Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Endurance for Life: Lessons from Mr. Ariel Aisiks’ visit to IU

By Tulio Bracho, Second-year MBA, Finance

IGOE MBA and PhD Fellows with Ariel Aisiks

Mr. Ariel Aisiks, Founder and President of the Geo Global Foundation and Chair of the Advisory Board of Kelley’s Institute for Global Organizational Effectiveness (IGOE) visited IU and met with the IGOE MBA and PhD Fellows. During the meeting, Mr. Aisiks shared a couple of stories that captured my attention, both of which related to competitive environments. 

In his first story, he shared how the professional scene for MBAs has changed dramatically in the last few decades. He pointed out that in the 1960s a few thousand MBA students graduated every year in the USA. Nowadays, more than 100,000 MBA students graduate each year and fiercely compete for job opportunities. This point was especially relevant to me as an MBA as I look forward to my future career. 

In a second story, he shared a more personal anecdote about his life. In addition to the success that he has had in his professional life, Mr. Aisiks also successfully completed many triathlons, including the Avignon ITU Triathlon World Championship and two Hawaii Ironman World Championships. Many of us know that a triathlon is one the most challenging competitions that exists. What maybe fewer people know is that the key to success in such a physically demanding competition is to have the right mind set.

Mr. Ariel Aisiks
As I thought about those stories, I reflected upon how each of us deals with competition on a daily basis and in nearly everything we do. Whether we are entering the job market in search of a career or participating in a sports event, we face a myriad of strong competitors. 

However, the toughest competitors that we will face are not other MBA students that are applying for the same job nor the athlete that is running in front of us. That competitor is ourselves. Once we understand that the real challenge is not to beat out all of the other applicants for a job or to cross the finish line first, but instead to do the things that we are passionate about in life and continue to make personal improvements, then we will be in a virtuous cycle of creation and development. 

Mr. Aisiks is an example of that; he came from Argentina to study in the USA (University of Southern California, Harvard), and developed a successful career in the financial industry (Prudential, Oppenheimer & Co., Morgan Stanley). Rather than defining himself solely by the professional positions he has held, he continues to develop himself by leading initiatives that support the causes he believes in such as the Geo Global Foundation (http://geoglobalfoundation.org/) and Kelley’s Institute for Global Organizational Effectiveness (http://kelley.iu.edu/igoe/) and by getting involved in entrepreneurial environments that are shaping the future (http://www.endeavor.org/, www.ribbitcap.com). The key is that Ariel found and has enjoyed success not because he beat out his competition, but because he relied upon his personal strengths and was persistent in following his passions.

In the end, I believe that when you look back on your life, the accomplishments that will give you the most satisfaction will be the ones that seemed impossible. They will be the ones that you pursued because you believed they were important, not because they were easy. That sense of accomplishment is what makes us feel proud and motivates us to continue moving forward, with persistence and discipline. So if we want to enjoy our lives’ journey, then we must build the endurance required to go the extra mile when necessary. As Lord Tennyson wrote in Ulysses,

“…And see the great Achilles, whom we knew
Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”


Monday, October 28, 2013

Arts to Business on the Kelley Blog

We, Ellen Gartner Phillips and Julia M. Wilcox, are excited to begin posting to the Kelley Blog. We are the founding authors of Arts to Business, a blog documenting our experience transitioning from careers as professional musicians to careers in business. A2B seeks to be a resource for all career switchers: we will be reposting our articles from the Arts to Business page for the Kelley community. If you are interested in reading more, you can visit the full A2B blog at artstobusiness.com.

Blog Post 1: August 25, 2013
Ellen Gartner Phillips and Julia M. Wilcox announce Arts to Business

Julia M. Wilcox
Ellen Gartner Phillips
We are excited to welcome you to our new blog, Arts to Business. We are first year MBA candidates at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University and classically trained musicians with seven years of professional performing experience. Throughout those years, we were aware of a shift, both for us personally, and within the arts community as a whole. Thinking ahead in our careers, the idea of an MBA began to make sense, even though we didn’t quite know why. Initially, we both believed this was a unique desire, and that we would get to an MBA program and be the only musician making the transition. Over veggie pitas on our first day of orientation at Kelley, we had a conversation and click – there we were, two musicians in an MBA program. We commiserated over the grueling application process, our fears of being a singular entity amidst a homogenous MBA class, and our shock and relief to have found each other. We were, thankfully … not alone. After hearing the stories of our classmates, we realize that the Kelley School of Business is a place that embraces diversity. There are people in our class from all different walks of life – there’s an Ironman, a social worker, a couple from Nicaragua, two Peace Corps volunteers, a yogi, and a vast array of people from different cultures, backgrounds, and experiences. Being different at Kelley is normal. It’s what makes this place so great, and what drives us to write.

We write this blog to share our experiences, with the goal of helping others see the valuable parallels between conservatory and business school. Even in these first weeks of orientation, it is clear that our backgrounds lend themselves well to this new adventure.  Tomorrow, we look forward to our first day of school in a long, long time. There will be ups and downs, and maybe some sideways swipes, but we’ll be posting all along the way. We invite you to follow us as we transition from the arts to business. And so the journey begins … from the practice room to the board room.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Become a Compelling Story Through Me Inc.

By Christopher Sveen, First-year MBA, Finance

Christopher Sveen
As a trial attorney from Chicago, success depended upon my ability to tell an engaging story to a jury as a way to help them understand the facts of a case.  Anyone who’s seen a movie knows that stories can be the best way to connect with someone.  At the Kelley School of Business, every first year student participates in Me, Inc., a continuous career workshop focused on understanding our strengths, limitations, and career aspirations. (Video here) One aspect of this process is to develop ways to articulate what makes us special.

My classmates brought incredible personal stories to business school. They followed their passions to cultivate extensive skill sets and impressive accomplishments. But moving forward, a major question of every student is how to make sense of what they’ve done.  How do we turn our past into a compelling story for the future?

At Me Inc., Kelley challenged me to think about the story I wanted to tell to others, particularly prospective employers.

Me Inc. facilitators pushed me to define my personal brand and be proactive in determining how I wanted to be perceived.  By identifying professional themes in my life and connecting them to my skills and passions, Kelley helped me build a captivating story that explained who I am and where I wanted to go. What I did for my clients, I can now do for myself.

This aspect of career development is critical to the success of Kelley Career Graduate Services and our students. Because of this personal and professional introspection, my classmates and I are able to tell prospective employers what we have been doing, where we want to go and how we plan on getting there. As a Top 15 Full-time MBA Program, employers agree. The Kelley School of Business graduates continue to prove that they are the best of both poet and quant.  

How are you becoming a compelling story?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Menguin Story

By Harsha Kalapala, Second-year MBA, Entrepreneurship and Corporate Innovation 

“Big shots are little shots that kept shooting.” – a quote by Christopher Morley that inspires my focus and persistence to keep charging ahead on my quest to carve out a unique career path in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Quotes are great for quick boosts of inspiration. However, true inspiration comes from the people in our lives, who demonstrate courage, creativity and relentless pursuit of their dreams every single day.

Justin Delaney, Kurt Sutton and Michael Gassman are recent Kelley MBA graduates, who are smart, driven and capable – just like the rest of our fellow Kelleys. However, they did something quite interesting earlier this year. They founded a startup called Menguin, (website http://menguin.com/) winning $100,000 in seed capital at the BEST competition at Indiana University, acquiring some big-time investors and advisors such as CareerBuilder and Mark Cuban. Menguin is in the business of revolutionizing the tuxedo rental industry, leveraging a technology that determines custom measurements through your on-device camera. Our Kelley Innovators Club (KIC) organized an event this fall to bring back Justin Delaney, the CEO of Menguin, to share his story with current Kelley MBA students. Justin also holds a full-time position in commercial strategy at Delta Airlines currently. He recently acquired his family’s French luxury glass business, which his wife Kristin helps oversee.

Justin’s story wasn’t much about his success as it was about his failures. Justin was involved in a variety of ventures including t-shirt making, option trading and travel writing – which put him through many ups and downs through the course of his career. The idea for Menguin sprouted at a wedding, during a casual conversation among friends. Justin and his friends then took the idea to the New Venture Business Planning class at Kelley and developed it further, but the process was rather slow moving. Towards the end of the semester, Justin had to go into emergency surgery for an appendectomy. He thought he was out of danger, when he developed a nasty infection, leading to a major abdominal surgery – which was a huge scare. Fortunately, Justin recovered from the surgery and realized this: Life is short, and it is random. You never know if you are going to be around tomorrow. If there is something you always wanted to do, the time is now.

Justin Delaney, Kelley MBA '13
This was a turning point for Menguin, accelerating their progress and leading to the launch of the company. The point Justin was trying to make was that we don’t have to wait for a life-changing moment or realization to pursue our dreams. It is important for us to recognize this, and build upon what our peers had to take away from their experience. Justin believes that an important factor in his success is taking numerous small risks and pushing different ideas into motion at the same time, focusing on those that take off.

Justin suggested that most innovation often comes from randomness. Doing random things and seeking out interesting conversations with interesting people puts you in a situation to come up with something new and cool. You have to stay focused on things that are important and need to be done, while taking those small risks along the way, allowing certain aspects of your life to chance. Justin encouraged everyone to explore ideas now. The best time to do so is in the MBA program, when you have all the resources and support you need from a legal, financial and research standpoint.

Hearing the Menguin story was a great motivation for many of us, as it helps us relate to Justin’s experience and reflect upon some of the key decisions he has made – pursuing his dream to launch Menguin, without having to give up his search for a full-time career. This was just another testament to the variety of career paths a Kelley MBA can show you, providing an entrepreneurial environment for self-development and discovery.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Tailoring Your MBA to Your Interests: Kelley Clubs

By Sarah Nagelvoort, First-year MBA, Operations and Supply Chain and Innovation

We’ve all heard the question: Why are you pursuing an MBA?

The answers are all over the board. Some MBA’s want to go into a specific industry such as clean energy or consumer goods. Other MBA’s are looking to switch career tracks, start a business, or have an impact on world issues. Everyone’s story is different and at Kelley you have the opportunity to make your MBA experience as unique as your reasons for pursuing it.

During the first semester at Kelley it is easy to get wrapped up in Core, a set of classes every Kelley MBA takes to learn the business basics that are an important part of making informed management decisions. So if everyone is taking the same classes, what can you do to follow your individual business passion? I found out at the Kelley club roundtables where first year students had the chance to “network” with Kelley’s from more than 20 MBA student clubs and organizations. The clubs focus on a multitude of business aspects including industry, international business, social impact, and innovation. They also include clubs where students can pursue their diverse interests and hobbies (Wine club or Golf club anyone?)

I came to Kelley because I am passionate about sustainable business. After talking to the club reps I felt that Net Impact and Kelley Innovators Club (KIC) were the best fit for me. Since joining I’ve had the opportunity to meet entrepreneurs and get a jump start on how to write an effective business plan with KIC. Net Impact is in the process of planning a fantastic symposium about how to have a positive impact in any career. And these are just the few opportunities I’ve chosen to participate in. There are club meetings and events almost every day of the week!

So whether you’re interested in strategic finance, sustainable sourcing, or another exciting area of business there is a place for you at Kelley to follow your unique interests from the moment you arrive.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Consulting Academy: Preparing for Life After Kelley

By Paige Malone, First-year MBA, Finance

Turning a career goal into an executable strategy may seem like a daunting task when you face it alone, especially if you are a career switcher.  The Kelley School of Business Graduate Career Services and the academy structure of the program make this process much more manageable, enabling students to gain practical skills to transition seamlessly into a new career.  The Consulting Academy has helped me discover more about the consulting industry through experienced coaches and develop practical skills through “Academy Fridays.

I came to school with a broad idea of where I saw my career heading. I am looking to transition into consulting, where I can continuously be challenged, work in ambiguous situations, and truly help shape businesses.  However, “consulting” has many different layers- different industries, functions, company cultures, which I needed to learn more about to fine tune where I actually fit within the industry. Through my academy, I am surrounded by knowledgeable individuals, who have many years of experience within the industry, including a career coach, academy mentors, and a peer coach. If you put yourself into a sea of people who care about your success, you are bound to develop and thrive.

"Academy Fridays” are dedicated to not only exploring the industry, but also developing crucial skills to succeed within the industry. One aspect of consulting that caused much anxiety for me before Kelley was a part of the process of actually landing the job- the case interview.  “Practice makes perfect” certainly rings true with case interviews, and having 42 of my peers striving towards the same goal, has made finding a case cracking study buddy quite easy.  Armed with practice and ample feedback, I know come January, I will be able to walk into my interviews with confidence, and I will be one step closer to reaching my career goals.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Thoughts on "Why Kelley"

By John Hollfeder, First-year MBA, Marketing

In 2012, the Kelley School of Business earned many accolades. Like many of my counterparts in the Class of 2015, my interest in the Kelley School of Business MBA program stems from its reputation.  However, after being here for 2 months it is my belief that Kelley’s greatest asset cannot be found in the rankings of top business schools. Kelley differentiates itself through its distinguished faculty and the passion of the student body.

Kelley’s collaborative culture has empowered me to grow both personally and professionally. I am consistently provided the opportunity to challenge and be challenged with formal and informal involvement at the Kelley School of business. At Kelley the team based environment has allowed me to develop strong interpersonal relationships with my classmates and encouraged me step beyond my daily comfort zone.

My personal and professional growth during my short time at the Kelley School of Business is due in large part to my peers. With over 17 different countries represented in this year’s class, I am interacting daily with individuals of all skills and personalities. My class consists of an orthopedic surgeon who was a recipient of the “Exceptional Service’ award for servicing those in need after the Mumbai bomb blast of 2006, a violist who played Carnegie Hall, a former Hoosier basketball player who competed in the NCAA tournament, a unit commander who led 144 soldiers in Iraq while engaging in over 320 combat missions, Peace Corps volunteers who served in Mongolia and Cameroon, and successful professionals spanning virtually all industries.

This is why when I graduate from the Kelley School of Business in the spring of 2015, I won’t be just graduating with a group of connections that comprise the largest business network in the world, but I will be walking across the stage with lifelong friendships that will stretch across the globe.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Whirpool's Chris Ball Visits Leadership Academy

By Beth Fehrenbacher, Second-year MBA, Marketing

Me asking Chris Ball a question

When I was selected to join the Leadership Academy this year as a second year MBA student I knew that I would be learning applicable frameworks and skills, but what I didn’t expect was just HOW much those frameworks and skills would translate into real-life. After having the privilege to listen to Chris Ball from Whirlpool, I can see that I had indeed underestimated the applicability of my leadership academy training.

Chris, a very successful domestic and international manager at Whirlpool, showed us first-hand the documents that he and his fellow managers use to frame development conversations, plan talent pipelines, and guide their employee’s career path. He also exposed us to his personal leadership style, sharing his values and personal operating principals. 

Throughout his talk, I saw correlations to our leadership academy lessons. Chris talked about having development conversations with his employees and I saw the FUEL framework come to life. He talked about values and I was brought back to our value-sort exercise. He talked about having a career compass and focusing on gaining needed experiences (not titles), and I remembered Ray & Eric, our leadership academy directors, pushing us to think about our 10 year career goal and what experiences we might need to seek out to achieve that goal.

I’m really grateful that I had the chance to hear from Chris about how this training can come to life, but I’m even more grateful for the opportunity Kelley has provided me to explore and practice these valuable skills through the Leadership Academy.