Thursday, December 3, 2015

Bloomington Audit: John W. Scott, MBA'16

John W. Scott, MBA'16, and his favorite things.

Not only is the Kelley MBA program among the top in the world, so is our location in Bloomington, Indiana. This incredible college town boasts natural beauty, a low cost of living and is nationally recognized for its food, theater, music and adventure. That’s why we’ve asked John Scott, MBA’16, to continue our #BtownAudit series and share some of his favorite things in Bloomington.

Birthday Beers at Function Brewing

If you are a beer aficionado like me, you will find yourself at home at Function Brewing within the first few sips. The Conjecture IPA is my favorite, and is especially delicious on birthdays! Pair it with one of their stellar paninis and you are on your way to one of the best meals in town.

Green Curry Chicken at My Thai

There are few things I love more than Thai food, and the spicier the better. My Thai is one of my favorite places in town, and I often crave their Green Curry Chicken. Their menu may say you can order up to level 5, but be bold and go for something higher – like level 8!

Harvest Moon at Cardinal Spirits

When the leaves start to turn, the best place to admire the beauty of Bloomington is from Cardinal Spirit’s patio. This year-old local distillery offers some of the best cocktails in town, and their locally-sourced spirits are top-notch.  The Harvest Moon, one of their own creations, has a cinnamon stick and granny apple slices. What’s not to love?

Cold Brew Coffee from Uel Zing

I love to support local. When I find myself in need of a much-needed caffeine boost, I go for some of Uel Zing’s cold brew coffee. It’s delicious and one is enough to last all day!

Walking the dog (or yourself) through the IU campus

IU’s campus is recognized as one of the most beautiful in the country, and when the leaves start to change, it is easy to see how it has earned that title. Walking our puppy through campus and getting lost in the trails is an excellent way to spend an afternoon after class. (For great photos of campus, check out these Instagram accounts: Indiana UniversityKelley School, & Kelley School MBA.)

Saturday Farmer’s Market

Bloomington Farmer’s Market is not only a great place to get some fantastic locally-sourced meats and produce, but it is also a fun way to spend a Saturday morning. Go and enjoy the music, grab some fresh Indiana apples, and cook up something delicious!

Watching the game at The Tap (with Tap Fries, of course)

The Tap is one of the best spots in town, and their plethora of TVs makes it a great meeting spot for watching IU away games. Try one of their 300+ beers in stock and on tap, order some delicious Tap fries, and watch IU win.

Authentic Tacos from La Poblana Taco Truck

Love tacos? You won’t find anything better than the ones La Poblana makes. Their Cochinita Pibil and Al Pastor tacos are incredible and will leave you going back for more.

What are your favorite things about Bloomington? Join in on the discussion using the hashtag #BtownAudit.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

MBA Career Advice from A "Betterman"

Eric Johnson
By Eric Johnson, Director of Graduate Career Services

Some people can quote Socrates. Others can quote Chaucer.

Me? I can quote Vedder. Eddie Vedder. As in the lead singer of Pearl Jam, my favorite band for the last 20 years. [And writer/singer on the hit song, Betterman, if you are too young to get the pun in the title.]

While you may scoff at this talent I have to tell you that it’s come in handy a lot over the last two weeks. At work, in professional situations, no less.

In fact, much of the career advice I’ve handed out to students lately can be summarized by some of my favorite lines from Eddie Vedder. Here are a few of the ones I’ve used more than once just since Halloween:

“The one thing about going from the audience to the stage in just three years is that you know how it feels to be down there.”

I’ve had a number of MBA students tell me lately that they love everything about the job offer they want to accept except for the fact that they are required to do a sales role at some point in the early stage of their career. One flat out told me, “I didn’t get an MBA to go into a sales job. I came here to do strategy.” As somebody who’s been in both sales and strategy roles I have to call “bullshit.” If you don’t understand your customers then there is no strategy you can develop which will save your company from bankruptcy.

The best leaders I know all have spent significant parts of their careers in roles that are close to the end users of their products and/or services. No role gets you closer than a sales role. It’s not a “check the box” rotation, nor is it an obligation – it’s a gift. You GET to see how your business actually works, and you GET to hear from customers about how you could do it better. With this understanding, you can actually make smarter strategic choices. You’ll actually know how it feels to be “down there."

IGOE Fellows Take Full Advantage of NSHMBA Conference & Career Expo

From left to right: Thiago Barreto de Araujo (MBA ‘17, IGOE Fellow), Christina Naguiat (MBA ‘17), 
Vignicius França (MBA ‘17), Sara Marinov (MBA ‘16), Manuel Tejada (MBA ‘17, IGOE Fellow)

By Thiago Barreto de Araujo, MBA ‘17

MBA Fellows of the Institute for Global Organizational Effectiveness attended the 27th NSHMBA Conference & Career expo in Chicago, Illinois, October 8-10, 2015. NSHMBA is the National Society of Hispanic MBAs, which was founded in 1988 with the purpose to be the premier organization for Hispanic business professionals.

The IGOE Impact

The Institute for Global Organizational Effectiveness (IGOE) has been giving its continuous support to Latino and Latin American MBA and PhD students since 2010. In addition to financial support, IGOE provides opportunities to help its Global Fellows succeed in a competitive world. Through regular meetings with Founding and Managing Director Professor Herman Aguinis, doctoral students, MBA students and guests, IGOE allows us to gain knowledge and experiences that prepare us to become innovative and committed leaders.   

Monday, November 2, 2015

The Power of Maybe So

Nicolette Michele Johnson
by Nicolette Michele Johnson, Associate Director of Kelley School's Graduate Career Services

I remember, years ago, when I was laid off from a large corporation. It was around the housing crisis with a lot of layoffs swirling around. I imagine some people felt bad for me, thinking how unfortunate it was.

During my newly found free time, I read one of Eckhart Tolle’s early books, one that Oprah endorsed as part of her well-known book club that often took authors from relative obscurity to fame in what seemed like mere seconds.

I vaguely remember a story in the book in which an individual was in an auto accident and people told the individual how bad that was. “Poor thing,” they said. His response was: “maybe so.” Then, while in the hospital, he later learned that his house had fallen into the ocean. People told him how bad that was. He said: “maybe so.”

That’s when I honed in on the principle of “maybe so.” I had always had somewhat of a “maybe so” attitude, but I hadn’t thought about it deeply. I don’t think there’s an actual principle called that, but I’m sure the concept is an old one.

Are there worse alternatives than being in the hospital after an accident? Had the person not been in the accident and been home when his house slid into the ocean, could his fate had been worse? It’s quite possible.

In my situation, was it a bad thing to be laid off? Maybe so. It’s all a matter of perspective, with events only deriving the meaning and impact that we give them. Did I lose an opportunity to continue to work at that large corporation? Yes. Was that a bad thing? Not from my vantage point.

During my "break," I gained lots of free time which included my daily 10 a.m. workout at the gym or walk on Atlanta's Silver Comet Trail, staying up as late as I wanted to (as the night owl I truly was and am) and talking with new companies about all sorts of the possibilities.

I also read more books during that time than I had in several years combined. And because of other events in my life, that layoff could NOT have come at a better time. It was like kismet, with the universe knowing I needed a break, especially from work I never loved. The universe likely knew that a few short years later, my experience, skills, wisdom, sense of direction and even income would double, surpassing anything I had left behind.

In the years that followed, my affinity for “maybe so” grew. There are so many silver linings in most events, especially involving work, dreams and relationships, that I actually have difficulty finding the negative side. Sure, I don’t totally overlook the negative aspects, but the positive takes their place with lightning speed.

And when I can, I try to help others, especially those I coach, embrace the positive after they've had some time to sit with their feelings, good or bad.

So when the next event that appears less-than-positive to you occurs, I wish you, too, a big dose of maybe so.

“The Power of Maybe So” was originally published on Linkedin Pulse on October 13, 2015.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Making Leadership Personal

Daniel Dillard
Daniel Dillard
By Daniel Dillard, MBA’16

“If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will." —Greg McKeown

The longer I’m a Kelley MBA student, the more I realize the power in asking questions. Questions of professors. Questions of prospective companies. Questions of classmates. Even learning how to ask questions about the questions others are asking me.

No questions, however, are more difficult than the ones I have been forced to ask myself.  Non-prescriptive questions like:

• How did I get here?
• What are my innate qualities and why do they matter so much to me?
• How do I transfer these qualities into being an engaged professional, husband and father, and an all-around purposeful human being?
• What do I have to consciously trade off in the process?

As a member of the Kelley Full-Time MBA Leadership Academy, I have had the privilege of coaching first year students—individuals and teams—through the rigors of their first semester (which includes the Integrated Core, networking with companies, resume building and mock interviews). I also have opted into the responsibility of coaching myself through a multi-session series on personal visioning. More than anything, it has been a place where I have had permission to ask those difficult questions that I would have never otherwise asked. To that end, it has been both a safe haven and a danger zone.

No two personal visions are the same, but I’ll share a simple anecdote to more clearly illustrate the power in the process for me. Utilizing a tool from The Grove called “The Personal Compass,” a mid-point exercise calls on you to measure and plot out how you’re spending your time. The idea is to list off all of your weekly activities, estimating how much time you’re spending on each one. Then comes the hard part—reflecting on how satisfied you are with your time allocation, followed by a re-estimate of what an ideal state might look like.

To be frank, my current and ideal states were nowhere close to in line with each other on a number of fronts. For example, quality time spent with my wife was about a third of what I estimated it should be. Of course I hadn’t intentionally chosen to create that gap, but lesser priorities—those selected by me and those selected for me—had taken precedence.

Guess what my wife and I did the following Thursday night? We called a babysitter and went on a much-needed date. It happened again a week later. And the week after that. This may sound relatively benign, especially thinking about it within the larger context of establishing a personal vision. But that vision can only be achieved when one conceives of it and moves toward it with conviction—celebrating small but interdependent wins along the way. This is conscious living.  This is personal leadership.

Even though it is an intimately close encounter, I have not had to go at it alone. Leadership Academy directors Eric Johnson (Director of Graduate Career Services) and Ray Luther (Kelley MBA Executive Director) have facilitated the entire experience by sharing their own vision and the step-by-step approach of looking backwards and forwards in an attempt to actualize it.  They, like me, have previously fallen victim to unconscious living, which makes it all the more inspiring to see their resolve in reclaiming a personal vision.

While I’d love to say the last six weeks has provided a visionary blueprint to follow for the rest of my life, it’s not true. That vision will change over time—sometimes incrementally, sometimes fundamentally. What is true is that I’ve learned the power of creating the space necessary to pause and ask challenging questions of myself, then document, reflect on and pursue a vision with conviction. It’s a personal pit stop, if you will. This process will undoubtedly be among the most valuable tools I carry with me in the post-MBA journey ahead.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

IGOE Global Fellows Attend ROMBA Conference in Chicago

Kelley Students Attending ROMBA: From left to right: Guillermo Kalen (Full Time, 1st year, IGOE Global Fellow), Benjaman Holbrook (Evening Program), Alejandra de Caso (Full Time, 2nd year, IGOE Global Fellow), Manuel Tejera (Full Time, 1st year, IGOE Global Fellow), Jonathan Morrill (Full Time, 2nd year), Faraz Hussain (Full Time, 1st year), and Michael Marturana (Kelley Direct).

By Guillermo Kalen, MBA ’17

Reaching Out MBA, Inc., or more commonly known as ROMBA, is a non-profit organization that educates, inspires and connects LGBT business graduate students and professionals to lead the way to equality through its year-round events and its new fellowship program. Its main event is the annual ROMBA conference, which was held in October in Chicago this year. More than 80 companies and 1,400 participants attended. We are grateful to the Institute for Global Organizational Effectiveness, which provided the financial support that allowed us to attend this conference. Conferences like this one enable students to connect with recruiters and other students, to learn through panels from current professional practices, and participate in case competitions in several areas such as entrepreneurship, analytics, marketing, innovation and finance.

Networking at ROMBA was easy to do. It started early with an online job-posting portal and a very useful mobile app that served as a social media tool to connect both students and recruiters in an engaging way. Throughout the event, there were corporate treks, receptions with recruiters, workshops and panels with representatives from different companies, a networking lunch with recruiters, and the career expo. In addition, most companies also hosted or invited students for private coffee chats that were also a great opportunity to network, know about the culture of the company, and ask questions about future opportunities in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

Panels and workshops dealt with a wide range of topics, including the power of networks, brand management, case interviewing, investment banking insights, big data in today’s business environment, strategy, trends in healthcare, rotational programs, experiential innovation, trends in travel and hospitality, exploring non-profit careers, the airlines business and advice from entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. Not only did students get a chance to learn about new trends in different industries, but also to actively participate and engage with company representatives.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Here's One Thing Dr. Phil Really Got Right

Nicolette Michele Johnson
by Nicolette Michele Johnson, Associate Director of Kelley School's Graduate Career Services

In working with students, this is the time of year when some students are elated about the full-time job offers they receive while some others are at the other end of the happiness spectrum, sometimes facing disappointment due to not having an offer in hand as quickly as they had hoped.

I’ve found that, in my interactions with them, I feel their pain, at least temporarily but definitely acutely. In one instance, I was a bit hesitant to tell a student one key principle I have learned to embrace over the years because the sources of the principle felt a little hokey.

Shorten the “mourning curve”

I clearly remember the principle from watching an episode of the Dr. Phil show over a decade ago. Even though I can find meaning in almost anything including seemingly empty reality shows (which you know if you’ve read any of my prior posts,) I haven't kept track of the Dr. Phil shows in recent years, especially due to the fact that the constant wading through interpersonal drama stresses me out even when I’m only observing it from afar (a further indication that my initial college-bound goal of becoming a psychiatrist 20-plus years ago wasn’t quite a fit for me.)

What Dr. Phil said that stood out to me was that people often mourn the loss of "what could have been” instead of “what was.” He had said it to an individual who was clinging to romantic relationship that wasn’t good for her. Her thought of “what could have been” was an idealized loving relationship that resembles a fairy tale and the reality of “what was” was the equivalent of an episode of “The Jerry Springer” show.

That quickly reinforced in me that mourning the loss of “what was” instead of “what could have been” lessens the disappointment swiftly and significantly. Of course, “what was” was reality of the situation while “what could have been” was an unattainable, idealized dream of what the person wished for. Often the question "And what exactly am I upset about?" followed by "Does it even make sense that I'm upset about the loss of this?" surfaces, especially when a bit of logic and reasoning kicks in.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Kelley Leadership through the Eyes of an IGOE Fellow

From left to right: Jesús Salinas (Latin MBAA VP for Finance), Alejandra de Caso (MBAA VP for Marketing and Out at Kelley President),
Cesar Sanchez (Latin MBAA President), and Miguel Cruz (Kelley Soccer 
Club President and Latin MBAA VP for Communications)

By Miguel A. Cruz, MBA’17

Leadership is the power of an individual to guide, advise, and influence others and it is one of the most important skills that is expected from an MBA student and graduate.

In the Kelley School of Business you are challenged to find your style of leadership and develop your leadership capabilities right from the beginning. For Latino students, the Institute for Global Organizational Effectiveness (IGOE) Fellowship is an enabler that allows us to fulfill our goals and experience great leadership opportunities.

One of the first things students encounter during the MBA program is Me Inc., where you not only start building your personal brand, but also test your leadership ability by learning how to influence your team during the Core.

During the beginning of the second semester, students also participate in a great challenge, the Academy Projects. This is a team-based consulting project for real companies and real situations that help students understand what a summer internship project looks like. In this opportunity, students not only face the challenge of coming up with a solution to a real-world problem, but are also paired with other first years in different stages of their internship search. At this point students are familiarized with their group work responsibilities and know that they are accountable to their peers and projects.

Also in the first seven weeks of the second semester, each class is responsible for choosing the new MBA Association officers. This is organization that takes on the challenge of organizing all the student-led activities. As an IGOE fellow, I am proud to share that during the past five years IGOEs have participated in the winning slate. In addition, during the last seven weeks of the first year students have the opportunity elect their peers as a President or a VP of a Kelley club or association. These organizations exist to help and support a wide variety of student activities, including: professional (Marketing, Finance, Consulting, etc.), cultural and support (Partners, Women, Latin, Asian, and Black) and finally developing skills and sports (e.g., tech, toast masters, soccer, golf).

Finally in the beginning of the second year, students get amazing opportunities to help first years directly through the Leadership Academy as they become a Personal or a Core Team Coach or by leading a Globase consulting project to solve a real business problem for a company in different markets around the world.

Because of the amount of opportunities that the Kelley MBA Program and the Institute of Global Organizational Effectiveness make available, students get to pick where and how they exercise and put to test their leadership; and these challenges are not short of the experience that the real world will present to our future alumni.

An MBA at An OEM: The Top 3 Things I Learned This Summer

John W. Scott
By John W. Scott, MBA'16

This summer I interned at Audi of America with the Marketing Research and Electric Vehicles teams.  It was an incredible experience and one that taught me a great deal over the course of 10 weeks.  Now, as a second-year MBA Candidate at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, I reflect on my greatest takeaways and what I believe will influence the industry for the long-term.

1. Passion drives the company and industry forward

One of the most surprising things I discovered about the automotive industry is that not everybody is a die-hard auto enthusiast like me.  What’s interesting is that although not everyone has gasoline in their veins, they are all passionate about the brand and the industry overall.  It is no secret that the auto industry is going through one of the most innovative and tumultuous periods of the last 100 years, and you can feel it every day while working at an automaker.  At Audi of America, I was incredibly fortunate to work alongside people who have a vision of what Audi will be in the next 5, 10, even 20 years down the road.  They’re passionate about the brand and the competition.  They’re passionate about the technology that is being developed and released to the public.  They’re excited about what could be as well as what is.  In the end, passion in this industry can take a plethora of forms and that’s what makes it so great.

2. Data, data, data

If there’s one thing you learn while studying consumer marketing in business school, it’s that data drives any and all well-informed decisions. Historically, data has been most useful for CPG firms as their customers buy their products frequently.  In the auto industry, it’s not so easy.  For the most part, cars are purchased infrequently, which can make it challenging to learn about your consumers.  Luckily, there are tools being developed and utilized to help automakers track marketing messages to an actual sale.  During my time at Audi of America, I saw first-hand how data is being leveraged through a variety of internal and external sources to influence critical decisions for the short- and long-term.  It’s safe to say that data is only going to become more important over time, affecting all parts of the business.  Knowing the consumer at a granular level is key, and being able to decipher the data in a meaningful way is even more so.

3. Think long-term, not short-term

I think it’s no coincidence that at this year’s Frankfurt Auto Show, there were several automakers who announced battery electric vehicle (BEV) concepts that will no doubt be put into production in the coming years. Companies are recognizing that 1) they need to act quickly with BEV R&D, and 2) the long-term viability of fossil fuels is impossible.  This summer, I learned that it can be challenging to balance short-term profit goals with long-term R&D investment, but the survival of the industry is dependent upon maintaining this long-term focus.  The key to the continued success and viability of an automaker will be focusing on the long-term, as investing now will mean the survival of the brand in the future.

It is an exciting time to be in the auto industry, and it will only get more exciting.  Have something you would like to add to the list?  Let me know in the comments!

"An MBA at an OEM: the Top 3 Things I Learned This Summer" was originally published on Linkedin Pulse on September 30, 2015.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Magnetic Power of Personal Vision

Ray Luther
By Ray Luther, Executive Director, Kelley MBA Program  
“There are no choices without personal freedom, Buckeroo. It's not us who are dead inside. These things you find so weak and contemptible in us - these are just the hazards of being free.” -David Foster Wallace
Your past tells a story that supports who you are today. This story consists of what you’ve done and how you’ve lived…your life choices… good and bad. This story contains the shared narratives of who you spent the most time with. Who is important…there’s a lot of truth in the old adage that you are a mash-up of your five closest relationships. You influence and are influenced on a continuous spectrum. In truth, you practice selective memory as you recall this unique story known as your past – we all do. You choose to remember, omit, and edit as it suits your needs, but it’s still what makes you who you are today.

In looking forward you also have the opportunity to choose. You can choose to allow circumstance and the agenda of others dictate your future. Or, you can choose to live on purpose. You can choose what you will do, how you will do it and who you will spend time with – guided by a vision of who you want to become. Not necessarily in an overly planned way, because frankly that’s boring, but in a way that pulls you forward through magnetic inspiration. This is the power of personal vision.

In the Kelley MBA Leadership Academy, we believe in the power of personal vision to help guide us. Magnetic inspiration that pulls us forward. We choose to practice personal leadership by living on purpose. The ability to lead ourselves to an inspired future that we choose, not one that’s chosen for us, is what motivates us. It doesn’t really matter if all of our vision comes true. What matters is that we’re inspired to move forward consistent with our purpose.

Every year we practice a multi-session personal visioning exercise with our current Leadership Academy Students. This is part of our Lead for Life Series. We work with a tool called the Personal Compass from The Grove. It’s wonderful because it incorporates the best of visual thinking with solid analysis to help uncover personal insight. While not the only personal visioning tool out there, it’s one that we highly recommend. Eric Johnson and I never cease to be amazed by the insights this process can generate. We’ve seen a number of students gain a new level of confidence in their self-leadership moving forward. We’ve also seen a number of students realize they needed a course correction to live on purpose with their vision. All of this is OK; it’s part of the ongoing learning process as we actively lead ourselves. Explore your past, envision your future, make bold choices to move forward… and then act.

We are very proud of our Lead for Life Series in the Kelley MBA Leadership Academy. This optional program is all about improving the personal side of leadership, one that’s often neglected in leadership development work. Personal visioning is just the first step. We also learn to lead through the practice of compassion, mindfulness, and fitness. We look forward to continuing the conversation around personal leadership. We value insight from others if you choose to share. We also hope that you choose to live on purpose. That the what, how and who choices you make moving forward are ones that align with your personal values. Most of all we hope that your personal vision provides the magnetic inspiration to move you forward in a way that makes you proud to be you.

“The Magnetic Power of Personal Vision” was originally published on Linkedin Pulse on September 24, 2015.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Tokens of Advice for MBA Dads

Jared Goldsmith

by Jared Goldsmith, MBA’16

Just one year ago I watched my little house and the comfortable world I had known in the rear-view mirror of a moving truck. Pursuing an MBA is a big decisions to make – you have to put your life on hold, sell belongings, quit a job, and usually move to a new city.

When I decided that pursuing an MBA was a necessary step in my career path I had two other responsibilities… with one more on the way. I now have the most supportive loving wife, and two little girls that think that I can do no wrong. Knowing that I have the responsibility of taking care of them makes career decisions more tangible and gives me a sense of responsibility that is indescribable.

When looking for advice on MBA’s for fathers there were no resources that I could find. There is a blog or forum for almost every other life situation that I can think of, but of course, nothing for the situation I was in. Hopefully the lessons I have learned over the past year can answer questions or give courage to at least one father who is contemplating the pursuit of an MBA.

Being an MBA father is a small club, but one that has given me some exceptional friends. We stick together and help each other through the tough times. A lot of times it is hard to give everything you have to school and recruiting and also give your family the attention that they deserve. Here are a few words of advice that will help make your MBA path a successful one.

#1 Don’t Put Off Networking

Networking is easy to put off because for some it is the most painful thing that you could ever imagine. Most official events are during the night when you would rather be at home with your family. My advice is to “Buck up and do it”. The end goal of business school is landing a job. To land your dream job you are going to have to network with the right people in the right positions. Also make sure to network with your fellow MBA’s. The full-time MBA is a unique experience to be around such bright individuals that can teach you more than you could ever learn about a myriad of companies and industries. Your classmates are going to be your network for the rest of your life. Make sure you take time to let them know what you bring to the table and also to learn about them and what makes them unique. These will be the people that you call on throughout your life to fill positions in your organization, and spoiler alert… they will be calling you.

#2 Plan and Schedule

You have 168 hours per week… it’s not going to be enough time to do everything that you need, and want to do. One of the most valuable skills that you can learn in B-school is time management. You need to look at your weeks and plan what you are going to accomplish and what things are going to be pushed to the back-burner, or not get done. It has worked for me to live by my calendar. If I want to meet my family for lunch, it’s on my calendar. Stick to it, but don’t be afraid to modify things, be adaptable… if an opportunity to talk to someone on the phone comes up (refer to point #1), find some time to squeeze it in.

#3 Communicate

Make sure that the people that live under your roof are aware of your schedule. This is something that has been challenging for me because there are always things coming up. My girls love to have me home on Saturday mornings, and that has become my unwind time to be with them. If I ever have anything come up that I have to be doing something on Saturday I make sure that they know so it isn’t a surprise. I also try and inform my wife through calendar invites if things come up as soon as I know of them.

#4 Don’t Forget Your Family

This will be a unique time in your life that you will be able to look back and cherish. It is great to not have the regular stresses of work life. You will probably be in a new part of the country. Take your people to explore new things and plan weekend getaways. You will be very busy, but also have more breaks than you are used to having at work. Take advantage of your downtime and see something new. On Saturdays it has been so fun to visit the Children’s Museum and other local attractions with my family and be able to be with my girls as they grow up.

Overall the decision of coming to B-school was the most substantial career decision I have ever made, but I have no doubt that it was the best option for me. My life is certainly different than it was before coming to school. Being out of my comfort zone has helped me grow so much closer to my wife and girls. When we first moved we started out in survival mode. Getting from week to week was sometimes hard, but now we are a team and we rely on each other. I have learned that you can do hard things when you put your mind to it. The hard is what makes life great.

Jared Goldsmith is working towards an MBA, specializing in finance and business analytics. Prior to coming to Kelley, he worked in business banking at JP Morgan Chase and he interned this past summer at PPG Industries in Corporate Treasury. He will complete his Kelley MBA in 2016.

“Tokens of Advice for MBA Dads” was originally published on Linkedin Pulse on September 15, 2015.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Servant Networking

Ray Luther
By Ray Luther, Executive Director, Kelley MBA Program 

We must give to receive - advice fundamental to human nature.  Giving is good for us mentally, physically and spiritually.  Giving also provides a foundation so our relationships can flourish.  We all give in our own unique way, and most of us find happiness in the practice of giving.  Our investment in others is an investment in us.

But when the subject of networking comes up, all bets are off.  Suddenly words like fake, inauthentic and sales-y come top of mind.  This is interesting because networking, at its core, is about give and take within a relationship.  As this relationship develops mutual benefit might be found.  This relationship exchange is a wonderful way to educate yourself on any number of subjects while delivering value for others at the same time.  

Servant leadership is a philosophy which might be well applied to networking. The core principle is serve first, then lead.  Leadership emerges from the act of serving others, and is discovered to be another way to serve.  And the best test of servant leadership - do others grow as a result of your service to them?  An amazingly simple yet powerful statement of leadership impact.

What if we applied the principles of servant leadership to networking - servant networking? If we served first, then networked.  What if in the act of giving of ourselves we discovered a way to serve someone is make a network connection for them?  Or provide suggestions to help them grow which they might have missed? Could this mental reframe of networking allow us to recognize it for all of the benefits we bring to others, and ourselves, vs. the constant negative perception that so many have?  

Personally I think it can.  I believe if we consider all the good we can deliver through the practice of servant networking more of us would actively engage. How can I be so confident? Because I see plenty of examples around me.  Here are just a few of the great ones in my network:

Monique Valcour - As I watch Monique’s engagement on LinkedIn I see professional curation as a result of her personal expertise.  Through this active curation she builds her network’s competency in a very specific way.  Monique takes the time to share relevant content that I learn something from every day. Monique actively gives through this process and serves others as a result.

Dustin McKissen - An avid storyteller and blogger, Dustin shares his experiences to motivate and inspire others.  Dustin leans into any relationship to give more than he can ever expect to get right up front.  He did this with me and others in my network.  He’s built an amazing community of followers on LinkedIn in a very short amount of time through service networking.  

Eric Johnson - A close friend that I’ve worked with for years, I see Eric servant network every day.  His passion is helping young leaders succeed and he gives his time and energy accordingly.  Eric wants to know what drives those he works with on an individual level, based on their purpose and values.  As he learns this he finds unique ways to give which can only be accomplished from a foundation of trust.  

Glenn Leibowitz -  I’ve only known Glenn a short time, via LinkedIn, but I’m blown away by how much he gives in a relationship right up front.  His passion for writing has spilled over into a very well produced podcast - Write with Impact - educating so many with a similar interest.  The personal time, money and investment to make this happen has an immediate service-based impact.  

My point is there are many great examples of servant networking all around us. The trick is noticing these acts of giving and appreciating them in the moment. The practice of giving is also the practice of networking - through service to others.  The more you build comfort with this concept the better network you can build - one based on a foundation you can feel good about.

“Servant Networking” was originally published on Linkedin Pulse on September 16, 2015.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Your Unique Creativity

Ray Luther
By Ray Luther, Executive Director, Kelley MBA Program 

“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try” – Dr. Seuss

I work with a number of young leaders who aren’t creative - or at least that’s what they tell me.  They equate creativity with a high level of artistic talent, or design capability, rather than the ability to transcend a norm and move towards a new way of thinking.  So, I gently challenge their claim and suggest they find a way to notice their own form of creativity.  This often leads to a good coaching conversation.  I push them because I believe we all are creative, and it’s simply a matter of noticing how.  In fact, when we lack the ability to notice our unique form of creativity, how we naturally express it, we hold ourselves back from personal growth and renewal.

My own creativity lies in finding new ways to think about strategic challenges, especially as I work with leaders responsible for organizational choices.  That’s why I’m drawn to the fields of executive coaching and leadership development. That’s also why I love working with young MBA students, or in fact anyone at any level that works on strategic issues.  I’ve practiced this form of creativity my entire life, obviously in different contexts through various life stages, and I’ve been rewarded for it.  I consider my form of creativity a key personal strength. And while I find myself creative in this way, it clearly doesn't carry over to artistic talent.  In fact, here’s a picture similar to my best artwork....capturing the flex was particularly hard:

Are there any downsides to practicing creativity when you believe you’re not creative?  Honestly I don’t think so. Maybe you become more vulnerable to potential criticism, maybe it leads you down an unintended path or two. But for me practicing creativity is about thinking differently and attempting to solve problems in new ways - which are good things. I’ve certainly had my share of bad decisions coming from my own creative process, but each of those decisions have also enabled me to learn more - and become better at my creative practice.

What are some ways you can notice your own moments of creativity?  First, make sure you do indeed recognize that everyone, including you, has moments of creativity.  Maybe your creativity doesn't show up at the start of an activity as a big idea, but rather in the middle of a process when efficiency is lost.  Or, maybe your creativity shows up as you collaborate on a team and find a unique way to get along leading to a better outcome.  Again, it's about noticing those moments when you help produce something outside of the norm or a slightly new way of thinking.  Even small moments can have a big impact.

In noticing your own unique form of creativity, I’d suggest allowing yourself to be more vs. do more.  Creativity isn’t driven by sheer will alone.  Many of our most creative moments happen when we least expect it.  Our brains are working to make connections that we don’t see on the surface.  Moments of inspiration, times of challenge, purposeful pauses and moments of rest can help us be creative as the best versions of ourselves.  Maybe this is the soul of creativity? Whatever it is it’s important that we take the time to notice when a creative moment happens for us.  Sheer will rarely leads to better creativity, but noticing when we’re creative might just help us practice even better on a daily basis.

I love seeing the creative output of artists and designers and I'm amazed by how their minds work.  When I've had the opportunity to work with artistic creatives I've always walked away with a new way to look at the world.  True genius in many cases. But, if we look carefully, we all have the power to notice our own creative expressions a bit more.  Be, create, notice and learn.

“Your Unique Creativity” was originally published on Linkedin Pulse on September 6, 2015.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Become the Person You Were Meant to Be

Eric Johnson
by Eric Johnson, Executive Director of Kelley School's Graduate Career Services

George Eliot* has been credited with saying, "It's never too late to become the person you were always meant to be."

This is good news to people like me, who aspire one day to be Matthew McConaughey.

I reflect on this quote every morning, without fail. It’s part of my daily practice of morning meditation and mental preparation. I feel inspired afterwards because it keeps my value of continuous improvement alive and it reminds me that today presents a new opportunity to evolve towards the best possible version of myself.

I have also found that Eliot’s quote helps me give hope to others. In my job as a career and leadership coach I assist young leaders in their pursuit of their best selves, particularly as it relates to navigating personal transition. Remembering that our past does not forever define who we are is an extremely important step in that process.

As I coach myself and young leaders on this journey towards our best selves we work through three big questions. The first is, “who are you today?” Being honest with ourselves about who we are today heightens our self-awareness and allows for a deep understanding of what we don’t want change, where we hope to evolve, and why. In exploring who we are today, we focus on five main areas:

  • Personality: While there are a number of personality assessments available the one we use at the Kelley School of Business is the Keirsey Temperament Sorter. Personality does not define us, but it does help us understand our natural default settings with regards to how we like to give and receive information and how we prefer to relate to others.
  • Skills: Knowing our strengths and weaknesses, and how these make us both unique and relevant, helps us begin to recognize the situations in which we provide the most impact to others. Gallup has a good tool for this, Strengthsfinder, though often we’ll just spend an hour using contextual examples to develop a personal SWOT.
  • Interests: If we’re not interested in what we’re doing then we’ll lack the motivation to do it well. Questions like, “What do other people find interesting about you?” and “What’s one of the first things you bring up about yourselves when meeting people for the first time?” are useful conversation starters as we dig into this area.
  • Values: There may be no more important part of the discussion than when we talk about values. Values are our guardrails – I believe they provide us with our greatest motivation, and greatest amount of personal insight. I also notice that when we are at our happiest our values are being honored, and when we are angry, sad, or frustrated our values are being compromised. My favorite tool to start this conversation is the Via Character Strengths free assessment.
  • Demeanor: Who you are is, at least in small part, shaped by how you present yourself. I love the questions, “How would your closest friends describe your general outlook on life?” and “What 3-5 words do you want people to say about you when you leave a room?”

Synthesizing these five areas into a personal inventory sheet provides an enormous amount of insight. We can see who we are, where we’re happy, what we hope to change, and why. This sets us up for our second big question, “Who do I want to be?” I share Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha’s view that we were not born with a single purpose for our life, but that our purpose constantly evolves over time. The key is to have a great short term (i.e. 1-3 years, not 10) personal vision that makes you happy, and helps you see where you can provide unique value to your community (as you define it). This vision should also inspire you to take action.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

GLOBASE Partner Wins Global Development Award

A global Kelley partner, the Chinmaya Organization for Rural Development (CORD) facilitates integrated and sustainable development in rural India through self empowerment.

Congratulations to the Chinmaya Organisation for Rural Development (CORD), one of our Global Business and Social Enterprise Program (GLOBASE) partners, on winning a Global Development Award. The nonprofit organization won first prize (and $30,000) in the Japanese Award for Most Innovative Development category for "institutionalizing and empowering small and marginal women farmers in hill agriculture through systematic investment in district Kangra, Himachal Pradesh, India."

Some of our MBAs have experienced the incredible impact of CORD during their GLOBASE projects. After preparing for seven weeks—developing a deep understanding of CORD's culture, focused project management, and how to find solutions while working in an unfamiliar environment—the students head out for a two-week post in India. They get an in-depth understanding of CORD's mission and impact, meeting staff and local villagers, then present business solutions.

Two of our three GLOBASE projects for CORD this year were connected to the women farmers program that earned the Global Development Award. We are proud to be part of this inspiring, life changing work.

"This is a great honor and huge opportunity for CORD to globally share its work and innovation in integrated rural development," says Dr. Didi Kshama Metre, CORD National Director and Trustee, of the award. "The Kelley School of Business, its various project leadership and project teams have played a great role in making this all possible."

About Chinmaya Organisation for Rural Development (CORD)

CORD’s mission in India is to help the rural poor tap into their own potential, learn skills and think differently—allowing them to transform their lives and gain self-reliance. They’ve helped more than 600 rural villages and 60,000 individuals. Learn more.

Read more about the Global Development Awards.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

To the Class of 2017: Enjoy Your Journey

By Nate Buyon, MBA'16

I’ve never liked biking in the rain, but especially never liked waking up at 5 a.m. 

Early mornings and soggy jerseys were common during my cycling career, but I accepted it as it made me stronger, tougher and faster. These were the attributes I needed in order to achieve my goal of ascending to the highest level of the sport. To be fair, the days weren’t all gray; there were sunny days, too. In fact, most days were sunny, but of course I most vividly remember the tough ones. And that is probably because my perception of those more difficult rides correlates directly to my success.

Looking back, perhaps I should have enjoyed those sunny days more.

When I came to business school, I believed that my only objective was to get a job. As I have often found out in school, I was wrong. My objectives are to make lifelong friends, develop industry connections, get an outstanding education, make an impact, AND get a job.

I have often heard my 2016 classmates saying that they thought they would have more free time after locking down an internship. I thought this, too, but failed to comprehend the time commitments associated with working on GLOBASE, participating in the MBAA, involvement with several clubs and attending events every single week. The burden of being a future business leader is that sleep becomes a luxury of sorts.

After we bid adieu to the class of 2015 and now span across the globe for our internships, I am reminiscent about the past 10 months. I have stumbled a lot here at Kelley and, at times, fallen flat on my face. There have been interviews in which I should have just excused myself after the first five minutes, presentations in which I literally forget how to speak, and classes in which I was so lost, I didn’t even know what chapter we were on. 

At the same time, there have been amazing moments as well. I developed strong relationships with my core team members, made it to both first semester case comp finals, spent New Year’s in Colombia with three of my classmates, and got the internship I wanted.

This combination of these successes and failures has gotten me to where I am today. However, if I had allowed myself to enjoy the happy moments more, I would still be where I am today. I should have simply enjoyed the spicy and amazing Indian dinner with my teammates rather than incessantly worrying about all the deliverables I had to do the following week. Or instead of rushing to do as many practice case interviews as possible, I should have focused on doing one interview really well and getting to know my interview partner as more than just a peer resource.

My advice to the class of 2017 is to enjoy your moments, for better or worse. When you are stuck on a quant problem and have just stared at your computer screen for an hour straight (well, besides checking Facebook seven times), just take a break. When you present in front of class and catch yourself rambling on for four minutes and have no idea what you said, just laugh it off. Enjoy the time you have with your classmates and the Kelley community because it will fly by

Challenge yourself to really get to know classmates who are completely different from you. Take a class at the SRSC, go see a performance at the Jacobs School of Music, or just sit in the school greenhouse and breathe. Celebrate your successes, learn from your mistakes, plan and prepare for the future, but live your lives in the moment.    

Welcome Class of 2017. I look forward to sharing the journey with you.