Meet The Indiana Kelley MBA Class of 2017

Ellen Blanchard

Ellen Blanchard 

Indiana University, Kelley School of Business 

Hometown: Larchmont NY

Undergraduate School and Major: Union College, majored in Managerial Economics with a minor in French

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: Brand Analyst, Birds Eye Frozen Vegetables at Pinnacle Foods (Parsippany NJ)

Recalling your own experience, what advice do you have for applicants who are preparing for either the GMAT or the GRE? Start studying for the GMAT/GRE early and give yourself plenty of time to retake it if necessary, well before applications are due. Give yourself set times during the week to dedicate towards GMAT/GRE studying, doing a little bit at a time rather than trying to take on a lot of content at once. Consistent practice over a longer period of time will be very helpful. Don’t wait until the last minute to start preparing!

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? Think about what you are trying to get out of business school while you’re there and when you graduate. For me, I knew I wanted to go back to the NYC area after business school, so I looked at schools that had strong relationships with companies in that region. The next most important factor was what I wanted to study; I further narrowed by list down to schools with the best consumer marketing programs. Additionally, I wanted to be fully immersed in my graduate program and really get to know my classmates, so I looked at schools with smaller class sizes and ultimately chose one that was not in an urban location. Don’t just look at rankings – really consider what is the best school for you and which program will best set you up to achieve your goals.

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? Be authentic, clear and concise when writing your essays and during interviews. Have a very well thought out reason for why business school, why now, and an idea of your short-term and long-term career and personal goals. Articulate what you will get out of a school’s program (what makes them unique) and what the school will get out of you (how will you contribute). For letters of recommendation, ask people who you trust and who know you very well. Don’t just go for the highest ranking person at your company if that person won’t be a real advocate for you or be able to tell tangible stories about what makes you a great candidate.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? Kelley met all of the major consideration buckets I had for what I wanted from a business school: Strong relationships with companies all over the U.S, a very strong consumer marketing program, small class size, and a collaborative culture. This last piece, the culture, was the deciding factor. There are many schools that also have great marketing programs and a strong career services department, but after talking with alums and current students and visiting campus, I felt welcome, inspired and excited. It was a definite culture fit!

What would you ultimately like to achieve before you graduate? I’m looking to further develop my general business knowledge. By the time I graduate, I want to be able to hold an intelligent and stimulating conversation with people within different business functions – from accounting to marketing to supply chain. I want to become a better leader and use my time at Kelley to develop and practice my personal leadership style. Finally, I want to develop a strong network with my classmates and establish meaningful relationships with them. To me, expanding your professional network is perhaps the biggest benefit of going to business school!

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