By Rob Melick, MBA’20
The full-time MBA program at the Kelley School of Business offers a unique learning experience called “The Core.” This 14-week intensive program is designed to give you an introduction to all the fundamental business concepts you’ll need to successfully navigate business school, your internship, and whatever career you choose after you leave Kelley. The Core is equal parts exciting, stressful, exhausting, and invigorating. Each incoming class is divided into three color-coordinated cohorts of around 60 students each and within that group of 60, you are placed on a smaller team of 4 or 5 people. You take all your classes with your cohort and do all your group projects with your smaller team.
As my time in “The Core” ends I am struck not only by the number of valuable business skills my classmates and I have picked up, but even more so by how close we have all become. The Core has certainly given us a great business toolkit to carry with us as we head into our second year at Kelley and into our future careers, but I’ll argue that the most valuable item this part of the program provides is the relationships.
I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know an amazing group of intelligent and driven people through group projects and class discussions that I will always call lifelong friends. Years from now we may forget exactly how to build an income statement, or which ‘P” comes first in the 4 P’s of marketing, but we’ll never forget our experience in “The Core” and the friendships we built in those first months of school. Friendships hardened by long nights studying and prepping cases stick with you in a way no classroom session about innovation “S-curves” can.
When we return from the winter break, for the first time in Business school we’ll be taking classes we’ve specifically chosen and starting the customized journey towards our eventual specialization and career path. The cohorts will be broken up and Core will be a distant memory as we head our separate ways through the remainder of business school. This distance will grow as we continue to choose majors and then move miles (or worlds) apart for our new careers, but we’ll always have “Core” and our friendships forged in that fire will last us a lifetime.
So, here’s to you fellow Kelley’s, especially my fellow Red Cohort members; It’s been an incredible journey since July and I can’t wait to see where you all end up so I can tell people “I knew them when…”