2019 Best & Brightest MBAs: Miguel Klee Roldan, Indiana University (Kelley)

Miguel Klee Roldan

Indiana University, Kelley School of Business

“Guatemalan-born, SoCal-raised, proud Latino who enjoys celebrating and teaching others about my culture.

Hometown: San Diego, California

Fun fact about yourself: I earned a blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu shortly before starting business school and I’m aiming to earn my black belt, hopefully within the next 5 years.

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of San Diego, Bachelor’s Degree in Accountancy

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Sempra Energy, Senior Accountant

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? Amazon.com, Seattle, Washington

Where will you be working after graduation? Amazon.com, Senior Financial Analyst in Amazon’s Financial Leadership Development Program

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Kelley Innovators Club President
  • Kelley’s Entrepreneurship Academy, faculty selected
  • Kelley Hoosier Host
  • Business Coach at the Kelley Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
  • Kelley Vernon Clapp Competition Coach
  • Served as assistant controller for local Bloomington construction company providing strategic insight to assist the business owner
  • MBA Leader in 1Kelley Consulting program
  • Workshop leader in Indiana University’s Latino Conference

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? One of the achievements I’m most proud of at Kelley is being selected to lead the 1Kelley Consulting initiative. I’m most proud of this achievement because I had the opportunity to work with three amazing classmates to create 1Kelley from scratch; from developing the vision for the program to managing the consulting engagement with the client – a local Indiana entrepreneur. Along with the excitement of creating something new, 1Kelley was an exciting opportunity for me because it allowed me to use my education to help a local entrepreneur while coaching a team of five undergraduate students. Working with an actual entrepreneur taught me to lead with empathy. In coaching my team, I challenged them to place themselves in our client’s shoes. This exercise helped ground the team to remind us that our work will have a significant impact on our client’s livelihood. With that in mind, we worked on developing a market entry strategy that helped our entrepreneur better understand her target customer. The 1Kelley experience was challenging, but it provided me the opportunity to achieve my goal of paying-it-forward through using my education to serve others.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? While working at Sempra, I volunteered at an organization called Reality Changers. The organization focused on mentoring at-risk youth to help them achieve a college education. One day, I came across a Los Angeles Times article that featured the CEO of our Los Angeles utility Southern California Gas Company. As I read the article, I reflected on the similarities of his upbringing to mine and that of the students. So, I decided that I was going to convince this CEO to drive 100 miles from Los Angeles to San Diego to meet with me and the students at Reality Changers. I spent a few weeks developing the outline for my event and worked on my pitch. Eventually, I was able to gain some traction and convinced my former boss to help me get my idea in front of the CEO. She liked my plan and after a few weeks of waiting, she told me that the CEO loved the idea and was happy to meet with the students. The event was a success in that over 40 Reality Changers students were able to meet someone who looked like them who had reached the highest levels of corporate America. I feel proud that I was able to use my resources to offer a memorable experience for students from my community.

What was your favorite MBA Course? My favorite MBA courses have been my Predictive Analytics courses. Statistics was one of my weak points before coming to Kelley. During my MBA, I wanted to ensure I built a solid foundation in statistics. My Predictive Analytics courses have not only helped me accomplish this goal, but also provided me a general frame of thought when approaching any data-based business problem. Through this frame of thought, I’ve developed a rigorous approach in evaluating the validity of whether the data presented to me have a causal relationship and are not just correlated. Being that data analytics is taking a larger role in how businesses make decisions, my predictive analytics classes have been invaluable in teaching me the best practices to apply in evaluating data and how to draw valid conclusions from the data.

Why did you choose this business school?  There are three main reasons why I choose Kelley: career preparation, expansive alumni network and fit. In terms of career preparation, during my time at Kelley, I was partnered with a peer coach, an alumni coach, and a career services coach. Each one of these individuals invested in my success by helping me with resume reviews or with mock interviews. Additionally, knowing that I was switching careers from accounting to finance, the Strategic Finance Academy (SFA) was a strong selling point for me. Through the SFA, I received invaluable coaching from my academy director on how corporate finance operates in the “real” world. In the alumni aspect, I knew that I wanted to make it back to the West Coast post-MBA, so I wanted an MBA program that would help me accomplish this goal. Although Kelley is in the Midwest, there are alums in all parts of the country. As I was researching Kelley, I was impressed by how easy it was for me to connect with Kelley alums in the West who were always happy to take my call. The value of the Kelley alumni network became even more apparent during my summer internship in Seattle, where we had a group of Kelleys constantly meet with my classmates and me to ensure we were supported throughout the internship.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Kelleys like to help each other. Regardless of whether I’ve ever met you, if you’re a Kelley and you come to me for help, I will help you in whatever way that I can. It’s safe to say that most of my classmates share this same perspective. So, as you’re applying to Kelley, it’s important to show to the admissions committee that you are someone that puts the team above self, and genuinely cares about the success of other teammates.

Think back two years ago. What is the one thing you wish you’d known before starting your MBA program? The MBA, particularly the first year, is an intense, non-stop experience. After overcoming the challenges of the GMAT, MBA applications and interviews, I naively thought I was done –but getting into business school is just the beginning. Recruiting at Kelley begun for me two months before even taking my first MBA class. Once core classes begin, the pace really picks up as you have group projects to complete, cases to read, mock interviews to schedule, plus any extracurricular activities you want to be involved with. Time flies. Amid all the chaos, it’s easy to lose track of your schedule and forget to save time to do things that are good for your well-being. Time-management is a key skill I learned at Kelley to ensure I stayed on top of my MBA activities, while also taking the time to take care of myself.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I most admire my classmate, Aaron Welker. Since day one, I’ve noticed Aaron’s natural ability to lead and get things done. I’ve worked with Aaron on several teams and I’ve always been impressed by his ability to keep the team focused on the task at hand while also ensuring everyone on the team had the space to speak up. Aside from working together on team projects, I’ve also had the opportunity to engage Aaron on non-school related conversations and I admire Aaron’s ability to keep an open mind to opinions that don’t agree with his. I remember one conversation where we were on opposite sides of an issue and I appreciated Aaron’s willingness to understand where I was coming from rather than just trying to prove his point.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? I was most inspired to pursue business in college by my dad. My dad was a construction worker and to make extra money for the family, he would work as a handyman. When I was old enough, I would sometimes go to work with my dad. During the times that I would work with him, I was always impressed by his ability to develop relationships that he would leverage for future jobs. On our drives home after work, he would explain to me that in business the most valuable asset you can own is trust. If your clients trust you, they’ll give you more business and if you continue to build their trust, they might even refer you to their friends and colleagues. I considered myself a trustworthy person, so through the conversations with my dad I thought to myself: “I’d probably be pretty good at business.”

What was the goofiest MBA term or acronym you encountered – and what did it mean? FOMO – Fear of missing out. In the first year of business school, there is so much going on that no one wants to feel like their missing out on something that they should be doing.

“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…an accountant in the energy industry, probably looking to pursue a degree in data analytics or joining a coding boot camp. I love learning!”

What dollar value would you place on your MBA education? Was it worth what you paid for it – worth more or worth less? Considering the opportunity cost of not working for two years and the value of skills that I learned at Kelley, I would have valued my MBA education at around $300K. My MBA was definitely worth more than what I paid. Kelley provided me the resources to transform my career and to learn skills that I will use far past my time at Kelley is done.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

  1. Earn my jiu-jitsu black belt
  2. Attend the final championship match of the World Cup

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? Miguel always gave his best in whatever endeavor he took on and he was always willing to help a classmate or friend in need.

Hobbies? Martial arts, going on hikes with my wife, going to plays or concerts (any live performance), volunteering to promote higher education within the Latino community, mentoring aspiring Latino business leaders

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

“Miguel has been an outstanding leader of a brand-new program, 1Kelley Consulting, which brings MBA student leaders and undergraduate students from Kelley together to provide consulting services to local businesses. Miguel has worked very hard and been extremely effective in developing the vision for the program, shaping course content and coaching the undergraduate student consultants. Miguel also has challenged himself academically and has excelled in the classroom here at Kelley. He certainly embodies all of the values that we prize: collaboration, excellence, integrity, leadership, and professionalism.”

Gale Gold Nichols, CPCC

Director of Student Services and Global Programs

Full-Time MBA Program



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