Tuesday, September 25, 2012

IGOE Lunch & Bread for Haiti

Kelley MBA IGOE Fellows 

By Laura Hernandez 
Second-year MBA Student, 
Consumer Marketing Academy

The fellows of the Institute for Global Organizational Effectiveness (IGOE), an organization dedicated to providing opportunities to Latin American students pursuing graduate degrees (PhDs and MBAs) at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, recently had the opportunity to enjoy a lunch with the Founder and President of the Geo Global Foundation, Mr. Ariel Aisiks.

This lunch was coordinated by IGOE’s director, Dr. Herman Aguinis. During our lunch at the Tudor Room in Indiana Memorial Union, we were able to chat and ask questions to Mr. Aisiks. The fellows of the Institute for Global Organizational Effectiveness are from diverse parts of Latin America. The countries represented in this luncheon were Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Haiti, Mexico, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela; this diversity enriched even more of the conversation with Mr. Aisiks. The fellows had questions concerning not only their home country, but also of global importance.

Here are some of my personal takeaways from this great experience:
  • Plant a seed, be a leader, and promote what IGOE is doing
  • Look for ways to integrate communities in need in order to create a base that will encourage better business practices
  • Latin America is not a silo  and we have the resources and capacity to grow and thrive. It is up to us to make this happen
One of the projects IGOE will work on this year will be focusing on Haiti. Ms. Marie Jean-Paul, a first year Kelley MBA and M.D., is the founder and president of Bread for Haiti. This non-profit's mission is to provide education, healthcare, nutrition and shelter to the children and young adults in need in Haiti. I personally plan to continue my efforts to support Haiti’s progress and am very excited to collaborate with Ms. Marie in this endeavor.

Mr. Aisiks also gave us great words of advice regarding our future careers. He noted the importance of being passionate and loving what we do. My personal favorite: “Quit fast and quit often”. Meaning if you are not happy with what you do you should look for further opportunities without regret.  

Thank you Mr. Aisiks, thank you Dr. Aguinis, thank you Kelley School of Business, and thank you IGOE team for allowing me to dream big and getting closer to my career goals.

Supply Chain's First Academy Friday

By Kirsten Olson
First-year MBA, 
Supply Chain Academy

The eight of us were sitting around a long table at Nick’s English Pub waiting for our academy director Prof. Carl Briggs to show up.  Carl lost the bet, so he would be paying the tab.  Carl loves “putting skin in the game” and told us whoever showed up without either a business card or a recruiter in tow would pay for the whole group.  Normally that wouldn’t be a difficult task, except we only had 30 minutes to change out of our coal plant tour clothes and into business formal, haul across town to crash a job fair uninvited, get the cards, invite recruiters, and return to the Kelley Building for “Executive Speed Dating.” Success in hand, we were ready to rack up a huge tab for Carl.
My Work Shoes

Rewind 12 hours.  It was our first Academy Friday and the Supply Chain Academy was getting an early start, a very early start.  Carl told us to meet in the parking lot behind the undergrad building at 6am sharp.  None of the other academies were meeting this early, which was a small point of pride for Carl.  I was a couple minutes early, trying to get used to my brand new steel-toed boots.  Carl was already there setting up a table with coffee and donuts to welcome the 8 new Supply Chain Academy students.  I handed him the waiver promising that my estate wouldn’t sue the school if during the tour I died, or was maimed, or lost my keys.  My academy peers began to arrive one by one.  I knew a couple of them, but most I hadn’t officially met, and quickly realized that I was the only woman in this year’s crop of Supply Chain students.  Should make this interesting, I thought.

Prof. Kyle Cattani pulled up in his sporty, little SUV.  With only 8 students it was easy to arrange transportation with two vehicles.  You’d expect the Supply Chain Academy to be efficient with logistics.  Prof. Cattani is one of my professors in the Kelley Integrated Core, so I took the opportunity to ride with him to the plant.  During the commute to and from the plant I learned a lot about my professor, chiefly that even though he’s brilliant at managing operations, he struggles as much as anyone at managing his 3 high school aged kids, “My daughter doesn’t see the difference between arriving to school on time and arriving 3 minutes late.”

Sometime between Bloomington and Bedford the sun rose and we arrived at the Hoosier Energy coal plant to an unusually cool, rainy September morning.  As we got out of the vehicles, Carl seemed a little disappointed.  “I was hoping it would be hotter than this.”  I thought it felt rather comfortable, but would later learn why he was disappointed.

Before the tour could start, we were given a brief safety overview with borrowed hard hats, safety glasses, and ear plugs.  Roger Reynolds, our tour guide, gave one final word of advice, “If you’re afraid of heights, don’t look down.”  Mr. Reynolds and Carl seemed to be in on some inside joke the rest of us didn't get.  

Prof. Cattani asking his 534th question.
We entered the factory and immediately took the elevator to the 9th floor.  (Prof. Cattani was disappointed we weren’t taking the stairs; he and Carl have a daily competition to see who can accumulate the most steps on their pedometers.)  When the elevator doors opened, the temperature jumped from 65°f to over 95°f.  Surprise!  Carl chuckled, reminiscing how hot it had been when he visited earlier in the summer.  As we stepped out onto the walkway, I looked down.  It was over 180 feet to the ground.  Okay, got over that

The plant became progressively hotter as the tour continued, and Carl was clearly enjoying it.  All of us were sweating, including the South American students, when we reached the hottest part of the plant.  “You see those pipes?” Mr. Reynolds shouted over the plant noise. “If one of those cracks, there’s no point in running.  We’ll already be dead.”  

Prof. Cattani was also enjoying the tour.  I thought I asked a lot of nerdy questions during class, but Prof. Cattani definitely outscored me on the nerdometer.  

Carl arranged for the tour to end at a specific exit of the plant. “Look at the ground,” Carl said.  “See all these little steel balls everywhere?  Take one, or take a couple.  These balls are used to grind the coal into coal dust.  They start out 150mm in diameter and through grinding coal eventually end up about the diameter of a quarter.  Once a year during a scheduled maintenance shutdown, the balls are removed and sorted with the larger balls returning to the grinder and the smaller ones going to recycling.  Why is it important to grind the coal?  Why not just leave it in lumps?”
“To make it more useful.  To make it burn more efficiently,” Brian answered.
“Right.  Okay, another question.  How much should an MBA get paid?”  Some numbers got mentioned, most in the 6 figure range.  “Why? Why get paid that much?”
“Because you add more value than that to the company,” Caleb ventured.
“You see, you all are the coal, and this academy and I are the steel balls.  You have the potential to add real value to a company someday, but not in the form you are now.  I’m not here to give you useless encouragement.  I’m here to push you and be hard on you so that in two years you transform into something useful, something companies will fight over.  Hang onto these balls, and in 2 years I’ll trade you something for them.”  We don’t know what that something is yet, but all of use made sure to keep our balls. 
Later at Nick’s, after Carl finally arrived, we were brainstorming slogans for Supply Chain Academy t-shirts.  Everyone was throwing out ideas until Jeferson interrupted, “We don’t need a slogan.  We already have one.  The Supply Chain Academy has balls of steel!”

Being Married in the Kelley MBA Core

Monroe County Fall Festival
By Gregory Mattes
First-year MBA Student,
Entrepreneurial Innovation Academy

So we just finished up our forth week here at Kelley and things are really starting to pick up steam.  We had our biggest test yet with an accounting exam yesterday evening and we are beginning to turn in a flurry of homework assignments.

The class work during the MBA Core, along with all the networking and professional development, can be a big time commitment.  It is important to find time for the other things that matter in your life — in my case, it is spending time with my wife.

Last year, when I visited a variety of MBA programs around the country, they all said about the same thing, “Be ready to have your MBA education be your life for the first semester.”  While I appreciated the warning, I was determined to make my MBA experience something that fit nicely into my life, and not something that controlled my life.

So far, I have been able to find time to spend with my wife in the evenings and on the weekends—I have done this by working hard from 8 AM to 6 PM every weekday and a little on Sunday.   Recently, we have gone to the Bloomington Farmer’s Market, hit up Yogi’s for the Packers v. Bears game, and went to the Monroe County Fall Festival.

There are plenty of students with spouses, so finding people with similar concerns and experiences is easy to do.  The Kelley Partners Club is a great way to make friends and find out about what is happening around Bloomington.  Kelley does a really good job welcoming and supporting the families of MBA students.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

IGOE’s Fellows Meet with Mr. Ariel Aisiks

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

Tulio Bracho

Last week, the fellows of the Institute
for Global Organizational Effectiveness (IGOE), an organization dedicated to providing opportunities to Latin American students pursuing graduate degrees (PhDs and MBAs) at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, had the pleasure of meeting the Founder and President of the Geo Global Foundation, Mr. Ariel Aisiks. In meetings coordinated by IGOE’s director, Dr. Herman Aguinis, we had the opportunity to share our backgrounds and experiences at Kelley with Mr. Aisiks and he with us. He also shared the Foundation's vision,which is to be a leading philanthropic organization enhancing human capital and cultural development in Latin America through higher education initiatives.

Mr. Ariel Aisiks (back) and Dr. Herman Aguinis.

Mr. Aisiks inspired us with his example. After having a successful career in the capital markets industry, he is now focused on giving back to society in many ways, such as providing the resources that make it possible for the
IGOE’s fellows to pursue our dreams.
Thomas Jefferson once said,
“I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of Constitutional power.” Years ago, Mr. Aisiks left Argentina, which was suffering from ailments of totalitarianism, to pursue a better life in the United States of America. Here, he found what millions of people have found: a fair chance to achieve their goals with their own effort.

Kelley MBA IGOE Fellows attend session with Mr. Aisiks.

Years have passed since Mr. Aisiks first came to this country, but the memories are still fresh, and a firm conviction gives him the energy to do what he does. He understand that, as Thomas Jefferson said, education make us free from abusive governments that impedes the development of individuals. Educated people create societies that protect individual liberties and stimulate self-determination. Mr. Aisiks is devoting his time and resources to pave the way for the improvement of not just Latin America, but the whole American continent. He knows that when we, the
IGOE’s fellows, come to study to the United States, we all have two things in common, the desire to prosper with our own effort and the burning commitment to help more people prosper.

The cultural exchange that happens when we come to Kelley enriches our lives and is also an opportunity to teach others about our countries and our realities. Building those cultural bridges will lead to a future of understanding and progress throughout the continent. We, as Latin students, we as recipients of this unique opportunity, we as brothers and sisters of our fellow countrymen who struggle in our countries; we are responsible for making the best of this opportunity and for giving a hand to the next generation of future leaders. It might sound pretentious to try to change the world, but to change the world you start by changing one person’s life for better.

The Institute of Global Effectiveness is doing exactly that, and I am fortunate to be one of those people whose life they are changing, and I can tell that my world indeed has changed. For that, I appreciate everything that Mr. Aisiks, Dr. Aguinis, Kelley School of Business, and the IGOE team have done. Thank you all in name of all the IGOE’s fellows.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Cohort Color Wars – A Day of Egg Yolks, Pie Eating, Hula Hooping and Fun

By Samantha Sieloff
First-year MBA Student, Consumer Marketing Academy

Last weekend 1st year and 2nd year MBAs gathered at RCA Park to revisit their childhoods with a Field Day of activities. The agenda was as follows: Egg Toss, Pie Eating, Trivia, Relay Race, Spaghetti Tower Building, and of course, a Dance Off.

The weather was perfect; a beautiful 75 degree sunny day. Everyone was in high spirits and came decked out in their designated Core Cohort colors: Red for the 8 AM -12:30 PM Core classes, Green, also 8:30 – 12:30 PM Core classes and Blue, afternoon classes from 1 PM – 5:30 PM. The social committee had even brought along war paint and bandanas in each of the three colors. This event was about to get serious!

First up was the egg toss. I lined up across from a fellow Red Cohort member at a nice, easy,  7 foot distance. The whistle blew and me, along with 50 odd other teams, lobbed our eggs across the short expanse. Cheer abounded! We can do this really easy task! Go MBAs!

Then the refs told us to step back about 10 paces. Suddenly, we found ourselves shifting from lobbing distance to hurling. My partner gave it some oomph, and luckily I made the catch. We were then moved absurdly far away from each other. All I can say is – I was glad it was my turn to toss and not my turn to catch. I threw my partner a high, soft lob from about 30 feet away. To her credit she caught the egg... right as it exploded yellow goop all over her! The rest of my Red compatriots similarly went down in flames. Blue won, but we are still waiting for test results to see if their eggs were boiled.

After egg tossing, a few brave souls volunteered for another dainty competition – pie eating. Two women and two men from each Cohort bravely sat down at the picnic tables with hands behind backs, and dove in. Roars from the different Cohorts clashed in the air as each team screamed in support of their pie eater. I was in the crowd, yelling and clapping with the best of them. Red won!

We eventually moved back to the grass for a relay race that involved 5 dizzy bat rotations, 10 hula hoop swivels, a crab walk, and a team effort to move a balloon in an over-under fashion to the person next in line. All of this might sound complicated, but all that matters is how funny it was to watch!

After spinning around a plastic wiffle ball bat, people were weaving and swerving all over the field in an attempt to run to the next station! Our team started forming protective bumpers to push our disoriented relay racers back into the correct running lane. Also, Hula hooping is a great way to make 23-40 year olds look really, really silly. 

Green won that event. Boo.

The day closed with a dance off where each Cohort had 15 minutes to pick a song and coordinate an epic performance to display to their peers. I must say, what Red lacked in effort, we made up for with enthusiasm as we did a rendition of “Jump On It”.  Green also turned in a very funny performance, but Blue stole the show with an extremely well choreographed and well executed routine. The fact that they had someone with an undergraduate degree in dance leading the way really showed.

All in all it was a great bonding experience, both with our 1st year classmates and the 2nd year MBAs.  The event helped grow my personal network, which has already begun to pay dividends as I now know people to reach out to for advice and information as I research companies. Thanks Kelley Social Committee for a great event!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Clean or clear water?

By Ed Chen
Second-year MBA

Photo credits: Rohan Attravanam

Coca-Cola Plant
We've been in Ghana for a little over a week now. It's amazing how many communities have electricity but no affordable, safe water. Further, there's very little understanding of what "clean" water means. Many believe that "clear" means clean. Of course, there are bacteria that aren't visible to the naked eye that can very much be harmful. As a result, communities have a real hurdle to expanding the availability of clean water in both education and access.

Clean water initiative improving the quality
of life of millions families
Water Health Ghana is doing its part to enable such efforts, but its funds are limited. From my perspective, this case is about increasing access, expanding use occasions, and allocating limited funds to maximize impact per dollar to communities that need clean water most. This requires a careful understanding of each prospective community's access to water relative to size, population density, and water borne illness rates. Data is limited but Nathaniel at Water Health is doing a great job in gathering the information needed to write the business case for each community.

Our community interviews reveal some conflicted messaging in terms of use occasions and pain points. It's all relative to the starting point. For example, some communities want lower price for Water Health water because they have nearby alternatives (such as rivers and bore holes) that they often (falsely) perceive to be the same. One key issue is distribution. People tend to solicit the nearest access point (safe or otherwise) seemingly regardless of price. Conversely, communities with prior clean water access at a higher price point see Water Health as a cost-savings measure for everything but drinking. Yet Water Health purifies water to drinking standards. These cases demonstrate the need for further marketing and education in existing communities to make full use of community capacity.