our series, Journey of a Leader, features Meghan Curran, a leader on the GLOBASE India team.  An effective leader must first know themselves. Watch as she takes a moment to reflect on what she's learned and what's ahead.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Forging New Friendships at Kelley

By Abby Foster
First-Year MBA, Business Marketing Academy 

Going out to eat is a favorite past time of mine, and I thoroughly enjoy trying new foods from different countries. Sushi, falafels, curry, gyros...I rarely shy away from ethnic meals. After meeting students from all over the world this semester, I have expanded my tastes even more. However, there are still days when I crave a box of Kraft macaroni and cheese. 

Mac and cheese is a staple for most American children, so when we had to choose a recognizable food brand and product in our marketing class, Kraft mac and cheese came to mind. Our group began working on the assignment, but we stopped when my Peruvian teammate, Julio, leaned over and asked me about the dish. It turns out that four of our ten group members had never tasted macaroni and cheese. We quickly checked our schedules, and found a night to meet at Punit's apartment for a team dinner.
Tom, Punit, Naoki, Nina, Erin, Abby, Ruchir, and Julio enjoying our team dinner.
Having attended IU for my undergraduate degree as well, I became accustomed to working with students from different parts of the world. However, when you spend the entire semester with the same five team members as we do in the core, you start to look beyond cultural differences and instead see them as opportunities to learn from each other and share experiences. Our mac and cheese night ended up consisting of Japanese appetizers, an American entree, Indian desserts, and lots of interesting conversation in between. We all went around speaking in our native languages (which include Spanish, Indian, Japanese, and Ukrainian) and shared our travel plans for the upcoming holiday season. What was supposed to be a quick dinner turned into a 3-hour event, and we plan on hosting another dinner soon.

The Kelley culture truly is built on collaboration and teamwork...and it extends beyond the classroom. We enjoy getting together to talk about our backgrounds and learn from each other's experiences. Over the past three months, my teammates have become my friends. I know we will continue to spend time together outside of class even after the core is over.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Unique Formula for Group Work at Kelley

First-year MBA, Strategic Finance Academy

My Core Team at Bradford Woods During Orientation
A marketing consultant from Mumbai; a success story from Silicon Valley; an experienced life insurance consultant from Seoul; a healthcare consultant from a thriving software company in Madison; an international treasury analyst from San Francisco.  These are the five members that make up my team for the first 16 weeks of my Kelley School of Business, MBA experience.

During the first semester of the Integrated Core, which is a set of eight courses taken concurrently, each first-year student is assigned to a team of three or four other first-year students with different backgrounds.  The teams work very closely throughout the semester on group projects as well as case study competitions.  But the method of how teams are chosen at Kelley is very calculated. 

Before arriving in Bloomington, incoming first year students take a Keirsey Temperament evaluation, which categorizes a student as having one of four different personality types: Guardian, Idealist, Artisan and Rational.  Based on the results, the MBA Program Office selects teams to include all four personality types.  The combination of students makes for a dynamic learning environment where first-year students get comfortable working with different personality types and individuals from around the world.

The part I enjoy most about the team aspect is learning about the unique backgrounds of my teammates and sharing insights about the US culture for students who are in the US for the first time.  For instance, I am planning to have my team over to watch the Big Ten Championship Game in early December.  It’s a chance for two in my group to learn about American Football, but it’s also a time for our whole team to get together outside of the classroom.  Kelley’s collaborative culture does not end when you walk out of the business school; it’s a recurring theme throughout the Kelley MBA experience. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Client: Guatemala Edition

By A.J. Miller
Second-year MBA Student

If there is one thing the GLOBASE program has always been able to pride itself on (other than selecting amazing, first-class leadership teams), it’s picking the right clients.  I hesitate to rank the importance of each GLOBASE component, but finding the right clients and projects for our students is high on the list.  Going into the process we all had our personal criteria for selecting clients.  I felt that my ideal client needed an open mind and strong interpersonal communication skills; Ed wanted his client to have a big enough business to provide our students with significant, meaningful projects.  However, we all agreed that it would be best to ask our students what they wanted in a client and project.
To do this, we asked each of our potential consultants in their interviews what they hoped to have in a client/project: size, industry and business function.  Luckily, their preferences were easily found in the many projects we had to select from.   The next step was to determine which of our prospective clients would be able to make the proper commitment to GLOBASE and our students.  When we interviewed our clients, we asked multiple questions about their flexibility and dependability as GLOBASE participants.  Only those that assured us they would make the proper commitment (email responsiveness, availability for weekly Skyping, in-country availability, etc.) were considered for final selection.  Lastly, we had to make sure that all of the projects in consideration were: a) challenging, b) able to be completed in 8 weeks, and c) interesting (and possibly fun…hey, we want our students to find some enjoyment in their projects).

To close, I can say with complete confidence that we’ve selected a fine group of projects and clients for our students.  We’ve most certainly continued the proud GLOBASE tradition of finding the best partners for our students.  Have we done better than previous leadership teams?  Only time will tell…and yes, we have done better.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Power of Networking in Practice at the 23rd Annual NSHMBA Career Expo

By Tulio Bracho 
First-year MBA Student, Strategic Finance Academy

The National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA) celebrated its 23rd Annual Conference and Career Expo between October 4th and October 6th in Orlando, Florida. This year more than one-hundred and thirty companies went to the conference armed with their recruiting teams with just one objective in mind: identify and capture the best human talent for their organizations. Out of the 1,500 students who attended the conference, 68% were enrolled in an MBA Program.  

Indiana University and the Institute for Global Organizational Effectiveness (IGOE) sponsored the IGOE fellows to attend the career expo in order to develop networking skills and explore professional opportunities. This was a particularly useful experience for me to learn more from the companies I am interested in and to establish relationships with them. This opportunity also served to strengthen ties between the IGOE fellows.

Although the power of networking is widely recognized, sometimes it is important to remember why it is so powerful. My own perspective is that the advantages of networking go beyond meeting people that can possibly help us at some point in our lives. Even though this could be true, there is one more benefit of networking that we sometimes forget. What I am talking about is what we learn and discover from ourselves when we meet other people.I believe that interacting with other people, listening to what they have to say, seeing how they behave, and paying attention to how they respond to our words and actions are all very powerful tools for personal growth. However, in order for these tools to be effective, we have to be conscious and open to receiving the information and analyzing it. I had a personal experience with this at the NSHMBA convention.

While I was waiting in line and putting my ideas in order to speak with one company representative I noticed that the person behind me had a semblance of concern. I introduced myself and we started having a friendly conversation. As we kept talking, he opened up and shared his concerns with me. He had recently graduated with a Masters in Accounting and still did not have a job offer. He had made a sacrifice to cover the expenses to travel to Orlando and attend the career expo. I understood his situation and tried to be supportive and cheer him up. I offered him my spot so he could talk to the company representative first and have more time to go and talk with others. He accepted and was appreciative of my offer.

Later in the day I saw this person again. He approached me and said, “I was looking for you”. I was intrigued. He told me that he had spoken with another recruiter and thought my profile would be a good fit. I thanked him and went to go speak with that recruiter. Indeed, my profile was a good fit for the position the company was hiring for, and after speaking with the representative for a little while, I was offered an interview. I’m glad I got the chance to network with that company, but what struck me more was how eager my new friend was to help me.

That is the power of networking, so powerful that it must be based on some sort of physical law of action and reaction. It’s a power that comes from inside, spreads out, multiplies, and somehow comes back to you. I am thankful that NSHMBA gave me the opportunity to experience this power of networking firsthand. I will always remember Professor Carlos Vinola’s quote about networking, “If you go into a room and you do not meet someone new, at the least you've missed out an opportunity of learning something or making a friend, and at the most, making a million dollars."

Monday, November 5, 2012

Baptism by Fire: My First Kelley Case Competition

By Clark Hays  
First-year MBA, Strategic Finance Academy

My orientation case-comp team

It’s mid-August, and even though it’s the dead of summer, for most MBAs in Bloomington, Indiana it’s a season of change. Students are prepping for the transition from corporate America to academia by settling into new homes, befriending new faces, and becoming acquainted with the beautiful campus and quirky downtown.

Yet, after one has barely gained his or her bearings in this state of flux, that person is immediately thrown into an intense and highly entertaining team-based case competition.  At that time, though each MBA in our new class had virtually no graduate training about how to systematically deconstruct a case, each team was thrust into the gauntlet and pushed to teach and sharpen each other.
Happy with our work!

Meeting my team for the case competition was memorable.  The introductions were both enthralling and nerve-racking – these other four team members would be my peers for the rest of the semester not only for case competitions but for homework, studying and general support.  As is the case with most teams, our fabulous five was incredibly diverse.  Kelley was quite clever in creating a microcosm of the world within our little quintet. As we worked together on the case (how to boost the bottom line for a local winery), we found that each member contributed a unique and essential point of view.   

Being the finance guy in our team, I was fixated on exploiting trends in margins. The marketing guru in our group was obsessed with target markets. We had an officer of a US Navy Submarine who was an incredible leader, an architect with a non-business background who played an artful devil’s advocate, and an IT expert from India with an eye for the minutiae.  
My teammate, brain storming

After 36 hours in the trenches with my new friends – brainstorming, formulating, constructing, polishing – I couldn’t help but marvel as I looked upon our final recommendation.  If I had done this case competition on my own, the recommendation would be nothing, absolutely nothing, like what we had fabricated.  Yet somehow, the torrent of differing thoughts all blended together harmoniously, at least in our (slightly biased) point of view.  We decided to call it a night around 10 PM to be in good spirits for the next day, but some teams were working well into the twilight hours of 2 or 3 AM.

Competition day was electric; a palpable energy pulsated through the hallways as teams paced in anticipation before their presentations.  We decided to structure our presentation with three team members to present and two to take on the Q&A.  After a few sketchy run-throughs – and some very concerned looks from our 2nd-year mentor – we presented to a panel of 4 judges our main point of how emerging varietal sales could galvanize revenue and open up a new market.  I guess the nerves evoked the best from us because it was announced shortly thereafter that we were moving on.  The field of 12 teams in our cohort had been narrowed down to 3.  Joyous as we were from the performance, we were wary of being overly-confident as feedback would not be provided until the end of the competition.

The team!
For the final round, the new venue reflected the higher stakes. This time, instead of simply being evaluated by a panel of judges, we also had the eyes our entire cohort peering at us.  It’s these certain moments, when palms get clammy and knees get shaky, that your team members transition from teammates to friends.  The transition eventually happens with almost everyone you meet at Kelley.  It’s what separates the school from other Top 20 MBA programs: Kelley is one of the friendliest place on Earth.

Bolstered by the comfort of four friends surrounding you with the same mission, we explained our recommendation and defended our plan against the barrage of the panel’s questioning. We walked out of the final round satisfied with our performance, regardless of our ultimate placing.  And as the three cohorts gathered in the atrium to hear the announcement of the victors, our sighs of relief abruptly turned into shouts of exhilaration.  We were ecstatic to be declared the case competition winners.  And more substantially, after reflecting on the whirlwind of a jam-packed week, we felt honored to have completed this unforgettable baptism by fire at the Kelley School of Business.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Impact Symposium - Do Well, Do Good, Do Both

Guest post by Brian Greer
 Second-Year MBA, Supply Chain & Global Management Academy

One of the aspects I appreciate most about the Kelley MBA program is the opportunity to take leadership in areas that interest me both personally and professionally. For me, one of those is Net Impact – a club with more than 280 chapters and 20,000 members worldwide that is committed to using business skills and knowledge to do good. The broadly-defined area of “social impact” careers has grown significantly over the last 10 years, and when we took office last spring, my peers and I on the Net Impact leadership team saw a notable increase in interest in the topic within the program at Kelley.

Representatives from Steelcase, Cummins, and the IU
Office of Sustainability take part in a panel moderated
by Kelley professor Dr. Jeff McMullen
It was at that point that we decided to host Kelley’s first-ever Impact Symposium, a day-long event designed to help our classmates – many of whom have expressed an interest in social impact but also weren’t sure how to make it a part of their careers – connect their ability to do well with their desire to do good.  So, on October 5th, we hosted professionals (including 4 Kelley alumni!) from organizations like MillerCoors, Steelcase, Teach for America, and Acumen Fund who shared their social impact career experiences with Kelley students.

Dr. Mrim Boutla guides Kelley students
through the social impact career search
Panel discussions in the morning were followed by an afternoon of career search guidance with Dr. Mrim Boutla, a career coach and entrepreneur who started More Than Money Careers to assist students in finding jobs with impact, and students had networking opportunities the night before and throughout the day. Topics like corporate social responsibility, sustainability, and the role of both non-profits and for-profits in the impact space came up in conversation all day, and have continued in the days and weeks since.

With strong attendance, enthusiastic participation, and learning experience for students and professionals alike, the event was a big success. In particular, I was encouraged to see the energy demonstrated by panelists and attendees alike, and believe that opportunities to do work with social impact will continue growing both at Kelley and with employers who recruit here. What’s more, I enjoyed building my own leadership skills by developing a program that fostered personal learning and development for my peers. Indeed, future Kelley students stand to benefit from the Symposium as much as, if not more than, current students, as the groundwork that has been laid will make future events both more likely and more valuable.

When the Net Impact leadership team attended the national Net Impact conference last weekend in Baltimore, MD, our excitement about what we had developed with the Impact Symposium grew even further. We saw what such an event can become, as the national event had more than 2700 attendees and more than 100 sessions featuring professionals who are doing social impact work. While I’m not sure the Impact Symposium at Kelley will grow to such a size, the leadership team does envision a future where Kelley accepts, graduates and propels individuals who use their top-20 MBA education to impact the world around them – to do well while they do good.