Archive for April, 2011

MBAs Learn About Business and Busy-ness

One thing I’ve recently noticed is that my classmates have been a lot busier than I expected this quarter. Some are still looking for jobs. Some are taking the maximum number of classes this term, even though they don’t have to. Others have gotten involved in even more clubs than they were last quarter. And others are challenging themselves in the classroom to learn as much as possible before heading into a new industry for the summer. The question that comes to mind is, how much of this busy-ness is actually worth it?

Over the past nine months, I’ve come to realize two things.

One, is that business school will keep you busy.  In fact, everyone becomes so busy that they start making to-do lists. Crossing things off and putting more things back on the list. Finding more activities to get involved in. Taking more classes. Going to more events. And doing more and more analysis to support the answers on problem sets, even when that analysis isn’t needed.

The second thing I’ve found is that doing this “busy-ness” is far easier than actually doing “business” even in business school.

That’s because busy-ness feels natural in our environment. From day one, the environment makes you used to the idea of not having enough time. You start learning the importance of firing off emails every few seconds. Talking to more people at the same time. And figuring out ways to get more things done.

But the problem is that often times, “busy-ness” is completely unrelated to “business” as business is about creating value not just producing.  It’s about creating new things for the market. And not just things the market wants but also things it doesn’t have enough supply of. And at its best, it’s about creating things the market doesn’t even have yet.

To that end, what if you spent all of tomorrow thinking about what those thing are?  And so you didn’t send any emails. You didn’t cross anything off your to-do list. And you didn’t do any analytical exercises for assignments.

But instead, you brainstormed a new idea for your class project. You thought about a way to launch that internet company you’ve been thinking about.  You wrote down ideas for a documentary. And you thought about how to create value in a massive way.

I challenge you (and me) to stop being busy for just one hour and instead do business. Only then will we be able to create new value and eventually change the world.

Saturday, April 30th, 2011 Careers 2 Comments

2011 Annual BTG Scholarship

Over the past few years, aspiring business school students have been applying in large numbers to top MBA programs. Not only do they bring strong work experience from highly regarded companies, but they also come from top academic institutions and get top scores on the  GMAT exam.  As a result, applicants today feel the pressure to submit a top application given the stiff competition, particularly with regard to the GMAT scores which have been trending upwards the past few years. Well one of the best MBA admissions resources I know, Beat The GMAT, has recently launched its annual GMAT scholarship program aimed to help people applying to school.

Given the attention that students give to the GMAT, I couldn’t help but take a second to pass along the information when my friend Eric from Beat The GMAT passed it along. He told me it was that time of year again. When people are gearing up for applications. When they are thinking about the GMAT. And they are about to get started applying to MBA programs.

The scholarship program came out last week. And it is looks to be a great opportunity for those who look forward to embarking on their MBA journeys.  See below for details about the program and below that for a link to the Beat The GMAT website.

For reference, the deadline to submit an application is May 24, 2011.

Best of luck if you decide to apply.

Blurb from Beat The GMAT webpage:

“Beat The GMAT is now accepting applications for the sixth annual Beat The GMAT Scholarship Competition, co-sponsored by GrockitKaplan,KnewtonManhattan GMATMaster GMATThe Princeton Review, and Veritas Prep.  The Beat The GMAT Scholarship is one of the largest GMAT scholarship programs in the world and our community has distributed over $185,000 in awards to date. This year we have seven scholarship packages for seven people, valued at over $8,000! We accept applications up until May 24, 2011 and winners will be announced on June 1, 2011.”

Click here for the website: http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/scholarship

Friday, April 29th, 2011 Business School 4 Comments

Merger Article: Kellogg’s Global Perspective

Globalization has become a bit of a buzzword over the past decade. People use it about as much as students throw around the word “leadership” in business school and about as frequently as MBA admissions teams talk about “fit” when discussing MBA applications. But fortunately, many institutions today are taking globalization pretty seriously, including Kellogg, where students are offered a plethora of opportunities to engage in international opportunities.

I bring this up as about half of the first year class has just returned from GIM trips to begin the spring quarter here at Kellogg. My specific GIM Trip went to Kenya, while some of my other classmates headed off to China, Southeastern Asia, South Africa, Brazil, India, and a number of other countries. The thing that stood out to me about Kenya is that the trip is part of the Global Health Initiative, a project that brings together faculty and students from across Northwestern to address the unique challenges of global health.

Furthermore, many other students embarked on their own trips for spring break, some to enjoy a few weeks abroad with friends and others to visit friends and family that they left to come to Kellogg. This year students went to Israel, Patagonia, Chile, the UAE and other far-reaching locations.

In addition to GIM, Kellogg offers a variety of ways to take part in international activities. Kellogg’s international major is the most basic way to take advantage of its International offerings, where students not only have the opportunity to study accounting, finance, marketing, and other management topics in an international context but also the chance to get real-world experience abroad, through classes like Global Lab and Global Initiatives in Management courses, both of which recently got back from trips abroad for spring break.

In addition to these academic experiences, students have also taken part in non-classroom activities. While most incoming students participate in KWEST, there is ample opportunity to lead KWEST as a second-year student and participate in Kellogg Corps at the end of the summer.

In the midst of all of these opportunities, students are continually encouraged to demonstrate the ability to work across boundaries. They must absorb and build consensus amidst a variety of competing opinions and perspectives while still articulating their own views. They must also demonstrate the ability to work with and through other people. They are expected to have the capacity to confront a wide variety of issues.

Because more than just the trips themselves, it’s also about opening up your mind and understanding the importance of gaining new experiences and perspectives. Especially since many of us will work on diverse teams. And these multicultural teams have an obvious advantage – they experience new things and provide a different way of thinking.

So, the next question is, does Kellogg actually do that well? I suspect everyone might have their own opinions on that one. But what Kellogg does provide is the venue for students to engage. To take trips. Engage other students. Learn different languages. Take a variety of classes. And travel with people who know the country. And Kellogg has even upped their game recently. In a recent press release, Kellogg announced the following:

“On the global front, we continue to review all of our international programs, and I am pleased to welcome Paul Christensen to the Office of the Dean in the newly-created role of Associate Dean for Global Programs.” He will be in charge of tracking our global activities (including both teaching and research), managing our EMBA partnerships, and helping us to craft our global strategy.”

I’m glad Kellogg recognizes how important globalization really is. Because in the end, organizations that understand the value of globalization are the ones that will not only change their own industries but also change the world.

This post above represents a recent article I wrote an article for Kellogg’s newspaper, the Merger.

 

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011 Diversity 2 Comments

Global Initiatives in Management (GIM) Kenya Safari Short Recap

This past spring break, 32 Kellogg students traveled to Kenya as part of the Global Immersion in Management (GIM) class and the Global Heath Initiative (GHI) at the Kellogg School of Management. During this two week trip, me and my classmates traveled to Nairobi, Masai Mara and Kisumu. We studied the economy and learned how health care is delivered in Kenya. And we also had the once in a lifetime opportunity to go on a Safari over the weekend..

Before making it to Kenya, we all wondered what it would be like to see a safari, as the vast majority of us had never had the experience before.  Prior to arriving, most of us didn’t really have a clue that it would be so much fun, not to mention turn out to be one of the best parts of the GIM trip.

The safari began in from the very minute we landed in Masai Mara, about half way through the trip. And because we took private planes right to the middle of the safari land, upon our arrival, we were immediately excited to see everything the safari had to offer,  especially consider the warm weather, which was a stark contrast to the Chicago weather.

On our trip we saw a variety of animals and wildlife.  Among others, animals such as giraffes, monkeys, cheetahs, and elephants.  But from the first day, the lions stole the show. Not just because they were the most interesting animals but also because they were literally just a few feet from the vans. Further, because they had just had new baby cubs, we saw families sitting together just feet away from the driving path.

On the second day, we saw lions that had just made a kill. While generally this might sound a bit gruesome, it’s not necessarily a unique circumstance, as the animals have to find food in the wild. However, it is unique to see on a safari, so to actually see the kill and feasting first hand was great.

 

We also saw lots of elephants on the trip. On one of the earlier days we saw elephants close up as they were crossing the street. This scene was great, because we were so close to them, maybe 20 feet away. And it was especially interesting to watch, because the mother elephant crossed first in order to protect the baby elephant. As she crossed, I remember precisely the moment that she looked at the van, where we could tell that she was thinking about protecting her newborn, especially as her ears looked like they had begun to flap. And for just a minute we didn’t know if we were in trouble or not. But fortunately, she continued back to cross the road, while we continued to watch.

Toward the end of the trip, we also went to an elephant nursery, where we learned so much more about the elephants in Kenya and specifically about elephants that had been injured or abandoned and how they were brought to the nursery.  It was fun to watch all of them play together in front of the larger crowd of people, and while the attendees at the nursery (in green above) taught us more about the elephants.

What I found most interesting about the safari was that each day we went out we saw lots of animals. Contrary to the popular belief that most trips have one good outing, maybe two, for us all the trips were all full of fun and lively animals.  And as a result, the safari was a lot of fun.

Thanks Kellogg, and thanks student organizers for the cool opportunity! Hopefully we’ll have the chance to do it again in the near future.

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011 Business School 3 Comments

One Difference Between Business and Law School

Business school and law school are different – kind of like the left side of your brain is different from the right side. And not just because my classes are different and the topics discussed in the classrooms are different but also because my classmates are different and the flow of the conversation in the classroom are very different.  As the year continues to go by, that fact continues to become more and more evident.

If you are in a business school class, more often than not, numbers are king. You have to think about the financials. Build out the business plan. And think about quantitatively-proven strategies to help you execute that business plan.  Likewise, the cases are often about getting the right answer. So even though all the other aspects of the case are important, getting the right answer is usually most important, especially in classes like finance and accounting.

On the other hand, law school is more about the reasoning behind the answer. So we read hundreds of pages of cases. Discuss those cases in class. And think a lot about what a reasonable person would do in a similar situation. So even if arguments have been made in the past, we are also asked to formulate our own arguments and think about how to disprove the counterarguments. And not just in written form but also publicly, because most professors use the Socratic Method in class.

Like I mentioned in my last post, our arguments have to be good. Because the professors will probe, and because we have to make our arguments in front of lots of people whose opinions we care about, at least during our first year.  So you have to put in the work to be ready.

On the other hand, business school often has less work. Because once you come up with the answer, then you can be done.  Likewise working in teams often helps the flow of the discussion enormously. The exception might be in a very technical subject, and you have to do a lot of work just to learn some of the basics.

Upon reflection, I’m glad I am in the JD-MBA program. The program gives me a chance to mix it up a little. Build different skill sets. Meet different types of people. Indulge in different learning styles. And activate both my left brain and right brain.

What about you? Are you considering a JD-MBA program? If not, should you be?

Friday, April 22nd, 2011 Law School No Comments

One Difference Between Case Classes and Lectures

If you are in a lecture-based class, for the most part you can sit back and listen. Every now and then you have to chime in and prove you read the book, but generally it doesn’t take much effort. On the other hand, case based classes are different. Especially with more assertive professors. Not only do you have to read the case more thoroughly, but you also have to think about the nuances of the case and consider a wider range of questions the professor might ask you. Well, just today, I went to my case based class and for just a quick second, I forgot that difference.

Just today, I went to my case based class called Entrepreneurial Finance. Entrepreneurial Finance, taught by Professor Steven Rogers, is one class I’ve been excited to take all year now. Not only does it go for a lot of points but it also usually gets great reviews.

The class is known to be intense during the actual class time, meaning that the class moves quickly and the professor does a lot of cold calling.  As one student recently told me, “it’s the one class you have to ALWAYS be prepared for.”  That’s because the professor’s style is to call on a lot of people.  To question their responses. Uncover their assumptions. And make them defend their arguments .. often with numbers.

As students, our job is to to take a stance. To make an argument – hopefully one that we believe in. Leverage data to support our arguments. And if possible persuade the masses, which is no easy feat in a class of 104 second year students that all read and analyzed the case differently

So upon reflection, it often seems like cases aren’t only about the decision, but also about the argument. How you frame your thoughts. How you communicate the message. And how to show the professor you’ve given a well thought-out response. Especially since participation is 50% of your grade in this class.

For just for a few hours, I forgot the importance of making a good argument. And I was not able to make one in class today. And even the arguments I did try to make, I couldn’t back them up with numbers, since I didn’t do the calculations before hand. When the professor asked, I fessed up, and the professor was sure to let me know that I should have done the work, in front of the entire class, not to mention in front of a lady classmate, who I may have been trying to impress recently!

In the end, the class reinforced the idea that cases and lectures are different.

In a lecture, you can prepare before class or after class. So long as you catch some of the salient points before the the next lecture, you’ll be fine.

In a case-based class, you have to prepare before class. Sure you can go under the radar once, maybe even twice. But at some point it will catch up to you. And by not preparing once, and getting called on during that one class, it could seem like you never come prepared at all.

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011 Business School 1 Comment

Bollywood Bash Performance Last Night (Video of Our Dance)

Just last night, only a few weeks after deciding to take part in this year’s event, I had the special privilege of joining team Bhangra to perform at 2011 2011 Bollywood Bash. In addition to making some new friends at Kellogg and learning lots of new dance moves with the team, I also had the thrill of performing in front of hundreds of people, as last night everyone gathered at Kellogg last night to watch the 2011 Bollywood Bash dance performances.

It feels like we just started practicing days ago, but upon reflection it’s been about two weeks now. It’s funny, how when you’re having good time doing something, time flies. And before we all knew it, the two weeks of practice flew by and it was time to perform.

Fortunately the event was a lot of fun. The crowd was full of energy. All the dances and other performances were fantastic. And the celebrations after the actual event were fun. But as you might imagine, I have a particular affinity towards my team’s dance. As such, I thought I’d post the video for those who might be interested in watching. See the video below for the actual performance. Note that I’m having a bit of trouble with my HTML so you’ll have to scroll down a bit to see the video.

Enjoy!

 

Sunday, April 17th, 2011 Diversity No Comments

Performing Bhangra at the 2011 Kellogg Bollywood Bash (Video of Our Rehersal)

On Saturday evening, about ten classmates and I will perform together at the Bollywood Bash during the Kellogg Preview Weekend. Bollywood Bash is one of the most fun events at Kellogg. The show takes place tomorrow Saturday, April 16th and will consist of various dancing, singing and video performances to demonstrate Indian culture. And afterwards there will be a fun celebration where everyone can join up after the great performances.

In my opinion, this is going to be one of the best events of the year. It’s not only a chance for anyone with interest in Indian culture to learn more about the culture but also a chance to participate by singing along, taking part in a dance, and celebrating after the event.

Personally, I decided to take part in one of the dances this year. I am doing the Bhangra with a phenomenal group of first and second year students. And as it turns out, our group is pretty good. After auditions two days ago, we found out that we performed as well as any other team so we were slotted in the last dance of the night; otherwise known as the GRAND FINALE.

If you’re a student, I hope to see you at the event at Jacobs tomorrow.  For a sneak peak at one of our practices earlier in the year, check out the video of my team below.

Friday, April 15th, 2011 Diversity 1 Comment

Kellogg School of Management LipDub 2011

After a grueling winter quarter at Kellogg, where we spent most of our time recruiting and in meetings trying to finish group assignments, the spring quarter at Kellogg has been quite a bit of  fun. Not only are more people done searching for jobs, but they are also ready to get out and have a good time again. Well just last weekend, I joined more than 100 of my closest friends and classmates as we had a good time helping to shoot Kellogg’s first ever LipDub video.

In retrospect, the video experience may turn out to be one of the most interesting things of the year.  The video was created by my good Josh Eddy, who I originally met on KWEST Mystery Trip prior to Kellogg. Josh plays the drums for the school band here at Kellogg. But this time he decided to use his creative and musical skills not just for musical entertainment, but instead to put a LipDub video together.

So Josh created the idea, assembled a team of creative students to be directors, brought a large number of Kellogg students to play in the video, and over the course of a few weeks organized Kellogg’s first ever LipDub, which took place right inside of Jacobs.

Click here to see the video.

Click here to see Josh’s profile on LinkedIn.

Click here to learn more about what  LipDub is.

Also, note that I have a couple of cameos at:

  1. 23 – 31 seconds
  2. 1:52 – 1:58 (in background)
  3. 3:28 – 3:37

In all the scenes, I am playing the lumberjack in the red shirt.

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Enjoy the video!

 

Thursday, April 14th, 2011 Business School 4 Comments

Running for Kellogg’s Wine Club Leadership Team

You’ve all heard the saying before. That a good team working together can accomplish a lot more than the sum of its individual capabilities. And that leadership is about facilitating teamwork to achieve common objectives. Well that saying is especially relevant for us now at Kellogg, as over the past few weeks, students have been lobbying for leadership positions for a number of different clubs on campus. And it’s especially relevant for one of my teams now, as we have recently decided to run for Kellogg’s Cork and Screw Club.

Over the past few weeks at Kellogg, many of the school’s organizations began running elections to be on the board of various student organizations. Emails are floating around saying – Be on the board of this club, become the president of that club, or join our new committee.  These are the slogans that clubs send out, hoping to find a few interested and over-ambitious students to take charge in the club next year.

Likewise, some students are also voraciously seeking out leadership positions – to get that one chance to meet someone at a conference and get that one line on their resume. But I’m not surprised by the fact. After all, student here have been leading organizations for years. And not only academic clubs but also professional clubs and associations that have major impact.

On the other hand, there are also those who are seeking clubs that are more social in nature than professional. These are clubs where being a “leader” is valued mostly because its a lot of fun. They are clubs that not only have a lot of fun together but also provides a fun environment for the general Kellogg community.

As you probably suspect, my slate fall into the second category, as the Cork & Screw Club is one of the more fun club environments at Kellogg.  Which makes sense, as it’s Kellogg’s singular club that is based on new wines coupled with great food and conversation. In my view, being part of the club is a no-brainer, and we’ve already got a great list of events that we’re considering for next year.

Having personally held positions on a number of professional clubs this year, I’m thrilled to spend more time with a social one like Cork and Screw. And fortunately, I’m running with a great slate of classmates and friends.

 

In the end, I hope that our slate wins. But either way, we look forward to sharing lots of wine together in the future, and to sharing wine with whoever the winning slate might be.

To my running mates – I look forward to sharing lots of wine with you in the future.

To the current leadership team – Good luck with the selection process!

And to my readers – Stay tuned to see how things turn out!

 

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011 Diversity 2 Comments

Applicant Question: Should I Take The LSAT When Applying to the JD-MBA Program?

I recently received a question about Northwestern’s JD-MBA program. The question comes from a potential applicant that has asked me whether he should consider taking the LSAT as part of the application process. I’ve received similar questions on various occasions in times past, so wanted to include the question here on my site, so readers could have a bit more information on how to think about the topic.

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

From: (name)

Subject: LSAT

Message Body:

Hey Jeremy,

I know that Northwestern’s JD-MBA program doesn’t require the LSAT on its app, is there an unspoken expectation? From what you have seen, does it help or hurt to put an LSAT score on the app?  I haven’t taken the LSAT; is it advisable that I do to potentially strengthen my candidacy? Does the admission board view the lack of an LSAT score as a detriment? Not sure how you reply back to people, but you can email me if you’d like.

Thanks, keep up the great work.

(name)

This mail is sent via contact form on www.JEREMYCWILCOM.COM

Hi (name)

Thanks so much for reading my site and for writing in.  And sorry for the late response.  Here below is a quick answer to your question.

You are correct that Northwestern’s JD-MBA program doesn’t require the LSAT on as part of your application submission. And as such, a large number of JD-MBA applicants do not take the LSAT. The specific number of those who actually take it changes from year to year, but my hunch is that more people apply without taking the LSAT than those who apply after taking the test, perhaps significantly more.

It’s likely that this is why many people who apply to the NU JD-MBA program are considering the dual program along with other MBA programs, rather than along with other JD and JD-MBA programs. To that end, you’d be in good company if you decided not to take the LSAT exam, at least in terms of the numbers.

In terms of the score, there’s no question that a good LSAT will stand out from the other applicants and enhance your application to the dual program. Not only does a good score show that you put the time and effort to submit a strong application but it also shows that you care specifically about law school by taking the exam, since it’d be easy to just skip over.  Likewise, doing well can also prove that you are a competitive law school applicant, which would really stand out given that most JD-MBA applicants skew a bit more toward the business side of things.

On the other hand, it is always possible that you may not do as well as you hoped on the LSAT. After all, the exam is quite difficult and some people take it multiple times and still never achieve the score they were targeting. In that case, the tradeoff is that you’ll be spending time and money taking the LSAT even though the result may not be perfect. But not getting the LSAT shouldn’t be a big knock against you given the exam isn’t required. So in the end, the decision may ultimately hinge on how important your time is right now, and on if it’s worth putting a lot of that time into studying for the exam rather than strengthening other areas of your application.

Good luck in your decision and let me know if you have any follow up  questions.

Jeremy C.

 

Friday, April 8th, 2011 Business School 3 Comments

JD-MBA Speaker Series – Nicholas D. Chabraja Former CEO General Dynamics

There’s a movement taking place in the business and legal worlds. As a senior executive at a public company today, it’s just about impossible to escape complex legal issues. Similarly, if you’re a leading corporate lawyer, you consistently run into business issues, not only at your firm but also at the firms of your clients. The next question then, is obvious. Is it possible to have a career that combines both business and law. And if so, how can you do it? Well, the Northwestern JD-MBA program seeks to answer that exact question. As today the program sponsored a talk by Nichlas D. Chabraja to talk about the intersection of business and law.

Kudos to Northwestern’s JD-MBA program for once again taking the lead in facilitating conversations with both the business school and law school.  Over the past few years, there has been a lot more momentum with regards to the collaboration of the business and legal industries. And Kellogg has stayed well ahead of that trend.

Last year, Northwestern Announced the first JD-MBA Professorship, which not only came with $3MM funding made in honor of General Dynamics recently retired CEO, Nichlas D. Chabraja, who as Northwestern law alum. This year, Mr. Chabraja agreed to join us on campus as today he will give his ideas about the intersection of business and law in the future.

See below for the ad placed in the halls at Kellogg.

Northwestern JD-MBA Association
presents a discussion with
Nicholas D. Chabraja
Retired Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
General Dynamics Corporation

The Northwestern JD-MBA Association is pleased to host a discussion with Nicholas D. Chabraja, retired Chairman and CEO of General Dynamics Corporation. A graduate of Northwestern University (WCAS ’64, Law ’67), Mr. Chabraja began his career at Jenner & Block before joining General Dynamics as its General Counsel in 1993. After four years in that role, he became Chairman and CEO and served in the position until his retirement in 2009. Mr. Chabraja’s training as an attorney and his success in running General Dynamics make him uniquely suited to discuss the continued convergence of the legal and business worlds. During his tenure as CEO, Mr. Chabraja utilized a keen understanding of both disciplines in order to transform the company and better align it with the evolving needs of militaries around the world. As a result of these efforts, sales increased from $4 billion in 1997 to $32 billion in 2009, with General Dynamics most recently moving up to #69 on the Fortune 500 ranking. We hope that you’ll be able to join us for this insightful event.

Monday, April 4, 2011, 5:15 p.m.

Jacobs Center – G40

This event is free and open to the public.
Reservations are not required. Students may register at Campus Groups.
Monday, April 4th, 2011 Law School No Comments

The Education Matters Project

#AskJeremy

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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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