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!


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