Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Our last business experience of the trip was a visit with Ms. Laura Spingola, the President of Trade Resources LTD, an international market development firm. She built her business through assisting companies in determining their import and export options. She graciously met us at our hotel to talk us through her experiences, providing photographs of past client projects and research reports she has created for companies.
Ms. Spingola typically takes on 12 companies at a time, working with a large number of freelance assistants and a handful of interns. She described how she built her business over 26 years, including the example of a candy company she networked with for about a year. After this company contracted her services, she researched expansion possibilities with Taiwan, Korea, and Japan, creating databases of potential buyers for their candies. This company was ultimately successful in Taiwan. She commented on the small number of US companies that get involved in exporting, sharing that the complexities of supply chain, taxes, and regulations are often deterrents. Providing a historical perspective on the changes in business over two decades, Ms. Spingola cited how technology has changed business methods. She encouraged us to continue to find ways to connect face to face, as this is an important part of establishing credibility in a business environment.
Following her presentation, we made a mad dash to change out of our business wear and into comfy clothes for the ride home. Our bus driver was luckily in the area, and amenable to picking us up early. We reconvened with the Arts & Culture trip for the ride home, with a stop in Lafayette for dinner.
Tomorrow is our IUBeginnings Celebration in Fine Arts 015, starting at 3:00pm. While I know we are all glad to be getting back to Bloomington, it will be good to reconnect tomorrow to reflect on this amazing experience.
Thanks for a great trip…I’ll see you in the bschool!
Our final morning in Chicago proved to be the most challenging with bussing. We had to make a transfer to reach our location and our careful directions, printed faithfully from goroo, were not the most accurate. After a few brief conversations with city bus drivers (a remarkably friendly group of folks), we made it to the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower). We then provided our driver’s licenses to security, who printed individualized passes for each of us to use to go through the metal detectors for admittance to the 16th floor. We were visiting Ernst & Young in their last month of occupancy in the Willis Tower. They are moving to a new location a few blocks away.
Ernst & Young welcomed us with water and muffins, a welcome treat after our bussing adventure. We were greeted by one of the campus recruiters, Ms. Katie Goldenburg , who was responsible for organizing our visit. Our presentation was given by Mr. Greg Bednar and Mr. Ryan Butman, who gave us an excellent overview of the four different service areas of Ernst & Young. Our group immediately dove into questions, learning what an audit was and what other areas of support Ernst & Young provides for businesses. Mr. Bednar highlighted the three big focus areas of the firm: people, quality, and growth. Ernst & Young has a well-established relationship with Indiana University and Kelley, hiring 60 people from IU for internships and jobs each year and providing funding for diversity and leadership initiatives.
Ryan is a Kelley grad who shared his journey to Ernst & Young. He described how he came to the firm a little over 8 years ago, and how he has continually found opportunities for development and growth within the firm. He is currently in Transaction Advisory Services, which means that he works with companies who need a closer look at different aspects of their business. He shared the example of a company who manufactures cars and is concerned about the supply chain for the car components. His area might help this company assess the health of the constituents in the supply chain, so that the company can be flexible in billing practices to allow for the continued production of the needed components.
This visit was an excellent snapshot into the world of a Big Four accounting firm. We learned that Ernst & Young can offer opportunities in marketing and consulting, in addition to the traditional auditing functions. One of our participants remarked as we walked away from the Willis Tower, “I think that just changed my entire career path. I never knew that all those things existed there.” It is precisely this kind of reflection that I hoped this trip would provide to participants.
These students are returning to campus with a broader vision of their future. For some, this trip cemented their interest in business. For others, it has opened their eyes to brand new possibilities they didn’t even know existed. Regardless of where they began, they are entering their first business classes this fall with a richer, more informed perspective. I can’t wait to see what they tell me about their first few weeks in classes!
Monday, August 23, 2010
The group decided just before we went into American Girl that they would like to eat dinner all together at The Cheesecake Factory across the street. With 22 of us in total, we are a slightly intimidating group (especially when we choose to get on your bus!). But our excellent and forward-thinking chaperones made a reservation before we headed into American Girl.
And here's what the "in room" party looked like. We are one fun bunch, and this picture pretty much sums that up.
Tomorrow we have a very early morning, our earliest yet, as we have to be checked out of our rooms and on our way to Ernst & Young by 8:00am. Ouch!
We will meet with Laura Spingola, a Kelley alumn and president of Trade Resources LTD in the early afternoon at our hotel. We'll then load the bus and head back to Btown, stopping along the way for dinner. I have no doubt that our group will be catching up on their sleep on the way back to campus.
We'll then have an IUBeginnings all-trip reunion on Wednesday, August 25, at 3:00pm in Fine Arts 015 (the building to the left as you face the IU Auditorium). As we have been very close for the previous 5 days, I'm sure that we'll all be feeling a little separation anxiety. The Wednesday celebration will give us a great chance to reconnect.
I'll try to post tomorrow before we leave Chicago, but if not...we'll see you back in Btown!
Sunday, August 22, 2010
The Kelley School of Business Undergraduate Program has contributed immeasurably to this trip. From staffing to purchase orders, alumni contacts to professionalism workshops, my colleagues have been incredibly helpful. I know they will continue to be a phenomenal resource for these students through academic advising, study abroad experiences, student organizations, and community service opportunities.
Grace, Erik, and Sue the T-Rex at the Field Museum on Saturday.
Every freshman, no matter how confident and centered, will have some fears about
this transition. From Greek life to Calculus, we were able to spend a little time talking about what to expect and how to prepare for this next big change.
We then headed out to Chicago's House of Blues. The performance we saw included a full brunch and a gospel show. The Arts & Culture trip also had tickets for this show, so we got to see the other group who is in Chicago right now as well.
We were also joined by a Kelley alum, Brad S., who is in his second year of law school at Loyola. He talked with a few of our students who were interested in law school before the gospel show got started. While informal and brief, my hope is that these kinds of opportunities to ask questions will help participants stay motivated to pursue their personal goals.
A unique production was on at the part when we arrived, a Chinese love story that was being acted out in different locations in the park. A few scenes would run, then the actors would change locations.
Our group explored all over the park, checking out the gardens, the Gehry architecture, and of course the "Cloud Gate," more commonly referred to as the "Bean." Unsubstantiated rumor has it that several students engaged in public napping, falling asleep on the park's green lawns. We are on a brief break for dinner now in the Water Tower area, and then we'll meet tonight for some discussions. Tomorrow is a big site visit for us, BDT Capital, so we will want to be fresh and ready to go!