Victor Calderon Rojas, Kelley MBA Class of 2024
Hometown: Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Occidente (ITESO)
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 10 years in the sustainability industry in various job positions.
Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
For me going back to business school was on my bucket list. After spending 10 years developing my own business, I decided it was time to move on. I have always thought that education is the most important part of every human being. The more prepared you are, the easier it will be to make good decisions in the future. Since I was in college, I wanted to study to get an MBA because I wanted to get a deeper knowledge of business and consumer behavior. The United States has always attracted me because it has one of the best educational systems in the world, and even though I knew it was going to be a major challenge in my life, I have always focused on tackling great challenges and excelling.
Why did you choose Indiana Kelley? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
After doing extensive research across all business schools, in the United States and around the world, I realized that Kelley offers something that no other business school teaches — how to make ethically aware decisions. Of course, Kelley is one of the best business schools in the world, and although I had several offers of admission, for me Kelley was the only one. Although I had never been to the Midwest, I was always drawn to the culture of this area. After all, it is a core part of the roots of the United States. I wanted to be in a quiet environment, but with world-class teachers. Kelley offered me that.
There is something unique about Kelley. I visited many business schools around the U.S. As soon as arrived at Kelley, I felt at home. For me, life and school balance is important. Bloomington is a college town, but it has many activities to do outside the classroom. There is always something to do around the city.
What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2024?
As an entrepreneur of various businesses, I believe that I can contribute to my class a unique perspective. Having never worked in a large company, I know the challenges that small and medium-sized businesses face when it comes to generating profits. It sounds trite but thinking outside the box has made me successful in many projects. In addition, my experience in the environment combined with international business can make me an important asset to any team. I believe that our differences in academic and cultural backgrounds make us unique in many ways.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself that didn’t get included on your application:
I love going to concerts. I have been to over 150 major concerts around the world. I use concerts as an excuse to travel.
Post-MBA career interests:
My interests include pursuing a career in product management or sales, within product management I want to manage the life cycle of a product or service. Moreover, as a sales manager, I want to build strong relationships with corporate clients.
Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
–What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Research. It is the most important part of any application. Talk with faculty, that will give you a sense about the culture of the program. Talk with current students and ask them about their journeys. Be curious about the programs and use more than the school website. Try to attend webinars and events. If you have the chance to visit schools so you can have a better idea of student life, do it.
In the end, having the motivation to go to the business school of your dreams makes you want to improve your scores. People may think that scores are the most important thing. Don’t get me wrong, they are very important, but with practice and time eventually, the results will come. However, having that motivation of wanting to be in a specific place makes you want to go the extra mile.
–What is one thing you would change or do differently?
I probably would have applied sooner. I applied in the second round. However, I already had all my documents prepared to apply in the first round. If you have the scores and the letters of recommendation, apply as soon as possible. That will help you to have certainty in the decisions you have made regarding the selection of schools.
–What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
I have always been a person who is willing to help. However, I have always thought that one of my weaknesses is asking for help. When I saw that the applications had to include a letter of recommendation, I would have skipped that part. It was one of the last things I did, and although the people I asked helped me without any problem, I thought it was a liability, which leads me to recommend — do not procrastinate. If recommendations are required, ask your recommenders early. If there is something in the application that is difficult for you, do it first. This will help to alleviate the pressure off you.
What is your initial impression of the Indiana Kelley students/culture/community?
Being an international student, I was always a bit scared when communicating with native speakers. When I arrived at Kelley, I was apprehensive at first, however, after a few minutes, I realized that people were really interested in meeting me, regardless of language barriers.
The cultural scene is incredible, there is always an event in the city. At first, I thought that being in a college town I would have trouble adapting, especially coming from a big city. Since I arrived at Kelley, I realized that most of us come from other countries or from other states. We have become in a short time not only friends but family. One of the stigmas of business schools is that you coexist with your competition. This could not be further from reality; you feel the camaraderie in the school. You can always find someone to talk to about any topic. This is not only between students. One of the things that have seemed most incredible to me is that you can see the teachers and staff at social events. Having the privilege of being able to talk to the best teachers in the world about football (Go Hoosiers!) has been a pleasant surprise for me. The vibe of the city is amazing, everyone gives you a smile. You feel a big sense of community. For international students is great to feel at home.
What is one thing you have learned about Indiana Kelley that has surprised you?
How classes in the first semester interrelate. It’s not that you see accounting and then strategy as different classes. Teachers are always in constant contact with each other to relate topics between classes. In this way, the case studies are not only related to one subject, but to all the fundamental courses. Also, I like the fact that the classes are challenging but the teachers do their best to make the class as enjoyable as possible. In the end, everything comes down to studying, but, if possible, having a little fun in the process.
In addition, one of the cornerstones of the MBA is Me Inc. Me Inc. is a compulsory program that is completely different from anything I have experienced. You and your classmates are in a safe environment to share details that probably not even our families know. The fact that you create those relationships in the first weeks will make you feel secure for the whole program. Of course, the preparation for interviews, behavioral science, and so on are very important. Nevertheless, you cannot achieve that without first being introspective about yourself.
What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
The classes, being so demanding, make your school-life balance shift to one side. Kelley has done a wonderful job organizing networking and social activities. Sometimes I get a bit of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) from the fact that I can’t do everything. I keep thinking about how to balance that part. Eventually, I’ll make it.
What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
The academies are an immersive experience to focus on the industry field you want to work in. The academy that I chose is the Business Marketing Academy, in which we will soon visit companies related to B2B. This helps students to learn about company culture, introduce you to recruiters, and learn about the different positions available.
Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your personal application or admissions process in any way? If so, how?
I had to postpone my admission to university due to the economic circumstances that COVID left in my country. Although it was a hard moment for me, now I understand that it was the best decision I could have made, and now I have the opportunity to continue my MBA.