Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Kelley Partners Abroad

By Kelly Giese
Kelley Partner, Kelley Staff
Photo credits: Theresa Muench
IU Kelley MBA students and partners journey to Guatemala. 

The culture at Kelley has to be one of my favorite parts of our MBA experience. I say “our”  because that’s how Kelley makes me feel – a part of my student/husband’s journey. Kelley is a place of inclusion and acceptance, and that extends beyond the students.  Apart from attending class or running for class president, the Kelley Partners are invited to most program events.

This past spring break, many of my fellow partners joined students in their global experiences, attending a KIPs or GLOBASE trip. Along with five other partners, I went to GLOBASE Guatemala and had an amazing time. We admired the variety of Chicken Buses – the nickname for the artfully decorated public transportation in Guatemala -- we roasted marshmallows with the heat of a volcano, spoke all the Spanish that we knew and made lifelong friends. 

It’s a story best told in pictures. ¿Listo?

Partner Travis and student Theresa
Muench at the H4H job site.
We joined our students and their teams on their second week in Guatemala, after their consulting projects wrapped up. (Read about one of the projects here.)The first day was spent working with Habitat for Humanity, helping build houses in a small town outside of Guatemala City called Chimaltenango.  

 Imagine a job site with several future consultants and supply chain analysts exercising their expertise – we had to be one of the most productive teams to volunteer for H4H.  We dug ditches, leveled foundations, mixed and poured cement. We also had a lot of fun.
The landscape of Chichicastenango.

The next day, we toured the charming Mayan markets, colorful cemeteries and churches of the small town of Chichicastenango.   

The colorful markets in Santiago Atitlan.

From there, we toured the areas of Lake Atitlan, flanked by three active volcanos.  We took a boat ride across the lake to a neighboring village. The views were breathtaking.  

Two Kelley students & a partner 
overlook the city of Antigua.

We then spent a few days in Antigua, the original capital of Guatemala that was destroyed by a volcano years ago and rebuilt in the same colonial style. Cobble-stone streets, colorful buildings, ruins of churches with the Fuego volcano in the background.  We enjoyed walking, biking and hiking tours.  Some of us learned how to make coffee and chocolate. 

Our last stop was to Flores, where we climbed the Mayan ruins at Tikal.
On top of Mayan ruins in Tikal.
I’m leaving out so many details of the trip – it was a full week of fun. I have so many wonderful memories, and inside jokes, with students I didn’t know so well before the trip. I’ve always felt a part of the Kelley MBA family, but even more so after this trip.  While global experiences are required for Kelley MBA students, I’d say attending a trip like this is a must for Kelley Partners.