Friday, December 19, 2014

Lessons from Sue Spence, VP of Sourcing at Fed-Ex

Reggie Butler
Sue Spence, Vice President of Sourcing at Fed-Ex, left me with a few takeaways after her presentation to the Kelley MBA Supply Chain Academy:

Analytics aren’t everything when making sourcing decisions as a global supply chain leader.

Fed-Ex believes global companies have a responsibility to help the communities in which they operate. This can be achieved in many ways, such as hiring local companies instead of national corporations for janitorial services. It is also important to give minority companies a chance. For example, Fed-Ex contracted a veteran owned cleaning company to maintain their offices and stores in one of its core cities instead of going with the cheapest bid for the job.

Don’t just make changes for the sake of making changes.  

Many managers transition into companies and make quick changes to prove they’re doing something. Spence came in with a strategy. She used analytics to figure out how to make changes that would have a lasting impact on the company’s bottom line, such as streamlining the way Fed-Ex pays vendors, making it easier to track company spends. She’s also making sure that if Fed-Ex has a contract with suppliers, employees use those suppliers because of the negotiated rates.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Comparison of Campuses

By Dan Dillard
1st-year Kelley MBA

It may have been the Kelley-branded umbrella that sealed the deal. It was a rainy day, my first day visiting the Kelley School of Business, and the lady at the front desk was kind enough to give me the umbrella as a parting present.

No, that feels a little silly saying my MBA fate came down to something as trivial as an umbrella.

Maybe it was those lengthy phone calls with a couple of first-year students, a faculty member, even a Kelley alum.

Actually, you know what it was? It was Experience Weekend – getting the chance to taste what life could be like as a Kelley MBA student.

The reality is, it wasn’t any one of those things. It was all of them–a thousand little signs that made it crystal clear where I needed to be. And then, there may have been a thousand signs at another premier business school (which shall remain nameless), that made it equally clear where I should not be.

After months of deliberation I had the benefit of visiting each of my top two schools within 24 hours of one another.  Here’s an honest comparison of the visits.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

5 things I've learned about leadership and community as a Kelley MBA

1st-year MBA Kyle DeLapp walked in the St. Jude Children's Hospital Walk-A-Thon with corporate leaders and a St. Jude patient and his family. From Left to Right: Ron Allen, former Chairman and CEO of Delta Airlines; Mike Davis, Mayor of Dunwoody, Georgia; Kyle DeLapp; and Patrick Ungashick, CEO of White Horse Advisors.

By Kyle DeLapp
1st-year Kelley MBA

Recently, I was invited by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to participate in the Local Heroes Program, part of their annual Walk-A-Thon in Atlanta, because of a water rescue I was involved in several years ago in the Gulf of Mexico.

I was paired with a former CEO of Delta Airlines, the CEO of White Horse Advisors, and the Mayor of Dunwoody, Georgia. These people are titans of their own industries, and I was amazed at how humble and caring they were for the families of St. Jude patients. In them, I saw leaders who respected and valued community.

Over the break, I kept thinking about this event and how important community and leadership were to me as an MBA. The first semester at Kelley is packed with classes, projects, and recruitment events. Sometimes it can be difficult to find time to reflect and fully appreciate the insights and progress we have made since the onset of the program.

Here are some things I've taken away in just four months at Kelley:

1. Helping others is a two-way street 

I am always amazed at how open and willing Kelleys are to lay down whatever they are doing to help each other. Whether it is to cook a group of friends a much needed hot meal, volunteer to hold a review session for classmates who feel lost, or be there through each other’s rainy days and achievements, the act of being with that person or group helps all of us grow into better, stronger leaders.

2. Community builds perspective 

One of the Kelley School’s major strengths is its people. Being in a top-ranked program, we are fortunate to work with world-class faculty and staff, but also to learn with and from the best and brightest students from around the world. Business is global. It transcends cultural, social, and economic boundaries. By establishing diversity and culture, Kelley MBAs consistently go into the workforce more cognizant of their environments.

3. Influence is a leader’s most powerful tool 

Leadership is not just about being a good manager. Leadership influences every interaction, every presentation, and every act in our everyday lives. During the Leadership Academy call out, Eric Johnson, the head of Graduate Career Services, told us that the two most important characteristics of a great leader are the ability to coach others for self-improvement and to set a clear and motivating vision for a team or an organization. A successful leader can, and should, influence the organization both in and out of the boardroom.

4. Leaders can be found at every function and level of an organization

We are taught that the best leaders use a mixture of bottom-up and top-down management to keep their organizations cutting edge and always improving. At Kelley, I have met lawyers, consultants, athletes, entrepreneurs, military veterans, scientists, and just about every other type of professional I can name. What has been most inspiring is learning about how each person has overcome challenges in life and how they have combined that experience with the skills they've learned here.

5. Networking is the key to strong, trusting relationships

Getting a job in today’s world is an art. Technology has made applying for positions easier than ever. But the influx of applicants has put a major drain on the system and has led companies to lean heavily on applicant tracking systems where historically HR personnel ruled the roost. Establishing a healthy network of peers and professionals is the best way to establish trust and bypass these algorithms. And after the job hunting is over, that trust leads to more effective and efficient teams.

Aristotle once said: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit." Every day, I see my peers practicing excellence on a grand scale. It stems primarily from the tight-knit community that we continue to build and our humility to learn and grow as individuals.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

What inspired my transition from corporate work to Full-Time MBA student

Jonlee Andrews, Camille Shawley and Ray Luther
at the Class of 2016 CMA Induction ceremony
By Camille Shawley, MBA'16

While navigating my career from real estate consulting to corporate retail, I realized I wanted to go beyond measuring the needle to moving the needle.  I had a passion for marketing and understanding why consumers do the things they do. 

But I was surrounded by PhD mathematicians, as well as MBAs, PMPs, CFAs—you name it, any credential you can add to a person’s name—and although I had a strong work background and education, I was constantly demanding myself to be as innovative as possible to be viewed as a trusted expert in anything I spoke about.

I knew an MBA would not only add to and sharpen my business acumen; it would allow me to feel even more deserving of a seat at the table.

If you are considering a career and lifestyle change with a full time MBA, I’d encourage you to ask yourself a series of questions to see how an MBA will aid in a transition. This was an exercise a mentor had me complete. With each question, ask if an MBA would be important in each situation:

  1. You won the lottery. What will do you with your time? How will you remain passionate, excited and curious?
  2. You did not win the lottery and you are ready for a new challenge. Can you pursue it at your current employer?
  3. You did not win the lottery and you are ready for a new challenge. Can you pursue it at a new employer?

What gave me the final push to transition from corporate work to a full-time MBA program were a series of uncomfortable moments at work. Those moments where I knew I could create change and add value, although my thoughts and ideas typically met doom. Facing high turnover within the firm, ideas often were repeated and hit roadblocks when, instead, there needed to be innovation and collaboration.

I have always been inclined to grow and learn and had always wanted to pursue a second degree.  I knew I would end up in school again—I was just waiting for a passion that I could leverage to work towards a new career goal.Fast forward one year from applying to Kelley, I am in the consumer marketing academy, CMA, and am closer to my career goal of marketing strategy and building lasting emotional connections between customers and brands.  The CMA allows me to grow my professional network with alumni in the industries and roles I am interested in.  The academy provides exposure to real business to consumer marketing successes and failures by way of discussion and case studies with working professionals (both those who visit Kelley and during Academy week when we tour corporate headquarters).  While the process to apply to an MBA program took a few years after undergrad, I am confident I am exactly where I need to be here at Kelley.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Soccer, diversity, and common values in the Kelley MBA

By Juan Ramirez
1st-year Kelley MBA

Last month, the Kelley MBA Soccer Club organized its annual soccer tournament with the support of the Institute for Global Organizational Effectiveness (IGOE) and the Kelley Latin MBA Association.

The tournament was the culmination of Latin Week and the Doing Business in Latin America events. It offered a wonderful opportunity for 1st- and 2nd-year MBA students, exchange students, and their families to enjoy some time together and have fun playing one of the most beautiful sports in the world: soccer.

One frequent question that people have asked me since coming to the Kelley School of Business is, “What has been your most rewarding experience you have had during your MBA?”

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

10 lessons you'll learn from Me, Inc.

By Dan Dillard & Camille Shawley
First-Year Kelley MBAs

During your first week of class as a Kelley MBA, you'll go through Me, Inc. It's a deep dive into your personal story, to help you understand how your past and current life experiences can connect to the next steps in your career.

You'll create a personal roadmap, complete with your strengths, weaknesses, and personality type.

You'll share a lot of TMI with people you've just met. But you'll come out alive, with a clear direction and set of goals to make things happen.

Here are a few things we learned about the process, as First-Year MBA students in the Me, Inc. program this semester:

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Excelling at Citi

By Gaurav Malhotra, MBA'15
About 8 months ago, when the internship recruitment season was at its peak, I received an interview invitation from Citi. Four rounds of interviews followed. Later, while in Ghana on a Globase trip, I received the good news. I was offered a 10-week internship in the Consumer Banking Wealth Management Division in New York.

With a small group of 40 interns from different schools, I started my internship on June 2. The first week was onboarding that comprised speaker sessions with CXOs, including CEO of Citi. Presentations covered different banking divisions internal to the firm and their business models, training on propriety tools and lunches with leaders. We concluded the induction week with a half day outdoor CSR activity on the bank of Hudson River, opposite the UN headquarters.

I started to work closely with my team in the second week. All interns were reporting to managers who were either managing directors or directors or senior vice presidents. I was fortunate in that I was reporting to two managers, both of whom were managing directors. Working closely with senior leaders was an enriching experience where I learned how to lead, work in a team and, mentor others. They ensured I received enough visibility throughout the firm and enough face time with senior leaders. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Discovering the Kelley alumni network in Silicon Valley

I traveled to Silicon Valley last week with Kelley's Strategic Finance Academy to visit Intel, Xilinx, and Broadcom. This was Academy Week: five days of exploring our interests (in my group's case, strategic finance in the technology sector) and networking with professionals who could give us real perspective from the field.

We had the opportunity to interact with dozens of Kelley alumni who have built amazing careers at these companies, and I was inspired to hear how the Kelley School influenced their paths when they were in my shoes.

Kyle DeLapp
On our first stop, we visited Intel's Executive Briefing Center and got a hands-on demonstration of the company's cutting edge 3D camera technology. We also toured the Intel Museum and learned how microprocessors are made, as well as the components of their global supply chain. From engineering genius to clean rooms operated by machines, we learned how Intel has capitalized on one of their founders’ groundbreaking law. Today, the driving force of Gordon Moore’s law is in the hands of Kelley alumni.

Our second visit was to Xilinx where CFO and Kelley grad Jon Olson walked us through the responsibilities and realities of an earnings call. We had a glimpse into the C-suite, and we learned about how Xilinx has strategically positioned itself in the niche programmable logic market through sales, operational, and R&D finance.

The final stop on our trip was Broadcom. Two alumni gave our group valuable perspective on what it takes to be successful in the technology sector. Both shared stories of what to expect after MBA life and the importance of making an impact from day one. Today, Kelley alumni at Broadcom are a major asset behind the push for the Internet of Things and its innovative expansion.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Network, network, network at the National Society of Hispanic MBAs Conference

Last month, several underrepresented minority-focused MBA conferences took place throughout the United States. One of the largest was the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA), which was held this year in Philadelphia. Thanks to the support from the Institute for Global Organizational Effectiveness (IGOE), 14 of this year’s 16 IGOE MBA Fellows chose to attend the conference.

There was a lot of anticipation surrounding the event, especially among my Latin classmates because many of us had never experienced something like this before. The second-year IGOE Fellows did a great job sharing advice about every aspect of the conference and how to prepare beforehand.

Alejandra de Caso
At the conference, we had the opportunity to network with corporate recruiters and students from other MBA programs. You could tell a company’s culture and work environment by looking at each booth.

I was really looking forward to talking to a company that did not recruit on campus but was a leader in the industry that I am pursuing for my post-MBA career. Engaging in conversations directly with recruiters wasn’t as challenging as I expected; all of them were willing to talk to and inform us about the opportunities for MBA candidates within their companies.

I now have a couple of new companies to follow up with during my job search process. I also enjoyed spending time with other IGOE Fellows in Philadelphia, preparing my CARs, doing mock interviews, enjoying nice dinners, and relaxing.  

The National Society of Hispanic MBAs Conference was an enriching personal and professional experience, which I definitely recommend to future Kelleys. My only advice is to prepare beforehand—the conference goes by fast, and preparation is essential in order to make the best out of your time there.  I’m very grateful for the financial and informational support offered by IGOE, without which I would not have been able to attend.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Academy Week Preview: Consulting Academy

Academy Week begins October 20. This intensive week immerses our first-year MBA students in the fundamentals of their focus industries, through alumni panels and group sessions, visits to leading companies in the field, and professional development enhancing activities. This week, our second-year MBA students will revisit last year's Academy Week, to give you an idea of what to expect.

Today Sahil Sandhu, MBA ‘15, shares Academy Week highlights as a student in the Consulting Academy. In the Consulting Academy, our board of advisors includes names from some of the world's leading consulting firms, including Accenture, AT Kearney, Deloitte, EY, and McKinsey & Company.

Sahil Sandhu

Which companies did you visit during Academy Week?

Consulting Academy week was different. We had many consulting firms on campus for presentations, networking, and of course happy hours.

Here are the companies I interacted with: A.T. Kearney, Kalypso, Bain, Accenture, EY, Cummins, Direct Supply, and Deloitte.

Which was your favorite company? Why?

My favorite company experience was Deloitte. Deloitte was here for a day and we got the opportunity to interact with practitioners to understand their experiences and expectations. Most importantly, Deloitte conducted many mock cases, which helped simulate a critical part of consulting interviews–individual and group cases.

How did Academy Week enhance your career?

Academy Week helped me understand various consulting domains, such as technology, strategy, operations, and private equity. I was able to narrow down what I wanted to do and develop a plan for my internship search. Above all, I got the opportunity to interact with multiple firms and build a network with Kelley alums.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Academy Week Preview: Consumer Marketing Academy

Academy Week begins October 20. This intensive week immerses our first-year MBA students in the fundamentals of their focus industries, through alumni panels and group sessions, visits to leading companies in the field, and professional development enhancing activities. This week, our second-year MBA students will revisit last year's Academy Week, to give you an idea of what to expect.

Linsey Tague, MBA'15
Today Linsey Tague, MBA'15, shares Academy Week highlights as a student in the Consumer Marketing Academy. These students work closely with our corporate partners and smaller companies to develop marketing acumen and build brands.

Which companies did you visit during Academy Week? 

Kraft Oscar Meyer, Eli Lilly, ConAgra Foods, Miller Coors, Whirlpool, Scott’s Miracle-Gro, Abbott Nutrition, Procter and Gamble

Which was your favorite company? Why? 

ConAgra Foods. They had an exercise where we were tasked as the brand manager on one of their brands. We had to come up with a new product innovation with real food ingredients to choose from that had to appeal to the target consumer we were given, remain under a certain cost, and be able to gain distribution in the market place. It really helped put into perspective the challenges that real marketers face in brand management. Also, ConAgra ended up being the company where I interned this summer.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Academy Week Preview: Strategic Finance Academy

Academy Week begins October 20. This intensive week immerses our first-year MBA students in the fundamentals of their focus industries, through alumni panels and group sessions, visits to leading companies in the field, and professional development enhancing activities. This week, our second-year MBA students will revisit last year's Academy Week, to give you an idea of what to expect.

Today Eric Leserman, MBA'15, shares Academy Week highlights as a student in the Strategic Finance Academy. These students work on real-world business problems throughout the year, traveling to places such as the Silicon Valley, Minneapolis, and New York for an in-depth look at the role financial professionals play in Fortune 500 firms.

Which companies did you visit during Academy Week?

Ecolab, Best Buy, Optum Health, and Target.

What was your favorite company? Why?

I really enjoyed going to Target. It was in a beautiful building in downtown Minneapolis and everyone we met there was so friendly. The highlight for me was when they took us into their store next to headquarters and showed us the business decisions that were made in the layout of a store and why they were so important.

How did Academy Week enhance your career?

Having worked at small businesses prior to Kelley, it was great to see the headquarters of large corporations. It was amazing how easily you could see the company culture in action after spending as little as a few hours at headquarters.

What was the most fun part about Academy Week?

We had a free evening in Minneapolis and we took advantage of this to go to a Minnesota Wild hockey game. It was a lot of fun to enjoy a pro sport with my classmates and be immersed in the culture of one of Minnesota’s favorite pastimes.

Academy Week Preview: Capital Markets

Academy Week begins October 20. This intensive week immerses our first-year MBA students in the fundamentals of their focus industries, through alumni panels and group sessions, visits to leading companies in the field, and professional development enhancing activities. This week, our second-year MBA students will revisit last year's Academy Week, to give you an idea of what to expect.

Today Rene Lopezvictoria, MBA'15, shares Academy Week highlights as a student in the Capital Markets Academy, which focuses on investment management, investment banking, and principal investing.

Which companies did you visit during Academy Week?

Barclays, Morningstar, William Blair, RW Baird, Harris Associates, Driehaus Capital Management, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Mizuho Securities, and Sanford Bernstein.

Which was your favorite company? Why?

My favorite company was Goldman Sachs. We had the opportunity to visit its headquarters in downtown Manhattan. One of my favorite parts of the visit was walking through the massive trading floor, which was inhabited by hundreds of very smart, driven, and competitive people. At least that was the impression I got after a few minutes of observing them engaging in financial transactions for one of the most important financial institutions in the world. After meeting with people from the derivatives division and listening to them talk about high frequency trading and other complex subjects, I was convinced. I decided to choose Goldman Sachs as one of my top companies for my summer internship.

How did Academy Week enhance your career?

Academy Week allowed me to experience the work environment and culture of some of the top firms on and off Wall Street. It also gave me the chance to strengthen my networking skills both on a professional level—during company visits—and in an informal level—during happy hours and one-on-one meetings.

What was the most fun part about Academy Week?

After one of the longest days of the trip, we had a happy hour at a very interesting place near Times Square. We had the chance to interact with Kelley alums ranging from recent to more senior graduates. It was amazing to see that most of them knew each other regardless of the generational differences. It was also incredible to see how happy they were to talk to us and try to help us in whichever way they could with the job search process. This happy hour also was a great opportunity to create bonds within the Academy that remain very strong to this day.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Academy Week Preview: Consumer Marketing Academy

Academy Week begins October 20. This intensive week immerses our first-year MBA students in the fundamentals of their focus industries, through alumni panels and group sessions, visits to leading companies in the field, and professional development enhancing activities. This week, our second-year MBA students will revisit last year's Academy Week, to give you an idea of what to expect.

Today Sulay Alvarenga, MBA'15, shares Academy Week highlights as a student in the Consumer Marketing Academy. These students work closely with our corporate partners and smaller companies to develop marketing acumen and build brands.

Which companies did you visit during Academy Week? 

Kraft Oscar Mayer, Eli Lilly and Company, ConAgra Foods, MillerCoors, Whirlpool, Scott’s Miracle-Gro, Abbott Nutrition, and Procter & Gamble.

Which was your favorite company? Why? 

My favorite company from our trip had to be MillerCoors. I enjoyed hearing about how the alcoholic beverage category has evolved over the years and where MillerCoors envisions the category shifting in the future. I especially liked the presentation from the innovation team on how they identified white space in the flavored malt beverage category to successfully bring Red’s Apple Ale to market. Some of the key points they considered were functional versus emotional benefits to the consumer and the particular brand voice the product should embody. The process outlined by the innovation team definitely represented the ideal type of work I want to do in the future.

How did Academy Week enhance your career? 

Academy Week came at a critical point in my internship search. I was conflicted about whether to pursue an internship at a consumer goods company that had a more general management focus versus one that was more brand marketing focused. The corporate visits and presentations on brand strategy development not only allowed me to identify brand marketing as a better fit for my internship, but also allowed me to recognize the type of culture I wanted in a company post-MBA.  

What was the most fun part about Academy Week? 

Aside from the beer tasting at MillerCoors, I really enjoyed getting to know all of my fellow Consumer Marketing Academy members on the big coach bus and spending time with them outside of Bloomington.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Academy Week Preview: Business Marketing Academy

Academy Week begins October 20. This intensive week immerses our first-year MBA students in the fundamentals of their focus industries, through alumni panels and group sessions, visits to leading companies in the field, and professional development enhancing activities. This week, our second-year MBA students will revisit last year's Academy Week, to give you an idea of what to expect.

Today Kyle Price, MBA'15, shares Academy Week highlights as a student in the Business Marketing Academy. Kelley is the only top business school to offer an extensive focus in B2B marketing—a big draw to recruiters such as 3M, Ecolab, GE, Cummins, and more. Students in the Business Marketing Academy gain insights into the marketing strategies and buying decisions of governments, nonprofits, institutions, and businesses.

Which companies did you visit during Academy Week?

Dupont, Dow Agro, Eli Lilly, 3M, Ecolab, Valkre, and Cummins

What was your favorite company?  Why?

My favorite was 3M. We visited the 3M Innovation Center where we had the opportunity to get a hands on experience with their products.  It was really cool to see all of the different markets that 3M’s products serve. The day ended with an exciting case competition that had teams making recommendations on where 3M should invest in the solar panel value chain.

How did Academy Week enhance your career?

Academy Week allowed me to build a strong network of Kelleys across several different companies and gain a stronger understanding of the kind of company I want to work for.

What was the most fun part about Academy Week?

One evening in Minneapolis we had a happy hour with Kelley alums.  It was at this happy hour, and the after party, where we bonded as an Academy.  Since that night we’ve hung out more outside of class and really take a lot of pride in being a part of the Business Marketing Academy. I also enjoyed stepping out of the core for a week and getting back into the working world a bit.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

IGOE: A permanent support system for Latin MBA students

Current and recent IGOE Global Fellows

The Institute for Global Organizational Effectiveness (IGOE) has been a cornerstone for me and many other Latin students because it has enabled us to pursue an MBA at a top business school. The help we receive from IGOE is not restricted to a substantial fellowship toward our tuition—it also encompasses a permanent support system that extends far beyond the 2-year MBA program. Thanks to the support we receive through IGOE, we are able to foster our professional development through many means, including attendance at career fairs and access to the rapidly growing network of IGOE alumni.

Joaquin Pereyra, MBA'15
Flash back to my own personal journey to the Kelley School of Business, at the beginning of 2011 when I decided to pursue an MBA. It had always been a dream of mine to earn my master’s degree at a top business school in the United States, and while I cannot say that the process was always easy or stress free, once that decision was made, a sequence of meaningful events occurred that eventually led me to where I am today.

I chose to leave my job for three months in order to take time to prepare for the required entrance exams. On top of that, I needed to search for financial support, since affording the total cost of the MBA by myself was close to impossible. Trying to find the way to materialize that big and, at the time, distant dream of pursuing an MBA took countless hours of research and study. By mid-2012, I was still searching for that unique opportunity.

Joaquin Pereyra at a recent
NBMBAA Conference
I had been accepted to a few MBA programs, but with no substantial financial support package. I had the chance of doing my MBA in Europe with a scholarship; however, I strongly felt that the US was the place for my MBA. At some point, I was on the border of just giving up on the MBA dream. I decided to try one last time. After all, big dreams require perseverance and determination.

Months later, right when it seemed there was no light at the end of the tunnel, great news arrived for me: I had been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship.

From then on, things started working out relatively smoothly. Fulbright applied on my behalf to previously agreed-upon universities, one of them being Kelley. I still clearly remember my excitement when in March 2013 I opened that thick IU package to find that I had been accepted to the Kelley School of Business. The final and decisive piece of the puzzle was a fellowship offer from IGOE for the two-year program.

Finally, after more than two years of hard effort and some frustrations along the way, I felt fulfilled and extremely happy about how things turned out.  Fulbright and IGOE were the key enablers for making this possible.

IGOE intensifies in its fellows a strong bond with Kelley and Indiana University. It has given each one of us a unique platform to embrace personal and professional development through different avenues such as funding to attend career fairs, access to its exclusive alumni network throughout the US and Latin America, and direct support for participation in case competitions.

When I finally began the MBA program I felt a deep appreciation for IGOE. Now that feeling of gratitude has turned into a genuine commitment with the institution and its mission.

Friday, October 3, 2014

An MBA Internship at Amazon: Earth's Most Customer-Centric Company

By Nir Paz, MBA ‘15
Intern at Amazon, Amazon Web Services

“The customer is always right.” This simple phrase takes a whole new meaning at Amazon, Earth's Most Customer-Centric Company, where every single employee shares the same goal: to satisfy every whim of Amazon customers.

At Amazon, ambiguity is the name of the game. After merely a day of orientation, interns were expected to start working immediately on our summer projects. And for good reason; we only had as little as 12 weeks to formulate actionable strategic plans to generate real value to Amazon and its customers. As overwhelming as it might have been, I felt that Kelley provided me with useful tools and techniques to quickly understand the mission and start peeling the onion back, as they say. But this was only the first out of many challenges I encountered during my internship.

My responsibilities ranged from conducting 300,000 customer surveys to interviewing senior executives from potential companies who are interested in a B2B relationship with Amazon and formulating a 50-page narrative illustrating features for a groundbreaking, innovative, and confidential product.

One of the great things about Amazon is that every intern works on a project that will be used in the future. I found the opportunity to influence a strategic and innovative product in as little as 12 weeks extremely exciting. I felt so strongly about the opportunity to make an impact on the organization that I worked to complete three different projects, all of which will be implemented and generate real value very soon.

The combination of innovation, leadership, and passion—traits that have been nurtured and polished throughout Kelley’s rigorous Core and academies—serve as a catalyst to excellence. Throughout my career in Special Forces, the experience in the high-tech industry, and past academic experiences, including the Kelley School of Business, I learned that excellence is not a skill; excellence is an attitude.

I had an amazing summer, one that I will never forget. I realized firsthand that creating real and measurable value is a good place to start on the path to success and excellence.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Latasha Watkins, MBA'14: The Wonder Woman

Latasha Watkins
Chicago, IL
BS'98, Chemical Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
MBA’14, Consumer Marketing Academy, Kelley School of Business

Latasha Watkins had a healthy career at General Mills that spanned supply chain and operations. She’d been there 14 years, but she knew there would be a point when she wanted more. Soul searching turned into studying for the GMAT, and she found what she was looking for at the Kelley School of Business.

The catch: Her family of four. It took some adjusting. For two years, Latasha lived in Bloomington with her one-year-old son, while her husband lived and worked in Chicago, keeping their three-year-old son grounded there in his life and at school. Here's how she made it work.

Describe your pre-MBA career.

I had been working at General Mills for over 14 years in different roles that spanned supply chain and operations, and I was progressing very well in my career. There was a point, though, when I could see where the path was leading and I wasn’t completely satisfied with how it would inevitably play out. I wanted more. Soul-searching turned into studying for the GMAT, and soon I was moving full force ahead.

What’s it like to bring your family to Kelley?

My family is more important than anything, and my husband and I made this experience work for us all. I live here in Bloomington with my one-year-old, Jonathan, while my husband spends most of his time in Chicago with our three-year-old, Jayden. he works in Chicago and keeps our son grounded there in his life and at school. An unforeseen win happened through this process: Jayden has established an incredible bond with my husband. They may have not had that opportunity had it not been for my two years away at Kelley.

How has Kelley prepared you for the next step?

Kelley helped me redefine what I thought success was. Before Kelley, my work was about providing for my family and doing what I knew I could do well. After Kelley, I became very comfortable with saying, “work is what makes me feel fulfilled"; it’s the freedom to pursue what makes me happy and brings me joy. I know through Kelley I’ve become a stronger woman, wife, and mother. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

What to expect in a consulting internship

By Ellen Gartner Phillips, MBA'15

Going through recruiting on campus last year with Deloitte Consulting, I was as proactive as possible about asking Kelley alumni what to expect in a consulting internship.

I was told throughout the process that I would be working on one project for the duration of the summer, and that I should expect to be filling the role of a Senior Consultant on my team.  Occasionally there were those random instances where someone ended up on multiple projects, but that was HIGHLY unlikely.

So, of course, that outlier ended up being my summer. And it was awesome. I had the fortune of experiencing three different projects with the same client, and had the opportunity to dive into multiple parts of a huge company. 

I got to see how Deloitte builds and manages relationships with its clients, as well as learn how to work with multiple managers on very different teams. I filled numerous roles and by week four of my summer I was presenting with our team to senior leadership in the client organization. 

People talked about the Core at Kelley being like drinking from a fire hose, and this experience truly opened the floodgates. 

I went in wanting to try on the ‘consulting lifestyle’, which everyone associates with travel.  I came away understanding that the consulting lifestyle does include a lot of travel, but that it is also about long hours with your team in a (more often than not) different room every day, being comfortable with ambiguity, and learning how to really unplug on the weekends. 

I learned how necessary it is to build a solid network you can trust, and started to understand how to best manage relationships within an organization.

I was continually impressed at the high bar that was set and that the teams I worked with had the client’s best interest in mind at all times. 

My fears that a ‘non-traditional’ background in music performance would hinder me were put to rest as I realized that I had been taught a way of thinking both through my training in music analysis as well as data synthesis.

So, how was my summer? Crazy. And amazing. 

I look at what I learned in 10 weeks: valuable perspective from the others in my intern class, that I could push myself further than I thought, and that I was well-equipped with the first year at Kelley under my belt. I am more excited to be back at Kelley as a second-year than I expected to be.  It’s invigorating to see the confidence that my classmates have come back with after their respective internships. It’s good to be home.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Pedro Albarrán, MBA'02: The Strategist

Pedro Albarrán

Mexico City, Mexico
Managing Director, Hyundai Motor Mexico
MBA ’02, Kelley School of Business

How did you find your first post-MBA opportunity?

I came to Kelley from Arthur Andersen, where I did business consulting for the automotive industry. During that time, Toyota contacted us to do research on starting an operation in Mexico. It seemed like a great opportunity for me, but when I met Toyota’s recruiters at Kelley, they were looking for US students only. I kept pushing—I looked for people at Toyota connected to the Mexico project, and I sent personal letters telling them I had some experience in the field, could work in the United States, but ultimately wanted to return to Mexico. And after 13 great years at Toyota, I had the opportunity to grow in the industry and recently took on the managing director role at Hyundai’s headquarters in Mexico—and the momentum I’ve found in my career is all because of Kelley.

How did Kelley prepare you for the challenges you face in the automotive industry?

The MBA program also has a strong interest in global business. Toyota is a Japanese company with a California subsidiary that was launching a Mexico operation. These are three very different cultures. It’s a similar situation with Hyundai, a Korean company with offices around the world. Through my Academy, I learned cultural competency strategies that helped me integrate the best of each. I also got a wide-ranging education. I wasn’t a marketing major, but the faculty in that area are great, and I took a lot of those courses. This helped me as Toyota was setting up the first stages of our marketing efforts and gave me the tools I needed to get operations off the ground in Mexico for Hyundai. My strategy courses were also very relevant when it came to launching a company in a new country. I keep those textbooks on my desk to this day—they keep me connected to the lessons and people who were so instrumental in my success.

What advice do you have for future MBAs?

First, look at schools to see how much flexibility they allow in their coursework. Kelley really enables you to customize. Second, try to take as many courses as possible with the best professors, no matter what discipline. Even if it’s a subject that doesn’t interest you, you’ll always learn a lot from a good professor, and Kelley has great faculty. Third, look for global experiences. The world is getting more integrated, and that needs to be a priority. Kelley has worked hard to give students those opportunities.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Immersed in the Business of Beauty: My Internship at L'Oreal

By Susana Zazueta, MBA'15

Working in The Big Apple has always been a dream of mine. As a teenager, I dreamt about living in the city as a business woman and riding the subway to work. This summer I was able to turn this dream into a reality as an intern at L’Oreal. As the first ever Kelley intern at L’Oreal, I knew it was going to be a challenging summer, but I was ready to give it my all.

I was thrilled to be placed on the Garnier Fructis haircare brand, as it allowed me the opportunity to merge the Consumer Packaged Goods world that I want to work in with elements of the fashion industry that I am passionate about.

My pre-MBA experience in fashion and brand management, coupled with what I learned from Kelley’s consumer marketing academy, enabled me to contribute from my very first day. I was evaluating photo shoots for future product ads, commenting on promotional displays, generating creative briefs to enhance current PDQ’s, and creating weekly sales performance summaries.

The second week of my internship when my name appeared in my manager’s Out of Office email reply, I knew I was seen as much more than an intern. Fortunately, Kelley’s rigorous program had prepared me to excel in challenging situations. One of our Kelley Values is excellence—embracing challenges and continually self-improving. I felt empowered by the training I had received at Kelley, to not only embrace the challenge but also push myself to exceed my own expectations.

I was given two projects to complete during my internship. From evaluating the opportunity in a new product category to building a launch strategy for an existing product, I had a lot to learn in a very short amount of time. Working within L’Oreal’s lean team structure made it a very challenging workplace, but as a result I met some fantastic people who were willing to share their insights and offer guidance that I found invaluable.

I had an incredible summer and learned a lot about what I am looking for. My internship taught me that I really do have a passion for brand management in consumer products, and that it doesn’t matter whether I am selling toys to a four year old or hairspray to a 22 year old. It’s just a matter of knowing how to use the tools you are given to connect consumers to your brand.

Ellen Gartner Phillips, MBA'15: The Practitioner

Ellen Gartner Phillips, MBA’15, is a natural performer. She’s used her passion for music as a vehicle to teach, consult, and manage as a small business owner, but even with two degrees 
she wanted to further her education. She began shopping for arts administration programs and landed on an MBA. Here's why she chose Kelley, and what she's gotten out of her experience to date.

Ellen Gartner Phillips
Chicago, IL
BM'05, Music Performance, Northwestern University
MM'07, MuSic PerforMAnce, Rice University
MBA’15, Consulting Academy, Dean's Fellow, Kelley School of Business

What brought you to Kelley?

The idea and love of Indiana University was planted in me early—my grandfather was a football coach at IU in the 1960s. It’s safe to say I was a hoosier before birth. I’m a professional musician and have used my passion for music as a vehicle to teach, consult, and manage as a small business owner. I wanted to further my education, so I started shopping for arts administration programs online, yet kept being directed to MBA pages. I decided to visit a number of schools and Kelley was the only one that felt like home. everything comes full circle.

How do you feel the Kelley culture and curriculum are setting you up for success?

I was sure I wanted to pursue brand management through the MBA program. From all my experience in talent and contract management, I thought that would be a logical field to pursue. It became clear that the Kelley experience is less what’s logical and more what we uncover about ourselves through the program. The faculty and the community have a way of revealing greatness in each person. I found confidence and energy in exploring new things—now I'm in the Consulting Academy, working for Deloitte this summer. I would have never imagined this would be the path I’d take.

What’s the most valuable insight you’ve learned so far?

Kelley has helped me shift my mindset about what I really want—and that is almost preparation enough for the next step in my career. I’m constantly learning and evolving, and I know more than I give myself credit for. I have great insight to offer, and I’m adding value in a very tangible way.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Jacqui Cuffe, MBA'14: The Inspired Doer

Jacqui Cuffe
San Francisco, CA
BA’04, Business Economics, University of California Santa Barbara
MBA’14, Entrepreneurial Innovation Academy, Kelley School of Business

Describe your pre-MBA career.
I’d been calling the West Coast home, living in San Francisco and working most recently for Oracle in tech and software sales. I had convinced myself that a career switch was what I wanted and was looking to explore a new segment of business—an MBA seemed like the logical next step. During a networking roundtable at orientation, however, I realized that I loved tech and sales and decided to learn more in the area i already knew so much about.

Why did you choose Kelley?
It is true when they say the Kelley alumni network is robust and worldwide, and I experienced that firsthand in my decision-making process for the right MBA program. I found myself at a networking event for women in San Francisco that brought strong career women together around…food! We were in a cooking class and next thing I knew I was surrounded by a handful of Kelley alums. They were completely honest with me and I could sense their passion for the program, and in that moment, I made my choice.

What is the most valuable insight you learned at Kelley?
I came to understand and accept at Kelley that we all truly have something to offer and often what one person has is what another person lacks. That’s very hard for us high-achievers to admit. On a recent project, I was having difficulty arriving at a solution and I reached out for help from a peer who I knew was great at the subject. It was a moment of humility for me. The very next week that same person came up to me in desperate need of leadership coaching for an upcoming case competition, and I was there to reciprocate.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Joe Ungers, MBA'15: The Pacesetter

Joe Ungers
Cincinnati, OH
BS'08, Business Economics, Miami University
MBA’15, Supply Chain Academy, Kelley School of Business

Describe your pre-MBA career.

My background is in energy and metal—everything from brokerage to supply chain management. I really wanted to take my career to the next level and go after a job in management so I decided to get an MBA. I’m now learning the foundations of what it takes to be a leader while leveraging my past experiences to bring something unique to the table.

Describe your experience in the Core.

Right off the bat, I didn’t expect to be learning from such high-caliber professors. I figured that would eventually come, but from the first class in the Core you’re getting personal attention from some of the top business minds in the world. From the culture of collaboration to the camaraderie among fellow students—it all naturally encourages engaging lessons. The Core created an environment that set the tone for my entire year.

Was there a time at Kelley when everything seemed to click?

Before I even arrived it had clicked. I chose Kelley for the Academy element of the curriculum—something I hadn’t found anywhere else. The Supply Chain Academy, as well as the other Academies, brings a multi-faceted and interdisciplinary approach to what are often isolated conversations. The learning that happens in the Academy transcends the classroom; we’re working with real clients on real problems and bringing actionable solutions to the table.

Friday, August 22, 2014

A Love Letter to Minneapolis: My Minnesota Summer

By Julia Wilcox, MBA'15

This post originally appeared on Arts to Business, a blog by MBA students Julia Wilcox and Ellen Gartner Phillips, two performers who met at the Kelley School of Business

I’m in my car, driving around 3M campus, trying to figure out what in the heck is going on with this map HR sent us. I’m turning it upside down and sideways to see if it somehow makes more sense in those configurations. 3M campus is way bigger than I remembered from our Business Marketing Academy trip last fall and I have exactly 15 minutes to make it to our first training before I am officially late. I take a deep breath, trying to calm my anxiety when I spot my roommate’s car in the visitor lot. I park next to her. I couldn’t quite see building 224 from where I was parked, but I figured I’d go in the one marked visitor entrance and just ask. People in Minnesota are sugary nice, and I knew they’d direct me to the right spot. I walk into the door, so self-focused that I fail to realize that I’ve started what looks like the intern-zombie apocalypse behind me. By the time I reach the desk, I have about 10 interns who had for some reason thought I looked put together enough (or just lost enough) to follow into the building. I let out a sigh of relief, thankful that I wasn’t the only idiot who couldn’t figure out the map. The poor receptionist deals with each of us, and makes sure she has somebody hand deliver us to the correct location.

That morning I met Nate, the intern from Duke with whom I’d share the 3M Strategic Business Development (SBD) experience. He would become my carpool buddy and confidant for the summer, the person I’d share my most honest struggles, successes and stories of 3M with. We are in many ways polar opposites, but connect on our mutual love for craft beer, nature and sitting on rooftops. His brain is analytical in all the ways that mine is creative and that gave us balance and the opportunity to learn from each other. He once did a competitive analysis on my dating prospects in Minneapolis, to which I replied “Who are you?” We laughed and then sat in silence, enjoying the sunset from the rooftop of our apartment building.

There were 5 SBD interns that started on May 19th, another wave on June 2nd, and then a final 2 on June 16th. During the week of June 2nd, I met Jinmin (MIT) and Ryan (Michigan), two others with whom I would develop close relationships. Jinmin changed me in ways that I’ll carry the remainder of my life. I’ve become more gracious, kind, direct and comfortable with myself as a result of the friendship I’ve developed with her. One late night we stayed up until 3am watching Louie and eating slightly burned popcorn (I was too busy chatting her ear off to realize I had put the popcorn in the microwave a little too long). I woke up the next morning to find popcorn strewn across the couch where we had sat, a sign of a well-lived evening.

“I got you champagne,” Ryan says. I look down and he’s holding two bottles of Le Croix sparkling water. “Well, work champagne.” It was 4pm, the time of day when Ryan claimed his brain stopped functioning properly and when I was too restless to stand at my desk for another moment. Almost every day, we would meet outside the corporate strategy office at 4pm sharp and take a lap around the quad. On this particular day, I had just finished my final presentation. I was exhausted and wasn’t sure how I’d make it to the end of the day, and then I saw it – that beautiful, sparkling bottle of deliciousness. In the hallway Ryan gave me an enthusiastic “Congrats!”, popped both the tops, then we clinked bottles and set off on our lap. As I approached the first turn he grabbed my arm, pulling me to the side. “Watch out!” he said, slightly too loud for the corporate environment. “The hot lava. You almost stepped in it.” I laughed and said, “Why, thank you, good sir.” I had completely forgotten about my incident a week before, when I wiped out, (gracefully, of course) because my heel slipped in that one pesky spot where the carpet changed to linoleum.

The 3M SBD internship itself was everything I thought it would be. The work was challenging, rewarding and diverse, what one could expect from a $30B company who has its hand in just about everything. What I didn’t expect was to fall in love with Minneapolis, the city I’ll always remember as the place where I stopped running from my life. When I started at Kelley, I remember Eric Johnson saying, “People come to Kelley either running from something, or running to something.” I’ve caught my breath and have had the chance to reflect on what felt like the most emotionally and intellectually challenging year of my life. I can now recognize that I am different and am starting to become a better version of myself. I have fallen completely in love with my life and with the direction it’s going. I have returned to Bloomington happier than I have ever been, to friends that I am so very lucky to have. I am, for the first time in a long, long while, enjoying my day to day, which for now consists of late night snacks with Marie, hugging those I haven’t seen in 12 weeks, dancing in red converse, and eagerly waiting for the rest of my favorites to get back to Bloomington for MBA Year 2.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Rama Srithara Ramanujam, MBA'15: The Explorer

With just a few days before classes begin, Rama Srithara Ramanujam, MBA'15, talks about how to make the most of your time at Kelley.

Rama Srithara Ramanujam 
Chennai, India
BE'06, Electronics and Communication Engineering, Anna University
MBA’15, Business Marketing Academy, Kelley School of Business

What brought you to Kelley?
For me, it’s a family thing. Kelley and Indiana University hold a special place in the lives of many members of my extended family, here in the US and abroad. We're Hoosiers at heart and Kelley grads. I'd been working for an Indian company as a business development consultant in the insurance services industry and I just knew it was time for a change. I was ready for exposure to new industries and was at the point in my career that I wanted to be on the fast track to reaching my goals.

What’s your advice to incoming students on how to make the most of their tIme at Kelley?
Kelley’s true power lies in students’ willingness to fully immerse themselves in the wealth of opportunities available at every turn. You have to commit to being engaged and open to any possibility that may come your way. Especially for international students, my advice would be to join in on the conversation, don’t hold back, and go all in.

What has been the highlight of your academic experience so far?
When I came to Kelley I was excited, yet equally nervous. The Kelley faculty, my fellow students, and my mentors reassured me that I had what I needed to make the most of my experience. The support I received from those people gave me the drive to succeed and inspired me to give back in the same way. I now am involved in a number of organizations and groups within Kelley and work with incoming students to ensure their transition is as seamless as possible.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Getting in the Mindset of a Googler

By Noel De La Torre, MBA'15 
Intern at Google, Large Customer Sales

Interning at Google this summer has been a dream come true for me, not only because I am passionate about technology, and have long admired the company, but also because I have had the opportunity to tap into the company’s culture, which truly embodies one of our Kelley Values: collaboration.

Though I was excited to join Google as their first ever Kelley MBA intern—a fact that I am extremely proud of—I knew that the internship would challenge me and force me beyond my limits, so I came prepared to single-handedly tackle whatever challenges it threw my way.Throughout the summer, those challenges have included defining a sales narrative and establishing a marketing strategy in order to help one of the Large Customer Sales teams capture the full value of mobile advertising.

Although I started with a very limited understanding of my project and initially felt “alone” in the pursuit of its completion, I was surprised by the level of collaboration that exists at Google.  Almost daily I have met with Googlers who are willing to share their insights and knowledge with me, and do whatever they can to help me inch closer toward success. I regularly walk away from these chats with not only a better understanding of the challenge that I face, but also additional resources and introductions to valuable contacts within the company. 

Given the importance that Google had placed on the subject of my project, almost everyone I have met has supported and guided me toward that end.  In that respect, Google has made me feel at home, very much in the same way that the Kelley MBA program has since the day I arrived in Bloomington. 

Though ultimately the success of my project hinges on my ability to navigate multiple obstacles over the final weeks of my internship, I take solace in the fact that I am not tackling it alone and hopefully paving the way for future Kelley MBAs.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Simeon Teopaco, MBA'15: The Creative Thinker

We sat down with Simeon Teopaco, MBA'15, to talk about his transition from cartography, to information technology, to the Consumer Marketing Academy at the Kelley School.

Name: Simeon Teopaco
Hometown: Washington, D.C.
BS’06, Geography, James Madison University
MBA’15, Consumer Marketing Academy, Kelley School of Business
Describe your pre-MBA career.
Born, raised, educated, and employed in Washington, D.C., I love my hometown, but after spending not only the majority of my life but also the majority of my professional life there, I started to want more. After graduating from college I was working as a cartographer for Booz Allen Hamilton and most recently was working as an iT strategy consultant. At some point money stopped being a motivation and I yearned for a quality of life where I could explore my creativity and interest in marketing.
What will you take away from your experience in the Consumer Marketing Academy?
The variety of experiences that students bring to their respective Academy is incredible, and it’s what makes the Academy experience so valuable. We unite under a common interest yet we bring such diverse perspectives to the conversation—perspectives that span any industry that you could think of. In the Consumer Marketing Academy I found myself leading in a completely different way—I hadn’t realized how versatile my skill set was until I was able to explore it within the Academy. 
Was there a moment when you realized that going back to school was worth it? 
I went home for winter break and was going back and forth with friends over dinner; I chimed in on one subject or another and they all stopped and stared at me. That was it—I was conversing in a totally new way, on a level I didn’t know I was capable of. I was explaining current events, the context of business news, and general topics in a way that I had only heard from professors. It was in that moment that I felt I had arrived. In such a short time, Kelley had had a major effect on me.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Washington Campus: Our week in D.C.

By John Hollfelder, MBA'15

The Washington Campus weeklong course in D.C. on Managing Business, Government, and Public Policy offered a unique and candid look on the influence American politics has on organizations across the globe.

The course invited MBA students at Kelley and other top tier schools to take a rare look into Congress’s legislative process and the financial impact Congress has on both small and large employers.

I learned that business leaders and politicians need to be fluent in both business and politics — the days of mutually exclusive knowledge no longer exist.

We were exposed first hand to the inner workings of Congress and the policy making process through speakers from top lobbying firms, former Clinton advisors, US Department of Homeland Security, and senior lawyers from the Federal Trade Commission. Each speaker offered a wider lens on the political business landscape by covering trade policy in a global business world, intellectual property, cyber spying, and the Federal Trade Commission’s unfair practice lawsuits.

We also spent a day on Capitol Hill, sitting in on a foreign affairs oversight hearing to discuss the government’s involvement in the search for the more than 60 Nigerian girls and women who were kidnapped in June. Later that same day, we had the opportunity to meet Indiana’s Congressman Todd Young. Not only did Mr. Young take time out of his schedule to speak with us and take photos, he also offered great advice as future business leaders.

The weeklong experience ended with a group project that simulated a real life business issue, and answered which proper channels the company would need to pursue to most influence legislation.

Having completed the Washington Campus experience, I feel more equipped to proactively handle arising business issues.