The Right Decision
“Kelley is very good at understanding all the components of your MBA experience and executing them very well.”
MBA, Marketing and Strategic Management
Coming to Indiana wasn’t something this self-described “east coaster” had envisioned. A New Jersey native and Johns Hopkins alumnae (International Relations), Tara originally thought she would work on “The Hill” and stay closer to home. However, experience in retail buying peaked her interest in business, so she took a GMAT class and began exploring MBA programs.
Focus on What’s Key
Tara focused on what she felt mattered the most: “What do I want to do—and how is school going to prepare me to do that? And how awesome are these two years going to be?” She says, “I think you need to figure out where you want to go after the MBA, and what you want to get out of the MBA experience. Then, go visit schools.”
After completing considerable research Tara observed, “Kelley kept coming up as such a positive, great classroom experience.” Along with a rigorous education, she also sought an ideal social experience. Now in hindsight she believes she’s made the right choice. “Kelley is very good at understanding all the components of your MBA experience and executing them very well,” she says.
“The core is terribly challenging, but the way it’s structured and the support you have for it makes it very doable. And through MBAA and different social events sponsored through the school, you still get to unwind and take advantage of Bloomington, make a lot of great friends and have a lot of fun—you really bond with your class,” she says.
Career preparation is the bottom line. “Through the Academies and GCS—they understand you’re here to get a job or change careers—your peer coaches, mentors, academy director and programming help prepare you for the job and company that are right for you,” she explains.
Internships, Jobs and the Kelley Network
This savvy second-year marketing and strategic management major spent the summer in Cincinnati working as an intern for P&G on the Head and Shoulders product line—and is very excited to have received an offer for full-time employment. “My experience has been very positive,” she says, “and the Indiana network is huge and strong. They made me feel very welcome—like family.” Tara was grateful for the amount of support she's received by alumni who are always willing to look over her projects, provide input or other ways to help her be successful.
Tara describes an ideal scenario she shares with fellow Kelley MBA colleagues interning at P&G. “We love Bloomington, we love our class and our classes—and yes, it’s very difficult—but we see the application here every day that we come to work for our internship. We feel so fortunate to have this great opportunity and experience, and still have so much to look forward to when we go back to school,” she explains.
Tara noted relationships as another important factor when she was evaluating schools. She had attended a Kelley recruitment event in New York City, “Tour of the Food Network Kitchens” and was delighted by what she described as the "most incredible food and wine spread I've ever seen—and a totally outside the box experience." But the relationships were what she found most notable. “The alumni that came knew each other and were very close—this was different from other schools I’d seen—and if this is supposed to be a network for life, that was a huge trigger for me. Everyone was so nice.” she adds.
Best Classroom Experience
After completing her first year, Tara became an advocate for Kelley’s classroom experience. This was an important factor in her school decision, since she wanted to learn as much as possible in all subjects, not just her favorites. She was surprised to find economics as a favorite class, and credits Professor Phil Powell for making the class so interesting that students continued talking about it long after class ended. “It was a whole different way of being taught economics. The case discussions were always terribly lively. It was great fun! This was the kind of class that just flies by—and you actually learn something too.”
Another favorite class she noted was Marketing Performance and Productivity taught by Professor Jonlee Andrews. “This was a fantastic class. It trains your thought processes of how to look at any problem. It provides the tools and has been hugely helpful here at P&G,” Tara says.
She credits the Consumer Marketing Academy (CMA) for helping her land the internship. Tara first visited P&G on one of many CMA company treks led by Professor Andrews, who serves as academy director. “If Jonlee has an opportunity to take us to a company, she will put us all on a bus and take us there,” she says. Academies help educate students so they understand the industry, different roles, companies and company cultures. Students are rigorously prepared to land the internships and jobs that are their best fit.
Empowered and Ready
Tara serves as vice president of finance for the MBA Association (MBAA) and is a big fan of student government. She says, “MBAA is the empowerment object for your class. Through this vehicle you can do whatever you want—social events, community service, clubs and programs that tailor the experience to what you want it to be, leveraging everyone's interests, talents, passions, and backgrounds. And it provides numerous opportunities to lead and learn.” Tara is excited about a new wine club that’s starting. “The dean has already hosted two wine tastings and agreed to be the faculty sponsor,” she adds.
When asked what lies ahead in her final year at Kelley, Tara says without hesitating, “I’m pretty sure next year’s going to be the best year of my life.”