JD-MBA Program

Can I Get You A Drink? Kellogg’s MBA Admit Reception

Have you ever been at an event and seen someone you really wanted to chat with for some reason or another but didn’t.  Perhaps someone you recognized from high school or college; or someone you knew had the insight you needed for work or class; or maybe just someone you thought was interesting, but you never quite found the moment or the courage to go introduce yourself.  Well, the good news is that it’s completely normal and that it’s probably happened to all of us.  But here’s an interesting question. What if after leaving you found out that the other person was hoping to get the chance to chat with you too?

My question arises having just attended Kellogg’s admit reception last week. It was a two-hour event, organized by Kellogg admissions and hosted by the Chicago offices of Deloitte Consulting here in Chicago.  Overall, it was certainly an interesting mix and a good number of people, some who I recognized from previous events and many others who I met for the first time. I always enjoy going to these types of events, as they’re usually a good way to meet new people, which is something I personally enjoy.

The event started at 6:30pm and took place on a Thursday.  I walked in with one of my JD-MBA classmates. We were a few minutes late, so I was pretty excited to finally make it to the event.  As soon as I stepped out of the elevator, I scanned the room to see who was around. Gazing from left to right, I saw a sign-in table to my left, the table of appetizers directly in front of me, and to my right, that’s where the lions share of people were standing, over by the bar. “Can I get you a drink?” was the first thing I heard upon entering the doorway to the  room. I figured it was probably going to be an interesting night.

The first thing I did was head over to the sign in table. I figured that would not only allow me to grab my name tag and sign in but also to chat for a few minutes with the admissions team.  I’ve gotten to know a few of them over the past year or so at these types of events, since I originally applied last year as a JD-MBA, so I enjoy chatting with them when I can. I also figured that I might some good information about which of the JD-MBAs would be showing up that night, since I had heard from a lot of them earlier in the day.

So I quickly chatted with one or two members of the admissions team and talked about the upcoming admit weekend in late April. I took a look at the list to see which JD-MBAs would likely not be coming out and I concurrently scanned the room to see who was around.  And after leaving the check-in table quickly found my way to a few good conversations.  The first who actually turned out to be a 2009 alum who worked in marketing in Chicago. I actually saw her in the elevator right up in front of me on the way up to the event, so knew I’d eventually catch up with her.  I also ran into an MLT Fellow and a friend who I met in New York City a few weeks back. I enjoyed engaging in conversations and seeing where people where from and what other schools they were considering. Although for some people doing this may be a bit less natural, having food, being admitted to the same school, and having a bar usually helps to mitigate that.

At some point, I finally made my way over to the bar for a glass of wine, but I spent more of my time and energy chatting with people nearby. I did this for about 30 or 45 minutes before we had to head into the adjacent room where Kellogg had set up a 5-person panel of alumni to talk about their experiences. Most people grabbed a drink from the bar on the way into the room and took a seat to see the panel session.  Taking my glass of wine with me into the other room as well, I decided to sit at a table where I didn’t know anyone at the time.

The panel was facilitated by Director of Admissions, Beth Flye and led by a panel member who was a partner at Deloitte, and an older Kellogg alum.  It was pretty typical panel, though instead of fielding many questions, Kellogg threw them a few underhand softball questions for most of the time. And by the time, they opened it up for Q&A, I think most people were ready to mingle again.

One thing that interested me just before the event ended was that I ran into my friend that I’d met in New York City a second time that night. And he was looking for finance information about Kellogg, specifically alum in the private equity industry.  I was surprised he hadn’t bumped into anyone that night, because I found a number of them in the room, including the person I spoke to five minutes before form Madison Dearborn.   Although people like to call Kellogg a marketing school, Kellogg usually has more finance majors than marketing, so it tends to attract a lot of people just like this.  So I shared the information I found with him, as did a Kellogg professor who was at the event.

And that tends to be my usual mentality at these types of events. Find a way to help someone. Give information, show concern, and connect them with someone else. Because in the end, everyone wins. Someone finds the information they need, and more generally, more connections you established, which pave the way for making new ones and learning new information. It’s also a lot more fun.

In my view, every meeting or conference can be a game changer.  You can change the game for someone else, or someone else can change the game for you.  In today’s age, where there’s increased pressure to work longer hours in a bad economy and where internet is king, it can be easy to sit back, send emails, and rely on sites like LinkedIn and Facebook to make connections.  Don’t get me wrong, those can be very useful tools that connect you globally, all across the world. But at the same the Internet connections can’t replace real connections.  And while for some people doing that is harder than it is for others, that’s still no reason to stay home. Try doing a bit of research before the event, and think about other ways to help you connect. And when all else fails, ask someone if you can get them a drink. At events like this, most people won’t turn you down.

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Monday, April 12th, 2010 Admissions, Business School No Comments

#AskJeremy: Applicant Question – Taking The GMAT Multiple Times

In a recent message from one of my readers, I was asked for a bit of advice about the GMAT.

My usual first piece of advice to GMAT questions is to remember, that it’s one part of your application and will almost never “bar” you from admission and that you should be careful aiming for a higher score if it comes at the expense of other pieces of your application. However, unlike most applicants with GMAT questions, this reader has already made it to the promise land and scored above a 700.  His concern is that took four attempts and a few bad testing incidents to get there.  Check out my response to the question below!

MESSAGE FROM MY READER

Hello Jeremy,

Your blog’s really nice. Very informative. I interviewed with Kellogg on campus yesterday for the jd-mba program. It was a wonderful experience visiting both the Evanston campus and the Chicago downtown campus (great views from the library there!). I work on Wall Street for a prominent Investment Bank (Bank Holding Company now) as a front office quant. The JD-MBA program at Kellogg is my first choice. My application is under review by the ad com now, however I was quite keen on understanding a few things about how Kellogg considers multiple GMAT attempts? I had to take the GMAT 4 times to crack the 700 barrier. Although unfortunate a couple of times, I had to file incidence reports with GMAC because of bad testing environment (with other co-test-takers shouting out numbers in their math section while i was doing my RC in the verbal etc), I cant possibly give those as reasons for my below-par-performances. I am proud of my perseverance toward cracking the 700 barrier however. Kellogg clearly says that they consider the best score if the latest and the best score are equal. Is this really true? Does the number of GMAT attempts weigh down an application heavily?

Thanks.

MY RESPONSE TO MY READER

Dear (Reader), thanks for writing in with your question about Kellogg and for reading my blog. I’m glad you enjoy the site.

First off, congratulations on finishing your Kellogg interview. It can definitely be a nervous part of the process for a lot of candidates. It sounds like yours went well, which is good news.  Also, you’re absolutely correct about our library. The views from that side of the building are pretty amazing, and they can be quite distracting in the fall and spring if you study by the windows, which can be a good or a bad thing. And finally, I’m glad Kellogg is your first choice and I hope you were that enthusiastic when you completed your application. My opinion is that the JD-MBA program does their best not only to select top tier applicants but also those who demonstrate that they  really want to come. While this is clearly not always so easy to predict, I suspect that the best applicants are able to convey this message pretty clearly.

Now to your email–First, I think this is a really good question, and it’s one that I also thought about back when I first considered applying to b-school.  It’s funny, but like you, I quickly noticed that generally some programs don’t clearly state their policies online–some seemed to exclude them while others made me search every possible link to find it.  Off hand, I don’t know where Kellogg fits into this sphere–and perhaps they may list it openly on the site. But I wonder if not focusing on this fact is actually a good thing, because it keeps students from worrying too much about the logistics and instead allows them to focus on achieving their target scores and giving their best efforts. That said, I still don’t really know why the schools have decided to go about it this way. Perhaps, it was not purposeful.

But from experience, I suspect that you may not need to worry too much about it.  I think the fact that GMAC allows you to take the GMAT up to 5 times per calendar year and that MBA programs don’t object suggests that you’re chances of admission will not “significantly” change.  I’ve met admits from other top MBA programs who have taken five tests. Also, the fact that GMAC sends the past three tests scores (and not just one), in my opinion, seems to be more correlated to the fact that schools may want to see scoring trends over time and changes in performance. I’ve actually asked admissions reps about this before, and most will concede to looking for positive trends from candidates, though I’ve never heard anyone mention seeking out negative trends. And third, the average GMAT score published by online by MBA programs, in my experience, reflects each person’s highest score across the entering class, not each admits average score. This suggests that schools may place more importance, at least in terms of public perception, on the highest scores.

What does all this mean? It’s hard to say for certain, but I think it reflects both admissions’ desire to see upward progression on the test, and their significantly stronger desire to see your highest score. And in my opinion, the only time that taking multiple tests really comes into play for those who improved is for candidates with mid-range scores or with borderline applications. Then the committee might look for upward score progression or look at quantitative and verbal score combinations over time, to see if you perhaps had a string of bad days in one section, to see if you’re a hard worker, or to find other (in)consistencies in the application.  For example, if there were two candidates for admission, where one that had a change in GMAT score from 600 to 640, and the second who scored a had 600, then I suspect that the extra effort would be applauded.  Conversely, if you have to take it twice to hit 600, just to apply with the same score as the other applicant, then while you might guess that the second person would look better, it’s also possible that the committee may admire your persistence, rather than think negatively of your profile. It’s hard to predict what anyone might say for certain, but I can’t think of many cases where multiple GMAT scores would “dramatically” ruin your application.

I do agree that your case seems a bit different, but I’m glad you didn’t write much about it in the information section. For one, Kellogg plainly tells you that it considers your highest score and second because most committees don’t want to hear anything that might sound like an excuse.  But, in terms of Kellogg specifically, they are usually pretty similar to other top schools when it comes to the GMAT, and I don’t have any reason to believe that they’d look at your scores any differently than what they said. So I’m pretty certain that they aren’t taking the average of your scores, but it’s always hard to say anything for certain. But here is what I do know for certain. I do know at least a dozen MBAs at top ten schools who had three and four GMAT attempts. I also know multiple JD-MBAs in this program who took the exam more than two times.  I personally did not crack 700 on my first GMAT attempt.  In fact, I was far from it. So rest assured that candidates like you, with upward trends in scores, final scores above 700, good resumes, and good interview (as you seemed to suggest) usually do pretty well in the admissions process. Of course, this assumes my very first point above, which is that you didn’t use the four attempts at the expense of other parts of your application.

I know may this not have been the perfect “yes” or “no” you were looking for,  but I hope it answers your question. Best of luck with all your applications, and with the JD-MBA program!  Feel free to let me know how things turn out.

#AskJeremy

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Friday, February 5th, 2010 Admissions, AskJeremy, Business School No Comments

Applicant Question: Round 3 Application Advice On Essays and Story – #AskJeremy

What’s going on everyone. Seems like many of the MBA applicants out there have a lot more time on your hands these days now that you’ve finally turned the corner and submitted your last second round applications earlier in the week. Congratulations and be sure to take a well-deserved breather. But for some of you, the application cycle still lives. I’ve gotten a few emails from some of applicants who got a little gun shy at the last minute, others wanted to submit to a few extra schools just to be sure, and a couple of people wanted to do a little shoe shining and polish up your applications before going through with submitting.  And so that brings me to a question I recently received from a JD-MBA applicant, who wanted to get a bit of clarity on his essay strategy as well as a bit of insight on applying in the third round since he decided not to submit in round two.  See a small portion of our Q&A below.


Original Email From Applicant

“Hey Jeremy, I really enjoy your blog – thanks for taking the time to update as you do! I know you must be terribly busy with all the questions/calls you’ve been getting but I wanted to give a shot at getting your advice.

I’m not sure the precise path I’d like to take post JD/MBA – I see myself open to a few different options such as IB work, government or entrepreneurship. Sometimes I defend my uncertainty by thinking it’s naive and silly of me to even set my mind on something with all the variables and changing landscape.

How much emphasis is placed on having concrete goals post graduation? How would you advise someone handle this issue in the essays? Perhaps just focus on the most likely or suitable path given my background and leave the others out?

I’d really appreciate your thoughts and wish me luck!

Best Regards,
(Name)”


My Response To Original Email From Applicant

Hi (Name), I’ve begun writing my response and plan to respond shortly. You look like a potential good fit for the program. When do you plan to submit your application. Round 2?

Regards,
Jeremy


Another Email From Applicant

“Hi Jeremy, I’m very pleased to hear from you! Unfortunately it looks like I will be submitting in R3 and perhaps reapplying early next cycle if things don’t work out. R3 must be a killer eh?

I’m still not exactly sure how to sell myself and present my goals given my 4yrs experience in finance but diverse interests as I mentioned already. I just want to make sure that I have my story straight before I apply. I’ll be waiting to hear your thoughts – thanks so much for taking the time!

Best Regards,
(Name)”


My Quick Response To Applicant

Hey (Name), keep your head up for round 3. I don’t think it’s an absolute impossibility, especially if you take the time to turn in a great application. Stay tuned for my response email.


My Final Response

Hi (Name),

Thanks again for your original message and for checking out my blog.  I’m glad you like the site and find my posts to be informative. Please keep checking back for new posts and articles as you navigate the application cycle.

So your situation is a tough one, and perhaps equally as tough as some people find it to apply in the third round. I hope you’re up to the challenge! I’ll start my response with a bit of high-level advice regarding your decision to apply in round three, and not two.  As I previously mentioned, it’s not at all impossible to be admitted in round three. I know a couple of people in the program now who have made it across the round three finish line. That said, these admits were doing some serious springing across that line, not jogging,  because these guys were really accomplished, and I suspect that their applications were pretty stellar. And so my broad advice to applicants is that  if you’re considering applying in two different rounds but not sure which, then shoot for the earlier of the two.  Given the sudden skyrocketing number of b-school and JD-MBA applications, on the margin, earlier is usually better.

But that’s old news now, since you’re applying in round three and since you didn’t feel ready last round. But you’re definitely doing the right thing by submitting now in round three rather than waiting. If you’re admitted, then you’ll be jumping for joy out of your seat at work come May, and you won’t have to hide the good news for long.  On the other hand, even if you’re not admitted this year, then you’ll be in a much better position to do a little sprinting in round one of next year, and Kellogg will be expecting your application.

Now, let’s talk a little strategy for your application. For one, keep in mind that the third rounds exists for a reason. And if schools didn’t want it, they simply wouldn’t take applications, like Tuck and Sloan don’t.  I suspect that this is especially true in the Kellogg JD-MBA program because the class size is small, the program has fewer applicants, and the class compositions is just as important as all the fancy class statistics and the number of consultants and bankers in the class.  In fact, my completely unverified but strikingly plausible personal opinion is that the admissions team relies so heavily on fit that they go into round three every year with VERY open mind, ready and willing to admit standout applicants who come into play.  So relax the nerves a little about round three, but also get ready to put the petal to the metal so you can stand out. It just may pay dividends.

Also,  you hit the nail on the head in your email in regards to essays. Part of standing out means putting together first-class essays … essays that both articulate a compelling story about the past, convey interesting plans for the future, and include persuasive reasons for how the dual program fits in the middle. That means the more persuasive and lively you write the better. It also means the more structured you discuss your ideas and relate them together, the better.  Now keep in mind, by structured I don’t mean 100% specific. But I would suggest that your response is logical, organized, and pretty targeted.

During rounds one and two, my impression is that most admits do this pretty well.  I’d go further to say that almost all round three admits have done this.  Unlike MBA programs that have hundreds seats to fill and dozens of those seats reserved for people who still need to do some soul searching, the JD-MBA program gives less time for that. Because we split our time between two campuses and ultimately spend less time than our classmates at each, we have to be a bit more deliberate and decisive.  So you’d do yourself a favor to show that trait in your essays, by either proving that you have a plan, or that you can come up with one quickly.  And then Kellogg can then have an easier time walking away from your application with a clear picture of who you are and why you want the dual degree, whether it’s specifically to be an I-banker, government leader, or entrepreneur, or if it serves more broad goals such as impacting your way of thinking, expanding a certain skill set, or giving you the boost you need to switch industries. There’s generally no right answer to “career choice” questions.

So try do some soul searching in the next few weeks, think deeply about what’s most appealing and what suits your background, and at some point soon take a stand on putting your career story together, coming up with something as specific as you’re comfortable with. Once you do so, use that story to synthesize an overall vision for your essay package. Then structure each essay to convey something different about that vision, while also showcasing new skills and picking new stories for elaboration. And finally, be sure to talk about how the dual degree fits into all of that.  And in the end, I suspect that you’ll be more confident about your story than you had in round two.

Hopefully that helps a bit. Good Luck!

#AskJeremy

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Thursday, January 21st, 2010 Admissions, AskJeremy 2 Comments

A New Year … and Now A New Blog

Last September, I finally made the big jump. I left my post at a full-time consulting firm in Boston and decided to head off to business school and law school. Like most students, I saw school as the perfect opportunity to pursue my dreams and eventually make my way to the top.

Blog
But at the same time, I felt compelled to start a blog so I should share my experiences with others. Like many new endeavors, the blog was both more fun and more work than I expected.  So I decided to put together a site and spread the word a bit and worked hard to keep posting.  Soon found that I really enjoyed the process, and  I became committed to keeping it running.

Change Is Good
Six months later–and just a few weeks ago today–I came to the realization that my blog was reaching a bit of a transition point. Although my site was only about six months old, I decided I needed a better website to host it on given the number of visitors I was attracting and given recent challenges I came across with the old host site. I also thought my blog was starting to feel a bit more focused over time. So I thought I take a step back and then try to adapt the content a bit in order to best serve me and my readers.

So What’s New?
1. So here’s what new: First, I’m hoping to put a lot more effort into writing about the readers want.  Feedback from readers suggests that you’d like more answers to questions. So I invite you to send all your questions about Northwestern, whether about admissions, about law or business school generally, about the recruiting processes that happen here, or  career options stemming from both.

2. Next, I also hope to better balance the amount of tactical information I write about better with the higher level advice that I enjoy. In past posts, I’ve usually posted about one or the other, but I look forward to telling more integrated stories and sharing other types of information.

3. I’ve noticed that many of my readers visit pretty frequently. So I’ll try to balance my longer more interesting articles, with shorter ones to keep the content moving.  To do this, I’ll integrate shorter posts about activities and events here on campus as well as links to related news stories and articles.

4. As you may have noticed, three themes have really emerged on my site,  and I intend to keep incorporating them heavily into my writing. 1) The differing values and skills that JDs and MBAs bring to the table, and how they can work together to achieve better results. 2)  The importance of good leadership in the workplace and some of my reflections on the topic  3) The idea that “business is human” and that financial decisions and human resources decisions don’t always have to be so disparate.

But don’t get me wrong. despite my idea to focus, I’m pretty certain my new site will still evolve over time. In fact, I I hope that it does.  But hopefully those twists and turns will be learning experiences and they will both provide me with some pretty good life lessons and with the stories to narrate here on my website.

And in the end, I hope the blog will become valuable to more and more people, and I hope that the benefits bestowed up my reader’s will be just as great as the rewarding experience I’ve had as a student and as a journaler. I look forward to sharing my experiences along the way.  Stay tuned ! And post a comment or two to let me know what you think.

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Friday, January 15th, 2010 Leadership 5 Comments

Applicant Question: Playing the MBA Wait-List Game

What’s going on everyone. We’re one week into the 2010 year here at Northwestern. Hope everyone is still keeping up with those New Year’s resolutions! But don’t worry, I won’t hold you to them to keep reading. I’ve definitely got a couple resolutions myself, including a pretty big one that relates to my website. But you’ll have to stay tuned a bit longer to watch it unfold. I also have a pretty large number of ideas cooking up for future posts and articles, but today I’m going to keep them on the back burner because I’ve got something a little better than that, at least for a select few of you.

Now that we’re right in the middle of the MBA application season, I’ve been getting lots of messages so I thought I’d share a couple of my responses here on my website. I figured I’d start with a recent question I received about being on the Northwestern JD-MBA waitlist. It sounds like my reader feels like he’s stuck in limbo and is ready to be rescued or at least get a little closure from Kellogg. I don’t blame him, I usually like to have closure myself.

But I’d like to add one caveat before I give out any information, which is to keep in mind that I don’t work for Kellogg and that I’m not a member on their MBA Admission team. Instead, I’m a student at Northwestern who is simply offering my time and personal website to respond to a few email questions and ultimately share some really good information with applicants in the b-school world, as I’m sure quite a few of you will appreciate the favor. As readers on my site, I also hope that you will feel free to return the favor, and leave comments and send messages when something peaks your interest.

Okay, so to get back to business, I suspect there are a number of readers all across the U.S. sitting on the edge of their seats and hitting the refresh button every couple of minutes as they wait for update emails, pondering this exact same question. “What do I do now?”

So I’ve decided to answer the question as broadly as possible so that more people might benefit. Take a look below for my reader’s question, and then look below that for my response.

Good luck on your quests everyone !

————–
READER’S EMAIL TO ME

Dear Jeremy,

Hi, my name is (REMOVED) from (REMOVED). I was introduced to your blog by a friend a few months back and since have been following your entries closely. Think it’s just awesome that you can maintain such a resourceful blog while on your 1st year at law school!

To give you a quick introduction of myself and my situation, I’ve done 4 years of investment banking (REMOVED) in (REMOVED) and also understanding the potential synergies from a mix of business and law knowledge and experiences, am too seeking a JD/MBA degree. Thus, I had resigned (voluntary) from (REMOVED) in October to sit the December LSAT. My initial plan was to apply to a bunch (top 10) of MBAs and Law schools and go the one that I get acceptance from both (excluding of course Northwestern, NYU and Duke where they have integrated applications).. But I guess 2 months was not enough to get me fully prepped for the LSAT. Did not feel good about the test and had to cancel. Also I’ve naturally applied to the Northwestern 3yr JD/MBA but was notified this past week that I am waitlisted. Very frustrated as Northwestern was of course my #1 choice with the 3 yr program and the most integrated curriculum..

I was wondering if you would have any insight or tips, waitlist strategies.. For Kellogg in general and if any different, JD/MBA program specific. Any classmates who got admission after being waitlisted, what actions they took after being waitlisted etc. Also do you think the admissions committee be impressed if one makes a campus visit? You understand the state of mind I am in right? Think I can do just about anything for admission but just feeling helpless..

I saw from your blog that school started again this past week, hope I’m not bothering you too much. Any information, tips, stories would be greatly helpful. Many thanks in advance!

Best regards,

(NAME)

————–
MY RESPONSE TO READER’S EMAIL

Hello (REMOVED),

I hope this message finds you well and finds you in time. I know you probably feel pretty tense right now. It’s a tough year for applying to school and you’ve almost made it across the finish line here in round one, so congratulations. But I know congratulations is the last thing you want to hear, so I’ll try to focus mostly on the tangible steps that someone on the waitlist may or may not want to take.

First off, students on the waitlist get in to top schools every year. For many of them, the waitlist ends up being nothing more than a long line at a new movie, and after standing in line for a bit they are granted a ticket of admission. I know a couple of Kellogg students who got in last year, and there are also students here in the JD-MBA program that had the same experience. For others, the waitlist ends up being more like purgatory and requires a serious gut check, because there’s really not much you can do but wait to see how the school responds. At the end of the day, there are a lot of factors that admissions teams are balancing–individual fit, class composition, predictability of the next round of applicants, employability, diversity, current school needs, and more–so it’s impossible for me, and probably even them, to tell you exactly how things will turn out so early in the game. But I’ll start with a few general ideas and go from there.

As a general reference point for everyone, you should always follow the directions in your decision letter to a ‘T’. If a school tells you they don’t want updates, then don’t shoot yourself in the foot by sending them extra information. Instead sit back, relax, put your feet up on the couch, and wait for them to come calling. But, if a school tells you that they do want to hear updates, than don’t even think about downshifting gears, because you’ve got some work to do if you really want in.

Generally, the waitlisted applicants are considered solid candidates, even star candidates. Now is the time to showcase more subtle aspects of your profile. Be ready to articulate your story again, but this time better. Give them a few golden nuggets you may have forgotten to dig out from your past and put in your essays. Also, distinguish how you stand out from the other number-crunching bankers, consultants, or whatever professional you are (emailer in this case was a banker) and how you can add perspective to the classroom. And be more introspective the next few weeks, so that you’re better prepared to talk about your leadership or entrepreneurial goals. Instead of using industry buzz words, overused resume verbs, and clichéd MBA language, think more deeply about your leadership style and talk more about stuff that motivates you, what you did, how you felt, and what you learned. And if you’re really up to it, try really spilling your guts a bit more and really putting the details out there—always remembering to stay professional of course, as this is business school—because this might just be your last chance.

In your specific case (NAME REMOVED), you should definitely take a bit more of a deep breadth. Making the waitlist in a class that only targets 25 students is a big accomplishment. To that end, I’ll note that your request for a distinction between Kellogg and the JD-MBA program is not relevant for you. As an applicant to the dual program, you are not an applicant to Kellogg. Personally, I’ve never heard of any changes of that sort, and if it did happen, it would have to be highly discretionary. But in regards to the JD-MBA waitlist, I don’t have any factual information to share (and if I did, it’d probably be top secret anyhow) but my impression, as I mentioned above, is that JD-MBA students do get off the waitlist fairly regularly. Of course, the odds could sway like a pendulum from year to year, depending on the number of applicants, the yield rate from round one, the caliber of applicants (and subsequent yield rate) from round two, and the number of applicants in round three, leaving you potentially swimming in a pool with a tank of MBA sharks on the worst of years and still leaving you in limbo most every other year. But that’s pretty hard to predict. The good news about getting waitlisted in round one is that you still have two more rounds to get accepted. And if this is your top choice, you’ll still be there sticking it out on the WL while the faint of heart and risk averse go running off to other schools. The real irony with that is that lawyers tend to be risk averse, so staying around might be a catch-22. And the bad news is that exact same fact, that you may have to wait two more rounds before finding out, and that will feel like an eternity, especially if things don’t go according to plan.

Also (REMOVED), from what I’ve heard about Kellogg—though I can’t say anything for certain–is that they are one of those schools that may decide they want more information from you down the line. So while it’s never smart to pester admissions, you should be sure to be ready in case they do ask you for more information. As I said above, take a look in your letter, and if you’re uncertain utilize the Kellogg Admissions office just to be sure.

If at some point now or later they do ask for information, then that is your chance to shine. Think about the suggestions I mentioned above. And since the JD-MBA program here is so small and customized, you might also think about ways to show why want both degrees and what you plan to do with them. That’s something that most, if not all, the JD-MBAs did well in the application process. Further, you may want to discuss how those career goals came about. Are they rooted somewhere in your past or present, or are you simply hoping to stack up a couple more degrees and make some cash when you graduate–don’t let them assume it’s the second by not clearly saying! And once you do that, then you might think about what you’ve done so far to prove that passion and how you can continue at Northwestern, and doing so by differentiating both schools. And just to cover my bases, I’ll also say that every year students from all schools retake GMATs, take extra courses, figure out ways to cover weaknesses, tell them about promotions, and more. It’s up to you whether you think that will help, and unfortunately I don’t have any data at all on how many people here have done or have considered doing that. I suspect that it would be fewer than more, but that’s simply a guess. And every year, the stars do align for a lucky few candidates, even here in the JD-MBA program. So try to stay positive for now, it’s still early.

Now finally, I’ve included a few more pieces of information. First, is a response to your question about visiting campus. Kellogg clearly states on it website (click here), that visint will not increase your chances of admission Though in all your decisions, you should keep in mind that Kellogg and Northwestern JD-MBA are not run exactly the same, and that who knows what someone may take into account when the margins are small enough.

Second, check out the Kellogg admissions blog to see if they have any updates for the JD-MBA program. Click here for the site. Doesn’t look they post regularly, but might be worth taking a look.

And finally, I’ve included a link to an OLD thread in a Businessweek MBA forum. It relates to Kellogg only, but it’s one of the few pieces of information about Kellogg’s waitlist preferences online. Given its date I strongly suggest NOT relying on it, but it might be a useful reference point for some readers. Click here for the link.

Best of luck (REMOVED) !

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Monday, January 11th, 2010 Admissions 6 Comments

Internship Search

At last … it’s almost time for the students here at Northwestern Law to begin the daunting task of trying to find their first year summer internship. Because of a national law that says firms can’t recruit at law schools until December 1, our Career Management Center doesn’t allow companies to start focusing on first years (1Ls) until the end of the semester. Unfortunately, this means that all of the 1Ls will be stuck trying to fit their internship search in right as finals are approaching, and after that finishing up applications over Christmas break. I can understand the rationale of the rule, because it gives us students time to get accustomed to school, to meet their classmates, and get used to the workload without worrying about the job search right away. But it’s going to be tough to balance sending out resumes with studying for exams, because there is still so much work to do before finals.

About a week ago, Northwestern Law had a law firm reception in our atrium, where a large number of law firms from various practices came to talk with the students one on one. Personally I talked a lot with the bigger firms Skadden and Kirkland, prominent Chicago firms like Jones Day and McGuire Woods, and also with a couple of prestigious smaller firms like Miner Barnhill. I’m also personally interested in the Chicago mid-sized firm Vedder Price but was disappointed to see that they weren’t at the event. At this point, since all of the resume drops for companies will start the middle of next week, I’ll spend a decent amount of my time the next few days writing cover letters and customizing my resume to what these companies might be looking for.

It should be interesting to see how things will turn out this year. For the law students, this year is going to be pretty tough. Both law firms and government agencies are cutting back on hiring this year because of budget cuts, so it sounds like there will be a lot less jobs to go around than usual. This means first semester grades will be more important than before and applying to places where you are a good fit will be critical. Overall, I think it’s definitely important for 1Ls to do something interesting this summer, that way during OCI next year, students will have something to talk about as they’re interviewing for the summer internship that will probably turn into their full-time job. This will be especially true for those students who’s grades might be on the margin.

As a JD-MBA, my experience is going to be a bit different. While many JD-MBAs participate in the OCI process, many don’t work full time during the first summer. This has noting to do with our success levels in the OCI process, but rather it’s because here in the Northwestern JD-MBA program, most take a full load of classes during the summer, so the folks who do work, have a delicate balancing act. Because of this, many JD-MBAs prefer to get creative during first summer. Some work part-time, others work only during the time that we have off, and many decide not to work at all, while a select few do decide to work full-time. From a recruiting perspective, employers are really familiar with our program, so they understand, when students choose not to work. It will also be interesting to see where my JD classmates end up. I’ve talked a lot with my classmates and my section mates, and everyone seems to have lots of diverse career goals, and this year most students are keeping their options open.

My one piece of advice to everyone who’s applying to school this year, JD or MBA, is to do the same. Understand the market, do your research and keep your options open if need be. That means understand the recruiting market. Know how your target industries and companies are being affected. And start researching firms and organizations that are good fits and align with your background as early as possible. And also, try to be flexible to some extent. Personally, I’m planning to participate in OCI this year, and I’ve found a couple of select organizations that I am currently interested in. Stay tuned to see how things turn out.

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Wednesday, November 25th, 2009 Careers 1 Comment

November

After a two week hiatus from posting, I’m finally back to writing again. As of late, life has been mostly studying and trying to keep up with the hectic pace of law school, so the past two weeks have gone by quickly. But I’ve got a few pieces of interesting information about the last two weeks, including midterms, classes, and the semester in general.

In the period, I’ve taken midterms for all my classes, gone to review sessions for the same classes, started the recruiting process, done a few mock interviews, started my final paper for my legal writing class, and began preparing outlines as study tools. Also, just around the corner is Thanksgiving Break and after that finals. It seems like the semester is flying by.

Despite how quickly the semester is progressing, we really have been learning a lot about the law. We generally read several hundred pages of text per week, comprised of dozens of cases on various topics. Some of the cases are interesting and some are dry, but most of us are starting to pick up the higher-level concepts more easily and conversations in class are flowing pretty well. This seems to be especially true in our Criminal Law and Torts classes. Also, the good news is that ten weeks in, most of us are starting to read cases faster, take fewer notes, and prepare for class more quickly.

We’ve also had lots of great guest speakers the past few weeks, including a couple of judges, attorney generals, law firm partners, government officially and public interest guests. Many of the students regularly attend these functions. Just last week there was a public service employers reception that a lot of people in my section went to.

In addition to all of that, we had a couple of important JD-MBA meetings. In one meeting last week, we learned more about planning our schedules for next semester and beyond. Ultimately, we have requirements at both the Law School and Kellogg, so getting everything finished can sometimes be a tricky. The Director of Academic Affairs and a panel of older JD-MBA students gave us the inside scoop about classes and the paths JD-MBAs often take. All of the law students, including the JD-MBAs, get to choose two electives next semester. I’m personally thinking about taking Business Associations (i.e. Business Law) and Employment Law but I’m not positive yet. Most JD-MBAs take Buusiness Associations because it’s a prerequisite for a lot of courses we’ll want to take when we come back to the law school our third year. We have a list of about 25 electives to choose from.

This week, the JD-MBAs are meeting to talk about how to approach working this summer. Unlike students at the law school or at Kellogg, the JD-MBAs take courses during their first summer. Having the option to take classes is nice for those who don’t want to work. It will be a delicate balancing act for those who do want to work, because we’ll have to balance working with classes, units, and fullfilling requirements. I’m hoping to be in the latter group, but it will be interesting to see where everyone ends up.

I plan to address many of these things more specifically in a series of separate posts this month. Stay tuned!

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Monday, November 9th, 2009 Law School 3 Comments

Northwestern Announces JD-MBA Professorship, $3MM Funding, and Support of JD-MBA Program

Earlier today, I received an email from the Dean of the law school, Dean Van Zandt, and he gave some really good news. He announced that General Dynamics recently made a $3 million donation to Northwestern Law and the Kellogg School of Management. The donation was in made in honor of General Dynamics recently retired CEO, Nicholas D. Chabraja, who as Northwestern law alum worked at the intersection of business and law for many years.

This gift is the first of its kind and will fund a joint professorship between the Law School and the Kellogg School of Management. Doing so, it will provide the support needed to bring Bernard Black to come teach at both campuses here at Northwestern (Northwestern Law and Kellogg). Bernard Black is really accomplished, it’s great we were able to get him here at Northwestern. The donation also will provide support for the JD-MBA program here, which is amazing news for us current students. As usual it’s great to see Northwestern leading the way in the JD-MBA space. The JD-MBA program here is currently the largest and most integrated joint law and business program in the world and the first to introduce a three-year format.

For more details on the donation and the professor, check out the email from the Dean below. To see the press release that Northwestern put out today CLICK HERE. For more information on Northwestern’s JD-MBA program, CLICK HERE.

—–
To: Northwestern Law Community
From: David E. Van Zandt
Re: $3 Million Gift to Fund Nicholas D. Chabraja Professorship

I am delighted to let you know that the Law School and the Kellogg School of Management have received a $3 Million gift from General Dynamics to honor the retirement of Nicholas Chabraja JD’67 from his position as the company’s Chief Executive Officer.

This gift, the first of its kind, will fund a joint professorship between the Law School and the Kellogg School. It also symbolizes the increasingly integrated fields of law and business and will solidify the strong relationship between the Law School and the Kellogg School and our concerted efforts to prepare students for careers in which these two disciplines converge. The donation also will provide support for our JD-MBA Program, the largest and most integrated joint law and business program in the world and the first to introduce a three-year format.

I am also pleased to announce that Bernard Black will be appointed as the first Nicholas J. Chabraja Professor. Bernie will officially join the Law School in September 2010 with a joint appointment in the Finance Department at the Kellogg School of Management.

Since its formation in 1952, General Dynamics has grown to become one of our nation’s leading defense contractors, specializing in aerospace, combat systems, marine systems, information systems, and technology.

Nicholas Chabraja, also a 1964 alumnus of Northwestern University’s Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences, has enjoyed a distinguished career since graduating from the Law School in 1967. From 1997 until this past June, Nick served as General Dynamics’ Chief Executive Officer and became the longest-serving chief executive among the nation’s top five defense contractors. Since stepping down, he has remained as Non-Executive Chairman of the Board of General Dynamics. Prior to his appointment as Chief Executive Officer, Nick held several other important positions at General Dynamics, including Vice Chairman (1996-1997); Executive Vice President (1994-1996); and Senior Vice President & General Counsel (1993-1994). Before his career at General Dynamics, Nick was a litigation partner at the law firm of Jenner & Block for 22 years. In 1986, he was also appointed Special Trial Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Nick has been a consistent supporter of the Law School and is a member of Northwestern’s Board of Trustees.

Bernard Black, a nationally-recognized expert in corporate law and finance as well as health care regulation, currently serves as the Hayden W. Head Regents Chair for Faculty Excellence at the University of Texas School of Law, a professor of finance at the McCombs School of Business, and co-director of the Center for Law, Business, and Economics at the University of Texas.

Prior to these appointments, he was the George E. Osborne Professor of Law at Stanford and, prior to that, he was a law professor at Columbia Law School, counsel to a commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission, an attorney at Skadden Arps in New York, and a clerk for the Hon. Patricia Wald of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Black has also served as a policy advisor to the US government as well as several countries throughout the world, including Russia, Ukraine, Indonesia, South Korea, Mongolia, and Vietnam. He has authored or co-authored numerous books and scholarly articles. He received a BA from Princeton, an MA in physics from Berkeley, and a JD from Stanford Law School.

We are extremely grateful to General Dynamics for their generous gift. Please also join me in congratulating Bernard Black as the inaugural holder of this endowed professorship and Nicholas Chabraja on his retirement from a career that has been truly extraordinary.

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Saturday, October 24th, 2009 Business School, Law School 7 Comments

First Day of Law School

After eight months of impatiently waiting and two weeks of chaos during orientation, it finally happened. Just Monday I began my first day as a JD-MBA student at Northwestern Law. I can already tell it’s not only going to be an incredible journey but also a long one. For one, I’ve got about 1,000 days until the bar exam, should I decide to take it. I’ve got another 200 or so days until my last day as a 1L. That will be a huge day of celebration. I’ve got about 100 days until my first midterm. I’ve got 2 days until my first “official” bar review. And finally, I’ve got at least another 10-12 hours or so until I can leave the library and go home from school today. I look forward to all of it.

It all started this past Monday, when I began my first class at 8:45 am. Before class, everyone was on Facebook and Twitter posting about heading to their first day of law school. I did the same, and got a really great response from all my facebook friends. My first course was Contracts As a JD-MBA student I love contracts, because the topic sits at the intersection between both business and law. The class will be quite practical in the long run, and even now it makes a lot of sense for me, since I drafted contracts regularly at my old company. The MBA side of me came out right away in the first class, when we were discussing the idea that contracts are “promises”. While most people in the class were talking about friendships and “Moral Obligation” (a term often used in contracts), I couldn’t help but bring up the notion of incentives and how those affect contracts. Personally, I believe that most of what we do in life is driven most by incentives, incentives for money, incentives to be liked, incentives to manage relationships, etc.

After Contracts, we had Torts. More important than why the name of the class is Torts, which I don’t actually know the answer to, is the fact that our professor is a rockstar. Professor Speta is a great speaker, is as sharp as they come, and is definitely a good entertainer. He employs the Socratic method and case method for the entire class and always seems to have an agenda for everything he does, including the specific person he calls on. In fact, he reminds me a lot of the professors I encountered visiting HBS, another school I considered attending.

My last class of the day was Civil Procedure. The class was a lot better than I expected, and a lot less dry as well. In fact, I think it may end up being one of my favorite classes. Although even if it weren’t, I couldn’t say so. Our professor just so happens to be the wife of the school Dean. So we’ve got to be extra nice all semester long.

But more than all the classes, what we did on Monday was get to know our section team members. Northwestern believes that the first step to a great career is having a strong team foundation. Developing relationships with members in your section is an important process. And although that will take time, the fastest way to start this process is through shared experience. This is probably part of why school gives us so much work so quickly.

Coming from a business background as a JD-MBA and former consultant, this topic is not new. Having worked on a couple of human capital engagements in the past, I’m quite familiar with the perceived benefits of shared experiences and with team-building activities. It’s been two days so far, but so far my section seems really great, friendly, and of course, very diverse – a staple of Northwestern Law. I look forward to working with them over the next 9 months.

What’s also great is that the JD-MBAs are pretty evenly spread among all the sections. My section has five or six and the other sections have anywhere from five to eight. While we try and succeed at integrating in the sections during the day, the JD-MBA crowd is very close. We started a Google Group list back in March, so we’ve been in touch daily ever since then. Also, we’ve already had a couple of huge gatherings before school began, including two that I organized and hosted during orientation. It’s definitely going to be a great couple of years together.

But for now, I’ve got to stay grounded in the here-and-now, because I still have massive amounts of reading to do for today, tomorrow, and Friday. It feels like I’m drinking from a fire hose, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out. Everybody does.

Anyhow, thanks for reading my first official post as a student. Please keep reading and feel free to comment as I continue to share perspectives on my JD-MBA experience.

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Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009 Law School 3 Comments

Are You At A Recruiting Disadvantage Because of Summer Classes In The Northwestern JD-MBA Program

Hey all, so I recently received a good question from a prospective Northwestern JD-MBA applicant.

“I know that the Northwestern accelerated program requires you to be in law school for the first summer. Do you feel that puts you at a disadvantage with interning and securing a job post-school?”

—-

So, as an entering first year student, I’ll confess that I’m not an expert on all JD-MBA career paths, but I’m happy to give my opinion based on my research and based on talking to dozens of students and alumni of the program.

So my first comment is that JD-MBAs rarely have issues during the recruiting season. Every summer and every year well before graduation, 100% of JD-MBAs are employed at top firms. While this year may prove to be a bit different due to the “odd” economic times, I suspect JD-MBAs at Northwestern will still do quite well.

Here are a couple of statistics from this year’s summer.

-19 out of 23 are working at law firms (all best of the best firms)
- Most of those have spots at Cravath, Kirkland, and Skadden

- 4 of 23 are working at businesses
- Of those, 2 are doing consulting, 1 is at her family’s company, and 1 is doing investment banking

But don’t let the numbers fool you, a pretty large number of people in the program are interested in business. From my conversations, it seems like the breakdown towards law is 1) slightly exaggerated due to the economy and 2) weighted towards law since not doing a legal internship precludes you from getting a law job after graduation, whereas you can always go back to business if you don’t like law during the summer. That said, the stats are not totally far off. 19 of 23 is 82% this year, though I’ve heard the usual is around 3/4.

Upon graduation, the final split is usually closer to 50/50, and graduates generally go to premier law firms, top three consulting firms (M/B/B), investment banks, VC/PE, and other. The other category is usually pretty interesting and has included companies in media, sports, government (federal and state clerkships), non profits, real estate firms, and hedge funds. With options like these, I think it’s fair to say that there is no disadvantage at all to taking classes the first summer. I say enjoy the time in coursework, explore diverse career opportunities that you may not have otherwise thought about, and engage in topics you are interested in, whether it’s at the law school or at Kellogg, and whether it pays really well or not.

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Saturday, August 29th, 2009 Uncategorized No Comments

JD-MBA Website and Profiles of My JD-MBA Classmates

Hey everyone! Every since I began my blog about two months ago, I’ve gotten a large number of questions about Kellogg and the JD-MBA program. First of all, thank you for reading my blog and for reaching out to me with your questions. Second, this is definitely great news to see the interest in the program. Although I’m not affiliated with the admissions office, I do hope to use my blog to bring a lot more visibility to the JD-MBA program at Northwestern. It’s an amazing program, filled with the highest caliber of students in the world who will certainly be doing incredible things in business and law in the future. For all of you who are interested in the program, I strongly encourage you to do lots of research and really consider applying if the program is a fit for you.

As a first step, you should take a look the JD-MBA Program Website. This site has been revamped this year, and provides a lot information related to admissions, the program itself, and the people in the program. As a second step, you should also take a look at the JD-MBA Association Website. The site has also been updated this year. Finally, I suggest that you continue to check out My Blog regularly. In my blog, I plan to continue sharing information firsthand about my experience in the program, provide calculated tips on getting into b-school and JD-MBA programs, and respond to thoughtful questions my readers have.

As part of my blog, I’ve also decided to share some information about my current classmates in the class of 2012. First, we have a lot of interesting and talented folks that I suspect you’d be interesting in hearing about. Also, you’ll see the types of people that actually apply and get accepted in to the JD-MBA program, and you can assess if you have what it takes to do the same.

So keep an eye out for my blog and stay tuned for the JD-MBA profiles.

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Saturday, August 22nd, 2009 Business School, Law School No Comments

Kellogg Incoming Class Profile: Innovation Still Reigns

The Kellogg School of Management (Northwestern) recently released statistics for its Class of 2011, revealing what I think is a pretty unique trend at Northwestern. First, here are a few of the general statistics:

In the 08-09 season, there were 5,795 applicants, 689 enrolled students, of which 33 percent are female, 21 percent are U.S. ethnic minorities and 30 percent are international students. The average GMAT is 708, 45% of admits scored between 700 and 740, and 32% majored in business administration prior to school.

The biggest differences from last year are as follows: there were about ~700 additional applicants, 38 additional admitted students, a decrease in average GMAT by 4 points, a 3% decrease in ethnic minorities, a 2% decrease in women, and a 5% decrease in international students. The stats, especially the decrease in GMAT, are pretty shocking considering how competitive a year it was. I would have suspected that Kellogg could have had its choice of candidates and put together a class similar to last year’s.

But for me, perhaps most interesting among the statistics was that 163 of the students, or almost 24%, will be part of innovative MBA programs, including the MMM, JD-MBA, or 1-year MBA. Last year, Kellogg had 165 of these students (~25%). This represents a radical departure from the typical 2-year MBA option which for decades has been the standard and still is the standard at most other schools.

In general, Northwestern has been leading the trend on developing these innovative, accelerated programs. And it’s working. The JD-MBA program applications were up by about 50% this year, demonstrating a trend of increasing interest among applicants. While many folks believe it’s fair to debate the merits of these programs, schools are saying otherwise, as both U-Penn and Yale created a 3-year accelerated JD-MBA program this year and Sloan has implemented a program similar to the MMM a little while back. In addition, Northwestern Law has recently come out with a 2-year JD program that is beginning this year. Interesting to think about what Northwestern will do next and which schools will be next to follow the trend.

For more details on the Kellogg Class of 2011 profile, click here.

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Thursday, August 20th, 2009 Business School 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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