Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Summer Academy in Germany with Daniel Laisi

Daniel grew up in Southern New Jersey outside of Philadelphia and graduated from Rutgers University with a BA in Political Science.  He lives in Washington DC and works as a Senior Strategy and Operations Consultant for Deloitte Consulting.  School and work occupy most of his time these days, but he always makes room for travel, fitness, reading, and trying new restaurants.
Daniel was one of four Kelley students who participated in The German Graduate School of Management and Law (GGS) program and is sharing his experience with us.  

Can you briefly explain what the GGS Summer Academy 2016 consists of?
The German Graduate School of Management and Law (GGS) is a leading graduate school that specializes in management education.  The school is located in the city of Heilbronn in the state of Baden-Wurttemburg in southwestern Germany.  This area is in the heart of the German wine region and boasts beautiful scenic landscapes and picturesque German towns.  It is also home to many of Germany’s most successful companies to include Audi and Mercedes Benz.

The school hosts a week-long course in the Summer taught by GGS faculty and guest lecturers from companies and civic institutions focusing on Germany‘s Mittlestand companies, small to medium-sized enterprises that specialize in niche market and serve as the backbone of Germany’s economy.  During the course, you’ll get a chance to tour some of Germany’s Mittlestand companies and get an opportunity to see what makes them successful in their field.  You will also get a chance to visit a variety of sights including the city of Stuttgart, the Mercedes Benz Museum, and you may even get a reception by the mayor of Heilbronn himself.   Mixed in will be a number of social activities and excellent German restaurants, so bring your appetite.

What was your part/role at the GGS Summer Academy 2016?
I was one of four Kelley students who participated in the program.  I was joined by students from Mahidol University (Thailand), University of Leeds (UK), Ibmec (Brazil), University of South Florida, and the German Graduate School of Management and Law.  I was very impressed with all of my classmates.  Getting to meet them was probably the best part of my time in the program. 

What did you learn from this experience?
I learned a number of things.  First, I came away impressed with how successful Germany’s Mittlestand companies are.  Most are smaller companies who compete with much larger corporations, yet for hundreds of years they remain leaders in their field.  The experience was also a reminder of how small the world is.  I was around bright people from around the world with a variety of cultural backgrounds.  While they came from different parts of the world, their lives seemed identical to my own.  We’re all going to school to pursue our dream job or advance within our company, we’re all anxious about the coming research paper or exam, and most of us were not looking forward to going back to work that following week!  

What can you share about Germany?
Germany was very beautiful and has such a great contrast of old and new.  You can’t help but be reminded of how rich its history and culture are whether it’s the old architectures, the castles, and centuries-old traditions.  You also see a country that has a vibrant future.  It’s not just seen in the skyscrapers of Frankfurt, but the growth of towns like Heilbronn, which is becoming an educational hub in the Baden-Wurtemburg region.  

The people there were very welcoming.  This starts with our excellent hosts at GGS: Constanze Wagenblast, Markus Vodosek, and the rest of the staff who made this first-class experience possible.  They were not only excellent people but excellent ambassadors of the country.  I am very grateful for their hospitality.   

Please describe your experience at Kelley.
I’m not sure it’s fair to call Kelley Direct an online program.  I just got back from studying in Germany, I’ll be in Chicago shortly for a Consulting Industry Course, I hope to be in India in a few months, I’ll be back in Bloomington for the second Connect Week, and who knows where else I’ll be headed.  That’s what makes the Kelley program so unique, the program is what you make of it.  Even if you don’t travel as much for class, the flexibility of the online format lets you take the Indiana University classroom where you want it and when you want it.  You do all this while earning an MBA at one of the top business schools in the world.  So to answer the question, my experience at Kelley has been what I made of it, a great one!

Is there anything else you want to share?  
Take the Germany Exchange Course and please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.  If you do go, take me with you please! : )

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.