Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Mexican Kelley Students Attend MBA Conference in Chicago

Rene Lopezvictoria, Sofia Nuñez, Santiago Hope, Miguel Cruz, Luis Contreras, Daniel Medina, Aurora Fuentes, and Claudia Tavera

By Jesus R. Salinas, MBA'16, IGOE Global Fellow

The fifth MBA Mexico event took place at the Kellogg School of Management on April 17 and at the Chicago Booth School of Business on April 18. For this event, current Mexican MBA students from top US universities get together to network and enjoy sessions from very distinguished Mexican executives, politicians, journalists, entrepreneurs, and other successful business people.

In this year’s event 150 MBA students had the opportunity to hear from 9 different speakers. On Friday, Claudio X. Gonzalez, President and Board Member of Kimberly-Clark de Mexico, kicked off the session with his speech about Mexico and its future potential. Then, Carlos Loret de Mola, anchorman of Televisa’s news program Primero Noticias, provided an assessment of Mexico’s current political situation as well as a detailed panorama of challenges faced by journalists throughout the country. The day ended with a networking event with some cocktails and appetizers.

On Saturday, Adrian G. Sada, Chief Executive Director of Vitro, started the day with a speech about Vitro’s main challenges and how he has managed to turn things around after rough years the company was facing.

Afterwards, there was a panel discussion where Pilar Aguirre (Chief Executive Director of Endeavor), Claudio del Conde (Founder and Chief Executive Director of Kichink), Alberto Saracho (Partner and Director of Fundación IDEA), and Enrique Jacob (President of Instituto Nacional del Emprendedor) shared their experiences regarding the entrepreneurship realm and opportunities available in Mexico. After the panel discussion, Margarita Zavala, lawyer and active member of Partido Acción Nacional, talked about education in Mexico and the different metrics that show how the country is improving in several areas.

The last speaker was José Antonio Fernández, Chief Executive President of FEMSA’s Management Council, who spoke about the things that must be done to keep improving the country as well as to focus on such actions that would contribute to the well-being of the society as a whole rather than on one’s own well-being.

After the last session, the audience split into several groups for a networking get-together in several restaurants of Chicago. The closing event took place at Hubbard’s Inn where all the students mingled together for the farewell party.

These types of events are very important because they contribute to a collective sense of awareness of the different challenges that Mexico is currently facing. They also contribute in the sense that they urge the potential future leaders of the country in taking actions to improve the current problems of the country in order to foster growth.

I want to thank Kellogg and Booth MBA students for organizing this event, as well as to thank the Institute for Global Organizational Effectiveness (IGOE) for sponsoring Kelley students to participate. It was a great experience and I look forward for next year’s event.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

How the Business Marketing Academy project prepared me for my summer internship

By Rama Srithara Ramanujam,
MBA ‘15
The Business Marketing Academy has a tradition of announcing the academy project teams during the BMA annual holiday party, and I was excited to have been assigned to a project for an American multinational conglomerate. As I reflect on my academy project experience, I realize its importance in preparing me for my summer internship. It was a great opportunity to learn about effective storyboarding and client engagement.

Structured approach

Over winter break, our team kicked off the project with initial research on our client and their industry. As this was a 12-week project, we knew it was critical to map out the project timeline with checkpoints and intermediate reviews with the client to ensure we were aligned with the executive sponsors and the project goals and deliverables.

Right after the planning phase, we set out to understand the current business situation. The team interviewed several corporate managers across business units to understand the process bottlenecks and challenges the organization was facing. A good balance between internal and external research was essential to gain substantial insights that would help design our strategy.

Behavioral Psychology in Business

The academic curriculum and case-based learning in the Kelley MBA program taught me the key frameworks to use in assessing a business challenge and allowed me to develop my analytical thinking skills by discussing complex, real-life scenarios. My experience working on the academy project gave me the opportunity to see how theory can really differ from practice.

As future managers, while we would be involved in designing the strategy for any business unit or an organization as a whole, the academy project exposed me to the challenges organizations face in the implementation of a strategy. For our team specifically, the biggest challenge was managing perceptions of the strategic plan within (employees) and outside (customers and channels) the organization. And this is where organizational behavior, organizational culture and marketing communication come into play. The BMA project was a great experience that prepared me to take on my summer internship with more confidence and a clear roadmap to guide me.

Best of luck, BMA!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Kelley Team Wins Latin Business Case Competition (Again!)

By Cesar Sanchez, MBA'16

Last month, the Owen School of Business at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, hosted the second Latin Business Challenge.

The case competition provided a scenario in which a nonprofit organization (Nutri-Plus) developed a nutritional peanut based product (Mani+) to help reduce malnutrition in Guatemala. Currently, Guatemala has the highest rate of malnutrition in Latin America, where 50 percent of the children between 0-5 years old have some level of malnourishment.

Nutri-Plus is having issues making its operation sustainable, as they are currently selling their product at a loss and they are facing strong competition from cheaper products that are targeting the same customers as Nutri-Plus (mainly NGO’s). Students were asked to provide possible solutions to increase sales and make its operation more sustainable.

With the support of the Institute of Global Organizational Effectiveness (IGOE), the Kelley School of Business was able to send an MBA team to compete against several other business schools. As the only 100% Latin team, Alejandra De Caso, Miguel Florez, Santiago Hope, Sulay Alvarenga, and I used all the hard and soft skills learned at the Kelley School of Business to make our presentation both strong in content and structure.

Judges included representatives from Deloitte, AT&T, and the CEO of Nutri-Plus.

By making bold recommendations supported with extensive data, including increasing the price, changing the target market to partner with major corporations, and changing the sourcing of raw materials from organic peanuts to conventional peanuts which offered the same nutritional value at a much lower cost, the Kelley team brought home the gold (and the $5,000 prize) for the second straight year.

This case competition was a great opportunity for us to get our hands on real work experience while doing our MBA, and it was even more rewarding to work on a project that had a social impact in Latin America.

This competition showed once again the quality of the Kelley students and brought attention to the social issues in Latin America that should be part of the discussion in every business school.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Bloomington Audit: Sulay Alvarenga, MBA'15

Sulay Alvarenga, MBA'15, and her favorite things.

Kelley Experience Weekend is this Thursday through Saturday at Indiana University. More than 100 prospective MBA students will visit the Kelley campus and see what our program—and our thriving city—has to offer them. We asked Sulay Alvarenga, MBA'15, to recap some of her favorite things about Bloomington. Browse her list, and try a few while you're in town this weekend.

Fresh cookies from Baked! 

As someone with a serious sweet tooth, I was thrilled to discover a place in Bloomington that makes fresh baked cookies on-site with whatever crazy toppings you want. Only Baked! can give me chocolate chip, Oreo cookies with macadamia nuts!

Coffee ice cream from The Chocolate Moose 

I love ice cream in general, but there’s something special about The Chocolate Moose. It’s a place that’s iconic to Bloomington and the IU community. I have to say, it’s also the only place where I see people line up for ice cream regardless of how cold or warm it is outside.

Trying to get through HITT class at the SRSC 

The Student Recreational Sports Center has a ton of great group exercise classes, but my favorite one is High Intensity Interval Training. I first experienced the class with my good friend Aaron and it became a fun activity we would suffer through together.

Hazelnut coffee from Bloomington Bagel Company

There really is nothing like getting that fresh cup of hazelnut coffee from Bloomington Bagel Company right before class. It’s nothing fancy but always tastes so good!

The Sample Gates with the perfect fall backdrop 

While the Sample Gates are iconic to Indiana University, it’s seeing them with that picture perfect backdrop in the fall that makes you stop and really appreciate our beautiful campus.

Walking down Kirkwood early Sunday when no one’s really around 

Kirkwood is known for its high traffic, especially during Parents Weekend. I love walking around downtown when no one is around and seeing all the great local restaurants and shops we have.

Fancy Sunday brunch at Scholars Inn

As a grad student, I try to be mindful of my budget, but there are certain things you just have to indulge in. Sunday brunch at Scholars Inn is definitely something you can’t pass up. I love their blueberry pancakes and mimosas!

Crème Brûlée french toast at Uptown Café 

I was definitely late discovering the crème brûlée at Uptown Café, but I’m so glad I did! The dish is just amazing; combining a great dessert with an iconic breakfast option. What could be better?

Lion King Roll at Japonee 

I only started eating sushi a few years ago, easing into it with avocado and California rolls, and then upgrading to spicy shrimp and eel rolls. The Lion King roll was probably the first specialty roll I ever had and I loved it! I’ve ordered it at other sushi restaurants, but it’s never the same. The one at Japonee is just special.

Tailgating in the fall 

Tailgating at IU is all about grilling on the lawn, having a few drinks and enjoying the fall weather with friends. I love seeing everyone in their IU and Kelley gear!

Basketball games at Assembly Hall

Having gone to Georgetown for undergrad, I was excited to be at a Big Ten school where the basketball games would be on another level.  The excitement at Assembly Hall is crazy!

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

Monday, April 6, 2015

How I found my leadership niche in Guatemala

By John William Scott IV, MBA'15
I recently traveled to Xela, Guatemala for Spring Break as part of the Global Business and Social Enterprise Program (GLOBASE).

My team and I delivered an inventory management tool to one of the best restaurants in the country—and definitely the best in the state of Quetzaltenango—called Tertulianos. We wanted to help the restaurant have a better visualization of how they use funds and how they can more effectively track inventory, while preventing loss and spoilage.

The most important thing I learned from this experience was how to scope, develop, and deliver a solution within a tight time frame without over- or under-promising the client. If the tool is implemented correctly by Tertulianos, it has the potential to help continue the restaurant’s double-digit annual growth, this time with more profitability.

What I did not expect to learn was the continued development of my Spanish language skills.  I come from a liberal arts background (I studied Spanish and Economics at DePauw University), so I served as the translator not only for my team but for many of the 20+ students who also traveled to Guatemala for GLOBASE. I was one of two translators on the trip.

The opportunity to utilize my language skills made this GLOBASE trip particularly appealing to me because I was able to leverage a skill I have spent years developing and perfecting. It helped me to create a more holistic business experience.

Waving the Kelley flag among the Tikal ruins
My Spanish language skills helped me to be more effective in my leadership role within our team. One of our greatest challenges was assisting our client in articulating ideas for additional uses for the program we developed.

Some of their comments included fine-tuning the program to make it even more effective. I was able to walk them through visualizing their current inventory management processes and understanding how those processes could be even more effective. That way, when we delivered the final version of our solution, they had a strong understanding of the basics of operations management and process improvement.

My Spanish, combined with the coding and operations management skills of my teammates, not only helped us understand our piece of the project, but also reminded us which parts we were responsible for. In the end, this was an opportunity only the Kelley School could offer, and it's one of the main reasons I applied here. In fact, in my interview for admission, I mentioned GLOBASE Guatemala as one of the programs that most interested me.

The beautiful patio at Tertulianos