Archive for October, 2013

Info panels: Change > Information

panelI sat on a panel about networking on Tuesday hosted by a Law School Association.  I do these sorts of things pretty frequently and it got me thinking about the value of panels.

Panels are very common in the business and legal fields.  And in general, I’ve found that most of them aren’t all that useful.

It all starts in grad school when panelists are invited come to campus to talk about their companies.  Students start off excited with prospects of having the jobs of the panelists one day but soon they learn that most of the panels are the same, so people stop showing up, unless they need a free lunch.  And the reason is quite simple.

On one hand, the panels are useful for the person who doesn’t know anything.  People share information about their jobs and their experiences.  And sometimes, access to more information is critical.  On the other hand, in today’s world, it’s easier than ever to find information – that’s always the easy part.  Hearing about someone’s factual experience is rarely unique.

On the other hand, the hard part is engaging with the audience in a new way.  Telling them something they’ve never heard before. Inspiring them to do something they’ve never considered.  Comelling people to consider a new opportunity they didn’t want to consider when they first showed up.

One reason this is hard is because it has nothing to do with with memorizing case law, reading financial statements or answering interview questions – which is what panels almost always focus on and which is what most students learn in school.   Instead it’s about actually trying to get people to see something in an entirely different way.  To shift their worldview. To prepare them to understand what they want and what they believe.

If you want to organize a panel, don’t pick someone who will give information I can find online.  Pick someone who is inspiring.  Pick someone who can help the attendees see something differnently.  And pick someone who can help people change.

Otherwise, the people won’t come back.

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013 Business School No Comments

The artist who can’t draw

artistA guy by the name of Roy Simmons once said this quote, “Most artists can’t draw”.  Seth Godin wrote about the same idea in Linchpin.  And I couldn’t agree more.

The blogger who writes the prolific blog post that brings you back to her website day after day after day. She is definitely an artist.  The musician who can write a song that makes you cry. The lawyer who can change the hearts and minds of a jury of people who don’t like him from the beginning (think: final scene in A Time to Kill).  No question about it, these people are all artists in their own right.

An artist is someone that uses their intuition and creativity to do something that hasn’t been done before.  Something that touches the hearts of people. Something that might never work with the hope that it could changing everything if it does.

An artists doesn’t simply draw pictures or paint on poster board. The outsourcing company in China who manufactured the painting on your living room wall, those people probably aren’t artists. Likewise, the people who made the posters that are on the walls in your office at work, those people probably aren’t artists either.

On the other hand, all the people who push the status quo everyday to do things that are creative – to develop new website layouts, tell more compelling stories, design greener cities, build new business models, turnaround entire brands or start a movement with thousands of people from scratch – these people are far more artistic than all the people making the artwork for your office.  And none of them do any drawing.

What about you? What is your art?

Monday, October 28th, 2013 Business School No Comments

Divvy: Bike share in Chicago

divvyLess than a year ago, the city of Chicago rolled out a citywide bike system called Divvy. As you walk around the city, you see bike stations that look like the one below in the post. I took one for the first time a few days ago.

I walked out of an Applie Pie Contest with friends in Bucktown feeling full, and was ready to get back to River North for an evening yoga class to work off the food.  But there were no cabs immediately around and public transportation from Bucktown to River North isn’t great. The subway and the bus ride both require  a switch and that can be tricky if you don’t time it right on the weekends. So I took out my phone, downloaded the Divvy app, and looked to see if there was a station close by.  Of course, the moment I put my head up and started looking around, I saw one less than a block away before the app was even downloaded.



It works a lot like a public transportation system. You pay a small fee and can get a bike for a full day. You can pay for it right the kiosk. Then pick what number bike you want. When you pull the bike out of the rack, it’s yours to ride.  You can take it anywhere you want, so long as you dock it in any station when you’re done (like RedBox). When you arrive at your desination, you just put the bike back in the rack and it locks itself.  And best of all there are lots of locations around the city as you can see in the photo below.



The bikes felt really secure and sturdy. They also have a built in lock system so you can lock it up.  They’ve got gears, sturdy breaks, and a basket for shopping.

There are probably some safety concerns. I didn’t have a helmet on me. Any entrepreneurs out there that want to work on an inflatable helmet that fits in my pocket? I’d totally fund the idea.  I had a friend tell me she had an extra, but I was already biking by that point.  Likewise, cars and cabs can be tough on roads with smaller bike lanes or roads without a lane.  But ever since the roll out of Divvy, a lot of roads have put bike lanes up so I did my best to stay on roads that felt secure.

In th end I made it home fast, safely and on time to make the class.  While public transit is sometimes the best way to get around, sometiems Divvy is easier.  And best of all, it was an awesome ride!

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013 Entrepreneurship, Labor Economics No Comments

The MLT MBA Prep application is open

mltFriends, colleagues and readers.  Just a quick note that the MLT MBA Prep Application is open.  I am an alumni of the program and I highly recommend it.

The Round 1 deadline is October 27th and the Round 2 deadline is December 1st.  There will not be a Round 3 this year.  So be sure to get your applications in on time.

MLT has already received 1,000+ name referrals!  This basically means people who may have never applied without MLT being given the name.  So you should be sure to get on the list as well. Let me know how I can help.

Deciding between round 1 and round 2?  Then I’ll reiterate something I’ve said over and over to applicants I work with.

If you are considering applying in either Round 1 or Round 2, the general rule is to apply when your application is best.  Historically applicants apply heavily in both rounds, but slightly more people tend to wait until round 2.  My personal advice is that you should on apply when you can put your best foot forward but on the margin, earlier is better.

Ready to apply? Here is the link.

Questions about MLT?  Ask Me Anythng.

Friday, October 18th, 2013 Business School 2 Comments

Revive the Dream: Session 1 with John Horan

RTDSession1Photo1I was lucky enough to spend the evening with 22 extraordinary people from around Chicago.  They are part of the new Revive the Dream cohort I helped recruit, and program that I’ll be organizing/managing this year.  I’ll be sharing some of the Fellows experiences along the way.

In the meantime, you can see a few photos I took last night along with many of the talented folks in the program.  We also had the pleasure of having charter school founder John Horan join us for part of the session.  Lots of really great things to come so stay tuned.


This is a photo of one of our guest speakers John Horan. I am glad he accepted our invite.




















This is a photo of our Fellows at work. They were looking at Chicago stats for persistence through college. Looks like we picked a great class.


Wednesday, October 16th, 2013 Diversity, Education, Revive the Dream 2 Comments

The bar has been raised

barCongrats to those who learned they passed the Illinois bar yesterday.  That’s great news.

Now that you are lawyers, things are going to get even harder for some of you. I bet that’s not what you bargained for.

I remember when I first mentioned law school to friends after graduating 8 years ago.  Friends and mentors told me how hard law school was, and warned me that “the bar” was really hard.  It reminded me of a few TV shows I saw which made it look like a nightmare.

Then when I was deciding between JD/MBA programs, friends told me that the law school classes would be hard, the competition was going to be harder than before given the recession, and the pressure was intensified with more law grads and less jobs than ever.

I wasn’t too nervous going in, but when I got there, I did find this to be pretty true.  But there’s something new and even further out there going on in the last few years.  Not surprising but new. The bar in the legal community has recently gotten higher – much higher. Both literally and figuratively.

The law students I speak to are feeling it. When they take the LSATs they are feeling more pressure to score higher. When they are in 1L classes, they are buying more and more supplements.  When they talk to employers, they are told they need higher GPAs than students used to.  When they have a job they are told to pass the bar, which has gotten harder and harder.

In Illinois, the exam just got harder this year. The score needed to pass goes up in 2014 and then again in 2015.  All while the exam is adding an additional topic.  The same is true in Michigan and other states.

Maybe there is a good rationale for all of this, but the profession is putting lawyers through a nightmarish path, where no matter what they achieve, it’s never enough.

Why is the bar so high today?  It’s probably the result of a few things: (1) the recessions, which has led to fewer jobs; this means that the industry has to create more hurdles; (2) the rising number of lawyers out there; in fact, despite the recession some new schools have stilll opened up over the past two years;  and (3) tradition.  The legal tradition has always been about hurdles and competition.  Amplifiying that a bit doesn’t change anything.

But the profession is doing well these days. And a lot of people who make it through aren’t perfect. So give it your best shot and I’m sure you’ll nail it.

Questions or comments about any of it? Ask Away.

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013 Business School No Comments

Join the conversation

Join the conversation



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.


Share your education story

Share your education story

Thank you Chicago for the nomination

Thank you Chicago for the nomination

Apply to Join MLT

Apply to Join MLT

Apply to Join NLC

Apply to Join NLC

Learn about the JD-MBA program

Learn about the JD-MBA program

Please Vote

Register To Vote

Twitter Feed


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.
October 2013
« Sep   Nov »
Get Adobe Flash player