By Grady T Trela, MBA’23
When I was applying to business school, I found it difficult to picture what life as an MBA student would be like. You can read a thousand articles and talk to as many students, but there’s something to be said for experiencing business school firsthand. One thing I didn’t fully grasp was how clubs in an MBA program would work. I could remember my club experiences from undergrad, but for some reason, I imagined clubs in business school would be less fun, maybe even stodgy. Luckily for me, I was wrong.
One of my most vivid memories from the fall of my first year was the club fair. Staff had erected a large white tent behind the business school, and the second-year leaders of the various Kelley MBA clubs sat at banquet tables underneath it signing up first-years to their club lists. Kelley divides its clubs into three types: professional clubs, affinity clubs, and interest clubs. Some of the clubs under these umbrellas include Consulting Club, Investment Club, Net Impact, Asian MBA Association, Black MBA Association, Out@Kelley, Food Club, Soccer Club, and the Adam Smith Society among several others. Having spent a year in the program, I’ve come to see the wide range of club offerings at Kelley as a direct reflection of the great diversity of backgrounds and thought within the student body.
As a Marketing major at Kelley, I joined the Marketing Club, a professional club. The professional clubs at Kelley are a great way to network with other students interested in your career focus area and to meet second years who can share their experiences about the internship recruiting process and knowledge about different companies. The Marketing Club hosts several events throughout the year, along with casing workshops that provide tips for cracking marketing cases. It also had great guest speakers this year, some highlights for me are the CEO of Aldi, Jason Hart, and the former CMO of 3M, Paul Acito. Before business school, I couldn’t imagine that I would have access to this level of industry leadership during my MBA experience.
In my first year, I also joined the golf club, an interest club of which I am now the VP, and the Food Club. One of the great Golf Club traditions is the Ryder Cup event that the Golf Club puts on in the fall. The event was held at Eagle Valley golf course this year and pits the first years against the second years. The cool fall weather started out overcast but warmed up in time for the second years to pull off a clear win. (If only my short game had warmed by then!) In addition to being a fun way to spend the afternoon, the Ryder Cup is a great way for Kelleys from different class years to get to know one another. Food Club is another interest club and hosts several events throughout the year. This year, it hosted a Korean hot pot night, a Chinese buffet, a BBQ night, and organized an NCAA watch party over beer and wings.
While I signed up for several club email lists during my first year, I did not end up attending events for all of those clubs. Still, I would advise incoming Kelley MBA students to sign up for every club they’re interested in so they can be on the email list and see which events are coming up. There are no strict attendance requirements for any clubs at Kelley, so you can attend as many or as few events as you like. My only regret so far at Kelley is that I missed some events I really wanted to attend. The good news, though, is that I have another whole year to dive deeper into the clubs I love.