Monday, October 29, 2012

From Bloomington to Boston – A Journey of Empowerment

By Rajeev Gupta  
Second-year MBA, Entrepreneurial Innovation Academy

Early this summer, when I was still figuring myself out and wasn’t a part of LGBT community, I heard about the Reaching OUT MBA conference from a classmate at the Kelley School of Business. I felt that volunteering in this conference would be a very empowering experience for my organic process of self-realization.

I applied to volunteer as a session director for the panel on entrepreneurship and innovation and got selected for the same. I still remember how delighted Dr K of JCEI (Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation) was to learn this news and how helpful he was to me in identifying insightful questions for LGBT entrepreneurs. Even though I had volunteered for many activities in my life, I never imagined I could take a leadership role for a cause that is so personal to me.

As I immersed myself further in preparing for the October 15th , 2012 Boston, MA edition of this annual conference, I learned about an essay writing competition that required the participants to share their thoughts on what they thought was an LGBT community, what were the contemporary challenges and issues and how businesses could work with the community to advance those issues. I really wanted to participate, but being a new member of community and having only recent and limited exposure to American LGBT culture, I needed more knowledge. At this point, my biggest resource was Indiana University, especially professors and instructors at the Kelley School of Business.

I reached out to many people on campus who had been involved in the community. After understanding the meanings and relevance of LGBT community from the diverse perspectives they each provided, I married their insights with my own experiences and challenges so far.

As it turns out, my essay was awarded first prize at the conference! They announced my name in a room full of MBAs from all over the country – UCLA Anderson, NYU Stern, Berkley Haas - you name it they had it! And to hear them announce Indiana University, Kelley School of Business was such a proud moment for me. I was able to go up on the stage and represent IU. Ours was the only Midwest school that flashed up there during the awards ceremony!

With my 1st Place Prize
I owe every bit of this success to Indiana University – especially to the Kelley School of Business, the Maurer School of Law and the GLBT Center. I would have never obtained the courage to come this far in my journey had it not been for meeting resourceful mentors and classmates. I thank them and the inclusive community at Kelley for their willingness to always share their knowledge and time.

Experiential Learning

First-year MBA, Business Marketing Academy

Business Marketing Academy at GE during Academy Intensive Week

Back when I was looking for the MBA program that was right for me, one thing that really appealed to me about the Kelley School of Business was its Academies. Many Top 20 MBA programs offer a strong classroom experience, but what sets the great schools apart is how they develop you as a professional and what they provide you outside of the classroom. The Kelley Academies provide students with real-world projects that give you the knowledge and connections you need to re-enter the working world as an influential manager.

While I decided that the Business Marketing Academy – or BMA as we call it – would best prepare me to start a career in the renewable energy field, there are six other Academy options to choose from, making it easy for anyone to find an Academy that achieves their goals. This year the BMA is the largest Academy at Kelley and I have found that it arms its members with the strategies and terminologies needed to succeed in a B2B marketing role. Whichever Academy you choose, the experience will provide you great networking opportunities with leading companies.
BMA students presenting their work

Two weeks ago, first-year students from all seven Academies took part in the first-of-three, week long learning and networking experiences called Academy Intensive Week. The Business Marketing Academy started off the week in Bloomington by participating in case competitions and by having informal discussions with representatives from Danaher and DuPont. These events were followed by dinner with recruiters and Kelley alumni from Dow AgroSciences.

On Tuesday, we visited Eli Lilly’s corporate headquarters in Indianapolis to learn how the pharmaceutical industry sets marketing strategies for new products.

The next three days were spent in Minneapolis meeting with top Business to Business companies such as Cummins, Eaton and Ecolab.  A big highlight of the trip was our visit to the GE Fleet Management Center where we learned about GE Ecomagination and had the opportunity to test drive various alternative fuel vehicles available to GE’s fleet customers.

BMA Students Brainstorming
A visit to 3M’s corporate headquarters served as the capstone to the weeks learning by having small groups of students take part in a longer case competition and present their findings to 3M employees.  Also, the tour of 3M’s impressive “Innovation Center” served as a show-and-tell of 3M’s technologies and its industry leading innovation process.

While Academy Intensive Week One was an adventure and an incredibly memorable experience, the most amazing part of the week was the amount of exposure to real-world companies and the opportunity to learn about challenges managers face each day in the business to business marketing world.  Looking back, Academy Intensive Week One definitely reaffirmed my decisions to join the Business Marketing Academy and attend the Kelley School of Business. I have no doubt that my membership in the BMA will help me develop the experience and skills necessary to impress employers, hit the ground running on day one, and have a successful career.     

Monday, October 22, 2012

Selecting the Best Students

By Saad Handoo
Second-year MBA, Strategic Finance Academy

Greetings from the hallowed halls of the Kelley School of Business! Lately I've been thoroughly engaged on a project which involves taking students to Indonesia and planning seven weeks of classroom curriculum leading up to the trip. It's part of a new initiative that the Kelley School has launched, which allows a team of second year MBAs to lead an international MBA trek. 

But beyond just mingling with company leaders when in-country, we've ratcheted up the intensity by requiring trip participants to complete a thought-provoking research paper. We are making sure these research topics align with multinational brands so that students will come off more knowledgeable about global corporate operations leading into interview season.

Of course one of the first steps in ensuring an engaging classroom and in country experience is selecting those prized individuals for participation. With five wonderful international experiences for first years and second years to choose from, selecting a trip that meets their career goals and personal needs was quite challenging. Regardless, we got a wonderful stream of applications for EME (Emerging Market Experience) Indonesia this year.

As a leadership team, we came to a consensus on 10 to 15 questions that really drove home what we were looking for in a candidate. We set up a time to interview students who applied and took copious notes on their responses. Then, as a leadership team, we combined our notes and made final decisions on individuals who we believed fit best with the trips goals and values.

We're now at a point where we have 14 students who are passionately aligned toward our trip objectives of witnessing sustainable practices in Indonesia. Now it's a matter of creating a syllabus that promotes an interactive curriculum where student participants are also leading discussion on topics pertaining to Indonesia, sustainability, and renewable energy. I can't wait for the next phase in our work!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Kelley Entrepreneurs Visit Visionary Leaders

by Thomas Licisyn
1st-year MBA, Entrepreneurship Academy

The Class of 2014 just finished our first Academy Week!  For those unfamiliar, Academies provide an amazing opportunity to network with leaders in business and gain insight into a particular business area.  Depending on the Academy, students met with business leaders in such cities as Chicago, Indianapolis, and New York.  In addition, we were honored to have some of the top leaders in various industries visit Kelley to share their experiences.

I was lucky enough to be accepted in Kelley’s Entrepreneurial Innovation Academy (EIA).  We select few were invited to the Indiana University Emerging Technology Center on Wednesday for a tour of the facilities and hear some excellent speakers tell their own success stories.

Jim Pearson kicked off the day by sharing his experience as an entrepreneur.  Pearson built not one, but two successful medical device companies in Indiana.  His first big venture, Suros Surgical Systems Inc., manufactured automated breast biopsies systems for detection of breast cancer.  The company was eventually sold for over $240 million.  Not ready to retire, he developed NICO Neuro, a fascinating device company that produces minimally invasive surgical tools for neurosurgery.

Pearson left us with a few takeaways during his talk.  He reminded us that many see entrepreneurs as just the success stories coming out of Silicon Valley, but there are those entrepreneurs who are extremely successful in more traditional, less flashy businesses. He also touched on his own failures and what he learned from them.  It seems tempting to take venture capital from the first person who offers it, especially after being rejected repeatedly. But, he points out, be wary of giving too much equity away just for some capital.  Young entrepreneurs may mistakenly agree to the first offer that comes their way for perhaps validation or out of desperation.

The IU Emerging Technology Center is itself a wonderful site to tour.  Matt Rubin, commercialization manager of the facilities, gave us an exclusive tour that highlighted several biotech start-ups sharing space at the center.  Matt brings a unique flair to his role; he was formally trained as biologist and chemist before earning his MBA at Kelley.  His science knowledge helps him communicate with the tenants and even helped him earn his name on a few patents.  I appreciated seeing how space is used for the different biotech companies that move in and out of the center.  Before I arrived at Kelley, I was employed as a chemist and my employer went through a transition where we left lab space in academia for custom lab space in an industrial park.  It was fun to see how similar planning occurs for emerging science companies at the center.

Heritage Environmental Services provided us lunch for the event.  Jon Schalliol, an alumnus of Kelley, shared the innovative ways Heritage Environmental is recycling materials for use in new infrastructure projects around the country.  He also showed how Heritage was constantly pushing innovation into new areas of special material recycling.  

The real treat came at the end of the day when we were presented with a panel of heavy hitters in Indiana’s venture capitalist and private equity environment.  Questions were fielded by Joe Schaffer of Monument Advisors, Ken Green of IU Innovation Fund, Don Aquilano of Allos Ventures, and Ting Gootee of Elevate Ventures.

I came away inspired by the multitude of success stories.  These people created real value in their community through personal, passionate business opportunities and innovative ventures.  I recognize the immense challenge and risk with starting your own business, but I also find that listening to the stories of other entrepreneurs shows that it is possible to overcome those challenges and succeed in creating new value in the market.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

It doesn’t matter which one you are. What matters is your choice to be one.

by Rohan Attravanam
2nd-year MBA, Consulting Academy

Even before I walked into the classroom at 7 in the morning, hot coffee, bagels, yogurt and fruits were waiting … waiting to wake me up… wake me up and prepare me for yet another exciting 2 hour journey… a journey that exposes the hard truth that leadership is an art … a journey that bolsters the reality that leadership is as much a science.

Every year, Kelley School of Business runs one of the most successful international deployment programs in the country. With GLOBASE, EME and Team Deployments, the school equips students with skills that no classroom can possibly teach. Students work in highly diverse teams, on highly unstructured projects, in alien locations with clients in country who do not even speak the same language. Deploying teams that deal with these complex and challenging projects requires solid leadership that not only drives these projects but also enables the individuals to rise up to become future leaders. And that is exactly what the Leadership Development Program aims to do. Develop leaders who enable their teams to become future leaders.

The Leadership Development Program is aimed at the leadership teams of the global  programs vis-à-vis GLOBASE and EME. Each team leads a group of students to a different country with a unique challenge and the onus is on the leaders to ensure the success of the team in each of these countries. If “leadership cannot be taught”, how does the program develop leaders? It does so by providing a platform where great minds are read, success stories are discussed and the learnings are put to practice towards a common goal, both in classroom and in the wild.

Over the course of six sessions, the program taught me who makes an admired leader and what the key practices of effective leadership are. The “Strategic Vision Process” drove each of the teams to clearly identify and articulate their vision and come up with five bold steps that break down their grand strategy into workable action items through game plan. To put things into perspective the leadership teams were trained in wild with the IU ROTC. We as a team built rope bridges to cross over water streams, built cart barrels using tires and poles as axels to transport ammunition, and rescued a crashed pilot in woods at night while dodging paintball shots from the lieutenants of the US Army. That by far was the coolest leadership training I’ve ever received. After Action Reviews helped us realize our errors and learn to become better after each challenge. These were valuable leadership lessons that are hard to learn even after many years of professional experience.

Some leaders are born while some others are made. It doesn’t matter which leader you are. What matters is your choice to be a leader, a leader with an ability to inspire a vision and to empower their followers to achieve a common goal.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Eclectic Eight: One Student's Review of MBA Core Faculty

By: Deepti Sarapalli
Kelley Core Professor Kyle Cattani 
First-year MBA Student, Business Marketing Academy

I began my tryst with an MBA, and more significantly the Kelley Core, on August 26th and life has not been the same ever since. One has heard a lot of great stories about the Core – how it prepares and lays the foundation for your MBA, how it helps build team skills, how it tests you and makes you strong. All of this is true, but when gushing about the Core we do not talk much about the professors who guide us through. So here goes my insight about our top-notch professors:

  1. Accounting - Jamie Pratt: Ever read the Wall Street Journal and wonder what the jargon is all about? Wonder what the financial stability of a company is in reality? Do the terms shareholder’s equity, balance sheets, profits, net income etc. interest or scare you? Well get ready to understand financial statements with prof. Pratt. One of the best professors to learn from, he truly makes the transition to financial accounting seamless, irrespective of your background. So all of you with a non-finance background, fret not. After the Core your financial talents will “balance” with those of the finance wizards and you will have a the ability to truly understand how a company is performing. Fun Fact: Prof. Pratt challenges the MBA students to a basketball game and his team almost always wins!

  2. Business Analytics – Sebastian Hesse:  Hands down the funniest professor in the Core. Prof. Seb teaches how to “excel” with Excel pardon the pun.  If you can keep up with his fast talking, dry sense of humor, you will learn how to break down data in a way that tells an insightful and pertinent business story. I have taken statistics-type classes before, but have never been able to see how regressions and other statistical tests really impact decision making in a business, until now. Prof. Seb also likes to flatter us by saying, “You are my favorite class!”, and “You are the best-looking class”. But now we are onto him! It turns out he just likes everyone. Fun Fact: He refers to Mac computers as “Fruit Computers”, which always causes a laugh or two.    

  3. Business Law & Ethics – Arlen Langvardt:  What has ethics got to do with an MBA? Everything, as you will learn here at Kelley. We take our ethics seriously. Who better to take this course from than a former attorney? But before he even brings up a single legal vocabulary word, he fine tunes your critical thinking abilities with several weeks of class devoted to deconstructing logic and reasoning. Fun Fact: Take his class and learn what the “Tiger Woods” fallacy” is!

  4. Economics – Philip Powell  - The ultimate Kelley fan! Prof Powell or “Phil” as he likes to be addressed is super dynamic and bursting with energy. It never fails to amaze me how much enthusiasm he brings to class discussions as he bounds up and down the stairs of our amphitheater classrooms. It is amusing how during the course of a heated discussion he changes the tone of his voice from professorial educator to that of a doubtful student and goes “But Phil!… (insert student comment here)”, and provides the other side of the argument that half of us were already thinking. Fun Fact: He begins every lecture with a new statistic or fact about Kelley.

  5. Finance – Merih Sevilir – Armed with a PhD in Finance from INSEAD, Prof. Merih teaches Finance in a business context. Relating concepts learned in class to real world examples and working with her students to make finance easy for everyone. After a couple of her classes, one begins to think more intuitively about finance than just in terms of the financial formulae. Fun Fact: Prof. Merih’s Turkish-English accent is quite musical and she always makes time to answer any and all student questions.

  6. Marketing – Lopo Rego – Kelley is famous for Marketing and after the Core marketing classes you will understand why. Prof. Rego teaches the foundations of marketing concepts, but always with a plethora of real world examples to drive home the point. He also includes a case study in every lecture, challenging us to break down marketing scenarios across a range of industries. Fun Fact: He peppers his lecture slides with Dilbert comic strips. Who doesn't like a daily dose of cartoons?

  7. Operations – Kyle D. Cattani – Operations can be fun! Prof Cattani makes operations class interactive and lively. Discussions range from restaurants, to retailers, to factories, all diverse, but great at providing insight into how having good operations will make any company work more efficiently. Prof.Cattani is subtly funny, cracking jokes during a lecture and using hilarious examples from his life including his home inventory control plan for his Grape Nuts cereal. A Stanford PhD, Prof.Cattani, simplifies the concepts of operations, making Operations interesting for individuals of all backgrounds. Fun Fact: Eliyahu Goldratt, the author of “The Goal” must be indebted to Prof. Cattani, for promoting the book every year in the Core.

  8. Strategy – Matthew Semadeni – Strategy classes are intense. It is a completely case study analysis and class discussion based class. Prof. Semadeni’s classes are the noisiest, mostly because he gets everyone to hone their strategic skills and thus the entire class is eager to voice their opinion. Each student in the class is given a rubber duck painted red with devil horns, which is used when you want challenge a colleague’s opinion, so you can blame your combative ways on your devil duck taking over. This might sound a bit wacky, but it’s all in good fun and keeps things interesting. Fun Fact: Prof. Semadeni opens each lecture with a joke from the class to keep things light and upbeat – something you will appreciate when you are having a stressful day!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Meet the Meg(h)ans

By Ray Luther
Director of Recruiting and Leadership, Kelley MBA Program

We would like to introduce you to two very special 2nd year MBA students at Kelley, Megan Kuhn and Meghan Curran – or as we like to call them, The Meg(h)ans. 

Meet the Meg(h)ans: Meghan Curran and Megan Kuhn
Over the coming year, the Meg(h)ans will share their personal stories as they become better leaders through action-based learning in our Kelley GLOBASE Program.  They will improve their self-awareness through meaningful reflection, and drive their team proficiency skills through active learning.  All of this is core to what we do in the Kelley MBA program.  

As the Meg(h)ans embark on the challenge that lies ahead, we anticipate many highs and some lows, but want to showcase the reality of young, professional women who are not afraid to step up to the challenge of making themselves better leaders.  

Kuhn is headed to Guatemala to work with local businesses, while Curran is off to Northern India to consult with a regional NGO.  They will be the authors of their journeys, not passive editors, and will drive their team’s vision as they navigate the experience.   The GLOBASE framework includes leading groups of MBA students through relevant curriculum design and delivery, project management skills and ultimately successful in-country execution that delivers real-world impact for our Kelley partners.   

The Meg(h)ans deploy in March 2013, but have much work to do as they get ready – especially with their opportunity to lead.  We look forward to sharing their stories with you, and hope they enable you to take away the power of action-based learning in creating the leaders of tomorrow. Meet the Meg(h)ans.


My name is Megan Kuhn and I am a second-year MBA student at the Kelley School of Business.  I am a marketing major, minor in finance, and a member of our Consumer Marketing Academy here at Kelley. This summer I interned on the pediatric marketing team for the Similac brand at Abbott Nutrition in Columbus, OH.  

In Guatemala, March 2012.
To say that my first year in the MBA program was a life-changer would be an understatement.  I look at where I was a year ago – green to business, green to leadership, a positive attitude as a cover for how nervous I was – and I’m so thankful for the experiences I had in one year that have changed me.  One of those experiences, and quite possibly the best one, was my experience with GLOBASE Guatemala.

I grew up in Indianapolis, IN. Went to a small private high school. Went to a small private liberal arts college.  Graduated and moved to Washington, D.C., where I raised money for Ford’s Theatre through donations from Fortune 500 companies and Washingtonians.  

Kelley MBAs in Guatemala, March 2012.
The third world was a universe away from my daily life.  If I could have predicted where I’d be in spring 2012, it would have surprised me to know that I would spend 2 weeks trekking through Guatemala, working with a selfless and passionate client that would open my eyes to the world beyond my bubble in Washington D.C. and Bloomington, IN. 

To say in one sentence why I am leading GLOBASE Guatemala 2013:
I am a member of the leadership team for Globase Guatemala 2013 because I want the Kelley student consultants to have the same eye-opening experience that I had, get out of their comfort zone, and develop unforgettable relationships with their small business clients in Guatemala.

Hari Om! 

My name is Meghan Curran and I am a second-year MBA student at the Kelley School of Business.  If you would have told me even three years ago if I would be a business school student, I would have laughed at you.  So, how did I get here?

Well, I came from New York, via Guatemala, and landed in Indiana – then India!  After my liberal arts undergraduate in D.C., I joined the Peace Corps and moved to Guatemala for two years.  After Peace Corps, I worked with Grameen America, which is the U.S. affiliate of Muhammed Yunus’ Grameen Bank, the pioneer microfinance institution.  

In India, March 2012.
Throughout my work in Guatemala and with Grameen, I kept circling back to enterprise as the foundation of community development, and realized that I knew very little about business fundamentals.  Furthermore, having worked both directly and in partnership with a variety of nonprofits throughout these experiences, I witnessed firsthand the strategic, financial and managerial challenges often faced by resource-constrained mission-driven organizations.  Business school became a clear path to building myself a toolkit that would enable me to have a higher impact within mission-driven organizations.

For me, GLOBASE was one of the big draws to Kelley – applying business skills to small enterprises and nonprofits was exactly what I wanted to do with my degree – how awesome to have an opportunity (or two!) to test drive the use of those skills.

Reaching the summit in India, March 2012.
Last year, I had the privilege to participate in GLOBASE India and work with the Chinmaya Organisation for Rural Development (CORD), a community-based organization that offers a variety of programs to the rural Indian communities it serves.  CORD’s mission is tied to the self-empowerment of its constituents, which means that much of its programming is centered on helping people help themselves; identifying viable career opportunities, facilitating savings and loan programs, and conducting vocational training programs.  Suddenly, we saw that business was everywhere within this nonprofit.

Apart from the inspirational work that CORD does, they were ideal clients; responsive, open-minded, professional, and I left India eager to work with them again – to follow up on our project work, and continue to push CORD’s mission forward.

So here I am again.  Thrilled to take advantage of this unique opportunity to shape this experience for my classmates; to guide them through the exploration of business nested within the nonprofit space, climb out of our classroom comfort zones, and use our business skills where they are infrequently found and much needed.

Simultaneously, this journey to India (not the 16 hour flight, but the 8 month experience) represents an opportunity for personal growth and leadership development.  I am humbled by the passion and expertise of my teammates, and look forward to continuing to grow and develop with their feedback and support.

Off we go!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Appreciating the Fruit of the Vine: Wine Tasting with Dean Smith

By Urvashi Marda
First-year MBA Student, Business Marketing Academy

"...good company, good wine, good welcome, can make good people." 
-William Shakespeare, Henry VIII.

The Dean’s Wine Tasting was hosted by the Kelley Wine Club at the Tudor room, IMU on the 2nd of Oct 2012. Attended by the Kelley MBA students, this event was a great opportunity to not only learn about wine but to also appreciate and enjoy it. Having worked on 2 cases on wineries in the first week of Core, I was really looking forward to this evening and must I say it was amazing!

The tables were adorned with the tastings for the night, 3 different red (Pinot Noir, Shiraz, and Claret) and 2 different white (Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc) wines. Along with it, was a fine spread of rolls, cheese, and strawberries for us! The event kicked off with a presentation by Dean Smith on basic concepts of wine making and its naming conventions. Keeping the discussion highly interactive, he offered great pointers on interacting with the sommelier (wine steward) and on subtly signaling the price during the wine selection process. Discussing the various aromas and flavors of wine, we moved on to the highlight of the event – The Tasting!

We followed Dean Smith, as he swirled and sniffed the wine. We learned that it was essential and was by no means considered embarrassing to circulate wine in one's mouth in order to savor it. We really benefited from the practical application tips on efficiently hosting business parties and on matching the right food with the right wine.

Before I put my pen down, let me share a fun fact with you. It is about the importance of the wine serving temperature. Did you know that the Reds need to be stored at room temperature and are to be refrigerated right before you serve them whereas the Whites live in the refrigerator and are to be kept at room temperature only an hour before being served? Needless to say, the first thing I did after reaching home from the wine tasting was pull the bottle of red wine out of my refrigerator!

A big thanks to Dean Smith and of course, the Kelley Wine Club for hosting such an incredible event!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

ROTC Leadership Training for GLOBASE

By: A.J. Miller
Second-year MBA
Consumer Marketing Academy

Getting our instructions from ROTC leader
Between pulling myself over a creek on a rope, dodging paintballs while running behind trees and saving stranded pilots who had crashed behind enemy lines, I began to wonder: is this business school or survival camp?  But that’s the type of experience I had during my GLOBASE Guatemala leadership training at the Kelley School of Business. 

I was not sure what to expect when we arrived at the training area that day.  I figured I was in store for long hikes broken up by the occasional trust fall exercise, but that theory was quickly shattered.  After a very “business schooly” visioning exercise, we were off to become men (and women).

As the day progressed, we shot each other with paintball guns, pulled ourselves across a rope tied to two trees (Cliffhanger style!), built a cart capable of transporting a barrel  100+ meters, and rescued an injured pilot while taking fire from paintball gun-wielding ROTCers. You know, your typical Friday in business school.

Crossing a creek with a rope
The day was fun and packed with adventure, but the real takeaways were teamwork and leadership. We were put in situations that were outside of our comfort zone. We were forced to make quick and smart decisions under tremendous stress and pressure. When I think about that day, I don’t think about the sweat, the blood or the tears (I had something in my eye!) – I think about how 12 of my classmates and I got each other over a creek on a rope, and how all of us working together transported a barrel from point A to point B with a few tires, metal bars and some rope.  These were accomplishments not one of us could have achieved alone, but through tireless teamwork and each one of us stepping up to lead when the time called for it, we were able to succeed.

I gained a new respected and trust for each one of my GLOBASE teammates that day.  I find comfort in the fact that if things don’t go according to plan once we’re in Guatemala, my teammates –calm under fire - will be there for me.