Sunday, November 15, 2015

Women in Business : My Story

Did you know that only 14% of Fortune 500 senior executives are women?  And less than 5% of Fortune 500 CEO’s are women?  These statistics are absurd, and certainly not representative of our generation’s ambitions to lead as women in business.  I have dreams to become CEO of a global consumer products company, not unlike Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo.  But other than Nooyi, there are very few female leaders in the global consumer products industry. 

Throughout my life, I have consistently sought leadership positions in school, at work, and amongst my peers, which has groomed me to be the current President of Kelley Women.  I’m passionate about women succeeding in business, and I aim to empower my female classmates to raise their hand, speak up for what they believe in, and chase after their dream jobs.  Too often I have witnessed young business women sit back and let teammates take control, or settle for a job position that’s comfortable, but not challenging.  There’s no way women can equalize the gender ratio in the C-suite if we continue to settle, so I’m eager to motivate my female classmates to step up and lead now in our MBA program at Kelley School of Business, and also in our future careers. In fact, now is a great time for women to earn their MBA’s and prove how dedicated and talented we are.  More and more reputable companies are consciously hiring women MBA’s, and I’m thrilled my female Kelley classmates have accepted offers with firms like Deloitte, Ernst & Young, Nestlé, Google, Barclays… The list goes on and on.

As a member of the Forté Foundation, I had the opportunity to attend the MBA Women’s Leadership Conference at UCLA in June 2014, right before I started the MBA program at Kelley.  This one-of-a-kind two-day conference brought together MBA women from across the country to meet one another, network with top companies, and attend powerful speaker series’ about courage, leadership, and advancing your career as a woman in business.  Not only did I meet bright, motivated women preparing to earn their MBA’s at the conference (the hotel gyms were packed at 7am!  Hello type-A ladies), but I left Los Angeles feeling confident and excited to tackle the MBA challenges in the first year, and then go on to land a killer Marketing internship and full-time job.  By meeting women who share similar ambitions, and listening to successful female executives and entrepreneurs, I felt supported and motivated to continue my journey and lead in business as a woman.

I’ve always been inspired by my mother, Kathie Manney, who earned her MBA from Ross School of Business in the 1980’s, when only 20% of her class were women.  She went on to work for Deloitte and then JP Morgan, and always encourages me to step up and lead.  Today, more than one third of MBA programs are women.  Can you imagine where we could be in the next decade or two?  I can’t wait to find out J

For more information on Kelley Women, visit

For more information about Forté Foundation, visit

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Bringing ALL the Kelley Women together. Past. Present. And Future.

Did you know that there are active women’s groups in the undergraduate, online and Kelley Direct programs?  Don’t worry, we weren’t completely aware of them either.  All of these programs are a fantastic resource for women in their respective programs, but there is a lack of coordination and communication across programs.  While Kelley Association of Women MBAs have reached across the bridge with our Mentorship Program with Kelley Women In Business on the undergraduate side, there are more synergies to be realized.  In an effort to bring these women’s groups together under one voice and create a single point of contact with students, faculty, and alumnae, a new website has been created.  Visit to learn more.

The website contains profiles of inspiring women from the Kelley and has targeted tips and practical career advice with the One Minute Mentor. The website will serve as a continuum to support all Kelley women throughout their careers and a single point of information for any woman looking to start a career in business in any of the Kelley programs.

If you are interested in being profiled or added to the website, please email VP of External Relations, Jennifer Agnew at

Friday, March 6, 2015

'Up With the Sun; A Study Abroad Experience’

By Flor Treviño Frey

Flor Frey
(MBA Class of 2015, Marketing & Management Major)
I just emerged from three fantastic months of studying abroad and chasing the sun through the southern hemisphere; Santiago, Viña del Mar, Valparaiso, Casablanca Valley, San Pedro de Atacama, Calama, Pichilemu, Buenos Aires, Mendoza, Punta Arenas, Puerto Natales, Torres del Paine, and most recently Tierra del Fuego in Patagonia. Three months of backpacks, buses, zodiacs, and airplanes, warm weather, tank tops and cut off jean shorts, sunblock, flip flops and my handy dandy Panama hat, and now in the span of a few days I’ll fly north where it is March. Winter. It’s a world of snowy white and rain and cold. I had almost forgotten. While I’ve absorbed my sun-filled adventure, where my winter consists of chasing granite peaks and singing glaciers by day and eating ceviche and spit-fired lamb by night with friends new and old, I am reminded that life is more than what makes it through Facebook and Instagram filters. 
You see bold colors and beauty, adventures, friendship and greener grasses. But what you don’t see are the weeds; tired eyes and confused expressions, aimless afternoons, questions of what comes next, anxiety, missing home and friends and routine. This is true of being a traveler and incidentally of being a business school student. Brightness of spirit, warmth of community, the burn of challenge and growth; Purpose. It is what binds both of these adventures together. 
Hiking to Torres
And while life on the open road, in school is good, really good, there are still weeds here. Naively, a part of me thought they’d be gone; once I got into business school, once I landed my dream job, once I was studying abroad. The dream must still be out there then. Somewhere. But the unflattering weeds remind me of the untameable things, the struggles we want to rid ourselves of, and they remind me that they are okay. They are part of what makes up this beautiful landscape. Happiness is not out there. Rather, it can be found here, now, whatever our circumstances. Contingent not on a lack of weeds, but solely on us, on our choice to live amongst the weeds and still choose love and light. Living the dream or living the 9 to 5, or somewhere in between, there will always be weeds. Amidst the majestic oaks, the flowers, the calafate bushes, and the mini apple trees, there are weeds. Ironically, my biggest learning abroad came from outside of the classroom. Where I learned to accept the existence of the trees, the flowers, the green grasses, and yes even the weeds. So for now, let’s continue to chase the sun, wherever it may take us!
Grey Glacier

Torres del Paine

Friday, February 6, 2015

Current Student Spotlight: Natalie Jayne Curts

Natalie Jayne Curts
(MBA Class of 2016, Supply Chain, Entrepreneurship & Corporate Innovation Major)

Name: Natalie Jayne Curts
Hometown: Noblesville Indiana
Career Prior to Kelley: Before coming to Kelley I lived in China for roughly six years, and in that time I’ve had a number of different roles that shared a common thread of marketing and team building.  My greatest professional accomplishment has been establishing and running my own business since 2010 – a trading company that specializes in manufacturing high quality craft works in China primarily for Western design firms.  Our most successful product offering is customized instruments, particularly acoustic and electric guitars. 
While living abroad I’ve been able to grow a global network of amazing friends and business contacts that has allowed me to take part in some serendipitously random opportunities! I've worked as the CEO and marketing director for a Chinese factory with over 1000 employees where I was the only foreigner that could speak Mandarin, been a part-time travel writer, led English communication and soft skills workshops to Chinese executives, and even made my big break as a commercial model for a local office supplies company and a Beijing hair salon! I've loved the variety of experiences I've had and I’m thankful for how they've shaped me.

Why did you decide to get an MBA? Pursuing my MBA had been a plan in the works for a very long time.  As an undergrad I knew I wanted to do business in China and decided to first focus on becoming fluent in Mandarin and gaining a deeper understanding of the culture.  I am excited by the unconventional, and learning about business from experience was a challenge I enjoyed.  I knew all along that a MBA education would allow me to build upon the experiences I had and help me to fill in the gaps, but I didn’t expect how hard it would be to leave my company to come back to school.  What allowed me to come back and get my MBA was finally realizing that no matter what I did my company would never be as ready as I wanted.  I accepted that leaving the company I had painstakingly created was another great risk, but in the end I made the decision to just go for it; the payoff of a Kelley MBA has been totally worth it!

Why did you choose Kelley? Well, I’m from just north of Indianapolis, so I can’t really remember a time when I wasn’t aware of the Kelley school.  I was really sold on the school when I met with the admissions councilors during their international tour in Shanghai.   

What is your favorite Kelley experience so far? Honestly, it’s a tough call. But the most delightful surprise for me has been the support, encouragement and learning offered by my beloved supply chain academy.  We have two directors, Carl and Dan, who bring such wonderfully complimentary backgrounds to the academy experience.  I’ve learned such a great deal about applying in the real world concepts learned during the core through the excellent events they've planned, a rich academy week experience, top speakers, data analytics seminars, introduction to the wide range of supply chain topics and, not least of all, a full day learning leadership in the forest by playing paintball.

What do you do to maintain a school/life balance? The core was rough on all of us, but I have made such wonderful friends at Kelley that I find myself continuously surrounded by positive energy!  I am however a natural introvert, so for me it is very important to have time alone to recharge.  In the mornings as often as possible I try to set aside 20-30 minutes of personal reflection time over breakfast and a nice, dark cup of coffee.  Days where I start off with intentional reflection about the true direction of my life are always the sweetest.  In the evenings as often as possible I always try to make time for a nice long jog.

Advice for women looking to go to B-school? The best advice I can offer is a quote that I’ve kept dear to my heart over the past several years by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, “All that is really worthwhile is action.  Personal success or personal satisfaction are not worth another thought.” We are all called to do great things in life, consider deeply what your calling is, what you need to get there and whether getting a MBA is a necessary part of that.  If it’s meant to be, it will.

One fun fact about you: I translated a couple of CDs from Chinese into English for some underground rock and folk bands in Beijing.