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  • Typical Day of a UCLA MBA Student - Recording of Webinar with UCLA Adcom and Student

     December 14, 2018

     December 14, 2018

     10:00 PM PST

     11:00 PM PST

    Carolyn and Brett - nicely explained what is the typical day of a UCLA student. I am posting below recording of the webinar for those who could't attend this session.
  • Why Do YOU Need an MBA?

     December 14, 2018

     December 14, 2018

     10:00 PM PST

     11:00 PM PST

    Download Why MBA and learn how to determine your MBA goals and weave them into a compelling essay!

Calling all Kellogg Applicants (2015 Intake) Class of 2017 !

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Kellogg announces Professor of the Year  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Jun 2015, 07:00
FROM Kellogg MBA Blog: Kellogg announces Professor of the Year
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Gad Allon, professor of managerial economics and decision sciences, was named the 2015 L.G. Lavengood Outstanding Professor of the Year Award on Friday.

The award, named in honor of former Kellogg Professor Lawrence G. Lavengood, is voted on by graduating students of Kellogg’s Full-Time and Part-Time programs.

“As an aspiring operations expert and life-long learner, Professor Allon continues to inspire me and those around me with his passion for operations, his drive to continuously improve and his desire to help others learn,” wrote one student in their nomination for Allon.

“Professor Allon’s classroom environment is as close to a real world boardroom or management meeting as you will find at Kellogg,” wrote another student. “His courses are intellectually challenging and he demands excellence in both preparation and presentation, not only from his students, but also himself.

This is the second Professor of the Year award for Allon, who was recognized in 2009. He also was named the Alumni Professor of the Year in 2014 and 2015.

Allon was recognized by Poets & Quants as one of “The World’s 40 Best Business School Profs Under the Age of 40” in 2011.

As Professor of the Year, Allon will deliver the faculty remarks at Kellogg’s graduation on June 19.

In the video below, Allon speaks about the dangers of past success during Kellogg’s Brave Leader panel at Reunion 2014.



Filed under: Academics, Student Life Tagged: economics, faculty, operations, Professor of the Year Image
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This post has been originally posted on the Admissions Blog and re-posted here for convenience.

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Managing motherhood and my MBA  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Jun 2015, 07:00
FROM Kellogg MBA Blog: Managing motherhood and my MBA
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By Mari Gottlieb

Before starting at Kellogg, I was apprehensive about whether I would enjoy my business school experience.

I have an almost 2-year-old son, and I didn’t know if I was going to be able to truly enjoy my time at school. As I prepare to finish my first year, I can say my concerns have been put aside.

The qualities that initially drew me to Kellogg were the inclusive culture, close-knit community and the extensive resources to support families. Over the past year, I have also developed a deeper appreciation for how student-driven the school is. What this means is that you have the resources and support from both your classmates and the administration to initiate change and bring awareness to the issues you care about.

I recently got to experience the benefits of a student-led culture when one of my classmates and I approached the administration and Women’s Business Association (WBA) about developing a forum for discussing career and family planning topics and formalizing a support system for current and future mothers. The WBA has been incredibly supportive by devoting ample time and resources, as well as prioritizing this topic as an important initiative for next school year.

I recognize that there are not many students at Kellogg who are also mothers. In some environments, this could make it more difficult to relate to others. However, this has not been a challenge for me, which I largely attribute to Kellogg’s culture. I love that my classmates embrace diversity, and I also think Kellogg does an exceptional job facilitating friendships between students of different backgrounds through KWEST (Kellogg Worldwide Experiences & Service Trips), our sections and many group projects.

I want other mothers to know that their business school experience can be rich, rewarding and fun. My advice for mothers attending business school is to figure out what is important to you and be disciplined enough to stick with it. Accept that you won’t be able to do everything you want to do or be able to do it as well as you would like. But recognize that you can still do a lot.

Since I do better with examples than abstract advice, here is how I currently prioritize my time during the week (when my husband is traveling for work):

Priorities: *

  • Family: Being home with my son between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. most nights during the week.
  • Social: Prioritizing the social events I care most about each quarter and attending those, and spending time with friends outside of school at least once during the week (I often have a babysitter come after 8 p.m. once my son is in bed).
  • School: Taking classes in subjects I am interested in and learning a lot; from an output standpoint, putting forth enough effort on my schoolwork so that my grades won’t jeopardize any recruiting opportunities.
  • Self: Devoting a couple of hours a week to my own activities or hobbies. This has been harder to maintain across time, but is still important. (For examples, I got scuba certified last quarter.)*When I was recruiting, my two priorities were basically family and internship search.
Where I cut back or try to save time:

  • Student clubs: My only role in a student club is chairing the Current & Future Mothers initiative.
  • School: I’ve had to rein in the overachiever in me.
  • Cleaning and household errands: I limit cleaning and errands to between 30 minutes and 1 hour each day, which is not nearly enough for a house with a toddler, a dog and two cats. I also budget to have a housekeeper come regularly.
  • Online shopping: I buy a lot of stuff online to save on trips to the store.
  • Cooking: Can it be done in less than 20 minutes? If not, then I pass!
I’ve found that my classmates are incredibly supportive, not just of me, but of everyone, and have made my school experience so much fun. I’ve also been able to participate in the activities that are most important to me, while still being there for my family. So I am not just enjoying my Kellogg experience, I am loving my Kellogg experience,

Mari Gottlieb is a first-year student in Kellogg’s Full-Time Two-Year Program. She is originally from California and worked in investment management before Kellogg. This summer, Mari will be interning with the asset management group at UBS.

Filed under: Academics, Student Life Tagged: kwest, mom, motherhood, WBA, Women's Business Association Image
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Learning about ‘China’s next chapter’  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Jun 2015, 07:00
FROM Kellogg MBA Blog: Learning about ‘China’s next chapter’
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By Summer Guo

The China growth story has been a big headline recently in business, academia and in governments around the world. And the story continues to evolve. The market has developed into a complex and sophisticated behemoth.

With that in mind, more than 600 attendees gathered at Kellogg last month for the 2015 Greater China Business Conference. “China’s Next Chapter — Future Growth Engine” focused on how China would address current challenges and fuel its future growth, laying the foundation for the country’s next chapter.

The day began with an opening keynote from Yan Xuan, president of Nielsen Greater China. Xuan shared a broad-stroke introduction to the major macro trends unfolding in China today and what they mean for businesses, both now and in the coming years. While China’s economy has slowed to 7 percent annual growth, consumer confidence has remained high, rooted in an increasingly robust middle class.  The middle class Xuan described is composed of consumers that continue to move into the more expensive urban centers, travel overseas, connect on social media and do their shopping on their mobile devices.

Illustrating how these customer dynamics have played out, Xuan told the story of Costco’s market entry into China. Forgoing its well-known big box strategy, Costco opted to launch in China through a one-stop e-commerce store on Alibaba’s Tmall platform. Costco’s strategy has been to focus on selling high-quality everyday goods to an increasingly discerning and online Chinese consumer.

The discussion continued with the opening panel on retail and consumer markets. James Reiman, former EBT Mobile China CEO and chairman, moderated a conversation with Feng Xue, head of China practice and managing partner at Katten Muchin Rosenman; Winnie Yang, associate marketing director at Procter & Gamble; and Michael Zakkour, vice president for Tompkins International’s China/Asia Pacific practice.

The panelists discussed China’s growing population of 800 million consumers with disposable incomes, whose rise has squarely followed the confluence of industrialization, urbanization and e-commerce. The last of these — e-commerce — will also lay the groundwork for China’s future, both locally and internationally, according to the panel.

It is estimated that today, 75 percent of all e-commerce in China connects back to Alibaba. As Alibaba aims to invest in a global supply chain and build borderless e-commerce, the panelists said they expected to see some of the lines blur as Chinese players go abroad and international players continue to grow in China.

Take a look at the student-produced trailer for the event.

Other conference discussion featured experts from Emerson Climate Technologies, Cummins and The Paulson Institute, each bringing a unique take to their respective topics.

Bill Bosway, group vice president of Emerson Climate Technologies, explained how Emerson made environmental sustainability an essential core to its business by sharing the company’s efforts to cooperate with the Chinese government to enforce environmental regulations.

Sharad Shekhar, general manager of Cummins, showed China’s progress on sustainable development by touching on the role of intellectual property for clean technologies. Leigh Wedell, chief sustainability officer of The Paulson Institute, emphasized the challenges China’s central government faces in galvanizing cooperation from the local level.

Alex Cheng, vice president of Baidu and general manager of the company’s U.S. operation, concluded the conference, delving into the explosion of China’s mobile Internet and data creation. This trend has led to a virtuous cycle of more data, better products and smarter services. Cheng also shared insights into how a range of industries — through smart Internet usage — have found inspiration and business innovation.

More than any other trend, Chinese innovation will be the source of growth, both in the country and abroad.

Summer Guo is a first-year student in Kellogg’s Full-Time Two-Year Program. Prior to moving to Evanston, she worked in consulting at Boston Consulting Group in Shanghai. This summer, she will intern with Danaher at Beckman Coulter in Brea, Calif.

Learn more about Kellogg’s Full-Time MBA Program.

Filed under: Academics, Business Insight, Student Life Tagged: China, e-commerce, global, Greater China Business Conference, guest speakers, student conferences Image
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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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This post has been originally posted on the Admissions Blog and re-posted here for convenience.

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Controlling queues on the job and in your life  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Jun 2015, 07:00
FROM Kellogg MBA Blog: Controlling queues on the job and in your life
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First-year student Rohan Rajiv is blogging once a week about important lessons he is learning at Kellogg. Read more of his posts here.

I’ve been sharing a run of operations learnings of late as a part of this series. This has been surprising as I never considered myself a fan of the subject. However, thanks to a combination of a professor (Gad Allon, who last week was named Kellogg Professor of the Year) who’s more than managed to pique my interest and a realization that learning to manage business operations isn’t very different from managing life operations, I’ve enjoyed my time studying operations. And today’s topic is managing queues.

Managing queues is particularly interesting as we all experience, and generally dislike, queues.

The average wait time in a queue is given by the following formula:

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To break down each of the parts of this formula in simple terms (with an analogy of a queue at an ice cream stand):

  • Mean service time is the amount of time taken by the person serving the queue
  • Utilization is the amount of time he/she spends serving out of his/her total time on the job
  • Variability (more on this later) is a measure of how steady the demand is. If people enter the queue steadily through the day, it is much easier to deal with demand versus random fluctuations
Things get interesting when we study the effect of utilization on increasing waiting time. This graph, from HBR, illustrates it beautifully:

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What this graph is saying is that waiting times more than double when your solitary ice cream server is working 80% of the time. It doubles again when he finds himself working 90% of the time. Why? Because delays are caused by sudden fluctuations in the queue, e.g., a mass of tourists that come in to buy ice cream in the midst of their city tour. And since our solitary server has no spare capacity, it is inevitable that waiting times go up.

So, if you are staffing your restaurant, for example, and if you find yourself running at 100% capacity all the time, that may not be the best thing for your customers since it is inevitable that waiting time goes up (If you are an exclusive restaurant, it may not be a bad thing, but that’s a different matter.).

The insight in managing our personal lives is pretty profound. If we organize ourselves such that we always find ourselves running at 100% capacity, it is inevitable that queues will build up on our plate. That’s because work doesn’t arrive at a constant rate. An emergency project is bound to show up and, if we’re running with no safety capacity, that could be a problem. Additionally, we’ll never have the bandwidth to deal with other sorts of fluctuations that may occur outside work, like a family member that gets sick or a friend who needs help. So it is a good idea to maintain safety capacity.

And how do you do that?

Learn how to scope projects well. I had a manager who was a master at making sure we needed no late nights to get to the finish line on our projects. He believed our best work was done when we were relaxed. He reiterated that he’d rather we build models slowly, but accurately, rather than fast and requiring multiple revisions. He also believed we should always be able to deal with issues that come up with minimal stress. And of course, he consciously developed this single skill that, in my opinion, distinguishes great managers from bad ones.

In short, he understood the importance of safety capacity. We should, too.

Rohan Rajiv is a first-year student in Kellogg’s Full-Time Two-Year Program. Prior to Kellogg he worked at a-connect serving clients on consulting projects across 14 countries in Europe, Asia, Australia and South America. He blogs a learning every day, including his MBA Learnings series, on www.ALearningaDay.com.

Filed under: Academics, Business Insight, Student Life Tagged: life lessons, management, MBA Learnings, operations Image
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This post has been originally posted on the Admissions Blog and re-posted here for convenience.

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Financial advice for graduates  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Jun 2015, 12:00
FROM Kellogg MBA Blog: Financial advice for graduates
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By Professor Tim Calkins

This week, almost one thousand people will graduate from Kellogg with their MBA degrees. They will then embark on careers that will span decades. Last year I posted some financial advice for the graduates, and some people found that useful, so this year I’m sticking with the theme. Those who read last year’s post will notice some similar ideas.

I should note that I teach marketing, not finance. This advice comes from several decades of working, saving and investing, and many discussions with friends and colleagues about matters financial–not from the latest textbook.

Here are five pieces of advice for people launching their careers:

Save
The key to financial success is fairly simple: save money. If you spend less than you earn, you have money to work with. You can invest it or reduce debts, and these are both good ideas.

Building up some savings gives you the freedom to pursue your interests. It also reduces your risk. Things can unravel quickly in life. Having some money in the bank is a bit of insurance for the rough times. There will be some rough times.

It all starts with spending discipline. You have to spend less than you make. So drive a cheap car and keep it forever. Buy a relatively inexpensive house. Go easy on fancy restaurants and fine wines. Visit Michigan instead of Tahiti. It isn’t really all that complicated.

Saving early in your career is particularly valuable because a little money today can become a lot of money tomorrow through the power of compounding.

Pay down debt
Corporate finance executives will often observe that debt is a positive. If you borrow money to invest in productive assets, you will usually increase your firm’s profits and stock price. Indeed, a company with no debt is rarely optimizing returns for stock owners.

But people are not companies. For individuals, debt is a burden. When you carry debt, you are paying interest month after month. This is bad for morale as well as your savings.

Paying down debt is a completely risk-free move that often provides a relatively good return. Remember, the people who loaned you money thought that it was a good financial investment, despite the risk that you would default. You can get the same return with zero risk. That is a good proposition.

It is fine to take a mortgage when buying a house, even if you have investments; you don’t want to sell stocks and incur capital gains taxes if you can avoid it. Debt can be a useful bridge. Just remember, once you have the mortgage, pay it off.

Buy stocks and hold them
The U.S. financial system is remarkable because it lets you buy stocks in hundreds of companies for almost nothing. Once you own a stock, there are no fees and no capital gains taxes.

I bought one of my first stocks back in 1995. I purchased 100 shares in State Street Bank for $3,357. I still own them and the position is now worth over $31,000. In the past twenty years, I haven’t paid a single fee or any capital gains taxes on this money. I plan to hold the stock for the rest of my life, so I’ll never have to.

If you invest in a mutual fund, you’ll pay a fee every year, and then you’ll pay capital gains taxes. Over time, a 1% annual fee becomes a very significant drag on a portfolio. Holding a stock is free.

Some people argue that buying individual stocks is too risky for small investors. I disagree.

If you buy thirty stocks completely at random, your return should be somewhat similar to the stock market as a whole. You might miss Apple, but you might also miss Enron. Some stocks will go up; some will go down. You can sell the losers and take the capital gains loss against your income. In other words, the government covers a portion of the downside.

The key is that you should almost never sell a stock. This is difficult. It is incredibly tempting to sell when a stock is up or down, but a trade is often a losing proposition. You have to both sell at the right time and buy at the right time.

So buy a few shares in different companies and then get back to working and playing with your kids. If you can’t bring yourself to just buy individual stocks, put some money in an index fund.

Keep things simple
Investing can be very complex. The financial world thrives on creating complicated products designed to exploit small mispricing opportunities.

My advice: avoid complexity. Instead, you should keep your investments as simple as possible. Work with just a few investment companies and limit your credit cards. Most importantly, avoid investments that you don’t understand, especially if they seem too good to be true.

When I was about eight years old I took a trip to Mexico with my parents. They were (and still are) fairly frugal, so we went to a free breakfast sponsored by a time-share company. Within thirty minutes, my parents were ready to buy several weeks of time in the development. It all felt fishy to me, a bit too good to be true. I recommended against it. That was a wise piece of advice, and my parents still tell that story.

If you keep things simple, you will understand your investments and sleep better.

Be generous
One way to save more money is to cut back on charitable donations. This is technically true, but it’s a bad idea. You should be generous.

There are two reasons to give to charity.

First, it is your obligation. The U.S. is a unique country. While we have fewer taxes than some countries, our citizens are generous. This isn’t the case everywhere. My children attend a French school in Chicago, and new families from France are simply baffled by the U.S. system of asking for donations. This is understandable, because in France taxes are exceptionally high but people don’t then contribute much to charities. The higher taxes compensate for the lack of giving.

The U.S. is different; people give back. Graduating from Kellogg puts you in a rather select group of society. You have training, connections, and skills. As you progress through life, you should help others who didn’t have the same advantages.

Secondly, you should give because it is rewarding. Studies show that when you give away money you feel better about your life. This is a win–win proposition.

So find a cause you care about, and then support it consistently. In addition, if a friend or colleague asks you to support their cause, do so. If someone is walking for diabetes, support them. If they invite you to a charity dinner, attend if you can, and then be generous. These donations support good causes and they build relationships. Think of it as an investment in people and your community that will pay you back many times over.

And there you have it — financial advice for your bright futures. Now go forth, succeed, and do good things in the world.

Tim Calkins is a clinical professor of marketing at Kellogg, where he teaches marketing strategy, biomedical marketing and strategic marketing decisions. He also leads Kellogg’s Super Bowl Ad Review. His professional blog can be found at timcalkins.com.

Filed under: Career, Student Life Tagged: Advice, career advice, financial advice, graduation, Tim Calkins Image
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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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This post has been originally posted on the Admissions Blog and re-posted here for convenience.

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Soliciting Letters of Recommendation: Remember the Rule of 10%  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Jun 2015, 16:07
By Adam Hoff, Amerasia Consulting Group

When it comes to recommendations, the first thing that any applicant needs to understand is how they work and, therefore, how they should handle them as part of the process.  We sum up this analysis with something we call “The Rule of 10%”: they count for about 10% of a decision, they should be about 10% of your focus during application season, and you should contribute about 10% of the work that goes into their outcome.  Obviously, these are all gross estimates and generalizations, but it shakes out to about right and its easier to use 10% than “a percentage that is a LOT less than you think it is.”  The bottom line is that most applicants assume a much higher level of importance, they spend far more time thinking and worrying about them, and they get far too involved in their production (the biggest issue of all).  Let’s work through all three:

 

1. Letters of Rec Make up About 10% of the Decision.

There are basically two ways to analyze how recommendations work within an admissions decision – one is to think of it from a process standpoint and the other is to consider the “weight” they carry, more or less, and using the former can help us understand why the answer to the latter is “more or less about 10%.”

Within the process, the typical way in which a letter of recommendation is utilized by an admissions officer is as a verification tool.  A reader will sit down to review a file (in much less time than you think, by the way) and typically work through the “one sheet” (name, biographical data, test scores, undergrad, major, GPA, age, etc.) so they can get the basics.  This frames the expectation going in and is why some of these data points become obsessed over.  A low GMAT tells the reader “long shot” (and that’s the best case scenario).  An extreme age makes them extra sensitive to the appropriateness of the degree.  There are a lot of ways the perception can be framed at this very initial stage, and while nobody’s mind is made up yet, there is definitely an influence on the way the file is read.

Next, it’s the application itself (transcripts are usually skipped or skimmed unless there is something to investigate, like a really low GPA next to a monster GMAT score), which is very quick.  The resume brings to life work experience in a snapshot, which is why you must always construct your resume as a sales tool.  Now, the reader has a much better sense of how qualified this applicant is, how well this person has done professionally, and so forth – the reader can probably prognosticate admissions chances with about 60% accuracy at this point.  The essays are where the variance kicks in.  Some who look good on paper will blow it, by either failing to articulate proper reasons for the degree, or writing bland content that they think is what someone wants to read, or for failing to really connect to the school in question.  Others will rise far above the initial impression with “great” essays (that do accomplish the things above).

Once the essays are completed, the reader is about 90% of the way there and more or less has decided.  The only thing left is to check the recommendation letters to make sure that other people – people who know the applicant better – concur with the assessment.  Again, we want to stress that this is about validating an already-formed opinion.  If you were an experienced professional who prided yourself on bringing in a great class of students every year and you know what works and what doesn’t, are you going to cede the power of making the decision to someone writing a letter?  Of course not, so unless it is an extreme case (like Stanford, where far more stated importance is put on letters of recommendation), you can assume that your letters will account for about 10% of the ultimate decision.  Good letters will help affirm a reader’s decision to “admit” (note: this just means you will get an interview invite at this point, but within admissions offices they flag people as admits until they are demoted down to wait list or deny), is basically what it comes down to.

 

2.  You Should Spend About 10% of Your Time on Letters of Rec.

The second Rule of 10% is how much time you should be spending on the letter of recommendation – and 10% might be generous.  This is a letter written by someone else, after all.  How much time should it really take you?  Not much!  Note though that we did not say 0% of your time.  You do need to take some steps to set your recommender up for success rather than failure.
  • First, you should indeed sit down with the person writing your letter and talk to that individual.  Thank them for taking the time, solicit their advice on schools and even whether now is the right time (even if you are just doing it to make them feel valued), buy them a cup of coffee – whatever you do, make it personal and don’t just email them a one-liner asking them to write you a letter of recommendation.
  • You should also state clearly what you are asking them to do, which is recommend you.  This is not a performance evaluation.  Ask the person in question whether he or she is comfortable recommending you wholeheartedly to business school.  Avoid anyone who caveats the answer or who seems intent on performing a rigorous exercise just to prove how smart they are.  You want someone who is excited to help your chances by extolling your virtues.
  • Finally, you should provide your recommender with some ammunition.  This is admittedly a tricky area, because you neither want to influence the letter too much, nor do you want to overwhelm the recommender with reams of documents that they have to sort through.  Our advice is to give them three items: your resume, a “query letter” that formally asks them for this favor and details some of your key accomplishments and interests (2-3 pages, max), and a sample (if they would like to see one) of a good letter.  From there, your work is done.  Get out of the way and don’t mess with the process.

 

3. You Should Do About 10% of the Work on Your Letters.

This leads us to our third 10% Rule, which is how big your role should be in the production of the letter.  That 10% is already accounted for above – in the prep work to set that person up to succeed.  Any other involvement is not only unethical (some schools will ding you for leaving your fingerprints on the letter), but also counterproductive.  Remember what these are used for: to verify the findings of an experienced admissions professional.  They don’t want to read more essays!  They don’t want to see you embedding more statements about how awesome you are in another part of the application (commonly referred to as “synching the letters”).  All they want is an authentic, positive letter that says, “yes, I vouch that this person is great – if you liked the application, you will like the actual applicant.”

Now, just to make it clear that we’re not in some utopian society where all recommendation letter writers are created equal, let’s discuss quality.  Is there a disparity between a good letter and a great one?  Yes, absolutely.  A great letter is well written, provides specific examples of discussed traits, offers context for its remarks, and – best of all – establishes a baseline from which to assess this one person (“in all my years on Wall Street, during which I have encountered hundreds of MBA candidates, Timmy is the best…”).  However (and this is a key point!), the same disparity does not exist between the value of a great letter versus a good one.  Great letters don’t pull victory from the jaws of defeat and magically make your ding an admit, so the marginal utility of a “great” letter is somewhere between zero and “not much.”  Sure, there are cases of amazing letters playing a big role, but that is unpredictable and rare, meaning you don’t build your application strategy around it.  More to the point, the downside of a manipulated letter is that you can get denied – either on ethical grounds or because the reader simply has no way to validate previous findings (which is their entire objective in reviewing them).

Remember: if the role you play in your own letters of recommendation is greater than 10%, you will not only fail to gain an advantage, you create a great possibility that you will shoot yourself in the foot.  Engaging in this process beyond 10% of the work is basically minimal upside, big downside.

If you can take this tip to heart, you will create less stress for everyone involved and allow the letters of recommendation to serve the very basic function they are intended for.

 

For an overview of Amerasia MBA Admissions Consulting services, please visit http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/mba_admissions_consulting_services/

If you are interested in the MBA Admissions Consulting services offered by Amerasia, please email mba@amerasiaconsulting.com to inquire about setting up a free consultation.

 
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The 11 takeaways from my Kellogg experience  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Jun 2015, 08:00
FROM Kellogg MBA Blog: The 11 takeaways from my Kellogg experience
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By Aftab Khanna

Tomorrow I will officially transition from being an MBA Candidate to an MBA Graduate of Kellogg’s Class of 2015. Over the last few weeks, as the journey started approaching its goal, a few of us had conversations about what our key takeaways were.

What are the things we learned that would stay with us for years to come?

An MBA gives you technical skills and core subject matter knowledge, but some lessons stand out. As I thought about my own learnings, a few things came to mind and I thought it was worth it to share them with current and prospective students.

I would add some caveats here, though:

  • The list is purely subjective and reflects my opinions. Others may completely disagree and that would be fair.
  • The list is also colored by the kind of classes I took. Someone with a different class mix would have other things to talk about (which is the beauty of an academically diverse MBA program).
  • Lastly, it is not so much about how many points you can take away but how deeply the information impacted you, and that is something that comes down to the quality of faculty and what they taught you. At Kellogg, I have been lucky to be taught by some wonderful professors, and this list would surely not have been possible without them.
1. The free markets work … mostly

And when they don’t, there is one word that describes that failure: externalities. Externalities are actions we take that cause an impact felt by others; we do not take this impact into account while taking the action. Smoking is a classic example of an externality. You don’t need a business school to tell you that free markets are the most optimal economic mechanism to generate and distribute wealth, but you do need to understand why and when markets fail and what to do about them. If you ever feel that a market-based solution is not working, hunt for the externalities.

2. Marketing is much more than advertising

Call me a little silly, but advertising was the face of marketing for me and I could not think beyond it before coming to Kellogg. What I learned was that for a business marketer, the ad creative is the last thing that should matter. Marketing runs parallel to all your business decisions (as does Operations). The key is to think of a customer problem to solve, identify a unique customer segment, tailor the product to address their problem and then position it to them. One lesson that I will never forget came from my Advertising Strategy class: Your job is to own the strategy, the creative is owned by the agency. Never try to modify the creative. Simply reject it if it betrays the product positioning and strategy.

3. Do not mistake correlation for causality

A lot of sensational articles you see on the web suffer from this syndrome. The human mind is trained to search for cause/effect relationships everywhere, and the first plausible one that we come across tends to get sanctified. Does carrying a cell phone in the front trouser pocket reduce sperm fertility in men? Does consuming chocolate lead to weight loss in women? Did New York City’s crime rate drop in the 1990s because Mayor Rudy Giuliani cracked down on graffiti? Whenever you see a sensational headline or a piece of business research in your field, pause and ask whether it is merely a correlation or an actual causation. (P.S. – The answer to all the three questions above is No.)

4. Conditional probability guides a lot of our value based debates

As one of my favorite professors at Kellogg remarked, decision sciences or probability studies can explain almost everything in life. Conditional probability is often behind a lot of our policy debates – our station in life conditions our views. If you are wealthy, a redistributive economic policy would not appeal to you, while if you belong to an economically weaker strata of society, you would push for such a policy. Our values are dependent on our existing conditions. But ask yourself this – if you could not choose how or where you were born, and on one end of the probability tree is richness and wealth and on the other end lies deep poverty and deprivation, would you still prefer a world without any safety nets? To me this was a fascinating perspective, one that I never considered and it opened my thinking to the scope of application of probability concepts.

5. Doing currency arbitrage is like picking pennies in front of a speeding truck

One of my favorite Kellogg classes was International Finance. At some level we all think we can game the markets. As an international student, I was always alive to the sensitivity of exchange rates of my home country and the US – always searching for that arbitrage. What this class taught me was that you simply cannot forecast currency rates, and unless you are playing with millions of dollars of (ideally) someone else’s money, currency arbitrage is likely to burn you. You cannot forecast currency depreciations and interest rate changes and eventually it becomes a zero sum game. The other big learnings from this class – the best way to hedge against currency risk is to produce locally and that currency hedging is a long-term marriage, not a one night stand.

6. Create value, but don’t forget to find someone who can pay for it

The Performance Indicator case in my Core Strategy class was one of my favorites, not only because it related to golf — of which I am an avid fan — but also because it teased apart the relevant distinction between value creation and value capture. A breakthrough technology that would help golfers identify whether a used golf ball was beyond degradation was struggling to find adoption simply because its inventors were going after a segment of the market (premium golf ball makers) where the technology would have eroded value by pushing customers toward lower priced golf balls. Another learning that came from the case – innovation may sometimes erode value across some parts of the value chain.

7. Fall in love with the problem, not the product

An often repeated mistake in technology markets is to become obsessed with a product and not the problem. The case of Iridium stands as a landmark tombstone here. A brick-heavy phone developed in the 1990s to help solve the problem of being able to communicate when you had no access to landline telephones. The issue was that Iridium was very expensive and could only work when the user was in a clean line of sight with the satellite. The mockingly sighted use case – a CEO sitting at the top of Grand Canyon. Yet Iridium continued to bleed money simply because no one stood up to say that they were too focused on the product and not the customer problem. The cel lphone revolution eventually did the talking for them.

8. There is wisdom in the crowd

I must confess I was a bit skeptical of the whole crowdsourcing buzz until a class experiment made me see its application. Under the right conditions (a straightforward problem not requiring expertise and the crowd possessing basic knowledge about the problem), a crowd can outperform a team of experts. From whether it is predicting who will become President to who gets picked as the No. 1 player in a draft, the crowd can outperform the average prediction of individual experts in all cases. There is a catch, though, and that is called diversity; the crowd must be sufficiently diverse (read random) for its errors to cancel out.

9. The best strategies get tripped by non-market events

We now operate in a world where businesses routinely must think, care about and accommodate their external stakeholders. The ability of non-market events to scuttle a business plan is enormous and I am glad that at Kellogg this was a core focus area from both a national and international perspective. How do businesses form coalitions to guard their interests against changing regulations? How do we manage gatekeepers and regulators? How do we align interests and how do we safeguard investments in emerging markets with uncertain governments and weak judicial systems? Corporations like Wal-Mart have been singed by non-market events all over the world. What was thought as lying at the frontier of business decision making is now a more frequent reality, and something that can pour water on the best laid plans.

10. The best way to build culture is through guidelines and not rules

You will many Kellogg professors speak about values-based leadership and how to use values to guide decision-making. A lot of organizations pride themselves on their culture and many try to change their culture. A key learning for me was that culture is not a dictum – it is an evolutionary process and hence best left to broad guidelines to govern it rather than strict rules. Rules promote backlash and workarounds, whereas guidelines allow sufficient flexibility for implementation. Another critical learning was the use of social norms – people follow the lead of those around them. Put them in relatable situations, tell them what their peers did and affirm positive values to achieve behavior change.

11.  Never enter a negotiation without planning

Always have a BATNA (Best Alternative To a Negotiated Solution), prepare and identify your priorities and your counterpart’s priorities, then find room for give and take by looking at all the issues together. You will be surprised by how much everyone can compromise.

Lastly, enjoy and own your MBA journey. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and it is entirely up to you to derive as much value from it as you can!

Aftab Khanna is from New Delhi, India. Aftab is a bit of a social media addict, loves to watch any kind of sport and shares his thoughts on Twitter at @aftabkhanna.

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On your graduation day  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Jun 2015, 09:00
FROM Kellogg MBA Blog: On your graduation day
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By Dean Betsy Ziegler

Good morning, graduates!

Today is a big day and you should feel very proud. My Kellogg journey has been shared with many of you, so I am sure you know this day is particularly meaningful to me as well. Your graduation, the convocation events this week and the exit conversations I’ve had with members of this class have inspired a bit of personal reflection.

Over the last 15 + years, I’ve developed five “life mottos” that I wanted to pass along to you to consider as you take the next step in your life journey.

1. Aspire to achieve no unmanaged outcomes

For any personal or professional situation, envision the outcome you desire, think through potential challenges, get out ahead of the situation and pre-solve for any issues. This requires moments of deep thinking, great organization and the courage to articulate what is important to you – despite potential resistance. Try it. I promise that once you start thinking this way, you will feel much more in control of your career and life.

2. Cultivate mentor and mentee relationships

Mentors matter – we all need support. Finding a mentor should be at the very top of your to-do list. My personal mentors have changed every five years or so. I’ve needed different guidance over time and different mentors to meet those needs. Understand how you too can begin to mentor others. My mentor-mentee relationships continue to be some of the most rewarding of my life.

3. Focus on your response to the “bounce” vs. the “bounce” itself

You will make mistakes. Some will be big, and some will be small. I’ve made dozens over my career. Your mentors and those more senior than you have also made them, even though they may not talk abut them. In my experience, people won’t remember the mistakes themselves (or the negative bounce), they will remember how you respond to those situations. Attitude, perseverance, standing tall supersedes all else.

4. Resist the urge to go underground

You will have moments of sheer panic – that you were a hiring mistake; that you made an unforgivable error on an analysis; that you are overwhelmed by the workload/responsibility. I promise you this is normal and happens to everyone, even if they don’t want to admit it. Resist the urge to go underground and hide. Instead, ask for help, say you don’t know if you don’t know or call your friends for support. It is a sign of strength to say you don’t know but are willing to do everything you can to figure it out, to find the answer, to solve the problem. Organizations that hire Kellogg graduates do not make hiring mistakes. Remember, you belong, you have earned a seat at the table. You will be great, but you can’t be great totally on your own … something you’ve undoubtedly learned at Kellogg.

5. Plan to live a full and happy life

Every six months that I was at McKinsey, I asked myself – Am I still learning? Am I still making an impact? Am I still having fun? For 11 years, the answers to these questions were yes. At year 11, I started to feel differently, so wrote out a 40×40 list (things I wanted to do by the time I was 40) and started executing. My world totally opened up. I was a seat filler at the Primetime Emmys, travelled around the globe, attended the Aspen Ideas Festival … and I made choices that got me to Kellogg. I firmly believe that you have to plan to live a full and happy life. It is so easy to get caught up in the routine, put your head down and work, and define yourself by your professional accomplishments. Figure out what is important to you over time (not necessarily what others think is important), and make intentional choices that bring you the greatest personal happiness. You may want to walk down a path that everyone around you thinks is crazy or risky. If you have conviction that this path will make you happy, make the brave choice and take it.

Each of you is amazing. You are a Kellogg leader, an achievement few people can claim. Many doors and opportunities will be open to you. Have confidence, articulate what is most important to you and use that as your guidepost for navigating life’s big decisions.

While your days as a student have come to an end, your connection to Kellogg lasts for a lifetime. Take advantage of the opportunities provided by our global alumni network – leverage it and contribute to it.

I look forward to seeing each of you on the graduation stage later today and hearing about all of your personal and professional success going forward.

Thank you for all that you have contributed in the classroom, through the clubs and conferences and in/around the broader community. Congratulations!

Betsy

Dean Elizabeth Ziegler is the Associate Dean of MBA Operations and Dean of Students at Kellogg. Follow her on Twitter @DeanZ_Kellogg.

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Faculty advice for the Class of 2015  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Jun 2015, 07:00
FROM Kellogg MBA Blog: Faculty advice for the Class of 2015
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“Be curious and don’t stop learning. The world is constantly evolving, and you should be too.” — Brayden King

“Leadership is often determined by the courage of the questions you ask, not only the answers you give.” — Michelle Buck

“Never allow yourself to get so busy that you starve the relationships that matter most.” — Nicholas Pearce

Kellogg celebrated the graduation of the Class of 2015 this past weekend. Prior to the ceremony, Kellogg’s faculty members were asked to offer their advice to the new graduates.

Their responses ranged from the ideas of working hard and constantly learning to remembering to smile and focusing on more than just work.

Take a look at their more than 60 pieces of advice.

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Advice for new students from Kellogg grads  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Jun 2015, 08:00
FROM Kellogg MBA Blog: Advice for new students from Kellogg grads
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The Kellogg School of Management welcomed new students to its One-Year and MMM MBA Programs on Monday, June 22. The students were welcomed with a collection of advice from the Class of 2015. Take a look at some of the graduates’ words of wisdom.

“Get involved early and often because it goes by way too quickly.” — Jon Edwards

“Be very clear about what you want to accomplish while here.” — Carri Cowan

“Be open to new experiences, and always have a smile.” — Adam Goldberg

“It’s a unique two-year experience you’ll never have a gain. Take advantage of every opportunity you want.” — Jordana Cohen

“Follow your dreams.” — Sambuddha Bhattacharya

Read the complete list of advice on Storify

See what advice Kellogg faculty gave to the graduates

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2,000 miles away and still a part of Kellogg  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Jun 2015, 09:00
FROM Kellogg MBA Blog: 2,000 miles away and still a part of Kellogg
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By Jena Mills

When my boyfriend was accepted into the dual-degree MMM Program at Kellogg, I was absolutely overjoyed, just like any other brand new JV (Joint Venture)! All of a sudden, we had a whole new city and non-coastal lifestyle to explore. We were so ready for the adventure!

The catch about adventures, exciting though they may be, is that there’s always an adjustment period. A new routine. A new environment. New friends … basically a new normal.

Our normal at the time was me in Los Angeles, where I was in medical school, and my boyfriend in San Francisco, where he worked as a consultant for Frog Design. We managed that long-distance relationship for three years, so we were already aware of the excitement and challenges ahead of us.

As I watched him move off to Evanston last summer to start school, I worried about whether or not I would be able to meaningfully participate in the experience as a long-distance JV. I knew from a great friend (a recent Kellogg alum) and his then-JV (now fiancé), that the Kellogg community was exceptionally supportive of JVs, allowing them to audit classes and run extracurricular groups, but how could I possibly be a part of all that being 2,000 miles away?

I soon came to realize that I really had nothing to worry about.

Within weeks of his acceptance, my boyfriend’s KBud (business school “big sib”) put me in touch with another long-distance JV in medical school — a JV KBud of my own. She was someone I could contact with questions/concerns, and just generally someone with whom I could relate.

I learned the important lingo, came to understand FOMO and came to appreciate what a “team meeting” actually entails. I immediately felt better and more prepared with tools to tackle this new adventure.

My first visit to Evanston was over the Fourth of July weekend. At this time, only the MMM (and 1Y) students had started school, and I was so excited to meet all the new friends I had heard about over the phone. We spent the day playing beach volleyball at North Beach and gathered on an Evanston rooftop for fireworks that night. Everyone was amazingly warm, and every student or JV I met was so excited to welcome me to the Kellogg family.

I cannot emphasize enough what a huge part of the culture this is, and it speaks volumes about the kinds of people Kellogg hopes to bring into the community. They care so much about creating an accepting, familial atmosphere, and it shows!

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At the end of the summer, I was fortunate enough to go on a KWEST (Kellogg Worldwide Experiences & Service Trips) trip to Northern Spain, and I made some of the most wonderful friendships with students and fellow JVs. Despite the fact that I have only been able to visit Evanston a handful of times since then (mostly for the major seasonal formal events), I still feel like I’ve had every opportunity to engage with the community.

Regardless of the event, an invitation is unconditionally extended to me if I happen to be in town. Whether it’s Kellogg’s Hoot for the Homeless Halloween bash, a DAK (Day at Kellogg) leader preparation event, team meetings over dinner, or sitting in for a one-day audit of Professor of the Year Gad Allon’s Operations Strategy course, I have always felt welcomed and encouraged to participate when I’m in town.

I genuinely feel like, in my own way, I am an important part of the community and an important part of my boyfriend’s experience in business school.

I have learned quite a bit this first year as a Kellogg JV. Business school is an incredible experience, for students and JVs alike. It is genuinely unlike any other experience I have ever known, and I am so grateful to be a part of the Kellogg community. I have honestly felt extremely well-supported and very much included in the experience, more so than I could have ever hoped for.

So for all you potential future long-distance JVs out there, let me be the first to say that we are so excited to welcome you into the Kellogg family!

Jena Mills is the girlfriend of Diego Depetris, who is currently in Kellogg’s MMM Program. Jena received her M.D. from the Keck School of Medicine of USC this past May and just moved to Chicago to start a surgical internship at Presence Saint Joseph’s Hospital – Chicago. She’s especially excited to adjust to life as a non-long-distance JV!

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Statistical fluctuations and dependent events  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Jun 2015, 09:00
FROM Kellogg MBA Blog: Statistical fluctuations and dependent events
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Current student Rohan Rajiv is blogging once a week about important lessons he is learning at Kellogg. Read more of his posts here.

In my last MBA learning post, we dove into the idea of managing queues by managing our utilization. In that post, we briefly discussed why queues form. Today, I’d like to dig deeper into that question.

So, why do queues / delays occur? They occur due to a combination of statistical fluctuations and dependent events. In simpler terms, statistical fluctuations can be described as variability. If we go back to the analogy of the ice cream stall, it is unlikely that the queue is exactly five people through the day. There will be times when the queue will be long and then times when it will be short. These differences are statistical fluctuations.

Life in the world of managing queues becomes harder when you combine statistical fluctuations with dependent events. A beautiful example of this combination at play is demonstrated in this 1 min 46 sec video called “The Subway Delay Story” by the MTA, New York’s subway operator.



In this video, the sick passenger requiring assistance and an emergency stop is an example of variability. And, every train behind the held train is a dependent event.

Another simple example of statistical fluctuations and dependent events at play is in connecting flights. We all have probably experienced delays in one flight that results in a chain reaction of delays in other flights. As a result, most airlines experience a deteriorating performance in their arrival times as the day progresses.

So, what can we do about statistical fluctuations and dependent events? Well, books have been written on the subject, So, instead of attempting a comprehensive answer, I’m going to share my simplified set of three ideas you can apply immediately in your life:

1. Be sensitive to the combination of statistical fluctuations and dependent events in your own life. 

One simple application would be to avoid scheduling back-to-back meetings through the day. It is inevitable that one of them will spill. And, this, in turn, will result in a chain reaction through your day.

2. Control for statistical fluctuations / variability by building in safety capacity. 

This is a continuation of the idea of reducing your “utilization” and building in safety capacity. So, if you are scheduling many meetings during the day, leave little gaps in between so you can catch up on delays caused by fluctuations.

3. Look for creative ways to reduce variability. 

Disney offers “fastpass” tickets to various rides that allow customers to skip the queue at these rides at certain times. These times are designed such that groups of customers are incentivized to go to these rides at different periods during the day – thus, reducing the likelihood that everyone shows up at the same peak time. The equivalent in our personal life would be to plan ahead and avoid deliverable “peaks.” If you foresee two projects coming due in the same week, finish one up a week earlier and treat yourself (equivalent to the fastpass) so you avoid the peak rush.

And, finally, look out for statistical fluctuations and dependent events in the coming week. It changes the way you think about queues. And, if that isn’t magical, what is?

Rohan Rajiv just completed his first year in Kellogg’s Full-Time Two-Year Program. Prior to Kellogg he worked at a-connect serving clients on consulting projects across 14 countries in Europe, Asia, Australia and South America. He blogs a learning every day, including his MBA Learnings series, on www.ALearningaDay.com.

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My first week in the One-Year MBA program  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Jul 2015, 07:00
FROM Kellogg MBA Blog: My first week in the One-Year MBA program
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By Amrit Chavada

It’s hard to believe it has only been a week since I stepped into the Jake (Kellogg’s Jacobs Center) on Northwestern’s Evanston campus. The past seven days have been a whirlwind of activities, all a part of CIM — Complete Immersion in Management — the orientation program for new students.

From information sessions, course selection to fun team-building events like improv sessions, baseball games and cruises, CIM was a fun transition into school mode.

Here are my three highlights from CIM:

1) Introspection:

Throughout the orientation we were constantly asked to evaluate what our overall life goals are and think about how Kellogg fits into those. Business school is a great opportunity to evaluate or re-evaluate life goals.

2) Peers:

The saying, “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room” applies very well here. As a part of CIM, a member of the admissions committee read some of the achievements of my fellow classmates (without identifying who each person was). I knew then and there I was definitely in the right room.

3) Team Building:

In just a week’s time, I am able to recall over fifty of my section mates’ names. As a person who usually struggles with getting names and faces right, I can attribute it largely to an alliterative name game we played as a part of our CIM activities. Going out together every night also helped.

The combination of CIM and my first few classes have definitely put to rest some of my apprehensions about getting back in the classroom. Like most of my fellow 1Ys, I am looking forward to a beautiful summer of learning and fun in Evanston!

Amrit Chavada is a student in Kellogg’s One-Year MBA Program. Prior to Kellogg she worked in brand management and marketing roles in retail. She is from Mumbai, India.

Learn more about Kellogg’s One-Year MBA Program.

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Internship credibility, powered by the MMM program  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Jul 2015, 06:00
FROM Kellogg MBA Blog: Internship credibility, powered by the MMM program
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By Shriansh Shrivastava

One of the unique tools Kellogg’s MMM program teaches is Design Thinking. Now in industry, Design Thinking is generally associated with agile design houses like IDEO, Frog and Doblin. It brings to mind visions of bright rooms decorated in white and primary colors, full of whiteboards, sharpies and foam core.

I’m guilty of making this association myself. So that last thing I expected when entering Dell as an intern this summer was an invite in my calendar for a training session on Design Thinking. The training was cool (though nothing new for me, thanks to the MMM program). Apart from making me feel even more awesome about Kellogg, it motivated me to look into how such an agile, fast framework was being used at a company as large and mature as Dell.

Read about my experience (with a quick introduction to design thinking) here: http://j.mp/ShrDell1 (comments and questions welcome).

Learn more about “Thepower of design thinking” and “10 tips to be an effective design thinker” from Greg Holderfield, director of the Segal Design Institute, clinical associate professor and co-director of the MMM program.

Soon to be a second-year MMM student at Kellogg, Shriansh Shrivastava is currently (summer 2015) interning at Dell as a Product Marketing Senior Advisor for the high-end precision line of workstations. At Kellogg, he loves case competitions, is VP of Academics for the MMM program and a student leader for the Kellogg Innovation Network. Follow him on Twitter: @shriansh.

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Where Kellogg Admissions is this week: July 6  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jul 2015, 09:00
FROM Kellogg MBA Blog: Where Kellogg Admissions is this week: July 6
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The Kellogg Admissions Team is hitting the road this summer and traveling around the world to meet with prospective students and provide information about the school’s Full-Time MBA programs.

See below for where Admissions representatives will be this week.

WHEN: Monday, July 6

WHERE: Santiago, Chile

Register and learn more about this information session

WHEN: Wednesday, July 8

WHERE: Lima, Peru

Learn more about this information session

WHEN: Wednesday, July 8

WHERE: Tokyo, Japan

Register and learn more about this information session

WHEN: Thursday, July 9

WHERE: Seoul, South Korea

Register and learn more about this information session

WHEN: Saturday, July 11

WHERE: São Paulo, Brazil

Register and learn more about this information session

See where else you can meet the admissions team this summer.

If you plan on being in the Chicago area, you can also arrange for a campus visit, where you can learn more about Kellogg and the student experience.

INSIDER ACCESS
Want to know some tips for applying from the Director of Admissions for Kellogg’s Full-Time MBA Programs? Take a look at her five-part blog series.

Curious to know how Kellogg assesses its applicants? Learn how the Admissions team evaluates each application.

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Kellogg application now available  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Jul 2015, 08:00
FROM Kellogg MBA Blog: Kellogg application now available
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We are excited to announce that the 2015-16 application for Kellogg’s Full-Time MBA program is now available.

The Kellogg Admissions team strives to get to know you as a person and understand what you want to get out of your experience. The application process provides our team with many opportunities to find out more about you, wherever you are in the world.

One of the ways we get to know you is through your essay questions. This year, the application features two essay questions, which can be found below:

  • Leadership and teamwork are integral parts of the Kellogg experience. Describe a recent and meaningful time you were a leader. What challenges did you face, and what did you learn? (450 words)
  • Pursuing an MBA is a catalyst for personal and professional growth. How have you grown in the past? How do you intend to grow at Kellogg? (450 words)
Later this month, the blog will feature two posts by Beth Tidmarsh, director of admissions for Kellogg’s Full-Time programs, who will provide more background on what the Admissions team is looking for in your essay question responses.

In addition to the written essay questions, our application features video essays that provide applicants with an additional opportunity to demonstrate what they will bring to our vibrant Kellogg community. Each applicant will complete two short video essay questions. The questions are designed to bring to life the person we have learned about on “paper.”

Learn more about the essays and application process.

As you are thinking about your application, take a look at Tidmarsh’s two series’ on “Tips for Applying” and “How Kellogg applicants are assessed.”

As always, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to the Admissions team directly at mbaadmissions@kellogg.northwestern.edu.

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Kellogg switches up MBA essays (via Poets & Quants)  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Jul 2015, 11:00
FROM Kellogg MBA Blog: Kellogg switches up MBA essays (via Poets & Quants)
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The Kellogg Full-Time MBA application became available for applicants yesterday, July 8. Among other requirements, the application features two essay questions and two video essays.

Learn more about the application process

Kate Smith, assistant dean of admissions and financial aid, spoke with Poets & Quants’ John Byrne about what’s new with this year’s application, what stayed the same and what the admissions team hopes to learn from applicants.

Read the full story on Poets & Quants.

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How and why companies invest in foreign entities to avoid tax | MBA Le  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Jul 2015, 09:00
FROM Kellogg MBA Blog: How and why companies invest in foreign entities to avoid tax | MBA Learnings
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Current student Rohan Rajiv is blogging once a week about important lessons he is learning at Kellogg. Read more of his posts.

There’s been a lot of news over the years around companies who book their revenues in foreign entities and avoid taxes. Amazon, Starbucks, Google and a few others have been tried in courts because of an inordinate amount of revenue booked in Luxembourg. Let’s take a few moments to deconstruct this:

Let’s imagine a company earns $200 in revenue. Let’s also assume costs are $100 => Profits are $100 as well.

Now, the $100 is subject to tax. So, $30 goes to the government (assuming a 30% tax rate) and $70 goes back to the company as after-tax profits. If the company is a fast growing company like Amazon or Facebook, it’ll generally choose to re-invest the amount in growth. And, if it is a slower growth company, a large portion of this amount generally finds its way back to shareholders.

Given the incentives in place for the shareholders to maximize their wealth, the 30% tax is an “unnecessary burden” (if you take the point of view that taxes are nothing but a waste of cash forgetting that it is taxes that provide the infrastructure for businesses to thrive). As a result, companies typically adopt two common strategies.

1. Take on debt

Even if our imaginary company doesn’t really need debt, it takes on $1000 of debt. Assuming a 5% interest rate, it now has to pay out $50 this year. As a result, its profits are now $50 => the amount paid in taxes is halved to $15. Shareholders are happier.

However, debt comes at a cost. Let’s imagine this company invests the $1000 in a risky venture that doesn’t work. Now, it has to pay interests out of its core business profits. The good news is that it has a strong core business and the interest amount doesn’t dwarf the profits of the core business. So, in this case, we’re safe. However, when companies take on huge amounts of debt to fund large investments, they can often end up paying a lot more than interest in the form of “Costs of Financial Distress” or “Bankruptcy costs.” This happens when the market believes its debt burden is too high and the stock begins losing value.

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The takeaway here is that there is an optimal amount of debt for every company where the benefits gained by paying lesser taxes are lesser than the costs of financial distress. That’s why capital structure (the ratio of debt to the overall value of the firm) matters.

2. Create foreign subsidiaries

If Luxembourg offers a 0% tax rate, it pulls companies toward investing in a foreign subsidiary based out of Luxembourg. This way, our imaginary company’s tax payers don’t lose any value to taxes. The only condition here is that the money earned in Luxembourg has to stay in Luxembourg. If the company tries to bring it to the US, it’ll have to pay the 30% in taxes. Large multinationals don’t have problems doing this, of course. There are plenty of local investment opportunities.

So, as companies become increasingly global, we’re going to see more of the foreign subsidiary strategy brought in to play. Given a company’s incentives, it is common sense to optimize its tax payments because its value in the market is driven by the value it returns to its shareholders. This conflicts with the interests of the regulators, of course.

But, if there’s one thing I’ve learned about markets, they’re rife with conflicts of interest.

Rohan Rajiv just completed his first year in Kellogg’s Full-Time Two-Year Program. Prior to Kellogg he worked at a-connect serving clients on consulting projects across 14 countries in Europe, Asia, Australia and South America. He blogs a learning every day, including his MBA Learnings series, on www.ALearningaDay.com.

Filed under: Academics, Business Insight, Student Life Tagged: business, finance, MBA Learnings, revenues Image
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Where Kellogg Admissions is this week: July 13  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Jul 2015, 09:00
FROM Kellogg MBA Blog: Where Kellogg Admissions is this week: July 13
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The Kellogg Admissions Team is hitting the road this summer and traveling around the world to meet with prospective students and provide information about the school’s Full-Time MBA programs.

See below for where Admissions representatives will be this week.

WHEN: Monday, July 13

WHERE: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Learn more about this information session

WHEN: Monday, July 13

WHERE: Beijing, China

Learn more about this information session

WHEN: Tuesday, July 14

WHERE: Shanghai, China

Learn more about this information session

WHEN: Wednesday, July 15

WHERE: Bogotá, Colombia

Learn more about this information session

See where else you can meet the admissions team this summer.

If you plan on being in the Chicago area, you can also arrange for a campus visit, where you can learn more about Kellogg and the student experience.

INSIDER ACCESS
Want to know some tips for applying from the Director of Admissions for Kellogg’s Full-Time MBA Programs? Take a look at her five-part blog series.

Curious to know how Kellogg assesses its applicants? Learn how the Admissions team evaluates each application.

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My One-Year transformational experience  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Jul 2015, 07:00
FROM Kellogg MBA Blog: My One-Year transformational experience
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By Matt Brocks

Going back to school in my 30s wasn’t something I originally planned.

I studied business as an undergraduate and switched into an enjoyable consulting career after earning my master’s degree in industrial and labor relations. Yet my dad always told me that “your education is something that can never be taken away from you.” After some reflection on his advice and some prodding from a partner at my firm, I decided an MBA would be a great addition to my resume.

Given my education and experience, I only considered accelerated one-year programs. Kellogg’s One-Year program clearly emerged as the program for me thanks to my interactions with students and alums and my experience at Day at Kellogg (DAK).

As a 1Y, I recognized that time would be precious, and I wanted to ensure I maximized my time in Evanston. After giving some thought to how I would use my time in school, I landed upon a few guidelines to help shape my experience:

“Eat my vegetables”

I could have focused on Human Resources or Marketing and Supply Chain, topics I’d previously studied and applied in roles at various firms and clients. However, I felt not pushing myself to grow stronger in the areas I was weakest in would have negated the purpose of taking time off from a lucrative career. Taking MBA-level finance classes at a top program challenged and humbled me, but it helped me close the gap in my skill set, improved my ability to impact clients and strengthened my ability to reach my personal goals in real estate and hospitality investing.

Explore new areas of interest

It was while scanning the fall course offerings for a class that would fit my schedule that I came across Kellogg’s Real Estate Finance and Investments course. Most classes at Kellogg are agnostic of any particular industry (e.g. a marketing class at Kellogg might cover everything from dog food to banking to motorcycles), yet here was a class focused on a particular industry I knew virtually nothing about.

I decided to take this class for two reasons: I knew nothing about the topic and it enabled me to finish classes in time to enjoy an afternoon run before sunset.

Yet REF&I represented a turning point for me.

It turned me onto an industry that grabbed my interest and I could see myself pursuing in the future. It also reinforced the finance concepts that needed reinforcing (see “Vegetables” above). I continued to study real estate throughout the year and capped off the year by captaining the team that would represent Kellogg in the Kellogg Real Estate Venture competition (an invitational competition against other top MBA programs from across the world). This would not have happened if I never took the opportunity to explore new areas of interest.

Build my confidence and network to make things happen

I’ve often thought about running my own company (what type or industry is still TBD, but the desire is there). In an era when people switch jobs more frequently than some opt to visit the dentist, an era in when doors open (and close) with little advance notice, I believe two things are increasingly important:

(1) Having the technical skills and confidence to recognize and successfully act upon a given opportunity

(2) Having a network of advisors and friends to help test, refine and strengthen any concept or idea.

School and experience inherently provide the first, but it was my time at Kellogg that provided the second, in spades I might add. The Kellogg community is made up of a diverse group of students (and their significant others, known as “JV’s”), faculty and administrators from across industries, regions and backgrounds. We arrive in Evanston as strangers, but form incredibly strong bonds over challenging lectures, intricate case studies, travel experiences and other social outings.

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This year provided the opportunity to meet and grow close to current and future thought leaders, CEOs and burgeoning entrepreneurs, and it is their friendship I will lean on and learn from as I continue to carve my own path.

Kellogg offered me an amazing experience, and the 1Y program gave someone like me the product offering that best met my needs to help capitalize on future opportunities. The time spent in Evanston was brief, but the guidelines I set for myself helped maximize my time and enabled me to enjoy a year that transformed the way I think and how I will interact with the world going forward.

Matt Brocks graduated from Kellogg’s One-Year MBA program in June 2015 with a major in Management & Strategy. In fall 2015 he will be returning to Deloitte Consulting, where he previously spent four years serving clients in the healthcare, technology and CPG industries.

Learn more about Kellogg’s One-Year MBA Program.

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My One-Year transformational experience &nbs [#permalink] 14 Jul 2015, 07:00

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