Meet The Indiana Kelley MBA Class of 2017

Caroline Jansen

Caroline Jansen 

Indiana University, Kelley School of Business

Hometown: Novi, Michigan

Undergraduate School and Major: Michigan State University – B.A. Accounting

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

Senior Financial Analyst, Intel Corporation

Lead Financial Analyst, Intel Corporation

Financial Analyst, Intel Corporation

Recalling your own experience, what advice do you have for applicants who are preparing for either the GMAT or the GRE? Studying and preparing for the GMAT takes time. Up front, it’s important to set a date for the test a few months out and then begin your preparation. This way, you have a specific date you’re marching to versus just studying until you feel you can take the test. I recommend doing a practice exam at least once a week in a similar setup to the actual exam, meaning do the full four hours, don’t skip a section, and only use laminated paper and marker to do scratch work. Classes can also be helpful if you’re struggling in certain areas. Often times, these classes will be good at teaching you tips and tricks that can help you solve the quantitative problems quicker. For books, nothing beats the Official GMAT books that are published by the test makers. I purchased a couple editions of these books and worked through all of the problems. Last, but not least, don’t be discouraged if you have to take the test a second or even third time. It’s a tough test, so don’t give up if you don’t do as well as expected. The GMAT is only one component of the whole applicant profile.

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? Determine the important aspects to you as an individual, what you want from the school experience, and what you want to be doing career-wise. For school experience, determine if it is class size, international opportunities, location of the school, variety of electives, or targeted function or industry, etc. that are most important. If you have an idea of the career route you want to pursue, look at the employers that visit campus and where previous classes have gained full-time employment. Each school will have different experiences, so use the school’s website to look at class statistics and talk to current students and alumni.

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 yourself and be genuine through the whole process.

Applying to School: Have a timeline and a plan. Determine which rounds you will apply in and when those deadlines are. I made a calendar with the dates of when all items were due to the school and when I personally needed to have them completed.

Essays: Plan to start working on essays early. Most schools now have multiple essays, so it’ll take time to complete if you’re applying to more than one school. Be true to yourself in these essays. The school wants to get to know you as a person and wants to understand why the school is a good fit for you and how it’ll help you succeed in your career endeavors.

Admissions Interviews: These have three key elements typically – fit, career, and behavioral. The first is why you want that school, why you’d be a good fit, and what you will bring to the school. It’s important to have solid answers to these questions as these schools are trying to form a class that will bond and work well together. I got a lot of my insight from talking to the current students and alumni. Often times, school websites will have a list of current students that applicants can reach out to. For the career goals question, it’s important to have an idea of what you’d like to do post-MBA, even if that will change, and how that school will help you achieve that career goal. Last, some interviews will have a few behavioral questions like time you led a team or made a difficult decision. Plan to prepare for the school interviews like you’d prepare for a job interview. Come prepared with great answers and questions for the interviewer that shows you’ve done your research on the school and program. 

Recommenders: When picking out a recommender, make sure it is someone who knows you well professionally. While you could get the CFO or CEO to write the letter, they are not likely people who can speak well to your professional abilities. The title of the recommender isn’t important. After you’ve determined your recommenders, reach out to them as early as you can since these letters will take time for them to write. Make sure these recommenders write the letters for you and don’t have you write the letters. It’s important that these letters be genuine and honest. These recommendations are usually great additions to your applicant profile.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? First and foremost, it was the people and the culture. I wanted a school where I could get to know all of my classmates on a personal level and one where collaboration was truly a pillar of the community. Besides the people, I also liked the flexibility of the program. After the core in the first semester, I can take any classes I’d like to further develop my business skillset, whether it is finance, management, or marketing. For me, coming from a business background already, it’s important for me to develop a breadth of skills, Kelley enables me to do that. Kelley was the place I could call home and where I knew that I would develop best into a future business leader.

What would you ultimately like to achieve before you graduate? Your time during an MBA is truly a transformational experience both personally and professionally. Over these next two years at Kelley, I plan to explore as many options, partake in as many opportunities, and meet as many people that I can. The network I gain here and the memories from experiences will remain forever. I want to experience these next two years to the fullest so that when I leave I’m a better version of myself.

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