2019 MBAs To Watch: Tyler Yoder, Indiana University (Kelley)

Tyler Yoder

Indiana University Kelley, School of Business

“A native Hoosier, board game junkie and life-long learner passionate about community economic development.”

Hometown: Middlebury, Indiana

Fun fact about yourself: I won an anonymous peach pie baking contest in high school against men and women more than 40 years older than me.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Ball State University, B.A. Finance

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Defenders, Corporate Financial Analyst

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? 3M, St. Paul, MN

Where will you be working after graduation? 3M, Marketing & Business Development Strategist

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Manbassadors member (Kelley Male Allies for Gender Equality)
  • Adam Smith Society Chapter President
  • GLOBASE India participant
  • “Notes Playable” MBA band member (trombone and vocals)
  • Kelley MBA Leadership Academy Peer Coach
  • Mentor for Kelley’s innovation and entrepreneurship competition
  • Pro bono consultant for a local preschool and an Irish toy company

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Working with my GLOBASE India team and our client is one of the highlights of my MBA. Happy Horizons Trust (HHT) is a non-profit/NGO that partners with schools in the rural Indian state of Bihar to lead educational activities ranging from storytelling to career development. Their team then equips young Indian women to lead those educational activities, many of whom have become teachers after their work with HHT. It was such an inspiration to work with their leadership team and hear stories of their impact on communities in this rural state. I was honored to help them take the next steps toward expansion and furthering their mission.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I previously worked with a startup specializing in integrative therapies in a clinical setting (therapeutic yoga, massage therapy, and acupuncture). I remember the first day an elderly gentleman arrived for a balance class: slowly shuffling into the clinic, hunched over, and relying heavily on his cane. After just a few sessions, this gentleman was standing up straighter, was moving faster, and had visibly more confidence than when he started. Seeing his smile and new demeanor – not to mention his wife’s reaction to his progress – reminded me that all the stress of working with the startup was worth it for the positive impact we had on our clients.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Rockney Walters, Kelley’s resident pricing expert, is one of the most engaging and enthusiastic professors I have had in my academic career. His zeal and excitement for whatever topic he is teaching is contagious, encouraging students to lean in and engage in the discussion. I am also grateful for his ongoing consulting work, as he can share relevant, timely insights given his pulse on current issues facing pricing teams. “Rock, I vow from now on to ‘price like a surgeon, not like a lumberjack.’”

What was your favorite MBA Course? Personal Power, Influence, and Negotiation” (W505) has quickly become one of my favorite classes at Kelley, helping me achieve my personal MBA goal of soft skill development. Professor Carolyn Goerner has crafted this class to explore the nuances of our unique negotiating styles. Each negotiation forces me to zoom out and consider the human beings who exist behind every business situation. Whether in team meetings, customer pricing agreements, or salary discussions, I know I will be a far better leader and team member having taken this course.

Why did you choose this business school? I vividly remember our dean, Idie Kesner, talking about the 3 core qualities of Kelley students: “The talent to succeed, the humility to grow, and the tenacity to persevere.” As I interacted with Kelley students, I found each of these qualities to be true, especially the students’ humility. They talked about how Kelley students do not define their success by how quickly they move to the “corner office,” but rather when the entire team around them succeeds. These qualities resonated with me as I thought about the people with whom I wanted to surround myself during my MBA, not to mention the type of person I want to be throughout my career. Add on Me, Inc., GLOBASE, growing as a coach through the Leadership Academy, and the school’s strength in marketing and Kelley became the obvious choice.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Think about how you have demonstrated each of Kelley qualities: the talent to succeed, the humility to grow, and the tenacity to persevere. Talk about ways you have been teachable during your career, perhaps even by learning the hard way. Be sure you have a clear story for your current post-MBA goals and how an MBA at Kelley fits into those goals (even though those goals may change, as they did for me during “Me, Inc.”).

Think back two years ago. What is the one thing you wish you’d known before starting your MBA program? If I could talk with my two-year-younger self, I would say, “Don’t be intimidated by the impressive backgrounds of your classmates. Most of them also feel as though they might be an ‘imposter’ or don’t belong. Go out there, be yourself, help draw out the best in others, and don’t feel the need to impress. People want to know the real you, and they are there to help you succeed.” I’m grateful I learned this early at Kelley, as it freed me up to be bold, make mistakes, learn and grow through every experience.

MBA Alumni often describe business school as transformative. Looking back over the past two years, how has business school been transformative for you? Beyond the obvious examples of landing in a new function, industry and geographic area, I have become more confident in focusing on what is most important rather than getting lost in the details. I can think of countless experiences during my time at Kelley that has taught me this: consulting projects, my summer internship at 3M, managing the overwhelming MBA schedule, and almost every case we worked through. Before starting my MBA, I remember telling friends that I wanted to “learn how to solve business problems more efficiently and effectively.” Almost every situation I face can now be addressed by sizing up a problem, identifying the root issue(s), devising a plan of action and executing that plan.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Scott Hedden, a member of the United States Air Force, is one of my Kelley classmates I admire most. Scott helped lead a Kelley Leadership Academy event in partnership with a team from Pinnacle Leadership. His team guided several of us through a series of scenarios designed to surface how each of us leads under pressure. My respect for Scott grew deeper as we conducted after-action reviews to reflect on each scenario, during which he shared lessons learned from his training and combat experience. That late-night event was one of the most memorable experiences I had at Kelley, and I’m grateful for the time I’ve had to connect with Scott. He is a great picture of the type of leader I want to become.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My parents were most influential in my decision to pursue business during my undergraduate studies. I initially studied music education, hoping to become the third-generation music teacher in my family. But during my junior year, I realized I lacked the passion for music that my classmates possessed. My parents encouraged me to try something new rather than graduate, be miserable, and return to school to make a career change. At first, I thought everyone in business was fueled by cutthroat greed, stepping on everyone else to get to the top (which is not entirely untrue for some). Still, I liked math, admired my father for running his own business for 20+ years, and appreciated the flexibility across industries that a career in business offered. As a result, I switched to business, landed in corporate finance, and the rest is history.

What was the goofiest MBA term or acronym you encountered – and what did it mean? ZOPI (ZO-p­ē), the Zone of Price Indifference, or the narrow range within which consumers are inelastic to changes in price (from Professor Rockney Walter’s Pricing class). “All right my master pricers…we’re rockin’ and rollin’ in ZOPI land!!!”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…a frantic fire-fighting analyst, an advisor (rather than a coach), a timid decision-maker, a team member with a siloed approach to work, and a professional with 400 fewer like-minded colleagues and friends. Without a doubt, getting an MBA at Kelley was one of the best decisions of my professional career.”

What dollar value would you place on your MBA education? Was it worth what you paid for it – worth more or worth less? Well over $200,000 and worth every penny. I’m confident the financial impact of getting my MBA at Kelley will be massive in the decades to come.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? I want to do a food and wine tour in France and Italy with a small group of friends, and I’d love to go on another cruise with extended family. Cruising Alaska with more than 30 people was amazing. I hope the Mediterranean will be next.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? Tyler is a friend who inspires those around him, and he lives his life with integrity, diligence, compassion, purpose, and zeal.

Hobbies? Arranging and playing music, playing board games, hosting friends for dinner, reading books just for fun, and reminiscing about life in Indiana as I watch Parks and Recreation. And I wouldn’t be opposed to picking up some woodworking again if I ever have a garage or shed to work in.

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

“Tyler has found so many ways to make a positive impact on his classmates, the faculty and the staff during his two years at Kelley. He has been involved in a huge variety of things: he participated in GLOBASE India consulting with a non-profit; he’s a key member of Manbassadors (Kelley Male Allies for Gender Equality); he’s a peer coach for 1st year MBA students; he’s an Admissions Counselor (reviewing and interviewing prospective applicants); he’s a mentor for the Kelley innovation and entrepreneurship competition; and he’s president of the Adam Smith Society, among other roles. Tyler truly cares about his fellow classmates, often spending hours of his time to help others: he has held accounting review sessions for his classmates to make sure they understand the material; he has helped others with networking and interview practice. He approaches everything in a positive manner and truly showcases the 5 Kelley values (collaboration, excellence, integrity, leadership, and professionalism).”

Rebecca Cook, CFA, PCC

Executive Director, MBA Program

Director, Capital Markets Academy 

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

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