BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The Indiana University Kelley School of Business is preparing to welcome 18 MBA students who are members of its 55th class of Consortium for Graduate Study in Management fellows.
Better known as The Consortium, the national organization co-founded by the Kelley School in 1966 enhances diversity in business education through merit-based support and mentoring for African American, Hispanic and Native American students. It has encouraged more than 10,000 men and women of color to earn a graduate business degree, including more than 950 who have earned Kelley MBAs with support through the Consortium.
Among the new students at Kelley this fall will be Natalia Corredor, recipient of the Consortium’s 2021 Wallace L. Jones Fellowship, which is awarded to Consortium fellows with good character, who have demonstrated abilities toward future potential. She is the eighth Kelley MBA to be so honored since the fellowship was established in 1996 in recognition of the organization’s second director.
Corredor, a native of Colombia who came to the United States as a child and is also a Forté Foundation Fellow, said that receiving the Jones Fellowship served as validation that pursuing an MBA was the right decision.
“As a career switcher, I have a lot of insecurities when it comes to selling myself as the professional the MBA will help me become versus what I can contribute today,” she said. “Receiving the Wallace L. Jones Fellowship means that the Consortium sees ‘evidence of talent, achievement, and good character’ in me, and that gives me the extra confidence boost I needed to tackle both the MBA program and recruitment.
“My goal is to work for a technology-forward company that provides leadership opportunities and puts people before profit. I’m unsure about the specific function I’m targeting, but I’m interested in exploring business transformation roles, product management roles, and leadership development programs,” she added. “I know that the Kelley program plus my determination to excel equals a recipe for success.”
A Kelley graduate encourages other Consortium fellows to pay it forward
At the Consortium’s annual orientation in mid-June, Corredor was introduced to just one Kelley example of this recipe’s outcome. Darrell Farlough, a global procurement leader at a leading multinational energy company, was one of the presenters.
A Louisiana native and the son of a carpenter and a stay-at-home mom, Farlough graduated from Kelley with an MBA in marketing and international business in 1993 and was a Consortium fellow. Before, he had been working as a business process control engineer at IBM and had earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Dillard University, an HBCU based in New Orleans, and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Columbia University.
“I started taking graduate business courses part-time after a year at IBM,” Farlough said. “Then I heard about the Consortium and I applied and was accepted. I’ll never forget that day.”
A first-generation college graduate, Farlough is the oldest of three boys, all mechanical engineers. One of his brothers earned an MBA from Purdue. “But we won’t hold that against him,” he said.
Among those at Kelley who left an ineligible impression was former admissions director Patricia Mulholland, who hosted him and his Consortium classmates in her home, even after her retirement. They remain in touch to this day. “She really wanted us to succeed,” he said.
Another person at Kelley who Farlough remembers fondly is Allyn Curry, who served as a mentor to many Consortium students and who was instrumental in creating and enhancing diversity initiatives at Kelley for 30 years.
While at Kelley, Farlough studied abroad at Alliance Manchester Business School in England and had a “phenomenal internship” at Exxon Company International (now Exxon Mobil), an experience that later had a huge impact on his career. The internship kindled a lifelong desire to work in the energy industry, but when he graduated it was in a slump and good management positions weren’t available.
He went on to work at Ford Motor Company for 13 years and was a senior manager at Sara Lee for two years. Later, he was able to leverage the Exxon internship into a management position at BP.
“The energy industry has the reputation of being insular. They generally don’t like hiring people from other industries — they like people who are home grown,” he said. “I was able to sell that Exxon experience with a very strong sales pitch to BP and I ended up working there for 10 years. If I had never worked at Exxon that summer, I wouldn’t be in the energy industry today.
“So many wonderful things happened to me while I was at IU,” he added. “My MBA gave me all of the skills that I still use today, from understanding how business works to being able to read accounting statements and leading teams. I’m in supply chain management and I’ve negotiated numerous contracts with billion-dollar companies. The education I received at IU was first-rate.”
He also had an active social life while in business school. Farlough is a Life Member of the Grand Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, which was founded on the IU Bloomington campus in 1911.
At the orientation in June, Farlough spoke about the need to continue to support business schools, the Consortium and organizations like it. Earlier this year, Kelley and Consortium alumni Derica and Robin Rice made a $1 million gift to Kelley to support Consortium students at the school. Their generosity will support annual fellowships for two first-year Consortium students and two second-year Consortium students, who will be referred to as Rice Consortium Fellows.
Shortly before graduation, Farlough pledged to giving annually to the Consortium, as well as to IU. He is proud of the fact that he has followed through with that commitment each year – including 34 separate gifts to Kelley — and that every company he has worked for has matched his gifts. At orientation, he encouraged the current class of 628 Consortium fellows going to Kelley and 20 other member business schools to similarly support “the next generation of talented minority business leaders.”
Kelley’s involvement with organizations such as The Consortium and the Forté Foundation highlights a critical mission and principles for the school, especially as it heads into its next 100 years, said Idalene “Idie” Kesner, Kelley’s dean and the Frank P. Popoff Chair of Strategic Management.
“Our mission is educating business leaders of the future,” Kesner said. “It’s important that our students have the leadership capabilities to lead business organizations, which will have a heavily diverse workforce and serve an increasingly multicultural society. We’re doing all that we can to prepare them for that role that they’re going to play.”