For Kelley student Junlin Chen, his mom has always been his inspiration.
“We’ve been really close my whole life,” Junlin explains. “She’s inspired me in a lot of different ways.”
So when Junlin saw his mom, Qing He, go back to school for business after they moved to the United States from China, he decided to do the same. He applied to the Kelley School of Business at both IUPUI and Bloomington, but chose IUPUI because of a scholarship – and because he was inspired by his mom.
“I saw her hard work. She gave me tips on how to study, and she’s the main reason I’m here,” he adds.
A move to the U.S. and pursuing a business degree
Qing and Junlin moved to the U.S. in 2014 when Junlin was 12.
Qing decided that although she had worked in business in China, she could give more to society if she dedicated herself to learning more about American culture and business practices.
“I knew I could do well for myself and contribute to the community — I just needed the tools and understanding of American culture to bring my best work in this new environment,” she explains.
In 2016, Qing and Junlin moved to Indianapolis, where Qing was accepted into the Kelley School of Business at IUPUI.
“I couldn’t believe I had this chance in my life,” she explains. “This has been one of the great opportunities of my life. I never, ever thought I’d end up studying at the Kelley School.”
A family affair
And it’s become a family affair. Qing and Junlin say they have always been close, and going to school together Junlin as a freshman and Qing now a graduating senior), they say experience has helped their bond grow even stronger.
“I told him before he got into Kelley, something I remember learning in the leadership class: there’s no individual hero. I encourage him to be a contributing member and emphasize the team. That’s one thing I’ve learned here,” she says.
Junlin plans to major in finance and management, while Qing completed her studies this spring with a major in supply chain management.
“It’s been a wonderful experience,” Qing says. “I love every class. I feel like every course has a highlight that made me excited — Something different from what I looked at before. I love complicated and problem-solving courses, and that’s what I’ve gotten here.”
As Qing graduates, she’s planning to pursue a career in supply chain and finance here in Indianapolis, and Junlin is looking forward to the next several years – Although he may miss seeing his mom in the hallways.
“It’s been such a bonding experience to be in the same business school at the same time. I’m so proud of him, and I’m proud of where we’ve come from and where we will go,” said Qing.
All the (Kelley) Family
Qing and Junlin aren’t the first mother/child duo that have shared a common thread in their Kelley pursuit. In fact, over the years, many moms have been able to celebrate their own accomplishments alongside their children.
56-year-old Sharon Lutz had started her degree after she was married to her husband Terry in 1981, but “like everything else in a newly married couple’s life, life got in the way,” explains Terry. Decades later, their son’s words motivated Sharon to start again.
“She said there wasn’t anything keeping her from going back to school, and actually, she wanted to go back. So we decided to make a go of this together,” Bryan said.
The challenge was on for this mom and son duo. The mission? To both earn a degree—and to do it together. And they did. Although Brian and Sharon were in a car accident that kept her from walking in the IUPUI ceremonies, both Brian and Sharon received their diplomas in 2016.
“I’m so proud of their accomplishments. I’m extremely proud they were able to work together, and they met the goals they set for each other. I just want to walk around and thump my chest, saying ‘My family, they graduated!’” said Terry.
“It’s hard to describe, seeing my mom grow with me through this journey,” said Bryan. “It’s such a fulfillment. I’m so proud.”
Olga Hall, MSA’09 Olga earned her degree the same year her daughter, Kate Gwyn, BS’13, enrolled at Kelley.
“I really encouraged Kate to enroll because I thought it fit her interests perfectly and provided great opportunities,” said Olga.
“My mom’s experience had a lot to do with my interest in Kelley,” remembered Kate. “She really liked it, so I thought I would too. Plus, it’s the best business school in Indiana, and I could stay close to home while earning an affordable degree.”
Like her mother, Kate was drawn to accounting and finance. “I was able to discuss the classes I was taking and the experiences I was having and my mom usually knew exactly what I was talking about,” she said.
“I knew Kate would do great anywhere,” added Olga. “But I was glad she chose Kelley.”
Claire Gregory earned her MBA in 2011, but she was a Kelley long before that.
Claire’s mother, Mary Chappell, BS’91, MBA’93, has been the Director of External Affairs at Kelley Indianapolis since 1995. Following 15 years in the insurance business, Mary decided to earn her business undergraduate degree when Claire was 5 years old (and her brother, Chris, was 8.)
“I was in second grade when my mom graduated with her undergraduate degree, and I remember going to her commencement ceremony and being so excited – Thinking, I want to do that too,” said Claire. “I also remember when she received an award for being a good student, and I couldn’t believe that out of all the students we’d seen when having lunch at the old campus food court, my mom received the one and only award.”
That one and only award is the prestigious J. Dwight Peterson Award for the 1991 outstanding business student.
Having grown up in and around the Kelley School of Business, Claire was familiar with the program and many of the professors. After graduating from IU Bloomington with a journalism degree and working in corporate communications, Claire considered pursuing her MBA.
“Grad school was always in my plan, but adding the business acumen to my liberal arts degree seemed to provide me with a balanced education,” said Claire. “While some may think it was inevitable, I chose Kelley because I saw what it had afforded my mom and family.”
“I’m a firm believer in the power of education and knew Claire would be a great candidate for the MBA program,” said Mary. “She’s highly talented, which she’s already proved in so many ways. And to be honest, I enjoy having her so close and being able to talk about what and whom we have in common.”
The connection between these moms and their children, along with the education they earned from the Kelley School of Business at IUPUI, will continue to last long beyond the years they spent on campus.
Posted by: Sara Griffin, firstname.lastname@example.org