By Jake Frego, MBA’21
Life within the Kelley MBA program has changed over the past few months, just as it has for the rest of the world. Since the conclusion of spring break, all classes have been conducted over Zoom, many of my classmates have returned home, and exams have been completed online. This is a time of uncertainty, during which end-of-the-year celebrations have been virtualized and internship plans have been subject to change or cancellation.
Yet, what I have found, and what I am sure many of my classmates would assert, is that this time of isolation has been an opportunity as well. Specifically, it has encouraged me to count and appreciate my blessings as a member of the Kelley MBA program. Distance does, in fact, make the heart fonder; I find that I am increasingly missing the casual conversations that occur in the hallways after class, the opportunity for my four roommates and I to host class gatherings at our house, and the ability to see my professors in-person. I know that my return to campus, when it does occur, will be sweet because it will be a joyous re-gathering of the Kelley community.
Kelleys rise to the occasion when presented with a challenge. Since March, this has been particularly evident across the Kelley community, as exhibited by students, faculty, and staff. With regard to students, I have witnessed my classmates collaborate to deliver exceptional outcomes, despite the inability to meet in-person. I was a member of a team that was scheduled to travel to Thailand for a GLOBASE trip over spring break. The trip was canceled, but, undeterred, my team members and I continued weekly calls with our Thai client. We delivered a pricing model that will improve the client’s ability to negotiate, and his feedback was, “Despite the best part of GLOBASE being canceled, you guys stuck with me and really went over and beyond to deliver something that will no doubt bring so much value as we move into this new side of the business. I can’t say enough how appreciative I am of you guys! I’ll say again, please come visit Thailand, especially Chiang Mai.”
Next, our faculty have been nothing short of excellent in their patience, availability, and competency. I have to admit, I was apprehensive about learning exclusively on-line. I have learned as much in this environment, however, as I did in-person, if not more. There have been many class sessions during which professors have handled technology snafus with grace and have graciously answered questions from the Zoom chatbox. And, finally, the Kelley staff has been noticeably proactive in their efforts to ensure that we feel supported and connected. For example, Executive Director Gale Gold Nichols hosted a cookie baking Zoom session on a weekend afternoon, which was attended by a mix of my first- and second-year peers.
While this semester has not transpired as expected, I can nonetheless say that it has been a good one. I look forward to the summer opportunities ahead and to more days in Bloomington in the future!