Cleaner Energy and Kelley Are Her Next Adventures
MBA, Finance and Entrepreneurship and Corporate Innovation
Brooklyn, New York
“Kelley offers one of the best programs in the country. It's an excellent education. They offer an amazing classroom experience, and the professors are so excited to be there.”
Jessica Kapadia talks on her cell phone as she walks to lunch, interjecting an occasional “adios” when she passes someone she's befriended since arriving in Nicaragua.
“I'm always up for something new,” she says into the phone, “an adventure.”
It's June 2008, a few weeks before Kapadia starts her MBA. In April her sense of adventure led her here, to Sabana Grande, Nicaragua. Her project: lend her business expertise to Grupo Fenix, an organization devoted to renewable energy and sustainable development in Nicaragua. Through Grupo Fenix, she has been working with ACESOL, a new production shop that customizes solar panels to meet the needs of rural Nicaraguans, and Suni Solar, an established solar panel installation company.
She has helped ACESOL from the bottom up: working to produce their marketing materials, logo, and business plan, and teaching them how to promote to their niche market. Her work here is more than a service project, she says—it's also a chance to learn about solar energy, gain international experience, and work toward her goal: “I want to use my business skills to develop and promote cleaner energy solutions,” such as solar energy and hybrid/electric cars.
As a student in Kelley's MBA Class of 2010, she's pursuing a quality business education to make to her goal a reality. She plans to major in finance and entrepreneurship and corporate innovation, and to minor in management or supply chain and operations.
“Kelley offers one of the best programs in the country,” she says. “It's an excellent education. They offer an amazing classroom experience, and the professors are so excited to be there.”
One Kelley staff member made a particularly strong impression on Kapadia. “I interviewed with Terrill Cosgray (now the executive director of Kelley Direct Programs), and after I met him, I thought, ‘These are the types of people I want to be surrounded by while I work towards my MBA.’ He had such enthusiasm and fire about his school, and the way he presented it was objective. He gave me solid advice. I told him the schools I wanted to go to, and he told me what he thought, honestly and openly. That, for me, is so valuable and so important.”
After she was accepted to Kelley and learned she had received a scholarship, Kapadia returned to campus for the Kelley MBA Experience Weekend. “After the first 24 hours, I thought, ‘This is exactly where I'm meant to be.’”
An economics undergraduate, Kapadia began her business career in New York City working for Shenkman Capital Management, a high-yield money management firm. After three years she was ready for a new adventure, so Kapadia left her position as a performance analyst, took the money she'd saved, and headed to India. She took a meditation class in the foothills of the Himalayas and taught English to monks. She then biked 400 miles in China, hiked in Laos, and visited the world's oldest rainforest in Malaysia. Six months, nine Asian countries—it was the adventure of a lifetime.
“Traveling enables understanding—of culture, people, and ideas,” she says. “It opens your eyes to different things that you would never think of by yourself. You learn something every day. That's invaluable, not only from a business perspective but from a personal perspective.”
After volcano surfing in Nicaragua and wrapping up her work for Grupo Fenix, this self-professed “city girl” is embarking on her next adventure: her Kelley MBA—and then, a career in renewable energy.
“My ultimate goal is to live a good life and just keep following my heart,” she says, minutes before joining her colleagues for lunch. “That's what I've done so far and it's worked out pretty well.”
- Long-term traveler:
“I don't believe in traveling for a week or two. If I'm going to go somewhere, I spend a decent amount of time there. I don't think you can get to know a place or really understand a culture or a people if you just spend a week there.”
- Let's rock!
Loves indie rock music. Some of her favorite bands include Telefon Tel Aviv, C-Mon & Kypski, Cold War Kids, Hot Chip, and TV on the Radio.