Archive for August, 2011

First Day of Classes … Again

Do you remember the last time you had a first day at school? You spent you first day touring your undergraduate university campus, buying books, and getting ready for orientation. Well what about the first day of your last year at school? The day you became a senior and you felt like you were on top of the whole world; like nothing could ever bring you down. Well, for those going to graduate school, we get to relive those moments all over again. We get one more chance at being the new kids on campus, and eventually one more chance at being the older kids on campus. And on Monday I joined my law school, business school and JD-MBA classmates as we embarked on our first day at Northwestern.

Incoming Kellogg students have long been awaiting this moment. Excited to finally have what some call a two year vacation. Thrilled not to have to go to work every single weekday morning. And pumped from heading all over the world on the Kellogg KWEST trips (CLICK HERE to see my post prior to my KWEST trip)

On the other side, Northwestern Law students have also been excited about starting law school. In large part because class, not orientation, actually started on Monday. This is finally the moment that many of them have been waiting for. Ready to prove they can excel in the classroom. Prove they have what it takes to be great lawyers and litigators. And convince the masses that they’re up to the challenge of not only getting great legal jobs, but also doing so in one of the worst economies ever.

No matter which group you belong to, classmates have been meeting up all over  Evanston and all throughout Chicago getting to know their classmates. This is especially true for those who first day comes in the final year being a student. For them, it’s the last year they won’t have to spend the great majority of their time in class but will also spend time working and meeting up with friends. So they’re excited to make the most of it.  To get to meet more of their classmates. And to help make the campus a better place.

Because this is such a big moment in one’s career as a student, the respective Deans will also be making appearances. At Kellogg, Dean Sally Blount will be making remarks next Wednesday at the OLC (Kellogg auditorium). I look forward to trying to attend that session. On the law school side, the new Dean Daniel Rodriguez will be making remarks today, in just a few hours (CLICK HERE for more information on him).

As part of their overall speeches we look forward to hearing about their plans for this year and their visions for the future. Likewise, I’m sure many of my classmates look forward to hearing about how Northwestern is doing in the current economic climate. Particularly on the law side, where things are still picking up from the recent recession.

But perhaps more interesting than all of that is that the talks will bring the student body together and hopefully inspire more collaboration than before. To come together during times of change and help new leaders be as successful as possible. Either way, the first few days should be fun for everyone.

And either way, all good things must eventually come to an end. And over the next few days/weeks we’ll all have to buckle down and get to work. For 1Ls classes will start picking up pretty quickly so they’ll be in the library for much of the day. For 3L/3Js, we’ll work harder to finish up our writing and other requirements we need to complete. For 1st years at Kellogg, orientation will come to an end and classes and networking sessions will soon pick up. And for 2nd years at Kellogg, recruiting happens in just a couple of weeks.

Best of luck no matter which camp you fit into. And best of luck if you’re applying this fall in hopes to be part of the group next year.

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011 Business School, Careers, Law School 3 Comments

Dean Daniel B. Rodriguez to Visit Northwestern Law on Wednesday

Over the past year, [former] Dean Van Zandt’s resignation as Dean of Northwestern Law School has sparked a lot of discussion regarding his achievements, his vision, and his plans for the future at The New School. And he probably deserves the attention. After all, he is the guy who not only transformed the world of law school programming, but also the one who came up with the modern JD-MBA program.  But today, new Dean Daniel Rodriguez is the one at Northwestern that’s starting to get most of the attention. And on Wednesday that attention will finally result in a visit here at Northwestern.

This Wednesday, new Northwestern Law Dean Daniel Rodriguez will finally be making an appearance at Northwestern Law.  The purpose of his visit is to address the student body in advance of becoming the full time Dean this winter.

The event is intended for the entire student body and faculty members takes place in just a few days on Wednesday, August 31, at 4 p.m. His visit will serve as a formal introduction to the Law School community where he will give a talk in Thorne Auditorium and then meet some of the students in the Atrium.

In advance of that, he recently sent a letter to the student body discussing Northwestern and his transition. See below for the letter.

To:        The Northwestern Law Community


From:    Dan Rodriguez


Re:        A Note to the Northwestern Law Community


It is with great enthusiasm, tempered with appropriate humility, that I have accepted the honor of becoming Northwestern University School of Law’s next dean, effective at the beginning of the spring semester.  Thanks are due to a great many members of this wonderful law school community, and I hope to be able to give these thanks in person over the course of the coming academic year.  More importantly, I hope to earn this trust with my hard work and good service over the course of my deanship.

I am very clear that this is a trust in every salient sense of the word.  Northwestern Law’s reputation as one of the nation’s top law schools reaches across many generations of lawyers and has been built methodically with the hard, passionate work of committed faculty and staff.  We will continue to work hard on behalf of our students and with the sense of purpose owed to our distinguished alumni who are truly a “who’s who” of the profession’s best and brightest.   I am a newcomer to this community to be sure, but one who has admired from afar what the Law School has accomplished, what it stands for, and I now recognize its potential for even greater excellence.  The celebrated Chicago architect, Daniel Burnham, advised famously to “make no little plans, for they have no magic to stir blood and probably themselves will not be realized.”  Yes, indeed this reflects my ambitions and objectives for Northwestern Law as I undertake this important post.

There will be other venues to speak more concretely about plans and policies, about opportunities and ideas, and about expectations and resources.  For now, let me share just a few thoughts by way of general framework.  First, I will work to the best of my ability, and with the integrity, honesty, and transparency befitting this leadership position to advance the Law School in all its extraordinary dimensions.  Second, the core goal around which planning and implementation will find its rightful place will be to serve the educational mission of the Law School — to provide a first-class legal education for Northwestern Law’s students and to forge opportunities for them to realize great professional success in their chosen endeavors.  And third, the Law School’s best aims will require a collaborative, inclusive process, with constant attention on my part and on the part of the Law School’s faculty and administration, to the good ideas that emerge from thoughtful, energetic members of our community working together.

Northwestern Law is rightly proud of its reputation for innovation, and David Van Zandt’s able leadership during the past 15 years has created a solid foundation on which to build.  Here we make big plans; we think outside the box; and we lead the way in developing initiatives suited to this rapidly changing profession.  Such innovation requires creativity, agility, and boldness enlightened through collective engagement in a common enterprise.  My deanship will be guided by this common enterprise and I look forward to joining with all of you in these collaborative pursuits.

A last introductory thought about the coming transition:  The Law School moves ever forward, and the fall semester will be, as always, a busy and dynamic time filled with vital energy and purpose.  We are all very fortunate to have Professor Kim Yuracko serving for another semester as Interim Dean and I know I speak for the entire community in both admiring and supporting her continuing, excellent work on behalf of the Law School.  As the dean-designate, I will spend quality time during the fall semester (and, in truth, quantity time) in learning about the Law School, engaging actively with Law School constituents, and reflecting on the challenges and opportunities ahead.  I will eagerly reach out to you in the coming weeks and I encourage you, likewise, to reach out to me.  In doing so, you can help me better understand your hopes and ambitions for the Law School and thereby shape the agenda of the school in the months and years to come.  Thanks, in advance, for all your input; and thanks for the very warm welcome you already have given me and my wife, Leslie Oster.

Northwestern Law has accomplished much in its long history as one of our most prestigious — and also interesting — law schools.  Yet, I am confident that its best days lie ahead.

Very best regards,

Dan Rodriguez



Tuesday, August 30th, 2011 Diversity, Education, Law School No Comments

Stanford Alum and Dual Degree MBA Candidate, Leland Cheung, Seeks City Concil Re-election

In the past few weeks, I’ve highlighted a number of interesting professionals that come from top universities and MBA programs. In my last post, I wrote about a Stanford GSB alum who is working on bringing more women to Silicon Valley. Before that, I wrote about a friend of mine that recently launched a social network after his run for Congress. Well another person I know is named Leland Cheung. Leland is not only a dual degree student at MIT Sloan and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government but he is also currently seeking re-election for Cambridge City Council.

Since graduating from Stanford, Leland has had a pretty interesting career.  He’s worked at organizations such as Space Adventures and Masthead Ventures (venture capital firm). He’s worked as a fellow at the Department of Energy. And he’s worked not only with the community in Boston but also with the National Association of Asian American Professionals.

In addition to these roles, Leland also recently secured the coveted position as a member of City Council in Cambridge. And after one year in office, Leland is gearing up for his second campaign.

According to Leland’s webpage, it’s shaping up to be a busy month. He’s been holding town hall meetings around the community and talking about ways we can improve our city, working with summer interns and participating in panels at the National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP) career fair.

What I find most interesting about Leland is that he is demonstrating the real power of a business degree. His education has not only allowed him to have access to top jobs and networking opportunities but also to the political landscape of Cambridge and its most important policy issues.

In my view, top MBA programs need many more people just like Leland. That understand that business school is not only about careers like consulting, banking and strategy, but also about entrepreneurship and the public sector. That you don’t have to take the traditional route to be successful. And that you don’t have to follow the masses, just because you go to a certain school.

Likewise, the JD-MBA program here at Northwestern could also use more people just like this. People who are not only considering corporate law and business jobs but those who are also considering government and entrepreneurial roles.  If you fit in that category, the program would love to hear from you.

Either way, best of luck Leland on launching your new campaign.

To learn more about Leland, see

Monday, August 29th, 2011 Business School, Careers, Diversity 1 Comment

Alley To The Valley and Women in the Start-Up Space

Have you ever wondered what it takes to become the next big entrepreneur in Silicon Valley? Or creating an internet company that takes off, not only locally but also all across the US? Or what about forming a social enterprise that really does have impact and change the world?  Well if you have dreamed about doing any of this, then perhaps you’ll find this organization interesting. The organization name is Alley for the Valley.

I talk a lot on my site about some of my MBA friends in the start up and non profit spaces. Well another one of my friends is taking part in a new organization. The organization name is Alley for the Valley, and one of my friends Lauren Westbrook from Stanford GSB is currently working with the organization.

Over this past summer, Lauren has been working for a company called Alley to the Valley through Stanford GSB’s Entrepreneurial Summer program. The organization is very interesting. Not only is it an exclusive (invite-only) organization for women but it’s also making a lot of headway into the Silicon Valley start-up space.  As of today, it’s been in the NY Times, it’s getting a ton of media attention and momentum, and many of its selected members are starting to get major funding opportunities, coveted jobs, media exposure, a chance to attend conferences alongisde like Rosie Rios (U.S. treasurer), Heidi Roizen (Silicon Valley investor/expert), and Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook).

My friend Lauren is helping to handpicking some new members, and and reached out to me to help spread the word. As such, I wanted to post here to send out information on the group. It’s great seeing my friends use business school to not only improve their own careers but also to engage in entrepreneurial ventures and work toward changing the world.

Click here to learn more about the organization. See below for the official invitation that I received. And drop me a line if you’re interesting in hearing more.


Sunday, August 28th, 2011 Business School, Careers, Diversity No Comments

Attend a Kellogg MBA Information Session on September 6, 2011

The Fall season is one of my favorite times of the year.  Not only because schools starts back up again but also because the MBA admissions cycle is in full swing. That means students will become visiting campus, sitting in on the classes, and contacting current students looking for a golden ticket to gain admissions into top MBA programs all over the country. Well, in addition to that, a lot of programs also hold information sessions across the country. And one of them happens to be put on by the Kellogg School of Management in early September.

At long last, the admission seasons is finally ramping up again. As such, I wanted to write a quick post to inform you about an upcoming Information Session in Chicago.  Since Chicago is a hub for people that apply to the Kellogg School, I thought I would pass along the official invitation for the event, which is put on by the Kellogg admissions team. I suspect that many of my readers might be interested in attending.

The event will be the first of two events that are held in Chicago. This one will be held on September 6, 2011 and the second will be held on a date which is still to be determined.

In general, these events are always a lot of fun. Not only are they are a great chance to mingle with lots of potential business school students, some who may even end up at Kellogg but also a great chance to meet admissions officers and learn more about the school.

See below for a snapshot of the invitation for the event.


Wednesday, August 17th, 2011 Admissions, Business School, Careers No Comments

MBA Internship Final Presentations

Thousands of MBAs finished their first year of business school in this past spring and went off into the workforce to start their summer internships. Some of them went into consulting. Others into banking and finance. And another group went to marketing, operations, general  management and a variety of other positions. But no matter which industry people went into, most of them do have one thing in common. At the end of the summer, you have to make a final presentation to some level of managers regarding the work you did for the summer.

If anecdotal evidence isn’t good enough for you, then I’d suggest taking a look at Facebook immediately. See what all your MBA friends are saying about work.  I did just that this morning and saw a pretty wide variety of messages.

In one case I saw a message that said “Today I have to present my final presentation. Wish me luck.” In another example, a status message said “Working late hours to finish my presentation to my client.”  Even this morning, one of my classmates and friends working at Pepsi for the summer left a message on her wall “final presentation today!! wish me luck!”  Even at 9:49am she had 7 “likes” (including me) and 13 “comments”.  A number of comments say “Good luck.” Others say “knock em dead.” And one even says, “You will amaze them with your brilliance, I am sure :).”

So why so many responses to such a simple message? That’s a good question. It’s because most MBAs, especially those at top schools undergo the exact same experience. They have to present what they worked on at the end of the summer. And those final two weeks can be pretty difficult, depending on the employer, industry, and manager you are working with because in a lot of cases not only are the expectations high but the pressure people put on themselves is also high.

During that time, students often work harder to tie up loose ends. Put in more time to fine tune all the details. And spend more time prepping to deliver a compelling presentation to senior management. All with one goal in mind – to get an offer.

In addition to getting an offer, many students also hope to refine their presentation skills, prove they can add value to an employer (even in two months), and even just make a good impression. After all, you never know if you’ll run into some of your summer co-workers again.

Either way, no matter what the reason is, if you just finished your first year of business school and find yourself with an MBA summer job, there’s a pretty big chance you’ll be doing exactly the same thing.

In sum, for those that just finished their presentations in the last week; congratulations.  For those finishing up this week; best of luck wrapping up.   And for those entering school now waiting until summer 2012 for their summer internship experience; get ready. Your time will come next sumer.

Monday, August 15th, 2011 Business School, Careers, Job Opportunities 2 Comments

Applicant Question: How is Your Time At Vedder Price Going?

Everyone in business school and in law school hears this question a lot.  How did your summer go? Did you like the work you did? How did you like the firm and the people there? Do you want to go back? It’s what a first year asks a second year at Kellogg. And what a second years asks a third year in law school. Well, in a recent question from one of my readers, I was asked how things are going at my law firm (Vedder Price) this summer. See below for the question; and below that for my response.



Hi Jeremy:

You said you were employed at a law firm. How is that going? Are you working for the litigation department or the corporate side? What is your area of specialization? Would you mind describing a typical day as a summer associate?





Hi (name),

Thanks for reading and for your question about Vedder Price.

Overall, my experience so far with Vedder Price has been quite good.  As a bit of background information, I was lucky enough to get a job there as a first year law student, which was especially nice last year during the middle of the economic downturn.  So this is actually my second summer at the firm.

During the last summer, I worked across many of the practice areas. I worked with the corporate group and investment services group, and I also worked  with the litigation and employment groups.  Within those groups, the assignments always varied, where I worked on mergers and acquisitions deals, construction litigation cases, non-profit litigation memos, executive compensation negotiations, and employment law disputes.  I really enjoyed my time there and appreciated to opportunity not only to get a wide range of legal experiences but also to do so during my first summer.

This summer, my experience with the Firm has been a lot more focused, but still very positive overall. It started at the beginning of the summer, when I was attending all the social events and getting to know people, even when I was still working at my first employer, a management consulting firm. The firm had dinners, happy hours, baseball games and WhirlyBall just to name a few activities.This really confirmed how much I liked Vedder Price.

Just this week, I officially started back up at the firm, and I joined the firm’s Corporate group. Specifically, I am working with the Finance and Transactions team, which is headed up by the firm CEO and President, Mr. Michael Nemeroff. Ironically, I will be meeting up with tomorrow afternoon to talk more about the group; it will be good to chat with him more about the firm and how things are looking for the future.

In general, the Finance and Transactions group is split up into two parts: Mergers & Acquisitions and Financing.

The Mergers and acquisitions group works on every aspect of corporate strategy, dealing with the buying, selling, dividing and combining of different companies and similar entities. Most M&A transactions touch on a variety of specialty legal practice areas, including intellectual property, employee benefits, executive compensation, taxation, antitrust law, environmental, real estate and estate and financial planning.

The Financing and Secured Transactions attorneys represent borrowers, lenders, and mezzanine financiers in a broad array of transactions.  Lending clients, including commercial finance companies, banks, trustees, credit providers and other institutional lenders, receive the benefit of Vedder Price’s experience in structuring asset-based, general commercial and cash-flow loan transactions, loan restructurings and equipment leasing transactions.

In general, most new F&T lawyers at Vedder Price start off working both with the M&A group and the financing group. Then after spending about a year working across the groups, they tend to choose one path or the other depending on their interest, work flow, and partners they tend to work with.  I suspect I’ll be taking the same approach during my time.

This past week, I’ve spent a bit more time on the M&A side, helping with contract reviews and due diligence.  But since I’m only at the firm for a few weeks, it’s hard to see the full deal. Further, I’ve spent equally as much time meeting folks at the firm as I have working on projects.  So far, it’s been great, and I look forward to seeing how the rest of the time here goes. And when I do, I’ll be sure to update on everything.

Stay tuned to hear how the rest of the summer goes.

Thursday, August 11th, 2011 Business School, Law School No Comments

Planning Our KWEST Trip to Ecuador

I’ve alluded to it a lot the past couple of weeks already, but recently, I’ve been doing a lot of planning for my upcoming trip to Ecuador.  Because I got to know one of the travel guides early in the the school year last year, I have taken the lead on a lot of the planning on the trip this year. And boy has it taken quite a bit of time. Fortunately at this point, the itinerary is just about set, and all of us are very excited to leave for the trip in two weeks from today.

At long last, we’re finally only two weeks away from embarking on our trip to Ecuador.  But getting here hasn’t necessarily been easy. In fact, this summer has been and will continue to be busy planning. Because not only did I have school and work this summer,but I also had to help finalize plans for the trip.

Just today we had a 90 minute planning call. On the call, we walked through the details of our itinerary for every single day. We came up with questions for our tour guide.  We thought about the pre-party we’ll have the night before we leave. And we brainstormed games and ice breakers to play not only during the pre=party but also for each day on the trip.

In addition to all of that, we also thought about the packing list we got from our tour guide. We discussed which backpacks we might buy for the trip. How much we planned to spend on all of our items. And also how soon we needed to buy everything given we’re leaving in two weeks.

But even after our 90 minute call, there are still a lot of things we still need to figure out. Later this week, we’ll set up another conference call with the travel planner. And after that, we’ll probably have another phone call later in the week to talk about more of the details.

Why so much planning you ask? Because in the end, these trips are enormously important at Kellogg. It’s the way that 20 students are first introduced to the Kellogg family. And more importantly a way to showcase the teamwork orientation at Kellogg. To help them travel with an interesting group of classmates who they’ve never met before. To give them activities and mixers to meet their classmates. And to facilitate discussions with everyone that don’t focus on work but instead on all the other things that make them unique.

It will definitely be interesting to see who ends up on my trip. Stay tuned to hear more about our trip to KWEST Ecuador.

Sunday, August 7th, 2011 Business School 2 Comments

2011 Summer Update

Two years into the JD-MBA program, we’ve all finally come to realize how busy things keep being. In our first years we were 1Ls, which in most cases speaks for itself.  The following summer we had full time course loads in addition to many other activities. In my case, I had that and a full-time job at a law firm. In our second year, we were all first year students again but this time at Kellogg, where things were faster and more competitive than ever before. And this summer, most of us looked forward to having more free time. Except in my case, I decided to split my time at two jobs, launch a new website/company, and take a class at all at the same time. And as a result, the busy-ness has not stopped.

At long last, the JD-MBA program is two years in and our last summer is coming to an end. I spent the first half of my summer working at a consulting firm. Fortunately, my project was local which was nice because I got to come home every day. On the other hand, it also meant I had more time to work more hours and it also meant my commute was longer since I still live in Evanston and not downtown Chicago. Either way, this past week was my last week at the firm, so I look forward to starting my law firm gig in just a few days.

However, there is still one thing standing in between me and my time at the law firm, and that is a final exam I have on Monday.  The exam is for my class Administrative Law, a Constitutional Law class that not only requires a lot of reading but also a lot of writing, at least for the final exam. I’m looking at old practice exams now and it looks like I still have quite a bit of studying to do before the Final Exam on Monday. The exam takes place from 6pm to 9pm, just about one hour after I finish my first day at the law firm.

I am also working a lot this weekend on the website/ company that I am launching. At the moment, I’m in the process of looking for web developers for the site. Someone who not only build the site but also help maintain it in the short run in case I need updates or fixes. It’s taking a surprisingly long time to go through all the emails and figure out who the right person is to help out.

In addition to that, I also have to start shopping for items I’ll need for my KWEST trip. As I’ve mentioned here before, we’ll all be headed to Ecuador in just a couple of weeks, and I’ll need a large array of outdoor apparel, including boots, shirts, backpacks and toiletries.

And finally, I also have to choose classes for next year, a process which is much harder than it sounds. I have to balance my units at the law school with those at Kellogg. I have to be sure I satisfy all my law school requirements – Perspectives class, Professional Skills class, Ethics class, etc. I also have to think about how much to bid for my legal classes and pick teams for my Kellogg classes. A lot more complicated than I thought it would be.

As you might suspect, it sounds like this week is going to be hectic and that August in general is going to be a crazy month just like it was last summer. But either way, I can’t complain. Because just when August ends, things pick up even more. Not only does law school start, but then KWEST happens. Then recruiting also picks up. And then Kellogg classes begin.  It will be interesting to see how everything plays out over the upcoming weeks.

But perhaps more interesting is the fact that we’re all pretty far along the way now in the JD-MBA program. I can’t wait to see where all my classmates end up. I look forward to sharing more about it in the upcoming months. Stay tuned!

Saturday, August 6th, 2011 Careers, Consulting 2 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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