Meet Indiana Kelley’s MBA Class Of 2022

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For John Olsoni, the MBA experience is a work-in-progress, one filled with daily change and uncertainty. That will make the class more connected and collaborative, he adds.

“Our class, just like the rest of the world, is going through a global pandemic. We are entering school at a time that has not been experienced since the Spanish Flu of 1918. This has caused us to adapt, overcome, and collaborate with the technology of our time. While this is not an ideal situation for any student, I honestly believe this will bring us together even closer. We all have a common issue we have taken head on, and are working to help and support each other however we possibly can. We can shape our future, together.”

The Class of 2022 will have pull together this fall. This year’s class features 92 students, down from 135 in the year before. What’s behind the difference? 37 students decided to defer admission. On the plus side, the program’s acceptance rate dipped from 49% to 43%, meaning it was harder to land a spot with the incoming class. The negative? The average GMAT dropped from 666 to 652.

Overall, the class boasts students from 10 countries, with 23% of the class hailing from overseas. Women account for 35% of the class, up two points from the previous class. Undergraduate Business majors make up the largest segment of the class at 37%. They are followed by Social Sciences (17%), Engineering (16%), Math and Science (12%), Humanities (7%), and Economics (7%).

Me, Inc. Case Competition


Historically, consulting and marketing rank among the most popular destinations for Kelley MBA talent. In 2019, for example, 30% of the class entered consulting, with another 29% working in marketing and sales – numbers that contradict Kelley’s ‘marketing school’ label. By the same token, 47% of the class remained in the Midwest. That’s a number, says Kofi Barko (’20) that represents neither the program’s reach nor the collective strength of nearly 120,000 Kelley alums.

“People often assume that you can’t end up on the coast if you go to a program in the Midwest. What you will find is that the students who seek East Coast finance career routes and West Coast technology career routes do find careers with top firms in the locations of choice. Kelley’s highly-ranked Graduate Career Services and vast alumni network provides the resources and training for students to launch a national if not global search for careers. The greatest difference is that Kelley’s focus for students’ careers goes beyond mere placement to personal fulfillment, and that can be anywhere.”

The MBA program also includes some unique traditions. One is the Kelley Coin, which is awarded to students who exemplify the school’s values of integrity, excellence, professionalism, collaboration, and leadership. Another wrinkle? MBAs clap at the end of each class. “This signifies a celebration of the learning happened by both faculty and student,” explains Casey Bufford (’20). I appreciate a school [that] values and celebrates learning in tangible way.

Despite COVID-19 grabbing the headlines, the Kelley School has made some unheralded moves certain to pay dividends long-term. For one, the program landed a $16 million dollar gift in January, which it will apply towards expanding its online education capabilities and funding a learning center. In the spring, Kelley announced that the MBA program had achieved a STEM designation in five disciplines: Accounting, Business Analytics, Finance, Marketing, and Supply Chain and Operations. Through this designation, Kelley MBAs can qualify for a three year VISA to make them more attractive to employers.

The benefits of STEM designation extend beyond there. “Our corporate partners and recruiters want graduates who possess an understanding of how technology drives innovation, creates new job opportunities and spurs economic growth,” explains Dean Idealene Kesner in a 2020 interview with P&Q. “This designation for our program enables us to more accurately reflect the quantitative nature of our curriculum today.”

Godfrey Panorama


What else is on the horizon at the Kelley School? This summer, P&Q reached out to Kyle Cattani, MBA program chair, to learn more about upcoming developments. At the same time, he shared some new insights into Kelley staples like  Me, Inc., integrated first semester, and offerings in marketing and management. Here are his written responses…

P&Q: What are the most exciting new developments at your program?

KC: “Five of our majors—Business Analytics, Finance, Marketing, Supply Chain and Operations, and Strategic Analysis of Accounting Information—are now STEM-designated. These designations reflect our curriculum’s focus on analytics, technology, and data-driven decision making.

We have substantially expanded our diversity, equity, and inclusion programming. This includes:

Kyle Cattani, Kelley MBA Director

A) Presentation of a special case written by a group of our students related to a local Black-owned business; this case will be analyzed by our incoming class as part of the Me, Inc. program.

B) Creation of a student-led Diversity Champions initiative, which trains a select group of students to educate their classmates on inclusion efforts, assist with furthering the agenda of the Diversity and Inclusion office, and provide support and advocacy to students.

C) Development of a new Ally Certificate program, through which students become inclusive leaders by learning about backgrounds or approaches different from their own, increase their emotional intelligence, and develop frameworks for building community in their own groups and organizations.

D) Incorporation of multiple cases and assignments in the Core that feature or focus on under-represented minorities and women.

We have created two new scholarships for students with educational ties to Indiana, whether they previously graduated from Indiana University or another institution in the state.”

P&Q: What are the two most unique or differentiating features of your full-time program? How do they enrich the MBA experience?

KC: “Kelley’s MBA Academies function as bridges between what students are learning through their coursework and how they will apply it in their chose field during their internship and post-MBA career. We offer six career-focused first-year Academies that include the development of relevant technical skills, opportunities to visit and network with companies in a variety of industries, and experiential learning.  Students can also boost their first-year Academy experience with the PLUS Life Sciences Program offering health care, pharmaceutical and life science preparation. Students with an entrepreneurial bent or who want to become stronger leaders can also select an optional second-year Academy to further develop those specific skills.

Our Me, Inc. professional development program, which is held prior to the beginning of students’ first semester, enables them to develop an in-depth understanding of their personal story and how it connects to the next steps in their career. Me, Inc. focuses on the individualized skills that students will apply throughout their two years at Kelley and beyond. Our coaches work closely with students to shape their personal brand, dive into career development, and begin to understand their leadership style. When students meet prospective employers as soon as their first week of class, they are poised and ready to make a strong first impression.”

MBA Coaching Session

P&Q: How has COVID-19 impacted your business school?

KC: “Like other business schools, we moved our classes online for the second half of the spring semester. For the fall, we will be utilizing a hybrid model for courses and for our Academy, recruiting, and extracurricular activities. Because the Kelley School also offers a top-ranked online MBA program in which many of our faculty teach, the transition of many of our courses to hybrid or fully-online modalities has been relatively smooth and successful. The faculty is comfortable teaching online and able to engage the students quite well.

We’ve used this time to strengthen connections with and between our alumni, hosting weekly Zoom-based MBA class reunions. These have been very well-attended, and they have provided opportunities for alumni to network, advance job searches, and connect across the miles.

Some of our students’ internship or full-time job searches were adversely impacted by the pandemic. We are proud that a number of our MBA program alumni came forward to offer internship opportunities to our 1st-year students, ensuring that every student had a meaningful summer internship experience. Some students were even able to take on multiple internships!”

Go to Page 3 for in-depth profiles of class members.