Kellogg’s Minority Networking Reception

Shortly after my classed ended yesterday, I attended a Kellogg Networking Reception hosted by Kellogg BMA, HBSA, and ABC student clubs  Like most networking events I’ve attended, this one was a lot more fun and productive than I originally expected.  While some of my friends and classmates were focused on speaking to the firms that they wanted to work at, my goal was to leverage people I’d met in the past and my knowledge of different industries and companies to speak with as many employers as possible at the event.

More than simply chatting with employers about my future prospects at their firm, my goal was to talk to as many employers as possible. I drew on my work experiences with life sciences companies to engage in conversations with health care companies. I leveraged my start-up and technology experiences to chat with one or two of the technology companies there. And I also chatted with a few consultants from the various consulting firms and recruiters from the banking industry.

But more than just meeting people for the first time, the night was also the result of many proactive engagements based on previous interactions I’ve had with recruiters. Among others, I spoke with the Bain recruiter, whom I met eighteen months ago at a Bain event in NYC (click here for my post on the Bain event). I also spoke with an old friend, who graduated from Kellogg and works at a healthcare company on the east coast. It turns out, she was the first person I met on campus during my campus visit in early 2008. (click here for my reference to meeting her).  And finally, I also spoke with the recruiter I met from Google, whom I met when I was out in Los Angeles just a couple of weeks ago (click here for my post on NBMBAA in Los Angeles).

In the end, my experiences reinforced the idea that the world can sometimes be very small and that networking with people in a wide variety of industries is fun and useful, especially when many of them were Kellogg alum. I was glad for the opportunity to meet new employers and speak with ones I’d met before. I look forward to more events like this throughout the fall.

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Wednesday, October 20th, 2010 Business School, Careers, Diversity No Comments

Mckinsey & Co Reception

Just last week, I attended an evening reception at Mckinsey & Co here in downtown Chicago. The event was a reception for first year MBA students, and although I’m not at Kellogg this year, and won’t technically be a first year at Kellogg until next year, one of the recruiters sent me a personal invite to attend. So I took her up on her offer and I decided to bring a couple of my JD-MBA buddies to the reception along with me.

When it comes to management consulting, and probably business in general, McKinsey is the most well-known of the firms. The name certainly carries a bit of prestige with it, and they definitely have a huge presence in Chicago. Over the past year or so, I’ve been to a couple of McKinsey events, and they’ve all been a lot of fun and drew a pretty unique crowd of folks with different professional backgrounds and interests. So I was pretty intrigued to see how this event would turn out.

This reception happened to be the most informal of the events I’ve been too. It took place in the corner room of a medium sized restaurant downtown near the water. It was a pretty intimate crowd, maybe 30 or so MBAs from both Chicago Booth and Kellogg. There were three of us 1st year JD-MBAs from Northwestern and probably 6 or 7 McKinsey consultants.

The entire night was basically a meet-and-greet. No presentations. No speeches. And no forced networking. The McKinsey team spread themselves out around the room and hung out with us over some appetizers and drinks while chatting with us about the firm and about school. As usual, the consultants I met at the event were really accomplished and well rounded with diverse backgrounds and experiences. I met one consultant with a background in investment banking, another who worked at a competitor consulting firm before Mckinsey, another who was in marketing before business school, and another who worked in the education sector before business school.

I ended up chatting with one of the local Chicago consultants for about 45 minutes. She was an engagement manager at the firm and a Kellogg grad a couple of years back. We talked a lot about Kellogg and about some of the current projects at the firm, which was interesting since I have a few friends there now and was familiar with some of the work she brought up. We also talked a lot about law school, and she had a lot of interest and insight into my experience, given her husband been to law school a few years ago. That said, McKinsey is a big supporter of hiring from law schools and especially from JD-MBA programs. They are the only firm that has a team of recruiters dedicated to specifically to law schools, which should come as good news to current and future JD-MBAs here at Kellogg.

As a 1st year JD-MBA at the law school, I won’t be interviewing for consulting jobs this year. But it’s nice to get a head start on the networking and learning about the firms, because next year at Kellogg, we’ll be going to dozens and dozens of these types of events over the year. The whole process of getting a consulting job can be tiring and a bit intimidating for some, just like applying to business school and law school, but starting the process now should make things a little easier next year. I also think these events are a great way to meet new people, including both at the firms and at the local business schools. There’s always a lot of people with really interesting backgrounds, so there’s always the chance to strike up some pretty interesting conversations, and I always find at least one unique connection at every event. At this event, I actually ran into a good number of people that I had already met over the past year so it was nice catching up with them. It will be interesting to see where everyone ends up this summer.

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Thursday, November 19th, 2009 Careers No Comments

1st Semester Classes

This semester, I’m taking Contracts, Torts, Criminal Law,  Civil Procedure and Critical and Legal Reasoning (CLR), which is Northwestern’s writing requirement.  Here is a brief synopsis of each of the courses. I’ll note that although I’m in the JD-MBA program, I am taking courses with all of the law students this semester.

Contract law is the study of promises, exchanged between individuals and/or organizations. In the class, we’ll learn a lot about contract theory, and discuss things such as breach of contracts, consent, disclosure, incentives, and contract terms. This is a very useful class for JD-MBAs, and a subject matter I’ll use in most any of my career path I undertake.

In torts, we discuss civil wrongdoings NOT arising from contracts. Doing so, we’re looking at how courts determine settlements and perform payout valuations for different crimes, the latter which is often of interest to JD-MBAs. This class is more theoretical in nature, and while it may not directly relate to many of my potential career paths, it does give you practice reasoning through problems, synthesizing details of long cases, and assessing qualitative and quantitative information to come up with a solution.

Criminal Law
This course covers topics such as criminal responsibility, the significance of actions, intent, causation, and the rationale of punishment. The great thing about this class is that you spend the entire semester talking about really hard topics, navigating through gray areas without right and wrong answers, and taking a stand as you have to make argument about these issues. These are very useful skills in any profession and are abilities you must have to be a good leader.

Civil Procedure
This course is about the rules and standards that courts follow. It’s more black and white than the other courses, but still useful. For those interested in law, you need to know everything in this course. For those headed to business, you’ll get a lot of experience collecting data, focusing on details, getting the right answer, and understanding the importance of using a framework. Both consulting firms and law firms have a large appreciation for process and for frameworks.

Critical and Legal Writing
In this course, we’ll learn the writing skills that lawyers need to practice law – researching relevant information, analyzing complex problems, and writing and oral skills to present those solutions to a client. The ability to articulate and to persuade are broad skills necessary to be a leader in any career.

Overall, my law school courses not only teach you about the law but also help you broad develop a set of professional skills–the ability to communicate effectively, the ability to address multiple, conflicting points of view, and the capacity to solve complex problems. This proves the law degree is quite versatile and the skills and knowledge I gain from these classes will be very useful, both inside and outside of the legal profession.

As a reference point for those who want to go into business, consulting firms tend to hire lots of law school graduates. For example, I’ve seen estimates that Mckinsey has more than 300 consultants with law degrees. These folks have joined the firm at various points in their careers and all on the track to partner positions, if not a partner already.

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Saturday, September 5th, 2009 Law School No Comments

Mckinsey & Co Boot Camp

Along the lines of my last post about Citibank, I also recently went to a pre-MBA boot camp event with Mckinsey & Co in their New York office. It was part of the same weekend as the Citi event back in June. The session was terrific, and I was especially attentive considering that I’m targeting consulting firms post-graduation. There were about 35 or 40 people there, which was useful because I got a chance to meet all the other students in the room as well as the recruiters, consultants and firm partners. I spent a good deal of time with the Kellogg recruiter, which was great, although unfortunately I don’t think she’ll be the Kellogg recruiter again next year.

Overall, the consultants there seemed pretty similar to the folks I’ve met at other consulting recruiting events–diverse backgrounds, really smart, highly accomplished, well-groomed, pretty humble, really poised, and definitely headed towards doing big things.

One point of distinction, however, was the fact that “structure” seemed to seep through everything they did. The event itself, the presentations, the conversations, and the way the consultants thought about things and presented all had a real structure to it. I have quite a number of friends who’ve worked at Mckinsey over the past few years, and from what they told me, there is a really structured way of doing everything there, from billing, to traveling, to staffing, to using frameworks on projects, to even ordering food in the evening. I don’t tend to be overly organized or structured by nature, but I’d be fine with that approach in a firm.

A couple of other things that stood out for me were that Mckinsey definitely came off as a place that values personal development, that is quite cooperative (not competitive at all), and that has an aura of prestige in the room. For me personally, what probably stood out the most about Mckinsey is that it also prides itself in being the relationship-driven firm. While relationships are definitely vital to all the firms, I think Mckinsey sticks out in this regard. For one, they’ve done a good job at staying in touch with the attendees ever since the event. Also, as you can even see from the picture I posted from their website, relationships are at the forefront of what they think about.

What I also saw about Mckinsey is that they like non-MBAs a lot. Not only do they have whole teams dedicated to hiring both non-MBAs and JDs and they had a slew of law graduates and dual degree’rs at the office while I was there. Both of these facts give me a bit more confidence going into the application process. Given how selective the firm is, I’ll take every advantage I can get.

Aside from all these things I learned about the firm, my favorite part of the session was the group case study. Mckinsey broke us up into about 7 or 8 randomly selected groups, and we spent about 2.5 hours with our teammates hashing through a study that Mckinsey actually did a couple of months ago. We were tasked with recommending which country in South Africa should a the client foundation fund for the cure of aids, and we were given a 50-page packets with information on about 12 of the countries. It was definitely a good test of some the typical consulting skills– working with lots of information, navigating an unfamiliar topic, structuring an analysis, working in teams, and presenting. It was pretty interesting to see all the teams present different countries.

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Friday, July 10th, 2009 Careers 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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