Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Elite 8 Brand Management Case Competition Reflections

By John Hollfelder and Joe BoesenFirst-year MBAs, Marketing
From left to right: Joe Boesen, Amy Mueller, John Hollfelder, Emily Josephson, Samantha Sieloff

After competing on a team that placed 2nd at the Elite 8 Brand Management Case Competition in early November, first-years John Hollfelder and Joe Boesen reflect on the competition and how it changed their MBA experience at the Kelley School of Business.

John: Competing in the Elite 8 Brand Management Case Competition provided a valuable personal and professional learning experience. I saw taking the opportunity to compete against other top business schools at Duke (Fuqua), UCLA (Anderson), Northwestern (Kellogg), Michigan (Ross), and UC-Berkeley (Haas) as an opportunity to transfer teachings from the Core to solving real world business problems. I was surprised how much of the academics from this fall we used including discounted cash flows, strategy frameworks, economic GDP and population considerations, as well as marketing segmentation, targeting, and messaging.

With less than 30 hours to analyze and present our solution to the client, H.B. Fuller, we were forced to quickly come together as a team. We challenged each other and pushed one another, working right up until the deadline to compile our recommendation.

Joe: I learned three lessons after competing for Kelley in the Elite 8 Brand Management Case Competition and winning 2nd place overall.

1. Start Strong with Good Team Dynamics - Positive team dynamics in a case competition is the most important factor for success. Our team started off on the right foot by enjoying Turkish food (Turcaz) in Bloomington a week before the case competition. This was a great opportunity to build personal relationships that would be tested during the case competition. As a result, we discovered that our team was well balanced with the right personalities, trust in each other and skills to create and present a compelling, actionable recommendation in under 30 hours.

2. Manage the Clock/Get Sleep - We received the case at 8pm on Thursday, worked until midnight, then began on Friday at 8 am and worked until the submission deadline at midnight. A later start on Friday morning allowed the team to sleep and power through the day to submit the recommendation by the deadline. We also watched the clock to make sure we kept pace and weren't running out of time.

3. Have Fun! A national case competition with top schools certainly creates a competitive atmosphere, but if you take time to laugh and joke while creating your recommendation, you will enjoy the process. After the competition at the awards reception, the team enjoyed networking with MBAs from other schools and sponsoring companies.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

What Makes Kelley Different? Let the BMA Show You!

By Kyle PriceFirst-year MBA, Marketing

What makes top MBA programs different from one another?  This was the toughest question I asked myself when deciding where to apply to school.  After being at Kelley for three months now, I realize that there are a lot of things that differentiate Kelley – Me Inc., Kelley’s clubs, and its top ranked faculty.  However, one of the most rewarding weeks I have had at Kelley was traveling with the Business Marketing Academy ("BMA") to Minneapolis.

At Kelley, every first-year MBA student joins a Kelley Academy. Academies meet on Fridays and are used to give students training in a specific industry (i.e. business marketing, consumer marketing, consulting, supply chain and operations, strategic finance, capital markets). The highlight of the academy experience comes during Academy Week when each Academy travels to a city to visit companies focused in the industry they have been learning about.

As part of the BMA, I traveled to Minneapolis to visit 3M, Ecolab, and Cummins.  At each stop I had the opportunity to meet Kelley alums, learn about B2B marketing, and tour company offices, research labs, innovation centers, and even a manufacturing plant.  My classmates and I also participated in a marketing case competition at each company.

In addition to the company visits, one of the best parts of the trip was the friendships I built with my BMA classmates. On our way to Minneapolis, many BMA students were still getting to know one another.  On our way home, we had bonded as a group. At no point was this more evident than on the return flight when the BMA took up the back third of the plane and was buzzing with excitement.  The pilot even acknowledged our enthusiasm with a shout – “We should be landing in about an hour, and I would like to give a shout out to the Kelley Business Marketing Academy sitting in the rear of the plane.” 

When people ask me what makes Kelley different, my answer always comes back to the people. What makes your time at Kelley special is the relationships you build with all of the tremendous Kelley students, faculty, alums, and fellow Business Marketers.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

From the Army to the Private Sector

By Andrew Bowling, First-year MBA, Marketing

Andrew Bowling
As a former officer in the United States Army, finding an MBA program that valued my military experience and knew how to assist me in translating those skills into the private sector was very important. I chose the Kelley School of Business because of its ability to do just that. To date, my experience at Kelley has been extremely productive in terms of reaching that goal - and I’m only in the first semester of my first year.

During Me Inc., a week long workshop that helps students establish their personal brands, 2nd year students and Graduate Career Service (GCS) coaches helped me understand and verbalize the clear parallels between my Army experiences and the skills needed for success in the private sector. Members of the Kelley Veterans Club have consistently provided feedback on my resume and offered advice for succeeding in an interview. As a result, when interacting with various companies at networking events I feel confident in articulating the value I can add to each firm.

I was initially concerned about excelling in a top 15 MBA program since I had no previous business experience in my undergraduate education or career, but my acumen and abilities in Finance and Accounting have improved greatly under the supervision of Kelley’s engaging and entertaining faculty. Additionally, my classmates are more than happy to volunteer their time to explain concepts or discuss cases for the next day’s class - an aspect I really appreciate about the Kelley culture. 

Ultimately, the Kelley School values the same principles that were important to me in the Army: integrity, teamwork, innovation, and leadership. The transition to Kelley has been very natural, and I remain confident that my career's trajectory will be due in no small part the lessons Kelley has taught me about effectively leveraging my background as a veteran.