Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Daniel Hammerschlag, Indiana University (Kelley)

Daniel Hammerschlag

Indiana University, Kelley School of Business

“Multifaceted, inquisitive and gregarious individual wishing to live authentically and to make a positive impact.”

Hometown: Englewood, NJ

Fun Fact About Yourself: I am so passionate about learning the history, science and business of alcoholic beverages that I spent a year in Scotland getting my Master of Science in Distilling!

Undergraduate School and Major:

Undergrad: Brandeis University; double majored in business and film, television and interactive media studies, Minored in South Asian studies

Previous Graduate Degree: Heriot-Watt University; Master of Science in Brewing and Distilling Sciences

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Self-employed as Spirits Production and Product Development 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 will be enrolling in the marketing academy, specifically the Consumer Goods Marketing Academy. Consumer goods is my background. At the end of the day, I like that I’m in the industry of helping make something that will benefit others with something tangible.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of Indiana Kelley’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? Everyone I talked to was amazing in their willingness to take time and meet with me, answering all my questions and connecting me with people to gain greater perspectives on the program. I tried to talk to about a dozen people in each program I applied to, the administration, admissions team, and past and present students at Kelley who were the most eager to talk with me. It really was remarkable how generous they were with their time.  Their efforts made me feel at home right away and showed me all the avenues open to me with a Kelley MBA. I knew Kelley was a place where I would not be a number, but rather a place I would receive support so I could truly succeed.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Indiana Kelley?  Beyond the Academy week events — where we will be traveling to companies within a certain industry to get a hands-on perspective on how they do business differently — I’m excited about the multifaceted clubs that exist at Kelley. Clubs offer great opportunities to get to know my fellow classmates outside of the classroom and to share our passions, interests, and hobbies.

While I already have plans to be involved with several of them, the Beer Club excites me as an avenue for this type of connection. It differs from the beer clubs I’ve seen at other MBA programs, which are more akin to beer sharing programs, by focusing on the makers of the beverages and how the industry functions. With my background in that industry, I think it will be a great way to not only relax with classmates but to share with them my expertise and why the industry interests me. I wanted to make alcohol to bring people together and now I get to benefit from it as well.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far:  I think my biggest accomplishment to date is the wide breadth of experience I have accumulated in the alcoholic beverage industry. I have explored so many avenues of the beverage world, starting on bottling lines and then becoming the head of production floors. I have also done retail sales, both regular and high end, gaining the perspective of consumers and what excites them. I have also worked in a beverage development lab as a flavorist, learning the ins and outs of R&D and product development.

How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general?  I’m certain I’m not alone in saying that the physical and emotional trauma caused by COVID will be a long-lasting scar for many people. But for all the death and loss it has caused, it did have a silver lining in my own personal life. I had been working long hours for years; it had left me too exhausted to examine how I was feeling about my work, its impact, and how it made me feel. The COVID lockdowns allowed me to take a step back and gain that perspective, reevaluating what I valued. I saw the small impact I was making with my career and realized I could do and effect more. I also realized the impact a decade of living nomadically had and that I now desired to put down roots. I moved home to the East Coast last August to help some members of my family during what we were sure was to be a rough winter. It was so wonderful to not only be there for them, but to be close to them again. My goals and values have finally had the updates that I feel I needed to have for a long time now.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? It had become apparent to me that while I had gathered a wide array of experience, I had jumped from one interesting opportunity to the next without much direction. This had impeded me over time from reaching my goals and I knew it was time for a reset of sorts; a way to gather all that I have done and allow for it to propel me forward in a new way.

After talking to some of my mentors, it became clear that an MBA would be the perfect tool for this, building on my experiences rather than moving on without them, (something I didn’t want as I was proud of all I had accomplished so far). It is why I’m planning on a career in brand management after my graduation, as it calls for a wide perspective while still being able to pay attention to the details. Down the line, I hope to use the growth in leadership I will have gained in that role to be able to focus more on the sustainability of the brands and products in my portfolio.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I predominantly was drawn to Midwest schools for their focus on marketing and consumer goods that did not have what I would consider overtly large class sizes and with strong industry and alumni networks. Kelley, Carlson, Washington University’s Olin School and Kellogg fit those requirements.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Indiana Kelley’s MBA program? Look past the published numbers and employment reports of the programs and really commit time to learning what you want from a program. While rankings are important, they do not tell you the full story of where your MBA can take you or the community where you’re striving to be a member. Talk to everyone you can to see if you will fit into the program’s culture and whether the community will have the most lasting impact on your MBA. This is a community that will be part of your professional career and it is important that you do more than mesh: You want to thrive within it. When it became apparent that I had done this form of legwork, I really felt that the Kelley administration and admissions really took note of it, which in turn made me feel that the program was the right one for me.

DON’T MISS: MEET INDIANA KELLEY’S MBA CLASS OF 2023

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