Archive for November, 2012

Say hello

Me and my old roommate Greg went shopping in New York city today. We made a point of saying “hello how are you?” to every single store attendant we saw before asking for help.

I do this very often in Chicago too. More surprising than the fact that nobody else in line seems to do the same, is the fact that employees are always surprised as well. Often times they accidentally interrupt saying “how can I help you” before I can even finish. And sometimes they don’t know how to respond at all.

I propose the idea that each of us should do more of this everyday. Put more value on the human connection. And make people we transact with feel important.

But today’s world makes this more challenging.  In today’s technology driven economy, profit margins are lower and stores need more customers to than ever to make money.  So often times companies prize efficiency over good customer interactions. Likewise, customers today are in a hurry and more demanding than ever. So customers equally forget about the value of spending 20 seconds to speak to someone else.

But that’s just the problem. That’s why customers aren’t loyal. It’s why they don’t go back to your store again. It’s why they won’t go out of their way to support your idea or invest in your business. It’s also why employees can sometimes have really bad days at work. And why demanding customers will rarely get their way.

I propose the idea that both parties should put more value on the human connection. Companies need to balance the importance of efficiency with the value of human contact.  Customers should more time being nice to the people we interact with.

In the end, the interaction will be significantly better for both sides.  Employees will be more willing to help you out.  And you might just make the employee’s day.  All by Saying Hello.


Sunday, November 25th, 2012 Leadership 4 Comments

Ask Jeremy: Can you share any advice on recommendation letters for fellowship program?

In a recent question, a reader asked me about choosing recommenders for a fellowship application. Specifically, she wanted to know who to use and what they should write about.

See below for the question and below that for my video response.

Dear Mr. Wilson,

It was a real pleasure meeting you at the networking event last week. I intend to take you advice in my quest for success. I read your blog and I have to say that I am truly impressed. Not only it is very well known, but it serves a purpose that I take at heart. Education.


As I told you yesterday, I will apply to the (Name) Fellowship Program. I went through the application today. For the letter of recommendation,  I am not sure if I should ask one of my undergraduate teachers, one of my teachers from grad school, or my boss from my last job, what do you think? Also, when it comes to the personal statement, I was wondering if I should focus on my work experience or on my life experience from my home community.

Any advice would be helpful. I look forward to hearing back from you soon.


See below for my video response.


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Thursday, November 22nd, 2012 AskJeremy, Careers 2 Comments

#AskJeremy: Does my undergraduate school choice matter?

In a recent question, a reader asked me about choosing colleges. Specifically, he wanted to know how his choice between two schools would impact his ability to go to grad school.

See below for the question and below that for my video response.


When applying for grad schools/companies after undergrad, are there any differences between being a graduate from Berkeley or LA? How do grad schools weigh a GPA from schools with slightly different prestige/reputation. Specific to Berkeley and LA, how would careers/grad schools weigh a student with the same major and a similar transcript accordingly? Any advice you have would be helpful. Thank you.



Structure of my response

1. Education Matters today more than ever in today’s global, information-based economy.

2.  Schools: People choose schools for various reasons.

3. Departments: Different departments will give you different experiences.

4. Grades: Grad schools will put grades in context

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012 Business School No Comments

“There are no unimportant jobs …”

… is a motto any great leader should live by. That every person in your organization, on your team, and in your community is important.

In an interview with former Dean Kim Clark a few years ago, he shared the same idea. I’ve posted parts of it once before, but see this 3 minute clip on the role of good leaders.

Below is the text. Below that is the video.

“Not all of us in the world have the privilege of working in something that itself is inherently passionate.  Some of us work where it`s like work.But everybody can be in a place where their work is valued, where they have opportunities to grow, where they are respected, and where they can see the connection between their work and the larger purposes that they serve. And that has been something I’ve tried to do at this place.

And so I gave a little motto: There are no unimportant jobs at the Harvard Business School. Everybody has an important role to play. And you work in an organization to help people understand that`s not rhetoric. It`s real.

And help them understand, “I am in media services and my job is to set up the equipment in the classroom, and make sure its functioning. And I kind of do my job and its work” You help those folks understand, yeah you’re in media services but you are critical to that student there, whose name is Jeff Immelt. And 25 years from now he is going to run General Electric and he’s going to have 250,000 people working for him. And he’s going to be important and your work as a media tech is going to make that class go well, which means hes going to learn and he’s going to be a great leader.

So you go to work, and say yeah, I’m in media services but that’s important. And I can see how what I do has a larger purpose. And you get passionate about that. You may not be passionate about making the cords work together, or making sure the equipment is right. You get satisfaction out of it because you’re doing a good job. But you get passionate about the purpose of the organization you work for.

And that is what leaders do. Leaders instill in people a sense of purpose and they inspire people. They inspire people if they are good. They inspire people, because they connect people to the larger purpose.

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012 Business School No Comments

Ask Jeremy: “Can you give me some interview advice?”

In a recent question, a reader asked me about interviewing. Specifically, the reader is interviewing for both jobs and possibly for MBA programs.

See below for the question and below that for my video response.


Hi Jeremy,

Congratulations on all of your success! Thank you for the website as well. I am looking to join an MBA program and also doing some interviewing for jobs currently.  I wanted to ask about specific challenges to expect during the interview process, and also ask for any tips you might be willing to share. What were some of the key things that you thought helped you enter the program? Thank you.


See below for my video response.


In short, I talk a little about 1) Framing your answer, 2) Content of your answer,  3) tips on interview style and  4) general tips.   Note that the answer here is pretty high level given the general nature of the question.

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Monday, November 19th, 2012 Admissions, AskJeremy, Education No Comments

The ideal scenario we hope for …

…  isn’t always that.

Often times, our knowledge is limited. And we can try to do better, aim for higher and hope for more.  This is what great leaders help us realize.  And when we open up our minds to see what’s possible, we’ll see that there are other jobs, schools, careers, ideas, products, and situations that we never imagined.

Then we won’t stop until we get to our ideal scenario.

Saturday, November 17th, 2012 Business School No Comments

Ask Jeremy: “Social enterprise and how to bridge gap between the nonprofit and business?”

In a recent question a reader asked me about the Social Enterprise world and about getting an MBA, or JD/MBA.  Her question was a bit complex and long, but I wanted to answer in the very first take.

As always, we’re working on improving the formatting of the response video, but for now:  “Done is better than perfect.”  See below for the question and my video response. And see below that for a few follow up links that I provided.

Hi Jeremy

I hope you’re doing well. I came across your blog while I was researching the JD-MBA program at Kellogg, as I’m currently applying. Great blog! I just had a few questions about the program and school in general, hopefully you can help me out. I have an international background, having lived in 5 different countries in the past 7 years, working, volunteering, and studying in the fields of education, journalism, human rights, and nonprofits. I’m looking to bridge the gap between the nonprofit and business sectors with my JD-MBA. I wanted to ask you about the SEEK program, in particular. I understand that almost every school has a social enterprise program/club, but why do you think, if you’re familiar with it, Kellogg’s is different? I know that they have an annual conference on social impact and innovation, but are there any other programs or even specific classes that are unique to Kellogg in this field? And as a JD-MBA, are you able to take classes at the Medill School of Journalism for elective credit? I know those are some charged questions I’ve asked, but any insight would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks so much!




Hi Jeremy,

Thanks for getting back to me. No worries about the delay. I haven’t applied to any just yet … If you could still shed some light on the Kellogg experience, that would be great and much appreciated. Thanks so much and looking forward to hearing from you.



Here are a few noteworthy things to keep in mind with the SEEK department at Kellogg specifically.

Hope this is a good start


Tuesday, November 13th, 2012 AskJeremy, Business School, Education No Comments

Ask Jeremy: “Can you give me quick resume feedback?”

In a recent question a long time reader asked me how she could improve her resume.  Specifically, since she is applying to the MLT program for the upcoming year.

Hi Jeremy,
My name is Hashima and I am applying to MLT third round which is next week. I am not sure if my resume format is good enough. I have attached my resume, so you could view the format. I was wondering if you have any advice on how I could improve my resume. I will appreciate any advice you have on improving my resume because I always find useful information from your blog. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Thank you,

Below is my video response.  The video quality isn’t perfect yet, but the lighting and formatting do continue to get better.



Monday, November 12th, 2012 AskJeremy, Business School, Education No Comments

The morning after

All eyes and ears have been tuned into the elections up until November 6 which all culminated in a big night of the announcing of the new president. While the night had many celebrations and gatherings all over the country, the morning after offers up something different.

On one end of the spectrum you have the Obama campaign team that won. The night after winning they celebrated together and finally saw the fruits of their labor after more hard work than you can image. But the morning after, campaigners had to pack up and figured out when they were going to head for home (though not before this thank you speech from Obama)

On the other end, you have the Romney campaign that did not win.  The campaign will spend the next day reflecting and casting doubt on what they could have done better. But not for too long-they have to pack up too since many campaigners spend a lot of time in other cities.

Of course the media has continued talking about it but at a much lesser rate than the day before. They did the math and compared it to past elections.

Articles are being written about the political savvy of Obama.

And people are already talking about the prospects of 2016 and 2024 elections, throwing out names like Clinton and Booker.

But more important than all of this is people will have to start thinking about the world again.

Mayor and Governor campaigns are starting to pick up the pace.

#Sandy has left more devastation than ever imagined.

The ed system will get back to its bargaining and organizing for rights of teachers in schools and the lives of students who need support.

People all have to get back to work because the economy definitely won’t stop. For the lucky campaigners, they may stay on the campaigns with a paid position, but not most.

And as for you and me, we all had to be back to work the very next morning. Even if we did stay up the full night watching to see how things turned out.

The irony is that no matter how important something is, how much time it takes up, and how many people are watching, the morning after, most people have to move on.  It’s a skill that is very difficult but worth getting better at.

Sunday, November 11th, 2012 Business School No Comments

You are an average …

of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Heard the saying before? Maybe not perfect in every case, but there’s definitely some truth to the idea.

So when possible, choose your 5 people wisely.  And not just in terms of success but also values and goals.

Pick your mentors wisely.

Choose your friends wisely.

Apply to college after lots of research about the people and departments they study in.

Work hard to get into business schools (and law schools) that are a good fit for you.

Select your study groups carefully.

And pick the right significant other.

Don’t just choose half-heartedly. And don’t let the good ones get away. Otherwise, your average might change.

Just a thought.




Saturday, November 3rd, 2012 Business 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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