By Kelly Giese
Kelley Partner, Kelley Staff
Kelley Partner, Kelley Staff
This time a year ago, my husband and I were living in Dallas and making our travel plans to Bloomington for Kelley Experience Weekend – when accepted students of the Full-time MBA program visit campus, meet faculty and get to know future classmates. As a partner, I was completely on board with my husband’s decision to attend Kelley – a top-ranked program with an awesome reputation, Academies to tailor his education and expansive global opportunities. Of all the schools we visited, and for his career path in consumer marketing, Kelley was the right fit.
|Family photo at Sample Gates, November 2011.|
I wasn’t so sure. I’m sort of a Big City girl. I had grown used to restaurants for every craving, access to world-class shopping, art museums and theaters. My weekend schedule in Texas involved yoga, brunch, and a trip to the indoor air-conditioned dog park. Let’s just say I had my doubts about relocating to a college town. One that I could barely find on the map.
And there were other, more sensible questions: Where will I work? Where will we live? Will I have friends? And how will this Texan survive a Midwestern winter? But, I packed my bags, and my preconceived notions, and boarded a plane to Indiana last April.
I’m so glad I did. In one short weekend, I found everything I was looking for. Well, except for the air-conditioned dog park. At Kelley Experience Weekend, I had my mind completely changed about Bloomington, and I felt right at home.
First, the Kelley Partners Club is awesome! The current partners made the incoming partners feel so very welcome – introducing us to the town, the school and each other. They answered our questions, helped in our hunt for jobs and places to live, and when I arrived in the fall, KPC kept my social calendar full while my student was busy with school. My transition to Bloomington was seamless, and I’ve made lifelong friends within KPC.
Second, Bloomington is like a progressive big city wrapped inside a friendly and beautiful small town. It’s also not in the middle of cornfield, as I once thought. Indianapolis, Chicago, Cincinnati, Louisville, St. Louis are all nearby. There are no shortages of restaurants, recreation and entertainment. Here’s a preview, in case you have the same concerns I did:
- Foodies: You won’t go hungry. Fourth Street alone has one of the most diverse collection of international restaurants anywhere. There are several chef-owned restaurants that use local produce, a weekly farmer’s market near downtown and a chain of locally sourced grocery stores. Bloomington is also home to the Oliver Winery.
- Families: With a children’s museum, great schools and city parks, you will feel right at home.
- Activities: There are sprawling running trails, yoga studios and gyms all over town. Or make a short drive to one of the nearby lakes for boating or a scenic hike. Biking is also big, with bike lanes in town and excellent routes through the rolling hills of Southern Indiana. Oh, and for the spectators, there is always IU Football, Basketball at Assembly Hall, Indy 500, Little 500 and more.
- Indoor enthusiasts: IU is home to the JacobsSchool of Music, which means world-class performances and major musicals are right on campus. There’s also a renowned art museum, and you can also catch live music at several small venues and socialize on Kirkwood Avenue.
- Living quarters: You can find what you are looking for – a quiet apartment, a family-friendly home with a backyard, or a loft downtown.
- Job hunters: It helps to start early. There are many opportunities in town or nearby, and, of course, on campus. Your fellow partners make a great network and are happy to help.
And as for the Midwestern winters, I got lucky this year with a mild one. But I’ve got my coat and boots ready for next year!
I promise this post was not sponsored by the Bloomington Visitor Center, I have just grown to love it here. I encourage every future partner to attend Kelley Experience Weekend. I think it will ease any concerns you have as you find your family’s place in this quintessential college town, just like we did. On behalf of the Kelley Partners Club, we look forward to welcoming you and your student to Bloomington April 13 - 15!