Create an impact locally while developing leadership abilities for life

1Kelley Consulting is a course for MBA and undergraduate students. And, it’s so much more.

MBA and undergraduate students engage with women- and minority-owned businesses in the Bloomington area and help these businesses grow and thrive. The consulting service is free and tailored to the needs of the individual businesses.

1Kelley is a resume-builder for undergraduate students, who become more compassionate and culturally competent business leaders. MBA students hone skills in leadership, adaptability, coaching, and mentorship. Local businesses receive actionable recommendations as well as the tools and training to implement them.

1Kelley Consulting team


MBA Student Leaders


Undergraduate Student Consultants


Faculty Member

2Staff Members

Impactful consulting and leadership opportunity for MBA students

Kelley MBAs commit almost a year to 1Kelley Consulting and receive a huge payoff in skill development and confidence-building. MBA leaders are empowered to be creative in every aspect of course development. This includes:

  • achieving learning outcomes for clients and participants
  • establishing and nurturing a team culture
  • building the 1Kelley legacy

MBA leaders build the following skills as they exercise leadership and bring their strategic vision to life:

  • vision and execution
  • coaching and mentoring
  • program management
  • stakeholder management

MBA leaders earn 6.0 academic credits over the course of their second year. The selection process for MBA team leaders is conducted in April.

Interested? We want to know how your leadership will enable undergraduate students and clients to succeed. Contact us for specifics about the course and how to make your pitch.

Tell me more

Kelley undergrads receive immersive consulting experience

Kelley undergrads work on teams to analyze a local business and offer recommendations for future growth and improvement. Students engage in classroom workshops on consulting, project management, client communication, and cultural competence.

As an undergraduate participant, you will gain consulting experience and build critical career competencies. These include:

  • project management
  • client relationships
  • scoping ambiguous business problems
  • communication and teamwork
  • presentation skills

Undergraduates are empowered to lead the client relationship and control project direction, exercising creativity and agility in responding to the client’s needs. Attentive coaching by the MBA student leaders deepens learning and provides valuable feedback throughout the process.

Cultural competency component

The 1Kelley experience strengthens students’ ability to be compassionate, culturally competent business leaders who champion diversity and inclusion at the highest levels in business. Undergraduate participants:

  • engage in cultural competency workshops and candid conversations about how race, gender, sexual orientation, and other forms of diversity can be addressed in business
  • embrace multiple perspectives and approaches through their work on a diverse team and with a female or minority business owner

1Kelley Consulting application and admission

We welcome any Kelley School of Business undergraduate student to apply, regardless of major or year. Our project teams are most successful with a mix of freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior students. 

We create diverse teams of students committed to the central elements of the 1Kelley vision: community involvement, diversity and inclusion, and compassionate support of small business. We look for self-starters who will take initiative and ownership of the client project. Applicants should collaborate well with others on a diverse team and show willingness to learn and receive feedback. Other important attributes are adaptability, creativity, communication skills, and interest in diversity and inclusion.

The course meets twice weekly in the classroom for lectures, guest speakers, and workshops in relevant topics like consulting, project management, client communication, presentation skills, and cultural competency. Outside of class, project teams meet at least 2-3 additional times per week with their project team, client, and MBA leader. Applicants must be committed to putting in the time and energy needed to build a strong client relationship and deliver something valuable to the client.

Undergraduate students apply for 1Kelley during the fall semester. Applications for 2022–2023 are now closed. Applications for 2023–2024 will open in fall 2023.

Client information

Let 1Kelley Consulting help you thrive

1Kelley serves a small number of clients in order to provide a high level of quality and responsiveness. As a client, you will receive tailored, implementable solutions for your business.

1Kelley project teams are coached and mentored by an MBA student leader and receive regular feedback from faculty experts. 

1Kelley teams can help businesses address:

  • Business planning
  • Entrepreneurial support
  • Strategy
  • Adaptation to change
  • Organizational assessments
  • Financial documentation and sustainability
  • Market research
  • Marketing materials and social media
  • Operations and supply chain

1Kelley prioritizes clients who are women, under-represented minorities, or enterprises that serve them because these business owners often lack access and the support need to fully take advantage of the many resources offered to business owners in Bloomington and the surrounding area.

Actionable recommendations for positive impact

Student consultants will work you to scope the project, conduct research and analysis, develop recommendations, and create deliverables. The project focus may evolve as the team undergoes training and determines how to best serve your business in the time available. By the end of the project, you will receive business recommendations and tools tailored to fit your business. We don’t want to leave you a report that gathers dust on your shelf, instead we will work with you to integrate the recommendations and train you to utilize any new tools that have been developed for your business.

MBA student leader

“Through the 1Kelley Consulting experience, we can instill the importance of getting involved in your community, empathy for those who may be different from you, and developing a strong proficiency of cultural competence.”


“1Kelley is truly the hidden gem of Kelley! No other class offers a real-world consulting experience while teaching the important fundamentals. The faculty is open to help almost 24/7 and the MBA leaders offer valuable knowledge from their extensive experience. I would recommend this course to every student interested in consulting and giving back to our community!”


“These students, MBA leaders, and all of you as program directors are simply amazing. I hope the students get a chance to read this feedback form because I know we didn’t get to tell them that enough. We can’t thank all of them enough for their efforts but more importantly for the passion and insights they brought to the table. They gave us an amazing boost of energy as well as motivation as we continue to realize this is a very powerful idea we want to develop on a very large scale.”

Examples of our work

Asabela Studios

The 1Kelley team became acquainted with our client and familiarized ourselves with the business model for the aerial fitness studio, Asabela Studios.

Initially, we worked with our client to determine the key issues within the business and to find the root of any problems; throughout this process, we were able to recognize potential solutions and contingency plans. Our processes changed when quarantine began; however, we were able to create plans for future marketing campaigns, opportunities to receive local and federal grants and loans, and a newly redesigned website.


This 1Kelley project involved helping the owner of a local beauty supply launch a new and innovative business line, beauty vending machines.

Under the invaluable guidance of the MBA lead, the team prepared a flexible pitch deck for our client's third-party partnerships, a comprehensive break-even financial analysis, and a strategy plan for the future. Through this extremely rewarding experience, the team developed close friendships all while dipping into the role of a professional business consultant.

Want to become a 1Kelley Consulting client?

1Kelley Consulting project teams work with Bloomington-based businesses that are owned by women and underrepresented minorities, or organizations that empower these groups. Please contact Emily Stern at emistern@indiana.edu to learn more about what it’s like to work with 1Kelley Consulting teams and to talk about your business goals.