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.