Today is the start of what will be a long week here at Northwestern. As I’ve been mentioning in recent entries, this is one of the busiest times for first year students. The holiday season is kicking off and people just got back from Thanksgiving Break. Recruiting season is also starting to pick up, which has first year Kellogg students at events this week and next. And last but not least, classes are wrapping up, and students are finally gearing up for their first set of final exams.
At long last, it’s that time of year again at Northwestern. People just got back in town from the holiday weekend and are gearing up for finals period. And if looking at the calendar isn’t good enough for you, then you can also just take a quick look at Facebook. See what many of your JD and MBA friends are talking about. I have over the past few days, and the number of messages is definitely up as more people are procrastinating now than they have all quarter. And many of them are talking a lot about their last classes and first finals.
But this time of year is no surprise to my law school classmates. In fact, it’s what they’ve been waiting for ever since August when classes first started. So they’ll spend the next two weeks catching up on reading cases. Making outlines. Talking through the issues with classmates. And taking practice final exams. All in anticipation of that breakthrough moment that will change everything. That giant piece of information that opens up the entire class for us. That gust of insight that gives us exactly what we need to ace the final exams. Though unfortunately, it almost never happens that way.
On the other hand, in business school, the process all happens more gradually, as MBAs have to learn a lot more on the way to finals period. First years have more assignments to complete and more team discussions to have. They also have to think about recruiting activities now, even during the final two weeks of the first quarter. So not only do they have to learn but their time is also more limited. So they spend less time learning and more time on other things during the final two weeks.
But no matter which school you belong to, you’ll definitely be busy. Studying and learning, one concept at a time. And as you study, you hope to hit a tipping point where you start learning more information more rapidly. And then you’ll eventually finish your first final exam. Then another. Then another. And at some point, you’ll be finished.
As a prize, law students go take two weeks to relax and rest up before another grueling semester of 1L. MBAs on the other hand will be heading to Telluride, CO for Ski trip (CLICK HERE for last year’s article on ski trip) to celebrate finally finishing up.
Either way, most people at Kellogg and the law school have a lot of studying to do. And eventually a lot of celebrating to do. Stay tuned to hear how things play out.
There’s been a lot of buzz on the Internet about blogging the last couple of days. In one post, Fred Wilson of Union Square ventures recently reflected on his blogging experience over the past years. Not only did he mention that he’s written over 5,600 blog posts but he said he might even be coming up on 10,000 hours of writing. Just yesterday, Om Malik put up a similar post. In the post he discussed his experience blogging over the past ten years and some of the lessons he learned from his 11,000+ posts. Well … given those posts, I wanted to look back at the last few years that I’ve been blogging as well.
Looking back, I’ve been blogging about two and a half years now. Objectively, two and a half years is a long time by almost any account. It’s especially long when you go through 1L and the first year of business school during that same time period, as those are two of the most demanding time periods you can experience.
But despite being busy, I always saw blogging as something that was worthwhile. Not only was it something that was fun but it also seemed quite useful. It was a way to organize my thoughts and keep track of events. A way to think about the lessons learned during pivotal periods in the JD-MBA program. A way to continuously improve my writing, as Fred and Erick suggested. And most importantly, a way to give back by answering questions and talking about experiences that a lot of people were interested in.
I’m not at 5,600 blog posts like Fred or at 10,000 posts like Erick, but I still agree that writing here has been tremendously beneficial. In addition to making me a faster writer, I’ve also gotten better at telling a story, being more concise, and checking the background facts among other things.. And I’ve also gotten even better after writing so much during law school last year.
As I look back on the number of posts I’ve had, I’ve posted every 2 to 3 days over the past two years. This year, I’ll also write more posts than last year, though only by a small margin. And over the last two years, I’ve had a fairly even distribution of posts over the different months. There also doesn’t seem to be any trend to which months get the most posts. In 2009, I posted most in July. In 2010, I posted most in January and June. And in 2011, I posted most in March and November.
Here is a graph of my posts from 2011.
Here is a graph of my posts from 2010.
Here is the trend for the number of words per post. And there is a very clear trend for my posts to have fewer and fewer words. This could be happening for a number of reasons – my own time constraints, better at writing more concise posts, shorter attention span of readers, accident, or all of the above.
Given how often I post as a student, I frequently get asked whether I’ll continue blogging after school. I definitely intend to keep blogging and I’ve been thinking a lot about how I should reinvent my blog if I do. Some people have suggested incorporating video content. Others, suggest more Q&A. And others suggest focusing on my professional field once I graduate. I don’t know how it will evolve. But what I do know is that I do plan to turn up the volume in the next few months. Maybe like Fred and Erick, I’ll even start posting daily.
Thanks for the inspiration gentlemen!
To see Fred’s post CLICK HERE
To see Erick’s post CLICK HERE
In a recent email, I was contacted by one of my regular blog readers who is a potential applicant to MBA programs. He asked me about the ways to get involved in activities while in business school. Specifically, he asked about how he might get involved in clubs, or organize study trips during the experience. In some respects this is a tough question because there are so many ways to get involved, so it’s hard to even begin to answer. But at Kellogg, people do get pretty involved, so I was happy to give him my take on things.
Before getting to the question, I’ll note that this is only one perspective, and others could have slightly different opinions on the matter. After all, everyone has different levels of involvement at Kellogg and different abilities to handle multiple things at any given time. Likewise, I’d also say that I do my best to be one of the more active people on both campuses. So my propensity to get involved is high and my time to devote to any single campus is low. But that’s also typical of a lot of Kellogg students so I think I’ll provide a representative response. See below for the question. And below that for my response.
As I already told you, I follow your blog from time to time (and I like it).
I was wondering ‘What are the ways in which an MBA student can contribute to campus and the MBA community’? When I think of myself, I would like to be a club president of a management consulting club, start a new club or organize a study trip. Additionally, is there something that you as a student miss on campus and that can be run/done by a student initiative?
I would really like to hear your perspective since you are there (on campus).
Thanks a lot.
Thanks for reading my blog and for your question.
In business school, many people love to get involved in clubs and in on-campus activities. In fact, most people do. The running joke in MBA programs is that most people get involved too much in the beginning and end up becoming overextended, as many of us get involved in too many clubs, go to too many events, recruit for too many industries and sign up for too many social events. As a result, some students don’t always have time to do their best work. But either way, the point is, that there is no shortage of things to get involved in. And even thought it can all be very tiring it’s usually worth it.
One way that people get involved is by taking part in clubs. And in business school there are a lot of clubs you can get involved in. At Kellogg, there are nearly 90 student clubs to get involved in. You can take part industry clubs (e.g. banking, finance, marketing), social clubs (wine club, food club, etc), arts and services clubs, and also cultural clubs (Indian business club, Hispanic Business club, etc). The list goes on. In such cases, students tend to get involved during the first year, as participants or as first year directors and then take on more significant leadership roles in the second year. In many cases, those positions are appointed by last year’s team and in other cases there might be a vote amongst the current members. Likewise, in some cases you run on a slate of leaders and in other cases, you run on your own. It all depends on the club.
A second way that people get involved is by being part of student government, which at Kellogg is called the KSA (e.g. Kellogg Student Association). To do that, you usually take part in student body elections at Kellogg either during the very beginning or in the spring quarter. For many people this is also fulfilling. Not only is it a way to give back to the school but its also a way to get involved in some very interesting issues and interface with many people in the Kellogg administration.
In addition to clubs and elections, many people also organize trips in business school. At Kellogg two ways that people do that are through GIM or for KWEST. I did both. For m GIM trip, we went to Kenya - it was the nonprofit profit trip my year. In addition to Kenya, others went to other places all over the world. As a student you can either participate or lead the trip and get very different yet rewarding experiences either way. Likewise for KWEST, you can also have a rewarding experience. As an incoming student, you have the opportunity take part in a KWEST trip as your first experience on campus. And as a second year, you have the opportunity to take part as a KWEST leader and take 20 incoming students all around the world.
In addition to these, there are dozens (if not more) of other ways to get involved, organize, and lead on Kellogg’s campus. From nonprofit activities (e.g. Kellogg Cares) to experienential learning classes (G-lab) to things beyond the Kellogg campus, such as at Northwestern and in Chicago. There really is no shortage of ways to get involved. And that’s even for spouses and families who can take part in the joint venture club, and other similar groups on campus.
However, to the last point, I will caveat my entire post by saying that those who are married and/or have families often have unique experiences and have other things that demand their time. So I suspect that some of them might answer this question differently than I would.
But assuming you do have time to participate then it applies to you. And if does apply, then here’s my opinion on many of these types of clubs and roles. If you have the time and interest and are able to get a lead role in an organization, then chances are you should take it. Landing the group will probably earn you at least a little respect from some of your colleagues, give you more self-confidence, and give you experience organizing. It will also give you something interesting to talk about in future interviews, not only for clubs but also for jobs and anything else you do on campus. That said, the title usually doesn’t really mean much. Instead, it means more to be able to work with other students and find a way to have impact as a unit.
Good luck in your pursuits.
Happy Thanksgiving Weekend! This time of year, people are back at home spending time with friends and families. Many of them are just relaxing. Others are students, taking a break from classes, before finals period. And there’s another group of people, that are using the break to apply to business school. They’re hoping next year that when they’re sitting at the table, they’ll be able to say that they’ll thankful for “getting in”. To make the a possibility for as many students as possible, I’ve been responding to lots of email questions this week. One question came from a reader that had a question about career changes in business school.
In a recent email, I was contacted by someone I met during my BeatTheGMAT.com online chat series. She asked me about career changes in business school. Specifically, about how to move into Private Wealth Management (PWM) from her current career track. She noted that she had moved away from the path that she had intended so she thought that PWM seemed like a longer shot.
I’l note that I didn’t recruit for the Private Wealth Management industry here at Kellogg. Likewise, I also didn’t recruit specifically in the finance industry. But I do know a fair number of people that did, and I do still have a few thoughts to share on the topic. See below for her question, and below that for my response.
Thank you so much for your time and for the suggestion. If its OK, I have one more formidable challenge in addressing my application. I am from an engineering background, with 3 years of experience in sales – financial products, insurance industry. I have a very good record in performance and was in the top 10 of the region consistently. However, due to a stalled career and little growth prospects… i got bored and due to lack of further personal and professional growth..clubbed with a mandatory topological relocation.. I took up the opportunity at a start-up..as a Strategy and sales consultant…and have done pretty well here.
My challenge here is that my interest is in Private Wealth Management, that cropped from my exposure to financial products while with my earlier company. But however, my present industry is Advertising and marketing… so my biggest concern is how do I relate my goals and interest to my present job and validate my interest in PWM?? because the shift in industry and job role isn’t realy easy to connect to my goals. My apologies for the long mail– I just thought U should get a more or less clear idea about my background..to get a good advice from you.
Any insightful suggestions would be much appreciated…
P.S: On a personal note, I’d also like to know what would u have done had u been in my shoes??
Thanks you in advance!
No problem on the email. Happy to help however I can. So if I interpret correctly, you spent some time working in the sales and marketing space and currently work for a startup, but you want to go into PWM. after business school Is that correct? If that’s the case, then even though you have a bit of work to do, the transition may not be as far fetched as you think.
Before, I jump straight into the question, I’ll point out that your diverse background is certainly not a bad thing. In fact, having a diverse background is often times a strong plus. It shows you can succeed in lots of professional environments, that you can work well with all different types of people, and that you have variety of skills and interests that could translate across a number of employers. And one of those employers could very well be in the private wealth industry.
It’s hard to believe but this is my last Thanksgiving as a student. Reflecting back on my time here at Northwestern as well as my undergrad days at Stanford, it’s hard not to recall how many great classes, great job opportunities, interesting professors and best of all great classmates I’ve had along the way. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about how lucky I’ve been to have the experience. And that leads me to what I’m most thankful for this year.
Ever since I started my blog (and graduate school) a few years ago, I’ve received quite a few emails from readers. Many of them wanted tips or advice for selecting programs. Others had specific admissions questions. Others were visiting campus and were looking for someone to speak to while they were here. And some simply wanted to say thanks for keeping up my site.
I read every one of those questions and did my best to respond to all of them, though admittedly I think I missed a few. In the course of all of this, I’ve come to find that there are a lot of people that want to go to business school and to law school, but that there are very few seats at these places. After all, there are only 230 seats at the law school and only 600 at Kellogg despite over 7,000 applications. More importantly, there are exponentially more people all over the US and world that want to go to great undergraduate universities, but a large majority will never have the opportunity to attend a 4-year university.
This has all come to an apex today, as education has become THE hot button issue, given the rise in education costs and decreasing number of jobs available given the economy. Even though this has have led critics to critique the value of education, I’ve learned firsthand that getting an education is still an incredibly powerful tool. A tool you can use to not only change your circumstances but also find the success that many of us were never raised to even dream about having.
More than 3 years later, after seeing all the opportunities I’ve had access to school, those words are even more true. And that leads me to a few of the things that I’m most thankful for this year:
I’m thankful for having the chance to get an education and the opportunity to be enrolled in a great graduate program today. This is especially true considering where everything started (Youngstown, OH), as my access and economic means were significantly limited. It was certainly not something that always seemed possible.
I’m also thankful for the opportunities I’ve had access to as a result of being in school. Great clubs, great organizations and great job opportunities. My goal is to continue to do what I can to help others from my community create those same opportunities.
I’m also thankful for my parents who supported me and pushed me along to pursue a better education. Sometimes it seemed hard but when I was young my parents made sure that I stayed on track. In large part, because they wanted me to achieve the things they never had the chance to.
I’m also thankful for my great classmates, many of whom are some of my best friends today. When you’re going through the fire in school, it’s always great to have classmates and friends you can count on and enjoy the experience with.
I’m also thankful for the JD-MBAs here in my program. Not only a really smart group but also a group where every one of us undergoes the same process. We have to take extra classes. We all have limited bidding points and multiple sets of emails to manage. We all have to move cities multiple times. And worst of all, we all have to get on the shuttle every day in the final year.
And finally, I’m thankful for the Internet, where we can I share this message with lots of people. Not only is the net revolutionizing modern communication but it’s also helping democratize access to information for those who need access the most.
In sum, I’m thankful for education. I don’t take it for granted, and you shouldn’t either. The jobs we have access to, earning potential we can achieve, and most importantly the role we have the opportunity to take on in society are all a privilege. So we should treat them as such. We should use them as a platform. A way to give back to those that helped us. And a way to improve access in our communities. For every person that got into a great school, there are tens of thousands in the US and millions other nations that would love to same chance. The chance to have our seat in school. To take the exam that we complained about afterward. To go to the classes we thought about skipping. So let’s show the world we are thankful and that we were the right people for the seats.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Hopefully it’s filled with family, friends, and most of all with lots of “Thanks.”
Every year, thousands of people apply to business school and apply to Kellogg. Senior managers looking to transition from one firm to another. Former consultants and bankers looking to gain credentials to go back to their former firms. And recent graduates ready to gain access to more opportunities and take on the world. Despite their differences in backgrounds they do all share one commonality. They all want to figure out how to get in to business school, including Kellogg.
In a recent post on BeatTheGMAT.com a person asked me about just that. In short, they wanted to know what Kellogg loos for. Her full question was: “When you interview a first year candidate, what qualities do you specifically look for ? How do evaluate ‘fit’ for Kellogg?”
In part, this is a tough question because there are so many moving parts to an interview and so many possible answers here. And it was also tough because I had very limited time to answer the question, given I was on a chat forum. Maybe just two or three minutes. That said, I did have a few thought to share. See below for my response. And below that for her counter response.
When you interview a first year candidate, what qualities do you specifically look for ? How do evaluate ‘fit’ for Kellogg?”
Great question. First, I’ll note that everyone’s interview is very different, so you can’t necessarily predict your interview experience. That said, there are a few things that Kellogg likely assesses candidates for. I’ll provide three here:
1) Culture. The Kellogg culture is vibrant, fun, and high energy. People also spend a lot of time working in teams here, so the ability to show cultural fit is key. While there’s not one specific way to do this, focus on being yourself, on demonstrating how you like to work in teams, and on being personable.
2) Communications skills. Because spends so much time in teams and focused on leadership development, people here tend to be very good at communication skills. So high energy, ability to tell a good story and convey a message, things that are not only important here at Kellogg but also professionally after school is over.
3) Being well-rounded. As a general management school, being well-rounded is also important. That means displaying a high number of interests and skills. A propensity to work on a number of different business issues rather than just being a finance person or a marketer. And the ability to work with a large number of people. Further, if you work hard during your day job but area blogger, singer, dancer or anything else, make sure to discuss those things. You’ll likely be better off.
Thanks Jeremy.. big fan of your blog.. I also hope to create a blog which is as organized as yours by next year..once I get thru one of my top choice Bschool..
Thanks for the follow up message. Blogging takes a lot of work, but for many is well worth the time. Feel free to let me know once you get started. I’d love to have a look.
A week or two ago, a good friend had just received the results of her midterm exam. I don’t know what her final score was but she clearly didn’t do as well as she wanted. She was wondering what she should do to make sure she does well in the class. She asked me, How long before I should start worrying? Should I start preparing for the final now? And does the midterm really matter? All good questions, especially because I don’t think there is a real answer that works for everyone.
First is the obvious answer. “You should NOT worry.” Most people would tell you that in business school, grades aren’t all that important so worrying isn’t worth the effort. They’d ensure you that most of the time grades don’t make a difference, as recruiters often don’t ask about them. they often don’t come up in interviews, and they often don’t fit into any of the applications you might consider submitting.
Similarly, you’ll also hear that in business school people won’t put in as much work for the rest of the class as they might if they were in law school or a PhD program. So because the competition might not be as stiff, you shouldn’t worry because you still have plenty of time to figure it out all out.
But putting all of that aside for a second, let’s assume that grades are important for you and that people will try. Then, the next question that comes up is the one she actually asked. When, should she “worry”?
My first response is, You should NEVER be WORRYING.” The psychologist’s argument would probably be that worrying is a waste of time. That it’s not a useful way to improve performance. It also often doesn’t change the outcome in the end. And that instead, it makes you jittery and distracts from you from other important things you have to get done.
That said, my response my be similar to that. I’d say that you should do your best not to worry, but that you should be thinking about them, given there are only a few weeks left. So figure out how to channel your energy appropriately.
In business school things are busy. So you have to think about things early. For class, that means making sure you don’t keep falling behind. Getting your hands on all the handouts and printouts. Organizing the concepts not only to be printed but also in your head to better conceptualize the class. And thinking about if you need a tutor. This all before you even start learning anything.
After that, then you have to schedule time to spend reading and learning the material. Schedule time with a classmate or tutor. And schedule time to see the professor if needed. And then schedule time to learn it on your own again before the exam.
So given that, my answer is the same – don’t worry, because worrying will slow down the process. Especially, now you’ve got lots of other things to do before you can even study.
That said, I know some people that never “worried” or “started thinking” about the content until the final week of the quarter. And others until the final days of the quarter. And they still got A’s in the class. This happens a fair amount of the time in business school. But it’s not the most common case.
Either way, don’t worry. Just think about the timeline that works best for you, and take action accordingly.
An interest in entrepreneurship has led me to take another entrepreneurship class at Northwestern next term. As it turns out, it’s one of the most popular courses is Northwestern. It’s Kellogg’s NUvention program, which is interdisciplinary class that brings together students from the Kellogg School, McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, Northwestern Law and the Feinberg School of Medicine. As you might imagine, this interdisciplinary class looks like it will turn out to be pretty interesting.
The premise of NUVention is to allow students to work with companies that are creating and launching viable businesses, so students can experience the entire entrepreneurial lifecycle. Starting from ideation to concept, and moving to prototype and business plan, students have the chance to see what it means to create a real business. And the best part is that you work on them in diverse teams.
Teams from many of Northwestern’s programs come together for NUVention. We get to work with law students on patent research and other legal issues; engineering students on design and development; Kellogg students on market research and business plan development, and PhDs from other schools as well.
Personally, I’ll do be doing the NUVention Energy option, which means our project will be related to clean technology. There other two options are NUVention Medical and NUVention Web. As you might suspect, I had a really strong interest in the Web class, but unfortunately the timing of the class prohibited me from taking it.
My NUVention Energy class will take place next quarter. Just two weeks ago, I met the other six people that would be on my time. One other law student, two Kellogg students, two McCormick students, and one graduate student from the School of Arts and Sciences. And then me, joint JD-MBA student.
Before next quarter begins, we’ll all meet up to get to know each other better. In fact, I’m taking the lead on organizing that meet up as we speak. At some point soon, we’ll also take on different roles for the team. Someone to work on legal issues. Someone to work on technology. Another person to run the business model. Another to work on sales and marketing. And then likely one project manager.
And in a ten week course, we’ll go from concept to business plan, and then present our findings to the company. Our project is about coming up with a business plan for a Chemical Agent Detection device, and it seems pretty interesting so far.
Stay tuned to hear more about how the class goes next quarter.
The other day, I spoke with an alumni of Northwestern, and told him about an internet project I’m working on. I told him that I was looking for a designer and developer, and that I had big plans in mind with the project. That I wanted it to change the world and to do it quickly. He loved the idea. But he re-introduced me to a concept that’s big in the entrepreneurship community. The idea of making a Minimum Viable Product.
In the product development function, the Minimum Viable Product (also known as MVP) is a strategy some people in the tech industry think about when creating websites. It’s for people that want to put up fast sites while also testing the market quantitatively to see if the concept sticks. The idea is that an MVP has just those features that you need to get the site up and running. It allows you deploy the site and get feedback from an initial set of viewers. Those viewers understand that it’s testing mode, so they not only forgive errors, but some will try it again when you’ve iterated. And in the end, that feedback will allow you to make updates and refine your targeted customers. It will also help you to avoid building products that customers do not want.”
But one question I had, was does this concept always apply? What about a product that’s meant to be a beautiful multimedia experience and not one where people come to buy products and services. That when you land on the site, you have a point of sale. That you either stay and experience the site or your bail, and spend your time elsewhere.
Let me explain. On one hand, you have companies like Groupon and Dropbox (where the term originated). These companies not only need great sites, but they also have things you come to use or purchase. These sites aren’t up just to provide an experience. Instead they provide an experience while you make your way to do something else. The call to action is to purchase something. On the other hand, you have sites that are made to give you an experience. Sites that tell stories. Sites that allow you to interact with people and with features. And on those sites the call to action is something different and less commercial.
And thus, the quest for creating a world class website can be tricky. You can create a masterpiece from day one and get a lot of initial viewers. But if it’s not what they are looking for in the marketplace because you’re still refining your technique, then it may turn out to be less useful than what you envisioned. In that case, using the MVP strategy is very useful. On the other hand, sometimes you just have to go for it. Defy convention. Make something big right away. Because the look and feel of the site are more important. And because you need to get certain features up right away. Project after project and website after website show that this also happens. The question is, which works for you?
I don’t know what the answer is in my case. Stay tuned to hear more about it, once I do.
Hey everyone, I hope you had a great weekend. I just wanted to write to tell you about a chat session that I am having with BeatTheGMAT.com (BTG) this Thursday. On Thursday at 11am CST, BTG will host a chat session with me, where I’ll discuss what it takes to get into Kellogg, the JD-MBA program and the law school. This will be part of an ongoing series of chats, where I’ll not only provide tips for applying but also share my experiences at Kellogg and the JD-MBA program.
If you’re interested in learning more about Northwestern or business school generally, I hope to join the call this Thursday. Likewise, you should also feel free to pass the information along to any others that might find the webinar useful. Friends that are considering business school, JD-MBA programs, or Kellogg. And if they are interested but can’t make this one, no big deal. This will be part of an ongoing series of chats that I’ll be taking part in every two weeks, which will happen over the course of the next few months.
Below in a blurb about the event. You can also CLICK HERE to see the website.
Jeremy is a current JD/MBA student at Kellogg and he’s happy to share more about his experience with you! If you’re interested in learning more about Kellogg admissions, life at Kellogg or about the JD/MBA degree, then this is your chance to ask questions to someone who’s already made it. Jeremy also keeps a very popular blog, which we highly encourage you to check out! He often posts updates about life as a b-school student and a host of other very interesting topics.
Few companies can be legitimately claim to be the most popular company on the planet. Well one company that can is Facebook, as the organization is not only big here in the US but also present all across the world. The worldwide recognition of Facebook has totally changed communication all over the world. People of all ages use Facebook in almost every country imaginable. They connect with people that live continenents away. And they create conversations with people from all over the world. Well, given Facebook’s prominence, the Facebook CEO and COO recently did an interview with Charlie Rose.
Just last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg were interviewed by Charlie Rose on his show. In the 54 minute special interview, Charlie Rose asked questions we’re all curious about and asked them to talke a little bit more about Facebook.
Sheryl and Mark have been in the media a lot these days. Personally, I like Sheryl. From what I’ve seen in interviews, she comes off as passionate about the industry and company and she also spends a lot of time thinking about social issues, such as women’s careers. She also usually comes off as bright and accomplished, which is what you’d expect from the COO of a company like Facebook.
That said, it’s clear here, that Mark was handling most of the interview. That he took control of more of the tough questions. And that on more than one occasion, he made sure to add to responses after Sheryl.
It’s also clear that the two have very different styles. On one hand, Sheryl comes off as energetic, has more of a “Capital Hill” personality, and goes out of her to way to display good camaraderie with Mark Zuckerberg. She also has good presence and clearly enjoys the idea of public speaking. On the other hand, Zuckerberg has a more dominant personality and took more control during the interview. It was also clear that he’s a bit more foreful and a bit less comfortable on the camera, though probably better here than he’s been in times past.
But one thing they did both had was a belief in the company mission. That Facebook’s desire to make the world more connected and open really came through during the entire discussion. Another takeaway from the interview was that Facebook’s strategy was more focused than competitors. That it wanted to do one thing well – connect people better – whereas competitors often get spread too thin by doing too many things. And finally, I also noticed that they spent a lot of time discussing Facebook’s goal of being seen as more transparent. That it cared deeply about data privacy issues and wanted to ensure that everyone else knew about this value.
To see more of the dynamics between the two and to hear more about their thoughts on Facebook, see the video below.
After working hard during the first year curriculum at Kellogg, we all get a lot more choice in our class selection in the second year. We more options for classes and more independent studies and experiential courses at our fingertips. As you might imagine, class selection can be a difficult process. Not only are there a lot of classes to choose from but there are also pros and cons to every class you might be considering. And it can be especially difficult for the JD-MBAs who not only have to choose classes but have to do it at both schools, where the timetables and bidding systems are entirely different. Well, now that we’re in the final few weeks of the term now, we are starting to think about choosing classes for next term.
At long last, it’s that time of year again. Time to think about what classes to take next quarter. A process that some undertake in a matter of minutes. But also a process that some people spend hours on. After all, we only have a limited number of elective classes, so people here want to be sure to make the most of them, depending on what their priorities are.
In the process, we’re all given access to surveys about how the different classes went in previous terms. Almost like a Zagat survey of restaurants, or US News report on MBA programs. The surveys provide ratings on the classes based on student feedback. They also show previous bids to give you a sense of how many points the classes should go for. At Kellogg, it’s all based on a survey we fill out at the end of the class, just before the final exam. The survey has 3o or 40 questions, which include ones about the professor, the class content, and the fairness of grading, And it uses a scale from 1 to 10.
At the law school, it’s a bit more qualitative. In addition to having a rating scale from 1 to 5, the survey also has a qualitative portion. This allows students to provide constructive (usually) written feedback about the class. And the material actually ends up being quite helpful as we select classes. I think the business school should consider adopting this system.
The most popular elective courses are Entrepreneurial Finance (Rogers), Managerial Leadership (Kraemer), Global Lab, Negotiations (Medvek), Financial Decisions (Raviv) and Management Communications (Van Camp). Last year, I took Entrepreneurial Finance and thought the class was definitely good. Next quarter, I successfully bid on Management Communications, a class that aims to improve student skills in communication. In short, this is an experiential course where you have to deliver a speech every week in order to get better at communicating.
The challenge of picking the right classes is daunting. And for JD-MBAs it can take a herculean effort to get everything to work out in the end. First you have to figure out what types of classes to take. At Kellogg, people take classes for a few different reasons. One reason is to gain knowledge in a specific area. That happens a lot with the finance and marketing classes. Another reason is because they want to work on more practical skills. That’s where classes like Negotiations and Communications comes in to play. Students also choose classes purely from interest; so they pick a topic they don’t know much about. And students also pick classes because they have top professors. It all stems from the motto, “Take the professor not the course.” This is what happens a lot of time in the most popular courses.
After you have a list of courses you want to consider taking, next you have to figure out how much to bid for them. If you didn’t bid a lot of points on the popular classes, then you had no shot of getting them. Entrepreneurial Finance has traditionally been one of the highest closing classes every year. Next quarter’s class went for just under 1300 points. Global Lab went for higher than ever before at over 1450 points, and Negotiations went for over 1500 points, which might also be an all-time high. The tricky part here is that everyone only has a limited number of points, so you can’t bid high for everything.
Then third, you have to balance all of that, with fitting everything into your schedule. So getting them on the right days at the right times. Which is especially tricky for JD-MBAs that have law school classes downtown but also Kellogg classes in Evanston. Further, we have to do that while also balancing graduation requirements at both schools rather than at just one.
In sum, picking classes is a big part of the MBA and JD-MBA experience. The number of classes is high and there are pros and cons with any class you might be considering.
It will be interesting to see how everyone’s schedules turn out for next term.
Convincing someone to to your product, especially when they have limited funds, is a tough proposition. You have to come up with the right price. Appeal to the people in front of you. Have good ideas for promoting it. And last but not least have a quality product. This week, a lot of Kellogg students are thinking about all those things and more, as they are gearing up for this year’s 2011 Annual Kellogg Marketing Competition.
At long last, the Annual Kellogg Marketing Competition is back for the new class. There’s been a lot of buzz about it this year, but I’m seeing a lot less of it as a second year as opposed to last year. But that’s mostly due to the fact that I’m on campus less given I’m in the last year of the JD-MBA program here.
Either way, it seems like the Kellogg Marketing Competition is one of the more fun things here on campus. It’s also one of the events that the students love to participate in.
So that leaves us just with one question now then – What does it take to emerge victorious in the Kellogg marketing competition? While there isn’t necessarily a right answer, a few ideas do emerge. Having a really idea to begin with. Getting your idea out to more and more classmates. Showing the value proposition in ways that other teams might forget to address. And most importantly, sending the right message to students throughout the week. And when you think about it, this is the goal of any mass marketer, like Kraft, P&G, and all the other companies that come to campus.
But that’s easier said that done, right? After all, people aren’t easily convinced. They aren’t easily persuaded to give their time and spend their own resources on something they’ve never used before. Further, you have to compete with similar products that undergo the same process of market evaluation that you did. Especially on game day (e.g. during TG) when all the teams are competing side by side. So in the end, your job is make decision on dozens, if not hundred of assumptions. Assumptions about the color, location of your product, and pitch that will ultimately get people to say “Yes”.
This is what happens in the week leading up to the marketing competition. Teams come up with a positioning strategy. The create a mini business plan. Put marketing materials up over the school. And they think about their target customer. In fact, I’d argue that the teams in the competition should do more of this last thing (e.g. customers). That is to say, instead of starting with the masses, start with a smaller number of people. A few students in your study group. A few students in your section. Or a few of your best friends. And test your pitch and product to see their reaction. And tweak it until it works.
And once they get the idea right for friends, then you scale. Get it out to more friends. Then to club members. To your section. Then move to another section. Then to the class. Then the competition. And those that do that best will probably emerge victorious.
I look forward to seeing who emerges in this year’s competition.
The best CEOs once had to do it. Investment bankers and lawyers had to do it. JDs and MBAs who want to become leaders in organizations will also have to do it. And over the next couple of weeks, a lot of people here at Northwestern Law and at Kellogg will be doing it. They’ll have to respond to outstanding job offers that they got over the summer or during the fall. Because if they don’t, the offers will explode.
Now, I know exactly what you’re thinking. “Lucky you! At least you have an offer to choose from. How could making that decision be so hard?” I get it. Your question makes sense. After all, in today’s economy it’s harder to get a job than it’s ever been before. But for just one second, and think about how difficult it actually is to make the decision.
Most people come to MBA programs with one big goal — to get traction a certain industry and eventually to land the job of their dreams. The role they’ve always wanted. The position they decided to lay it all on the line for. In the process though, they came across other options. They faced disappointment. And they encountered changes of heart.
What’s most interesting about business school is that everyone goes through this process. It’s perfectly set up to happen that way. Things move fast. Jobs are competitive. And positions are put out on platters for everyone to be enticed. It even happens in bad economies at top MBA programs.
On one side of the spectrum are the people who want to pursue all their interests. They want to see everything that’s out there. Meet more and more companies. Learn as much as they can about general business. And put all that together to come up with broad based set of companies to recruit for. So they do just that.
On the other side are those that are laser focused. They work on building a critical mass of knowledge, reaching out to more and more people in one firm, reading up on the company to find details that can help them stand out in the process, and most importantly finding resonance with the decision-making employees.
But both situations create a bit of difficulty. In the first case, students can get confused. They meet too many people. Dont have time to focus. And have interviews and offers in different industries. In the second case, people work so hard for one industry or one company, that they lose perspective. They forget about other great opportunities. Or work hard at something that never even pans out. And in the end, both people can end up being more confused than before.
Nearly everyone experiences this to some degree in business school. We’re taught to dream big. Recruit at all the big firms. Go beyond the usual suspects. And leverage this one opportunity to do something different. And for most students, they come out successful. Some get the jobs of the dreams. Many get amazing jobs they never originally considered. And the majority get really great jobs by just about every measure, whether it was their first choice or not.
But perhaps more important than that, is that taking a step back, we’re all fortunate here because everyone is fortunate to face job offer deadlines.
Good luck with your job offer decisions.
In business school, we all learn a lot about how to go through the recruiting process. How to create a resume. How to position ourselves in an interview. And how to do case studies. All relevant stuff. But the standard process isn’t all that important when you’re talking about the start-up space; or at any non-traditional employer. So one question a lot of people at Kellogg have is how they can get a job at companies like these?
In recent blog posts, I’ve written a lot of articles about the campus visits of consulting firms, like BCG and McKinsey, banks like Morgan Stanley, marketing firms like P&G and Pepsi, and a host of other companies that people at Kellogg are interested in. And as the semester continues, more and more people seem to be attending these events and applying to these firms.
But in today’s age, an increasing number of smart people are also going to the tech and media industries. And today technology companies are coming to MBA campuses in hordes. In particular big firms like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and other big names you’ve probably heard of. Like the consulting firms and marketing shops, these companies come to campus not only for information sessions but also to host receptions, have atrium hours, provide free open bars, and do their best to lure students in. As such, the school and career center make sure that people have resources to recruit there. But that’s not necessarily the case for startups.
There world of start-ups is unlike most industries in business school. In terms of recruiting, there’s no database of companies. There are no lists of alumni. No formal list of questions to ask in interviews, or skills that you should emphasize when talking. Instead, you have to figure out a lot of it on your own. Ironically, in the same way that you might if you were working at the small firm, you’d have to figure out what you need to be working on to stay competitive.
Given that process, the question that many people will have over the next few months then is, what do I have to do to get a job at a startup? And can I get one of those job from Kellogg? Or from another top MBA program?
While the answer to that question is yes; the caveat is that getting one of those jobs won’t be easy. Especially at a cool start-up. In some cases, getting the job might be harder than getting a job at a prestigious traditional employer. So the questions is, what does it take to successfully navigate the start up recruiting process?
In general, it’s not a question I’m necessarily qualified to answer, but a few simple things come to mind right away. Learning to sell. Understanding the business models for small companies. Understanding technology, and specifically the technology that specific companies use. Knowing how to leverage video and multimedia. Understanding who the customer is. Understanding the added value of a product or service. And then, figuring out how to show a startup, who doesn’t have as much time to spend on recruiting, that you can actually do these things well.
But perhaps more important than all of this is that you also need to understand the process of recruiting for a start-up. After all, many startups and other small business aren’t really hiring or looking to fill an open job post. They don’t have a job board, don’t have a required number of people, and don’t have slotted pay grades. As such, you have to learn to navigate the job process. So doing things like going to the right conferences, going to networking events, meeting people in the industry and staying informed on what’s happening.
And finally, you also have to learn how to wait patiently. Startups and smaller companies tend to recruit at the tail end of the year. So while all your friends are getting jobs at big companies, prestigious firms, and high paying industries, you’ll have to sit back, watch them enjoy the ride, lay the groundwork, and get ready to start hitting the ground harder midway through the year. In fact, many of my classmates and friends didn’t get jobs until the final weeks and days before the school year ended. So you have to be ready for that too.
In sum, getting a job at a startup is different. The timing, the process, and the skills needed. I’m no expert on the topic, but I do know that it’s something you should not take for granted.
And the award for Net Impact Graduate Chapter of the Year goes to… The Kellogg School of Management! Congratulations Kellogg Net Impact team! Many of the students at Kellogg realize the hard work you’ve been putting in. And congratulations to everybody on the board that worked hard to make that possible. People like Jessica Porter, Mark Dibble, Marilyn Chen, and Chelsea Katz, all from my Global Immersion in Management Trip to Kenya last spring. Not to mention many others on the leadership team (see link above). Not only does this help your careers as social enterprise professionals, but it also continue to extends Kellogg’s brand in the not for profit space.
Hi Everyone, Just a quick note to send a quick congratulations to everyone on the Kellogg Net Impact Team, who recently brought home the Chapter of the Year award at Kellogg. What a great accomplishment!!! Net Impact is basically a not for profit organization aimed at taking social impact to the next level. More formally, Net Impact is a new generation of leaders who use careers to tackle the world’s toughest problems. THEY put our business skills to work for good throughout every sector. By doing so, THEY show the world that it’s possible to make a net impact that benefits not just the bottom line, but people and planet too.
Just last weekend, some of the students went to the Net Impact Conference was held. I don’t know how many people went this year but here is the breakdown from 2010 – 2,500 people attended, 129 schools were represented, and 14 Countries and 39 States were there. Likewise there were also 73 Exhibiting Organizations 395 Speakers and 131 Sessions. This year’s conference tackled issues such as (1) creative problem solving and playful approaches lead to serious solutions, (2) where sustainable innovations are championed by those you least expect, and (3) where unlikely partnerships accelerate change, among other things.
Over the past decade, the number of businesses interested in social change has taken off. Net Impact is playing a large part in that trend. People from Net Impact attend many of the top business schools. They influence the activities from the social impact clubs. And they help provide support for getting into the industry.
I’m glad Kellogg and other ones continue to focus on improving their programs. In today’s economic times, it’s imperative that business school students not only focus on getting a job, but also working for larger scale social good. That they also remember to give back and make the world a better place.
Congrats again Kellogg. See below for a blurb sent out to the Kellogg net Impact Club today.
The Kellogg School of Management was awarded the 2011 Graduate Chapter of the Year Award at the National Net Impact Conference in Portland, OR on October 29th. This prestigious award is given annually to a graduate chapter who exemplifies the mission of Net Impact: to mobilize a new generation to use their careers to drive transformational change in their workplaces and the world. Net Impact is a global network of MBA students and professionals with more than 280 chapters across six continents. Kellogg would like to congratulate the other two finalists for this award, the Ross School of Business and the Yale School of Management. Thanks to all the Net Impact Community club leaders for their collaboration and support –we couldn’t have won without them! Also, thanks to the Digital Shorts Team, who helped develop a video to showcase our Chapter. It’s time to pop the bubbly!
It’s true. Most of my second year classmates at Kellogg don’t spend as much time in Jacobs these days. You don’t see them in the LSR or atrium as much. They don’t have as many group meetings. And sometimes, they don’t even show up for Kellogg events. And it isn’t just because people are busy but also because the MBA version of senior-itis is kicking in. That students are spending more time outside of Kellogg during other things. And this all came to mind because a few weeks ago, I realized the other day that I have not seen a fair number of my good friends at Kellogg so far.
This quarter, I’ve seen a bit less of some friends than I did last year. Even some of my really good friends that I spent a lot of time with last year. One reason is because some people are spending a lot more time recruiting now, since second year recruiting happens in the fall. Others are spending more time with small groups of friends, so they do things outside of the Kellogg circle. And others are trying their hand at going to the city more often, especially now before it gets too cold.
In addition to Kellogg, I also realized the other day that this quarter I’ve met a lot of new people over the past few week. People from different places. Students from different sections. And people who I’ve never seen before. Some of them are 1Ys. Others PTers. And others, new 2Ys thathave only been at Kellogg for a couple of weeks.
Over time I’ve come to realize that there is a trend that happens every year at Kellogg. That the things you do at any given time are a reflection of your stage in the business school cycle. That first years have a routine that they get into. Second years have a different routine. And that JD-MBAs and 1Ys have their unique routines. And all of them change at different stages in the program.
One part of everyone’s routine is spending less time at Kellogg as time goes on. Instead, as time progresses, they spend their free time outside of school with friends, in the city and traveling more frequently.
This emphasizes the importance of creating friendships with people from your class earlier in the first year. Because in the second year it could prove to be a bit harder. You have to spend more time with them to understand their personal stories and learn more about their career goals. You have to work with them on hard assignments since being in the trenches is a good way to make connections. And you have to have longer discussions with them to see who they really are at the core.
Likewise, it also pays off to do the same thing with kids from different classes. Because at Jacobs now, there are more first years than students from my year. So knowing them comes in handy when I’m on campus.
In business school, where things move quickly, where technology disrupts all of our lives, and where hundreds of people in each class and not enough time to make friends with most of them, establishing some of these deeper relationships is more critical than ever before.
Because at some point, you come to find, that with second years “no one goes to campus anymore.”
In the past week or two since the passing of Steve Jobs, there has been a lot of press about Steve, Apple, and many of the products the company made. A lot of it has been about how Jobs thought differently. He he had interesting ideas, took risks, and in the end revolutionized business. Given that, the video below about “Thinking Differently” has recently surfaced again over the past few days. In it, images of transformative people throughout the 20th century are shown as a narrator toasts to them for changing the world.
Many of the articles online suggest that the original videos aired years ago. In the version that aired on TV, the narrator is Richard Dreyfuss. But there’s also a second version, where Jobs himself walks us through the video. The latter is the version that I’ve included here.
In the end, we can learn a lot from Steve and the video. In business schools and law schools today, people flock to all the same careers, benchmark what everyone else is doing, and value convention over risk-taking. But what if more people “thought differently?” What if they recruited for new industries. And what if more and more people worked on something outside of the traditional scope of the MBA. Maybe one of them would become the next Steve Jobs. And help make the world a more interesting place.
Well, if you’d like some inspiration on how to do that, below are the words to the video. And below that is the video itself.
“Here’s to the Crazy Ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status-quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world – are the ones who DO!” ~ Apple Computers
On Friday, November 4th at 7pm Chicago time, I’ll be attending an event with Friends of Sinai in downtown Chicago. The event will take place at The River East Art Center in downtown Chicago and will benefit Sinai Children’s Hospital. As many of you know, Sinai Children’s Hospital is a children’s hospital on Chicago’s West Side, providing health care to many of Chicago’s under-served children who are at risk for chronic health problems. It will be interesting not only to hear about the things they are working on now but also connect with others that care deeply about the same issues.
Hi Everyone, I just wanted to alert you all to an upcoming event in downtown Chicago. The event is next week, and the organization is the Friends of Sinai organization, that supports the Sinai Children’s Hospital. So you’re probably wondering more about the hospital. Who are they? What are some of the things its working on? And what is this event all about? Well here is a bit more information.
The mission of the hospital is Friends of Sinai Children is a non-denominational, volunteer organization dedicated to developing resources and opportunities that enhance the quality of life of children touched by Sinai Children’s Hospital. The hospital was established in 2004, and today is the only children’s hospital on Chicago’s west side, provides health care to under-served children who are at greatest risk for chronic health problems, physical and emotional abuse and neglect.
Friends of Sinai Children is an associate board of young professionals dedicated to supporting Sinai Children’s Hospital.
Friends of Sinai Children has the unique opportunity to support a children’s hospital in an area with extreme need. Volunteers help shape the direction of the Board and make a true difference in the lives of the children treated at the hospital. And events like this help spread the word about the organization, the results that it is making, and help the organization to continue to make a difference.
In terms of the event, as I mentioned, the large event takes place on Friday, November 4th from 7:00-10:00pm at the River East Art Center. Tickets include cocktails, OPEN BAR, heavy appetizers and hors d’oeuvres, dancing, raffle, silent auction, and live entertainment, all of which benefit Sinai Children’s Hospital. The event will also be hosted by Stanford alumni Melanie Kannokada. I attended the event last year and it was a fantastic event. Plus, it’s a great excuse to dress up and support a worthy cause.
Hope to see you there.
There is a worldwide discussion going on today that distinguishes what it means to be a manager and what it means to be a leader. In times past, the words have often been used interchangeably. But today, the characteristics of the roles are more separated than they’ve ever been before. In short, managers as those who direct and help execute for an organization. And leaders are those who guide, inspire and provide vision to the organization. So the question today is, what does really mean? And which one are you? Manager? Leader? Or both?
There are a lot of resources out there which discuss the topic. A topic that I’m also interested in.
Managers work to get their employees to do what they did yesterday, but a little faster and a little cheaper.
Leaders, on the other hand, know where they’d like to go, but understand that they can’t get there without their tribe, without giving those they lead the tools to make something happen.
Managers want authority. Leaders take responsibility.
We need both. But we have to be careful not to confuse them. And it helps to remember that leaders are scarce and thus more valuable.
** I like Godin’s analysis because it mentions how we need both – not one or the other.
Another opinion I like is the interview by former Dean of HBS. I’ve linked to the video here before but in a series of two interviews he talks about what leaders are. In the VIDEO (48:30) the Dean says the following
“Not all of us in the world have the privilege of working in something that itself is inherently passionate. Some of us work where it`s like work.But everybody can be in a place where their work is valued, where they have opportunities to grow, where they are respected, and where they can see the connection between their work and the larger purposes that they serve. And that has been something I’ve tried to do at this place.
And so I gave a little motto: There are no unimportant jobs at the Harvard Business School. Everybody has an important role to play. And you work in an organization to help people understand that`s not rhetoric. It`s real. ….
And that is what leaders do. Leaders instill in people a sense of purpose and they inspire people. They inspire people if they are god. because they connect people to the larger purpose.
In the same manner, business schools talk a lot about leadership today. What you can do to lead an organization. What it takes to be effective. Interestingly enough, one of the main critiques of MBA grads is that they have great technical skills but that they also have less than perfect leadership skills. That they don’t always navigate organizations or manage people as well as they could. But instead that they shine because of their analytical and quantitative skills.
As a first hand viewer today, I wouldn’t say that the statement is incorrect. After all, that’s what many of the so-called “top” employers look for too. Interviewees that can run the numbers. Create spreadsheets. Produce detailed PowerPoint presentations. And do math in front of them in an interview. Not people that can tell a good story. Manage hundreds of people. Convince the masses. Or come up with a new and innovative idea on the spot.
So in many ways there is an interesting disconnect in what leaders do, and what so called “future leaders” are taught. It’ll be interesting to see how this disconnect continues to play out.