Thursday, December 12, 2013

My Experiences at the National Society of Hispanic MBAs Conference

By Larry SanchezFirst-year MBA, Finance

Larry Sanchez
Thanks to sponsorship from the Institute for Global Organizational Effectiveness (IGOE), several of the current 17 IGOE MBA Fellows attended the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA) conference in San Antonio (Texas) in October, 2013. This opportunity allowed us to expand our professional networks and also served to strengthen ties among the IGOE Fellows. Also, attending the NSHMBA conference allowed me to put into practice much of the excellent training I received at Kelley during Me Inc. and also to establish professional connections with people at the companies that attended the event.

Although this experience was completely new for me, I had the opportunity to receive advice from the second-year IGOE Fellows and learn from their experiences given that many of them attended NSHMBA last year. Before leaving for San Antonio, they answered all of my questions and gave me advice on how to perform at this event. This culture of collaboration and coaching is an earmark of IGOE, and Kelley in general, and this is what makes us unique.

During the conference I was able to talk to many companies and network with students from other institutions. Additionally, the person from the Admission’s Committee at the Kelley booth introduced me to several of her friends who are recruiters with other companies. After talking to one of these recruiters, I was invited to interview with them. This experience confirmed my previous impression that everyone at Kelley is totally committed to our success and how they have the willingness, resources, and network to support this commitment.

As a result of that first day, I was invited to interview with two companies for the second day of the conference. When I gave the good news to one of the second-year IGOE Fellows who also came with our group to NSHMBA, he immediately volunteered to practice mock interviews with me to help me to be ready for the next day. We spent more than 2 hours practicing mock interviews that night. I appreciated the time he took to help me prepare for interviews, even though he was tired after a long day at the conference.

The next day, I went to both interviews and everything went smoothly, so much so that at the end of the day I received an internship offer on site from one of the companies I interviewed with!

This whole experience taught me the importance of preparation and the effectiveness of coaching. It was powerful evidence of the highly collaborative culture that we experience at the Kelley MBA Program.

My advice to people who are going to these conferences for the first time is to prepare and practice the elevator pitch, research the companies of interest, and reach out to students who have previously attended the conference. Students in our program will not hesitate to coach you and share their experiences in order to help you succeed.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

How to be a Great Coach - Lessons from Leadership Academy

By Samantha Sieloff, Second-year MBA, Marketing

Great coaching is about GROWing your employees or coachees. When working with someone you are developing, consider the following:
G – Develop Goals for that person with his or her involvement
R – Base those goals on the Reality of where that person is starting from
O – Explore Options to meet those goals, both in a long term and short term scope
W – Establish what the employee/mentee Will do. What Will you do? Hold each other accountable.

This framework came from Val Grubb, a larger than life personality that the second-year MBAs in the Leadership Academy were lucky enough to interact with a few weeks ago. Val cuts through fluffy pleasantries with an ax and reels you in with her confident, powerful demeanor. In a booming voice she briefly described some of her past experiences including:

  • Having 10,000 individuals reporting to her at one time at Interactive Corp
  • Working for 3 years for one of the wealthiest and toughest CEOs in existence, (Barry Diller of Interactive Corp)
  • Working with Oprah Winfrey to form the Oxygen Network before negotiating the sale of it to NBC
  • Working with GE/NBC during the Beijing Olympic Games and handling the acquisition of the Weather Channel
  • Starting her own consulting agency where she now improves back office operations for many top companies
Val detailed the difference between coaching colleagues and coaching direct reports. With colleagues, the foundation for great coaching is listening and motivating the person to think for themselves. With direct reports, great coaching is rooted in setting clear goals and effectively communicating those goals. She cautioned that this is not always as easy as it sounds; we often think we have communicated clearly, when in reality the message was never fully understood on the employee’s end rendering it useless.

In the end, the decision to remove any future options is 100% in the hands of the employee. A good coach asks open-ended questions that coax the individual to make the decision by themselves. For example: “What do you want your life to look like?”, “How important is money versus passion?”, “Do you know what being a CEO looks like in terms of skill sets and lifestyle?” 

Val then stressed the golden rule of coaching – always listen more than you talk.

This was an amazing presentation and I am so glad I was able to be a part of the Leadership Academy at Kelley where we are groomed to effectively lead organizations and develop employees. Learning from titans like Val, and getting a chance to practice each day with our first-year mentees is a great developmental tool that I have thoroughly enjoyed in my Kelley experience.   

Collaboration At Work

By Gauri NayakFirst-year MBA, Marketing

My team, Green 5, and the Green Cohort at Color Wars
As a prospective student, when I looked up the Kelley website one of the key themes that stayed with me was the culture of Collaboration. Having previously worked for an organization that was driven by this core value, it was important to find a school where I could blend in instinctively.

At Kelley, you start off your MBA journey with a core team – a team comprised of 4-5 individuals with diverse backgrounds and temperaments but with a common aspiration to discover and succeed in their future business careers. The bonding begins during Me Inc., where you share your story and your design for the future. At the same time as Me Inc. you participate in an outdoor team bonding activity conducted at Bradford Woods that exemplifies the notion of team spirit. The first case competition at the end of orientation sets the foundation towards a semester that is greatly driven by teamwork and assignments.

Making the transition back into a student life in a new cultural setting has had its share of challenges for me, but it has definitely been made easier by having my team around. Whether it is the submission of assignments, the understanding of concepts, or sharing of study guides when the exams came around– the pressure has been significantly buffered.

The team spirit extends beyond your group-work team as well. Your cohort is your larger team. If I am asked to introduce myself – I am afraid I will end up appending my cohort to my name just the way all kindergarten kids do! That’s your ice-breaker sentence when you meet a new classmate – so which cohort are you in? The cohort wars (seen in picture) really drilled down the cohort-based identity in each of us. I am sure we will carry this with us post Fall core semester too.

And collaboration does not end there – the second years, peer coaches, academy directors, academy advisors, career coaches – all collaborate with you to help you through your journey of self-discovery and identifying the right career track. Kelley exemplifies teamwork in more than just one way!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Social Life in the Kelley MBA Program

By Marie CameronFirst-year MBA, Operations and Supply Chain Management

Kelleys having fun at a hockey game
One of the most fun things about coming back to school is being surrounded by fun and engaging individuals who are willing to get involved in just about anything. From exploring the restaurants on Kirkwood to study sessions, there are plenty of great ways to get to know members of the MBA program.

In the past 14 weeks, in conjunction with a variety of clubs, students have participated in a many activities (including, but not limited to): a fall honkey-tonk (complete with a live band), karaoke night, family trick-or-treating and volunteer service day. 

Students have gone to IU Opera productions and built a home with Habitat for Humanity. Others have taken advantage of rock climbing wall in town, or the free work out classes at the campus rec center. Of course, there is always time to support our Indiana Hoosiers at the football tailgates and basketball games.

Just a few of the volunteers at Kelley Service Day

Unsurprisingly, a fair amount of time is focused on studying. The first years recently finished their first round of finals. Many hours were spent in the Godfrey Center writing accounting journal entries on the whiteboards or appreciating the finer details of the Spanish economy; however, there was still time for late night coffee runs and YouTube video watching to add a little lightness to the study sessions

Being involved on and off-campus is not only enjoyable, it helps strengthen new friendships and expand our personal and professional networks. It builds a support system in our new home here in Bloomington. 

IU Football tailgates

Kelley’s alumni network recently surpassed 100,000 living alumni (the largest network in the nation!). The Kelley network is one of the many things that makes Kelley a special place – with a network that large and strong, it is easy to see that wherever we go post-MBA, a Kelley friend will not be far away.