By Cole Sears, 3/2 MBA Class of 2018 co-founder of Outpost and a principal of Batshit Crazy Ventures (BCV)
3/2 MBA students are uniquely prepared at graduation to enter the workforce, far more than the average undergraduate or MBA. This is a result of receiving a top-tier education and being given numerous opportunities to apply what we have learned in experiential settings and receive feedback from industry experts.
It is commonly said that real-world experiences are exponentially better than going to college. That is half true. While on-the-job training, such as actually doing the work and learning to deal with people, emotions, and issues is something that cannot be taught in a classroom some professions also require technical training. Accounting is one of those professions that require hundreds of hours of education and studying to learn and apply properly. To be an effective accountant, whether in public practice, corporate, or some other field, you must have the technical expertise and the soft skills that come from real-world experiences. The 3/2 MBA program perfectly combines both technical training and real-world application through constant interactions with field study programs, consulting projects, and alumni who regularly return to campus.
From the first day of orientation, the 3/2 MBA program is intentional about providing meaningful interactions between 3/2 students and alumni. These contact points to the real world are what make 3/2 students so well-prepared for post-graduate life. I have never heard of a program with so many engaged alumni – from 1st-year associates to C-Suite executives at F500 companies. There is no obligation for alumni to fly across the country during the busy season, yet 3/2 alumni do that every year just to spend a few hours in the classroom with 3/2 students. This involvement is a testament to the value of the training 3/2 students receive and the program’s faculty. If the 3/2 training was not world-class, then top alumni from all over the country would not sacrifice their time to return to campus and actively recruit current students to join them at their firms – something that is done quite often.
As someone who has greatly benefited from this program and the involvement of its alumni, I am convinced I have a duty to “send the elevator back down” as so many did for me. Only graduating a few years ago, I do not yet have the experience or recognition that many of the 3/2 alumni have, but the success of the program relies on alumni at every level giving our time and sharing our experiences with those following in our footsteps.
Selfishly, coming back to campus and being involved also provides an incredible opportunity to network and continue learning from the 3/2 MBA faculty and mentors I have gained along the way.
Staying connected to the program allows me the opportunity to continue expanding my network both in the corporate world and at IU. This network has already resulted in finding my mentor, a potential business partner in China, and lasting friendships that I know I can call on if I need assistance – professionally or personally.
The 3/2 MBA alumni network, faculty, and current students are some of the most accomplished individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences. This diversity leads to a diverse learning experience, before and after you graduate. As 3/2 students, we don’t only learn from a professor on a topic, but also numerous alumni eager to engage who went through the same scenario in different environments, who made different decisions, and that resulted in different outcomes. The exposure that a student receives to different ideas and methods to accomplish the same task prepares students to think critically and be flexible when situations arise after graduation.
As Kelley alumni, we have a responsibility to give back in the same way others gave to us. Being involved in the experiential learning of the 3/2 MBA program is an incredible way to assist current students, give back to Kelley, and ensure a Kelley degree is more valuable tomorrow than it was yesterday.