Every now and then, I like to highlight interesting professionals I know. One person I know is named Rico Reyes. Rico is not only a friend and a fellow dual degree JD/MBA degree, but he is also passionate about his community and now is currently seeking a seat as aState Representative in the state of Texas.
I first met Rico in Austin about 2 years ago, at an event called Latino Legacy Weekend (“LLW”). LLW hosts Latino leaders from all backgrounds all around the country to think about their passions, ideals and biggest concerns. Rico and I connected very quickly because we had similar interests and career experiences. Rico worked as a lawyer for years, including as a Prosecutor at the Travis County District Attorney’s Office as welll as a Capitain as a United States Marine Corps.
Rico’s talk was compelling as was his interest in service.
But don’t take it from me, take it from Rico who has a great Facebook pages and great website, full of videos. Please consider visiting wen you have a chance.
Facebook @ www.facebook.com/RicoReyesforDistrict50
Website @ www.RicoReyes.com.
In the aftermath of DOMA and Prop 8 legislation the past two days, everyone has been talking about the decision. Not only my MBA and law school friends, but really just about everyone. Especially on Facebook. One person talking about it is Blogger, Dan Saveage, founder of It Gets Better Project.
In a recent video Savage discusses: How much it has gotten better since the project.
On my blog, I write a lot about interesting people that come from top universities and MBA programs. When I can, I like to write as much as I can about my fellow Stanford alum and fellow bloggers. Well, another person I know is named Azella Perryman. Azella is not only a friend of mine from Stanford but she also graduated from business school, and recently started a blog of her own.
According to Azella’s web-page, it’s shaping up to be a busy month. But that’s to be expected since Azella is two years out of her MBA program and has been hard at work for a while now. But it looks like Azella is also spending a lot of time reflecting, not just about the job she has now but also about her career and MBA path in general.
In my view, top MBA programs need more people just like Azella. Who understand that business school is not only about your next career move but also about reflection on your career in general. The goods, bads and everything in between.
But don’t take it from me, take it from Azella and check out her most recent BLOG POST (10 Things I Wish I knew About Getting an MBA).
Azella, best of luck with your new BLOG. Keep me posted on your progress, and let us know how we can spread the word!
See below for the question and below that for my video response.
Subject: Professional Development
My name is Manuel. I wanted to thank you for all the work put into his blog. I just watched one of your last videos where you briefly talked about mission and goals in life. I have been thinking a lot about this for a few years now and Wanted to ask you about your personal and professional development experience. What other sources of development did you use besides having mentors throughout college? Do you have inspirational and personal development books that you recommend?
Thank you so much
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Structure of my response
Not enough people think about professional development.
“To become a great leader, first you have to learn to lead yourself. To lead yourself you have to know yourself.” -Harry Kramer
Three things: Mentors, Tips, Books.
1. Mentors are critical. Not only helps the mentee, but also helps you and the community at large.
2. Tips: A) Put yourself in tough situations. B) Think about leaders / thinkers you admire.
A) Thinkers I admire: Seth Godin, Malcolm Gladwell, Cory Booker, President Obama
B) Books (highlight top 5): Leadership Lessons from the White House Fellows, Never Eat Alone, Whos Got Your Back, Steve Jobs biography, Audacity of Hope, Purple Cow, The Dip, Not without Hope, The Power of One, Start With Why, The Lean Startup, Strengths Finder 2.0, The Leader who Had No Title, Primal Leadership (or anything by that author), Blink, Outliers, From Values to Action
C) Seth Godin 2012 recommendations
… my favorite blogger. Forget the fact that he’s a best selling author and that he’s struck it rich with his digital media startups. And forget the fact that he is fellow alum of Stanford, and consistently at the top of the Ad Age Power 150. More important than his credentials is that he initiates some of the most insightful messages anywhere
Once a day, Seth write at least one post on marketing and brands, at least on the surface. But more important than that is that his underlying messages are as good as they get. He provides insight not just on the message but also on us and how we take in information. He challenges conventional assumptions. And he forces us to expand our imagination.
Imagine the person walking in New York city, where the lights are blinking and the subtle marketing messages are coming at you from all angles. Most of us can see them but have a tough time articulating them, let alone writing them down. Seth’s blog is good because his is good at writing those assumptions down. He can write what we think.
In one interview, Godin wrote “I’m writing to do justice to the things I notice, to the ideas in my head.”
In another interview he says “Your ability to think creatively is of far greater value to you, than any piece of tech equipment.”
In my own opinion, what makes him good is that he uses his creativity to say something new. That he comes up with new ideas, rather than responds to ideas being talked about already.
MBAs and JDs take notice. Not only is it okay but far often it’s much better, to say something new and be creative. Something I don’t see enough of in graduate school.
If you haven’t seen his blog, you are missing out.
Few companies can be said to represent the spirit of an entire generation. Well one of those companies is Facebook, as the company has not only transformed the way people use the Internet, but also the way people fundamentally interact with others on a daily basis. Recently, the movie Social Network portrayed the story behind the founding Facebook, and the move is a hit across many college campuses. The movie was also a hit here at Northwestern, as one of the main characters played in the movie, Divya Narendra, is one of my fellow classmates here in the Northwestern JD-MBA program, class of 2012.
Before the founding of Facebook back at Harvard, the thought of connecting with others online was not the standard, it was moreso a good idea. And when Divya and his old classmates discussed the idea for social network at the time, they had no clue it would lead to one of the most popular companies in the world today.
But the most interesting part of the story isn’t their personal success. In fact, if you get to know Divya today, you will quickly realize that his personal success doesn’t necessarily play a huge part of his day to day decisions. Instead, Divya’s main mission is continue to improve professionally as a serial entrepreneur and to create value in online spaces where he sees opportunity to make the world better.
Today Divya works on his company SumZero, while studying full time here in the JD-MBA program. Similar to the original intention of ConnectU, SumZero (i.e. the opposite of Zero Sum) is an internet tool that’s focused on helping people grow their professional networks, except this time his site is tailored for investors who want to share investing information. And similar to Facebook today, the networks on the site are immense, as nearly every major fund is represented, including Citadel, SAC, Blackstone, Farallon, and KKR, among others.
Because Divya’s company has taken off and because of the success of the new movie, a number of articles have recently been written about him and the Facebook story, including an article put out by Northwestern yesterday. Below, I’ve posted a number of those articles, including a link to learn more about the JD-MBA program here at Northwestern.
In my view, the JD-MBA program is the perfect fit for any entrepreneur, as you not only get the legal and business training that can be immensely valuable as you start an enterprise, but also the networks and resources from both schools – current entrepreneurs, small business clinic resources, professors that understand the start-up space, classes on forming and managing new businesses, and a network of lawyers, business people and investors.
- Click here to see an article written on Divya by Northwestern yesterday
- Click here to see an article written by the Northwesern Daily newspaper a few weeks ago
- Click here to see a Kellogg press release on the story
- Click here to learn more about the Northwestern JD-MBA program
- Click here to learn more about Divya’s company SumZero
See below to read a preview to the first article above, written by Northwestern University News Center
Life Beyond Facebook
Real-world movie ‘Social Network’ character has no time for regrets By Wendy Leopold
EVANSTON, Ill. — Divya Narendra was having dinner with his girlfriend when a fellow Northwestern University student recognized him for his real-world role portrayed in the blockbuster movie “The Social Network.” “He, of course, mispronounced my name,” said Narendra, still adjusting to the spotlight since the release of the movie.
One of the film’s three Harvard graduates who alleged Mark Zuckerberg stole their idea for Facebook was based on Narendra.
How accurate is the story of what was deemed “the movie of the decade” by some critics? “The way our personalities are colored is exaggerated at times, but the underlying story is a lot closer to fact than fiction,” Narendra said.
(Click here to read the article online)
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope that you’re having an enjoyable holiday not only filled with delicious food but also filled with good friends and time with family. On Thanksgiving, most people hop into their cars to drive, or set away in overpriced seats in the crowded skies to join their families and celebrate while watching movies, parades, and football games. And during the day, they also express all the things they’re thankful for. But in addition to being thankful for many of the personal things above, many of us also have a lot to be thankful for professionally.
In my view, many of us should also be grateful for access to professional opportunities. And that especially true now where business is tighter than it’s been in previous years and where there are more applicants these days and the pressures to get accepted continue to mount. So we should all take a few minutes to thank those who have helped us along the way, whether they helped us make professional decisions or helped us with the graduate school application process.
Personally, I’m grateful for those ahead of me who aggressively continue to sharing information both in person and here online. So I thought I’d dedicate this post to name just a few online resources that I found interesting or that I used directly when applying. I suspect that my readers are also thankful for these resources, or at least will be thankful that I’ve shared them here in this post. My apologies in advance if I’ve left anyone off the list and to those who I didn’t discover during the application process.
- Marquis Parker, who is one of the 1st MBA Bloggers ever, and is currently the MBA blogger with the longest tenure and likely most unique visitors
- Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT), the premier career development program for high potential minorities that are applying to MBA programs
- GottaMentor, an internet start-up that is changing the game for sharing information and online mentoring, and one that I’m also pretty active in
- Michelle Owuku, former MLT coach who helped me through the MBA application process
- Orlando O’niell, who set the stage for blogging at Kellogg the year before I came to campus, and currently writes very insightful posts
- Steven Windsor, another fellow blogger before me at Kellogg, who writes about the venture capital and technology space
- Dino Gane, another fellow blogger a year before me at Kellogg. For those who remember, he began with the name Managing Magic and wrote extensively about his MBA application process
- Jullien Gordon, who is in the careers blogging space and is currently working as an entrepreneur to help people change their careers and their lives
- Paragon2Pieces, who is one of the first, if not the first JD-MBA blogger out there. Either way, she paved the way for JD-MBA writers like myself to enter the space
- NotAboutJackie, who is one of the only other MLT bloggers out there
- Leland Cheung, former MBA blogger and current City Councilman, that also helped me through the application process
- Emmanuel Pleitez, political blogger who began the MBA application process with me before moving into politics and running for Congress
- HellasMBA Blog list, which is a list of bloggers and was one of my first entry points into the blogging space
- Stacy Blackman, a pioneer in the MBA admissions blogging space, and a Kellogg alum
- Linda Abraham (from Accepted.com), who has been sharing valuable information on MBA admissions for years
- ClearAdmit, who has been one of the leaders in sharing information on MBA admissions, for as long as I’ve found it relevant. I also found that Clear Admit Law Blog also has a website dedicated to law school admissions, which I found after being admitted into my program
- Keith Ferrazzi, who is a leading pioneer in the movement on sharing information with others. You might know him from his book, Never Eat Alone
I also wanted to name a couple of “honorable mentions.” Even though I didn’t leverage them during the admissions process or make use of them during my recruiting processes, these resources are definitely setting the stage in the online/ blogging world today and continue to increase the pace of sharing career and professional information.
- ClassyCareerGirl, who is blogging while getting a part-time MBA. She is an excellent resource for women in the business and consulting field. Keep an eye out for this emerging blogger.
- BeatTheGMAT, is an excellent resource not only for GMAT information, but also for aggregating admissions content. It’s a resource I’m currently partnering with to help them bring more information to more people.
- Law School Podcaster, is an excellent resource for law school. They also have a great website for MBA admissions, MBA Podcaster.
That’s because the best leaders and organizations understand the value of sharing information. They realize that more important than always working for ourselves is that we all continue to improve our community by sharing more and more information with those who need it. And that’s especially true for those who might come from families where access to information and to critical resources is limited. And in the end, my belief is that only after we start sharing more freely will be able to make use of everyone’s best talents and collectively unlock our collective potential for change.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
There is a new movement taking place in the “careers industry” which seeks to connect the world with leading jobs, careers ideas and resources, and unique professional advice. Careers entrepreneurship is, in my view, an up and coming industry that will definitely continue to grow and will hopefully accelerate the pace of growth in the economy. After all, we did just recently experience once of the worste recessions of the past century. A prime example of a pioneer in this movement is Jullien Gordon, Stanford MBA class of 2007, and founder of Career Change Challenge.
Jullien Gordon has taken on the herculean challenge of providing human capital resources that will revolutionize people’s careers, particularly those who are interested in entrepreneurship. The Career Change Challenge is his newest initiative, where he posts a number of helpful presentations and videos aimed at helping people to “identify the “right” purpose-aligned career path” and then take actionable steps down that path. As a part of his services, Jullien sends out periodic emails with videos and online content that information that is useful to his readers.
Another leader in the movement is my good friend Marquis Parker, who recently wrote a post about Jullien as well (click here to see Marquis’ post about Career Change Challenge). Marquis started the second or third “major” business school blog ever back in 2003, and as it turns out, I originally met Jullien through Marquis, who was one of Jullien’s classmates at Stanford Business School. And Marquis can attest, that ever since Jullien earned his MBA in 2007, he has been dedicated to the cause helping people triangulate their careers around their life purpose.
Personally, I’m excited about Jullien’s new website, and I hope you will be too. It’s clear that Jullien is not only passionately about his own entrepreneurial ideas but also about helping people find their purpose and find ideas to transform their careers. And in my view, that’s especially important now given the current economic situation.
To obtain new resources to assess your own career, even if just out of curiosity, take a look at Jullien’s new website. And if you know someone else who might benefit, forward his site along to them as well. Because one of the most important things that any great leader can do is not only ensure that they are on the right career path, but also that they’re proactive to get insights and perspective from others as well.
Hi everyone, I have some exciting news to share. Back in late July, Kellogg’s new Dean Sally Blout decided to start blogging about her experience as the new Dean this year. Until now, the Kellogg community, like most business schools, relied on press releases, interviews, and other meetings and conferences to hear about everything that was going on. But now, you can real time, up-to-date information not only about what she’s working on, but also about her thoughts for the future.
The title of the site is “Dean Blount’s First 100 Days,” and it’s purpose is to capture her weekly reflections on Kellogg and management education in the 21st century. She’s already posted ten or so posts over the course of the past few weeks, and I suspect she’ll really start to pick up the pace a bit now that the new Kellogg class of 2012 - her first class as dean - is about to begin.
In my view, the dean’s decision to blog is a very good idea, though you might expect me to say that given I have a website of my own. That’s because a leader’s ability to lead effectively in any organization, especially in today’s interconnected internet-driven world is directly correlated to his or her reputation. A reputation as a thought leader and someone with vision for change. Someone with a proven ability not only to come up with big ideas but also to persuade others and communicate the ideas to the masses. And blogging provides a great venue to start building your reputation and delivering your message.
After reading through the dean’s blog, it looks like she’s hit the ground running and I look forward to seeing what the longer term message is. For all those interested in Kellogg, affiliated with the university, or interested in the MBA community more generally, please join the dean’s ongoing conversation along with me. I suspect that she’ll channel great insights about business and would love to hear what you think about her ideas.
And Dean Blount, thanks for your engagement in the univeristy and for sharing your insights about the MBA world as you take the helm of Kellogg. We look forward to reading along and interacting with you throughout the year.
Click here for see the Dean’s new blog.
Hey Everyone! As a follow-up to my recent post on networking and finding mentors, I also wanted to pass mentorship resource that helps connect you with peers, coaches, and mentors in the business and other professional communities. The company name is GottaMentor and the up-and-coming internet company is a great resource for finding career information. As some of you may know, I happen to be a new contributor to the site. And while it was hard to start contributing as regularly as I would’ve like during 1L of law school, I’ve picked up the pace recently and plan to contribute much more heavily this summer and after.
If you have not heard of the company yet, you should definitely take a minute to browse the website. For one, I’m a contributor to the site and would love for all of you to join. Additionally, if you do take a look, you’ll see that the site really does have a lot of pretty interesting career-related information, and also a great platform to ask questions and get new information. Perhaps more important than all of this, though, is that the GottaMentor leadership team is very highly accomplished. And as such, I suspect the company will be around for some time to come, and it’s also poised to really take off in the upcoming months and years.
To see some of the information, you’ll have to register with a user name and password. But that’s an easy process, and I highly recommend signing up. And the good news is that the site works well for almost everyone. Not only is it relevant for students but it’s also useful for professionals at all stages of their careers and also for those in both business and law. Have a look when you get the chance.
Like many countries in the world, the U.S. faces the daunting task of improving an entire public education system. Our recent recession has shown us that we need to drastically improve the training of our workforce, and that we also need to better equip the younger generations so they don’t face the same issues a decade from now. Inherent in the second issue is the fact that attaining public education for those in the middle and upper classes, is still vastly different than it is for those that have less privilege. America has been talking about the situation for years now, but many believe that it’s time to finally take action. In a recent article, John Legend discusses this issue and how we can lend a hand to help.
I recently referenced this article in my Martin Luther King Day post last week, but I thought I’d devote a post to showcase it here today. For reference, John Legend has long been passionate about changing the education industry. In 2009, he gave the University of Pennsylvania’s (alma matter) commencement address, where he shared his thoughts on education reform. John was also featured in CNN’s Black in America this year where had had a similar message. And finally, John is a big supporter, a former employee of, and now a Board member of Management Leadership for Tomorrow, an organization that is doing as much as anyone to push forward the education agenda. Years ago, John worked at MLT while launching his music career and helped spawn some of its innovative career programs.
John’s opinion (much like mine) is that much of America already recognizes this challenge. So the question really is are we ready and able to address it? Are we looking at countries like India and China and at the best schools here in the US and Europe to benchmark best practices? That’s what the most profitable companies do to stay competitive. Or instead, are we set on tradition, afraid of change, or unable to come up with new solutions? I don’t know the answer, and it’s likely far too complicated to be narrowed down here. But what I do know is that things like technology, creativity, and an the support of organizations all need to be utilized to bring about change. It also helps to have people like John Legend, the support of our ordinary citizens, and also some of the bright MBA and JD graduates who want to serve in the education industry.And not only are the students waiting for a helping hand, but so are the employers who need a bigger pool of talent to recruit from, and as a result so is our struggling economy that needs more productivity from more of its people.
Take a look at John’s article below. It was posted by the Huffington Post on Martin Luther King day.
Title: Education Reform: The Civil Rights Issue of Our Time
Author: John Legend
Hosting Website: Huffington Post
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