Archive for September, 2011

How Do You Like Your Coffee?

Firms with MBA recruiting teams spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on recruiting activities. They put together marketing materials, organize email campaigns, ask current students for recommendations, create new websites, and last but not least they send consultants to campus to interact with students. One way that the consultants interact is by means of atrium hours. Another way is by having large information sessions. Additionally, one final way they do this is also by having Coffee Chats.

Class of 2012 and 2013, welcome to campus. I’m sure all of you are looking forward to recruiting as the year goes on. Dressing up in formal clothes every day. Having questions prepared. Submitting resumes and cover letters. And of course the coffee chats you have with every single firm you’re interested in.

So what are coffee chats you ask? Well, coffee chats are informal discussions with firm employees at a local coffee shop in Evanston. About a week ahead of time, you pick a time slot that works for you, and you meet one of the employees/ campus representatives to chat with them about the firm. Such conversations will enable you to meet the people from different office locations and learn more about the firm and its culture. Everyone that wants to go to a certain industry usually takes part in these chats, even if they know everything possible to know about a firm. It’s protocal.

In general, there’s a lot of advice people tend to give about how to approach the chats. Be prepared. Be likable. Don’t be too aggressive; especially for 2 on 1 coffee chats with classmates. Sell yourself a little but still be subtle. And most of all have good questions. And these tips apply across industries.

In banking, you want to have as many of these as possible and that the person who will be interviewing you should absolutely know who you are before that interview. In consulting, you want to have at least one with each firm. That way you show interest, get the chance to make a good impression, and learn more and more about firm culture to see what firm you fit in the best.

In the end, people often debate the value of these chats. Further, some second years have more or less given up on them. In my view though, the chats are pretty useful. Not just because you learn more about the firm and have a better shot at getting hired, but also because most of these folks at Kellogg alum and will work in many industries you’re interested in over time.

Either way, I suspect you’ll be gong on these chats no matter what industry you go into. So I hope you like coffee.

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011 Business School, Careers, Consulting 1 Comment

Wasting Time in Business School

One thing we’ve all come to find in business school is that most of us are a lot busier than we ever expected. We spend more time looking for jobs. More time writing cover letters. And more time working on our assignments, even though in many cases we don’t have to. Given that, the question that comes to mind then is, how much does it matter if we decide to waste a little bit of time? And is it possible that wasting time might actually be good for us?

On one side of the argument is “Absolutely not.” Things here are busy and opportunities are abound. Wasting time means not pursuing as many things. Not meeting as many people. Not taking advantage of everything the school has to offer.

On the other side of the argument is that wasting time is critical. It allows you to recover when you’re tired. To get away from the chaos and reflect on life. And experience joy in the midst of the ups and downs of business school.

The arguments on both sides are good. In fact, so good that it’s hard for many people to actually take a stand.  Personally, I don’t like to waste much time. I fill as much of my day in as possible. Back to back meetings. Emailing more and more people. Writing blogs posts in advance.  And going to as many events as possible.

But even though I’m like to do that, every now and then, I get a little less productive and I come to realize that I’d be much better off doing nothing for a few hours. In essence, wasting a bit of time. That said, perhaps more important than deciding “whether” to waste time, then is to decide “how” to waste time.

Wasting time ineffectively is useless. Because not only are you missing out on the opportunities to study, meet more people, network with more employers and accomplish more things by working harder, but you’re also missing out on downtime. The time that you need to recover and reflect on things in your life. Likewise, you also miss out on the happiness that you feel by wasting time and indulging in those activities that make you happiest of all. In the end, you miss out on both sides.

In sum, If you’re going to waste time in business school, waste it effectively.

Right now, I’m wasting time by watching college football on the couch with my awesome roommate Greg Sherman. What about you? How are you wasting time?

Saturday, September 24th, 2011 Careers No Comments

First JD-MBA Social of the Year

JD-MBAs are some of the most interesting students on campus. New students in the program go to classes like contracts and torts, and then they start thinking about law firms such as Kirkland & Ellis, Mayer Brown, and my firm Vedder Price.  Second year students are a world apart. They move up to Evanston start taking classes in finance and marketing,and then they spend the next few months looking at firms like McKinsey, Bain, and Blackstone, among others. And then there are the third year students. We  head back and forth between both campuses, split their time with classmates in Chicago and in Evanston, and are trying to decide whether to go into law or business. And because of all these disparate experiences, we often come together in a big group to support each other through the process.

Well just yesterday we formally came together for the very first time.  Most people arrived about twenty minutes after the event started and found their way to the top floor of the building where the event was held. We spent most of the time there trying to meet some of the 1Js (first year JD-MBAs) and also reconnecting with ones that we had already met.

The 1Js had the goal of trying to better understand the student experience. They wondered how their first midterms and finals would be. If law school would be as hard as people say it is. If they’d have to keep working hard for all three years.

The 2Js had the goal of asking about how hard Kellogg would be. Would recruiting be competitive? Should they recruit for one industry or another? And what would be the impact of working in the law for the summer? On the other hand, the 2Js also provided real time practical advice for the 1Js. Given they just finished their first year, they not only remembered vivid details of the experience but they also had strong opinions.  Things like when to move to Evanston. How to schedule your finals. What exams to pass out of. And how to make it through 1L.

3J had the goal of meeting the people they hadn’t met yet. Give some of us are smack dab in the middle of recruiting right now, some of us still haven’t met as many people as we’d like.  We were fielding questions from both the 1Js and 2Js about our experiences so far, and how it was finally splitting our time between two campuses.

But more important than giving tips on how to maximize the JD-MBA experience is that just yesterday we all took a moment to meet everyone in the program. To not only discuss how to fine tune your career strategy at Kellogg or the law school but also think about ways to connect with everyone in the program and hear about all the interesting paths many JD-MBAs had taken.

We heard about Js that are going to Cravath, Cooley, and Kirkland on the legal side. Others who are in a highly competitive Venture Capital program here at Kellogg and starting their own businesses that span a number of industries. Others who spent time at Lehman and Goldman before the program. And some recruiting with McKinsey, Bain and BCG as we speak.

And in the end, no matter how tough the program feels at times, events like this remind us that we indeed have a pretty special group.

Friday, September 23rd, 2011 Business School, Law School No Comments

Welcome Back to Campus

Many of us never thought we’d admit it, but it sure is great to be back on campus in Evanston again. Even though me and many of my classmates didn’t actually leave Evanston this summer, we sure did feel like we were miles and miles away.  We spent the majority of our working day in downtown Chicago, we didn’t see classmates nearly as much as we  wanted to. And not only did we have to work straight through most of the day but some of us also had to pull late nighters for work as well.  Fortunately, those days are over, and today we begin our journey at Kellogg once again.

The are a few very obvious reasons why Evanston was very different over the summer.  First, was because of everyone’s return back to the professional world. Even though many of us couldn’t wait to get back to work and make money again, the return was a nice reminder of how good we have it in graduate school and especially business school. No performance reviews. No “hard” deadlines every day.  No chance of getting fired.  And the ability to go to the gym or hang out at any time during the day. On the other hand, at work during the summer, we had to work for ten straight weeks. Most of us had at least two reviews over the summer.  And some people worked more time than they’ve ever worked before. In fact, one classmates told me that he worked all but five days this summer; and that included weekends.

Secondly, many of us also didn’t get a chance to see our classmates as much as we wanted to. Without all of their energy, Chicago felt like an entirely different place.  Park Evanston, for example, had more undergrads than I’d ever seen, many of which were here just for the summer. Likewise, the local Whole Foods had far less students than I was used to. During the school year, at every turn, we run into classmates, but in the summer, that just didn’t happen as much. The same thing is true of the gym.

So coming back to campus feels great. It means there is a lot more people and energy here again. And not just because of my class but also because the class of 2013 is also here, starting last week with their first week of class, first final exam (pre-term), and first TG.  And now, Evanston is jam packed with students, many with nervous excitement because of the first year or because of the upcoming recruiting schedule. And many also nervous about their first class ever today.

Going forward, hopefully I’ll be able to capture some of this excitement. Discuss recruiting and how the environment shapes up.  Describe events, not only on campus but also in Chicago.  And as always answer questions about admissions, careers, and recruiting that are relevant to my readers.   Hopefully you’ll continue reading along the way!

Monday, September 19th, 2011 Business School 3 Comments

The Name Game

The business school experience is quite the social experience. Especially at Kellogg, which has long been considered one of the most social MBA programs in the world.  From the second you step foot on campus, you constantly meet new classmates, take part in group and section activities, meet faculty members, and network not only with employers trying to find a job but also with alumni who you will see over and over again.  In the process, most of us have come to find that one of the hardest things to do is to actually remember everyone’s name. So at Kellogg, there is one thing the students do to help with the process. We play the “Name Game.”

At Kellogg, the name game is one important part of our culture.  And I suspect that just about everyone here has played it their fare share of times. They played it from the moment they stepped foot on campus as a first year. And they facilitated it for first years when they became second year students.

Here is how it works.  We have everyone line up in a circle. We pick someone to start the game by saying their name and then picking an adjective that starts with the same letter (e.g. example “Jumping Josh). In addition to that, you can also have the person say where they are from, give an interesting fact, or talk about which program they are in at Kellogg. That way, it’s not entirely about the name but also about getting to know people a little better.

Now, after the first person has gone, the next person is up. They have to say the last person’s name and adjective and then give their name and adjective. Next, you go to the next person who has to give the names of both people before them. Ultimately, you keep moving around the circle, and repeating everyone’s names and adjectives until the last person has to say the names and adjectives of everyone in the circle in order.  It’s not always easy to remember names but I’ve come to find that having the adjectives is pretty helpful.

The next question you probably have is when do we play?  Well, we do it on KWEST when we need to learn the names of our KWEST mates, which is important because we spend every minute of the day with them for a full week. We also do it in our sections to help us learn the names of our first classmates in MORS and in Strategy. And finally we do it in many of the clubs we join. Particularly the tight knit clubs, where its important to get to know each other personally rather than just professionally.

I mean just think about it. Over the course of your first few weeks at Kellogg, you are put into a new environment with over 600 complete strangers. And we all go to the same building every day. Take many of the same classes. Go to the same events. And recruit for the same activities.

Given my experience, the name game is a really good way to help break the ice and connect with classmates. In an environment filled with quick interactions and not enough to meet everyone, knowing people’s names is one great way to build rapport faster. Because in the end, the MBA experience is not just about the classes or the jobs but ultimately it’s about the people.

Sunday, September 18th, 2011 Business School No Comments

Let the MBA Games Begin

Some of people at business school come with a very precise idea of what they want to do. They know what they want to recruit for. They know what function they want to work in for the long run. And they know exactly what clubs they want to join. On the other hand, when others show up on campus, they do not have such a clear idea of what they are interested in. Well, next week, people are going to have to start making decisions fast. First years will have to sign up for clubs and leadership positions. Second years will have to start talking with firms on campus about full time employment. Let the games begin!

Next week, many firms will finally be coming to campus. Dinners with people at investment banks. Coffee chats with folks from consulting firms. And discussions with club leaders so you can take over the reigns the following year. At management consulting firms like McKinsey or Bain, there will be long lines to chat with the employees. Students that can’t wait to start practicing cases for a shot to interview and work at the firm. They learns the mechanics of what to so. Practice calculating market sizes. And work on delivering the final summary of the case.

Likewise, students will also be lined up for firms like Proctor and Gamble, brand management company that makes products. After all, Kellogg is king when it comes to marketing. These students will be studying their favorite brands, thinking about commercials, and practicing calculating break event points.

This is all understandable, given we’re second years now and that we’re all finally searching for our full time jobs after graduation. But it’s just tricky given it all starts the moment we get back to campus and the first day of classes. It means that you don’t actually get much time to think about what you really want to do.  But instead you have to have a good sense and get ready to take action early.

For those that don’t have a good sense, then they have to take action on multiple industries until they do decide, at which point they can narrow down what they’re working on. The problem here is that time is limited and that it’s impossible to recruit for too many things effectively. Alternatively, another option is to resist taking action until you do figure out what you want to do. But the risk here is that you miss the opportunity to work at certain companies or in certain industries.

In the end, there’s no right way to approach it. Do the best you can to change industries, take the path of least resistance, recruit for the most common industries, or recruit on your ow terms. All valid options depending on who you are.

Either way, as the pre-term class is coming to the end and as the weekend approaches, second year students will be thinking about this a bit more this weekend. It will be interesting to see what everyone here decides

Friday, September 16th, 2011 Business School, Careers No Comments

Cristo Rey High School and the First Board Meeting of The Year

Last week, I had the great privilege of attending my first Board Meeting as a member of the Cristo Rey High School board of directors.  And even though I had to travel from Evanston all the way to the south side of Chicago, it was definitely worth the trip. Not only did I get a chance to see a high-powered charter school in person but I also got the chance to meet a very powerful board team and watch members of the Cristo Rey staff in action. And at the meeting, we learned a number of new things about the school and discussed the school’s plan for success in the future.

At long last, months after figuring out that I’d be sitting on Cristo Rey’s board through the Kellogg Board Fellows program, I finally attending my first meeting with Cristo Rey. And I’m quite thrilled with how everything went. The other new members were not only pretty interesting group but also had very impressive backgrounds. On one side of me was a partner from the Boston Consulting Group. Ironically, I had met him during the MBA recruiting process a year or two back, and he recognized me the moment he walked into the room. To his right was a partner at the prestigious Chicago law firm Winston and Strawn. On my other side sat an entrepreneur. And across the table was none other than Chris Perry. In addition to being on the Executive Committee of Loyola Academy, Chris currently serves as chairman of the Board for Cristo Rey.

ONe takeaway after seeing the diverse set of board members is that social impact can come from many different areas. Not only from high paying roles like consulting and corporate law but also roles in the entrepreneurship and not for profit spaces.  Another takeaway was the ability to have impact from both the law side and business side. That both can play a role in having impact and helping to push great organizations forward to do things that they couldn’t have done themselves.

As I mentioned, this specific meeting was an introduction to the organization for incoming board members. In the meeting we discussed a large number of important topics. First we talked about the mission of the organization and the staff highlighted what it was that the organization stood for. Formally, the school’s mission statement from the website is: “Cristo Rey Jesuit High School offers a Catholic college preparatory education for the immigrant families of Chicago’s near southwest side.”

We also talked about the kids and how the goal was to change their lives and improve their chances of success not only academically but also professionally.  And one way the school does that is by having skill building programs that set them up to do well in their work placements. Next, we talked about the admissions and financial process and what that looked like over the past few years.

Toward the end of the meeting, we discussed a few of the governance issues at play. We learned about the rest of the board members and committees and what those committees will do this year. Personally, I’ll be spending time on either the Governance committee or the Programs Committee, either or which whould be a pretty interesting experience.

Likewise, we talked about the composition of the board, and the goal to have the board be more reflective of the actual student body at Cristo Rey. Over the long run, the school wants more hispanic women for positions on the board but finding them is harder given the demographic of its usual board members.

And finally, we ended the meeting by looking at the financial health of the school. And I must say, the numbers sure did speak for themselves. We learned that the organization has been immensely healthy over the past years.  That not only was the budget well-run but also that donors were continuing to give and employers were continuing to work with Cristo Rey even in the current economic malaise. It was actually pretty impressive.

In the end, it was clear that the organization had the talent and resources to keep having impact. It was also clear that the new members were committed and excited to get started in the new academic year.  I look forward to working with the group and hopefully playing a part in the continued success of the students over the upcoming months.

Thanks Kellogg for the great opportunity to take the role as part of the Kellogg Board Fellows program.

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011 Business School, Diversity, Education 1 Comment

What Do You Want To Do When You Graduate?

Before arriving at Kellogg last year, we were all required to take a few personality tests. One was the CareerLeader test, which made to help us assess what careers we wanted to go into. Another was the  Meyers Briggs test which gave us our personality types. Whether accurate or not, these tests helped us to not only learn about ourselves but also to think more about the things we were most interested in pursuing. To help us to answer that one question that today lingers in everyone’s mind. “What do you want to do when you graduate?”

A few weeks into the semester, just about everyone I’ve talked to was undergoing this process of self-examination.  They were examining the full spectrum of careers at their fingertips. Having discussions about industries like consulting and finance. Asking themselves if they wanted to recruit a second time. And trying to get competitive information on what classmates are doing. And this isn’t just people with jobs that weren’t considered good enough. These are also people with jobs that everyone wanted.

For example, just last night I had dinner with one of my best friends, Chris. Chris spent the summer at McKinsey and Company, which is one of the most sought after employers here on campus. And even though he enjoyed his experience, he’s undergoing the same reflection process. This was something we talked about for nearly an hour.

Similarly, I spoke with one of my JD-MBA classmates last week and asked him about his experience in the investment banking industry. He worked at one of the biggest banks in New York City and was something he had his eyes on from the first day he stepped on Kellogg’s campus.  “I don’t know what I want to do, but I know that I don’t want to do that” was his first response. He said the hours were bad, the work was not what he wanted to do, and the job didn’t seem to get better even at the highest levels.

Having spoken with a lot people this year and last year, I know that these experiences are certainly not unique.  Because at some point at the beginning of the second year, everyone starts asking themselves what they want to do. And not just upon graduation but also over the long run.  And just as we start thinking about all these things, we start getting emails and calls from recruiters.

In some cases people feel the pressure to conform. They decide to give consulting another shot and to aim for strategy and private equity jobs. Jobs that not only pay well but also have high prestige and are admired by their classmates.

On the other hand, students like the classmates I mentioned above are doing just the opposite. They learned firsthand that the grass was greener from the other side and that the career was not for them. So they decided they wouldn’t be swayed but the allure of the company on campus and the masses of students pursued them year after year.

The point is that business school (and law school), we all undergo reflection toward the end of our terms. We reflect on the things that are most important to us and think about how that fits in with our proposed career paths. Then we see what the pay and career potential looks like and are forced to make decisions about what we want to do. And for most of us, these decisions seem gigantic. Like they’ll have a huge impact on the rest of our careers.

Big impact or not, we’ll all be spending a lot of time thinking about them over the next couple of weeks. Law students will wonder if they’re choosing the right firms. MBAs about whether they are pursuing money and prestige over their passions. And JD-MBAs a combination of both.

In sum, we’ll all be asking ourselves, “What do I want to do when I graduate?”

Stay tuned to hear more about what me and some of my classmates decide.

Saturday, September 10th, 2011 Business School, Careers No Comments

Social Change and Business School

Over the past few years, the number of businesses interested in social change has taken off here in the US.  In the process, many people have expressed that they have a social obligation to not only give back to those who helped them along the way but also find new ways to help those that can’t always do for themselves. Traditionally, this has been given more present in law schools than in business schools, given the traditions of the respective professions. But today, schools like Kellogg have begun to further embrace the concept.

MBA programs today are really stepping up their social programs. Over the past years, the Kellogg School of Management recently added the Social Enterprise department, where students can come together for events and even major in the subject. At Stanford, the school has long had the Public Management program, where students can earn a certificate in public service and even get a non profit designation.  And at Harvard, programs like the Leadership Fellows program allows top public sector students to work in the public sector upon graduation. On campus, all these schools have forged relationships between students and professors, recruiters and employers, capitalism and democracy, and for profit and not for profit.

The point of the Social Enterprise program according to Kellogg is to “reflect the converging challenges that managers face today as they strive to be socially responsible global leaders in their chosen fields.”  This is particularly true as today, people not only change jobs but they also move among sectors more often than ever before.  Careers such as management, consulting, law, and marketing all face issues relevant to the public sector.

At Kellogg, we see that even being an entrepreneur is relevant to the public sector.  One of the biggest entrepreneurs from Kellogg is Andrew Youn, from the Once Acre Fund.  The One Acre Fund is on my mind as his organization is having a fundraising event in downtown Chicago tonight that I plan to attend. Andrew is proof that business school programs are making a lot of progress in business schools.

As a result of entrepreneurs like this, Kellogg has beefed up its curriculum and incorporated programs like the Board Fellows program (Stanford also has this program), a social enterprise conference, and even a required experiential course and simulation for all returning second year students.

I’m glad these schools and other ones are starting to improve their programs. In today’s economic times, it’s imperative to remember that business school is not just about getting a job, but also realizing that these programs are important and that they are going to play a pivotal role in putting the global economy back on track.

Business schools and law schools should welcome the opportunity to take part in in leveraging its curriculum for social change.






Thursday, September 8th, 2011 Business School, Education No Comments

Did You Get An Offer? Are You Recruiting Again?

Unlike the legal market, the MBA job market has finally started to make a turnaround. Not only are students starting to get more interviews but some are also graduating with more job opportunities at their fingertips.  Given the environment, there’s only one thing on everyone’s mind now, as everyone starts to return back to campus. Did their classmates get a job offer? And are they going to do recruiting again this year?

At long last, it’s finally that time of year. Time when orientation for new students is over. Second year students are starting to linger back on to campus again. And everyone is starting to think about not only about full-time recruiting but also about really enjoying the final year of school.

For some, recruiting isn’t even an option, as the students have decided to take their summer employers up on their full time job offers. Of that group, many of the students got their first choice jobs last summer, so there isn’t any need to recruit again. For others, the students may not have gotten their first choice jobs but they got a job they ended up liking and were lured into going back either by the prospects of skipping recruiting this year or being offered big signing bonuses and tuition payments in lieu of recruiting.

But for others, the students can’t wait for recruiting to actually begin. It’s the chance to try something to find something different, as they may not have loved their internship this summer, whether or not it was their first choice last year. On the other hand, for others, the prospects of recruiting sound miserable. It means practicing more cases, doing more ‘forced’ networking, competing with classmates for positions again, and buying another set of new suits to wear everyday until you land a new job.

And then there’s one final group of people that just don’t know what to do.  They like their job offers but are still considering recruiting. Maybe so they can search for higher paying jobs. Maybe to get closer to their real dream job, even though they did get their first choice summer internship. And maybe because they know this is their one last hurrah to work for that big brand name company that is coming back to campus to interview in just a few weeks. No matter which of these camps people fit into, a lot of people are talking about offers these days.

I recently saw a few stats that significantly less than 50% of students, on average,  return to their summer employer. In fact, for many schools the number was closer to 30%. So when you take into account those that are sponsored, still less than 50% of students in top MBA program tend to go back, which is significantly different than law school, where the vast majority of students go back to the firm they spent the summer at.

That means that despite nearly half the people thrilled that they got an offer, 50% still need to worry about getting an offer this year, no matter whether they got one last summer or not.

Ideally, that 50% of people that need to recruit again did get an offer for the summer. That way, if they don’t get the job they were looking for, they still have a good employer to go back to. Likewise, it also makes interviews much easier, as often times in interviews employer will ask the question “Did you get an offer from your summer employer?”

For those that did not get an offer, they should come up a good reason why they didn’t. Maybe their employer didn’t give out any offers. Maybe the employer gave out some but couldn’t accommodate everyone; and in the student’s case someone at the firm would still be willing to recommend the candidate. Though in some cases, maybe the job wasn’t the right fit or performance was the issue.

Either way, people are thinking a lot more about offers now than they ever did before. And in the end, you realize that it’s not just important if you got a job offer last summer, but it’s more important that you got the right one this year if you decide to search again.

Best of luck to those that are starting their search. And congrats to those that are already finished.

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011 Business School, Careers, Consulting 3 Comments

#AskJeremy – Applicant Question: Preparing to Apply to the Kellogg JD-MBA Program

Every fall around this time I start to get this question a lot. Am I a competitive applicant to the JD-MBA program? Can I get into Kellogg and into the law school?  Do I have enough years of experience? And is my GMAT / LSAT score good enough. Well, in a recent question from one of my readers, I was asked about the odds of getting into the JD-MBA program as well as what the required GMAT score is to get in.  Because these are questions on everyone’s mind, I’ve decided to put my answers to those questions here as a blog post. See below for the reader’s question, and below that for my response.


From: (Name)

Subject: Preparing for the Northwestern JD-MBA


I would like to say I have just recently found your blog during some research on the JD-MBA program and I am enjoying every bit of it. As I am entering my senior year at the University of Oklahoma, I was wondering on the possible outlook of getting into the JD-MBA program at Northwestern. I will have completed 2 majors (Marketing & Entrepreneurship) along with 2 minors (Management & MIS). I may extend my stay and also major in MIS rather than minor (3 majors, 1 minor). My GPA as of now is a 3.4. Community service is approaching 200 hours now and I have completed an internship with a company the past 2 years in a position that is usually held by a post graduate. Is there a chance of making the illusive jump from college straight to the JD-MBA program? Also, what kind of GMAT score should I aim for? Thanks for any help and advice you could provide. I look forward to reading the rest of your blogs.



Hi (name),

Thanks so much for writing, and congratulations on your achievements in undergrad so far. I hope that you are satisfied with your experience.

I am glad that you are interested in the JD-MBA program at Kellogg.  Broadly speaking, our programs gets applications from people with a very wide range of personal and professional backgrounds. As a result, the list of undergraduate majors and universities, job experiences, backgrounds, grades and test scores can be very diverse. And I would say that this isn’t just true of Kellogg or our JD-MBA program but that many of the top MBA programs around the country aim for the same level of diversity of students.

With regard to your email, I noticed two specific questions that you had. First, you asked about the required GMAT score to be accepted. And then you asked about applying to the JD-MBA program out of your undergraduate program. I’ll answer both, in part by pointing you to previous posts I wrote on the topics.

First, with regard to the GMAT,  I would say that formally there is no minimum GMAT score required to be accepted into any MBA program. And every single school will tell you the same thing. Every year, schools accept applicants with a wide range of test scores (and GPAs), some of which might really surprise you. That’s because in a lot of cases, candidates offer a lot more to a school than a high score. Some offer many years of work experience; others offer unparalleled community involvement and impact; while others offer an unmatched level of leadership capacity in the eyes of the admissions committee.

That said, the majority of successful applicants to top business schools, and particularly to the Kellogg JD-MBA program have high GMATs (and GPAs). In the last few years, the average GMAT at top five MBA programs has been around 710 and in the JD-MBA program has been closer to 730. Likewise,  the average GPA is usually over 3.5. And many of the folks I know did better than that.

In the end, that means do you best to get the highest score you can, especially if you are in no rush to apply by an approaching deadline. And even if there is an approaching deadline, I’d still say focus on attaining the highest score, within reason, that you can get, as putting your best foot forward is always important when applying to competitive graduate school program.  For a more complete answer to this question, please see my post about GMAT scores here:

Second, with regard to being a young applicant, I would say that you should be sure to target programs that routinely accept younger applicants. Years ago MBA programs did routinely admit younger candidates. I’ve met a number of alumni from my undergrad that went to business school about 20 and 30 years ago, and the vast majority of them went straight out of undergrad.

In the 80s and 90s that changed, and MBA programs started accepting more people with more years of experience. In large part, this was one way to make the classroom experience and discussions better and also a way to ensure that students could make the most of the experience. Even today, many older candidates often tend to do a better job at getting more out of the classroom and recruiting experience than younger/less focused candidates.

In recent years however, MBA programs have began trending down again in terms of preferred years of experience. Today, many of the top schools in the United States welcome applicants with 0 to 2 years of experience. In fact, schools like Stanford, Harvard, and Sloan are openly taking more and more younger candidates, many of which are straight out of college.

From what I’ve noticed, most of these younger applicants submit applications with GPAs and GMAT scores since they have less work experience and community involvement to point to in an application. Many of them also have strong letters of recommendation, sometimes from professors, because these letters provide more insight about the candidate since they can’t talk about as many accomplishments on the job.

Likewise, JD-MBA programs have also traditionally welcomed younger applications. Because while business schools usually prefer a couple of years of experience, law schools have traditionally taken students with little or no work experience.  On the other hand, the Northwestern JD-MBA is just the opposite, where the typical student here has nearly five years of experience. The JD-MBA program at Wharton/Penn is similar.

So to directly answer your second question: making the jump from undergrad to Northwestern’s JD-MBA program would be difficult given the age/experience discrepancy. If you’re dead set on going straight into a program, then you would have to find programs that take applicants directly from undergrad. On the other hand, if you’re set on applying to Kellogg’s program, than you’d be best served by working at least three years and then applying once you have more experience on your resume.

For a more complete answer to your ‘years of experience’ question, please see my post about younger applicants at: And if you have any other questions about the program, or other programs around the country, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line.




Monday, September 5th, 2011 Admissions No Comments

Fall 2011 MLT Info Sessions at a Location Near You

Greetings everyone! I hope you are all having a good start to the Labor Day Weekend. Things are off to a good start here in Chicago. Not only have people been out and about in the city but also Kellogg CIM week has finally come to an end this week. Anyhow, I just wanted to pass along the word about some of the upcoming MLT and MBA Prep information sessions that are taking place in many of the major cities all across the United States.

As many of you may know, MLT is one of the premier career development organizations that equips high potential minorities in the United States. MLT has traditionally had events like these to inform people all over the country about the organization and to introduce them to alumni of the program. If you’re interesting in attending one of the events CLICK HERE to see the event calendar. If you find one that makes sense for you to attend, please CLICK HERE to RSVP.

As mentioned above, at the events, MLT national representatives and program alumni will give an overview of the program, share personal perspective, and answer your individual questions. Likewise, if you have any comments or questions in advance of attending, feel free to contact me as well.

See below for a listing of some of the upcoming events. MLT looks forward to seeing you there.



MBA Prep Info Session – Dallas

MBA Prep Program
September 7, 2011

Partner Host – Booz & Co – Dallas

Join MLT staff, fellows and alumni for an informative evening of program highlights and personal personal perspectives. The info session will include a live presentation by MLT staff,  panel discussion with program Fellows and Alumni, audience Q&A and networking. Join us.

Time: 6:30 PM – 8:30PM

Attire: Business Casual Register Here >

MBA Prep Info Session – New York

MBA Prep Program
September 8, 2011

Partner Host – NYU Stern School of Business

Join MLT staff, fellows and alumni for an informative evening of program highlights and personal perspectives. The info session will include a live presentation by MLT staff,  panel discussion with program Fellows and Alumni, audience Q&A and networking. Join us.

Time: 6:30 – 8:30 PM

Attire: Business Casual Register Here >

MBA Prep Info Session – Minneapolis

MBA Prep Program
September 13, 2011

Partner Host: Target – Minneapolis

Join MLT staff, fellows and alumni for an informative evening of program highlights and personal perspectives. The info session will include a live presentation by MLT staff,  panel discussion with program Fellows and Alumni, audience Q&A and networking. Join us.

Time: 6:30 – 8:30 PM

Attire: Business Casual Register Here >

MBA Prep Info Session – Chicago

MBA Prep Program
September 14, 2011

Partner Host – Chicago Booth School of Business

Join MLT staff, fellows and alumni for an informative evening of program highlights and personal perspectives. The info session will include a live presentation by MLT staff,  panel discussion with program Fellows and Alumni, audience Q&A and networking. Join us.

Time: 6:30 – 8:30 PM

Attire: Business Casual Register Here >

MBA Prep Info Session – Boston

MBA Prep Program
September 20, 2011

MIT Sloan School of Management

Join MLT staff, fellows and alumni for an informative evening of program highlights and personal personal perspectives. The info session will include a live presentation by MLT staff,  panel discussion with program Fellows and Alumni, audience Q&A and networking. Join us.

Time: 6:30 – 8:30 PM

Attire: Business Casual Register Here >

MBA Prep Info Session – Atlanta

MBA Prep Program
September 21, 2011

Partner Host: Deloitte – Atlanta

Join MLT staff, fellows and alumni for an informative evening of program highlights and personal perspectives. The info session will include a live presentation by MLT staff,  panel discussion with program Fellows and Alumni, audience Q&A and networking. Join us.

Time: 6:30 – 8:30 PM

Attire: Business Casual Register Here >

MBA Prep Info Session – Philadelphia

MBA Prep Program
September 27, 2011

Partner Host: Wharton Business School – Philadelphia

Join MLT staff, fellows and alumni for an informative evening of program highlights and personal perspectives. The info session will include a live presentation by MLT staff,  panel discussion with program Fellows and Alumni, audience Q&A and networking. Join us.

Time: 6:30 – 8:30 PM

Attire: Business Casual Register Here >

MBA Prep Info Session – Miami

MBA Prep Program
September 29, 2011

Partner Host – Knight Foundation – Miami

Join MLT staff, fellows and alumni for an informative evening of program highlights and personal perspectives. The info session will include a live presentation by MLT staff,  panel discussion with program Fellows and Alumni, audience Q&A and networking. Join us.

Time: 6:30 – 8:30 PM

Attire: Business Casual Register Here >

MBA Prep Info Session – Washington, D.C.
MBA Prep Program
October 13, 2011

Partner Host: Deloitte – Washington, D.C.

Join MLT staff, fellows and alumni for an informative evening of program highlights and personal perspectives. The info session will include a live presentation by MLT staff,  panel discussion with program Fellows and Alumni, audience Q&A and networking. Join us.

Time: 6:30 – 8:30 PM

Attire: Business Casual Register Here >

Saturday, September 3rd, 2011 Admissions, Business School, Careers No Comments

The End of Summer Means It’s Offer Season

This is an interesting season for all business school and law school students across the US. When you step outside in the streets of Chicago, everything suggests that summer time is still here. Not only are people still wearing shorts, t-shirts, and dresses but others are still on vacations and on the beach. On the other hand, there’s also a lot of excitement in the air because the fall semester is also here. That means that fall classes are beginning to commence, current students are starting to think about what they want to do upon graduation, and last but not least, they are also starting to hear back about full-time offers from their summer employers.

Over the past two or so weeks, many of my law and business school classmates have been getting news from their summer employers. Some of them that work for typical employers that get back on the last day of work, which is a nice sigh of relief for those that received positive news. Others who have to wait a week or two before employers get back to them. And another group that won’t get responses anytime soon because their jobs are a tad less traditional. These firms don’t have typical recruiting cycles, so offers may not be given for a few more weeks, and perhaps maybe not for a few months.

Interestingly enough, as I was writing this entry, I recently heard back from one of my summer employers.  One of the firm Partners called me by phone and gave me the good news that the firm (and the group) wanted to extend me a position. The Partner noted that I was the only person that he was able to get live so far, which I suspect is because a lot of people are either still traveling or they are back in class these days.

In the legal world, most offers stay available until November 1, though in most cases it’s not ideal to make an employer wait so long. At big law firms, it’s possible the partners that really like you may start favoring other incoming associates that accepted offers more quickly.  At small law firms, that may not be the case, though it is likely that everyone at the firm would see that you waited, and in the legal world that typically means that you are thinking about other options, as law students do typically tend to go back to their summer employers.  The same thing could hold true at consulting firms.

On the business side, its a lot more typical to hold out on offers for a bit. However, in most cases, firms probably wouldn’t take it as personally as MBAs tend to switch jobs after the summer much more frequently. As a result, offers often extend past the November 1st deadline into December and January to allow students to partake in recruiting if they wish to.  In fact, just yesterday I spoke with a classmates that worked at a bigger company over the summer, and he said that he has until February to make a decision; and that his firm was completely understanding of him doing a second round of recruiting this year.

Whether or not you plan to go back to your summer, it feels pretty good to everyone to have an offer in hand. Not only does it relieve the stress in the current economic environment but it also means that you can start thinking more about what it is you want to do, rather than simply focusing on finding employment.  Because more important than just finding any job, is that you take the time to find one that you’re really passionate about.  Because only at that point,  will we be able to unlock your potential and achieve the utmost success in your role.

No matter which camp you fit into: Congratulations on your offers. And good luck in your continued search.

Thursday, September 1st, 2011 Business School, Careers, Law School No Comments

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


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