Friday, March 30, 2012

Hodge Hall: A fitting honor for a humble man

James R. Hodge, flanked by IU President Michael McRobbie (left) and Interim Provost Lauren Robel and Kelley School of Business Dean Dan Smith during the naming ceremony for the Hodge Hall Undergraduate Center.

James R. Hodge is a man of few words. He's humble, quiet, thoughtful, reserved, and he doesn't seem very comfortable being the center of attention. 

Somehow that made today's official naming ceremony for the Hodge Hall Undergraduate Center even more special.

Kelley School Dean Dan Smith said Hodge's story is based on kindness and generosity and reaching out to help others.

"Jim, you embody all of the values that we hold dear at the Kelley School," Smith said. "Your story is a story about an amazing work ethic. Our students will learn that success never comes easy and demands focused commitment. Your story is about integrity. Our students will learn that there are no short cuts and that success can be acheived without compromising sound values."

Indiana University President Michael McRobbie presided over the naming ceremony, which recognized Hodge's $15 million gift for the $60 million renovation and expansion of the building that opened in 1966.

"Forty years later, after the first time I set foot on this campus in fact, both the building and I are due for a facelift," Hodge said with a smile, adding later, "It makes me feel really good to do something with the goodness that's fallen on me, for the institution that's done so much for me."

Hodge graduated with highest distinction from the Kelley School in 1974. The native of Marion, Ind., went on to earn an MBA from Harvard and become president of Permal Asset Management in New York.

Hodge's gift was originally made anonymously, but he agreed to come forward to encourage others to give to the building campaign.

Smith said without Hodge's "game-changing" gift, the Kelley School might not have gotten a $33 million grant from the Lilly Endowment. Along with other private and corporate gifts, the grant means not one dollar of taxpayer support or student tuition will be used in the expansion and renovation of the existing building. Construction is scheduled to begin shortly after graduation in May.

IU Bloomington Interim Provost Lauren Robel observed that the building and the Kelley School are integral to the life of the university.

"Hodge Hall will be rocket fuel for our wonderful faculty and student body and give them the space they need to strengthen and expand their partnerships with other units around the campus, and the technology to collaborate in real time with other scholars and corporate partners overseas," she said.

Hodge serves on the board of directors of the IU Foundation and on the Kelley School of Business Dean's Council. A lifetime member of the IU Alumni Association, he also is a member of the IU Foundation President's Circle and 1820 Society.

Also speaking today were Kelley Undergraduate Faculty Chair Tom Lenz, Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan and Sav Pillay, a senior from Zionsville, Ind., and president of the Kelley Student  Government.

-- Media Manager George Vlahakis of the IU Communications office contributed to this post.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Kelley MBAs win diversity case comp at Notre Dame

Just a few weeks after Kelley Undergrads hosted their first-ever intercollegiate diversity case competition in Bloomington, a team of Kelley School MBA candidates walked away with the big prize at the Notre Dame Diversity Conference Case Competition in South Bend.

Impressive on its own, but even moreso when you consider two of the members had never participated in a case competition, the majority of the team had returned from international working spring break projects the day the case was revealed, and none of the team members had supply chain experience.

The case competition, sponsored by Ernst & Young, revolved around a problem with a fictional beverage company that was experiencing supply chain inefficiencies.

After a morning presentation, the Kelley team of 
Julia Kidder, Matt MoldenhauerRick Newkirk and Nikhil Singh reached the final round of the case competition along with teams from Chicago Booth, Purdue and Rutgers.

There was a different set of judges to impress in the afternoon for the school-blind contest, but the Kelley team earned the $5,000 first-place prize.

"None of us are supply chain or ops folks, but we had some pretty good ideas that I think the judges really latched onto," said Newkirk, who, along with Kidder, had never participated in a case competition. "To win one like that just feels terrific."

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Kelley brings top talent to Midwest Diversity Case Competition

Students and company recruiters network before the
case competition.

Students from nine area universities competed in
Kelley's first Midwest Diversity Case Competition.
Kelley's Student Diversity Council recently brought together top talent from area universities for its first intercollegiate Midwest Diversity Case Competition.

Erick Ferrer, a Kelley junior majoring in finance and entrepreneurship, said one of his goals when he became president of KSDC was to make the Kelley School of Business "the premier hub for diversity" in business schools and to promote diversity in the business world.

The Student Diversity Council is sponsored by the Kelley Office of Diversity Initiatives, whose director, Malik McCluskey, is the organization's adviser. Since its inception in 2007, KSDC has sponsored a diversity case competition internally at the Kelley School every year. It was always the intent to grow the event to include other schools and, in turn, transform business education at Kelley and throughout the country by supplementing the traditional business curriculum with issues of diversity and inclusion.
Kelley School Dean Dan Smith talks
with participants.

“To my knowledge, this is the only inter-collegiate business case competition devoted to examining diversity and inclusiveness anywhere in the country,” said McCluskey, who added it would be hard to overestimate the importance of the event. 

"People are often only told that we promote these two ideals by 'stepping out of one’s skin.' ... Not only is such advice vague and often unhelpful, but it in fact could make matters much worse, especially without real and concrete examples that show why diversity and inclusiveness are important, why it is incumbent upon all of us to promote these ideals, and what steps we can take to ensure that these ideals govern our institutions and corporations."

Conor Schmitt, a senior majoring in economics and co-director of the event, said KSDC has gotten great support and encouragement from the school.

"The incredible representation of the value Kelley places on diversity is, to me, one of the most important things about the competition," Schmitt said.

KSDC students started working with faculty and top recruiting companies in July, securing judges and sponsorship from six companies: Target Corp., Allstate Insurance, Xerox Corp., Huron Consulting, General Mills and KPMG.
Teams from University of Illinois, Michigan State University, University of Minnesota, Ohio State University, Purdue University, University of Chicago, Washington University in St. Louis, University of Iowa, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne were invited to the competition, which included a career fair and networking dinner with the sponsors.

The teams got the case in advance. The challenge? Help Target, the main sponsor of the event, craft a plan to meet the needs of its Hispanic customers in 25 years, when they are projected to become the retailer's biggest demographic.

"The students competing from other schools were given three weeks to put together their presentation, and the quality of their ideas and presentation of them showed us that they used all three weeks to plan, and used them very well," Schmitt said.

Kelley junior Jon Sobilo, co-director of the event, said the success of the event wouldn't have been possible without the enthusiasm and support of the Kelley faculty, staff and corporate partners.

"As a student, you face an uphill battle, in some respects, in getting others to take your ideas seriously and invest in them. Our experiences could not be farther from this norm," said the finance major. He said he hopes the intercollegiate case competition is indicative of the Kelley School's commitment to diversity initiatives.

"In his address to participants, Dean Dan Smith spoke very eloquently about the need for going beyond diversity in its quantifiable forms -- demographic data, etc.," Sobilo said. "He talked about a 'culture of inclusiveness' where collaboration and progress supersedes any biases and cultural barriers. It's one thing to speak about the need for diversity and equal opportunity. It is an entirely different thing to actually create that environment."

The winners:
1st Place, $5,000: Washington University in St. Louis --
Amanda Signorelli, Kirsten Miller, Jason Yakabu,
Daniel Bernard

2nd Place, $4,000: University of Chicago -- Rodrigo
Andres Blandon Avila, David Akinin, Alberto de
Leoni Ramos Da Costa e Silva

3rd Place, $3,000: Indiana University Kelley School
Robin JiangJayant J. Trewn, Shirin S. Baradaran,
Hamza Ali Haroon

4th Place, $2,000: University of Minnesota -- Matt
Blumberg, Virginia Chan, Vallari Ajgaonkar, Eric M. White
5th Place, $1,000: University of Illinois -- Frederick
Hayes Jr., Courtney Owens, Kimberly Jones, Lindsey