Kelley School of Business Indianapolis Seeks Companies Looking for New Growth Opportunities

IUPUI KelleyThe IU Kelley School of Business Indianapolis is looking for central Indiana companies to partner with undergraduate-student teams for its renowned Integrative Core (I-Core) Program. A release from the school has more:

I-Core is a distinguishing component of Kelley’s bachelor’s degree program. Junior-level students take a set of four integrated classes—marketing, finance, supply chain management and team dynamics and leadership—during a single semester. Kelley students say I-Core is one of the most meaningful experiences of their Kelley careers—a rite of passage to understanding the business world and the value of teamwork.

A team of students will meet with company representatives to establish a project that works to benefit the company. Students conduct research, analyze findings and provide a recommendation at the end of the semester.

Students may consider new goods or services, providing a feasibility study of the new product and market. They will determine if return on investment justifies risk and capital investment.

Company representatives are asked to participate in an on-campus meeting to talk about the company’s current business and provide background information to help student analysis.

 Results: Testimonials from company reps and students

Last academic year, one student team worked with RICS Software in Indianapolis. VP of Products and Technology Chris Kozlowski says the I-Core group looked at additional revenue opportunities for the company.

“If you have the resources to spare, and you are looking for ways to think about your business differently, it’s a no-brainer,” Kozlowski said about his experience with the Kelley I-Core team.

“You have students who will think about the ways you do business, and the exercise—just going through the process—is worth it. It’s always nice to hear a different perspective. The fruit is in the ideation that they produce and present to you. It’s a different take on your business, which allows you to see things differently,” said Kozlowski. “The ideas were original and well-thought through. It’s a great exercise because it casts the lens inward a bit. It’s always good to hear new and different ideas.”

Kelley student and supply chain major Salman Al Muqaimi, BS’17, was one of the students who worked with RICS Software.

“Working with RICS Software was a great opportunity,” Al Muqaimi said. “Interacting and working with business professionals taught me that important skill everyone needs to be successful in business: communication. Taking I-Core gave me a better picture of what business is and how companies use the science of business to help them succeed.”

“I consider the I-Core project to be a preparation course for real life in business. I-Core is the gate, and walking through this gate gives you the chance to apply knowledge you’ve learned in the classroom to the real world,” he added.

Chris Gray is the Founder and CEO of Track Ahead, a career development app that facilitates firsthand and indirect engagement between college students and employers to match them based on mutual fit. He also worked with a Kelley I-Core team, who used Track Ahead data to build their own business model.

“When you’re talking to students about an idea, they’re asking questions. Those are often the same type of questions we thought about when the business was just getting started. It puts you back into that ‘day one mindset,’ thinking about the answers to the kinds of questions that hadn’t been thought about in a while,” said Gray. “In the startup world, you have to keep that sort of ‘day one thinking.’ You can’t lose sight of the thought process and the things you were thinking about in the first place. I think it was a good exercise.”

“I would recommend the I-Core experience to any company,” said Gray. “Being involved with Kelley Indy students helps all of us in the business community—to make sure we’re growing and cultivating the next generation. We have to find the time to reach out to them.”

Accounting and finance major Jalen McCoy, BS’18, says I-Core taught him to work efficiently with a team and the importance of being a leader.

“I enjoyed working with a company that genuinely cared about the ideas we came up with,” said McCoy. “The I-Core experience for a company could be an excellent recruiting tool, and students may come up with ideas that act as a catalyst for growth. I know personally that this I-Core experience was truly one of a kind, and I appreciated the participation of the company that I was involved with.”

How to get involved

Please request and fill out an application if you’d like your business to be involved.

Any for-profit organization can apply. The ideal company will have been in business for at least 10 years (minimum of 5 years) and will have shown an operating profit for at least three years (minimum one year). The company must be incorporated as an S corporation, C corporation or an LLC.

If you would like more information on this program, or to request an application, contact Teresa Bennett at tkbennet(at)iupui.edu or at 317 278-9173.

IU Football Symbolizes Decisions Universities Must Make About Importance of Athletics

As an IU alum and football fan, this was obviously of great interest to me. The Indianapolis Business Journal’s recent article on the state of the school’s football program seems to highlight the risk vs. reward dilemma facing larger universities’ athletic budgets. When is it worth a major investment, and when should the pursuit of winning be scaled back?

Athletic Director Fred Glass has emphasized marketing, been the point man in radio and television commercials, and is leading the charge into a season that promises football financial gains not seen in Bloomington in a very long time.

While success on the field is not guaranteed, Glass is promising significant attendance increases and a continued rebirth of the football program that he believes will lead to critical fiscal gains for the school and its athletic department.

IU has a long way to go, and some critics wonder if it’s wise for the Hoosiers to chase the likes of Ohio State University … or even the University of Wisconsin. IU’s $55.7 million athletic department budget looks small compared with the Buckeyes’

“College athletics is a very dangerous investment for schools,” said David Ridpath, a professor of sports administration at Ohio University and past president of The Drake Group, a not-for-profit that bills itself as a watchdog for academic integrity in the face of big-time college sports.

“Schools can get caught up in chasing bigger programs with many more resources, and it becomes difficult to justify the expenses based on true return on investments.”

College Rankings Off the Gridiron

It’s college football season. I will journey to Muncie tonight to see if Ball State can maintain momentum from last year’s glory season. IU begins its latest rebuilding in a renovated Memorial Stadium (also tonight), while Purdue and Notre Dame open up on Saturday.

No Heisman Trophy candidates (the award goes to the best player in the college game) are likely to emerge from the state schools. For those teams that do possess star individuals, the public relations machine rolls into high gear as the season evolves.

Now, I’ll get to the point. College rankings (most famously by U.S. News & World Report) are taking on the same slant, with longtime Anderson University President James Edwards noting that personal letters from colleagues and glossy magazines from marketing departments touting various college and university achievements are becoming the norm in the reputation-building game.

Edwards, in that early 2008 BizVoice higher education roundtable, deadpanned that he "developed tremendous skills as a critic of rankings until we were more highly regarded." But, like those top players or teams, high rankings are celebrated while lower evaluations are downplayed.

Getting to the point, Part II: On Wednesday, Washington Monthly magazine released its own rankings, firing away at U.S. News in the process. A press release stated in part: "Whereas U.S. News relies on crude and easily manipulated measures of money and prestige … (we) rank schools based on their contributions to society."

The three categories in the new entry:

  • Social mobility — recruiting and graduating low-income students
  • Research — producing cutting-edge scholarship and Ph.Ds
  • Service — encouraging students to give something back to their country

Top Indiana schools appear to be Notre Dame (No. 19 in the national university category) and Earlham (No. 38 among liberal arts colleges). We’d like to see your thoughts on rankings in general, as well as this latest effort.

Full rankings are available here.

Research: Distance Impacts Structure of VC Funding

What do we know about venture capital — other than there isn’t quite as much in play today as in recent years?

In a recently compiled list of the most active VC firms in 2008, 40 were located in the Silicon Valley and San Francisco. Another 18 of the firms doing the most business were in Massachusetts. That distribution is nothing new.

Whether that fact makes it more difficult for Indiana and other Midwest companies to obtain funding is an age-old question. Some say it is a distinct disadvantage for Hoosiers, while others contend good ideas will find the money no matter the location.

Research from Xuan Tian, an assistant professor of finance at IU’s Kelley School of Business, finds that if companies do receive funds, the overall level is not impacted by distance. The structure of the financing, however, is subject to variances based on proximity.

The State Science & Technology Institute summarizes it this way:

Companies located farther from their venture investors receive more frequent rounds of financing with lower cash amounts per round. According to the study, this difference is attributable to the higher cost of monitoring companies that are farther away.

Investee companies that are located near their investors are able to meet with them regularly, minimizing the risk to the investor and the cost of gathering information.

Tian argues that monitoring and the staging of funding rounds are substitutes for each other. With the low-cost monitoring that is possible with nearby firms, venture firms can afford the larger risks associated with large, infrequent cash infusions. The cost of monitoring more distant companies means that venture firms are less willing to take those risks. More frequent funding rounds give investors the option of dropping a company that is not meeting its goals, with fewer losses.

Less Time in School? You Have to be Kidding

The article we’re going to link to at the end of this post is from the Des Moines Register, generally regarded as a strong newspaper. The author, Staci Hupp, is a former education reporter for the Indianapolis Star who did an admirable job covering education issues while here in Indiana. (Both are Gannett publications, but we’ll save the fate of newspapers for another day.)

Staci writes a thorough story explaining why an Iowa school district wants a waiver to go to a four-day school week. Money is driving the move, with past questionable budgets and a bookkeeping error putting the district in financial trouble.

While saving money is good, this isn’t the proper route. The absolute most important two sentences of this story are the last two (at least in the online version; we’re sure the research box was a more prominent sidebar in print). They read: 

"Students in Asia and Europe typically attend school an average of 220 days a year. The U.S. average is 180 days, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures."

We can’t afford less classroom time. We’re already falling behind the rest of the world in educational achievement, particularly in the math and science areas.

Iowa, and Indiana, are at that 180-day figure. There are several bills in the Indiana General Assembly that, while not taking the four-day-a-week approach, would also dilute the education effort. The focus should be on more dollars to the classroom, expanding school choice and more. Instead, we’re fighting back gimmicks that would serve no useful purpose and, in fact, prove detrimental to our competitiveness and our young people’s futures.

Here’s the Iowa story. Read to the end as it also references a previous IU study that disputes the potential savings.

Beijing Olympics Serve as Educational Tool

Catching bits and pieces of Olympic television coverage (and who couldn’t watch at least a little on any of the many "family" of NBC networks) over the weekend prompts the following:

  • I consider myself a fairly intelligent 45-year-old who pays attention to what goes on around him. But who knew there really were 205 countries eligible to participate in these Olympic Games. Guinea and Guinea-Bissau, both different from Papua New Guinea? Mauritania and Mauritius? Where are Comoros and Turkmanistan? Maybe our children going back to school in this and coming weeks could gain a world history lesson.
  • The U.S. is certainly guilty in other areas, but a $300 million price tag for the opening ceremonies? Think of the other ways some of that money could have been spent.
  • There is a rule in place that gymnastics (maybe all) competitors have to be at least 16 years old. Most of the Chinese female gymnasts, however, appear to have been babies during the 1996 Atlanta Games rather than the 1992 event in Barcelona.
  • That said, the Games are capitivating. It’s not just national pride, but watching the underdogs, from wherever, competing against the big countries is what it’s all about.
  • Michael Phelps might erase former IU Hoosier Mark Spitz from the record book, but 41-year-old Dara Torres swimming — and successfully — against women half her age is truly amazing.
  • This is supposed to be about business. So, we’ll end with no matter what you think about China and its politics, rest assured that the country will continue to grow in prominence and in its place in the international business world.

Also, read the China Business Review’s take on the overall impact the Olympics will have on Beijing and the nation.