Meet Indiana Kelley’s MBA Class Of 2024

Where do I even start?

That’s the question for adcoms and students pitching Indiana University’s Kelley School. After all, they can head down so many paths and that is exactly what the new students in Kelley’s MBA Class of 2023 have done.

For career switchers, Kelley is the Holy Grail. Boasting one of the world’s top career centers, the Kelley MBA opens with reflection and coaching to prepare students to make their jump. Kelley also caters to students who lack a business background. That’s because the core curriculum is integrated. First-years don’t learn finance, marketing, or operations in a vacuum. Instead, faculty teams fuse disciplines together. In the process, MBAs can clearly see how they impact each other’s decision-making. For families, there is Bloomington – the ultimate college town. Midwest nice and economical, Bloomington is a place where you can spread out, slow down, and savor the experience. For job hunters, Bloomington is less than four hours from Chicago, Nashville, and Columbus…among other hot spots.


Most times, the school pitch starts with hands-on learning – a space for MBAs to practice what they learn on projects that matter. That pitch hit home for Rita Korkor Agyei, a Nestle brand manager and “Digital Warrior” who joined the MBA Class of 2023 this summer. “Kelley has an experiential learning approach and is big on personal career development. What hit the nail right on the head in my decision to join Kelley was the collaborative culture and the sense that everyone I interacted with was genuinely ready to help. From alumni to current students and faculty, I knew I belonged in this collaborative culture. Navigating a new country and culture can be challenging, but knowing how supportive the Kelley community is, gives so much assurance.”

This experiential spirit is epitomized by Kelley’s project-laden, industry-specific academies. Here, first-years can choose a deep dive into ten areas, including consulting, business or consumer marketing, strategic markets or capital markets, entrepreneurship, supply chains, life sciences, leadership, and tech. The academy system operates on several levels. To develop technical and soft skills, MBAs work one-on-one with certified career coaches who’ve worked in their chosen fields. On Academy Fridays, students are exposed to industry best practices and trends. The program also hosts speakers, site visits, and recruiting events so students can access company experts, insiders, and alumni to build their networks. To close their academies, student teams complete projects in partnership with employers, which enables Kelley students to gain high stakes experience and expertise in their fields.

Among Kelley’s MBA Class of 2024, the marketing academies are particularly popular. The Consumer Marketing Academy (CMA) is run by Jonlee Andrews, an 11-time winner of Kelley’s Teaching Excellence Award. Their certified career coach, Kimberly Good, is a long-time marketing and development manager who also holds an MBA. The academy itself has helped its alumni land positions in firms ranging from Coca-Cola to Amazon to Procter & Gamble. Andrew Lash, an online marketer from Utah, credits Kelley’s alumni placement – and the resources that the CMA commits to each student – for joining the program last year. It is a sentiment echoed by his classmate, Rachel Tuskes, a law school admissions counselor, looking to transition to the field.

“I was drawn to the Consumer Marketing Academy (CMA) because I’m interested in what influences individuals’ decision-making in the marketplace and in creating a personalized customer experience,” Tuskes writes. “The Academies were a strong factor in my decision to attend Kelley because of the way they serve to bridge conceptual learning with practical application. I’m especially looking forward to site visits with the CMA this fall to see what consumer marketing looks like in different companies and to gain real-world experience through a consulting project this spring!”

Bloomington features world-class food and entertainment in a small-town setting. Whether you attend a Broadway show at the IU Auditorium or a basketball game at Assembly Hall, explore nature on a nearby hiking trail or ethnic dining options on Fourth Street, you’ll create a memorable college experience in this vibrant community. Stills captured on June 26, 2017.


Juan Diego Vasquez, an engineer-turned-entrepreneur from Peru, plans to complete four academies during his time at Kelley. However, the Business Marketing Academy (BMA) holds the biggest appeal to him. The BMA is run by Jason Gildea, a senior lecturer whose resume is dotted with marketing and business development management roles at Microsoft, General Electric, and DuPont – not to mention global strategy leadership roles in the manufacturing sector. Vasquez credits Gildea’s pitch with sparking his interest in business marketing – even though he has no formal experience in it.

“Kelley School of Business is widely known for being a top marketing school, providing an exceptional curriculum experience, and nurturing a spirit of growth through collaboration,” Vasquez notes. “Through the BMA timeline, students dive into the Product Management role, visit various big players in the marketing industry, spend personal time with an executive board with more than 20 years of experience, and work on real projects with actual deliverables before heading to their internship.”

Chabi Gupta’s interest in BMA came down to one word: fieldwork. “BMA will give me an opportunity to break out of just the classroom learning and feel what’s happening on the ground,” explains the social media influencer. “The various treks, planned as part of the BMA throughout the year, will be the perfect platform to see the current market trends, and learn from the industry practitioners, while simultaneously helping me expand my network.”


The Consulting Academy also piqued the Class of 2024’s interest. It is run by a former senior managing partner at Accenture with nearly 35 years of consulting experience. At the same time, the academy’s certified career coach, Suzanne Stuebe, has spent a decade in career services after serving as a vice president in global wealth management at Morgan Stanley. For Denis Jerome Tuttle, a Fulbright researcher, the academy’s biggest value comes from the candor he received during recruiting.

“When I was considering different business schools, I met with Consulting Academy director, J. Scott Laughner. As a career switcher, I appreciated how candid he was during our meeting, letting me know what to expect in the academy and the recruiting process. Not coming from anything close to a business-related career, I appreciated those insights to ground me.”

The academy won’t be the only way for Tuttle to gain consulting experience at Kelley. The program is also famous for GLOBASE – or the Global Business and Social Enterprise. Here, students partner with businesses and nonprofits across the world. In the past, GLOBASE participants have headed off to countries as different as India and Botswana. However, the mission remains relatively consistent: conduct analysis and develop plans that enable partners to better scale their operations, diversify their revenue streams, and deepen their impact.

“I am most excited to join GLOBASE, the global consulting organization within Kelley,” adds Alyssa Rapelje, who previously worked in outreach for the Alzheimer’s Association. “Travel is the vehicle through which I have experienced so much of my personal growth. The exposure to different people, places, ideas, and cultures helps me understand not only the places I visit, but my own role within these communities and the world as a whole. By taking part in GLOBASE, I’ll be able to help tackle unique business challenges in different ways than I am accustomed to.  It will be a wonderful opportunity to learn more and to grow holistically as a person.”

Students leaving as fall approaches in Indiana


And GLOBASE clients will certainly benefit from Rapelje’s experience. At the onset of COVID, a non-profit client serving children and young adults was close to shuttering after losing its biggest client. In response, she took inspiration from the world’s move online to expand her client’s support base.

“By pivoting the organization’s entire business structure and strategy, I was able to develop a business plan and lead the team as we expanded our services into 14 cities, granting hope and opportunity to 250 children within one year,” she writes. “Instead of being fixated on in-person meetings, which were a medical impossibility for this vulnerable population, we became a hybrid organization. This allowed me to connect mentors around the country to children no matter their geographic location. It gave hope to not only those brave children, but also to the mentors, allowing them to connect and find purpose in a time that was so isolating and hopeless for so many of us.”

The Kelley MBA may be associated with career switchers, but the Class of 2024 also includes students who transitioned long before stepping onto campus. Exhibit A: Jada Linton. She started her career as a registered dietitian before crossing over to run marketing and communications campaigns for the National Peanut Board.

“My biggest accomplishment in my career so far is creating the first Future of Dietetics Dinner in my previous role with National Peanut Board. I wanted to bridge the gap in our offerings to students, so I started a networking dinner where students who were interested in becoming dietitians had the opportunity to chat with industry stakeholders, small business owners, and other registered dietitians. I’m glad I was able to allow students to learn more about careers in dietetics.”


Other class members made a career switch into entrepreneurship. Rod Baradaran, who studied out of Indiana University’s School of Social Work as an undergrad, has already launched several startups into profitability in the tech sector – including one that had generated $1.5 million dollars before his departure. At the same time, Juan Diego Vasquez turned his passion for rescuing cats into a venture: Arquipets Peru. Teaching himself “architecture, design, and woodwork,” he built “cat trees and walkways” that enabled people and cats to better interact in more natural spaces.

“Today, Arquipets is the pioneer and leading custom pet-design Peruvian company, allows for the employment of more than 20 people, and has built a cat shelter that saves dozens of lives. Likewise, the company is on track in an ongoing process of innovation, digital transformation, and expansion.”

More than strategic and entrepreneurial, the Class of 2024 is results-driven. Andrew Lash designed a ‘Christmas in July’ ad campaign that helped a client boost its sales by 143% in its lowest-performing month. Over a three year period, Chukwuka Stanley Ekeocha took a 5-state sales region spiraling through a “death phase” to record sales stretching back 50 years. Rita Korkor Agyei built a FinTech’s marketing department from scratch across four countries, formulating its brand and digital presence.

“The groundbreaking work I did and the structure I put in place still guides the company’s marketing footprints today.”

Next Page: Interview with Gale Gold Nichols

Page 3: Profiles of the Class of 2023

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