Meet Indiana Kelley’s MBA Class Of 2022

Clock Arboretum outside the Kelley School

P&Q: Kelley is known as a program for career switchers. Talk to us about how your Me, Inc. programming, coupled with your intensive coaching, prepare MBAs get to where they ultimately want to be?

KC: “Coaching and mentoring begins for some students months before they actually arrive in Bloomington as they prepare for summer conferences and boot camps. It proceeds through our outstanding Me, Inc. program, through which students focus on self-exploration refinement of their personal brand. This coaching and professional development continues throughout the student’s two years at Kelley. Each student is paired with a professional coach from our Graduate Career Services office, along with a 2nd-year peer coach, who help guide the student through their professional development and job search process. We also offer an exceptional 2nd-year Leadership Academy that teaches students how to effectively coach others. Our GCS team consists of a group of seasoned business professionals who are also certified coaches; they are fantastic resources for our students.”

P&Q: Kelley is particularly strong in the areas of marketing and management? What types of programming do you offer in those areas that separate you from most business schools?

KC: “We offer two marketing Academies: one in Consumer Marketing and the other in Business Marketing. These are among our most popular Academies, and they offer students exceptional opportunities to learn about their respective fields and practice the skills they’ll need in their future careers. Our many alumni in brand management, B2B marketing, consumer insights, and other marketing-related roles serve as mentors and resources for our students and enrich their learning. Our Marketing department also offers the unique Bloomington Brands experience, through which a small team of students manages the brand Osmocote Plant Food for the Scotts Miracle-Gro company.

Within the discipline of management, our leadership development courses are particularly strong. Our 2nd-year Leadership Academies—one focused on peer coaching and the other on leading global programs—provide excellent experiential learning opportunities for students. Our 1Kelley program enables MBA students to coach and lead small teams of undergraduate students as they conduct consulting projects for minority- and women-owned businesses in Bloomington. And a recently-developed course in personal leadership provides students with strategies to lead themselves through the demands of the modern workplace. The course aims to help students align their values to your actions, become aware of their life choices, and ensure that they are more coachable.”

Me, Inc. Case Competition

P&Q: Your first semester is set up so that it is one course where every discipline is integrated. Talk to us about how that works. What are the benefits to this unique approach?

KC: “Our program starts with the Integrated Core, an intense 15-week, 15-credit course, led by a team of 9 of Kelley’s best faculty members. The core faculty meet regularly throughout the year to develop, prepare, and deliver an integrated curriculum that includes Business Communication, Critical Thinking, Economic Foundations, Finance, Financial Accounting, Marketing, Operations Strategy, Quantitative Analysis for Business Decisions, and Strategic Management. Instead of semester or half semester courses, material is scheduled where it makes the most sense. Core teams are formed to include a diverse range of professional and cultural backgrounds and students work together in teams on assignments and cases. The semester ends with a case competition that brings together concepts from all the disciplines. Students become stronger collaborators, build lasting bonds, and gain a new understanding of the business world.”


What else made the Kelley School stand out to the 2022 Class and past alumni alike? From online learning to its location in Bloomington, here is what makes Kelley so special to students.

1) Small Class Size: “The emphasis on personal development and experiential learning at Kelley. I was also drawn to the smaller class sizes– I did not want to be just another number. From the moment I was admitted to Kelley, students, staff and alumni reached out to congratulate me. I felt so welcome and invested in from the start.”
Morgan Bedan

2) Me, Inc: “Kelley’s Me Inc. programming truly set Kelley apart from the other schools I had considered. I recognized the value of designating time for introspection so I could better understand both my own leadership and teaming style, and that of my peers. Me, Inc. also allowed me to work closely with Kelley’s career coaches to identify my strengths and create goals that I could work towards throughout the duration of the program.”
Farrah Bhimani

“Me, Inc. was a key factor in why I chose to attend Kelley. Me, Inc. helps you with self-reflection and defining your career goals. For me that was really important. I knew what I didn’t want to do, but I wasn’t sure on what I wanted to do. I also liked the timing of Me, Inc. It takes place before classes start. So, I can go into recruiting with a clear idea of what I want to pursue.”
Nakia Lee

Kelley MBA Coaching Session

3) Online Capabilities: “Kelley has the highest-rated online MBA program in the world, which affords me the best prospect to attend classes remotely. I was keen on a program that had already developed a pioneering online program, that affords me the best potential to learn and grow in uncertain times.”
John Olsoni

“With the continued spread of the virus, there is much uncertainty regarding the level at which schools will be able to successfully adapt their programming. In making such a huge decision, I needed confidence that the program I chose would be prepared in the event that classes are forced to proceed online indefinitely. Without a doubt, Kelley has proven it has the experience needed to handle online education and career services for its MBA students.”
Sennel K. Threlkeld II

4) GLOBASE: “I am most excited about the Global Business and Social Enterprise (GLOBASE) program, which allows students to work directly with entrepreneurs and nonprofits in emerging economies around the world. My passion for social impact and my love for traveling abroad makes GLOBASE perfect for someone like myself. Although everyone’s ability to travel will likely be restricted this year, I believe this program can still have an overwhelmingly positive global impact.”
Sennel K. Threlkeld II

“I believe in being a GLOBASE leader, and especially by starting a new program in a new country from scratch, is the closest one can get from starting a new business. I had to work on designing opportunities, mapping stakeholders, and potential partners, engaging, persuading and inspiring people, selecting clients and students, working with Kelley MBA directors and faculty, and leading a large team of MBAs in the U.S. and later in Brazil.”
Daniel Bernardes (’20)

Kelley School Exterior

5) Career Services: “Of all the other programs I got accepted to, IU Kelley’s Career Services had the best reputation. While effective curriculum, small class sizes, and experiential learning opportunities are important, the end goal of my MBA is to land myself into a career that is right for me. I needed an MBA program that would best help me attain that end goal and put an emphasis on career placement.
Shreedhar Patel

6) Bloomington: “The culmination of the first-year is your internship. Normally, we would have moved out of Bloomington and dispersed across the country. In this remote world, our class was able to complete our internships from Bloomington and get to know the town in a completely new way after hours and over the weekends. If you have ever visited Bloomington for a tailgate or a basketball game, I don’t have to tell you how to have fun around here. For those that haven’t, Bloomington is a quintessential college town with deep-rooted traditions.

This summer, we had the unique opportunity to get to know a quieter Bloomington. We rode our bikes down the B-Line and hiked Griffy Lake. We learned how to play pickleball and explored all of the tennis courts in town. We found creative ways to celebrate birthdays at outdoor parks and did our best to stimulate the local economy by picking up Big Woods BBQ nachos, coffee from Hopscotch, and pastries from Two Sticks Bakery.”
Caitlyn Hickey (’21)

“A simple event that I believe really captures the Kelley spirit is the Kelley Little Little 500. Before the famous Indiana University Little 500 Bike Race (the inspiration for the Academy Award-winning movie, Breaking Away), Kelley hosts its own mini version on the quad, where students and faculty are teamed in groups of four to race tiny tricycles in lieu of bikes. Where else will you find professors pedaling their hearts out on tricycles alongside students, with indistinguishable cheers coming from a raucous crowd of students? I still have a photo on my phone of the chair of the MBA program holding the Golden Wheel after his team beat out the all-student team in the final round. The commitment Kelley faculty has to the MBA experience is completely unmatched and an event like this accurately captures it.”
Kofi Barko, Indiana University (Kelley)

Kelley MBA Classroom


What advice do alumni have for future Kellyes looking to land in Bloomington? Daniel Bernardes (‘20), for one, counsels reflection. “Work on your self-awareness to identify your anchors, strengths, weaknesses, and career goals. Then, list schools aligned with your profile and that can help you fulfill your needs.

Along the same lines, Allison Lawler (’20) urges candidates to understand who they are – and what they bring to the Kelley community. “There is not one ideal Kelley candidate and the program values the unique experiences, goals, and backgrounds of their students,” she writes. “When you go through the interview process, be yourself, highlight what is important to you, and how your background will contribute to the program. As this is a very collaborative and personal development-focused setting, being able to share how your background impacts your teamwork focus and leadership potential are great ways to showcase why Kelley would be a great fit for you.”

What strategies did the Class of 2022 use to land a seat at Kelley? What was the toughest question they were asked during the application process? What qualities do they value most in employers? Check out the student profiles below for answers to questions and many more. 

MBA StudentHometownUndergrad Alma MaterLast Employer
Morgan BedanGrosse Pointe Park, MISaint Mary’s College (Notre Dame, IN)White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs
Farrah BhimaniPlano, TXEmory UniversityErnst & Young
Adam CochranBeaumont, TXLamar UniversityHope Schools
Sherly DenisMiami, FLUniversity of FloridaAccenture
Santiago Gamboa PeraltaBogota, ColombiaColegio de Estudios Superiores de AdministracionErnst & Young
Allison GrabowskiTempe, AZArizona State UniversityE. & J. Gallo Winery
Shivani HandaSan Diego, CAVirginia Tech UniversityUnited States Postal Service
Nakia LeeLittle Rock, ARUniversity of ArkansasBNSF Railway
John OlsoniNaples, FLGeorge Washington UniversitySUN Group
Shreedhar PatelParamus, NJBoston UniversityU.S. Marine Corps
Sennel Threlkeld IIPontiac, MIUniversity of MichiganNational Industries for the Blind
Jonathan WithrowBloomfield Hills, MIUniversity of South CarolinaBank of America Securities


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