The MBA student experience, according to Professor Matt Will
Dr. Matthew Will started out like most other University of Indianapolis MBA professors did—in private industry. As an insurance and private equity executive, Dr. Will spent 15 years living in planes—traversing the country to buy companies in bankruptcy courts. As he started to have kids, Dr. Will sought a more family-friendly profession. Teaching at the university-level would do nicely. He landed his first professorship teaching at Johns Hopkins University.
“I thought, ‘This is the best job in the world,’” Dr. Will says. “I’ve got a great job for life.”
Even though he was instrumental in launching Johns Hopkins first MBA program, family connections brought Dr. Will back home to Indiana. He needed to find a new institution at which to teach, and he would field offers from IUPUI, Butler, and UIndy. Dr. Will was looking for a teaching school, a place where he could make connections with the classes he teaches. UIndy fit the bill nicely.
“We don’t have teaching assistants. We’re face-to-face with our students. We make a difference. It is the greatest school in Indianapolis in my opinion,” explains Dr. Will.
Here are three aspects of the UIndy MBA Dr. Will likes to highlight.
The Classroom Experience
Dr. Will explains: “We have a quantitative curriculum. It’s not for everybody.” He’s not shy of saying that the courses can be challenging, but they are designed around what companies are looking for—companies that work with the UIndy faculty.
Dr. Will teaches MBA 680: Corporate Financial Theory. Every student takes this core course, and Dr. Will realizes that some students “dread taking it.”
“It’s a tough class, but students get enough knowledge that they have the confidence to question on-the-job finance issues,” Dr. Will says. “I want my students to have the courage to participate in difficult finance conversations.”
Originally, Dr. Will would jump right into the math of finance. Now he begins by explaining the importance of the course and how it relates to the overall economy. He brings in a lot of (self-admitted) bad jokes and real world examples to make the class a valuable experience for his students.
Real World Connections
In Dr. Will’s business plan development class, he brings in the president of the largest web development company of Indianapolis. Students are then walked through the ideation of a new business.
“We bring in one of the leading entrepreneurs in the state, and he facilitates them developing a business,” Dr. Will says.
Dr. Will created this course because of the work he did with his former student, Brian Willsey. Brian founded Hotel Tango in Fountain Square, and Dr. Will helped him with his business plan. “He says, ‘I wish I had this class. I did it the hard way,’” Dr. Will explains.
Examples of students landing positions because of the UIndy network are numerous in Dr. Will’s experience. After a class tour of Chicago’s finance industry, one former student was hired at Goldman Sachs. Another landed at Digitas with Dr. Will’s guidance. Brian Willsey was placed at City Securities before starting his own business.
“There are two key components to success in life; what you know and who you know. We give you both,” Dr. Will says.
The entire UIndy MBA faculty and staff embody the student-centered culture that attracted Dr. Will to UIndy.
“If you say, ‘I’m going to miss an exam for a wedding,’ that’s fine. When do you want to take it?” Dr. Will says. “You can sit in another section. You can get notes from a classmate. You can set up special meetings with me.”
Professors at UIndy understand the importance of flexibility. They used to be working professionals, just like their students. Dr. Will recalls the standard undergraduate experience, where you’re in huge lecture halls and rarely get to talk to your professor. He values the opposite at UIndy.
“Our professors will give you their cellphone. They’ll talk to you on weekends. And we all know who you are. ‘Life connections’ is just a phrase at most places. Here, it’s a reality.”
Contact the Director of MBA Recruitment, Devon Pulliam, at 317.788.6206 to learn how a UIndy MBA can fit in your life.
Posted: October 20th, 2016 under UIndy Blog.