Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business is an often overlooked gem of a business school, with a highly innovative and leading edge MBA program. The school has long kept its MBA class sizes intentionally small and close-knit, with just 204 full-time students in the latest entering class. The idea is to create a intimate learning experience with highly accessible and surprisingly dedicated faculty. The B-school professors here offer generous office hours, dinner parties and tailgating events. They even come in on the weekends to give pre-exam reviews to classes and to meet one-on-one with students.
The entire first semester at the Kelley School of Business is about getting the big business picture. The integrated core consists of one 15-week course (co-taught by eight faculty members) that weaves together every business discipline and gives a solid understanding of how these disciplines work together. That leaves three semesters of electives and freedom for students to chart their own career paths. All first-year Kelley MBA students choose an Academy, where they gain hands-on, career-related experience in a field of interest; the Academies range from Business Marketing and Consumer Marketing to Consulting and Strategic Finance. Students can choose from six majors, or they can design their own. There is also the option to combine a major with a minor, joint degree, or certificate program.
Student engagement at Kelley is a key part of the culture and the program. More than 50 second-year MBA students serve as coaches to both individual incoming students and their core teams. Kelley used student feedback to build out a global consulting experience called Global Business and Social Enterprise Program (GLOBASE), going from one international trip to three. Almost half of the Class of 2012 participated in it. The school puts more emphasis on an Emerging Markets Experience that brought students to such countries as Argentina, Brazil, China and Thailand. And Kelley created, with still more student feedback, what it called a “Renaissance Week” in the spring for students seven weeks before graduation.
APPLICATION ESSAY TIPS
Kelley School of Business at Indiana University is a top-tier business school with an innovative program. From the moment you decide to attend Kelley you will be focusing on your career and leadership development. Before you start classes, you will be part of an orientation program called Me Inc.
You’ll receive personalized coaching, leadership training, and real-world industry projects within the first year of your MBA. This will help you focus on the right career and jobs for your internship and full-time job search.
Kelley’s program is unique and close-knit, so your fit with the program and your desire to participate fully will be important to the admissions committee. Kelly has an academically strong class of students, a large number are from outside the United States, and the class is diverse.
Essay 1 –
Please discuss your immediate post-MBA professional goals. How will your professional experience, when combined with a Kelley MBA degree, allow you to achieve these goals? Should the short-term goals you have identified not materialize, what alternate career paths might you consider? (500 words)
Entering Kelley with a crystallized career vision and an idea of how you will accomplish your goals will help you take full advantage of the program. Kelley’s curriculum is tailored to help you reach your career goals. For example, students can specialize almost immediately by choosing one of the first-year Academies in your industry area of focus. Think about these opportunities at Kelley when you answer this career goals question, and specifically how you see yourself using the tools available.
The second half of this question deals with your flexibility around your career goal and your ability to handle change. The business world changes constantly and your ability to recognize opportunity, even outside your anticipated career goals, will be crucial to success. Think about the core elements that are important to you in forming your career goals.
Perhaps you are passionate about a specific industry, but you could imagine pursing either a strategy role or a finance role in that industry. Or perhaps you love marketing and are more flexible about the industry where you practice your craft. Showing that you can capitalize on change and opportunity while staying true to your core values and interests will position you well in this set of essays.
Essay 2 –
Please respond to one of the following short essay prompts. (300 words)
• My greatest memory is…
• I’m most afraid of…
• My greatest challenge has been…
• I’m most proud of…
This essay seeks to understand your core personal motivations. Beyond career, what have been formative moments in your life? The story you choose to tell in this essay will be revealing to the admissions committee and will show your personality and values.
Think about the moments in your life when you have changed or matured. Was there an experience that led you to learn more about yourself? Perhaps you interacted with someone who challenged you, or inspired you. Or you may have traveled outside your comfort zone, either literally outside your home country, or in a transition like leaving home for college.
Option b, “I’m most afraid of…” is the one prompt that does not specifically call on a past experience. However, it’s likely that your fear has its roots in a formative moment in your life.
Once you have a story to tell, make sure you are explaining why this moment is important to you. You can either narrate your thoughts, reactions and opinions as you retell the story, or take time at the end of the essay to reflect upon what you learned and why it was important to you.
Essay 3 –
Please share with the admissions committee an interesting or surprising fact about you (25 words)
The admissions committee has read your career goals, read about a pivotal experience and likely has reviewed your resume and application fact sheet. What you describe here is something that didn’t come up in any of those demographic or background data sheets in your application. It’s also something short and easy to explain in 25 words.
Perhaps you were a competitive swimmer in high school, but didn’t pursue it in college. Or your grandmother was from Sweden and taught you traditional cooking techniques that no one else in your life knows. Maybe you are heavily involved in a hobby that has impacted your life.
If you are struggling to come up with an interesting or surprising fact, this is a great question to poll friends and family about. You will want to use something that is unique about you, and that most other applicants would not be able to say.
Your friends and family likely know the elements of your background and personality that go far deeper than your resume or application fact sheet and would know what is unique about you.
Essay 4 –
Is there anything else you think we should know as we evaluation your application? If you believe your essays and credentials represent you fairly, you shouldn’t fell obligated to answer this question. (300 words)
Kelley’s optional question is open-ended, allowing you to add almost any story or additional background data you would like. Before you take full advantage of the extra space, make sure you are truly adding to your application. If you have done the work on a comprehensive resume, excellent recommendations and finely honed essays you likely don’t need this space.
If there is anything to explain in your application, definitely use this space to do so. That may be a poor grade in a quantitative course in college, academic probation, or the lack of a recommendation from a current supervisor. Whatever you need to discuss, make sure you are focused on explanations rather than excuses, and you provide solid, recent evidence that you have done better since the event.