Revive the Dream: Join us in Chicago

classAn underserved education system results in increased poverty, higher prison rates, systemic inequality, and in the end an economy that is worse off.  One organization I am working with to help tackle the issues in Chicago is Revive the Dream.

Over the upcoming year, I’ll be working with my friend Meg as an organizer for Revive the Dream fellows program.

RTD’s mission is to revive the American dream for underserved children.  We do that by recruiting emerging social leaders and giving them access to a curriculum, to leaders and to organizations that can develop them into reformers not just in Chicago but across the U.S. when they are done.

In short, we’ll be bringing together a group of fellows in 2013, bringing in education leaders in Chicago to speak at our sessions, and then helping people get connected to special projects with education nonprofits after the sessions are over.

Interested in being a fellow?  We are currently recruiting for our 3rd cohort.

Join us.

You can also email with questions or to hear about our next happy hour in early September.

There’s never been a more pivotal time to develop leaders in the education space. Please help us spread the message.


Tuesday, August 13th, 2013 Education, Events No Comments

Three More Days

Three More DaysThree more days.  Yep, that’s it.  In three days, I’ll be working with a small group of people from all over the world, and we plan on doing something very special.

You must be dying to know exactly what this means?

What this means is that folks with game-changing ideas are coming together to work with a common purpose and to work for a common cause.  That purpose is to create something remarkable and in this case, the cause is related to education and the internet.  In just a few days, I’ll be joining Seth Godin, and his hand selected team.

In terms of what we’ll do, good question.  We’ll have discussions to see if we can up with a few ideas, maybe draw out a game plan, perhaps create and launch a product, and possibly even strategize on how to raise capital.  Who knows.

On one hand, the details are not all determined yet and that’s why the team is going to be important. On the other hand, we have to be quiet about what we are doing until we’ve done it.

But soon, that may not be the case.  So stay tuned. I look forward to sharing our progress with you.

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FinishYesterday, me and my team finished a very big private equity deal that we’ve been working on intensely for the last couple of weeks. And today, I finished another small Venture Capital deal that got a lot messier than we ever expected.  It got me thinking a lot about the idea of how hard it can be to finish.

Yesterday, minutes after finishing our first deal, I couldn’t help but think how long the last few weeks have been.  A colleague of mine left the office right after the deal ended and on his way out he said, “thanks for all your help the past few weeks”.  I replied “thanks for all your help”. We both really meant it, because there was so much work for us to do.  And in the end we were both very glad it ended well.

That’s because there is also something profound to finishing something you started. Especially when you  finish strong.

I can’t help but think of people who had to work really hard to get through college. People who start in communities where many people don’t graduate but still find a way to defy the odds and finish.

One of my mentees, Jaime Limon, is the perfect example.  Jaime went to an inner city high school in Los Angeles, where about 25% of the students graduate within four years, but he worked hard and went on to graduated with honors and go on to USC.  His struggle hasn’t been easy. He had to start at another University and spend some time at a community college before getting into the school of his dreams two years later. Now he’s working in a great summer internship in Los Angeles and will be finishing up in December.

Finishing takes vision, focus, discipline and comittment.  And it often takes getting up and trying again when the going gets tough   I am a big fan of working harder when it gets tough, defying the odds and finishing something you started.  Easier said than done, but worth getting better at.

Congrats to my team for finishing strong the past few weeks. And congrats to one of my clients (and former MBA classmates), who finished up the private equity deal on his side. He’ll be getting married out west this Saturday, and I look forward to joining him.

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Thursday, July 11th, 2013 Careers, Education 1 Comment

Revive the Dream Recruiting Session on June 2, 2013

rtdinstitute-logoOne organization I work with is having a happy hour and recruiting session next week on Tuesday June 2, 2013.  Email me at if you are interested in attending and becoming a Fellow.  Hope to see you there.

The RTD mission is: “To revive the American dream for underserved children. The program recruits emerging community leaders and develop them into education reform catalysts to improve the life prospects of millions of underserved American children.”


Revive the Dream Happy Hour

Please join us for a Revive the Dream (RTD) happy hour /  Information session on Tuesday, July 2nd from 6-9 PM, at Citizen Bar.

Learn about the mission of RTD and how you can get involved.  Also, Mike Rosskamm, RTD’s founder and a charter school principal will speak about the importance of getting involved in urban education.

RTD is a unique way for professionals to get deeply involved in improving urban education in Chicago.  Documentaries like “Waiting for Superman” and news reports showing that <10% of CPS students graduate with a bachelors degree in ten years have demonstrated how terrible urban education is in this country.  RTD teaches you how to help improve this critical economic and civil rights issue.

We recruit ~20 fellows from outside the education world who we then train for 10 months about how to have an impact (1 two-hour session per month).  After the training, fellows will be partnered with local education organizations for at least a year and help those organizations improve through activities like board service, project management, and fund-raising.

Training with RTD revolves around interactive sessions with leading education practitioners.  A few of them will be on hand at the event to answer questions about the current state of education both in Chicago and across the country.

Join us on Tuesday the 2nd to learn more or if you can’t make it, visit our website at

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Sunday, June 30th, 2013 Education No Comments

Guest Post: Edward Cox on the Common Core

CommonCoreIn a mathematics class at a Southern California high school in the suburbs, students competed with each other to see who could assemble the largest rectangle from snap cubes holding to the golden ratio.

Nogales High School Algebra 2 teacher John Cox watched his summer school students outperform their classmates even after they had surpassed the required dimensions in the analytical problem they had been given.

“They were just doing it on their own, it was hard to stop them,” Cox said.

Teachers across California are adjusting to new teaching standards called the Common Core Standards which focuses on analytical thinking and real life application of mathematics. Although the state adopted the standards in 2010, California Governor Jerry Brown has funneled funds into the program in this year’s budget for implementation from 2014-2015.

The state’s investment in teacher training, technology and new books in the shift to the new standards will trickle down to mathematics and language arts classrooms. Although Cox acknowledges many teachers are unfamiliar and even suspicious  of the oncoming changes, he said he to shift to a more student oriented teaching approach.

Questions that fall under the Common Core Standards resemble free response questions, Cox said. For example, he asked his class to design a fund-raising game for the Associated Student Body  that would turn a profit. The game consisted of finding the diameter of a disc to toss into a rectangular plain that would result in the student winning 40% of the time.

After three to four days testing measurements, students learned how to use the quadratic function to determine the appropriate size of the disc.

Implementation of Common Core will lead to a different approach to testing in addition to teaching. Instead of gauging students’knowledge through California Standardized Test booklets stocked with multiple choice questions,   Common Core will test students through technology.

Students will be able to manipulate graphs and drag answers on their computer screens during Common Core tests.

“(Common Core) is more project oriented instead of lecturing on all the different standards,” Cox said. “that’s the way I usually like to teach so for me it’s not a big deal.”

– Article originally written by Edward Cox on Education Matters


Wednesday, June 26th, 2013 Education No Comments

Race and College Admissions

Surpeme CtSome time this month, the Supreme Court is expected to rule on a case that could further restrict the use of race as a factor in college admissions.  The issue is whether a student’s race or ethnicity can factor into admissions decisions.

There are many arguments to support why considering race is important, notably the legal rationale of correcting past wrongs.  But there are also others who argue that affirmative action does not work or that using economic status will do far more to help.

Ten years ago, the court’s stance is that student diversity is a compelling interest that can justify the use of race, but only as one among many factors.  A recent NY Times  article discusses the updoming decision.

The biggest obstacle to class-based affirmative action, as Richard Perez-Pena pointed out in The Times the other day, is the obvious one: cost. Poor and working-class students are by definition in need of more financial aid. That is why universities have shown little interest in switching. It’s cheaper to bring in students of color from middle-class or affluent families. (It also brings in kids with higher SAT test scores, which count so heavily in the obsessively watched college rankings.) Cost is the reason that even many proponents of class-based affirmative action favor what Tienda calls “a holistic approach” — class and race both.

Head nod to Bill Keller for surfacing this important issue in his article yesterday.

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Tuesday, June 11th, 2013 Admissions, Diversity, Education 2 Comments

2013 Princeton Prize Race Relations Event and my Keynote Remarks

SpeechThere is perhaps no greater challenge facing our country than the pursuit of equality.  From gender, to socio-economic background, to color to race, the challenges we face not only exist today but have existed for hundreds of years.  Princeton and its alumni recognize that the issue of race relations continues to be urgent and recently started the Princeton Prize Race Relations to tackle the challenge of race. The event in Chicago was organized by friend and colleague Marquis Parker.

The mission of the Princeton Prize is “To promote harmony, understanding, and respect among people of different races by identifying and recognizing high school age students whose efforts have had a significant, positive effect on race relations in their schools or communities.” 

The Princeton Prize in Race Relations consists of regionally awarded $1,000 cash awards as well as an annual symposium on race.

The event took place yesterday and I was fortunate to be invited.  Not only did I meet the high school award winners, support the Princeton community in Chicago and talk about Education Matters but I also gave the keynote address, which was on Race Relations as I see it today.

Princeton“We the people, in order to form a more perfect union.”  The first words of the preamble and an early quote in my remarks. I spoke about many topics, from the town halls of Philadelphia PA where the constitution was written, to the DREAM’ers not given the chance to go to college even though they were born in the United States, to our responsibility to stand up and disagree not just on the streets but also in the classrooms and courtrooms, to the professional challenges of race today. I also told my own story – how I am the son of two adopted parents.  Neither my mother or my father knows the exact color of their parents skin or what countries their ancestors came from – and ended  with a piece of advice to the winners: understand how much #EducationMatters  in this process.

But more important than those remarks were the wonderful efforts of the 4 award winners in attendance.  HERE is the video of this year’s winner, which was posted before the event. But all 4 students at the event were incredibly remarkable. They have businesses that reach all over the world and were very impressive in front of the room to only be 16 and 17 years old.

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Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013 Diversity, Education, Events 2 Comments

The 2013 VIVA Event #EducationMatters

CREvery year hundreds of people attend Cristo Rey high school’s annual VIVA! scholarship fundraiser at Millennium Park. I recently got an invite for me and a guest again this year’s event.

VIVA  is a day of inspiration to reflect on how well the school has done. A day of celebration for the school’s former students and employees. And a day of participation, not only for volunteers wanting to get more involved but also for people in Chicago.

The event will be filled with food, fun, friends and networking. There will be a great raffle, music and announcements. There will also be high profile speakers and news coverage. I look forward to the event.

To learn more about VIVA click here.

To purchase tickets to VIVA click here.

To see my posts about the event the last two years, see below.

2011 Event:

2012 Event:

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Saturday, April 27th, 2013 Education, Events No Comments

2013 World Scholars Gala knows that #EducationMatters

ChicagoGalaLater today, on Saturday March 30, 2013, I’ll join people from all over Chicago in a wonderful event to support one of the most important issues in Chicago today – education.  This evening the event is the Village Leadership Academy Gala.

The 2013 World Scholars Program Gala takes place tonight, March 30th in Chicago.  I’ll be attending with good friend and education extraordinaire, Marquis Parker  who has access to the event as a VP at Aon, as well as a few other  friends and colleagues, including Louis Dobson, SVP at Aon. Most people will bring a special guest to the event.

With the education being such a major issue in Chicago, there’s never been a better time to bring everyone together in the same room. To discuss the issues.  Learn about this organization. And to not only to enjoy the evening but also to eventually work together to have a bigger voice in the education movement today.

There’s never been a more pivotal time to move our country forward through eduction.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the World Scholars Program.

Click here to learn more about our #EducationMatters campaign and HERE to read the education mission.


Saturday, March 30th, 2013 Education, Networking No 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

Tuesday’s Pre-MBA Conference Call

MLT’s Pre-MBA Conference Call 1.5 days ago was a huge success. More than 100 of you showed up and got to hear from one of the top education nonprofits I know. My apologies to everyone that technical problems kept me from being able to answer questions at the end. But I do have one alternative for you now.

Everyone on the call considering applying to MLT and to MBA programs, I’d love to answer your questions now. I’m starting a new segment here called #AskJeremy where you can Ask Me Anything on Tumblr or on my blog. I’ll answer anything I can help with related to careers, MBA and law school admissions or anything education-related that might come up. I don’t have all the answers but I do have my perspective and the perspective of people I know.

I want to respond via video so I can respond more quickly and concisely.

You can ask by sending in a video question or written question.

I’ll do my best to respond to anyone that writes, but from time to time may give priority to those from my own communities, including those from MLT and anyone  interested in sharing your story with education matters should I get more questions than I can respond to quickly.

I look forward to hearing from you all.


Thursday, October 18th, 2012 Admissions, Business School, Education No Comments

Purpose of school

I’ve been thinking a lot about the purpose of education these days. And I’m not the only one. Every year thousand of people think about it, while they are taking entrance exams, trying to get into the best school they can. Then again when they’re taking professional exams. Trying to learn as much material as they can to go work in certain professions. In my view, the purpose of school often gets entirely lost.

Think about it. The purpose of education is to learn and to get access to more information and opportunities. Not only job opportunities but opportunities to travel the world, learn about new cultures, and explore new ideas. To find your passion, not only professionally but also academically and culturally. And in the end, to come up with new ways to contribute to society.

But today, more than ever, that is being lost. Today, every one of us is forced to think longer and harder about loan papers and assess how much debt we have to pay back.

We feel pressure to land six figure jobs to stack up with our classmates or at least lead us into the Promise Land of status and wealth. To go into finance, law firms or the best hospitals in the world to ensure that school was a good use of our time. Dont’ get me wrong, all that is great – competition, rigor and some level of screening.

But that’s not the purpose of school.

Given the time and money being invested, not only by students but also by taxpayers, we should be thinking more about this.  Every student and parent should be pondering. And every taxpayer should be chiming asking about it.

What is school for? Are we doing it right?  Are students learning? Are we better off? Or is the hyper-competitive system burning out some of our best and most independent thinkers? 

Truth be told: I don’t know the answers either. But if you’re not at least thinking about it, maybe you should be.


Thursday, August 9th, 2012 Business School No Comments

Graduation Ceremony

On Saturday, we had the final event as students here at Kellogg: Graduation.  Just like last year, this year’s commencement took place at the Northwestern football stadium. The ceremony started at 5pm (students had to arrive a bit earlier to get ready) and went until about 7pm.

Dean Blount gave the first speech, right after hearing a word or two from the University President Martin Shapiro. Dean Blount’s theme was changing the status quo.   She opened by discussing the changes that had taken place in the past few years, some for better and some for worse. She noted,  “Being a Kellogg graduate is being a leader who raises the status of a room when you walk in, and not just the status of yourself.” “So go out, thrive, and raise the status of every room you walk into.” And of course, she ended by reiterating her theme of thinking bravely.

 * Photo from Kellogg website:

Rosalyn M. Brock, Chairperson of the NAACP, and a Kellogg alum, delivered the keynote. Her key message was to focus on how you can look back to help others once you make it in your career.  She noted that a lot of people did the same for us many years ago, and with our Kellogg MBAs, we’d have a great privilege and opportunity to do the same.

 * I had the chance to chat with the speaker in a private setting just before graduation

Afterward, we had a professor deliver the remarks on behalf of the faculty. Then the FT KSA President gave remarks as did the PT KSA President.  After that, the Kellogg staff spent about 90 minutes announcing over 850 names and handing out diplomas.  And 700pm on Saturday 6/15 officially marked the end of our time at Kellogg and in the JD/MBA program.

Quick note:

I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading about Kellogg, Northwestern Law and the JD/MBA program on The good news is that unlike many MBA blogs, we won’t stop here. From here on out, I’ll still be writing, and later this summer we’ll be changing things up a bit. Stay tuned.

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Monday, June 18th, 2012 Business School 1 Comment

MLT Support Education Matters Campaign

I spend a lot of time talking about one non-profit I am part of: Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT).  MLT is a great organization and our Education Matters campaign is working closely with them. Not only because we share a similar mission but also because MLT is one of our strongest allies.

MLT is committed to preparing minority students for careers in business by prepping them for college, graduate school and beyond. By providing students with networking opportunities and career coaching, MLT is making leadership positions available to a much more diverse group of people.

A few weeks ago we attended an MLT conference in Houston to talk about grad school with up and coming fellows as well as to talk more about the education matters campaign. At the conference, we collected videos from some MLT’s rising stars, who shared not only their own personal stories but they also answered the question that everyone answers, “why does education matter to you?”

See below for the video.

And as always, visit to learn more about how you can get involved with MLT.

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Sunday, May 13th, 2012 Business School, Diversity, Education 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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