by Joe Metts, MBA Candidate Class of 2022
The decision to pursue graduate education is one of the most life-altering choices you can make. Doing so in the midst of a global pandemic makes it even more daunting. When prospective students evaluate programs, they often do so while considering rankings, career outcomes, and program reputation, all of which are valuable metrics to assess. During these uncertain times, one criterion emerged as my deciding factor in choosing Kelley, community – and it’s something I believe every prospective should consider.
What do I mean by community? It encompasses the friends and colleagues you will make as a member of the program, the faculty and staff that make Kelley a world-class school to pursue a graduate business education and life in Bloomington – a college town unlike any other.
Friends and colleagues: Every MBA program touts their holistic decision-making process and they use “diversity” as a buzzword to generate interest among prospective students. In my MBA application journey, I found those topics to be sincere at the Kelley School of Business. In this program, you will find individuals from all walks of life, which includes race, ethnicity, gender, sex, socioeconomic status, work experience, academic performance, etc. There is truly no typical “Kelley” student profile, and it makes the program an exceptional place to learn both inside and outside of the classroom. The friendships and relationships I’ve made in a short time have made this one of the most enjoyable times of my life and I’ve had the privilege of meeting hundreds of incredible people and future business leaders as a member of the Kelley MBA program.
Faculty and staff support: Over the fall semester the United States saw the majority of its Top 25 MBA programs shift to virtual learning amidst the pandemic. While this precaution is a fair one, it fundamentally alters the learning environment at the student’s expense. At Kelley, our faculty and staff went above and beyond to keep us in the classroom through their generosity and commitment to the MBA experience. Our “Core” sections expanded from 2 to 3 – with professors agreeing to teach an additional course for the benefit of the students, and expansive safety measures were put in place to keep our student body healthy and present over the course of the semester. Every professor made themselves openly available to support students along the way, ensuring we had both the personal and academic resources available to succeed. There’s certainly value in attending a program with large class sizes, but there’s also a fine line between “building a network” and becoming a number, so carefully consider the program support available to students when making your business school decision.
Life in Bloomington: My friend Danielle VeZellos beautifully highlighted what she loves about Bloomington in 2020, so I encourage you to read her thoughts. I’d like to reiterate that I believe Bloomington is a place for everyone. As a native of Asheville, North Carolina, I saw many similarities between my hometown and Bloomington when assessing business schools and considering where I’d like to live. There are hundreds of restaurants spanning the global food scene, classic college bars, and independent shops and boutiques that line the town square, not to mention outdoor staples like Griffey Lake and Lake Monroe, just to name a few. Whether you’re from or currently live in a small to medium-sized town or are interested in taking a step away from the hustle of life in New York, L.A., or Chicago, Bloomington will be an excellent fit for you over the next 2 years.
A business school’s people – its students, staff, faculty, and alums – will be your closest allies and your best friends during your two years in an MBA program, so it’s important you join the right community. I may be a bit bias, but I’d say there’s none better than what you’ll find at the Kelley School of Business. Contact me or any of the Kelley MBA Hoosier Hosts to learn more! We’re always happy to chat.