Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Mixing Motherhood, Marriage, and MBA: Laura Zhang

Lai “Laura” Zhang - MBA Class of 2015, Marketing and Business Analytics major

Laura with her sons
Laura, mother of a 16-year-old and a 6-year-old, began her MBA this year with the support of her parents who moved to Bloomington with her. The decision to pursue MBA was not only a commitment for Laura herself but also one for her parents. To support Laura pursue her dreams, her parents followed her to Bloomington moving from the 13-million-population metropolitan city of Guangzhou, China.

Laura and her family found Bloomington to have two virtues -the serenity of a college town and the convenience of a larger city. Having always lived in a big city, Laura’s parents were pleasantly amazed by the quietness of Bloomington but found that they never had to compromise on nice shopping locations, comforts that reminded them of home (two Chinese specialty supermarkets and readily available Chinese-language magazines), and most importantly a very welcoming community; they were invited to the community needlework group where they met several like-minded individuals.  Her parents were almost never home-sick and lonely as they had a pretty active social life and they helped Laura take good care of the kids so she could concentrate on her MBA. Laura’s sons quickly adapted to the new environment and enjoyed MBA family-friendly events such as tailgates, MBA Cohort War, Business Marketing Academy Christmas Parties, and more; these events enabled the boys to meet and befriend other MBA kids. But what was more important for the boys was building a diverse outlook by witnessing their mom's classmates who came from very different backgrounds and ethnicity.

Laura found excellent services provided by the city, the community, and the K-12 schooling here in Bloomington. She seldom worried about her family members and was able to focus on her own MBA priorities. Her MBA classmates' and staff’s support and care was crucial throughout her first year at Kelley! 

Laura recalls that her team members have been very understanding of her family situation and have been ever so eager to accommodate and work around her family commitments. It has become a no-questions-asked team ground rule of which Laura is extremely appreciative. When Laura’s parent role takes precedence (things such as attending “Halloween Parade” at her younger son’s class) and she has to miss a group discussion, her team mates proactively back her up and divide tasks in such a way that she is able to contribute offline during flexible time-slots. Gale Gold Nichols, MBA Director of Student Service and Global Program, has voluntarily asked Laura how her family has settled in Bloomington and has introduced Laura to other Kelley Moms. 

Laura is very appreciative of all the help she has received from her Kelley family!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Mixing Motherhood, Marriage, and MBAs: Three different women with three different support networks to make it work

Throughout this week, Kelley Women Blog will be talking about Kelley Women who are also moms - about their experience with MBA and Bloomington.
Latasha, Selvi, Laura (from left)
One thing is for sure – these three women are each a force to be reckoned with!  Latasha, Selvi, and Laura are moms and MBA students.  While they find the combination of roles to be a challenge, they have each found ways to make their family situations work to enable them to fulfill both roles.  Each found their teammates, the faculty, and the staff supportive of their roles as mothers and students.  They completed Kelley’s challenging “Core” semester successfully and found creative ways of making classwork, quality family time, childcare arrangements, job search, and extracurricular activities fit within a challenging schedule.
These are inspirational women no doubt. They have made motherhood, marriage, and MBAs work for them, of course, with the support of a lot of people including their Kelley Family.
Latasha says “Kelley values the whole person and not just the student part. That’s what I love about Kelley!” 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Kelley Women Leaders: GLOBASE India 2014

Written by: Erin Faulk

After months of project scoping, strategic visioning, and curriculum planning, our 2014 GLOBASE India classroom experience is nearly complete. Our Leadership Team’s vision is “100% Impact: Rise to the Challenge. Serve CORD. Live India.” We have worked hard to bring our vision to life in the classroom this semester, and we can’t wait to see it carried out in India…in only a matter of weeks!

GLOBASE INDIA 2014 LEADERSHIP TEAM (Erin, Brian, Chris, Beth, Shruthi)
During our first week in country we will work side-by-side with our client, the Chinmaya Organisation for Rural Development (CORD), a non-profit based in northern rural India. Our five project teams are tackling many of CORD’s toughest challenges – everything from helping local entrepreneurs to articulating the essence of CORD’s empowerment philosophy to the community. After a week in Sidhbari, tucked away at the base of the Himalayas in Himachal Pradesh, we will finish the trip with an exciting, fast-paced tour of Dharamsala, Amritsar, Agra, Jaipur, and Delhi by tour bus, filling the time with sing-alongs and Bollywood movie watching. 

Leading this trip has been a learning experience – from aligning on a vision, to managing client expectations, and to coaching our project teams – yet, it has been a challenge I would gladly tackle again and again. Here’s to a great trip!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Kelley Women Leaders: EME Costa Rica 2014

Samantha Reyes & Jessica Dawson, MBA Class of 2014

Jess: I vividly remember my EME South Africa experience from last year. Inspired by the leadership team and my studies in the area of Eco-tourism, I was really motivated and determined to lead an EME trip during my 2nd year. As I started thinking about countries that have a strong Eco-tourism industry, Costa Rica was the first country that came to mind. I began to pull a team together and as we researched the country we discovered that Costa Rica was much more than just a tourist destination. The country is ranked #19 among all emerging countries and there are a large number of companies opening subsidiaries within the country which is great for FDI. Also, the country does not have a military and instead has poured its resources into its education system. I immediately knew that this country had more than what meets the eye and that we could create a curriculum and cultural experience that would be memorable for our students.

Sam: Leading an EME was one of the leadership opportunities that swayed my decision to choose Kelley. After having such an amazing experience with EME South Africa last year, I enthusiastically joined Jessica for the EME Costa Rica team. Costa Rica’s rapid economic growth and natural beauty provide the foundation for learning about balancing growth and conserving natural resources while providing one of the few outlets to learn about sustainability at Kelley.
Pura Vida - Costa Rica
Jess: Planning an EME can be very taxing and there are many obstacles that arise. The best part about planning this trip is that I am a part of an amazing team. We are able to have candid discussions when making crucial decisions. One of the hardest things to do for our trip was putting our heads together and creating a comprehensive vision. This took many hours but we eventually were able to formulate a vision that we all agreed upon.

Sam: The planning process also gave us an appreciation for all the work it takes to plan a class and a trip with so many moving pieces involved. One of the challenges we faced during this process was working within our seven-week schedule to provide a logical progression of topics to create our curriculum, and then finding the speakers to present those topics to our students. One of the best things about planning this trip has been working with our wonderful team. Our openness in communicating and collective understanding of what it takes to be a part of this leadership team has really helped us work towards the goals we set for this experience.