Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Rod Baradaran, Indiana University (Kelley)

Rod Baradaran

Indiana University, Kelley School of Business

“An entrepreneur at heart with a passion for using data to find innovative solutions.”

Hometown: Mishawaka, Indiana

Fun Fact About Yourself: I love to travel to unique places even if it means roughing it once in a while. I once couch surfed from Southern Alaska to Northern Alaska in December in order to see the northern lights. I also spent a few months living in an ashram in Bengaluru, India while I started and developed an advertising software company.

Undergraduate School and Major: Indiana University Bloomington, School of Social Work, Bachelor of Science in Labor Studies

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: CEO and Cofounder of R&R Applications LLC, a software development company focused on the recommerce industry, which runs Zokos, a home goods resale website.

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 most interested in the Business Marketing Academy. I am drawn to this Academy because of its focus on experiential learning and partnerships with some of the world’s top B2B companies in a variety of industries. I am excited to work with experts in the field to understand how they develop solutions to the challenges faced by some of the world’s most innovative companies.

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? Of course, a major draw for me was Kelley’s Business Marketing Academy, but what solidified my choice to go to Kelley was that every professor that I reached out to made time in their schedule to talk to me about my background and career aspirations. Each professor listened to me, gave me personalized advice, and patiently answered my questions. Their guidance helped me feel confident in my decisions and knowledgeable about my career path. It was clear from my interactions with each professor that they truly cared about their students and wanted to see them achieve their goals. As a result, it was easy to choose to attend Kelley.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Indiana Kelley? One of the things I am most excited about experiencing during my time at Kelley is the wide variety of clubs and activities. While I am incredibly excited to explore all the different offerings and hopefully develop new areas of interest, I look forward in particular to joining the Net Impact club and learning more about how sustainability can be integrated into business operations and strategic decision making.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I have had the opportunity to create and grow multiple startups into profitable companies with outside investors, clients, and multiple employees. The accomplishment that I am most proud of, however, was being able to develop an amazing team to help me solve some incredibly difficult business challenges and watching them grow in their roles.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? I recently read the book, Secondhand by Adam Minter and would recommend it to any prospective MBA student. The book explores the secretive but burgeoning resale industry and describes the challenges companies currently face when trying to recover value from discarded merchandise.

The reason I recommend this book is that I believe learning about a variety of real-world problems can help you be a better business leader and be more motivated to further your business education. It can also help you look at issues in a new light and make connections between seemingly distinct topics. These are skills that I think would serve any prospective MBA candidate well.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Indiana Kelley’s MBA program? I would recommend that potential applicants be really thoughtful and introspective when deciding to pursue an MBA. Prior to applying to Kelley, I spent a long time thinking about the reasons why I wanted to go to business school, speaking with mentors about the decision, and researching the pros and cons of different options. I would recommend that any potential applicant take similar steps to ensure that they have a strong, sincere answer to why they want to obtain an MBA, why they want to do so now, and why Kelley is the best program for them.

One of the most important things I did prior to my application and interview with Kelley was spend a long time thinking about the reasons why I wanted to go to business school. I would recommend potential applicants to take the time to sit down and think about why now is the right time for them to get an MBA. If they are interested in Kelley, then I would recommend them to know why they are interested in Kelley over other programs.


Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.