Archive for January 2nd, 2012

Applicant Question: Negotiations Class at Kellogg?

Negotiations are a very important part of business.  Not only do you negotiate deals with clients and vendors but you also spend time negotiating on your own behalf. For example, we all have to negotiate our own salaries and employment terms. So many students take the core negotiations class in business school, and at Kellogg, it’s definitely one of the more popular classes. Well, recently I received a question from one of my readers asking me if there is a difference in the classes at Kellogg versus other schools.

Hi All. I recently a question from one of my readers asking me if there is a difference in the classes at Kellogg versus other schools. It’s a tough question since I haven’t taken Negotiations at any schools other than Northwestern. But I did provide as objective a response as possible. See below for the question and below that for my response.



Subject: Kellogg

Message Body:
Hi Jeremy,

I didn’t know Kellogg had such a strong negotiations coursework – don’t other b-schools have this as well?





Hi (Name),

Thanks for your question. And thanks for taking time to read my blog. Below is a short answer to your question.

All established MBA programs should have a negotiations curriculum and will have a couple of Negotiations classes that you can take. No matter which school you ultimately decide to go to, much of the curriculum taught in the classroom will probably be the same. You’ll learn about concepts such as BATNA, zones of interests, mutual gain, concessions, and reservation points. And you’ll learn much of them from the same sources. The terms and tools you learn will feel like common knowledge in some ways but it’s good to talk through them a bit more and then to actually put them in practice during live negotiations with classmates.

But that’s not what makes the various MBA programs different. What makes the schools and classes different will be the other students in the classroom, the professors teaching the class, and the research the schools have done.  Sometimes these things can create a pretty big difference. And other times the differences can be marginal.

In terms of the professors and research, Kellogg fares quite well. At Kellogg, the Negotiations professors/research are part of the Management and Organizations (MORS), which is a really strong department here. Not only have they done  lot of great research but they’ve done much of it in negotiations. In part, that’s because Kellogg spends a lot of time focusing it’s curriculum on the soft skills, perhaps more than many of the other top schools. After all, keep in mind that Kellogg did pioneer the idea of incorporating teamwork in the business school curriculum, and the school is also on the cutting edge of leadership and social networks today.  In fact, even our current Dean, Dean Sally Blount, earned here PhD from Kellogg in the MORS department, and she did a lot of her research work in Negotiations.

That said, a number of other schools probably have pretty respected people in their departments as well. And you can find out about the various faculty members by looking online.

In terms of the student body, at Kellogg, the student population here is well suited for the class, on average. Not only are the students here accomplished but on average they’ve also slightly older than the students at other school. So as a result, you get a number of people that have done some negotiating in their prior careers, whether in private equity firms, banks, law firms (former lawyers), sales jobs, or in other roles. One important thing to remember is that these types of practical classes can sometimes change in quality depending on the actual students in the class.  So the better the quality of students in the class, the better off the class will be.

That said, a number of other top schools also have highly accomplished students who enroll. And in the end, it’s hard to predict where applicants get admitted, where they decide to go, and how the breakdown of ages will turn out. And even if you could predict those unpredictable tings,  you still couldn’t predict which students would decide to take a negotiations class, since that would be an elective and not a required course. And even if you could predict who might want to take the class, you couldn’t predict who would bid the right number of points to get it. So in the end, the composition of the class is nearly impossible to predict.

In the end, Kellogg’s negotiations class usually gets good reviews. It goes for a lot of points, has a couple of high profile professors, and teaches you the basics, alongside really smart classmates.  And while I haven’t taken the class elsewhere, I suspect there are at least a few other schools that would offer a similarly rewarding experience.

Good luck in your MBA pursuits!




Hi Jeremy,

I have one more question – in your post regarding JD-MBA, you had mentioned Kellogg even has a minor in Negotiations? I thought B-schools dont have minors?

Do they have such minors for the 2-year program as well?

Thanks and Regards,




HI (Name)

Thanks for your question. Kellogg is one of the only schools that does have majors, so students can opt to get a major in Finance, Accounting, Marketing and Management and Organizations, among other things.

At Kellogg, every student is expected to get at least one major to graduate. The majority of students finish Kellogg with at least two or three majors, and some students get as many as five and six.

IKellogg does not offer quite as many minors but one that is has historically offered in the Management and Organizations Department is Negotiations. Any student can get this minor as well as any major regardless of what program they are part of. It’s simply a function of completing the appropriate classes.

Hope that helps.

Monday, January 2nd, 2012 Business School, Careers 3 Comments

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


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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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