I recently attended the MBA Experience Event at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Management. The school-sponsored visit introduced several of us admissions counselors to faculty and students, and gave us the opportunity to attend a class and talk with those in career services and admissions.
Kelley is located in Bloomington, Indiana, about an hour south of the nearest airport in Indianapolis. The MBA program is housed in the new Godfrey Center, in the heart of the campus. Roughly 440 students attend Kelley.
New students are assigned to 3-5 member study teams with whom they work the entire first semester. The Integrated Core, team-taught, covers content from every business discipline. One grade is given for the entire semester’s work, and includes class participation and professional conduct components. Collaboration and presentations are heavily stressed throughout the curriculum. LPCD (Leadership, Professional and Career Development) sessions are held weekly throughout the first semester. In the second year, the LDI (Leadership Development Institute) is required, and emphasizes training and coaching to further develop leadership skills.
Electives begin the second semester of the first year to help students acquire the deeper knowledge needed for a successful internship experience. Majors and minors are offered in Finance, Marketing, Management (Strategy, International Business, Consulting), Entrepreneurship & Corporate Innovation, Supply Chain & Operations, Accounting and a “design your own” option. Kelley also offers a certificate in Social Entrepreneurship: Nonprofit and Public Benefit Organizations.
Marketing and Entrepreneurship & Corporate Innovation are Kelley strengths.
The Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation has several cross-campus initiatives and collaborations with such other departments as Medical Life Sciences, Law, Science and Music. It offers MBA students internship programs and intensive immersion projects.
A unique feature of Kelley’s MBA is its Academy Program. For one week each semester, all classes and activities stop, and students focus on this activity designed to customize their degree plan. Academies are faculty-driven and allow students to gain practical training and skills through a variety of activities, such as full-immersion visits to companies in major cities, mini-internships commissioned by corporate partners, and consulting projects. A primary objective is to facilitate student access to a network that fits her or his career path. There are 8 academies: Business Marketing, Consulting, Consumer Marketing, Corporate Finance, Entrepreneurial Management, Investment Banking, Investment Management, and Supply Chain & Global Management, plus one in Life Sciences that students may elect to participate in as an addition. Students are placed in Academies based on their “top 3” ranking and faculty input.
Students are encouraged to participate in at least one international experience trip. The Kelley International Perspective is student initiated and organized, and includes a classroom component as well as a 10-day visit to the specific country.
Talking with the students, many of them stressed the school’s collaborative culture and the usefulness of the Academy experience, especially for the practical skills and knowledge they gained. Placement services are ranked high, though those interested in investment banking indicated a need to be more pro-active in seeking out opportunities outside the Midwest.
The Admissions Director says the average GMAT score for 2008 is 670, and that a strong GPA is important. Admitted students have an average 5 years of professional experience, with 2-3 years the minimum. The school looks for candidates who have a passion for business and a diversity of experiences. Communication skills are paramount for those who want to stand out from a crowded cohort and/or for those with a checkered past. An interview before submitting an application is an excellent way to demonstrate such skills.