Business School

Leadership Development Class at Kellogg

Conventional wisdom in leadership development classes is that you should just about always discover and focus on your strengths instead of your weaknesses, assuming they are aligned with the goals of your organization. Because no matter how much you work on your weaknesses, chances are you’ll make more progress on the things you’re good at. Not everyone in the leadership community agrees, but in some ways it’s a reasonable approach. And it’s also something we’ve been talking a lot about in my leadership development class this quarter.
One interesting class that some people take at Kellogg is called Leadership Coaching. This course is a unique opportunity for students not only to discuss personal development goals and grow as a leader but also to do that with an experienced coach who facilitates the ten person class. As part of the class, we recently took a test created by Gallup, named Strengths Finder, version 2.0.
Similar to the Meyers Briggs test, the results are intended to tell you more about what you’re good at, so you can untap natural talents you never knew you had, or so you can optimize the ones you already knew about.  Even better is that the test serves as good reminder about how important it is to know your own strengths and weaknesses.
Below are the five strengths the test gave me. And CLICK HERE for a full list of possible strengths on the test.

1. Individualization
2. Achiever
3. Activator
4. Communication
5. WOO (Winning Others Over)

In the end, I enjoyed taking the test, though I probably enjoyed the Meyers Briggs test a little more. Likewise, I also enjoyed getting some of my “Strengths” though I was quite shocked that one or two of the other didn’t show up on the list.

But more important than the test you decide to take and more important than the actual strengths the test gives you, is that you start the process of thinking about them. Because self-reflection is probably the most important leadership trait you can have.

According to Kellogg Professor Harry Kraemer, “If you are not self-reflective, how can you truly know yourself?” writes Kraemer. “If you do not know yourself, how can you lead yourself? If you cannot lead yourself, how can you possibly lead others?”

Friday, May 6th, 2011 Business School, Leadership No Comments

Kellogg KWEST 2011 – Come to KWEST Ecuador!

Just about everyone knows that relationships are just as important as the academic part of business school. And that meeting a good group of friends early in the business school process can really set you up to have a fun year at Kellogg. In my view, the best way to do that at Kellogg is on the pre-orientation KWEST trip. And because I had such a blast taking part in the KWEST Mystery Trip last year, this year I’ve decided to lead one. So at the end of the summer, me and four of my best friends at Kellogg will be leading a trip of 20 incoming students to Ecuador.

In my opinion, Ecuador should be one of the most fun trips possible. As you can see from the description on the website, our trip is probably one of the more activity-driven trips you can go on. Not only does it give you a taste of the Andes but it also takes you to the Amazon and to a variety of other places in the region, including to a Shaman’s house in the jungle and on a hike that will eventually lead to white water rafting. We’re all very excited for the trip!

A few other noteworthy trips this year include Italy led by one of my good friends Diana Ricketti, France led by one of my good friends and JD-MBA classmates Kunal Gulati, Spain led by my roommate Greg Sherman and friend/JD-MBA classmate Divya Narendra, and Greece led by my other roommate Jon Greer.

But in the end, no matter which trip you ultimately go on, I’m sure each and every admit will have a complete blast. Because more important than just the adventurous hikes, breathtaking views, unique cultural experiences with locals in the region, is that you’ll also get to share all of those experiences with classmates, many that will become friends and close friends at Kellogg. Definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Still interested? If so, see below for the description I wrote on the trip. CLICK HERE for a link to the official Ecuador website.And CLICK HERE to see all the other KWEST trips.

Good luck!

Description of KWEST Ecuador

“Indescribable” is the first word that comes into mind when describing the high-impact jungle-driven trip we have in store for you in Ecuador. Join twenty incoming students from different “walks” of life eagerly awaiting the chance to “walk” through the Amazonian jungle and dive right into the Kellogg experience … literally. You’ll dive in the waterfalls of Ecuador with a beautiful backdrop of lush jungle. You’ll ride one of the highest aerial lifts in the world up one of Ecuador’s grassy-sloped volcanoes on the Andean Canyon. You’ll walk through the hot springs surrounding the paradise of the endemic Polylepis forest. And you’ll spend the day with a Shaman, learning how to hunt, how to protect yourself from jaguars, and how to survive in the jungle like Tarzan. And with the Tarzan and Jane juices flowing, you’ll swing all the way to the long awaited BIG REVEAL on Thursday, where you’ll not only reveal your backgrounds with your KWEST-mates but also revel with them in the jungle afterward, survivor style. But not to worry the trip isn’t all roughing it. To spice things up, we’ll also visit the nearest discoteca where you can drink some “jungle juice” and bust a few dance moves as well as let you take advantage of one of Ecuador’s finest spa treatments. And when it’s all said and done, you can say you were part of the most daring yet exciting tribe of students at Kellogg. Sound fun? Then Water-fall in love with Ecuador” is the trip for you!

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011 Business School 6 Comments

2011 Annual BTG Scholarship

Over the past few years, aspiring business school students have been applying in large numbers to top MBA programs. Not only do they bring strong work experience from highly regarded companies, but they also come from top academic institutions and get top scores on the  GMAT exam.  As a result, applicants today feel the pressure to submit a top application given the stiff competition, particularly with regard to the GMAT scores which have been trending upwards the past few years. Well one of the best MBA admissions resources I know, Beat The GMAT, has recently launched its annual GMAT scholarship program aimed to help people applying to school.

Given the attention that students give to the GMAT, I couldn’t help but take a second to pass along the information when my friend Eric from Beat The GMAT passed it along. He told me it was that time of year again. When people are gearing up for applications. When they are thinking about the GMAT. And they are about to get started applying to MBA programs.

The scholarship program came out last week. And it is looks to be a great opportunity for those who look forward to embarking on their MBA journeys.  See below for details about the program and below that for a link to the Beat The GMAT website.

For reference, the deadline to submit an application is May 24, 2011.

Best of luck if you decide to apply.

Blurb from Beat The GMAT webpage:

“Beat The GMAT is now accepting applications for the sixth annual Beat The GMAT Scholarship Competition, co-sponsored by GrockitKaplan,KnewtonManhattan GMATMaster GMATThe Princeton Review, and Veritas Prep.  The Beat The GMAT Scholarship is one of the largest GMAT scholarship programs in the world and our community has distributed over $185,000 in awards to date. This year we have seven scholarship packages for seven people, valued at over $8,000! We accept applications up until May 24, 2011 and winners will be announced on June 1, 2011.”

Click here for the website: http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/scholarship

Friday, April 29th, 2011 Admissions, Business School 4 Comments

Merger Article: Kellogg’s Global Perspective

Globalization has become a bit of a buzzword over the past decade. People use it about as much as students throw around the word “leadership” in business school and about as frequently as MBA admissions teams talk about “fit” when discussing MBA applications. But fortunately, many institutions today are taking globalization pretty seriously, including Kellogg, where students are offered a plethora of opportunities to engage in international opportunities.

I bring this up as about half of the first year class has just returned from GIM trips to begin the spring quarter here at Kellogg. My specific GIM Trip went to Kenya, while some of my other classmates headed off to China, Southeastern Asia, South Africa, Brazil, India, and a number of other countries. The thing that stood out to me about Kenya is that the trip is part of the Global Health Initiative, a project that brings together faculty and students from across Northwestern to address the unique challenges of global health.

Furthermore, many other students embarked on their own trips for spring break, some to enjoy a few weeks abroad with friends and others to visit friends and family that they left to come to Kellogg. This year students went to Israel, Patagonia, Chile, the UAE and other far-reaching locations.

In addition to GIM, Kellogg offers a variety of ways to take part in international activities. Kellogg’s international major is the most basic way to take advantage of its International offerings, where students not only have the opportunity to study accounting, finance, marketing, and other management topics in an international context but also the chance to get real-world experience abroad, through classes like Global Lab and Global Initiatives in Management courses, both of which recently got back from trips abroad for spring break.

In addition to these academic experiences, students have also taken part in non-classroom activities. While most incoming students participate in KWEST, there is ample opportunity to lead KWEST as a second-year student and participate in Kellogg Corps at the end of the summer.

In the midst of all of these opportunities, students are continually encouraged to demonstrate the ability to work across boundaries. They must absorb and build consensus amidst a variety of competing opinions and perspectives while still articulating their own views. They must also demonstrate the ability to work with and through other people. They are expected to have the capacity to confront a wide variety of issues.

Because more than just the trips themselves, it’s also about opening up your mind and understanding the importance of gaining new experiences and perspectives. Especially since many of us will work on diverse teams. And these multicultural teams have an obvious advantage – they experience new things and provide a different way of thinking.

So, the next question is, does Kellogg actually do that well? I suspect everyone might have their own opinions on that one. But what Kellogg does provide is the venue for students to engage. To take trips. Engage other students. Learn different languages. Take a variety of classes. And travel with people who know the country. And Kellogg has even upped their game recently. In a recent press release, Kellogg announced the following:

“On the global front, we continue to review all of our international programs, and I am pleased to welcome Paul Christensen to the Office of the Dean in the newly-created role of Associate Dean for Global Programs.” He will be in charge of tracking our global activities (including both teaching and research), managing our EMBA partnerships, and helping us to craft our global strategy.”

I’m glad Kellogg recognizes how important globalization really is. Because in the end, organizations that understand the value of globalization are the ones that will not only change their own industries but also change the world.

This post above represents a recent article I wrote an article for Kellogg’s newspaper, the Merger.

 

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011 Business School, Diversity 2 Comments

Global Initiatives in Management (GIM) Kenya Safari Short Recap

This past spring break, 32 Kellogg students traveled to Kenya as part of the Global Immersion in Management (GIM) class and the Global Heath Initiative (GHI) at the Kellogg School of Management. During this two week trip, me and my classmates traveled to Nairobi, Masai Mara and Kisumu. We studied the economy and learned how health care is delivered in Kenya. And we also had the once in a lifetime opportunity to go on a Safari over the weekend..

Before making it to Kenya, we all wondered what it would be like to see a safari, as the vast majority of us had never had the experience before.  Prior to arriving, most of us didn’t really have a clue that it would be so much fun, not to mention turn out to be one of the best parts of the GIM trip.

The safari began in from the very minute we landed in Masai Mara, about half way through the trip. And because we took private planes right to the middle of the safari land, upon our arrival, we were immediately excited to see everything the safari had to offer,  especially consider the warm weather, which was a stark contrast to the Chicago weather.

On our trip we saw a variety of animals and wildlife.  Among others, animals such as giraffes, monkeys, cheetahs, and elephants.  But from the first day, the lions stole the show. Not just because they were the most interesting animals but also because they were literally just a few feet from the vans. Further, because they had just had new baby cubs, we saw families sitting together just feet away from the driving path.

On the second day, we saw lions that had just made a kill. While generally this might sound a bit gruesome, it’s not necessarily a unique circumstance, as the animals have to find food in the wild. However, it is unique to see on a safari, so to actually see the kill and feasting first hand was great.

 

We also saw lots of elephants on the trip. On one of the earlier days we saw elephants close up as they were crossing the street. This scene was great, because we were so close to them, maybe 20 feet away. And it was especially interesting to watch, because the mother elephant crossed first in order to protect the baby elephant. As she crossed, I remember precisely the moment that she looked at the van, where we could tell that she was thinking about protecting her newborn, especially as her ears looked like they had begun to flap. And for just a minute we didn’t know if we were in trouble or not. But fortunately, she continued back to cross the road, while we continued to watch.

Toward the end of the trip, we also went to an elephant nursery, where we learned so much more about the elephants in Kenya and specifically about elephants that had been injured or abandoned and how they were brought to the nursery.  It was fun to watch all of them play together in front of the larger crowd of people, and while the attendees at the nursery (in green above) taught us more about the elephants.

What I found most interesting about the safari was that each day we went out we saw lots of animals. Contrary to the popular belief that most trips have one good outing, maybe two, for us all the trips were all full of fun and lively animals.  And as a result, the safari was a lot of fun.

Thanks Kellogg, and thanks student organizers for the cool opportunity! Hopefully we’ll have the chance to do it again in the near future.

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011 Business School 3 Comments

One Difference Between Business and Law School

Business school and law school are different – kind of like the left side of your brain is different from the right side. And not just because my classes are different and the topics discussed in the classrooms are different but also because my classmates are different and the flow of the conversation in the classroom are very different.  As the year continues to go by, that fact continues to become more and more evident.

If you are in a business school class, more often than not, numbers are king. You have to think about the financials. Build out the business plan. And think about quantitatively-proven strategies to help you execute that business plan.  Likewise, the cases are often about getting the right answer. So even though all the other aspects of the case are important, getting the right answer is usually most important, especially in classes like finance and accounting.

On the other hand, law school is more about the reasoning behind the answer. So we read hundreds of pages of cases. Discuss those cases in class. And think a lot about what a reasonable person would do in a similar situation. So even if arguments have been made in the past, we are also asked to formulate our own arguments and think about how to disprove the counterarguments. And not just in written form but also publicly, because most professors use the Socratic Method in class.

Like I mentioned in my last post, our arguments have to be good. Because the professors will probe, and because we have to make our arguments in front of lots of people whose opinions we care about, at least during our first year.  So you have to put in the work to be ready.

On the other hand, business school often has less work. Because once you come up with the answer, then you can be done.  Likewise working in teams often helps the flow of the discussion enormously. The exception might be in a very technical subject, and you have to do a lot of work just to learn some of the basics.

Upon reflection, I’m glad I am in the JD-MBA program. The program gives me a chance to mix it up a little. Build different skill sets. Meet different types of people. Indulge in different learning styles. And activate both my left brain and right brain.

What about you? Are you considering a JD-MBA program? If not, should you be?

Friday, April 22nd, 2011 Business School, Law School No Comments

One Difference Between Case Classes and Lectures

If you are in a lecture-based class, for the most part you can sit back and listen. Every now and then you have to chime in and prove you read the book, but generally it doesn’t take much effort. On the other hand, case based classes are different. Especially with more assertive professors. Not only do you have to read the case more thoroughly, but you also have to think about the nuances of the case and consider a wider range of questions the professor might ask you. Well, just today, I went to my case based class and for just a quick second, I forgot that difference.

Just today, I went to my case based class called Entrepreneurial Finance. Entrepreneurial Finance, taught by Professor Steven Rogers, is one class I’ve been excited to take all year now. Not only does it go for a lot of points but it also usually gets great reviews.

The class is known to be intense during the actual class time, meaning that the class moves quickly and the professor does a lot of cold calling.  As one student recently told me, “it’s the one class you have to ALWAYS be prepared for.”  That’s because the professor’s style is to call on a lot of people.  To question their responses. Uncover their assumptions. And make them defend their arguments .. often with numbers.

As students, our job is to to take a stance. To make an argument – hopefully one that we believe in. Leverage data to support our arguments. And if possible persuade the masses, which is no easy feat in a class of 104 second year students that all read and analyzed the case differently

So upon reflection, it often seems like cases aren’t only about the decision, but also about the argument. How you frame your thoughts. How you communicate the message. And how to show the professor you’ve given a well thought-out response. Especially since participation is 50% of your grade in this class.

For just for a few hours, I forgot the importance of making a good argument. And I was not able to make one in class today. And even the arguments I did try to make, I couldn’t back them up with numbers, since I didn’t do the calculations before hand. When the professor asked, I fessed up, and the professor was sure to let me know that I should have done the work, in front of the entire class, not to mention in front of a lady classmate, who I may have been trying to impress recently!

In the end, the class reinforced the idea that cases and lectures are different.

In a lecture, you can prepare before class or after class. So long as you catch some of the salient points before the the next lecture, you’ll be fine.

In a case-based class, you have to prepare before class. Sure you can go under the radar once, maybe even twice. But at some point it will catch up to you. And by not preparing once, and getting called on during that one class, it could seem like you never come prepared at all.

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011 Business School 1 Comment

Bollywood Bash Performance Last Night (Video of Our Dance)

Just last night, only a few weeks after deciding to take part in this year’s event, I had the special privilege of joining team Bhangra to perform at 2011 2011 Bollywood Bash. In addition to making some new friends at Kellogg and learning lots of new dance moves with the team, I also had the thrill of performing in front of hundreds of people, as last night everyone gathered at Kellogg last night to watch the 2011 Bollywood Bash dance performances.

It feels like we just started practicing days ago, but upon reflection it’s been about two weeks now. It’s funny, how when you’re having good time doing something, time flies. And before we all knew it, the two weeks of practice flew by and it was time to perform.

Fortunately the event was a lot of fun. The crowd was full of energy. All the dances and other performances were fantastic. And the celebrations after the actual event were fun. But as you might imagine, I have a particular affinity towards my team’s dance. As such, I thought I’d post the video for those who might be interested in watching. See the video below for the actual performance. Note that I’m having a bit of trouble with my HTML so you’ll have to scroll down a bit to see the video.

Enjoy!

 

Sunday, April 17th, 2011 Business School, Diversity No Comments

Performing Bhangra at the 2011 Kellogg Bollywood Bash (Video of Our Rehersal)

On Saturday evening, about ten classmates and I will perform together at the Bollywood Bash during the Kellogg Preview Weekend. Bollywood Bash is one of the most fun events at Kellogg. The show takes place tomorrow Saturday, April 16th and will consist of various dancing, singing and video performances to demonstrate Indian culture. And afterwards there will be a fun celebration where everyone can join up after the great performances.

In my opinion, this is going to be one of the best events of the year. It’s not only a chance for anyone with interest in Indian culture to learn more about the culture but also a chance to participate by singing along, taking part in a dance, and celebrating after the event.

Personally, I decided to take part in one of the dances this year. I am doing the Bhangra with a phenomenal group of first and second year students. And as it turns out, our group is pretty good. After auditions two days ago, we found out that we performed as well as any other team so we were slotted in the last dance of the night; otherwise known as the GRAND FINALE.

If you’re a student, I hope to see you at the event at Jacobs tomorrow.  For a sneak peak at one of our practices earlier in the year, check out the video of my team below.

Friday, April 15th, 2011 Business School, Diversity 1 Comment

Kellogg School of Management LipDub 2011

After a grueling winter quarter at Kellogg, where we spent most of our time recruiting and in meetings trying to finish group assignments, the spring quarter at Kellogg has been quite a bit of  fun. Not only are more people done searching for jobs, but they are also ready to get out and have a good time again. Well just last weekend, I joined more than 100 of my closest friends and classmates as we had a good time helping to shoot Kellogg’s first ever LipDub video.

In retrospect, the video experience may turn out to be one of the most interesting things of the year.  The video was created by my good Josh Eddy, who I originally met on KWEST Mystery Trip prior to Kellogg. Josh plays the drums for the school band here at Kellogg. But this time he decided to use his creative and musical skills not just for musical entertainment, but instead to put a LipDub video together.

So Josh created the idea, assembled a team of creative students to be directors, brought a large number of Kellogg students to play in the video, and over the course of a few weeks organized Kellogg’s first ever LipDub, which took place right inside of Jacobs.

Click here to see the video.

Click here to see Josh’s profile on LinkedIn.

Click here to learn more about what  LipDub is.

Also, note that I have a couple of cameos at:

  1. 23 – 31 seconds
  2. 1:52 – 1:58 (in background)
  3. 3:28 – 3:37

In all the scenes, I am playing the lumberjack in the red shirt.

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Enjoy the video!

 

Thursday, April 14th, 2011 Business School 4 Comments

Running for Kellogg’s Wine Club Leadership Team

You’ve all heard the saying before. That a good team working together can accomplish a lot more than the sum of its individual capabilities. And that leadership is about facilitating teamwork to achieve common objectives. Well that saying is especially relevant for us now at Kellogg, as over the past few weeks, students have been lobbying for leadership positions for a number of different clubs on campus. And it’s especially relevant for one of my teams now, as we have recently decided to run for Kellogg’s Cork and Screw Club.

Over the past few weeks at Kellogg, many of the school’s organizations began running elections to be on the board of various student organizations. Emails are floating around saying – Be on the board of this club, become the president of that club, or join our new committee.  These are the slogans that clubs send out, hoping to find a few interested and over-ambitious students to take charge in the club next year.

Likewise, some students are also voraciously seeking out leadership positions – to get that one chance to meet someone at a conference and get that one line on their resume. But I’m not surprised by the fact. After all, student here have been leading organizations for years. And not only academic clubs but also professional clubs and associations that have major impact.

On the other hand, there are also those who are seeking clubs that are more social in nature than professional. These are clubs where being a “leader” is valued mostly because its a lot of fun. They are clubs that not only have a lot of fun together but also provides a fun environment for the general Kellogg community.

As you probably suspect, my slate fall into the second category, as the Cork & Screw Club is one of the more fun club environments at Kellogg.  Which makes sense, as it’s Kellogg’s singular club that is based on new wines coupled with great food and conversation. In my view, being part of the club is a no-brainer, and we’ve already got a great list of events that we’re considering for next year.

Having personally held positions on a number of professional clubs this year, I’m thrilled to spend more time with a social one like Cork and Screw. And fortunately, I’m running with a great slate of classmates and friends.

 

In the end, I hope that our slate wins. But either way, we look forward to sharing lots of wine together in the future, and to sharing wine with whoever the winning slate might be.

To my running mates – I look forward to sharing lots of wine with you in the future.

To the current leadership team – Good luck with the selection process!

And to my readers – Stay tuned to see how things turn out!

 

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011 Business School, Careers, Diversity 2 Comments

Applicant Question: Should I Take The LSAT When Applying to the JD-MBA Program?

I recently received a question about Northwestern’s JD-MBA program. The question comes from a potential applicant that has asked me whether he should consider taking the LSAT as part of the application process. I’ve received similar questions on various occasions in times past, so wanted to include the question here on my site, so readers could have a bit more information on how to think about the topic.

See below for the reader’s question and below that for my response.

From: (name)

Subject: LSAT

Message Body:

Hey Jeremy,

I know that Northwestern’s JD-MBA program doesn’t require the LSAT on its app, is there an unspoken expectation? From what you have seen, does it help or hurt to put an LSAT score on the app?  I haven’t taken the LSAT; is it advisable that I do to potentially strengthen my candidacy? Does the admission board view the lack of an LSAT score as a detriment? Not sure how you reply back to people, but you can email me if you’d like.

Thanks, keep up the great work.

(name)

This mail is sent via contact form on www.JEREMYCWILCOM.COM

Hi (name)

Thanks so much for reading my site and for writing in.  And sorry for the late response.  Here below is a quick answer to your question.

You are correct that Northwestern’s JD-MBA program doesn’t require the LSAT on as part of your application submission. And as such, a large number of JD-MBA applicants do not take the LSAT. The specific number of those who actually take it changes from year to year, but my hunch is that more people apply without taking the LSAT than those who apply after taking the test, perhaps significantly more.

It’s likely that this is why many people who apply to the NU JD-MBA program are considering the dual program along with other MBA programs, rather than along with other JD and JD-MBA programs. To that end, you’d be in good company if you decided not to take the LSAT exam, at least in terms of the numbers.

In terms of the score, there’s no question that a good LSAT will stand out from the other applicants and enhance your application to the dual program. Not only does a good score show that you put the time and effort to submit a strong application but it also shows that you care specifically about law school by taking the exam, since it’d be easy to just skip over.  Likewise, doing well can also prove that you are a competitive law school applicant, which would really stand out given that most JD-MBA applicants skew a bit more toward the business side of things.

On the other hand, it is always possible that you may not do as well as you hoped on the LSAT. After all, the exam is quite difficult and some people take it multiple times and still never achieve the score they were targeting. In that case, the tradeoff is that you’ll be spending time and money taking the LSAT even though the result may not be perfect. But not getting the LSAT shouldn’t be a big knock against you given the exam isn’t required. So in the end, the decision may ultimately hinge on how important your time is right now, and on if it’s worth putting a lot of that time into studying for the exam rather than strengthening other areas of your application.

Good luck in your decision and let me know if you have any follow up  questions.

Jeremy C.

 

Friday, April 8th, 2011 Admissions, Business School 3 Comments

JD-MBA Speaker Series – Nicholas D. Chabraja Former CEO General Dynamics

There’s a movement taking place in the business and legal worlds. As a senior executive at a public company today, it’s just about impossible to escape complex legal issues. Similarly, if you’re a leading corporate lawyer, you consistently run into business issues, not only at your firm but also at the firms of your clients. The next question then, is obvious. Is it possible to have a career that combines both business and law. And if so, how can you do it? Well, the Northwestern JD-MBA program seeks to answer that exact question. As today the program sponsored a talk by Nichlas D. Chabraja to talk about the intersection of business and law.

Kudos to Northwestern’s JD-MBA program for once again taking the lead in facilitating conversations with both the business school and law school.  Over the past few years, there has been a lot more momentum with regards to the collaboration of the business and legal industries. And Kellogg has stayed well ahead of that trend.

Last year, Northwestern Announced the first JD-MBA Professorship, which not only came with $3MM funding made in honor of General Dynamics recently retired CEO, Nichlas D. Chabraja, who as Northwestern law alum. This year, Mr. Chabraja agreed to join us on campus as today he will give his ideas about the intersection of business and law in the future.

See below for the ad placed in the halls at Kellogg.

Northwestern JD-MBA Association
presents a discussion with
Nicholas D. Chabraja
Retired Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
General Dynamics Corporation

The Northwestern JD-MBA Association is pleased to host a discussion with Nicholas D. Chabraja, retired Chairman and CEO of General Dynamics Corporation. A graduate of Northwestern University (WCAS ’64, Law ’67), Mr. Chabraja began his career at Jenner & Block before joining General Dynamics as its General Counsel in 1993. After four years in that role, he became Chairman and CEO and served in the position until his retirement in 2009. Mr. Chabraja’s training as an attorney and his success in running General Dynamics make him uniquely suited to discuss the continued convergence of the legal and business worlds. During his tenure as CEO, Mr. Chabraja utilized a keen understanding of both disciplines in order to transform the company and better align it with the evolving needs of militaries around the world. As a result of these efforts, sales increased from $4 billion in 1997 to $32 billion in 2009, with General Dynamics most recently moving up to #69 on the Fortune 500 ranking. We hope that you’ll be able to join us for this insightful event.

Monday, April 4, 2011, 5:15 p.m.

Jacobs Center – G40

This event is free and open to the public.
Reservations are not required. Students may register at Campus Groups.
Monday, April 4th, 2011 Business School, Careers, Law School No Comments

Spring Quarter Classes

It takes a lot of time and energy to do well at Kellogg, so most people expend a lot of effort to ensure they choose the right classes. They configure and reconfigure their schedules. They ask friends what classes they are taking. They look at professor ratings from prior years. And they pick classes that not only help them get certain majors, but ones the seem interesting and that might give you certain skills that could be useful professionally.

Typically during the first week, students think a lot about this whole process. More time than you might think actually. They attend more classes than they’re actually registered for. They add and drop a number of classes in the online system. And they strategize with classmates to pick the classes that will best set them up for success.

Personally, I’ve also spent a lot of time thinking about the classes I am taking. The tricky part is that as a JD-MBA, I have slightly less time at Kellogg, so I want to get as many classes in this year as possible.  On the other hand, my classmates have all of next year to take courses they might be interested in, so they have a bit more room for error, and don’t necessarily have to max out their schedules.

Well, without further adue, below are the courses that I am taking this quarter with a brief reason about why I am taking them. In general, my goal was to take as broad a mix of classes across a number of different departments. Similarly, I also chose classes that were more on the end of “interesting” than on the skills end. And finally, I also picked classes that would help me finish up a couple of majors here at Kellogg.

Entrepreneurial Finance:Taught by the renowned Professor Rogers, this class is supposed to be one of the 1 or 2 best classes at Kellogg.

Leadership Coaching: Although this class doesn’t give you credit toward graduation, it gets very good reviews every year and topically is very interesting.

Strategy in Non Market Environments: I am taking this class to help me finish the Social Enterprise (SEEK) major. Fortunately, it seems like the class is going to be very interesting too.

Leading A Sports Entity: Co-taught by James Phillips, Northwestern’s Athletic Director and John McDonough, President of the Chicago Blackhawks, this is one of Kellogg’s most high profile classes this quarter.

Operations Management: This is my last core class ever at Kellogg./

Managing Interactive Media: This class is supposed to have a good list of speakers from top media and technology companies and will also help me to finish the Media Management major.

In the end, I have a full course load, but I also have pretty good reasons for taking all the classes. Stay tuned for more information on how the classes progress as the quarter goes on.

Thursday, March 31st, 2011 Business School, Careers 1 Comment

Spring Quarter is Finally Here

Winter quarter is traditionally regarded as the hardest term at Kellogg. Not only is it cold, rainy and snowing a significant amount of the time, but you’re also still taking core classes and in the midst of their first year job search. Further, students taking the Kellogg Global Immersion in Management class don’t get a real spring break. Instead they take winter quarter final exams early and straight out to another country to take part in a research project until the spring quarter begins two weeks later.

After a long winter quarter, all of us finally made it to spring quarter. “Thank goodness Spring quarter is here” is what everyone keeps telling themselves. The sun is starting to come out more often. We get to take more elective classes than we had during the first two quarters combined. And we’re closer to our summer internships, which also means closer to getting a pay check again.

But even for those without jobs yet, spring quarter should still be much more relaxing for their search. Because even though the timing is a little tighter to get a job now, the formal process is over, so the search now is less competitive, in the traditional sense. Likewise, many of the companies people are most interested in, such as starts-ups, will soon come to campus since they usually start hiring a little closer to the summer.

In the end, the spring quarter should give students a chance to let lose again and enjoy their time as students. Personally, I definitely plan to enjoy this quarter. Conceptually I plan to take a more fun workload than I did last quarter. Likewise, I also plan to take courses with papers rather than in class exams, and hope to frontload a lot of the work, since I plan to begin working in May rather than after finals. And I hope to spend a lot more time with friends and on working on side projects than I did in the fall.

Stay tuned to hear more about how spring quarter progresses.

Monday, March 28th, 2011 Business School 2 Comments

Last Day in Kenya

After two weeks of a lot of hard work, a lot of fun, and meeting lots of new friends, my time in Kenya is finally coming to an end, as tonight we will be jetsetting back toward the US to start spring classes on Monday. Given the timing, there is only one question that remains. What should I do today before we leave? Especially since today is a free day.

There are two ways to think about the question.

One way to go about the day is to do little, relax. Ideas for that would be relaxing by the state of the art pool, getting packed early, and hanging out with classmates who choose to do the same.

On the other hand, I can also try to max out my schedule today. Ideas for that include going to see baby elephants, going to another market to negotiate with local Kenyans, walking around the city and eating at a traditional Kenyan restaurant.

I know what you’re thinking? That’s an easy question. Of course you’d want to get out and see more on your last day. But it’s not quite that easy,  given we’ve been scrambling for two weeks, given a few of us stayed out in the city the entire night last night, given that all of us have been working enormously hard on the project for the past month, and given we haven’t had any relax time, many people are considering the first option.

On the other hand, I am going to choose the second option. After all, I’ve already written this blog post, gone to the gym, and had breakfast, and sent a few emails by 700am, all after staying up all night last night to celebrate my last night in Kenya with friends.

In today’s world, where business is becoming increasingly more interconnected, and increasingly relies not only on business skills but also on understanding the nuances of different cultures, getting out and getting experience in a foreign country is priceless.

I look forward to getting out today, and sharing a few more stories with you about the expeirence over the upcoming weeks.

Stay tuned.

 

 

Saturday, March 26th, 2011 Business School No Comments

Working Smarter

One thing I learned in law school is that to be successful sometimes you have to outwork the competition. Start preparing sooner. Pull longer hours.  And study harder than everyone else in your class. However,if the only reason that you’re winning is because you’re winning more hours, are you actually winning in the end, given the tradeoff of time and other opportunity costs?  That’s one questions that’s been on my mind a lot these days, especially here in business school.

Personally I tend to pull longer hours than most people I know. On one hand, I don’t have a background in finance or quantitative subjects like many of my classmates at Kellogg do. Likewise, I also tend to take part in a pretty large number of activities, probably more than average, so I often have a pretty large number of things on my plate.

I’ve recently come to realize that one problem with relying on time is that it doesn’t scale very well. That means that working 20 hours a day at work will never be twice as good as working 14 a day. Similarly, at some point, you can’t actually work longer hours so there’s a cap to your ability.

On the other hand, one thing business school teaches you is to work smarter. Business school gives you less time, more options, more distractions, and more indecision than many of us have ever had before. And often you’re in a position where prohibited from working more hours on some projects but still have to get it done.

Over the past few years, Ive come to find that working smarter, and finding scale are the most critical things to learn because it teaches you a new and better way of competing.  And if you can improve the way you compete, and still work harder than the rest, you might just be unstoppable in your new ventures.

Friday, March 25th, 2011 Business School, Careers No Comments

Applicant Question: Career Changing and Kellogg Class Size

The MBA admissions process is difficult to navigate. Not only does it take a lot of work to get admitted but it’s also enormously unpredictable. As a result, a lot of people get started doing research early to get a head start on putting together a quality application. They do their best to get good scores and write great essays, and they  also do a lot of research beforehand to find a school that’s the perfect fit. With that in mind, I recently received an email from one of my readers about my experience at Kellogg as she is gearing up to apply to business school next fall.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve gotten a pretty large number of questions about interviews from aspiring MBA and JD-MBA applicants. Given the applicant pool for top MBA programs is highly competitive, filled with applicants applying with perfect GPAs and GMAT scores, this year, it seems as though a lot of applicants are ahead of the game.

This reader asked me two specific questions. One in regards to career changing while at Kellogg. And the other with regards to the culture at Kellogg, given the size of the school.

See below for the question and below that for my response.

Jeremy,

Thank you so much for taking some time out of your schedule to speak to us and answer questions during the student panel at the MLT Kick off.

As I mentioned, I am interested in transitioning from the oil and gas (energy) industry to the health care industry. Can you provide any insight as to the challenges of going through a career change during the MBA process?

Also, more specifically to Kellogg, I am really interested in applying. However, I am concerned about the large class size and whether it hinders a close knit community feel between the students. Any thoughts on the culture at Kellogg and your experience in general? I’ve read a lot about the reasons to go to Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern, what are some of the reasons why someone should not go there?

Thanks again for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.

(name)

—-

Hi (name)

Great to hear from you. And sorry its taken a few days to get back – we’ve been taking final exams all this week. That said, I’m glad I was able to make it out to Charlottesville to speak to the group.  Here are a couple of quick responses to your questions.

One, career change is hard but it is doable. I mentioned this in the session a few times – that changing careers in school is not a walk in the park. Why? Because there are usually fewer spots available than there are people going after the spots. So if two people with similar credentials are applying for the same roles, the one with the better background, more relevant story, and more applicable skills might have a bit of a better shot at getting the job offer.
However, fortunately there is good news too. One is that you get two tries to find your perfect role since you can recruit both in the summer, and then again for a full time job in your second year.  Second is that the career change you mentioned is seemed pretty aligned with some of your skills so you’ll definitely have a head start on people doing a pure change.  Likewise, if you know exactly what it is you want to do ahead of time, the process is usually much easier, especially if its a job in industry rather than services.
So while the consulting/banking route might be saturated with lots of people and have a somewhat ambiguous process that doesn’t always reward those who do the most research, the healthcare industry is more specific and you can specific knowledge to really stand out. And finally, another thing to note is that most people go to business school to do some sort of career change. And everyone comes out with a good job. You just have to work hard to make sure you’re successful.
Two, you’re absolutely right. Kellogg is definitely bigger than some of the other schools you might be considering – Berkeley, Stanford, Yale, Duke, Tuck, and Johnson to name a few.  On the other hand, Kellogg is also smaller than some of its peer schools – HBS, Wharton.  To that end, I’m of the opinion that picking the right class size for a school really comes down to personal preference, since there are pros and cons to the different classes sizes.
The advantage of a smaller class size is obvious – you get to know a majority of the students there, on average you get to know students a little better than you otherwise would, and often times the community and alumni base is more close knit. On the other hand, a big class size also has its advantages. Big classes usually translate into having more alumni taking part in more activities, more access to professional resources, more on campus activities, and more classes offered by the school.  So in the end, I think it’s a pretty personal decision. Personally, I’m glad I chose big. And even though Kellogg is about 600 students per class, I’ve still developed a good number of close friends.
Anyhow, I hope this information is helpful. My contact info is below in this email. Please do not hesitate to keep in touch as you navigate the admissions process. Also, feel free to reach out if you make it out to visit Kellogg at any point. Happy to help however I can.
All best,
Jeremy
Thursday, March 24th, 2011 Admissions, Business School No Comments

Congratulations Kellogg Class of 2013 MBA Admits

Waiting for a business school admissions decision can feel like one of the hardest things in the world.  Not only do you not know whether you’ll get in or not, but you also don’t know when they’re actually going to contact you, at least not for most schools. Well, after weeks of waiting patiently, and after months of applying to schools all across the country, Kellogg applicants have finally been receiving their admissions decisions this month. And over the past two days, a couple of my good friends have recently been admitted.  So to the members of Kellogg’s Class of 2013, congratulations on your acceptance!

Hi everyone, I’m writing here just to send a quick congratulations to everyone who has been accepted so far.  For those of you who are seriously considering Kellogg, you should definitely make sure you come to Day at Kellogg (DAK) to see the campus and meet your potential classmates before making your final decision.

As an applicant I went to Kellogg’s DAK weekend and had a blast. Likewise, I also went to DAK 1 earlier this year (click here to see my post on DAK 1) to meet the new crop of admits, and plan to come out for DAK 2 this year to meet some of the new ones. Hopefully, I’ll see you there for the weekend.

Best of luck to everyone else still waiting out admissions decisions.

And best of luck to my friend from Kenya who is planning to apply in round three.

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011 Admissions, Business School 2 Comments

Power of Working Together

One hundred people doing some the same thing at the same time can at times be more powerful than a thousand people doing it separately. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking – that math doesn’t sound right.  I agree. It doesn’t sound right to me either. But recently, I’ve come to find that sometimes there’s tremendous power not only in working together, but also in working together at exactly the same time.

For example, take a look at the picture above. Imagine 100 people taking time during the year to turn the levers but everyone coming on different days during the year. It’s possible, even likely, that you’d never have more than a couple of hands turning at the same time which is not nearly enough to make the machine move.  After all, the picture has five hands in it now. On the other hand, imagine you only have ten hands but all of them come together at the exact same time to turn the levers. In that case, coordination gives you enough power to make sure the machine is really moving.

One practical way this lesson has become evident to me is through our GIM trip, where 32 of us have come together to work on helping the Global Health Initiative commercialize an aids device in Kenya.  Not only are 32 of us all working on the Global Health Initiative Project, but we’re also working on the same general issues during the same two weeks.

Despite being placed in different groups with different stakeholders – hospitals, the government, clinics, distribution – everyone has still been working very closely together. Working together means having breakfast together every morning, having mini-team meetings after breakfast, scheduling meetings with the same agencies in Kenya, discussing the same topics with medical and government services employees in Kenya, meeting as a big group during the evening to share our stories and contacts, and getting together after that to wind down in the evening.

There is an old proverb that says, “If everyone in your weekly meeting drops a pencil at precisely the same time, everyone will notice.”  Well, when 32 of us entered the Nairobi airport with our Global Health Initiatives sign last week, I suspect a few people noticed. Likewise, when multiple teams were stopping by the same office in the  Kisumu Provincial Building today and met with some of the same people in some of the same offices, people noticed then too. I know they did because I got a few follow up emails from the agency the next day.

Today, the internet makes it easier than ever before to spread ideas and get people on board.

Well, what if everyone uses the Internet to bring even more people together to solve one of the world’s biggest problems, like poverty, inequality, and the recession.  Will anyone notice that?

Notice or not, I’ve learned that we’re all much better off working together at the same time if we want to maximize our impact.

Monday, March 21st, 2011 Business School 2 Comments

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Jeremy C Wilson is a JD-MBA alumni using his site to share information on education, the social enterprise revolution, entrepreneurship, and doing things differently. Feel free to send along questions or comments as you read.

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The contents of this blog are mine personally and do not reflect the views or position of Kellogg, Northwestern Law, the JD-MBA program, or any firm that I work for. I only offer my own perspective on all issues.
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