Archive for July, 2009

“Blink” and Business School

I just finished Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink, a book that draws psychology research to discuss the ways people make decisions. I think the topic is highly relevant to b-school students, since graduates spend their careers as managers and leaders who make important business decisions.

“Blink” is a book about the first two seconds, the instant conclusions that we reach about things that sometimes are accurate and occasionally far better than analysis. Gladwell contrasts these “blink” decisions with the longer decision-making process, where one observes the world, takes in information, analyzes the data, considers biases, formulates opinions, and then makes decisions.

Gladwell says that “we live in a society dedicated to the idea that we’re always better off gathering as much information and spending as much time as possible in deliberation,” but he contests that this is not always true and provides concrete examples to back that up.

Reading Blink as a pre-MBA student, I not only saw truth in Gladwell’s theory, but I also saw the value that this framework also has in business, where decisions often tend to be too long and drawn out. I’ll discuss a few examples that came to mind as relevant to MBAs:

If you’re an admissions officer and you’re judging the caliber of a b-school applicant, how much do you analyze the candidates grades, standardized test scores and company history, and how much do you trust your quick interpretations about their leadership potential, motivation, and promise in the classroom. These latter traits are often picked up right away in an application.

If you’re a professor quickly assessing a student, how much do you analyze past grades and previous test scores and how much do you consider the influence the student has in the classroom and your snap judgments about their ability? As a seasonsed professor you should be able to asses these latter characteristics quickly, right?

Company Interviews
If you’re an industry interviewer screening candidates at b-school, how much do you look for someone with industry expertise and quantifiable success over their pre-MBA career versus a career changer who you can immediately tell is motivated to learn and has the leadership potential to do well.

Consulting Interviews
If you’re a consulting recruiter looking to hire MBA candidates, how much do you analyze GMAT scres, finance and strategy courses, and the case study performance and how much do you trust your snap judgment about their client presence, charisma, and conversational intelligence, which happens in just a 30-minute interview.

If you’re an entrepreneur, how much do you analyze the external marketplace using analysis and your 4Ps framework. Alternatively how much do you trust your instincts about consumers and your ability to sell? You usually know the answers to the latter issues right away.

Venture Capital
If you’re a VC firm looking to invest capital, how much do you analyze financial statements versus trusting your instinct about a promising product and a strong management team, which are often quickly apparent.

Performance Review
Finally, as an HR manager or line manager charged with rating, promoting, or compensating employees, how many days/weeks do you analyze performance metrics (i.e. HR actually does this) and how much do you consider determination, leadership skills, or potential to succeed in an organization. HR folks usually know these employee criticality levels right away.

Overall, I think I agree with Gladwell’s point, that the very best decision-makers, (in my case…business decision makers) are the ones who understand how to use both processes. While applying to business school, it is definitely important to allow admissions officers to use both types of decision making processes. Admissions will definitely make snap judgments about your writing style, leadership roles, and your pre-MBA work experience, so your must write your application with the big picture in mind, focus on the first two sentences of your essays, and ensure that recommenders quickly convey their points to keep admissions interested at a high level. At the same time, admissions also wants to see results, so it’s important to provide a certain level of detail in your essays and on your resume. It’s a tough balance that takes a lot of time and lots of revisions to optimize.

During school, students will have the opportunity to grow in both domains, taking both experiential and leadership classes as well as quantitative and analytical classes. The onus is on us students to determine the mix of classes we want. I personally hope to put a lot of time into experiential and leadership classes, but also know that there is a lot of value in the others as well. Rather than over analyze my schedule and class options ahead of time, I’ll probably make quick (i.e. “Blink’) decisions along the way based on what makes sense at the time.

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Friday, July 31st, 2009 Business School 2 Comments

Kellogg and HBS

For everyone who knows anything about business school reputations, you know that Kellogg and Harvard Business School (HBS) have something in common–they’re often seen to be the “soft skills” schools. This has both positive and negative connotations. On the positive side, both schools are praised for teaching interpersonal skills, teamwork, and leadership ability. Conversely, both schools are also considered programs where you don’t need to take any real finance courses or have quantitative skills to get through, despite the number of folks who actually do go into the finance industry.

Recently at a Bain recruiting event I went to, one of the firm’s senior managers made a pretty funny comment during a panel. He was facilitating a session where we were chatting about how to get into the consulting industry, and he asked, “So how many of you out there are going to HBS or Kellogg?” A good number us put our hands up. Then he told us, “My best advice to you is, please, try to take a lot of finance classes. Because you won’t get them otherwise” Everyone in the room chuckled.

Admittedly he was joking with us a bit, but he was also definitely serious. While he told us that we didn’t necessarily need the classes to land a consulting job, he also said that the classes would be the most beneficial courses in the long run. He told us-—and it’s something we’ve all heard before—-that finance is the language of business. And if we ever want to move to the top floor, then we’d better understand every aspect of finance. He then talked a bit about the CEOs close relationship with the CFO and compared it to the CEOs relationship and trust level with other top executives. He seemed to have a pretty good point.

Despite a pretty persuasive argument, I also think it’s fair to note that Bain is pretty finance-oriented compared to some of the other major firms, so his opinion was probably a bit biased. Bain has the biggest private equity arm (by far) of the consulting firms, and it also has things such as the Bain Capital investment spin-off and a turnarounds/restructuring group, both which operate based on financial analytics.

That said, I still think it’s solid advice. While I don’t consider myself to be a finance person and am not going to b-school specifically for that reason, I do think someone with his experience has really valuable insight, and I’ll probably pick up some extra finance courses more than I might otherwise have taken. Kellogg’s most famous class is Entrepreneurial Finance, which I will definitely take.

The comment also shows that despite the strong brand of both these schools and the caliber of the students, reputation will play a part in how we are perceived in the workforce, good and bad. And conversely, despite the fact that dozens of other schools teach the soft skills very well (too many to name), those school don’t get the reputation for it that Kellogg and HBS get.

Personally, I really value the “soft skills,” so as an applicant I really liked the brands of both HBS and Kellogg. I am excited to be headed to Kellogg and the JD-MBA program this fall.

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Thursday, July 30th, 2009 Business School 7 Comments

A little about Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) and MLT on CNN last week

Hey everyone!  I want to take a few moments to write about an organization that I am part of called  Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT).  I’ve written about the program before, but I’m giving them a bit of special recognition for two reasons. (1) Because I recently finished MLT’s MBA Prep program this June and (2) because MLT was recently hosted on CNN’s Black in America series last week. 

I am definitely fortunate to have been part of MLT as an MBA applicant, the program is  top notch. Click here to see a clip from CNN that says the same thing. 

In terms of the mission of MLT, here is a blurb from the website: “MLT’s MBA Prep prepares early-career professionals for admission to top MBA programs and to make successful post-MBA career transitions. Individual coaching, seminars led by admissions officers, relationship- and skill-building workshops, mentoring from alumni, and in-depth boot camps led by corporate partners are all part of this highly successful program.”

Practically speaking, the program took place over an 18-month period.  In that time, I spent lots of time with my cohort, my individual coach, and my MLT friends, and together we visited campuses, interacted with current MBA students, reflected on personal goals, studied for the GMAT, wrote essays, and met with partner companies and admissions representatives. It was definitely a rigorous experience balancing the program with work, especially as a consultant, but it was well-worth when I got into a couple of really great schools and feel like I have a good head start to accelerate my career.

I just finished my MLT year in June, along with about 150 other fellows. The majority of the fellows got into one of their top choice programs—“overall today there are over 500 total MBA Prep Alumni, 90+% get into one of their top three business school choices, and most attend top 10 business schools.”

My cohort members were located in Boston and upper New York. There were about a dozen of us all from VERY different professional backgrounds and with very different professional interests. But the common denominator is that everyone is headed to great schools this fall, including Wharton, Booth (multiple), Kellogg (multiple), Tuck (multiple), Columbia, and others. We definitely had a lot of talented applicants.

In general, MLT has lots of kids going to these and other top schools this year. Additionally, MLT also sent a lot of kids to Kellogg this year, which I personally am excited about, it will be great to have a lot of friends down in Evanston.

If you are interested in MLT, you should definitely consider applying. Information sessions are happening all over the US in August for applicants who want to apply in 2010/2011 and graduate in 2013. Take a look at the website and see if any sessions are in your geography. Also, feel free to email me or post any questions about the program here on my blog.

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Tuesday, July 28th, 2009 Business School, Diversity 13 Comments

Kellogg MBA Class of 2012

Because I’m in the 3-year JD-MBA program at Northwestern, I will begin my studies at the law school this fall and won’t officially start at Kellogg until the fall of 2010. This means that I won’t graduate with all the b-school kids that I applied with in the class of 2011, which is definitely unfortunate, because I have quite a few friends starting at Kellogg and at other schools.

However despite not being able to graduate with my fellow admits, I’m still excited to meet this year’s MBA applicants. You guys will be admitted to the class of 2012, which is my class. So for those of you who go to Kellogg, we’ll be starting at the same time, and we might even be in the same section.

As such, I intend to write a lot about Kellogg this season, and hopefully I can share some quality insights about the MBA program. To that end, I’m also planning on using my blog to post some of my responses to applicant questions. So stay tuned, read, and please feel free to make a few comments on my blog along the way.

Hopefully you’ve already gotten started in the application process. Keep me posted on your progress.

Good luck!

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Thursday, July 23rd, 2009 Business School 2 Comments

Never Eat Alone

Leading at a law firm or at a business today is dramatically different than it was many years ago.  The world is bigger, information travels through different channels, and organizations and processees are far more complex than they were before. So how can you still influence important decisions and shephard important deals in the midst of this complexity?  In my view, it all starts with building good relationships.

A colleague of mine recently recommended I read the book “Never Eat Alone” by Keith Ferrazzi. He recently gave it a read, and he told me that my style and background reminded him a lot of Keith.  I didn’t think too much of it at first, but trusted his opinion so figured it might be worth a shot. So I picked up the book about two weeks ago and just finished reading. It’s definitely a good read. It’s definitely relevant for those in the MBA world. And my colleague was definitely correct. I’ve found a number of things in common with Keith.

In the book, Keith lays out the specific steps he uses to connect and stay in contact with others—friends, colleagues, family, and associates. He basically sees the world around him as a place that should be based on generosity, where he helps friends and colleagues, and helps people connect with each other, rather than networking for personal gain.

I enjoy his approaches and theories about networking and also agree with the emphasis he places on it. But whether or not you agree with his philosophies, I think the topic is very relevant for all of us MBA applicants/admits/students. In MBA programs, students’ schedules are jam packed 7 days a week–studying for class, practicing cases, attending and planning events, meeting with professors, and the list goes on.  We will all interact with thousands of different people in a 2-year span. And if you’re on your game, this process begins well before we ever set foot in our first class.

As such, I think it’s important to think about what you want to get out of those interactions. Perhaps you want to run for a specific club leadership role or maybe student government. Perhaps, you want to meet everyone in a certain company or industry or maybe just find the right colleague who can prep us for a job interview. Perhaps you want to make sure you have a huge network after school or maybe even just have a really good time there. Maybe you want to do all of that. No matter what your goals are, making friends and contacts is an important part of school.

We don’t all have to be power networkers, but I think it’s important that we figure out how we want to balance our networking energies and schedules with everything else. And while most of us will have some preconceptions about our strategies going in, I suspect that we really don’t know yet, so it will be a lot of learning as we go. One thing I do know is that once my program begins, I don’t plan on eating alone too many times.

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Thursday, July 23rd, 2009 Business School 7 Comments

Last Day of My Summer Internship at the Attorney General’s Office

To gain some exposure in business and law before beginning my JD-MBA program this fall, I’ve been clerking at the Attorney General’s office. I began there in May, and today was my last day in the office. I also looked into business jobs, but since I’ve been in the consulting industry for the past 3.5 years I thought a legal internship would be more useful, especially since I want to explore the legal profession while in school.

In my internship I had the chance to work with the Community Services Division, the Consumer Information Division, and the Executive Office–where I spent the majority of my time. It’s been a great way to learn broadly about the work the AG does. Being in the executive office has also been a lot of fun. A few weeks ago, the Attorney General had a going away party for one of workers at his house. It was a nice event, and I got to really talk with the Attorneys on a personal level. I’ve also had the chance to help manage the press in our office, to have a Q&A with a Supreme Court Justice, and to help orchestrate a meeting with the AG and Obama’s newly elected “Border Czar” (Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security).

Aside from the obvious learning and networking benefits, I also think my experience will give me a heads up on recruiting in the program. While many law students pursue government or legal aid positions after their first year, I’ll have the experience to be able to explore other types of work since I’ve already done that. I definitely recommend that everyone try to get a good summer experience before going off to school–whether business or law–to set you apart in your graduate school career search.

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Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009 Careers No Comments

Article On Me and MLT in the Phoenix Business Journal

So I recently got a call from a PR firm. It was good news.  Apparently the Phoenix Business Journal wants to do an article on me and my experience in MLT. Pretty cool, right?  I thought so too. The journal talks a lot about some of the movers and shakers in Arizona, and they were interested in my professional experience and how that fit in with Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) over the past year. I don’t know what the final ratio of content on me vs MLT will be, though it should probably be slanted more toward MLT given its great accomplishments, but it doesn’t really make a difference. Should be pretty interesting to see what they say, and cool to have a small spot in Arizona’s biggest business magazine. I’ll be sure to post the article link here once it comes out.


Friday, July 17th, 2009 Diversity 6 Comments

NSHMBA Scholarship

I just found out that I won one of the NSHMBA (National Society of Hispanic MBAs) scholarships. Basically, the NSHMBA scholarship program was established to assist M.B.A. students to succeed in business school by giving them a bit of tuition assistance. To be considered, I had to submit a pretty long application this past spring, consisting of essays, shorts answers, resume, and a data form.

While the amount by no means wipes away all my student loans, it’s still great to be selected, and I’m quite happy to take whatever level of assistance is out there. Also, as part of the scholarship, NSHMBA funds your travel to and from their national conference in October, which should be a lot of fun. For all those who qualify, you should definitely consider applying for the scholarship next year.

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 Business School, Diversity, Education 2 Comments

Kellogg/Northwestern Housing

Unlike my Kellogg MBA classmates, this year I’ll be living in downtown Chicago and not Evanston. The JD-MBA program begins at the law school, which is downtown, and I want to live as close to campus as possible. Once I begin my studies my second year at Kellogg, I’ll plan to move down to Evanston.

Aside from not seeing a lot of my Kellogg buddies regularly, I’m pretty psyched to live downtown. Chicago is an amazing city; it’s open late (4 and 5 am), has a lot of fun spots, has lots of cool people, and is cheap relative to comparable big cities (NYC, SF, LA, Boston). What’s also great is that there are a lot of places to stay that are just a two blocks or so from the law school campus.

I’ll be living downtown in a high rise at the end of on East Ohio. It’s on the 40th floor and has a view of the beach on Lake Michigan. It’s a great building that’s pretty new, includes utilities in the rent, has a modern design, and has a gym, lap pool, and free business center inside. A lot of the JD-MBAs and law students will be there, so I suspect it will be a really good time. All you Kellogg’ers should definitely give me a shout when you make it out to the city, which I hear is about once per week for many of you.

Speaking of Kellogg folks, I’ve recently chatted with a lot of Kellogg friends about Evanston housing decisions for the first year. A lot of the new admits I’ve met will be living in one of two places.

1) The Reserve. I hear this place is the best deal for how nice the place is. Everything is new there, and it also has a gym which is a nice selling point. The downside is that I’ve heard some people don’t enjoy the neighborhood because its noisy with too many students.

2) McManus. This is a nice seven-story apartment complex that’s pretty central to campus. It’s definitely convenient, close to campus, includes utilities, and is filled with Kellogg kids. This place is great, because you can leave for the summer without having any fees. The negative here is that it feels a bit dormy.

Of all the alternatives I’ve heard of, McManus is the most appealing to me. But I’ve got a long time until I need be thinking about it.

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Tuesday, July 14th, 2009 Law School 1 Comment

Mckinsey & Co Boot Camp

Along the lines of my last post about Citibank, I also recently went to a pre-MBA boot camp event with Mckinsey & Co in their New York office. It was part of the same weekend as the Citi event back in June. The session was terrific, and I was especially attentive considering that I’m targeting consulting firms post-graduation. There were about 35 or 40 people there, which was useful because I got a chance to meet all the other students in the room as well as the recruiters, consultants and firm partners. I spent a good deal of time with the Kellogg recruiter, which was great, although unfortunately I don’t think she’ll be the Kellogg recruiter again next year.

Overall, the consultants there seemed pretty similar to the folks I’ve met at other consulting recruiting events–diverse backgrounds, really smart, highly accomplished, well-groomed, pretty humble, really poised, and definitely headed towards doing big things.

One point of distinction, however, was the fact that “structure” seemed to seep through everything they did. The event itself, the presentations, the conversations, and the way the consultants thought about things and presented all had a real structure to it. I have quite a number of friends who’ve worked at Mckinsey over the past few years, and from what they told me, there is a really structured way of doing everything there, from billing, to traveling, to staffing, to using frameworks on projects, to even ordering food in the evening. I don’t tend to be overly organized or structured by nature, but I’d be fine with that approach in a firm.

A couple of other things that stood out for me were that Mckinsey definitely came off as a place that values personal development, that is quite cooperative (not competitive at all), and that has an aura of prestige in the room. For me personally, what probably stood out the most about Mckinsey is that it also prides itself in being the relationship-driven firm. While relationships are definitely vital to all the firms, I think Mckinsey sticks out in this regard. For one, they’ve done a good job at staying in touch with the attendees ever since the event. Also, as you can even see from the picture I posted from their website, relationships are at the forefront of what they think about.

What I also saw about Mckinsey is that they like non-MBAs a lot. Not only do they have whole teams dedicated to hiring both non-MBAs and JDs and they had a slew of law graduates and dual degree’rs at the office while I was there. Both of these facts give me a bit more confidence going into the application process. Given how selective the firm is, I’ll take every advantage I can get.

Aside from all these things I learned about the firm, my favorite part of the session was the group case study. Mckinsey broke us up into about 7 or 8 randomly selected groups, and we spent about 2.5 hours with our teammates hashing through a study that Mckinsey actually did a couple of months ago. We were tasked with recommending which country in South Africa should a the client foundation fund for the cure of aids, and we were given a 50-page packets with information on about 12 of the countries. It was definitely a good test of some the typical consulting skills– working with lots of information, navigating an unfamiliar topic, structuring an analysis, working in teams, and presenting. It was pretty interesting to see all the teams present different countries.

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Friday, July 10th, 2009 Careers No Comments

Citibank and Leading with Your Heart

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a pre-MBA boot camp event hosted by Citigroup in New York. It was the capstone event that finished off my yearlong process with MLT. I spent one of the mornings with Citigroup’s subsidiary Citi Cards and was fortunate to hear 40-year old CEO Paul Galant give a talk. Boy was he sharp. There were about 100 of us there, and Paul thrived in front of the crowd. He talked lot of about leadership and the turbulent times in the financial services industry. His style was charismatic and sincere, and he often referenced the idea getting through to the “hearts and minds “of your workers.

I’ve often heard the phrase “Great leaders win over the hearts and minds of others.” What’s interesting about the phrase is that the word heart comes before the word mind in that phrase. I don’t think it’s a mistake that it was created this way. The heart is what a person believes, dreams about, values, and is committed to. When you can touch someone on that level, then you can become a better leader.

In my experience, this is not often emphasized in today’s business world, where the bottom line is king and where analytics and process usually trump values, teamwork, and inspiration. As an MBA student and business person, I can’t argue with things like bottom line or with P&L, but I would definitely debate that being profitable in the long run is as much about good leadership as it is about cutting costs and doing analysis.

I liked Paul a lot, and I agree with his philosophies about running an organization. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough of that experience at my last firm. When I graduate in 3 years, I hope to work for a firm that values inspirational leadership and looks for that ability in its firm leaders and in the people it recruits. Stay tuned to find out how things turn out.

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Wednesday, July 8th, 2009 Careers, Leadership 3 Comments

Kellogg 360-Degree Feedback Assessment

As part of going to Kellogg, matriculating students have to do a 360 Feedback Assessment. This means that we are rated on my leadership and teamwork characteristics by former colleagues, including peers, mentors, bosses, customers and community members. I recently solicited about 12 people for feedback, and about half have completed my assessment. I also recently submitted my personal assessment. Some of the categories for ranking included:

– Vision and Alignment
– Change and Innovation
– Values and Integrity
– Self-Reflection
– Team Building
– Goal Setting
Relationship Building

I tried to be as objective as possible in my own rankings. I think I can predict how most people see my leadership and working style, and I am pretty excited to see how the cumulative results turn out. I’ll get a chance to see the final report when my time at Kellogg begins.

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Tuesday, July 7th, 2009 Business School 2 Comments

Lessons from Jack Welch and the Online MBA

Business guru, Jack Welch, recently announced that he’s launching an online MBA program (“The Jack Welch Institute”). This event is pretty interesting to me given that he doesn’t even have an MBA. However, Welch is clearly no stranger to business school. He’s hired MBAs for the past 20+ years and has spent the past 3 years at MIT Sloan’s School of Management teaching its most popular course. I think there are a couple of lessons to be learned here:

1. Power of Brand
As we all know, brand is important, that’s why applicants try to flock to the top schools and top firms. Jack Welch has impeccable business brand, with a resume including being the CEO of GE, being Fortune “Manager of the Century”, writing an award winning business column for BusinessWeek; a new show on MSN; and the most popular course at MIT Sloan. With this type of business brand, it’s clear why Welch has gotten so much traction with his idea. What I think is particularly interesting is that Jack Welch has garnered all of this buzz even though he will not actually be teaching a course at the school.

2. Importance of Leadership
Welch is know for his management and leadership techniques. In a recent interview, Welch said that his MBA program would be based on his philosophy of leadership and human resources. While many businesses and schools tout the importance of analytical skills, Welch is attempting to demonstrate through his curriculum that management and leadership skills are equally as important, just as they were in his career progress.

3. Upside in Online Education
Online education is a hot industry. Take the University of Phoenix (UoP) as a case study. UoP today has nearly 400,000 students and 200 international locations, only 20 years after the online campus was established (1989). What’s also impressive is that UoP has not been affected by the economy. Since the downturn in 2008 until now, UoP hasn’t declined in profitability but rather grown 20%. According to U.S.News & World Report, more than 4 millions Americans took an online course last year, up from less than two million in 2003. These types of stats are unheard of in today’s economy.

4. Leaders Take Risks
Creating a new business school today is a really risky endeavour. Nearly all the top MBA programs have been around for about 100 years (Stanford ~85 years), and were originally built with bricks and mortar … not with wifi, internet applications, and software. And while UoP is a great case study for online education, it has not established itself as a top MBA program, so the Welch institute would be the first. Clearly, Welch has an appetite for risk and doesn’t mind spending a little money in hopes to revolutionize the industry.

5. You Don’t Need an MBA
Another lesson to learn is that you don’t need an MBA to be a leader, not even in the business school industry. Don’t get me wrong, an MBA is incredibly useful and the brand of a top school can’t be denied. However, in America an MBA is not a necessity for advancement. Welch’s career is proof that business skills, leadership lessons, and management techniques can be learned on the job.

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Sunday, July 5th, 2009 Business School 2 Comments

Bain & Co Diversity Weekend

I just got back from a trip to NYC a couple of hours ago. I went to attend Bain & Company’s Pre-MBA Summer Diversity Program for first-year MBA students, which took place on Tuesday, June 30 from 8am until about 7pm. While some people might consider 11 hours of non-stop sessions to be a long day, after being in MLT for a year, this event felt like a breeze.

I applied to the Bain Program, because I intend to apply for jobs in the consulting industry, and specifically at the big three consulting firms (Bain & Company, Boston Consulting Group, McKinsey & Company). The program was framed as a one-day event intended to give us an introduction to the industry and also to Bain so that we can apply once school begins. I suspect it was also a good way for Bain to profile prospective candidates.

Like a lot of recent b-school events, I knew quite a few of the attendees from MLT and from other diversity events I’ve been to. I can’t say enough about the power of the MLT network, as students and alumni tend to be everywhere I go. I also have to give a big shout out to my Kellogg cohort. Kellogg admits were definitely the most-represented school at the event. And finally, who could forget the “Bainies.” As it turns out, I liked the Bainies a lot. The consultants were nice, smart, had impressive backgrounds, and were really open to teaching us about the firm.

In all, there were quite a few consultants there – post-MBA consultants, managers, and consultants of all others levels all the way up to Senior Director. Here are a couple of the highlights from the event.

Tiffany Showell (Bain’s Sr. Manager of Diversity Recruiting) and Bill (whose late name I didn’t catch, but he was the head of the NYC office) kicked off the event with some opening remarks. They introduced the first speaker, Russ Hagley, who is Bain’s Chief Talent Officer. Bain emphasized the fact that they had a Chief Talent Officer and that they were serious about getting good people at the firm and about having us there. This was the point where Bain did a good job at differentiating themselves from the other firms. Aside from the CTO position, Russ talked about how Bain was a not only a strategy company but also worked through the implementation of that strategy. He gave a few other similar examples (entrepreneurship, data-driven, etc)

Another high point of the day was the Interview Skills Workshop given by Keith Bevans. Keith has spent his entire career at Bain and was a energizing public speaker. He gave a lot of advice about doing cases and then walked us through an actual case.

We had a working lunch, where we did a group case interview workshop. We broke up into teams of about six and spent 90 minutes or so going over a case question that comes up in real Bain interviews. I felt really comfortable in the scenario, but I still feel like I have tons of practicing ahead to compete for a spot at Bain. Right after our case, Alok Desphande (Bain Manager) facilitated a session summing up thoughts on the workshop. He was a really sharp guy, and gave good insight to our comments. I made a point to talk with him later in the day.

Later, the CFO of Bad Boy Entertainment, Derek Ferguson (a former Bain Manager), gave the keynote address. It was late in the day, so to keep our attention he gave us trivia and rewarded correct answers with Bad Boy CDs. He was definitely a hit, though I did find one girl who had no idea who Bad Boy was. Toward the end of the day was the consultant panel, where which 6 current Bain consultants shared their experiences getting into Bain and working there. It was pretty amazing how sharp they were. Of the group, 2 were HBS grads, 1 Booth grad and 1 Wharton grad.

Mark Howorth, a senior Director gave the closing remarks. He had a great point at the end of his speech, when he said as a next step, we need to go to school and do well!! He emphasized the importance of getting a good academic experience and learning the fundamentals rather than trying to force fit or schmooze our way into jobs.

After his closing remarks, Tiffany Showell quickly wrapped up the session, and there was a cocktail hour for us to interact with the Bainies. We were able to talk to lots of consultants and get pretty pointed advice. There was also a free wine bar, which was pretty clutch. At the reception, I met up with a good friend Robin Lamb who’s a consultant in the NYC office. He graduated from Stanford a few years before I did. I definitely intend to chat with Robin once I’m getting ready to go through recruiting for my second summer in the JD-MBA program. I’m sure he’ll be a great help, just as he was for me in the b-school process.

I definitely recommend the Bain event for admits who might consider attending the event in future years, and for those who want to enter the consulting industry. Not only will you have a good chance to network with Bainies, MLT fellows, and people from various MBA programs, but you’ll also have a lot of fun.

Best of luck in your decision.

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Thursday, July 2nd, 2009 Business School, Careers, Diversity 3 Comments

BusinessWeek MBA Journaler Application

Just this past Tuesday, I submitted an application to be an “MBA Journaler” at BusinessWeek (BW). The role of the MBA Journaler is basically to keep a public blog on BW’s website discussing your MBA journey. The writing requirements for the position are slim, just one entry time per month. BW said they’d get back to me at the end of the summer. It would definitely be a lot of fun to be selected and would be a nice way to get Northwestern’s JD-MBA program out there a bit more. I’ll definitively be keeping my fingers crossed!


Thursday, July 2nd, 2009 Uncategorized No Comments

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Jeremy C Wilson is a JD-MBA alumni using his site to share information on education, the social enterprise revolution, entrepreneurship, and doing things differently. Feel free to send along questions or comments as you read.


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The contents of this blog are mine personally and do not reflect the views or position of Kellogg, Northwestern Law, the JD-MBA program, or any firm that I work for. I only offer my own perspective on all issues.
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