Archive for November, 2010

Facebook, Social Network, Divya Narendra, and the Kellogg JD-MBA Program

Few companies can be said to represent the spirit of an entire generation. Well one of those companies is Facebook, as the company has not only transformed the way people use the Internet, but also the way people fundamentally interact with others on a daily basis. Recently, the movie Social Network portrayed the story behind the founding Facebook, and the move is a hit across many college campuses. The movie was also a hit here at Northwestern, as one of the main characters played in the movie, Divya Narendra, is one of my fellow classmates here in the Northwestern JD-MBA program, class of 2012.

Before the founding of Facebook back at Harvard, the thought of connecting with others online was not the standard, it was moreso a good idea. And when Divya and his old classmates discussed the idea for social network at the time, they had no clue it would lead to one of the most popular companies in the world today.

But the most interesting part of the story isn’t their personal success. In fact, if you get to know Divya today, you will quickly realize that his personal success doesn’t necessarily play a huge part of his day to day decisions. Instead, Divya’s main mission is continue to improve professionally as a serial entrepreneur and to create value in online spaces where he sees opportunity to make the world better.

Today Divya works on his company SumZero, while studying full time here in the JD-MBA program. Similar to the original intention of ConnectU, SumZero (i.e. the opposite of Zero Sum) is an internet tool that’s focused on helping people grow their professional networks, except this time his site is tailored for investors who want to share investing information.  And similar to Facebook today, the networks on the site are immense, as nearly every major fund is represented, including Citadel, SAC, Blackstone, Farallon, and KKR, among others.

Because Divya’s company has taken off and because of the success of the new movie, a number of articles have recently been written about him and the Facebook story, including an article put out by Northwestern yesterday.  Below, I’ve posted a number of those articles, including a link to learn more about the JD-MBA program here at Northwestern.

In my view, the JD-MBA program is the perfect fit for any entrepreneur, as you not only get the legal and business training that can be immensely valuable as you start an enterprise, but also the networks and resources from both schools – current entrepreneurs, small business clinic resources, professors that understand the start-up space, classes on forming and managing new businesses, and a network of lawyers, business people and investors.

See below to read a preview to the first article above, written by Northwestern University News Center

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Life Beyond Facebook

Real-world movie ‘Social Network’ character has no time for regrets By Wendy Leopold

EVANSTON, Ill. — Divya Narendra was having dinner with his girlfriend when a fellow Northwestern University student recognized him for his real-world role portrayed in the blockbuster movie “The Social Network.” “He, of course, mispronounced my name,” said Narendra, still adjusting to the spotlight since the release of the movie.

One of the film’s three Harvard graduates who alleged Mark Zuckerberg stole their idea for Facebook was based on Narendra.

How accurate is the story of what was deemed “the movie of the decade” by some critics? “The way our personalities are colored is exaggerated at times, but the underlying story is a lot closer to fact than fiction,” Narendra said.

(Click here to read the article online)

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010 Business School, Careers, Law School, Other Blogs 2 Comments

Happy Thanksgiving! Grateful for Access to Information

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I hope that you’re having an enjoyable holiday not only filled with delicious food but also filled with good friends and time with family. On Thanksgiving, most people hop into their cars to drive, or set away in overpriced seats in the crowded skies to join their families and celebrate while watching movies, parades, and football games. And during the day, they also express all the things they’re  thankful for.  But in addition to being thankful for many of the personal things above, many of us also have a lot to be thankful for professionally.

In my view, many of us should also be grateful for access to professional opportunities. And that especially true now where business is tighter than it’s been in previous years and where there are more applicants these days and the pressures to get accepted continue to mount. So we should all take a few minutes to thank those who have helped us along the way, whether they helped us make professional decisions or helped us with the graduate school application process.

Personally, I’m grateful for those ahead of me who aggressively continue to sharing information both in person and here online. So I thought I’d dedicate this post to name just a few online resources that I found interesting or that I used directly when applying. I suspect that my readers are also thankful for these resources, or at least will be thankful that I’ve shared them here in this post. My apologies in advance if I’ve left anyone off the list and to those who I didn’t discover during the application process.

  1. Marquis Parker, who is one of the 1st MBA Bloggers ever, and is currently the MBA blogger with the longest tenure and likely most unique visitors
  2. Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT), the premier career development program for high potential minorities that are applying to MBA programs
  3. GottaMentor, an internet start-up that is changing the game for sharing information and online mentoring, and one that I’m also pretty active in
  4. Michelle Owuku, former MLT coach who helped me through the MBA application process
  5. Orlando O’niell, who set the stage for blogging at Kellogg the year before I came to campus, and currently writes very insightful posts
  6. Steven Windsor, another fellow blogger before me at Kellogg, who writes about the venture capital and technology space
  7. Dino Gane, another fellow blogger a year before me at Kellogg. For those who remember, he began with the name Managing Magic and wrote extensively about his MBA application process
  8. Jullien Gordon, who is in the careers blogging space and is currently working as an entrepreneur to help people change their careers and their lives
  9. Paragon2Pieces, who is one of the first, if not the first JD-MBA blogger out there. Either way, she paved the way for JD-MBA writers like myself to enter the space
  10. NotAboutJackie, who is one of the only other MLT bloggers out there
  11. Leland Cheung, former MBA blogger and current City Councilman, that also helped me through the application process
  12. Emmanuel Pleitez, political blogger who began the MBA application process with me before moving into politics and running for Congress
  13. HellasMBA Blog list, which is a list of bloggers and was one of my first entry points into the blogging space
  14. Stacy Blackman, a pioneer in the MBA admissions blogging space, and a Kellogg alum
  15. Linda Abraham (from Accepted.com), who has been sharing valuable information on MBA admissions for years
  16. ClearAdmit, who has been one of the leaders in sharing information on MBA admissions, for as long as I’ve found it relevant. I also found that Clear Admit Law Blog also has a website dedicated to law school admissions, which I found after being admitted into my program
  17. Keith Ferrazzi, who is a leading pioneer in the movement on sharing information with others. You might know him from his book, Never Eat Alone

I also wanted to name a couple of “honorable mentions.”  Even though I didn’t leverage them during the admissions process or make use of them during my recruiting processes, these resources are definitely setting the stage in the online/ blogging world today and continue to increase the pace of sharing career and professional information.

  1. ClassyCareerGirl, who is blogging while getting a part-time MBA. She is an excellent resource for women in the business and consulting field. Keep an eye out for this emerging blogger.
  2. BeatTheGMAT, is an excellent resource not only for GMAT information, but also for aggregating admissions content. It’s a resource I’m currently partnering with to help them bring more information to more people.
  3. Law School Podcaster, is an excellent resource for law school.  They also have a great website for MBA admissions, MBA Podcaster.

That’s because the best leaders and organizations understand the value of sharing information. They realize that more important than always working for ourselves is that we all continue to improve our community by sharing more and more information with those who need it. And that’s especially true for those who might come from families where access to information and to critical resources is limited. And in the end, my belief is that only after we start sharing more freely will be able to make use of everyone’s best talents and collectively unlock our collective potential for change.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Applicant Question: Do Law Firms Ask JD-MBAs to Submit an LSAT Score?

This post is part of my focus on answering applicant questions during the MBA and JD-MBA admissions process, something I’ve been concentrating on for the past year and a half now.  In my view, there has been an increasing need for such collaboration and information sharing, not only for the MBA admissions process, but especially for the JD-MBA admissions process, given the lack of information on the programs and on the process of applying to those programs.

I recently received a question about Northwestern’s JD-MBA program. The question comes from a potential applicant that has asked about the role of the LSAT in the application process and later in the recruiting process. I also received the same question from a JD-MBA applicant who I met with on campus this past week, as he was preparing for his on campus interview at Kellogg. As such, I figured the question was worthy of posting here on my website.

See below for the reader’s question and below that for my response.

Thanks for reading.

Applicant question

Hi Jeremy,

Hope you are doing well.I have recently started thinking about applying for NWU’s JD-MBA program.

I am currently working in investment banking and have already taken my GMAT. I understand that LSAT is not required for the JD-MBA program; however, the LSAT (or lack thereof) would be a problem if I choose to pursue a career in law? More specifically, do law firms require one to submit LSAT scores as part of the application/interview process?

I also reached out to some members of the Law School Career Services and they responded to my question.

Thank you for your help.

(Name)

— This mail is sent via contact form on www.JEREMYCWILSON.COM

—-

My response

Hi (Name),

Thanks so much for writing and for your question about the JD-MBA program. I’m glad to hear the law school has already responded to your question, and I’m happy to provide a quick follow-up as well. Since it sounds like your question was pretty technical, I suspect our answers will coincide, so I’ll keep my response brieft.

The short answer is that law firms do not ask students about their LSAT scores. This is something that the JD-MBA program has also listed on the admissions website.  Instead firms tend to rely more on a number of other data points.

First, firms usually ask about data points such as law school GPA and the schools journals you’re a part of.  This tends to be enough information for the firms to assess your “intellectual ability” and writing ability, without asking for your LSAT score.  Secondly, law firms will also ask about a range of other things, such as extracurricular activities, leadership experiences, and work history, though these things still tend to play a much smaller role than grades at most firms. And even though that trend has been evolving over time, at most firms, grades still usually outweigh those other factors. And finally, all firms will take the interview process itself into account. Law firms, just like anywhere else you interview at, are looking to hire people that are good fits for the firm and that get along well with the current employees.

For specific reference, about 50% of JD-MBAs go into law every year (i.e. the summer prior to graduating) on average, and the the LSAT score is never brought up. And that fact is not only true of the JD-MBA program but also for the law school students at Northwestern Law. The only time its ever tends to come up is during the admissions process. But even then, it’s often the case that it you only have to put it in your application and don’t have to talk about it during you interview.  In fact, I recently received a question about whether the LSAT will come up during the JD-MBA interview (different from the JD-only interview), given the test is not technically required. Please click here to read the post.

I hope this information is helpful. Good luck in the application process.

Jeremy

Monday, November 22nd, 2010 Admissions, Careers, Law School 2 Comments

New Diggs at Kellogg

If you Google any top business school today, you’re almost guaranteed to find a story that talks about the school’s new building. While this may not be the main factor MBA applicants use to decide on where to attend school, in today’s high-tech global business environment, the best applicants not only want a top tier education, they also want a state-of-the-art facility.

As a result, one of the things a lot of students have been talking about the past few months, is whether Kellogg is going to build a new facility? And if so when?

Well, the good news is that Kellogg has committed to following the trend and building a new facility over the next few years. And on November 12, 2010, Dean Sally Blount publically committed to this through a press release stating that Kellogg was “excited to finalize the site.”

As debates around the new building have persisted, one overarching theme is that it should be more modern and have more study space so more people can be productive on campus during the day. That’s especially true this year, where Kellogg’s class of 2012 is bigger than it has ever been (so space feels a lot more limited) and booking a study room can be an impossible task at peak hours during the week.

On the whole, people seem to be pretty excited about the prospects of the building and believe that it will be a great addition to campus. It is also a great way to attract new students and ensure we keep the best professors in the world.

In a past article, former Dean Chopra commented that “this will be an outstanding new home for Kellogg in a wonderful location on campus. The new facility will enable Kellogg to provide state-of-the-art teaching facilities, additional amenities for our students and office space for our faculty.” In the most recent press release, Dean Blount added that “the site offers breathtaking lakefront view and will be a destination for businesses and civic leaders from around the world.”

But the press release also noted that fundraising efforts are still incomplete, and that they will become easier once they select an architect and the plan for the site is officially finalized.

So one question still remains. Is orchestrating the construction of the new building easier said than done? Perhaps. Brokering a balance between fundraising and building, when there are limited funds, unfinished architectural plans, and diverse points of view is never easy.  To lead Kellogg down that path requires an administration that understands the value of the building and alumni who deeply believe in supporting this initiative, even if the timeline isn’t set in stone yet.

And while the building won’t be up in time for the current classes of students, we should also look forward to supporting Kellogg through the process. Because, in the end, building a new facility will ensure that Kellogg remains one of the premier business schools globally.

Kellogg, its new Dean, and the current class of students should welcome the opportunity to be at the forefront of this change.

This post above represents a recent article I wrote an article for Kellogg’s newspaper, the Merger. Click here for a press release that came out on 11/12 in regards to the new building.

 

Sunday, November 21st, 2010 Business School, Uncategorized No Comments

Applicant Question: Two More Tips for MBA Admissions Essays (continued)

Despite the fact that many people have already applied to business school this year, the round two deadline is still just a few weeks away. As a result, I’ve been sharing interview and admissions tips over the past few weeks. In one post, I talked about how to get started and think about framing your essays. (click here to read) And in a second post, I discussed how to stand out so the admissions committee remembers you (click here to read).

Below, I’ve written a couple of additional tips to keep in mind as you’re writing your essays, this time focusing more on fit and story.

1. Discuss past experiences and future goals. Good essays not only discuss past experiences but they also tie them into their future goals. As mentioned in my previous post, admissions committees are thirsty for details of your past and really want to get to know you, so you should discuss the important events in your life. But you should also connect those events to your passions and to what you’re inspired to do in the future. Often times people tend to discuss the past experiences at the expense of future passions, but in my view including one without the other is not the best recipe for success because it leaves the story incomplete.

2. Discuss how business school fits into your career plan. Once you talk your past and discuss your vision for the future, you also want to be sure to mention why going to business school actually adds value in that process – the classes, classmates, career opportunities, professors, etc.  Doing so, you should not only talk about why you want an MBA but also what an MBA from that particular program. And further you should also discuss why now rather than next year. The best essays demonstrate all three of those things and they do so in a very structured and organized manner. In fact, if you re-read your essays and all those questions are not readily apparent, it’s likely you have some editing to do before submitting.

    As I mentioned in both of my previous posts, this year is shaping up to be competitive, so be sure check back here, at jeremycwilson.com, for more essay and interview tips to come.

    Good luck!

    Saturday, November 20th, 2010 Admissions, Business School 1 Comment

    Student Lunch with Kellogg’s Professor Hennessey

    Just two weeks ago, I had the great pleasure of having lunch with one of Kellogg’s most regarded professors, Professor Julie Hennessy. Not only was it a great chance to talk with one of Kellogg’s revered marketing experts but it was also a way to get her thoughts on the leading companies in the industry and some of the innovative marketing strategies they’re employing in the future.

    One of the things I learned quickly at Kellogg, is that business school has much more to offer than academic and professional (i..e recruiting) experiences, it also provides students with access to a variety of other things, social, cultural, and professional. One of those resources is having access to are the top notch professors.

    Every student, both first and second years, has  lots of opportunities to interact with the professors both inside and outside the classroom. One of the first ways students do that is by taking part in lunches that most professors host with students at the Allen Center.  Professors will invite the class to attend lunch in small group sessions, where you’ll have a chance to chat with the professor and other students in a more intimate setting over a good lunch. And the lunches are filled with free quality food that is usually reserved for executive programming that takes place during the day.

    In this case, we were a group of about a dozen students from my marketing class, and we had the pleasure of attending lunch with one of Kellogg’s best marketing professors – it usually costs more point to get into professor Hennessy’s class than any other introductory marketing class.  So after my marketing class finished on a Friday afternoon, we went over to the Allen center, and chatted about how school was going, how we thought class was going, and what her recommendations were for future classes in the marketing department. We also discussed marketing more broadly and about things that we thought were most interesting in the class.

    Toward the end, I asked her, “what companies do you admire” seeing if she’d give the group a bit of insight into her marketing genius.  Professor Hennessy mentioned a couple of companies she thought had great strategies, including Apple, Walmart, Target, and Costco. Her response was interesting because we had students at the lunch who had previously worked at Apple and at Target. And I was also excited for her response, because Costco is also one of my favorite companies. I’ve always admired its branding strategy not only to consumers who span all income and geographic segments, but also to employees who in aggregate seem to really enjoy working there, especially when compared to other companies.

    Before Kellogg I never thought that this would be such an important part of my business school experience, but today I thoroughly enjoy it, and am fortunate that at top business schools these types of experiences are common. For example, I’ve already had similar luncheons with Deans and Professors at Kellogg this quarter. Today, I have a lunch at the Allen Center with my Median Management Professor, Daniel Gruber. And tomorrow I have lunch off campus with my Finance Professor, Jiro Kondo.

    It’ll be interesting to see how the next few lunches turn out.

    Thursday, November 18th, 2010 Business School, Careers 1 Comment

    2010 Annual Kellogg Marketing Competition

    Convincing someone to buy buy your product can be difficult. Not only do you need to sell yourself, while not coming off as too much of a salesperson but you also need to sell your product, while not forcing people to buy something they may not want or need. And it’s even more difficult when you have to sell a product you may not know that well, such as cereal, detergent, or mouthwash. It’s a delicate balancing act. Well, a lot of students had to manage that balance at Kellogg just last Friday, as that was the weekend for the Annual Kellogg Marketing Competition.

    At long last, the Annual Kellogg Marketing Competition finally came for the class of 2012. There’s been a lot of buzz about about it for the past few weeks, and some teams had even begun talking about it months ago. Teams self-selected as soon as school began, submitted a formal application to enter the competition a few weeks later, and began marketing themselves and their products the week before heading to TG’s Mega sales day (i.e. Mega Mart) this past Friday.

    As a little background, the Kellogg Marketing Competition is one of the biggest annual events here at Kellogg, and it’s one of the best ways to watch many of your classmates shine, many that came from marketing companies before Kellogg, and many who came to Kellogg as a first step to embark on their long-term goals of becoming marketing executives.

    Teams of students each take on a real product donated by CPG companies and are challenged not only to market it to the Kellogg student body but also to create brand awareness and present a business plan to the list of judges. And they worked tirelessly day and night to do well.

    They worked in teams to write their business plan. They brainstormed ways to create buzz with friends and section mates. They developed email, YouTube, and other viral marketing campaigns. And finally, they stood in hallways, study rooms and the atrium to execute those plans by selling to the student body.

    Teams who performed head and shoulders above the rest seemed to be those whose members had the most energy and those had had good price points, enabling them to show the students the value in their products. TG. On the other hand, there were still a other things, such as posters, flyers, music, and samples also played a part in convincing us students to purchase. And for each student, I’m sure the point of sell was different.

    In the end, it was not only a great opportunity to see the marketing prowess harnessed here at Kellogg, but it was also a great venue showcase how much fun everyone has at Kellogg. Thanks to all the teams for providing us with a great Friday evening.

    And a special congratulations to Ziplock and Cleanwipes,who came in 1st and 2nd in the competition.

    Monday, November 15th, 2010 Business School No Comments

    Applicant Question: Two Tips for MBA Admissions Essays (continued)

    The world of MBA admissions is demanding. Not only do you have to submit materials that prove you’re a world-class candidate, but you also have to figure out a way to stand out from the rest of the applicants and ensure that the admissions committee remembers you.  Unfortunately, standing out can sometimes feel like an impossible feat, especially now, where the number of applicants have been rising by double digits and where the caliber of applicants is as good as it’s ever been.

    This post comes as my second in a short response to an applicant’s question about writing business school essays. My first post (click here to read the first two tips on MBA essays)  addressed the idea of how to get started. And this post speaks more about how to stand out, so that the admissions committee remembers you. Because in the end, admissions committees have to read hundreds of personal statements in any given year, thousands over their lifetimes, so they can see good essays and bad ones usually within minutes of reading, if not sooner. And often times these statements are what differentiate two candidates who are otherwise equal on paper.  Here are a couple more tactics that can help ensure that your essays stand out from the rest of the pile.

    1. Be Specific. Conventional wisdom says that past performance is the best predictor of future performance. So admissions committees will look at what you’ve done and the things you’ve accomplished, assuming it’s likely you’ll continue on a similar trajectory.  As such, MBA admissions committees want to know more about your past. But the mistake most applicants make is simply telling the committee what they’ve done. Instead, admissions officers are thirsty for the details of your story, and you should be as specific as possible when you tell your story. That means avoiding giving impressions and writing generalizations when possible. And it also means spending time brainstorming the specifics of the stories you write about, so you can write with more precision once you’re ready to begin the essays.

    2. Be personal. Part of being specific also means being personal – articulating what you thought, felt, said and did, and how you made your decisions. Having read a large number of essays over the years, in my view, the best essays tend to include very personal facts because those are ultimately most engaging to the reader. This is especially important for older candidates who may have taken time off before law school, so committees may want to know more about them and their unique experiences and their personal (i.e. later) decision to attend business school.  It will also be useful for non-traditional candidates, where committees may be looking to understand what made you apply to business school.

    As I mentioned in my previous post, this year shaping up to be competitive, so you should do your best to write the best MBA essay possible.

    Be sure check back here, at jeremycwilson.com, for more essay and interview tips over the next few weeks.

    Good luck!

    Sunday, November 14th, 2010 Admissions, Business School 1 Comment

    Businessweek 2010 MBA Rankings

    Over the past few years, six-figure jobs out of business school have become harder and harder to obtain given the way the economic environment has impacted MBA recruiting.  With that in mind, applicants have recently become more concerned than ever about MBA rankings. For the typical applicant, being in a higher ranked school not only impacts the way colleagues will perceive them when they graduate but more importantly the way employers will read their resumes during the recruiting process. But there’s just one problem. Given the large number of sources of MBA rankings, most of which disagree with each other and use different methodologies to rank, how do you know which rankings are correct?

    Fortunately, recent times has brought some good news – the MBA job market is picking up, and students are starting to get jobs in large number again (click here to see the pace of consulting recruiting). Top programs, like Kellogg, have a lot more companies coming to campus than they did a few years ago and they’ve also starting reporting higher percentage of students with summer and full time offers. This means students across all the top schools are benefitting, which for some applicants, helps take off some of the pressure to get into a top five ranked school.  On the other hand, this still doesn’t stop a lot of applicants from closely following a school’s  national rankings. After all, everyone that graduates from an MBA program carries with them a school’s reputation and resulting alumni network for decades to follow.

    My personal view on the topic is threefold. First, that U.S. News tends to be the most widely used source for business school rankings, and for all other program rankings. Though over the past decade or so, a lot of people have also increasingly began referencing BusinessWeek.  Second, that all sources can be good data points and provide different perspectives in the market. This is especially true because most sources use different methodologies, so you can look at things such as return on investment, post MBA salary, students survey responses, rankings based on prestige, and international reputation. And finally, my experience is that most similarly-ranked schools have access to very similar job roles after business school, whether banking, consulting, marketing, general management, or anything else you can think of. Because what really matters to recruiters is not a magazine’s ranking of the school on your resume but instead the experiences (and results) on your resume, and future potential as an employee at the firm.

    Because of that, my view is that fit is especially important when selecting a business school. That means understanding what school appeals to you most and has the highest number of classes you find interesting. Which students you fit in best with. Where did the energy levels inside and outside of the classroom best match your energy level? And what place will not only set you up personally to be most successful after graduation?

    But it also means understanding which “program” might be best for you.  Today, more students than ever are more interested in programs, such as study abroad programs, skill-based training programs, and most notably dual degree programs, such as the Northwestern JD-MBA which I’m a huge proponent of.  But being in the program isn’t necessarily the same experience as being at Kellogg, nor does it draw the same reaction from recruiters.  So it pays to understand the program more deeply and see if actually makes sense for you to apply.

    In sum, if you want to select the ‘best’ business school for you, you should not only look at rankings but also look at fit and program options before making your final choice.

    Without further discussion, here below are BusinessWeek’s 2010 MBA rankings. And below that, are links to the articles on the BusinessWeek website.

    Top Ranked U.S.
    1  University of Chicago (Booth)
    2  Harvard University
    3  University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)
    4  Northwestern University (Kellogg)
    Stanford University
    6  Duke University (Fuqua)
    7  University of Michigan (Ross)
    University of California – Berkeley (Haas)
    Columbia University
    10  Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)
    11 University of Virginia (Darden)
    12 Southern Methodist University (Cox)
    13 Cornell University (Johnson)
    14 Dartmouth College (Tuck)
    15 Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)
    16 University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill (Kenan-Flagler)
    17 University of California – Los Angeles (Anderson)
    18 New York University (Stern)
    19  Indiana University (Kelley)
    20 Michigan State University (Broad)
    21 Yale University
    22 Emory University (Goizueta)
    23 Georgia Institute of Technology
    24 University of Notre Dame (Mendoza)
    25 University of Texas – Austin (McCombs)
    26 University of Southern California (Marshall)
    27 Brigham Young University (Marriott)
    28 University of Minnesota (Carlson)
    29 Rice University (Jones)
    30 Texas A&M University (Mays)

    Click here for BusinessWeek’s interactive rankings table

    Click here for BusinessWeek’s profile on Kellogg

    Click here for BusinessWeek’s slide show on the programs

    Click here for BusinessWeek’s article about the rankings

    Click here for BusinessWeek’s ranking methodology

    Tags: , ,

    Saturday, November 13th, 2010 Admissions, Business School, Careers 1 Comment

    Dean Blount Welcomes Minority Prospective Students to Kellogg Preview Weekend

    Yesterday morning, the new Dean of Kellogg Sally Blount, made an appearance at Kellogg Preview Weekend to welcome the perspective students to campus. Not only was it great for prospectives to meet the dean in person, but it was also inspiring for them to see a woman at the top of the helm, especially at a diversity weekend event.

    At the morning of the event, the Kellogg admissions team, led by Deena Williams and student club leaders gathered to watch Sally Blount, as she greeted the students from the podium in the James L. Allen Center.  As entered the room, a certain excited in the audience erupted as prospectives were eager to hear what Blount was going to say.  Blount reciprocated that enthusiasm, by speaking with a high level of energy and enthusiasm.

    “I feel a deep sense of honor to come back to the school that I loved so much” the dean mentioned. And “I’m especially grateful to go back to my roots, where I began building my career years ago.”

    But the discussion was more about the future than it was the past. Blount said she intends to take Kellogg to next level. And her first order of priority is to do that internationally, not just here in the U.S.  She also wants to help Kellogg continually evolve in terms of its brand.  Admittedly, the brand of Kellogg is already top tier, but she wants to ensure that the perception that people have is accurate. Because Kellogg is not just a marketing school, but it’s a school that focuses on the “markets” not “marketing,” a general management school, and a school that places a heavy emphasis on leadership and teamwork, not only in terms of classroom but also the culture.

    What is the culture of Kellogg you ask?  The dean said that it means it’s a place where students collaborate instead of compete and where they roll their sleeves up and really get things done together.

    In my view, Kellogg is also one of the best experiences you have to figure out how to be a leader. Because things get really busy and you get challenged every day. So you learn the power that comes from planning. Organizing activities. Setting priorities. Identifying objectives and goals.  And figuring out how to work with other people to reach them. A task that’s definitely easier said than done.

    And finally, the Dean also took questions from the audience. She answered questions about the SEEK major and discussed the herd mentality that takes place in business school. She also talked a bit more about school culture and about leadership.

    In the end, the dean gave a great introduction to the Kellogg prospective students. Thanks Dean for spending time at Kellogg Preview Weekend!

    Related posts on Kellogg Preview Weekend

    Click here for my post on Kellogg Preview 2010

    Click here for my post on Kellogg Preview 2009

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    Sunday, November 7th, 2010 Business School, Diversity, Leadership 1 Comment

    Midterms Are Over at Kellogg

    At long last. Midterm week in our first quarter at Kellogg is finally over. Although most students here did not spend the entire time immersed in their books and outlines, there was certainly a difference in the energy here on campus.  In large part, students spent less time hanging out on campus, spent more time reading and doing problem sets in study rooms, and walked around campus with more purpose and less time to chat. But this doesn’t come as a surprise. After all, some people are recruiting for banking and consulting, where sometimes grades can factor in.

    Over the last two weeks, all the first years here at Kellogg partook in their first exams here at business school. Surprising was the number of students that stayed here and studied here on campus in the in the study rooms. I suspect that the number of people studying on campus will change over the course of the year, as space is a bit limited and as people start to have other priorities as the school year goes on

    For the most part, I’ve did a good job of staying out of the studying frenzy. I think many of the JD-MBAs do that well, in part because we’re used to taking exams now given our experience last year in law school. But that doesn’t mean the week was easier for everyone in the program. After all, not all the JD-MBAs have quantitative backgrounds, nor do all of them have the same levels of business experience.

    On the other hand, a number of my MBA peers have pretty significant finance and quantitative experience, and some of them put in much less time studying than I did. My hypothesis is that the number of hours people spend here at Kellogg is very different for everyone individually and that it largely depends on the specific subject.

    It’s been a pretty interesting past few weeks, but the journey isn’t over yet. Since Kellogg is on the quarter system, rather than semester semester, the pace of the quarter is fast and final exams are looming – my first final exam is only four weeks away.  In fact, we’re already starting to bid on classes for next quarter.

    But the good news is that we’ll be able to start new classes soon and that after final exams, we’ll all be headed to Aspen for the school wide ski trip.

    Stay tuned to hear how the rest of the quarter plays out.

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    Friday, November 5th, 2010 Business School No Comments

    Applicant Question: How to Stay Productive in Business School?

    Given the dynamic of our internet-driven society, professionals operate in a more distracting world than ever before.  As a result, being productive has become increasingly more difficult, and sometimes it can feel impossible because you feel pulled in so many different directions.  And that’s especially true in business school, where there’s pressure to take on more, incentive to stay out with friends longer, and avenues to stay busy every minutes of the day. Well, in a recent question from one of my regular readers, I was asked if it’s even possible to stay productive in that environment.

    First of all, this is a really great question. After all, it’s something that just about all MBA students are going through right now, including me. Not only first years but also second years. And not just here at Kellogg, or in the JD-MBA program, but across all top schools more broadly, especially the first years.  Given this is a pretty important topic and given I often find myself struggling to get everything done, I figured I’d post a few tips on how to stay as productive as possible during the days, as it would not only serve the purpose of informing my readers of tips that will work when they get to business school, but also help to reinforce the ideas for me personally. But I’ll also note that nothing here comes in the form of new ideas, but instead just things to keep in mind as you navigate the year.

    See below for the reader’s question, and below that for my response.

    QUESTION

    Dear Jeremy

    Just a quick note: I am wondering how you manage to keep your site up while also doing classes and taking part in activities. Also, I’d be interested to hear more about how people manage their days, especially during recruiting season.

    Thank you in advance.

    (Name)

    Dear (Name),

    Thanks for checking out my site and for sending your question. It comes at a perfect time, as things are really starting to get busy here at Kellogg, especially for the first years. In fact, I’ve recently gotten a couple of questions and comments about this very topic over the past few weeks. After a bit of thinking, I came up with a few systematic things that I like to do to ensure that I get more done:

    First, I like to keep one to-do list.  I also see a number of people here on campus with these lists and they seem to work well for most students. I recently started keeping mine and I include everything I want to do on a single sheet and check back periodically through the day.  Writing everything down helps get it off your mind and leaves time to focus on the task at hand.  And checking things off feels good and allows you to see that you’ve gotten things done throughout the day.

    Second, I like to prioritize the most important things for the day (and week). Because when you’re busy, it’s easy to forget things, even the most important things, especially during the busiest parts of the day.  So my advice is to figure out a way to keep the important things on top of mind. Personally, before leaving for campus, I try to think about the things that are most important, so I have time to think about them on my walk to school. And I do the same before walking back home.

    Third, I think it’s really effective to figure out what time you work best at and try to tackle a lot of work during that time. For me, that happens to be very early in the morning, when I not only have the most energy but also when nobody is at the school (or even awake) so I have fewer distractions. By blocking out time in the early morning to work, I find that I tend to get more done and have a more predictable schedule when needed.

    And finally, many of my classmates would suggest that you should  not forget schedule personal time.  Though this isn’t always the biggest priority for me personally, a lot of people find they work better when they have a bit of time to relax. And although it’s easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of the day, reserving time to do things you enjoy can not only be therapeutic but also keep you sane.  Personally, I like to save time to go to the gym, talk with friends on campus, work on a few outside ventures, and work on my website. Though I’ll admit, the latter two tend to keep me just as busy as if I were doing other types of work. Either way, I enjoy the activities, so it makes the day a lot more fun and productive.

    I hope this helps!

    Jeremy

    Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010 Business School No Comments

    Groupon Executive and Kellogg JD-MBA, Suneel Gupta, Discusses What Makes A Great Entrepreneur

    I have been fortunate to get to know some incredible professionals in the JD-MBA network, and very fortunate that one of them is the entrepreneurial executive, Suneel Gupta, currently VP, Product Development at Groupon. Suneel is one of the few entrepreneurs that has not only thrived in Silicon Valley but also helped take technology to the next level here in Chicago.  Since graduating from Northwestern, Suneel has done a number interesting things. In addition to writing his technology blog, he has spent time at Sony Pictures Entertainment, Mozzilla, and Groupon, focusing on critical product and business development initiatives. And earlier today, he shared some reflections on his experiences in the start-up space and gave his ideas on what makes the best entrepreneurs.

    What does actually make a great entrepreneur? A number of themes emerged from the discussion. Getting started early. Laying the ground work. Passion for what you’re trying to do. And dealing with failure.

    “If you suck at it the first time, keep going” Suneel mentioned to the audience.  He also mentioned how a lot of the top entrepreneurs had experienced a problem firsthand and that they became so consumed with solving it that they had the right fuel to eventually become successful. He shared multiple examples of entrepreneurs who’d failed many times but worked hard to eventually change the stakes.

    He also addressed the topic of being proactive. “Too often, people say they are waiting until the right time” or “waiting for the right resources” he said, suggesting that this was too passive approach. Instead, Suneel titled his message “The Case Against Someday” and suggested that successful entrepreneurs are more proactive; they’re hunters who are always looking to meet new people, make new things happen, and create opportunities that didn’t exist before.

    This means that they can not only handle ambiguity but also can deal with disappointment. They believe deeply in their idea and work tirelessly in pursuit of it.  And it also means that they’re up for the enormous task of coming up with the next big thing even if the starting point doesn’t seem perfect.

    And so Suneel coined the phrase “put it on paper” saying that many people here on campus have had good ideas but don’t act on them and never consider the simple possibility of putting their ideas on paper as a way to get started.

    Suneel gave us some color by sharing a few examples. First he mentioned the Wright Brothers and their vision to build an airplane. Though they didn’t have the resources, network, or capital, they were successful because they not only had the drive but also sketched down their idea. He also talked about the founder of Twitter and showed us a paper sketch of the Twitter interface, the first time it was drawn. And finally, Suneel also talked about his own career. He mentioned how he loved to write speeches when he was younger and delivered them to local politicians in hopes that someone would eventually use one. Despite facing consistent rejection, he eventually found his way to writing speeches for the Democratic National Committee years later.

    What do these stories have in common? Although very little in terms of industry and era, they all share the common thread of maneuvering in imperfect situations and figuring out how to get started, even if you don’t have any resources. And they are all simple, yet powerful messages, because you can’t argue with the results.

    In sum, if you’re creative and have an idea, be proactive and keep trying. And if you fail the first time, shake it off and try again. Because the best leaders know that persistence is critical.  And because the best entrepreneurs not only have a way of eventually making it to the top, they also have a tendency of taking risks early and failing a few times along the way.

    Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010 Business School, Leadership 3 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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