Monday, February 24, 2014

Kelley Student-Led Treks

By Joe Boesen, First-year MBA, Marketing

As MBA students in the middle of the Midwest, we sure do travel!

As a first year MBA student, my classmates and I got the chance to travel to corporate headquarters and learn from Kelley alumni at firms like General Mills, Amazon, Kraft, Target, 3M, Eli Lilly, P&G, Colgate, Nestle, Land O' Lakes, Abbott, NetApp, Deloitte, Yahoo, Microsoft and Gallup, among others. 

These company visits were part of student-led treks, where we, the students, coordinate directly with recruiting firms to visit the company to see what it is like at HQ, even before we interview or head off for summer internships. They are great ways for student leaders to take on a challenging task of planning, coordinating, and executing a trip that upholds the Kelley standards.

Many of these treks take place during Thanksgiving or Winter breaks, when MBA’s have a moment to breathe without papers, group projects, tests or cases to worry about. This year, students led their classmates to New York City, Minneapolis, Madison, Cleveland, Chicago, San Francisco and Seattle.
Consulting students trekking to Deloitte 
Setting foot in a company headquarters gives you the opportunity to learn simple facts about the company, like what recent MBA grads do on a day-to-day basis, how big their cubes are or see where they eat lunch. It also provides students with a deeper learning experience, like understanding core company values and mission, as represented at the headquarters.

Seattle skyline while visiting Amazon
These trips help students form the initial gut reactions, as in “I can really see myself working here and being successful,” or “There’s no way I’d ever work here!” These intuitions are essential in making decisions on how intensely to pursue different firms during the recruiting season. It’s also a great way to get noticed by recruiters and move your name up the preference and interview lists in the next few months.

So if you are wondering how Kelley students continue to lock down great internships and full-time positions with top companies, I’ve given you the first hint – they don’t happen by just staying in Southern Indiana!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Preparing for the Internship through GLOBASE Ghana

By John Hollfelder, First-year MBA, Marketing

My team presenting our early plans to the group
Having completed my first semester of business school and having the recruiting process behind me, my attention has shifted to developing the necessary skills to be successful in my summer internship. One way I decided to grow those skills was through a GLOBASE consulting engagement in Ghana.

Working with a client that resides over 5,000 miles away in a foreign business environment has required me to apply all of my skills to produce a tangible recommendation. Our group has been forced to overcome daily obstacles from technological difficulties to cultural differences. To be successful, we have had to draw equally on our soft skills to build trust with our client and our analytical skills to decipher the the root causes of the large, ambiguous business problems presented to us to solve. 

The project has been equally challenging as it has been rewarding. We have been working long days and nights to ensure we understand our client's business and that we do not provide a domestic solution to a Ghana business problem.

Ghana clients visit to the US to meet us at Kelley
Working with a diverse team under a finite time constraint to maximize our relationship with our client’s cross-functional teams has pushed me to become a stronger business leader. Upon conclusion of our seven week project work and a two week in-country visit, we will provide our client with a sustainable business recommendation. Knowing the client and her business are counting on our solution enforces the desire to exceed her expectations.

The perseverance and skills I am learning will transcend beyond this project to the work and challenges I will face in my upcoming internship.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Road to Landing an Internship: Andy Dumich at GM

By Andy Dumich, First-year MBA, Finance

I have always been a “car guy.”  Before business school, cars were somewhere between a hobby and an obsession for me.  Although, I subscribed to the magazines, attended countless car shows, traveled to internationally just to watch Formula 1 races and even participated in local auto-cross racing, I had never given any serious thought to a career in the automotive industry.  My pre-MBA background included three years in public accounting and four years as a financial analyst at a law firm.

When I arrived in Bloomington, my Kelley experience began with a program called Me Inc.  My facilitator for this program was Paul Binder from Graduate Career Services.  Paul also happened to be my career coach for the Strategic Finance Academy.  Through Me Inc. and subsequent meetings, Paul continued to emphasize the importance of targeting specific industries during my internship hunt.  At the time, I was having difficulties with this because of my diverse interest and the wide range of companies that recruit at Kelley. Then fate stepped in.

My Graduate Assistantship in the Graduate Career Services office provided me an opportunity to work with a second year student that interned and had already accepted a full-time position in GM’s OnStar marketing division.  This was like having a daily informational interview and I immediately began peppering him with questions.  The more I heard, the more I liked.  Through him I learned that OnStar was coming to campus to recruit for marketing interns.  Although I was targeting finance positions, I thought it would be useful to attend their information session.  After the session, I introduced myself to the presenters and had a great conversation with their Marketing Director who graduated from Kelley in 2005. 

After the info session, I emailed him and setup an informational interview. We had a great discussion and I asked if he knew anyone in GM’s finance department.  He happily gave me contact info for a manager in the finance department.  I repeated the process and had several more informational interviews with GM finance people.  Eventually, I was connected with their recruiting team for “non-core schools.”  My first interview was over the phone with a Finance Director from their Purchasing & Supply Chain group followed by another one with a Manager from the Product Development group. The questions for both interviews included a mix of technical finance questions and behavior questions.

The next week, I received a phone call from GM and they offered me a Finance Internship in their EXCEL program which is the feeder for their rotational finance leadership development program.  I’m very excited about my summer opportunity and grateful for the chance to work in an industry that I love!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Kelley MBA Values - The Story of How They Were Created

“Challenge the student body both personally and professionally by raising the Kelley MBA to a new standard of excellence.” – Kelley MBAA executive team mission statement, class of 2014

This story begins in March 2013, when the torch was passed from the class of 2013 student government executive team to the Class of 2014 student executive team. As part of our development and training, we worked to construct a strategic vision. After struggling for many days, clarity emerged, in the form of the mission statement above. Feeling a sense of accomplishment, our team was able to bask in the glow of success for only a moment before staring at each other and wondering, “How will we accomplish that?”

At previous workplaces, our group of student leaders had seen how important corporate values were in guiding the culture of an organization. “Well,” we thought, “what if we were to try to write down Kelley’s values from the students’ perspectives?” For Jyotishman Sharma, a member of the executive board, it was important for international students like himself to have a chance to see the Kelley culture in writing and get a sense of what it was all about before making the enormous decision to uproot and move halfway across the globe. For Raadhika Nair, it was not just about defining the culture, but also about celebrating it and being proud of what Kelley stands for.  Samantha Sieloff saw it as an opportunity to make a widespread, positive change that would have a lasting impact on Kelley.

The journey of taking the idea from conception to reality was nothing short of spectacular. Not only was the work gratifying, but it became a hands-on experience in new product development. Like any entrepreneur dealing with creating something from nothing, the team felt uncertain of how their end product would turn out. “Could we come up with something that made sense?  And would the students accept the values?” Jyotishman wondered. Many focus groups were held to gather initial feedback back from the end consumers who, in this case, were the student body.  Eventually the four core values – Excellence, Collaboration, Leadership, and Professionalism – were solidified after analyzing the frequency with which these words were associated with Kelley.

With the product concept finalized, the team faced the difficult task of making everyone aware of the values and proud of the values. We created a detailed marketing and promotion plan that included videos, frequent Facebook posts, emails, and more. Concepts were constantly being pulled from Kelley classes like Organizational Behavior and Leadership, Advertising and Sales Promotion, New Product Development, and Entrepreneurship, just to name a few.

Class of 2014 Student Government Executive Team
Left to right: Jyotishman Sharma, Raadhika Nair,
Tulio Bracho, JayeLin Broussard, Greg Mattes,
 Abby Foster, Samantha Sieloff, Natalie Ciambrone
The moment for which we were all holding our breath came at the launch event in the Kelley Atrium. It was a huge success! Student poured in to see the final product, celebrate the special culture here at Kelley, and pick up values-branded giveaways. The team was successful in distilling a set of values that capture the essence of the Kelley culture. This was a huge dream to take on, and we are very proud to be part of the group that made it possible in such short amount of time. Creating something from nothing and bringing it to life gives each of us satisfaction and joy, and this experience has provided exactly that. We are proud of all that has been done and will be very excited to see the values stay on long after we are gone from Kelley.

To see a copy of the values statement shared with the student body, click here

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Slate Debate: Running for Student Government

By Julia Wilcox, First-year MBA, Marketing 

From left to right: Drew, Paige, John, Joe - the 4 presidential candidates running in class of 2015
It’s been a long couple of weeks for the groups, or “Slates”, on the campaign trail. In the midst of normal coursework, an uptick in group projects that eat up way more time than expected, and those pesky internship interviews 1st year MBAs have been taking, the four Slates have been carefully crafting platforms, missions, visions, and campaign strategies. They have dedicated late nights and weekends to discuss their beliefs on where the Kelley MBA program is, where it is going, and how the Class of 2015 can leave a legacy for future generations of Kelley MBAs. This week, the election will take place, and the winning slate will take over leading the MBA Association in the coming months. They will carry on the legacy of KelleyUnite!, who launched its flagship initiative, Kelley Values, late last year.

Currently running on a slate, and observing the other three from a distance, it’s inspiring to see how each is a direct reflection of our class, the Class of 2015. There is a drive among us to make Kelley the best it can be. There is a drive that innately requires us to push each other, to make each other better leaders, and to collaborate in a way that is demanding, constructive, and supportive. Kelley’s culture of collaboration can be seen during Slate discussions (and I’m sure in GLOBASE meetings, and the numerous other group projects occurring currently). Kelley Collaboration exists in an environment where we are encouraged to disagree, to challenge each other, and to be opinionated. We are expected to contribute our own thoughts, despite the thoughts of the group. But, we are also expected to live the following: “I disagree, but why not this?” If you are to disagree, you must also contribute a new idea. It is this cycle of ideating that allows us to withstand the constant feedback loop that permeates the Kelley MBA program. And, through this, we ultimately stretch our minds to think in brand new ways. This culture is what differentiates Kelley. It’s what makes Kelley MBAs the some of the world’s most effective and engaging leaders.

I’m looking forward to seeing how the election shakes out. The four Slates each have different visions of how the Class of 2015 can leave its legacy. However it ends up, I know that we’ll be in good hands for the Class of 2015 is one of action, leadership, and one dedicated to leaving a lasting impression for future generations of Kelley MBAs.