2019 Best & Brightest MBAs: Jennifer Solomon, Indiana University (Kelley)

Jennifer Solomon

Indiana University Kelley, School of Business

Aspiring yogi. Mentor, coach, and loyal friend. Creative, animated and effervescent.”

Hometown: Northport, NY

Fun fact about yourself: I’m currently participating in a 200-hour yoga teacher training, while completing my last semester of my MBA, and will be staying at an ashram in France for part of my spring break.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Mount Ida College (Newton, MA) B.S. Business Administration

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Cambridge Sound Management, Sales and Marketing Analyst

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? GE Appliances, Louisville, Kentucky

Where will you be working after graduation? GE Appliances; Experienced Commercial Development Program

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • MBA Association VP of Alumni Relations,
  • 1Kelley MBA Leader,
  • Leadership Academy Peer Coach,
  • Hoosier Host,
  • Vernon Clapp Competition Coach

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Having the opportunity to be on the MBA leadership team of the first year of the 1Kelley program. The class is designed to help future business leaders understand the importance of community. Three of my classmates and I are working to lead the program, which is an undergraduate course, where the students do a consulting project for local minority and women-owned businesses. We are responsible for planning the coursework and schedule, defining and evaluating deliverables, coordinating guest lecturers, and coaching the student teams. I feel honored to be able to have an impact on future students’ (both MBAs’ and undergrads’) experience by being a member of the pilot year. In business school, I think it’s easy to get hyper-focused on how to strategize for larger companies. Through this experience, we can instill the importance of getting involved in your community, empathy for those that may be different from you, and developing a strong proficiency of cultural competence.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Making the career switch from an equestrian to working in corporate was a major accomplishment for me. In less than a year, I worked hard to receive multiple promotions, eventually getting to lead and manage a team. While I was excited to quickly move my way up through various roles, I was most proud of being a role model to my horseback riding students (the majority being girls aged 10-18). Through my progress in corporate, I was able to spark discussions with my former students in which we spoke about the different career opportunities that could be on the horizon for them as they moved through grade school and college. Through these conversations and my work, I was able to show them how to balance your career and your personal passions.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? While I’ve loved learning from all my professors, Greg Fisher was my favorite. He taught strategy during Core (our first integrated semester) and challenged our ideas and ignited healthy debates in the classroom. He provided us with direct, actionable feedback that has personally helped me as I have gone through my MBA thus far.

What was your favorite MBA Course The Leadership Academy, which is open to second-year students, has been life-changing. Through this class, we were taught the fundamentals and importance of coaching, servant leadership and how to integrate mindfulness in your professional and personal life.

Why did you choose this business school?  I always knew I wanted to pursue my MBA, but Kelley stood out to me for three main reasons. Me, Inc. is a two-week orientation, prior to the start of first-year classes, in which we take an introspective look at ourselves to determine what drives us and what our “dream” career looks like. I was also drawn to the first-year academies which provide us with hands-on industry experience to truly understand what types of careers and functions are available to us. While these programs strongly influenced my decision, the Kelley community really drew me to the program. The faculty and staff invest a great deal of their time in developing the program and students. The student body is extraordinarily collaborative, and the students are as passionate about giving back to each other as they are about their learning and future careers.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Be yourself, be proud of your quirky, unique background and your own past experiences. Kelley is a home to students from a wide variety of experiences and the school embraces everyone’s uniqueness. Being yourself and understanding how you can leverage your past experiences, regardless of how traditional or non-traditional they may be, will help you get into and succeed in the program. It is also imperative to have a sense of humility yet a desire to grow and learn.

What is the biggest myth about your school? Many prospective students express doubts on how being in a small college town can impact their experience during their MBA and in their career search. By being in a small town, you are able to build extremely strong relationships with your classmates and focus on your involvement with the program. From a career standpoint, Kelley has a huge alumni network and corporate relationships with companies across the United States. While there are many opportunities in the Midwest, there are also numerous opportunities on the coasts. Career services has also hired regional staff to advance relationships with new and existing companies throughout the country.

Think back two years ago. What is the one thing you wish you’d known before starting your MBA program?  I wish I knew how fast my time at Kelley would fly by. As I approach the second half of my final semester, I’m amazed at how quickly graduation is approaching. While I’m ready to move on to my post graduate career, I am grateful for all of the experiences and relationships I have built in less than two years.

MBA Alumni often describe business school as transformative. Looking back over the past two years, how has business school been transformative for you? I feel like a different person than I was prior to starting at Kelley. I completely underestimated the degree of self-reflection and growth that would take place during the program. I have more confidence now than I ever have, and it’s backed by the education I’ve received combined with a better understanding of myself and my values. I’ve learned the importance of leaning into challenges, new experiences, and the people I am surrounded by.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Veronica Holleran. Veronica and I first met attending the Forte Conference the summer before school began and got very close in the internship recruiting process. Veronica radiates positivity, selflessness, and perseverance. Her degree of determination to pursue a career in consulting was inspiring. She achieved getting the internship she wanted, followed by a full-time offer and has dedicated her second year to helping first and second-year students prepare for consulting interviews. She motivates those around her by consistently being supportive, challenging others to reach beyond what is in their comfort zone and exemplifies the Kelley values daily.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My dad has always been one of my greatest inspirations. When I lived closer to him, we would have monthly dinners where we would discuss life, business, and the fundamentals of leadership. He started his own company over 20 years ago to pursue his passions and lives by the mantra of doing what you love so you don’t have to work a day in your life. He has encouraged me to find my “calling” and carve out the career of my dreams.

What is your favorite movie about business? I learned a lot from the movie, The Post, after watching and analyzing it in an organizational behavior class at Kelley. The movie taught the importance of taking risks, having confidence in your decisions, and, most importantly, doing what is right for the greater good.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…living in Boston, pursuing a career in sales and marketing in the audio-visual industry.”

What dollar value would you place on your MBA education? Was it worth what you paid for it – worth more or worth less? My MBA at Kelley was completely priceless. As I learned in a pricing course with Professor Rockney Walters, Kelley could significantly increase the price of tuition because the perceived value the program offered to students far exceeds the associated costs.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

  1. Climb Kilimanjaro – One of my classmates, Michelle Nochlin, and I were inspired by the keynote speaker, Susan Eschler, at the Forte conference prior to starting the program at Kelley. We decided after her speech to plan a trip to go on safari and climb Kilimanjaro within the first few years after graduation.
  2. Get my Professional Coaching Certification. I’ve been inspired by all the coaches I’ve worked with at Kelley in Career and Student Services and want to be able to help others in the future in the way they have helped me to define my goals and overcome obstacles.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you?  I would like my peers to remember me as being reliable, loyal, and dedicated.

Hobbies? Yoga, horseback riding, cooking for friends and family, and painting

What made Jennifer such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2019?

“Jen has been one of the most engaged members of her class, always willing to jump in and take on new roles or initiatives. She has played an integral part in the student body leadership, technically as VP of Alumni Affairs, but she has been involved in all aspects of the current leadership slate’s initiatives. She is the one often sought out by her classmates as counsel on tough decisions, thinking of new ways to look at situations or add in a new program to help her classmates. When she was asked to be a leader for 1Kelley, she jumped at the chance and has really helped to shape the program in its inaugural year. She came to Kelley to learn and grow, and she has more than accomplished that while bringing her classmates up with her. Jen is thoughtful, conscientious, inclusive, and exemplifies the Kelley values of collaboration, excellence, integrity, leadership, and professionalism. We will greatly miss her!”

Rebecca Cook, CFA, PCC

Executive Director, MBA Program

Director, Capital Markets Academy 

President, MBA Career Services & Employer Alliance (MBA CSEA)



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