See below for the question and below that for my video response.
Subject: Professional Development
My name is Manuel. I wanted to thank you for all the work put into his blog. I just watched one of your last videos where you briefly talked about mission and goals in life. I have been thinking a lot about this for a few years now and Wanted to ask you about your personal and professional development experience. What other sources of development did you use besides having mentors throughout college? Do you have inspirational and personal development books that you recommend?
Thank you so much
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Structure of my response
Not enough people think about professional development.
“To become a great leader, first you have to learn to lead yourself. To lead yourself you have to know yourself.” -Harry Kramer
Three things: Mentors, Tips, Books.
1. Mentors are critical. Not only helps the mentee, but also helps you and the community at large.
2. Tips: A) Put yourself in tough situations. B) Think about leaders / thinkers you admire.
A) Thinkers I admire: Seth Godin, Malcolm Gladwell, Cory Booker, President Obama
B) Books (highlight top 5): Leadership Lessons from the White House Fellows, Never Eat Alone, Whos Got Your Back, Steve Jobs biography, Audacity of Hope, Purple Cow, The Dip, Not without Hope, The Power of One, Start With Why, The Lean Startup, Strengths Finder 2.0, The Leader who Had No Title, Primal Leadership (or anything by that author), Blink, Outliers, From Values to Action
C) Seth Godin 2012 recommendations
I do this very often in Chicago too. More surprising than the fact that nobody else in line seems to do the same, is the fact that employees are always surprised as well. Often times they accidentally interrupt saying “how can I help you” before I can even finish. And sometimes they don’t know how to respond at all.
I propose the idea that each of us should do more of this everyday. Put more value on the human connection. And make people we transact with feel important.
But today’s world makes this more challenging. In today’s technology driven economy, profit margins are lower and stores need more customers to than ever to make money. So often times companies prize efficiency over good customer interactions. Likewise, customers today are in a hurry and more demanding than ever. So customers equally forget about the value of spending 20 seconds to speak to someone else.
But that’s just the problem. That’s why customers aren’t loyal. It’s why they don’t go back to your store again. It’s why they won’t go out of their way to support your idea or invest in your business. It’s also why employees can sometimes have really bad days at work. And why demanding customers will rarely get their way.
I propose the idea that both parties should put more value on the human connection. Companies need to balance the importance of efficiency with the value of human contact. Customers should more time being nice to the people we interact with.
In the end, the interaction will be significantly better for both sides. Employees will be more willing to help you out. And you might just make the employee’s day. All by Saying Hello.
See below for the question and below that for my video response.
Dear Mr. Wilson,
It was a real pleasure meeting you at the networking event last week. I intend to take you advice in my quest for success. I read your blog and I have to say that I am truly impressed. Not only it is very well known, but it serves a purpose that I take at heart. Education.
As I told you yesterday, I will apply to the (Name) Fellowship Program. I went through the application today. For the letter of recommendation, I am not sure if I should ask one of my undergraduate teachers, one of my teachers from grad school, or my boss from my last job, what do you think? Also, when it comes to the personal statement, I was wondering if I should focus on my work experience or on my life experience from my home community.
Any advice would be helpful. I look forward to hearing back from you soon.
See below for my video response.
See below for the question and below that for my video response.
When applying for grad schools/companies after undergrad, are there any differences between being a graduate from Berkeley or LA? How do grad schools weigh a GPA from schools with slightly different prestige/reputation. Specific to Berkeley and LA, how would careers/grad schools weigh a student with the same major and a similar transcript accordingly? Any advice you have would be helpful. Thank you.
Structure of my response
1. Education Matters today more than ever in today’s global, information-based economy.
2. Schools: People choose schools for various reasons.
3. Departments: Different departments will give you different experiences.
4. Grades: Grad schools will put grades in context
In an interview with former Dean Kim Clark a few years ago, he shared the same idea. I’ve posted parts of it once before, but see this 3 minute clip on the role of good leaders.
Below is the text. Below that is the video.
“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 help them understand, “I am in media services and my job is to set up the equipment in the classroom, and make sure its functioning. And I kind of do my job and its work” You help those folks understand, yeah you’re in media services but you are critical to that student there, whose name is Jeff Immelt. And 25 years from now he is going to run General Electric and he’s going to have 250,000 people working for him. And he’s going to be important and your work as a media tech is going to make that class go well, which means hes going to learn and he’s going to be a great leader.
So you go to work, and say yeah, I’m in media services but that’s important. And I can see how what I do has a larger purpose. And you get passionate about that. You may not be passionate about making the cords work together, or making sure the equipment is right. You get satisfaction out of it because you’re doing a good job. But you get passionate about the purpose of the organization you work for.
And that is what leaders do. Leaders instill in people a sense of purpose and they inspire people. They inspire people if they are good. They inspire people, because they connect people to the larger purpose.
See below for the question and below that for my video response.
Congratulations on all of your success! Thank you for the website as well. I am looking to join an MBA program and also doing some interviewing for jobs currently. I wanted to ask about specific challenges to expect during the interview process, and also ask for any tips you might be willing to share. What were some of the key things that you thought helped you enter the program? Thank you.
See below for my video response.
In short, I talk a little about 1) Framing your answer, 2) Content of your answer, 3) tips on interview style and 4) general tips. Note that the answer here is pretty high level given the general nature of the question.
Often times, our knowledge is limited. And we can try to do better, aim for higher and hope for more. This is what great leaders help us realize. And when we open up our minds to see what’s possible, we’ll see that there are other jobs, schools, careers, ideas, products, and situations that we never imagined.
Then we won’t stop until we get to our ideal scenario.
As always, we’re working on improving the formatting of the response video, but for now: “Done is better than perfect.” See below for the question and my video response. And see below that for a few follow up links that I provided.
I hope you’re doing well. I came across your blog while I was researching the JD-MBA program at Kellogg, as I’m currently applying. Great blog! I just had a few questions about the program and school in general, hopefully you can help me out. I have an international background, having lived in 5 different countries in the past 7 years, working, volunteering, and studying in the fields of education, journalism, human rights, and nonprofits. I’m looking to bridge the gap between the nonprofit and business sectors with my JD-MBA. I wanted to ask you about the SEEK program, in particular. I understand that almost every school has a social enterprise program/club, but why do you think, if you’re familiar with it, Kellogg’s is different? I know that they have an annual conference on social impact and innovation, but are there any other programs or even specific classes that are unique to Kellogg in this field? And as a JD-MBA, are you able to take classes at the Medill School of Journalism for elective credit? I know those are some charged questions I’ve asked, but any insight would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks so much!
— FOLLOW UP QUESTION
— FOLLOW UP RESPONSE
Here are a few noteworthy things to keep in mind with the SEEK department at Kellogg specifically.
- List of some summer internships:
- Major Requirements: At Kellogg people usually get 3 or 4 majors
- NUVention which has a SEEK and a non SEEK version. Both are good.
- Board Fellows Program
- Required 2nd year class
- Kellogg GIM GHI – HERE is another link. It may not technically be not part of the SEEK program but all the SEEK students participate since it’s a non profit trip.
- Popular Lab Class – Sustainability Lab
- Education case competition
Hope this is a good start
My name is Hashima and I am applying to MLT third round which is next week. I am not sure if my resume format is good enough. I have attached my resume, so you could view the format. I was wondering if you have any advice on how I could improve my resume. I will appreciate any advice you have on improving my resume because I always find useful information from your blog. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Below is my video response. The video quality isn’t perfect yet, but the lighting and formatting do continue to get better.
All eyes and ears have been tuned into the elections up until November 6 which all culminated in a big night of the announcing of the new president. While the night had many celebrations and gatherings all over the country, the morning after offers up something different.
On one end of the spectrum you have the Obama campaign team that won. The night after winning they celebrated together and finally saw the fruits of their labor after more hard work than you can image. But the morning after, campaigners had to pack up and figured out when they were going to head for home (though not before this thank you speech from Obama)
On the other end, you have the Romney campaign that did not win. The campaign will spend the next day reflecting and casting doubt on what they could have done better. But not for too long-they have to pack up too since many campaigners spend a lot of time in other cities.
Of course the media has continued talking about it but at a much lesser rate than the day before. They did the math and compared it to past elections.
Articles are being written about the political savvy of Obama.
And people are already talking about the prospects of 2016 and 2024 elections, throwing out names like Clinton and Booker.
But more important than all of this is people will have to start thinking about the world again.
Mayor and Governor campaigns are starting to pick up the pace.
#Sandy has left more devastation than ever imagined.
The ed system will get back to its bargaining and organizing for rights of teachers in schools and the lives of students who need support.
People all have to get back to work because the economy definitely won’t stop. For the lucky campaigners, they may stay on the campaigns with a paid position, but not most.
And as for you and me, we all had to be back to work the very next morning. Even if we did stay up the full night watching to see how things turned out.
The irony is that no matter how important something is, how much time it takes up, and how many people are watching, the morning after, most people have to move on. It’s a skill that is very difficult but worth getting better at.
So when possible, choose your 5 people wisely. And not just in terms of success but also values and goals.
Pick your mentors wisely.
Choose your friends wisely.
Apply to college after lots of research about the people and departments they study in.
Work hard to get into business schools (and law schools) that are a good fit for you.
Select your study groups carefully.
And pick the right significant other.
Don’t just choose half-heartedly. And don’t let the good ones get away. Otherwise, your average might change.
Just a thought.
It’s what Barack Obama is telling the nation about his vision for change and about the hundreds of hours he’s been spending on policy revisions. He’s been spending the past year trying to show the world before November 6, 2012.
It’s also what entrepreneurs tell funders about the game changing idea that can disrupt an entire industry if they can just garner support.
It’s what CEOs tell their teams a year before the next big product comes out, when nobody understands why he’s changing his plan in the middle of the year.
It’s what great nonprofit leaders tell their constituents. About the millions of lives they are going to impact three years from now.
It’s what a good MBA applicant sees, when she spends hours and hours on her essays, trying to show the school why she’s the perfect fit.
And it’s what a guy tells the girl he sees a future with, even though she might not know how it could possibly work out.
“If you only saw what I see.”
Often times you think that these people are just trying to convince you. But that’s not always true. They are trying to show you what they see. To stop and look for just one second.
Its hard to show you because what they see is a little bit further out there. But the great ones will try until they figure out how to get you there.
Think Barack Obama in 2008 when nobody thought he stood a chance. Steve Jobs who proposed a new design for the MAC computer after being fired from Apple years before. Wendy Kopp who proposed Teach For America in her undergrad thesis all the way back in 1989. Sal Khan who posted YouTube videos of school lessons for years before getting a single bit of recognition for it.
If we only saw what they saw.
In a recent question from a new reader named Stanley, I got a question abouthow to approach the essays. Specifically, he asked about what career to discuss in his MBA application. See his question below.
My name is Stanley and I met you at the MLT happy hour earlier in the week. I want to personally thank you for the advice that you gave me on both the MLT process as well as the MBA admissions process. I think those pieces of information will go a long way in helping me complete my essays during my attempt at going to business school. I believe the main thing you said was to answer what, why, and how when addressing your essays: with the most important area being the focus on the why.
I also have a follow up question on essays around the idea of if it is better to create the most complete story for business admissions counselors on what your background most relevantly points towards rather than create a story about what you really truly want to do if your background work doesn’t strongly support that field or work (ie currently doing financial consulting and aspire to get into management consulting/ as appose to currently in financial consulting and aspire to become an entrepreneur in the field of education). What do you think? Should I go for the story all the websites say works or should I go for the story of my true passions despite not having the strongest backgrounds to support wanting to do this. Finally I know you said that you had two blog entries that you wanted me to read and I am eager to find out what they are because at this point I welcome informed advice.
Otherwise, I think what you are doing with the education matters project as well as this website and you work with MLT is admirable. Please keep it up, you have no idea of the positive impact that it brings. Thanks for all the advice and I hope to hear from you soon.
Below is my video response. And apologies for some of the noise in the background — we’re still working on sound and lighting issues but wanted to get a response out sooner than later.
One of the defining problems of our students today, is what to study in college. In today’s world not only are there more options than ever before but there are also more paths to success than ever before.
Past generations don’t understand the dilemma quite as much. In times past, they could “Study a more traditional major”, “Go get a good job!” and have the security of staying in one or two jobs for the rest of their career.
In today’s world, that’s simply no longer the case. Students think more about their majors, more about their first jobs and more about what they “want to do when they grow up.” Well, in a recent question from a long time reader named Jennifer, I got a question about just that. She asked about starting off in Engineering and about the value of an MBA.
Thank you very much for your great insights! I have learned a lot and enjoyed the reading. I am from engineering background as well, and I am currently studying in my final year at school. I am planning my path towards CEO, but I chose engineering as my starting point. What do you think about that? I also wonder if an MBA plus finance and accounting studies (or any other relavant studies) will increase my chance in getting to the CEO position one day too? I would love to get your opinion.
Here is my video response:
In short, an MBA is valuable for some people, and engineering can be a great starting point. See my video for the rest of the response.
In the last presidential election, fewer than 57% of voting age Americans actually voted. And this was one of the most watched events in history. In 2010 it was fewer than 40% Surprised? Don’t be. The numbers have been low for years. This year, we can all step up and do something about it.
There are a lot of reasons why it never makes sense to abstain from voting.
From the legal angle, if you don’t vote, then you aren’t thinking enough about the issues. The policies at stake are not only important, but they impact you profoundly. If you consider the rules and policies of healthcare, education reform and unemployment a little more, you’d know just how much your voice mattered.
From the business side, I’d say this is a serious marketing problem. Not just from the candidates but from state government too. How can you not exercise your most fundamental right to vote, to have a say, and to take part on the day that more people will be tuned in than any other time this year? On November 6, 2012.
If you don’t vote because you’re confused, then that doesn’t make sense. There’s enough information out there to get more informed quickly and make a choice.
If you don’t vote because you think your state is already determined, then you might want to think again. Because if everyone felt that exact way, then the numbers could swing in either direction very quickly. It’s the voters paradox. More importantly, the margin of victory in your district could still be a factor in the momentum any candidate gets during the election.
If you don’t vote because you don’t have the time, then make the time. I’m busy too, but spending a few minutes to register and vote is well worth the time.
If you don’t vote because you don’t like the game of politics, I understand, but don’t agree. Don’t be fooled. Half of the “game” of politics is a ploy by the news channels to get more eyeballs and make more money. Another part is paid TV ads trying to get their party an advantage over the other. Sure maybe some of of the hooploa comes from the candidates themselves. But nothing unexpected given what’s at stake in two weeks.
The good thing about voting is this.
- Voting is free. Or the price of a stamp if you mail your ballot in.
- You can vote from anywhere, and send in an absentee ballot if need be.
- You can take part in the outcome.
- You can help shape the next four years of our nation (or of your local geography in other elections)
- You can join the other thousands of people that will be doing the same.
- You can influence other people in your community to vote.
- You can exercise a right that people have fought and died for.
- You can get smart about the issues.
- You can take a stand for what you believe in.
- You can get started learning and have a stronger voice next time.
The candidates are different. So are their policies, motivations and stories.
Every single person, in every state, city, district and county should absolutely exercise their right and privilege to choose.
In short, please vote.
How much time do you spend every day checking email, logging into Facebook, sending text messages, and surfing the web for things you don’t really care about? Probably way too much. Many of my MBA classmates did too.
But don’t get me wrong, it happened to me last year as well. As a fairly known MBA Blogger who gets as many emails as most people I know, I woke up one day last year and realized I had the same problem.
I’d put my head down on campus sending dozens of texts and emails when I had friends sitting right in front of me. I’d write multiple blog posts on a Saturday morning and realized I was getting behind on all my afternoon work. And I’d search stories online only to realize 90 minutes went by in the blink of an eye. And it happened often.
One post on HBR put it this way:
The definitive Internet act of our times,” she adds, “is a perfect metaphor for the promise of reward. We search. And we search. And we search some more … clicking that mouse … looking for the elusive reward that will finally feel like enough.
A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.” And retention. Taking in endless bits and bytes of information is akin to pouring water into a glass already full — in this case our severely limited working memory.
In some ways, we’re all guilty. Millennials have been doing this for years now–even the President’s campaign is centered around the use of technology. Emailing friends when other friends are right in front of them. Texting other people, even though they are standing right beside them. And scanning through Facebook to see the latest news, even though the last ten times you were not fulfilled by anything they found.
What I’ve come to find, is that in high level work environments this doesn’t fly. Not only is it looked down upon but it’s also not as productive. Especially when your job is demanding and in jobs where you are forced to account for your time (i.e. a law firm and consulting firm).
While you don’t have to turn off your technology entirely, at some point we’ll all have to do better. We’ll have to consciously ignore it during times that matter. During your most important projects. In the time leading up to important meetings. During your most productive times. And of course when you’re with people whose attention you care about.
Of course, if you don’t do it now, life will force you. Friends will notice you are not engaged enough. Jobs will notice you’re not productive enough. You’ll come to find that you’re having a harder time focusing.
All things that have happened to me in the past.
And all things that can happen to anyone.
Every time you consider putting your hand up in class, hit the send button on email or hit the “order” button online, you never know how it’s going to turn out. Will your message be accepted? Will people judge your mistakes? Will they like the gift you send?
On the other hand, there’s also liberation in just sending it already. You can move on to the next task. Often times people don’t care anyways. And you can stop pouring over small details that don’t really matter. Or details that you can’t control.
A few weeks ago, I was sending a small but important gift to someone using an online retailer. I wanted to make a good impression so spent time making sure the message was good. After spending more time on the message (and figuring out the delivery time) than I’d ever like to admit, the website completely messed it up anyways. Not only did the message have typos but it also wasn’t even the version message I sent and it didn’t arrive until the next day. After all that time planning, I had no control over what happened. Fortunately, the mistakes didn’t make a difference in the end.
Likewise, I also recently sent an email at work. I spent over 30 minutes on an email that wasn’t even important but that went to someone who I needed to do well for. So after pouring over my message for over an hour and proudly hitting the send button on a well-crafted, thorough yet concise email, I came to find that the person never even read it. I was in shock.
More often than not, we don’t know how people are going to respond so we have to put our best foot forward. And I’m glad I did in both cases above. On the other hand, time is limited, our To-do lists today are longer than ever, and spending life hiding in the corner afraid of criticism is not the best of your time, no matter what your position at a company is. Especially when it’s a situation where it’s the thought (not the words) that counts.
Sometimes you just have to send it already. Whether send the email at work, submitting your application to a program, or sending a gift online . Because none of your effort matters until you hit send.
So what are you waiting for? Hit send. I just did.
No, I’m not talking about the Kellogg Section (e.g that was my section) although I loved all my poet classmates. Instead, I’m talking about people who have a way with words. People who can cut through the noise and articulate their vision so that other people can hear.
In times past this was much easier. Without all the noise, people were more focused, they had less distraction, and people could rally around them much easier.
But today’s world makes this more challenging. Today we have more soundbites to filter than ever. We also have more messages in our Inbox and more people in the world than ever before.
Meanwhile, we also see news channels that spend 95% of their time talking about the bad news. Websites using enticing headlines fighting for more eyeballs. And social media putting out more quantity than quality.
In today’s unfocused time, we need people who focus on the positive. People that can capture the imagination of their companies. People that can touch the hearts and minds of their communities. And people who can inspire the spirits of people to create change from the other side of the globe.
In every industry and organization imaginable, we need to have poets.
MLT’s Pre-MBA Conference Call 1.5 days ago was a huge success. More than 100 of you showed up and got to hear from one of the top education nonprofits I know. My apologies to everyone that technical problems kept me from being able to answer questions at the end. But I do have one alternative for you now.
Everyone on the call considering applying to MLT and to MBA programs, I’d love to answer your questions now. I’m starting a new segment here called #AskJeremy where you can Ask Me Anything on Tumblr or on my blog. I’ll answer anything I can help with related to careers, MBA and law school admissions or anything education-related that might come up. I don’t have all the answers but I do have my perspective and the perspective of people I know.
I want to respond via video so I can respond more quickly and concisely.
You can ask by sending in a video question or written question.
I’ll do my best to respond to anyone that writes, but from time to time may give priority to those from my own communities, including those from MLT and anyone interested in sharing your story with education matters should I get more questions than I can respond to quickly.
I look forward to hearing from you all.
The true story of Felix Baumgartner’s act of bravery can be seen everywhere you look online. Just this past weekend he became the first person ever to break the speed of sound with his record-breaking skydive from 23 miles.
Jumping from higher than 23 miles meant he had enough time to reach a speed of 833.9 miles per hour. That translates into 1,342 kilometres per hour. And that roughly translates into Mach 1.25, which is faster than the speed of sound.
Sounds unbelievable right? No one has ever traveled at that speed in clothing alone. And no person has ever jumped from so high before either.
Imagine the emotion. Imagine the thoughts going through his head. Imagine the fear. In the Washington Post, he noted, “I thought for a few seconds that I’d lose consciousness.” “I didn’t feel a sonic boom because I was so busy just trying to stabilize myself. ”
In spite of that daunting fear, Felix was audacious enough to try it anyways. Don’t get me wrong –of course he did the math and understood the risk. But he went against all fear and decided to jump anyways. And in the end, he became the first man to break the sound barrier and three other world records.
I’m not saying you should go out and beat his record tomorrow. Or come up with a new cliff diving record next week. But I am saying you should think about how to be audacious in your own field. Calculate the risks, do the math, and take big risks and see what happens.
Nothing truly great was ever done by someone that shied away from being brave. Instead being brave is how the Wright Brother got started and how airplanes were created. It’s how game winning shots were made. Billion dollar companies were formed. Insurmountable campaigns were won. And how the greatest stories of our time conceived. It’s the kind of bravery that billions of people on our planet have noticed over and over again.
In the meantime, maybe try to get Red Bull to sponsor your project too. Perhaps one of the best consumer marketing ideas in a very long time.