Sunday, December 27, 2009

Winter Break

On "winter break" from my one class this semester, C521 - Managing Accounting Information for Decision Making with Prof. Eric Johnson. This gives me a chance to catch my breath, as I feel with work, school, and family (and oh yeah, studying for the CPA), I've been going full throttle for the past few months.

I'm well into my third Kelley Direct class, and thus far everything is going great. Fall semester, Quantitative Analysis (C520) was an amazing class. Profs. Venkat, Cutshall, and Soni did a great job, and exceeded my expectations going into the class. In fact, going into it I thought "hey, I'm an excel expert and if I have one strength, it's my analytical ability, so this class should be a breeze". I was dead wrong, not only did I find myself rethinking how I view excel, I even found the class more challenging that some math and stats classes I had while in engineering school. I did well in the class in the end, and consider myself changed in the way I view excel and the way I think about certain problems.

I'm going to use this break from class to try to get caught up on work, get a good head start on studying for the next part of the CPA (2 of 4 done), and try to get ahead on C521 readings.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Insight - Keys to a Successful Application

Whenever I speak with prospective students I get the question, "What are you looking for in a successful application?" I always appreciate this question as it allows me to have a dialog with the prospective student about what the Kelley School of Business expects from it's students and just as important, what they should expect from the Kelley School of Business. Selecting an online MBA/MS program is a two way street and we understand it is just as important for you to evaluate us as it is for us to evaluate you. With that being said, here is insight into the Admissions Review Committee's expectations from our future online MBA/MS students:

We review the transcripts from your degree programs. We look at the courses you took and how you performed in your upper level courses. You are not disadvantaged if you haven't taken any business courses in your previous degrees. We look at overall quality and improvement in performance. We do encourage our students who have not had an accounting or statistics course within the last 5 years with a B or higher to take our accounting and statistics Primers. These two foundation courses will help you achieve success in your courses.

We review your years of work experience, types of positions you have held and look for upward mobility within your resume. If you haven't been promoted, you can strengthen your application by taking on additional responsibilities within your current position. With this, we read your letters of reference to add value to experiences and help us understand what value you will add to our incoming cohort.

We review your complete GMAT score. We look at quantitative and verbal scores as well as when you took the GMAT and how often. Our average GMAT is usually around 630. Although the GMAT is not the only aspect of the application we evaluate, it is an important component. Please study and prepare before you take the GMAT. We find too many students go into the test without preparation and are disappointed with their scores. This is the part of your application you have the most control over, please take it seriously. It is not unusual for us to see a strong application but a weak GMAT. Often times, we may ask an applicant to retake the GMAT for further consideration.

Finally, we review the application itself, including your personal statement. This is where you get to sell yourself to the committee. We want you to tell us what we don't know about you from reading the rest of your application. Why do you want your MBA/MS degree and how will earning it online assist you in reaching your goals? This is also an opportunity to demonstrate your writing skills, so please proof read before submitting.

Again, you are not alone during this process. Our staff are here to assist you through the application process. We believe the Kelley School of Business offers the best distance MBA and MS programs and want you to be prepared to enter into this new stage in your life. Earning your MBA/MS online will require time management, commitment to studying, and putting your best foot forward. Your application should be no different.

If you have any other questions about any of our online MBA/MS requirements, please feel free to contact us at

Monday, November 23, 2009

Living the Dream

What does it mean to “live the dream”? It means to achieve your goals, to accomplish everything you have set out to accomplish. It means to have it all and do it all. Living the dream can be a challenge for most of us because we have conflicting goals. For example, my major life goals include raising a family, having a successful career, and earning a master of business administration degree. Why are those goals conflicting? They are all competing for my time, the scarcest resource I have. I have a beautiful wife and two young sons. I love to spend time with them, but I have missed many meals and important family activities because of my hectic work schedule.

Earning an MBA has always been one of my biggest goals, but as I have progressed in my career and my family responsibilities have increased, I began to think that I had missed the window of opportunity. I finally decided that 2009 was the year to get into business school and make my dream a reality. The challenge was to find a business school that met all of my criteria. I wanted to attend a highly ranked university that would provide a top-notch education. I also wanted a program that would give me the flexibility to meet the obligations of my current job and not become a stranger to my family.

A friend of mine at work clued me in to the fact that there are several top universities across the country that offer distance MBA programs. This opened a whole new realm of possibilities for me. I became obsessed with finding the best online MBA program. I learned that there are several online business colleges, but I was only interested in an AACSB accredited online MBA program. Ultimately one program stood head and shoulders above the rest—the Kelley Direct program from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.

I am now in my first year in the Kelley Direct program, and I'm living the dream. I'm getting a great education at one of the best business schools in the nation, and I haven't had to put the rest of my life on hold. I didn’t have to leave my job to attend business school, and I have the flexibility to work on my studies at my convenience so I don’t have to become a stranger to my family.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

505 Miles from Bloomington

It's a Tuesday morning in early November, the day before Veterans Day in the US, about 10am in the morning, I'm in Richmond, VA, and I'm attending class for an MBA program that is in the Top 15.

Now while Richmond, VA certainly has some fine schools, Virginia Commonwealth University (my undergraduate Alma Mater) and University of Richmond, they are not top 15 MBA programs, at least according to the latest Business Week rankings. Just a decade or so ago, if I wanted to attend a top MBA program, living full-time in Richmond, VA would have been physically impossible. I would have had to quit work, uproot my family, and leave the city I love, to move somewhere else for a few years of my life. Quite honestly, I don't know if it would have happened.

Fast forward to 2009, and the concept of online education has taken off, most notably by the "for profit" schools that we always see advertising on TV (which please do not confuse with prestigious schools that are venturing into online education. And while a lot of lower tier business schools have started rolling out an online curriculum, the top 15 to 20 or so MBA programs have been very slow, except the Kelley school at Indiana. Last year about this time I started looking at options for an MBA, trying to find a program that would allow me to work full-time, stay in Richmond, and at the same time feel that I was getting the best education I could. There were some local choices (UR, VCU, and even Virginia Tech who does a remote site MBA here in Richmond), and some online choices (Penn State, Arizona State, Indiana). However, no matter how I analyzed the programs (reputation, price, flexibility), Indiana was my top choice (and I'm a very analytical person). I applied to Indiana first, with all others as possible seconds. I was accepted, and began the program in August of 2009.

Now, at this point I am only a few months into the program, and I can honestly say that there has been no regrets. In fact, I have been blown away by the quality of the program. I have spent literally the past decade in college (working full-time while getting my undergraduate, and a masters in accounting also), so I have taken my fair share of college courses, and the 2 classes I have taken so far in the Kelley Direct program, even though I am attending class from 505 miles away, easily rank in the top 5 of all classes I've taken.

I admit, I was skeptical at first of exactly how the "online thing" would work. But it works incredibly well, and without a lot of the noise and distractions of a typical classroom.

Hopefully this blog, and the other Kelley Direct student blogs, will help to distinguish the Kelley Direct program from others. I will continue to write of my experiences in the program in hopes that it will help future students determine if the KD program is the right choice for them.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Kelley Direct Online MBA: Kelley Faculty

In a previous post I talked about the quality of a Kelley degree and why I consider Kelley Direct one of the best online mba programs. I want to spend a little more time talking about our faculty and why learning from these industry thought leaders will help you in your career.

It would probably be best to start with the awards the Kelley faculty has won. Our Kelley faculty has consistently been ranked among the elite teaching faculty in the world. Here is a list of some their achievements:

  • Ranked 7th in the nation on faculty scholarship by The Chronicle of Higher Education

  • Ranked 4th among public universities and 18th in the nation for having the most frequently downloaded research publications, according to a recent Social Science Research Network (SSRN) study

  • Served on more than 30 corporate boards

  • Published more than 2,000 articles in more than 300 leading business journals and 200 books

  • Won more than 150 research awards and 300 teaching awards

  • Received three Faculty Fulbright Scholarships

The instructors that teach in Kelley Direct are dedicated to taking their teaching excellence and applying it to our online MBA program. Students who are looking to earn a MBA online will find that the quality of the faculty is extremely important to their success in an online mba program. Our faculty are assigned instructional designers and course consultants to ensure that their course use the latest technology to help deliver the content.

Many people who are considering a distance MBA program or online mba program often have some concern about the exposure that they will have with their professors; KD faculty pride themselves on their interaction with their students.

Here is video about student and professor interaction in KD:

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Insight- Not all Online MBA and MS degrees Are Equal

Not all MBA and MS degrees are equal and online graduate business education is no exception. You need to do your homework and decide how you want to invest in your future. If you are considering online degree programs, I have two questions every prospective student should ask when considering an online MBA or MS degree.

1. Is the Business School AACSB accredited? This is the largest difference between all of the online schools offering virtual degrees (University of Phoenix and Devry) and those that are given by established 'bricks and mortar' institutions such as Indiana University and Duke University. Only about 30% of business schools are AACSB accredited and even fewer of that 30% offer an online MBA or MS degree program. AACSB accredited schools also require the GMAT.

2. Who is doing the teaching online? I get this question from a number of prospective students and I encourage you to ask this question to any online business degree program you are considering. Who is teaching? Having courses taught by the same faculty who teach in the business school's residential program is essential to a high-caliber and rigorous degree program and more attractive to top companies and executive recruiters.

Remember, you are investing in your future! Choose wisely!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Distance Education MBA Program with Connections: In-Residence Experience

I often get questions from prospective online mba students about our in-residence requirement. I want to take a moment to talk about the in-residence and its importance to a student's learning experience.

All of our degree programs require an in-residence experience. The Kelley Direct in-residence takes place over the span of one week (5 days) on the Bloomington, Indiana campus. During this week students are oriented into Kelley Direct and Indiana University, learn about our course delivery technology and meet with other students.

The in-residence is the students’ opportunity to connect with Indiana University as a whole. Although students are usually pursuing a distance MBA program this week allows them the chance to visit the campus and attend on campus events. All students receive IU identification cards and have full access to the IU bookstore.

This week is not just a week-long orientation; students take a 1.5 credit course toward their degree. The basis of the course is about organizational change, and students are put into groups to complete assignments and compete in a case competition. In actuality, the week is pretty intense and many students stay up into the early morning hours working on course work.

I think the in-residence is a great benefit for individuals considering their local part time MBA program. The in-residence helps to bridge the gap between those two experiences.

The biggest advantage of in-residence is the networking opportunities. Each evening students are provided an opportunity to network with the entire incoming class. Many strong relationships have been built during in-residence and many students team up with other students to take classes together throughout their MBA/MS experience.

Overall, the in-residence is a way to bring people together who are considering distance MBA programs or an online MBA school.

Learn more about In-residence here:

The World-Renowned Kelley Online MBA Degree through Kelley Direct

Welcome my first Kelley Direct blog post. I thought it would be best to talk about our world-renowned degree and a little bit about our history.

Kelley Direct's distance MBA programs began in 1999 as an innovative way to provide the opportunity to earn a Kelley graduate degree for high-caliber working professionals no matter where they work or live.
As one of the top online MBA programs, Kelley Direct offers the highest quality AACSB accredited online MBA available today. In fact, Kelley Direct is the only top 20 business school that offers an online MBA, online degree in finance, and online degree in global supply chain management.

I will talk about our faculty in more depth in a future post but one of the things that makes the Kelley School of Business so highly ranked in our top flight and award winning faculty. Kelley Direct courses are taught by Kelley faculty; the same faculty that teach in the Full-Time and Evening MBA programs.

We consider ourselves to be leaders in business education online, and over 800 students have already earned a Kelley degree through Kelley Direct. Check out this video if you want to learn more.