We’re in the business of putting butts in beds

I recently attended an MBA information session at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. The day began with a class “The Firm in the Capital Market”, an informational discussion with an admissions rep and 2 current MBA students, and ended with lunch with those two MBA students. It was a great experience and I learned a lot about myself and why I would want to pursue and MBA.

I had no idea what to expect from the class, nor did I even get to select that class that I was to sit in with. My student hostess shared with me the case study that they would be discussing that morning. The case was with regards to Coca-Cola and Pepsi Co. and essentially drawing parallels to their market numbers and the business decisions that influence investors and the Return on Invested Capital (ROIC):

A calculation used to assess a company’s efficiency at allocating the capital under its control to profitable investments. Return on invested capital gives a sense of how well a company is using its money to generate returns. Comparing a company’s return on capital (ROIC) with its weighted average cost of capital (WACC) reveals whether invested capital is being used effectively.

We looked at both companies from a lot of different angles – not just the products that they produce or what different entities that they own. I know I will never look at a Coke or Pepsi product in the same way again and while we know Coke and Pepsi are both popular for their fizzy drinks – they’re really just good at brand management and marketing. The class ended and left me filled with joy because of all the critical thinking that happened during the class and gave me lots to think about as I begin this MBA journey.

Next was a meeting with an admissions rep and two 2nd year MBA students. While in this meeting admissions rep asked me “Why do you want an MBA?” She assured me that I was not interviewing, rather that she wanted to help figure out if the Kelley program would be a good fit for what I wanted to do. I spoke about my career trajectory and how I’ve been in residence life/student affairs for seven year and while I appreciate the theory and the student development aspect of what we do, I’ve always been intrigued to look at higher education from a business model – after all – we are a large non-profit and residence life is in the business of putting butts into beds. Take away the glitter, the snaps, the butcher paper and door tags – when you break it down into simple terms: students+ beds + (optional) dining plan = $$$$$$$$$$$$.

I truly think that as a profession, we need to be more cognizant of higher education being a business, and therefore; residence life and housing a subset (think — we’re the Aqufina to the larger Pepsi Co) of the major company. I encourage you all to Google “Higher Education Business Plans” and read some of the articles. This article “Beyond the Inflection Point: Reimagining Business Models for Higher Education” is one that  caught my eye. More on this topic later — especially if I am afforded the opportunity to get into a program.

In simple terms, this is just one part of why I want to do an MBA program. Organizational leadership and  management definitely appeals to me – but so does non-profit management. I love coming in and improving systems, leaving a signature touch wherever I go. I would love to still be a Director of Development for a Student Affairs dept. and I think having an MBA will set me up for success.  I am optimistic about this new journey and what my future has in store for me.



September 2015
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