Meet The Indiana Kelley MBA Class of 2017

Erica Smith

Erica Smith 

Indiana University, The Kelley School of Business 

Hometown: Columbus, Ohio

Undergraduate School and Major: Howard University, B.B.A. in Marketing

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: Associate Client Manager, Coca-Cola Professional Services Team (Nielsen – Houston, TX); Analyst, Coca-Cola Professional Services Team (Nielsen – Houston, TX); Client Solutions Associate, Emerging Leaders Program (Nielsen – New York, NY, Los Angeles, CA, and Chicago, IL)

Recalling your own experience, what advice do you have for applicants who are preparing for either the GMAT or the GRE? I would advise prospective students to begin preparing for the GMAT or GRE at least a year prior to applying to business school. This will provide enough time to re-develop study skills, master the quantitative and verbal topics, and find out which test is a better personal fit. If there is a particular skill set that an applicant needs to boost prior to the exam, I would advise exploring classes at a local community college, which are inexpensive and usually quite helpful. Finally, for those who may benefit from a more structured preparation approach, I would recommend taking a Princeton Review or Kaplan test preparation course.

Based on your own selection process, what advice do you have for applicants who are trying to draw up a list of target schools to which to apply? I would advise students to apply to schools that are known for producing leaders in the field they wish to work in after obtaining their MBA. I focused my list on top US marketing programs that had long-standing relationships with leading consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies. Additionally, I would advise applicants to target schools that have demonstrated commitment to providing students with fellowships, scholarships, and graduate assistantships that offset the cost of tuition. I exclusively applied to Consortium and Forté member schools that were focused on increasing the representation of minorities and women in business school through fellowship opportunities.

What advice do you have for applicants in actually applying to a school, writing essays, doing admission interviews, and getting recommenders to write letters on your behalf? I would simply advise students to be genuine and transparent in their admissions essays and interviews. It is imperative to be yourself and tell your unique story to the admissions team — it will leave a more positive and lasting impression. Also, applicants should remember to communicate the value that they will bring to the school and the impact they intend to make during the program.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? I chose The Kelley School of Business because of its strong consumer marketing program. Kelley has a strong reputation among consumer packaged goods companies and is a top producer of brand managers across industries.  My short-term goal is to become an Associate Marketing Manager at a leading food and beverage company upon graduating with my MBA. I knew that attending Kelley would provide me with the marketing acumen and business foundation necessary to make my dream come to fruition.

What would you ultimately like to achieve before you graduate? Prior to graduating from The Kelley School of Business, I aim to participate in a global leadership experience in which I have the opportunity to leverage my prior marketing research experience and learnings from Kelley to help a small local business. Next semester, I will be participating in a global consulting project, in which I will help a local Ghanaian catering business reach new customers and improve its operations to improve success. I would also like to take the time to pursue my love for the arts, which are plentiful at Indiana University. I plan to join the African American Dance Company next year. 

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