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Behind the iconic T-shirt: Kelley students talk about what I-Core is really like


Junior Jonathan Ort, front right, poses with other students who finished I-Core during the Fall 2018 semester.  Courtesy Photo Buy Photos

Photos of Kelley students with their “I-Core Survivor” T-shirts have been all over social media after these students completed their semester last week. I-Core is a semester of one 13-credit-hour class that covers the four main aspects of a business and a final case project that is different based on if the student is in honors or regular I-Core. But what exactly happens during the semester that all Kelley students have to go through? The IDS sat down with two I-Core students, juniors Jonathan Ort and  Grace Liu to get the scoop. Ort went through regular I-Core, and Liu went through honors I-Core. 

What is the purpose of I-Core?

Ort: It tries to serve the purpose of teaching the four main pillars of business, so you go into the real world with the experience and knowledge of the entire company to flex and use during your internships and jobs. The four pillars are marketing, management, operations and finance.

Liu: I think it’s definitely really interesting to have a more holistic view of the components of how a business is run. I-Core really gives you that exposure to the real world. Before it, I took a lot of gen eds and basic major classes, but now we have a more in-depth knowledge of the different areas which I think is really, really awesome.

During the semester, regular and honors I-Core students have different structures to their programs although both have similar classes. What is the semester portion of I-Core like for you?

Ort: It’s very weird because it puts you in a position where you have to be very self-driven and you really have to work to be on top of the readings because classes don’t matter as much, you don’t have any work to do. It’s two and a half hours a day so it’s not a lot of class time.

Liu: Well for regular you take a whole semester of class and at end of the semester you’re assigned your teammates, and you work on your case, but for me it was a little bit different because I’ve had my teammates since the beginning of the school year and we’ve been working on the case for a while. For honors I-Core, we created our own company pretty much.

Was preparing for exams harder or doing the case, their large group project, harder?

Ort: I think it was more stressful to prepare for exams. I’ve done a couple case competitions but I think the exams for I-Core were different and they were very difficult. It was hard to know what they were going to test on. I think the case was extremely straightforward.

What did you expect the semester to be like, and what was it actually like?

Liu: I would say it’s very different from what I expected. Some people have their I-Core survivor shirts and people are like ‘wow, that is such a great thing that you survived I-Core like this is incredible.’ Yes, it’s challenging, but I thought it was going to be impossible almost, but it’s doable. I thought these classes were going to kill me and I was going to cry every day but it’s not like that.

Were you nervous about what your group would be like? How did end up being?

Ort: I was extremely nervous going into it, but overall my group was amazing. I got so lucky. Everyone was a hard worker, they all put in the work during the week and that helped us so much. I think the fact that we all had different personal experience really helped ground our team.

Liu: I got to bond with people from that I’ve never talked to before from Kelley. They all have their strong skill sets that I don’t have, so I think it’s a really cool thing to see how the team can come together and make sure every part of the business can run smoothly.

What got you through the stressful parts?

Ort: I would definitely say my roommate and my friends because we were all going through this together. You’re all kind of suffering together, and it makes it a lot better.

During the last 10 days of regular I-Core, students are put into teams and given the job of analyzing a new project a company is considering investing in. The students create a case as to whether or not the company should invest in the project. What were the last 10 days like?

Ort: I think it’s enough time because you have six people on your team, but you’ve got to put the work in. My group was efficient and we did a lot of the work on our own, but we would meet for probably eight hours a day for the first few days of the case. People would be surprised how much work and how much writing they can get done if they actually sit down for six hours and just write and actually focus.

What are you getting to do now that you’re done with I-Core that you couldn’t do during the semester?

Liu: I’m able to go to the gym, that’s really nice, I haven’t been to the gym in a while. And just relax and chill and talk to my friends who are studying abroad next semester.

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