Meet the MBA Class of 2022: John Olsoni, Indiana University (Kelley)

John Olsoni

Indiana University, Kelley School of Business

“Life’s too short not to take risks; always push yourself outside of your comfort zone.”

Hometown: Naples, Florida

Fun Fact About Yourself: I’ve lived in ten unique cities, across four exceptional countries

Undergraduate School and Major: The George Washington University – Economics

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: SUN Group – Senior Associate

In the second half of the year, you will be completing an Academy devoted to areas like Marketing, Finance, Operations, Digital Enterprises and more. Which Academy interests you the most and why? One of the key reasons why I am pursuing an MBA is to gain a complete understanding of finance. I have learned enough to be competent professionally, but strongly recognize the refinement needed to successfully pursue my passions. That is why I plan on joining the Strategic Finance Academy at Kelley, to provide me the opportunity to refine those skills and apply them to my passions in Mobility.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of the school’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I was drawn to Kelley for three reasons. First and foremost is fit. I reached out to multiple alumni who attended the program. During those conversations, the fit felt natural. Just as in your professional career, if you do not feel comfortable with your team, it is difficult to perform to the best of your ability. Secondly, the opportunity for me to pursue an MBA and a MS in Information Systems was a significant draw. I felt it positioned me in the best light to add in both the business sense, as well the technical; serving as a liaison to bridge the conversation between diverse, cross-functional teams. Finally, 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.

What quality best describes your MBA classmates and why? Collaborative. 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.

What club or activity excites you most at this school? The freedom that Kelley affords its students to pursue and follow their passions is one of the defining aspects of the program. To that end, I am not looking to join a specific club, but rather create, and build my own within the school. I have a strong passion, and experience in the E-Mobility revolution we are in the midst of, and not just Kelley, but the university as a whole provides me tremendous opportunity to create and build something lasting. The state of Indiana is the third largest automotive manufacturer in the country. This provides the university, myself, and the class a significant opportunity to better support, and build something not just meaningful to me, but relevant to the people of Indiana and the companies and families they support. That excites and motivates me and I look forward to working towards that goal.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: At my previous role working at SUN Group, I was provided the opportunity to partner and lead Uber Asia’s Electric Vehicle (EV) strategy for Asia Pacific. Our mandate was to design a sustainable platform to successfully deploy EVs and associated charging infrastructure. This provided a clean and affordable solution to the countries and people who are looking for upward mobility. By reducing a country’s dependence on archaic fossil fuels, you not only reduce greenhouse emissions, but create lasting opportunities for future generations. My time at SUN Group was cut short by COVID, but afforded me the chance to be a disruptor of an industry.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? COVID altered my career trajectory at SUN Group, but provided the unique opening to build, grow and refine the skillset I always thought was necessary to pursue my dream. By combining the knowledge and skills from my dual degree, I feel confident that I can finally amass the skillset I was lacking. This was the catalyst for me searching for the right MBA program. While most view COVID as a blocker to success, I view it at Kelley as an opportunity.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? University of Michigan, Duke, Georgetown

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? I was challenged for my response to the question, “What is your biggest weakness?” I have always found it difficult to discuss the many things I have to still work on. One of the greatest lessons I learned from a previous manager was asking yourself every day, “What did I learn?” I try my best to keep that mantra.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? Read as much as you possibly can and ask questions of as many different resources as possible. I reached out to upwards of 20 Kelley alumni, asking and receiving honest feedback about their time and experience in the program. Every single person gave the program superlative reviews, and was how I graded my fit.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? Moving around as much as I have, from an early age, was the most difficult and significant experience (albeit ongoing) that shaped me into the person I am today. It forced me to not just accept change, but understand and appreciate the various perspectives people have.


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