Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Kelley Direct In-Residence Experience

I'm in the airport waiting to fly back to Indiana for my second Kelley Direct In-Residence. I can't believe it has been a year since I was on the Indiana University campus for my first in-residence. My first year in the Kelley Direct MBA program has gone by fast. It has been challenging, inspiring, rewarding, and fun. As I reflect on all my experiences from my first year, I have to say my favorite part of the program was the first in-residence in Bloomington. I thought I would share some of my experiences from that in-residence in this post.

It all started with a reception dinner in the Indiana Memorial Union Hotel. We heard from leaders and professors of the program, and it was our first opportunity to meet other students.

I was so excited for the program to begin, I was the first to arrive at the classroom on the first day of classes. I knew I was surrounded by greatness when the first two students to sit next to me had each previously earned their Ph.D. in different fields. I never knew any of the people in this photo before the program, but I became friends with all of them. Three of the four people in this photo were later in groups of mine in different classes.

The professors at the Kelley Direct In-Residence were awesome. Clockwise from top left: Professor Linda Dunn-Jensen, Professor Sheri Fella, Professor Sarah "Intelligirl" Robbins, Usha Venkat, Professor Steve Hayford, and Professor Tatiana Kolovou.

The lunch breaks were a good place to enjoy some delicious food and meet other students in the program. My advice to everyone planning to attend an in-residence: take advantage of every opportunity to network.

Our cohort was broken up into teams of six. We did all case analysis, assignments, and presentations with our team. Meeting and working with my team was the highlight of the week for me. They are some of the brightest, most talented people I have had the pleasure to work with. I hope that we will all be friends the rest of our lives.

The in-residence culminated with a case competition. Here we are preparing for our presentation for the competition. It was a long night, but we stayed on schedule and did some of our best work. Most nights we were up until 1 or 2 a.m. finishing our assignments. This night was no exception.

Despite our busy schedule, we were able to get out and enjoy some of Bloomington's finer eating establishments. This night we were in the mood for Thai food.

Here's my team working on a simulation. The goal of the simulation was to get 60% buy in from the employees regarding a shift in strategy. We had to choose which tasks to perform in what order. Each task would affect the employee buy in either up or down. We got up to about 56% buy in before we ran out of time and money.

One of the funnest evenings of the week was the Kelley Direct social at Nick's English Hut. My team and I arrived in matching Kelley School of Business t-shirts. It was fun to relax and hang out with new friends without having to worry about assignments or deadlines.

Here my team is working on our assignment for a social media module. Our assignment was craft a social media policy for our fictitious company. When the company I work for posted their first social media policy earlier this year, I had to pull out my team's policy form the in-residence and see how it compared.

I am looking forward to the second in-residence. It will be different than the first because I have a better idea o f what to expect. I know many of the faculty and students who will be there. I have a year of MBA training under my belt. On the other hand, I am currently enrolled in two other courses and will I have to balance completing assignments for those classes while focusing on the workload for the in-residence. In the words of professor Kolovou, I'll have to be a "total and excellent juggler." I'm sure I'll be fine. My first year in the program has taught me that I can do it all.

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