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: