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


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