When asked about his “favorite Kelley moment”, Ken Wendeln replies: the May 13, 2001 graduation.
On that date, Wendeln finished the MS in Accounting (MSA) degree program at the Kelley School of Business and changed careers to begin teaching full time. It was also around that time he passed all four parts of the CPA exam.
“Something my father said years ago has stuck with me,” explained Wendeln, now a clinical associate professor of management. “He said, ‘Ken, you got to the place you’re at as a result of a lot of people helping you. So, in your life, make time to give back.’”
“That’s how I look at my teaching career. As a professor at the Kelley School, I want to give students the same opportunities I had in my business career,” added Wendeln. “My goal is to produce good citizens and get them off to a good career start—because someone did that for me.”
Before starting at the Kelley School, Wendeln spent 30 years working in business across the globe, spending 15 years at the senior executive level.
He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame, and he started his career at Honeywell as an engineer. Once he started at Honeywell, Wendeln also began to pursue his MBA at the University of Chicago.
“If it wasn’t for my MBA, I believe my career path as an engineer would have been relatively limited. The MBA made a huge difference, and it started a pathway of growth in my career. People recognized the value of it,” said Wendeln. “When I finished my MBA, I was asked to move into an international marketing role with Honeywell. Soon after that, the company gave me the opportunity to move into a management role in Brussels, Belgium. That’s when my international career truly began, and I eventually managed and led a number of businesses across the globe.”
Years later, Wendeln and his family decided they would plant their roots in Indianapolis, where Wendeln pursued his MSA and CPA. During his time in the program at Kelley, Wendeln was approached to teach several accounting classes. Those several classes led to more classes, and before he knew it, Wendeln was teaching full time, using his international business experience to teach students more about the changing landscape of global business.
Wendeln also worked to bring the capstone class called Analysis of Business Decisions, or J411, to Kelley Indianapolis. Using the Capstone Simulation™, students make business decisions in this course and examine their impact on the organization. Wendeln also helped to create the professional development program for the Evening MBA Program, and he has continued to work to develop that program for MBAs – most recently adding a new course this fall called X571, The Leadership Circle, Mastering Your Leadership, that has as its centerpiece an advanced 360 feedback and coaching report.
In his time at IUPUI, Wendeln has also contributed to the university by focusing on strategies to increase student first-year retention and ultimately the campus graduation rate through a program called Gateway to Graduation.
Wendeln also works with a Gateway Community of Practice at IUPUI designed to promote academic integrity. The faculty and staff on that task force work to ensure that students and faculty are well-informed and held accountable for their academic conduct. He and several other faculty from IUPUI will present at the 8th Asia Pacific Conference on Educational Integrity in Sydney, Australia in November, where they will bring lessons learned in Indianapolis to share with the world.
When asked to offer advice to Kelley students, Wendeln shares the same advice his dad gave him years ago.
“Search out the best teachers—not the easy ones, the hard ones—the teachers who will truly help you learn. That’s what it’s all about,” he says. “Don’t take the easy way out; take the relevant way out. Find the professors and classes that will take you somewhere. That’s what you’re here for. That will develop your skills, as well as your character.”
“And don’t forget, learning doesn’t stop once you leave the classroom. It is lifelong. Enjoy the journey!”