Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Sherly Denis, Indiana University (Kelley)

Sherly Denis

Indiana University, Kelley School of Business

“I am a strategic thinker, a high achiever and a people developer.”

Hometown: Miami, FL

Fun Fact About Yourself: I am Haitian-American and can cook authentic Haitian meals.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Florida, Chemical Engineering

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Accenture, Management Consultant

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?I am tied between two academies: (1) Marketing, because my goal is to become a brand marketer for a CPG company; and (2) Operations, because the process-oriented side of me craves order.

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? Two factors stood out to me:

(1) The strong connections that Kelley has with CPG companies. When applying for business school, I thought about the different companies I would want to work with. The list on the Kelley website included almost every company on my list!

(2) The effort and diligence embedded in the MBA program is phenomenal. The Graduate Career Services staff at Kelley is passionate about helping Kelley students develop professionally and personally, which I was able to recognize first-hand as I participated in Me, Inc.

What quality best describes your MBA classmates and why? Of all the classmates I have been able to meet so far, everyone seems humble, willing to learn, and genuine in their MBA pursuits. The students here have some interesting and accomplished backgrounds, and I can already tell that we will be a class that encourages and helps each other to be better than we currently are.

What club or activity excites you most at this school? I am most excited about participating with the Black MBA Association. First, it is important for me to connect with other MBA students who resemble me. In the past, I have communities like these to be supportive, helping students along their MBA journey. Secondly, with the current racial climate in the U.S., the Black MBA Association is in a unique position to affect positive change within the Kelley School and Indiana University as a whole. I am excited to take part in doing work for a potentially transformative experience.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I worked with a major retailer helping the company to release a new set of in-store devices to help associates mark down items more efficiently. This project required me to understand the associate and the current pain points they were experiencing. After gaining this knowledge, I worked with a development team to prioritize the work involved with rewriting code, running through beta tests, and managing the timeline for in-store releases. This was a great accomplishment because I was able to lead a dedicated team as we modernized the in-store experience for the associates.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I had been working in consultancy for quite a while when I realized that I wanted to get back to pursuing my initial career path in brand management as well as gain the strategic and management skills that come with owning a business.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I applied to Sloan School of Management at MIT, Harvard Business School at Harvard, Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Scheller College of Business at Georgia Tech, and Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? The most challenging question I had to answer during the admissions process was perhaps the easiest and the most common question asked: “Why did I want an MBA?” The simple response is that getting an MBA is going to be a great move for my career. But truthfully, this question required me to search and question my motives to ensure that the next two years were going to be worth my time and wallet.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I was fortunate to be part of the Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) MBA Prep programming in 2019. I worked with coaches who were very familiar with the MBA process and the program offered a curriculum to help the participants think through key factors for selecting an MBA of choice. MLT gave me access to a School Research Worksheet containing a matrix. I first had to list my priorities (geographic region, size of the incoming class, academic strengths in marketing and operations, GMAT scores, career placement, teaching methods, international exposure, and faculty-student ratio), define my criteria for each, and rank each school with a number between 1-10. I conducted research for each school I was interested in by visiting school websites and talking to current students. I then ranked how closely the school met my criteria. From there, I was able to clearly identify which school(s) best fit my needs.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? While working as a consultant, I was exposed to many senior leaders within my firm. The managers had different working styles that were employed for various scenarios. The managers seemed to understand how to manage both people and the assigned work. These managers were leading teams with excellence and ease. I then realized that to be a key player in any business setting, I needed to grasp the skills of negotiation and people-management. I, therefore, paid close attention to the leaders at the firm, taking note of actions they performed that I both agreed and disagreed with.

I know there will be plenty of opportunities for me to get involved through clubs and organizations, as well as participate in class discussions; I plan to use the skills of negotiation and people-management to help myself and my classmates complete our class assignments or put on events/activities at Kelley.

What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? My favorite company is Target. In recent years, Target has been able to curate products that range in prices making them accessible to a wide range of consumers. Target also sells items from small, lesser known businesses and tries to highlight diversity during February with their Black History Month campaigns. I am a loyal customer for these reasons and more. Business students can learn how Target listens to consumers and brings them the shopping experience they desire.