Cristo Rey High School and the First Board Meeting of The Year

Last week, I had the great privilege of attending my first Board Meeting as a member of the Cristo Rey High School board of directors.  And even though I had to travel from Evanston all the way to the south side of Chicago, it was definitely worth the trip. Not only did I get a chance to see a high-powered charter school in person but I also got the chance to meet a very powerful board team and watch members of the Cristo Rey staff in action. And at the meeting, we learned a number of new things about the school and discussed the school’s plan for success in the future.

At long last, months after figuring out that I’d be sitting on Cristo Rey’s board through the Kellogg Board Fellows program, I finally attending my first meeting with Cristo Rey. And I’m quite thrilled with how everything went. The other new members were not only pretty interesting group but also had very impressive backgrounds. On one side of me was a partner from the Boston Consulting Group. Ironically, I had met him during the MBA recruiting process a year or two back, and he recognized me the moment he walked into the room. To his right was a partner at the prestigious Chicago law firm Winston and Strawn. On my other side sat an entrepreneur. And across the table was none other than Chris Perry. In addition to being on the Executive Committee of Loyola Academy, Chris currently serves as chairman of the Board for Cristo Rey.

ONe takeaway after seeing the diverse set of board members is that social impact can come from many different areas. Not only from high paying roles like consulting and corporate law but also roles in the entrepreneurship and not for profit spaces.  Another takeaway was the ability to have impact from both the law side and business side. That both can play a role in having impact and helping to push great organizations forward to do things that they couldn’t have done themselves.

As I mentioned, this specific meeting was an introduction to the organization for incoming board members. In the meeting we discussed a large number of important topics. First we talked about the mission of the organization and the staff highlighted what it was that the organization stood for. Formally, the school’s mission statement from the website is: “Cristo Rey Jesuit High School offers a Catholic college preparatory education for the immigrant families of Chicago’s near southwest side.”

We also talked about the kids and how the goal was to change their lives and improve their chances of success not only academically but also professionally.  And one way the school does that is by having skill building programs that set them up to do well in their work placements. Next, we talked about the admissions and financial process and what that looked like over the past few years.

Toward the end of the meeting, we discussed a few of the governance issues at play. We learned about the rest of the board members and committees and what those committees will do this year. Personally, I’ll be spending time on either the Governance committee or the Programs Committee, either or which whould be a pretty interesting experience.

Likewise, we talked about the composition of the board, and the goal to have the board be more reflective of the actual student body at Cristo Rey. Over the long run, the school wants more hispanic women for positions on the board but finding them is harder given the demographic of its usual board members.

And finally, we ended the meeting by looking at the financial health of the school. And I must say, the numbers sure did speak for themselves. We learned that the organization has been immensely healthy over the past years.  That not only was the budget well-run but also that donors were continuing to give and employers were continuing to work with Cristo Rey even in the current economic malaise. It was actually pretty impressive.

In the end, it was clear that the organization had the talent and resources to keep having impact. It was also clear that the new members were committed and excited to get started in the new academic year.  I look forward to working with the group and hopefully playing a part in the continued success of the students over the upcoming months.

Thanks Kellogg for the great opportunity to take the role as part of the Kellogg Board Fellows program.

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011 Business School, Diversity, Education 1 Comment

Dean Daniel B. Rodriguez to Visit Northwestern Law on Wednesday

Over the past year, [former] Dean Van Zandt’s resignation as Dean of Northwestern Law School has sparked a lot of discussion regarding his achievements, his vision, and his plans for the future at The New School. And he probably deserves the attention. After all, he is the guy who not only transformed the world of law school programming, but also the one who came up with the modern JD-MBA program.  But today, new Dean Daniel Rodriguez is the one at Northwestern that’s starting to get most of the attention. And on Wednesday that attention will finally result in a visit here at Northwestern.

This Wednesday, new Northwestern Law Dean Daniel Rodriguez will finally be making an appearance at Northwestern Law.  The purpose of his visit is to address the student body in advance of becoming the full time Dean this winter.

The event is intended for the entire student body and faculty members takes place in just a few days on Wednesday, August 31, at 4 p.m. His visit will serve as a formal introduction to the Law School community where he will give a talk in Thorne Auditorium and then meet some of the students in the Atrium.

In advance of that, he recently sent a letter to the student body discussing Northwestern and his transition. See below for the letter.

To:        The Northwestern Law Community


From:    Dan Rodriguez


Re:        A Note to the Northwestern Law Community


It is with great enthusiasm, tempered with appropriate humility, that I have accepted the honor of becoming Northwestern University School of Law’s next dean, effective at the beginning of the spring semester.  Thanks are due to a great many members of this wonderful law school community, and I hope to be able to give these thanks in person over the course of the coming academic year.  More importantly, I hope to earn this trust with my hard work and good service over the course of my deanship.

I am very clear that this is a trust in every salient sense of the word.  Northwestern Law’s reputation as one of the nation’s top law schools reaches across many generations of lawyers and has been built methodically with the hard, passionate work of committed faculty and staff.  We will continue to work hard on behalf of our students and with the sense of purpose owed to our distinguished alumni who are truly a “who’s who” of the profession’s best and brightest.   I am a newcomer to this community to be sure, but one who has admired from afar what the Law School has accomplished, what it stands for, and I now recognize its potential for even greater excellence.  The celebrated Chicago architect, Daniel Burnham, advised famously to “make no little plans, for they have no magic to stir blood and probably themselves will not be realized.”  Yes, indeed this reflects my ambitions and objectives for Northwestern Law as I undertake this important post.

There will be other venues to speak more concretely about plans and policies, about opportunities and ideas, and about expectations and resources.  For now, let me share just a few thoughts by way of general framework.  First, I will work to the best of my ability, and with the integrity, honesty, and transparency befitting this leadership position to advance the Law School in all its extraordinary dimensions.  Second, the core goal around which planning and implementation will find its rightful place will be to serve the educational mission of the Law School — to provide a first-class legal education for Northwestern Law’s students and to forge opportunities for them to realize great professional success in their chosen endeavors.  And third, the Law School’s best aims will require a collaborative, inclusive process, with constant attention on my part and on the part of the Law School’s faculty and administration, to the good ideas that emerge from thoughtful, energetic members of our community working together.

Northwestern Law is rightly proud of its reputation for innovation, and David Van Zandt’s able leadership during the past 15 years has created a solid foundation on which to build.  Here we make big plans; we think outside the box; and we lead the way in developing initiatives suited to this rapidly changing profession.  Such innovation requires creativity, agility, and boldness enlightened through collective engagement in a common enterprise.  My deanship will be guided by this common enterprise and I look forward to joining with all of you in these collaborative pursuits.

A last introductory thought about the coming transition:  The Law School moves ever forward, and the fall semester will be, as always, a busy and dynamic time filled with vital energy and purpose.  We are all very fortunate to have Professor Kim Yuracko serving for another semester as Interim Dean and I know I speak for the entire community in both admiring and supporting her continuing, excellent work on behalf of the Law School.  As the dean-designate, I will spend quality time during the fall semester (and, in truth, quantity time) in learning about the Law School, engaging actively with Law School constituents, and reflecting on the challenges and opportunities ahead.  I will eagerly reach out to you in the coming weeks and I encourage you, likewise, to reach out to me.  In doing so, you can help me better understand your hopes and ambitions for the Law School and thereby shape the agenda of the school in the months and years to come.  Thanks, in advance, for all your input; and thanks for the very warm welcome you already have given me and my wife, Leslie Oster.

Northwestern Law has accomplished much in its long history as one of our most prestigious — and also interesting — law schools.  Yet, I am confident that its best days lie ahead.

Very best regards,

Dan Rodriguez



Tuesday, August 30th, 2011 Diversity, Education, Law School No Comments

Stanford Alum and Dual Degree MBA Candidate, Leland Cheung, Seeks City Concil Re-election

In the past few weeks, I’ve highlighted a number of interesting professionals that come from top universities and MBA programs. In my last post, I wrote about a Stanford GSB alum who is working on bringing more women to Silicon Valley. Before that, I wrote about a friend of mine that recently launched a social network after his run for Congress. Well another person I know is named Leland Cheung. Leland is not only a dual degree student at MIT Sloan and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government but he is also currently seeking re-election for Cambridge City Council.

Since graduating from Stanford, Leland has had a pretty interesting career.  He’s worked at organizations such as Space Adventures and Masthead Ventures (venture capital firm). He’s worked as a fellow at the Department of Energy. And he’s worked not only with the community in Boston but also with the National Association of Asian American Professionals.

In addition to these roles, Leland also recently secured the coveted position as a member of City Council in Cambridge. And after one year in office, Leland is gearing up for his second campaign.

According to Leland’s webpage, it’s shaping up to be a busy month. He’s been holding town hall meetings around the community and talking about ways we can improve our city, working with summer interns and participating in panels at the National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP) career fair.

What I find most interesting about Leland is that he is demonstrating the real power of a business degree. His education has not only allowed him to have access to top jobs and networking opportunities but also to the political landscape of Cambridge and its most important policy issues.

In my view, top MBA programs need many more people just like Leland. That understand that business school is not only about careers like consulting, banking and strategy, but also about entrepreneurship and the public sector. That you don’t have to take the traditional route to be successful. And that you don’t have to follow the masses, just because you go to a certain school.

Likewise, the JD-MBA program here at Northwestern could also use more people just like this. People who are not only considering corporate law and business jobs but those who are also considering government and entrepreneurial roles.  If you fit in that category, the program would love to hear from you.

Either way, best of luck Leland on launching your new campaign.

To learn more about Leland, see http://www.electleland.org/.

Monday, August 29th, 2011 Business School, Careers, Diversity 1 Comment

Alley To The Valley and Women in the Start-Up Space

Have you ever wondered what it takes to become the next big entrepreneur in Silicon Valley? Or creating an internet company that takes off, not only locally but also all across the US? Or what about forming a social enterprise that really does have impact and change the world?  Well if you have dreamed about doing any of this, then perhaps you’ll find this organization interesting. The organization name is Alley for the Valley.

I talk a lot on my site about some of my MBA friends in the start up and non profit spaces. Well another one of my friends is taking part in a new organization. The organization name is Alley for the Valley, and one of my friends Lauren Westbrook from Stanford GSB is currently working with the organization.

Over this past summer, Lauren has been working for a company called Alley to the Valley through Stanford GSB’s Entrepreneurial Summer program. The organization is very interesting. Not only is it an exclusive (invite-only) organization for women but it’s also making a lot of headway into the Silicon Valley start-up space.  As of today, it’s been in the NY Times, it’s getting a ton of media attention and momentum, and many of its selected members are starting to get major funding opportunities, coveted jobs, media exposure, a chance to attend conferences alongisde like Rosie Rios (U.S. treasurer), Heidi Roizen (Silicon Valley investor/expert), and Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook).

My friend Lauren is helping to handpicking some new members, and and reached out to me to help spread the word. As such, I wanted to post here to send out information on the group. It’s great seeing my friends use business school to not only improve their own careers but also to engage in entrepreneurial ventures and work toward changing the world.

Click here to learn more about the organization. See below for the official invitation that I received. And drop me a line if you’re interesting in hearing more.


Sunday, August 28th, 2011 Business School, Careers, Diversity No Comments

Northwestern Law Announces New Dean Daniel Rodriguez

After almost a year of searching, just last week, Northwestern Law school named a new Dean, Daniel Rodriguez. This comes after former Dean David E. Van Zandt ended his 15-year tenure as dean of Northwestern Law last year.  While Dean Van Zandt will definitely be missed by the students, faculty and administration at Northwestern, everyone still agrees that it’s very exciting to have the new dean.  Not only is Dean Rodriguez professionally accomplished but he’ll also bring a fresh perspective and net set of experiences to the school.

Daniel Rodriguez will take the post Jan. 1, the university said in a news release. And it sounds like everyone at Northwestern can’t wait to for him to arrive.  Northwestern Provost Daniel Linzer said “Northwestern President (Morton) Schapiro and I are extremely pleased that professor Rodriguez, who is known nationally for his legal scholarship and public law work, has accepted our offer. We are confident that his talents are well suited for leading our great law school.”

One reason everyone is excited is because the new Dean is very accomplished. Currently, he holds the Minerva House Drysdale Regents Chair in Law at the University of Texas School of Law. Rodriguez’s background is also impressive. Not only is he a graduate of Harvard Law who is published in a wide number of places, but he was also even named one of the nine transformational deans of the decade in an article by the ABA Journal. Above the Law wrote a similar article about him.

For current and incoming students at Northwestern, it will be interesting to see how things change over the next year or two. Will there be changes in the curriculum? Will the composition of the student body shift over time? Will Northwestern continue to come up with innovative programs that others schools haven’t considered yet?

It’s too early to answer all of those questions now. But it’s worth remembering that it was Dean Van Zandt was one of the early founders to the accelerated JD-MBA program at Northwestern. A program that not only caught on but that also took off. So much that schools like Yale, Wharton/Penn, Columbia and Cornell to name a few, have already followed in Northwestern’s footsteps to create programs of their own.

As a result, it looks like Rodriguez has some big shoes to fill.  But I’m sure he’ll be up to the challenge given his background, legal training, and diverse set of experiences. The only question now is, what is Rodriguez going to come up with next?

In anticipation of his arrival, just a few days ago, Northwestern Law also wrote a press release about the Dean’s appointment that it sent out to students. See below for the email that went out to the school.

Congratulations and best of luck to the new dean!


To:      Northwestern Law Community

From:  NU Provost Dan Linzer

Re:      Northwestern University Announces New Law School Dean

It is with great pleasure that President Schapiro and I announce that Daniel Rodriguez, currently the Minerva House Drysdale Regents Chair in Law at the University of Texas School of Law, has accepted our invitation to serve as Dean of Northwestern University School of Law and Harold Washington Professor, effective January 1, 2012.  He succeeds David Van Zandt, who had served as the Dean of the school from 1995 to 2010, and Kim Yuracko, who has been serving as interim dean of the School and will continue to do so until the end of the calendar year.

Professor Rodriguez, a graduate of the Harvard Law School, is a nationally prominent scholar in administrative law, local government law, and state constitutional law.  He is a leader in the application of political economy to the study of public law, and he has authored and co-authored a series of influential articles and book chapters in this vein.

Before joining the University of Texas law faculty in 2007, Rodriguez served for seven years as Dean and the Warren Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of San Diego School of Law.  While serving as Dean, he expanded the size and stature of the faculty, created interdisciplinary programs and new academic centers, and undertook the first major capital campaign for the law school.

Before becoming Dean at the USD School of Law, he was a tenured professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley (Boalt Hall School of Law).  He has been a visiting professor at the University of Southern California, Illinois, and Virginia law schools, as well as at the University of California, San Diego and the Free University of Amsterdam.  During the Spring 2011 semester, he was the Stephen & Barbara Friedman Visiting Professor of Law at Columbia Law School.

In addition to his scholarly work, Professor Rodriguez has consulted with federal, state and local agencies, has served as an expert witness, has testified before Congressional committees and legislative working groups, and has served in various professional leadership roles, including as a member of the Executive Committee of the Association of American Law Schools and the Council for the ABA Section on Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice.  He is an elected member of both the American Law Institute and the American Bar Foundation.

We are very excited about the appointment of Professor Rodriguez as Dean of the Law School.  Please join me in congratulating him and welcoming him to Northwestern University.  Please also join me in thanking Interim Dean Kim Yuracko for her outstanding service, and the search committee, and particularly chair Shari Seidman Diamond, for the committee’s excellent work.

Emanuel Pleitez Helps Launch the Loft Institute Social Network

I have been fortunate to get to know some incredible professionals from the Stanford and JD-MBA networks, and I’ve talked about a few of them on the site before.  Well another one of them is good friend, and up-and-coming political organizer Emanuel Pleitez.  Emanuel is one of the few people I know that has thrived both in business and also in the public sector.  Since graduating from Stanford, Emanuel has not only spent time firms like Goldman and McKinsey but he has also worked with a number of community organizations. Recently, he even teamed up with the Hispanic Heritage Institute to launch social network, named the Loft Institute.

So you’re probably wondering, what is the Loft Institute?  Well a number of themes emerge.  It’s a network of hispanic professionals. A database of job and networking opportunities. And more broadly a way to bring fast track professionals together. The name Loft means “Latinos on the Fast Track.” And the mission of Loft is to reestablish the American workforce as a global competitor by investing in the youngest and fastest growing segment of the population – the Latino community.

Emanuel has some lofty goals for Loft. He’s using it to create leadership summits in big cities around the country. As a way to get Latino leaders in the same place at the same time. And as a venue to get young professionals and students from around the country to network with each other. In fact, Loft even came out with a new list of Loft Fellows to help do that just days ago.

Fortunately, it sounds like these goals are not far-fetched, as Loft has long been making an impact, even before the launch of the new website. Over the last six years LOFT Institute has had member all over the country. they work in government and private sector firms, as well as in Fortune 500 companies. They also in industries including engineering & technology, healthcare, retail, sales, business, finance, construction management, public service, public policy, and entertainment.

In addition to going to the Loft website Emanuel also maintains a blog and a Twitter Account, where he actively write updates about Loft. Likewise, in the future, you’ll probably also be able to find more information about Loft here on my website, as I’ll be helping as a new media advisor to the site.

In sum, if you’re have an idea that you think can change the world, be proactive and go for it. And even if you have a job that demands most of your time, figure out how to do it anyways. Because the best business leaders know, that its not just about doing well but it’s also about doing good. And that life is not only about making money and negotiating deals, but it’s also about helping others along the way.  And in the end, leaders will do whatever they can to make that happen.

Best of luck with Loft Emanuel.

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011 Careers, Diversity, Leadership No Comments

Compass Summit Assembles Thinkers To Address World’s Vital Challenges

Every now and then I like to write posts about nonprofits and other game changing organizations that are doing really interesting things. Organizations that not only take on the biggest issues of our day but also organizations that bring diverse people together to work on the biggest issues of the future. Well one of those organizations is Compass. And just recently, I learned that they are putting on this year’s Compass Summit, a conference that discusses “what’s possible, what’s ahead, and what matters.”

The Compass Summit is a conference of big ideas, driven by conversations.  The organization is asking our partners as well as participants to expand their peripheral vision of other fields and to look over the horizon to consider what matters most and where the world should be heading. The conference will run from Oct 23-26,2011, at The Terranea Resort, right outside of Los Angeles.

My college friend Sophia Larroque is helping to organize this event.  As such, I figured I’d pass along the word to those readers here on my site. Below is an email I received directly from her about the summit

Compass is a gathering of accomplished and inventive people aimed at  tackling urgent large-scale challenges facing our institutions and companies: climate change, mass urbanization, capital shortages, technological dislocation and much more.

Former Fortune editors Brent Schlender and Peter Petre are joined by Scientific American editor-in-chief Mariette DiChristina and her staff to producing Compass, and many of the ideas explored at the conference will be reflected in autumn issues of the magazine. With the help of advisers and sponsors including McKinsey & Co., SWIFT (the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication), Intel, and the World Business Council on Sustainable Development, we are crafting a program to engage topics as diverse as:

  • The impact of invention on job creation & training
  • Must have” adjustments needed to cope with climate change and environmental degradation
  • Te next great ‘multipliers’ of productivity after Moore’s Law
  • The future of money
  • The shifting dynamics of networks on governments and institutions
  • The future of jobs in a chaotic economic and geo-political environment
Compass will consist of presentations, onstage interviews, structured conversations and debates. There will be a generous amount of time for Q&A and discussion.
Mission: Compass celebrates the notion that humanity can invent its way out of the messes it has helped create. This idea also implies a social dimension that reaches beyond the rugged individualism usually associated with inventors and entrepreneurs.
CLICK HERE to learn more about Compass
CLICK HERE to learn more about the Conference
Wednesday, July 20th, 2011 Diversity, Leadership No Comments

Apply to Work in Venture Capital as a 2012 Springworks Scholar

Venture capital has long been most of the most alluring industries in America.  Not only are the payouts high and the work satisfying but you also get to work with some of the most innovative clients on the planet.  So people spend months, sometimes years, looking for ways to break into the industry. Some network with every firm they can possibly get in touch with. And others submit applications year after year hoping for that one shot. Well, as of this year, another way you can break into the industry is by participating in the Springworks Scholars program.

Springworks is a San-Francisco based non-profit focused on increasing diversity in the venture community. Just recently, the firm has launched a scholars program for incoming MBA students to give them access to the venture community.  Founded by Kellogg alum, Jorge Calderon, this program looks to be a groundbreaking opportunity.

As I mentioned in a recent post about the Morgan Stanley Insights program (CLICK HERE to read that post) I love these programs that seek to improve the diversity in the labor force. They provide students and young professionals with access to new channels and resources. They give opportunities to people who might otherwise not have a chance. And they give hope that we can all pursue the American dream.

But there’s only one catch. You have to finish the application right away, as it is due in just a few days on July 15. See below for a blurb on the program and for the link to the application:

Our first initiative, the Scholars program, is designed to identify, develop & support ‘under-targeted’ (currently defined as minority or female) business school students interested in either venture capital management or start-up management.  This two-year program is intended to augment the resources provided to students at their respective universities with additional coaching, mentorship, peer support, curriculum and experiential learning.

For the online application, click here.

For the summary PDF, click here.


Tuesday, July 12th, 2011 Business School, Careers, Diversity 1 Comment

McCormick Scholars Program and Northwestern

Hey Everyone,  I hope you are having a good summer and fourth of July weekend. My summer has been busy. That’s because summer is in full swing, so business and law students are working hard at their summer jobs. That means that we’re getting up early everyday, making long commutes into the city from Evanston, and working long hours to meet deadlines, and perform well. Sounds like an enormous task, right? I think so too. But despite that, I’m also working on another project.  As the 2012 McCormick Scholar, I’m also working on a pretty large media project that I just kicked off this summer.

Just a few weeks ago, I found out that I was selected by the McCormick Foundation as 2012 scholar. The McCormick foundation was program was established to educate a new generation of leaders in the media industry and continue the foundation’s support for journalism at Northwestern. The website says that the awards “bring to almost $32 million the amount the foundation has awarded to these programs in the 50 years since the foundation was created in 1955” and that “twenty full-tuition merit scholarships will be awarded over the next ten years to business students and they will be awarded based on leadership potential and commitment to a career in the news media.”

To be considered, I had to submit a pretty extensive application this past spring. The application mirrored an MBA application, and included submitting things like a resume, data sheet, essays, and recommendations. I personally spent a good part of my time crafting the essays, partially because I really wanted to win but also because the essays were related to things I was really interested in. The challenging part was that the application deadline fell right in the middle of the on-campus interview season at Kellogg, so it took a lot of effort to work on both. But all the work was worth it in the end when I found out that I had been selected.

In addition to the money and prestige of the program, the best part of the scholarship is that it offers funding for a media project I’m working on.  I spent a lot of time refining my idea, formulating a plan, and figuring out who else to get involved. Over the course of a few weeks, I’ve refined some of the details and found other similar initiatives to see what made those successful. For now the project is in stealth mode, but once it’s up and running I will plan to share more about this project.

Either way, thanks to the McCormick Foundation for the funding. Thanks to Kellogg School of Management and The Medill School of Journalism for the opportunity. And thanks to the faculty and former scholars for selecting me. I appreciate your support and look forward to being part of the community.

Stay tuned for more details about the project. And be sure to apply to the program, if you come to Northwestern and media is something that your interested in pursuing.

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Saturday, July 2nd, 2011 Business School, Careers, Diversity 2 Comments

Apply to the 2012 Morgan Stanley Early Insights Program

Investment banking is one of the most difficult professions to break into. Not only is the work hard and the hours long but there are also thousands of other competitive applicants given the unusually high compensation levels. As a result, firms spend a lot of time making sure they hire people who are the right fit for the role.   Given this, anything you can do to prepare in advance of the recruiting season will be useful as you seek a career in the industry. And one way you can get started before coming to business school is by participating in the Morgan Stanley Early Insights Program.

Incoming first year Kellogg students (and top MBA students from all program), if you’re considering recruiting for the banking industry, then you should also consider applying to this program. Not only does it provide a unique opportunity to learn about the investment banking industry but it also gives you a short list of contacts before you even get to business school. And when recruiting for banking, the people you know can be enormously beneficial throughout the process.

In general, I love these diversity programs. They help provide information to those that don’t otherwise have it. They provide access to resources to those that on average have less. And they open up new careers that might feel unachievable.

More broadly, they ensure that we can continually live in a world of possibilities. They provide access to those that work the hardest no matter they start. And in the end, they recognize that there is limitless potential in every person, no matter what there background is.

See below for the blurb from Morgan Stanley.

Get connected early with the Morgan Stanley MBA Early Insights Program. It provides outstanding Black, Hispanic, Native American, LGBT, and female rising first-year MBA students an up-close, first-hand opportunity to learn about Morgan Stanley’s businesses and culture. This two-day program showcases our global industry thought leaders, highlights key areas of our business, provides practical insights on professional development and the recruiting process, and encourages networking and social interaction with senior management and other professionals.

We welcome applications from those students who are beginning their MBA program in Fall 2011. Please click here to apply. This event will take place in New York City, beginning with a dinner and reception on July 19.

Questions? MBAEarlyInsights@morganstanley.com

Learn more at www.morganstanley.com/diversity

Application Deadline: June 13, 2011

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 Business School, Careers, Diversity 2 Comments

Cristo Rey High School. VIVA! And the Education Industry

The model of American business schools is radically changing. In times past, students came to business school, looked for the highest paying jobs they could find, and looked forward to making lots of money upon graduation. But in today’s age, the business school experience is different. Today, it’s more possible than ever to pursue socially-driven goals at business school. To work with organizations that not only want to make a profit but also want to make a difference. One of those organizations that I’m working with at Kellogg is Cristo Rey Jesuit High School. And just last week, I had the great pleasure of attending Cristo Rey’s annual fundraiser in downtown Chicago, as an incoming Board Member for 2011-2012.

Just last week, I had the pleasure of attending Cristo Rey high school’s annual VIVA! (CLICK HERE for description and pictures) scholarship fundraiser at Millennium Park’s Harris Theater rooftop terrace.  And what a great event it turned out to be!  It was a day of inspiration for those who wanted to reflect on how well the school had done last year. A day of celebration for the school’s former students and employees. And a day of participation, not only for volunteers wanting to get more involved but also for people in Chicago, including the city’s new mayor, Rahm Emanuel.

In addition to being a hit, the event was also my introduction to Cristo Rey, which is important as the incoming Kellogg Board Fellow for the next year. So I met with the Chairman of the board and the Chairman of one of the board committees. I met with the Director of Development, and another members of his team. And I met with a couple of past board fellows who not only loved their experience on the board but also continue to serve the organization by working on the junior board today.

But more important than seeing the mayor and meeting with board members was that I also had a chance to finally see the school first hand. To take a peak at the institution that’s considered a long-time pioneer in the education field. And the school that’s praised for coming up with one of today’s most innovative business models in urban education. A model that allows the students to earn a percentage of their tuition by working five full days each month in entry-level positions at top corporations in downtown Chicago – major banks, law firms, hospitals, and consulting firms.

And at the root of this innovation was the idea that top organizations, like Cristo Rey, do well because they use business to do good, not just to make profits. And that its board members and board fellows understand that with this privilege of being successful comes responsibility. Not just to go out and do well, but also to give back and to make the world better. And to do it in a way that has lasting impact.

Personally, I want to have impact in the education field. And in the end, it sounds like joining Cristo Rey will allow me to do just that over the upcoming year. I look forward to joining the Cristo Rey community.


To learn more about Cristo Rey, CLICK HERE for the website.  Also, see below for the video on 60 minutes.

Thursday, May 26th, 2011 Business School, Diversity, Education 1 Comment

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

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.



Sunday, April 17th, 2011 Business School, Diversity 1 Comment

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

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

Engaging In My Trip to Kenya

It costs a lot of time and money to go on Kellogg’s Global Immersion in Management (GIM) trip.  You forego taking another class in the winter quarter. You pay a lot of money out of pocket. And you do classwork during spring break, while your friends are having a blast in various locations around the world. But other than having a blast with your fellow classmates in a new country, does it make sense to go on GIM?

Well, this was the question on a lot of people’s minds all throughout the winter quarter. Every year, second years talk about how great GIM is. Then, first years bid almost all their points into the class excited, but then recruiting and other substantive classes start to take up a lot of time, and so people question whether GIM is actually worth it.  Did I make the right decision? Could I have gotten a better deal financially on my own vacation (the answer is often yes)? Should I have done something different?

Fortunately, people in GIM Kenya (Kellogg’s Global Health Initiative) thought about this question a lot less than some of the other trips did. That’s because this is the single GIM trip that’s rooted in public interest and international development. Nonetheless, the question has even come up in at least a couple of cases.

As I ponder this question personally, I can’t help back to some of my favorite student experiences and ask myself, “Do you remember the presentations from the professor?”  “Do you remember the most salient parts of the lectures?” “Do you even remember the name of the textbook you read?” For a lot of the classes, the answer is no.

On the other hand, I know exactly what I do remember from my favorite experiences: the engaged conversations I had after classes. Helping a friend work on a problem that they found critically important.  The practical discussions about what people are working on, and the philosophical discussions about how people want to change the world.

Fortunately, I also get to engage in these topics for GIM, especially with GIM Kenya.  With GIM Kenya I get to:

Engage in a public interest topic (HIV/Aids project in Kenya)

Engage in a mission critical issue, not just related to the US but also to those abroad.

Engage in travel to somewhere I might not go on my own.

And engage with a diverse set of like-minded classmates who are also passionate about public service and about changing the world (stay tuned to hear more about my classmates on the trip)

In the end, engaging is the most critical issue.

When is the last time you engaged? It’s never too late to start.

Thursday, March 17th, 2011 Business School, Careers, Diversity No Comments

Countdown to GIM Kenya: Leaving Chicago Tomorrow Afternoon

Tomorrow, me and about 30 classmates will be jumping on a plane and jet-setting out of Chicago and finally heading to Kenya, where we’ve all be excited to go for the last 10 weeks. While two or three of my classmates have visited Kenya before, for most of us it will be our first time in the country. To commemorate this special experience, one of our class leaders has been sending out a series of countdown emails, each filled with pictures and words to describe the trip.

Here below is the countdown from the last six days.

Day 6. With a surface area of 68,800 square kilometres (26,600 sq mi), Lake Victoria is Africa’s largest lake by area, and it is the largest tropicallake in the world. Lake Victoria is the world’s second largest freshwater lake by surface area (Only Lake Superior in North America is larger.) Lake Victoria occupies a shallow depression in the East African Plateau, and has a maximum depth of 84 metres (276 ft) and an average depth of 20 metres (66 ft). Its catchment area covers 184,000 square kilometres (71,040 sq mi). The lake has a shoreline of 4,828 kilometres (3,000 mi), with islands constituting 3.7% of this length,[2] and is divided among three countries: Kenya (6% or 4,100 km2/1,600 sq mi), Uganda (45% or 31,000 km2/12,000 sq mi) and Tanzania (49% or 33,700 km2/13,000 sq mi).[3] Lake Victoria supports Africa’s largest inland fishery.[4

Day 5. Asante class!  It’s been a fun quarter and the most fun part is only 5 days away!  Congratulations on completing the last class and let’s get ready for our Kenyan adventure! Hakuna Matata!

Day 4. (No text)

Day 3. The Maasai (also Masai) are a Nilotic ethnic group of semi-nomadic people located in Kenya and northern Tanzania. They are among the most well known of African ethnic groups, due to their distinctive customs and dress and residence near the many game parks of East Africa.[3] They speak Maa,[3] a member of the Nilo-Saharan language family that is related to Dinka and Nuer, and are also educated in the official languages of Kenya and Tanzania: Swahili and English. The Maasai population has been variously estimated as 377,089 from the 1989 Census[1] or as 453,000 language speakers in Kenya in 1994[2] and 430,000 in Tanzania in 1993[2] with a total estimated as “approaching 900,000”[3] Estimates of the respective Maasai populations in both countries are complicated by the remote locations of many villages, and their semi-nomadic nature.

Day 2. Something we might run into in Kenya! 🙂  We are all most there!  Don’t forget time change tonight, and good luck with the last finals!

Day 1. Congrats on being done with winter quarter!  Kenya in less than 24 hrs!  Don’t forget to start taking your malarone.  See you all tomorrow at 12:45!

Stay tuned for more updates on GIM Kenya!

Sunday, March 13th, 2011 Business School, Diversity 1 Comment

MLT Kickoff Conference: How To Get Into Business School

Every business school applicant has an overwhelming number of things to think about. It is easy to get caught up spending endless hours writing, editing, and applying, and you often forget that working hard isn’t quite as effective as working smart.  To help the new MLT fellows with that, I spent the day with them at the Darden School of Business to moderate a panel on how to get into business school.  Like last year’s session (click here to see my post on last year’s session), this year’s session was filled with eager and energetic MLT fellows as well as with a few MLT armed to share information with the up and coming applicants.

At long last, the newest class of MLT’s MBA Prep Program was finally welcomed in person at the 2011 kick-off event.  The event took place at Darden School of Business, and just like last year, I took a flight out to speak with a few members year’s class. Likewise, I also attended the event to moderate a session with the up and coming fellows on how to go about getting into business school.

So what does it actually take to get into a top tier business school?  A number of themes emerged from the panel. Getting started on applications early. Putting the GMAT behind you. Having a community of people to work with. And the theme I continually emphasized, having a compelling story.

This means not just relying on your resume as a banker or consultant, or overestimating the importance of your high GMAT score and GPA, but it also means discussing your story about why you want to go to business school in a way that gets the audience’s attention. And it’s a story that not only communicates your business background and knowledge but also displays that you’ve got business intuition and that you’re a winner.  That you believe deeply in the idea of going to business school. And that you’re up for the enormous task of succeeding, no matter what it takes to do that.

Fortunately, I had three great MLT alum who helped with the panel and helped field Q&A from the aggressive and energetic bunch. Questions about recommenders, industry choices, career changes, grades, and school applications all surfaced. Similarly, questions about difficulty of the MLT program, relationships with your MLT coaches, and networking with schools also came up.  Questions came for nearly an hour after we spoke in the beginning.

One question I answered at the end of the session was in regards to school selection. The gentleman asked, “What if the schools I want to apply to aren’t aligned with the schools that MLT calls my ‘fit’ schools?”  What a great question!! I decided to take that question because I felt strongly about the answer. I gave a two pronged response.

First, it’s likely going to be the case for a lot of you that the schools you want to apply to won’t be perfectly aligned with your “MLT fit schools.” After all, MLT wants to ensure you apply to fit schools to maximize your chances to get in; and rightly so. And on the other hand, you’re probably just gunning to get into all the “top” schools on your list. So understand the difference in MLT’s priorities versus what you think your priorities might be at the time.

Second, and more importantly, I told the audience, definitely apply to the schools you’re most passionate about. After all, part of the reason for MLT, and part of the American Dream is being able to reach for the stars and achieve the improbable. And for you, that means applying to the schools you’re most interested in. Especially since for many of you, this is your big chance to get into business school. So I say work hard, and apply not just to your fit schools but to the schools you’re most passionate about. Figure out a way to make it all work.

After this question, the panel fielded a few more questions from the audience, before we ended the session. And we spoke with a few of the fellows after the talk. In the end, it was a great session!

To summarize, if you get started early, work hard, and have an idea of where you want to go, you can make it into business school. Further, even if your profile isn’t quite up to par with the “average” admit, then just work harder, be a little more strategic, and do everything you can to get in. Because the best leaders know that determination is critical.  And because the most successful applicants not only have a way of defying the odds, but they also understand the importance of telling a good story to ensure that they defy them.

Good luck MLT Class of 2012!

And thanks to Darden for hosting the wonderful seminar.

Sunday, March 6th, 2011 Business School, Diversity 6 Comments

2011 Kellogg BMA Conference: Maximizing Investment While Building Communities

The Black Management Association (“BMA”) hosted the 24th Annual BMA Conference last weekend February 25 through 27 at the Kellogg School of Management. The event is one of the largest business school conferences at Kellogg, not only because of the number of students and alumni who attend but also because  of the participants who come in to speak for the weekend and the message delivered by the speakers and panelists.

BMA members and conference leaders worked tirelessly to make the weekend a success. Leveraging the alumni and professors networks, we brought in keynotes and panelists such as Soledad O’Brien, Terdema Ussery, and Bridgette Heller, and they discussed topics such as media, business, entrepreneurship and investing. The panels and discussions were engaging and interactive.

The conference kicked off Friday night with an alumni mixer event downtown on the waters of Chicago, featuring both students and alumni. And bright and early on Saturday, Soledad O’Brien kicked off the actual conference and discussed about storytelling. One big theme that emerged from her discussion was that it’s important to have difficult conversations and ask the difficult question in order to tell some of the most important stories about race and ethnicity.

Next up, was a series of speakers and panels all day Saturday afternoon. One panel included James Reynolds Jr. (KSM ’82), Founder, Chairman and CEO, Loop Capital Markets and John W. Rogers Jr., Founder, Chairman and CEO, Ariel Capital Management, in the “Billion Dollar Roundtable panel”. And another panel included Tim King, Founder, President and CEO, Urban Prep Academies, and Carmita Vaughan (KSM ’04) in the “Investing in Education” panel.

After the set of panels was the Saturday Gala event downtown, which nicely concluded a great day of speakers and panels. The keynote speaker for the Gala was Terdema Ussery, President and CEO of the Dallas Mavericks. And finally on Sunday, there was the Gospel Brunch, where a diverse set of students from the Kellogg community came together for food and fellowship while the University of Chicago Soul Umoja Choir sang a set of songs during the event.

In the end, the Conference was a resounding success, and it even elicited a short article the next day in the Small Business Chicago online. Thanks to Co-Chairs Stephanie Dorsey and Brianna English for their work over the past year.

Currently, the BMA Club is already thinking about at next year to see not only who wants to have leadership positions in the club but also who wants to help orchestrate the 25th BMA conference.

We hope you can make it to the event.

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011 Business School, Diversity 3 Comments

2011 Kellogg Sneak Peek

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be at student at Kellogg? Or what about listening to one of Kellogg’s top professors giving a talk on your favorite business subject? I wondered about those things a lot when I was applying to business school. Well, if you are too, then now is your chance. On Friday February 25, 2011, the Kellogg School of Management is hosting its annual “Sneak Peek” event, where you’ll get a sneak peak at what it feels like to be a student.

It’s that time of year again. The time for snowstorms in Evanston. Job interviews in Jacobs. Admissions interviews all over the country. And last but not least, admissions events being held for next years class.

On Friday, February 25, the Kellogg School of Management is excited to host another admissions event for minority prospective students. Co-sponsored by the Africa Business Club (ABC), Black Management Association (BMA) and Hispanic Business Students Association (HBSA) Sneak Peak gives you the opportunity to experience Kellogg first-hand.

In my personal view, events like this are almost always worthwhile. Not only is it a chance to meet students at a school you might be interesting in attending, but it’s also a chance to meet future applicants, many of which will be applying to the same schools you are, including Kellogg. So even though you’ve probably got a lot on your plate right now – studying for the GMAT, starting applications, preparing for interviews — I’d suggest that you strongly consider taking some time out to learn a bit more about Kellogg.

For reference, below is the official blurb about the event from Kellogg admissions, which includes a link where you can register.

Hopefully see you there!

The BMA Conference will be hosted the same weekend and you are invited to both!

Click Here to register.

Click Here for more information on the BMA Conference.

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011 Admissions, Business School, Diversity No Comments

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


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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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