Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Meaningful Moments by Erin Vincent

Over my last twelve years with the Kelley School of Business, I have had the honor to affect change and grow professionally within this dynamic organization.  When I joined Kelley in 2004, I was a young Student Affairs professional who had never taken a business course.  Dean Roger Schmenner and Executive Director Jane Lambert were looking for an Academic Advisor to invest in the student experience and help develop a sense of culture among Kelley Indianapolis Undergraduate students.  Their trust in my abilities helped mold my first Kelley Moment.  Over the next two years, I worked alongside committed faculty and caring staff from whom I learned the importance of service to students.  While my time with the Kelley School of Business Indianapolis team was brief, their impact on my career remains.

In 2006, Joelle Andrew-Mohr and the rest of the Kelley Direct team hired me with little online learning experience but a heart for service and a willingness to learn.  I learned Kelley Direct Online MBA and MS programs would become my professional family.  Kelley Direct was developing quickly and we had to be nimble, innovative, and resilient to never lose sight of the impact we could have on students across the world.  In the last 10 years, Kelley Direct evolved from the only top 20 Online MBA and MS program offered to high achieving working professionals to the number 1 ranked program!  The transformation of this influential program came out of countless strategy meetings, mission statements, retreats and the hearts of devoted faculty and staff.  I can remember key moments over the last 10 years where Kelley Direct’s innovative mindset created a lasting change on the program including but not limited to: 
  •  Moving Kelley Direct from Kelley-Indianapolis to Kelley-Bloomington.
  •  Developing Kelley Connect Weeks to include Live Cases and a hospitality room.
  •  Launching Networking/Recruiting events around the country.
  • Implementing an Experience Kelley Weekend for prospective students to visit campus.
  • Establishing a strong student community through the Student Leadership Association.
  • Designing key in person experiences for Online Students, such as AGILE and Immersion course.
  • Constructing PROPEL to ensure every Kelley Direct student engages with both their Academic Advisor as well as their Graduate Career Services Coach.
  • Producing memorable graduation ceremonies for students and their families.

With each new development came challenges and momentum for success.  Countless hours, emails and laughter from the Kelley Direct team formed the incredible online MBA and MS program we offer our students today.  It is with sincere mixed emotions I say goodbye to the Kelley School of Business and my professional family at Kelley Direct.  Beginning in October, I will begin a new adventure at Butler University as their Director of Innovation and Academic Program Development.  

Whether I was refilling water bottles in the hospitality room or hosting you at Nick’s English Hut, or traveling with you to Johannesburg, South Africa, students and alumni leave me full of meaningful moments.  Thank you does not seem to express my gratitude for the opportunity to be a small part of your experiences. While none of my degrees were earned at the Kelley School of Business, I will always consider myself a Kelley. 

I would be remiss if I did not thank those who had a positive impact on my career.  Of course there are too many to list but I do want to specifically say thank you to the Deans and faculty chairs for Kelley Direct for their tireless leadership.  I also want to thank my mentor, Terrill Cosgray, for his encouragement, sincere leadership and investment in my development.  Finally, I want to thank the incredible staff and faculty of Kelley Direct whose hard work often goes unnoticed but is the cornerstone of our success.  Your humble service will continue to make Kelley Direct a premiere program.

If you would like to contact me, please email me at erinvincent16@gmail.com.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Kelley Entrepreneurship and Innovation Student, Chris Hanahan, Turned his Passion into a Company

Chris grew up in Wisconsin and moved to San Diego in 1998 with about $400 in his wallet and without a car. He started his business on an idea that he could sell two extra tickets to pay for his own, and over 10 years later it has grown into a wild success. His passion and interest in music and sports has led him to attend over 300 events. His ticket reselling business buys large blocks of inventory for professional sports events and resells them on the internet through three aggregator websites
"I always wanted to be an entrepreneur and when I had the opportunity I went for it".
Please describe your business and how it started.
I wanted to see the Green Bay Packers play and tickets were sold out. I really wanted to go to the game so ended up figuring out some technical wizardry that enabled me to buy tickets for face value. I ended up buying additional seats and thought I could sell them and ended up making some money. Next year I kept buying more tickets and selling them while I kept my day job as an analyst. Two years later, in 2005 I quit my job to focus on growing my business, which has been profitable since day one.

Why did you decide to apply for the MS in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Kelley? 
I am a self-taught entrepreneur who started with a few hundred dollars in capital and parlayed it into a multi-million dollar business. While I have learned a lot in this process, I realize there are a lot of gaps in my education and viewed the MSEI program as a way to not only become a better entrepreneur, but also to launch another business. Viewing entrepreneurship from an academic standpoint, I was excited to learn a structured process for venture evaluation and creation. I wasn’t aware that IU had such a strong reputation in entrepreneurship, and the combination of online classes with in person residences that culminate in pitching your business idea sounded like a great challenge to me. It would change the mindset of "I will work on that idea tomorrow" to "I have to be ready to pitch this in November", which is sort of like a forced accountability mechanism. There rarely is a better time to do something than today... 

How do you balance work and life as a Kelley Direct student? 
It’s been a culture shock. I organize my time in the morning by analyzing the assignments and reading and plan my day around it. For me, the remote function that Kelley Direct offers and being able to watch a class either live or after the fact is one of the best aspects of learning. I have been able to work on my assignments from all over the world; it has not been easy but certainly doable. 

Please describe your experience at Kelley School. 
At the beginning it was a challenge while I was trying to figure out how to succeed at Kelley as well as contemplating my new venture and how it fit within the degree requirements. Now I see the momentum and the light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve also felt very supported by the staff and school since the beginning and I really do feel like the professors care about my success as a student.
I’ve had a couple of “aha” moments where I felt like my classes have paid for themselves by strategies I learned and now employ in my business. The first one, is learning a systematic way to approach the venture creation process from Matt Rubin and knowing that I can use the template for any future business idea. The second is the network as I didn’t have that when I started my business and it is widespread. 

How was your experience at Kelley Connect Week? 
It was great, I wish we had more opportunities for connecting in person. It is an overwhelming experience due to the class workload and by the end of the week my brain was caput. I enjoyed getting to know my cohort. 

What advice would you give to someone about to experience entrepreneurship? 
Don't be afraid to try and fail at a business, but start small first. Work on it and nurture the business until you determine if it is viable or not.  Don't risk anything you'd regret losing. Trust yourself but also remember you do not know everything: ask others for help and get a mentor! Be a voracious reader and ask lots of questions. Know yourself and what your strengths and limitations are, and surround yourself with people who complement your limitations. 
Being an entrepreneur is not all about fancy cars or life being easy. You have to sacrifice because you are working towards your goal and the potential rewards are what makes it worth it.
”Follow your passion” you have to be very disciplined, have focus, stubborn, tenacious and be willing to give something up in order to receive a bigger reward.

About Chris Hanahan

Chris Hanahan graduated with a BA in Organizational Leadership from Chapman University. He is currently enrolled at Indiana University’s Master of Science Degree program in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, with an expected graduation date in late 2016. An active member of the Entrepreneur’s Organization, he has held many volunteer positions including the Global Chair for the Accelerator program. Founder at A List Tickets, a thriving enterprise that specializes in re-selling sports tickets online.