Melanie Raney always knew she wanted to earn an MBA. During her undergraduate studies, it was part of her five-year plan. But between work as a nuclear engineer in Michigan and taking time off to raise young children, it became less of a priority until she landed a new role as supply chain manager at AES in Indianapolis.
“I was so wrapped up in my new job at a new company, I forgot about the MBA until my mentor asked me about my five-year plan. I realized I didn’t have one anymore,” said Melanie. “I wanted to do something that was impactful and meaningful for the business. She encouraged me towards my current position in the commercial side of the company and suggested I pursue my MBA part time. We live in Fishers and my office is downtown Indianapolis, which was perfect for the Evening MBA Program at the Kelley School of Business.”
Melanie chose the part-time evening program for its convenient structure and Kelley School reputation. (Her father, Jason Lynn, MBA’01, also graduated from the program.) Melanie had recently assumed a new role in supply chain at AES, the Indianapolis power utility. She says the Evening MBA provides her with the business skills that weren’t included in an engineering degree.
“Before the MBA, I didn’t even know what a balance sheet was. I have learned a lot from this program. When I took accounting, I understood its importance, but when I took finance, it really clicked,” she said. “I found that I really gravitated toward finance, and I truly enjoyed the assignments.”
I have learned a lot from this program. When I took accounting, I understood its importance, but when I took finance, it really clicked.”
In her current role, Melanie is a part of the financial modeling and valuation process as her company makes acquisitions. She applies many principles she learned in the core Evening MBA classes. “I just finished financial strategy and corporate restructuring, which is a lot of mergers and acquisitions principles and modeling tools that directly apply to my current role,” she said. The business training also played a role when Melanie was promoted to Commercial Manager of Generation Resource at AES, in which she supports finding, building, or acquiring renewable energy power plants.
“Earning my MBA was part of getting this new role. When I was presented with the opportunity, I was asked why I’m interested in the position, and I explained that part of the appeal was that I would be able to put my MBA to use,” she said. “I’m no business expert, but I’m learning these new things and I’d like to have a chance to apply what I’m learning. I think that was appreciated.”
“Overall, the MBA is helping me gain greater financial literacy, and I think that’s important for leaders. And it’s something that people look for. When you show up and do the work of an MBA and pass that test, it gives people more confidence in your ability as a reliable, accountable, and dependable leader.”
Overall, the MBA is helping me gain greater financial literacy, and I think that’s important for leaders.”
Melanie has recruited other people to enroll in the Evening MBA Program, too. While she acknowledges that earning the top-ranked degree requires focus and a lot of hard work, she says balancing home, work, and graduate studies in a busy life with young children requires family support and honesty.
“One key thing I’ve learned from a coworker is that work-life balance is nonexistent. It’s just about being really honest with everyone about what you’re going through,” Melanie said. “So, when my sons ask me, ‘Do you have mommy school tonight?’ I say, ‘Yes, and you won’t see me until tomorrow.’ If I’m really honest with them upfront, I don’t feel any guilt, and they know exactly what they’re getting from me. And when I’m home, I’m 100% home.”
Melanie also works to support other professional and entrepreneurial women to further their careers and businesses. She has been involved in the Central Indiana Women’s Business Center, which promotes women in entrepreneurship, for about four years as a council member. She has been serving as vice chair for the past two years and will be chair of the council in 2024 and 2025. Melanie says the work nurtures her interest in giving back to something she feels passionately about.
“Women are so essential to children, families, and communities. If we empower the women and help them build businesses or scale their businesses, it gives back tenfold,” Melanie said. “I’m super excited to be chairperson over the next two years and drive some of the ideas I have and changes I’d like to make.”