Sunday, February 14, 2010

Journey at the Kelley School

I arrived at Stonegate Elementary on Friday to pick up Mason from school. It had been a week since I had seen him and was eager to see what he, and the rest of the family, had done for a week. As we made eye contact in the cafeteria he ran up to me and gave me a big hug. ‘Hi, Daddy!’.

Having spent the last week in Bloomington for my in-residence course, I had missed a lot. Mason began firing questions.

Mason: Daddy, what did you learn at your school?
Daddy: We learned about organizational development and change.

Mason: Uh, what did you have for lunch?
Daddy: We had lots of different things. Sandwiches, chicken, salad.

Mason: Did you have two beds?
Daddy: In my hotel?
Mason: Yes in your ho-entel.
Daddy: I did have two beds. One for my suitcase and one for me.

It was an action packed week as I began my MBA journey. I had the same pre-game jitters that others probably had as I drove south to the IU campus. I survived the slush and snow, arriving at the Indiana Memorial Union.

We moved through the normal in-processing (student IDs, buying expensive textbooks, etc.) before participating in an induction ceremony. After hearing all of the appropriate deans and professors speak, we were treated to a dinner at the Kelley School of Business. As luck would have it, I was seated next to a University of Michigan graduate (who is one of my classmates) for dinner. We avoided the subject of football for the sake of the other tablemates. It was here that we learned about the fabled Kelley School of Business and how everyone was a ‘family’. I was skeptical.

That all changed the next morning. Our first classes kicked off bright an early on Sunday. Sitting on the 3rd floor of the Godfrey Graduate and Executive Education Center (or the ‘Kelley School’, as it is affectionately referred to) we were greeted by a host of energetic faculty and staff. Leading the charge was Professor Sheri Fella. Prof. Fella is smart, energetic, and deeply in love with IU and the Kelley School. It seemed that each and every day, the first item on the agenda was singing the Indiana University fight song (which was odd, since I had never seen IU put up an actual fight, when playing The Ohio State University in football – Go Bucks!). I managed to sing the entire thing without throwing up in my mouth (I never thought I would be singing another Big Ten fight song …). There is a tradition in the Kelley School where the students and professor applaud after each class. It sounds cheesy but it made all the difference to see everyone clap, celebrating each educational opportunity.

The entire week was filled with early mornings, late nights with Team 3 (completing case studies), caffeine, and lots of learning to go around. The professors were top notch. From Prof. Steve Hayford (who loves BMWs, cussing and negotiation) to Prof. Tatiana Kolovou to the Intellagirl, Sarah Robbins (who may know more about social media than any other person alive); they delivered an unbelievable experience to the students.

Equally impressive were the staff that made the entire week function without a hitch. Lindsey, Usha, Erin and Mark (among many others) were always there in the background to assist and support. Food, transportation and IT support were ever-present and nearly invisible at the same time. A tip of the hat to that fine team.

My classmates include an anesthesiologist, a fighter pilot, business owners, marketers, finance gurus, among others. This diverse background gave depth to every discussion. To name a few: Drew, Emery, Jeremy, the P&G twins (Amy and Brittany), Raghu, Gabe, Will, among others. I was blessed with a great team. Hongbo Tian, Ana Fernandez and Mike Wilson made the entire week enjoyable. This proved out during the case competition when each of my teammates showed poise, discipline and passion when outlining our recommendations to the four judges.

I must say that I was blown away by the professionalism, dedication and spirit of everyone I came in contact with at IU.

Doug, you sound brainwashed.

Maybe I am. I wasn’t expecting the kind of reaction that I had to the experience. I am energized to dive in to my first two courses, financial accounting and economics. I know that the next couple of years will be challenging, rewarding and beneficial both personally and professionally. I cannot say enough about how wonderful my week was beginning my Kelley experience.


Laura Livingston said...

You weren't brainwashed - just "enlightened". Glad your week at IU was a good one. To further your education on IU's fighting spirit, I'd suggest starting here:

Adam Long said...

It was a great week Doug, and it was a genuine pleasure to meet and learn alongside you. Thanks again for loaning me that nametag... Best of luck, and I'll see you on Breeze!

Ed Eaton said...

I, too, am "brainwashed." It was a great experience, unlike anything I anticipated. I couldn't have been happier with the week. Great meeting everyone and I'll see you online!

Brittany Marzette said...

I love this post! Funny how Amy and I are mentioned as the P&G twins even though we couldn't look more different :) Overall great synopsis of the week! It was truly an experience you can't understand until you go through it!