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

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Re: Calling all Kellogg Applicants (2015 Intake) Class of 2017 !  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Jul 2015, 10:11
The MBA Recruiting Process – Insights from Darden ’15 Grad and CEO of RelishMBA

Hello from the RelishMBA team, and congratulations on being admitted to the MBA Class of 2017! My name is Sarah, and I’m a recent Darden School of Business graduate who founded RelishMBA, an online recruiting platform built specifically for the business school recruiting market. As a recent grad who works full-time in the MBA recruitment space, I wanted to share some recruiting advice and tips to help you prepare for arriving on campus at Kellogg.

The first thing to be aware of is that MBA recruiting is a long and intense process. Recruiting activities begin quickly once you’re on campus and they take up a huge amount of your time and energy for most of your first year. While virtually all top MBA students have great jobs available to them, finding those jobs can be frustrating and stressful, with relevant information often hard to find and a complex networking process that can be tough to effectively manage. I started RelishMBA to address these problems and make the process more efficient for both students and employers.

The summer is a great time to get started with recruiting processes (while you don’t have to worry about school, student clubs, social life, and the dozens of other activities that fill up your time during first year). Luckily, there are a few things you can do to prepare before school starts in August: Relax. Explore. Prepare.

Relax – business school is a big change from the working world; take a bit of time off. You deserve it and you’ll need the break!

Explore – In your time relaxing, begin checking out what industries and companies recruit MBAs. This is something RelishMBA helps with. Sign-up at RelishMBA.com to begin exploring employer’s company pages on MBA Careers specific for your school (“day in the life” alumni testimonials, on-campus presence, key points of contact, etc.).

Prepare – And lastly, get your resume ready. Below are some tips from my experience.
It’s also important to remember that once you’re on campus, you’ll be networking with recruiters and alumni frequently – and RelishMBA will help you here too, through relationship management tools that make it easy to stay on top of your networking game. Have any questions? Reach out anytime at recruit@relishmba.com.

Resume Tips:

1) Writing your resume is your first Marketing assignment

Your resume is essentially a one-page advertisement designed to sell your brand to employers. But as your first year marketing class will tell you, marketing is about a lot more than just a fancy design and a few well-placed buzzwords. Think about your audience (i.e. who will be reading your resume? Finance recruiters? Consultants? Marketers? Others?) and how you are positioning yourself with that audience (i.e. what work experiences would be most relevant or interesting to the recruiters reading your resume?).

For example, if you’re headed up to Wall Street, focus on the more quantitatively rigorous parts of your work experience, and try to make sure that your resume as a whole reflects an interest in and passion for finance and its associated disciplines. Future consultants will want to highlight problem-solving and analytical thinking. Marketers could talk about leading cross-functional teams or point out examples of especially effective communication.

And if you are not sure what you want to do, don’t sweat it – there are lots of you out there, and it’s no big deal for the next few weeks or months. But regardless of your eventual industry or function targets, remember: your resume is not just a chronicle of your past work achievements; it is an advertisement designed to effectively sell you and your brand to recruiters.

2) Be concise but specific

This is one of the more difficult parts of honing your resume: providing specific examples of relevant work accomplishments in a way that a recruiter can easily digest in a few seconds. Try starting each bullet point with a strong action word. Instead of saying something like “Helped to more than double sales during tenure in catchment area,” try something like “Launched blogger outreach program that increased web traffic by 72% and increased sales by 120%”.

These sorts of hard numbers are really helpful, especially since many recruiters will spend only a few seconds looking at your resume and those numbers stand out on the page. So it’s also important to be sure that your bullet points can be read and processed easily. And if you don’t have a lot of specific numbers to add to your resume, it’s still important to be specific about your accomplishments and to pick your words wisely.

3) Add some flair

You should be careful with how much flair you add to your resume, but it’s a good idea to think of ways to set yourself apart from the competition. The “Personal” section at the bottom of your resume, where you list hobbies, activities, and interests, is an easy place to hook a recruiter (or break the ice in an interview). Only mention things that are truly a part of your life, but still consider your audience and which of your hobbies or experiences might be of interest to the recruiters reading your resumes. Once you reach campus, you’ll hear plenty of stories about students who were able to land first or even second-round interviews largely on the basis of what seem like minor resume items.

Other ways to add flair:

-Were you kind of a big deal in college? It’s worthwhile to mention any particularly important or impressive extracurriculars from your undergrad days (particularly leadership roles), and including club affiliations and other school-specific positions can be a good idea once you get onto campus

-Recruiters are looking to hire real people, not business robots. Make sure your resume – the accomplishments you choose to mention, the structure and content of the Personal section – reflects your personality.

4) Don’t be careless

This is the part where we tell you that a few people every year submit resumes with misspelled words or mismatched fonts or other significant but easily avoidable mistakes, and that you could be one of those people if you’re not careful, and you think “I’d never be that much of an idiot,” and then you send your resume to McKinsey or Google with your name spelled wrong at the top. Don’t be that person.
Seriously, just get a friend to read it. Several friends. Have a resume-reading party. But don’t spell your name wrong.

Have any questions? Reach out anytime at recruit@relishmba.com

Sincerely,
RelishMBA Team

_________________

RelishMBA is a centralized recruiting platform designed to streamline how students at top business school connect with the companies that recruit them. With filtered search tools and customizable profile pages, students and recruiters can find and target candidates and firms with the best fit. Access all of your school’s recruiting resources from one platform and easily track your networking relationships. An exclusive network for MBAs, Career Services, and Employers.

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How to answer Kellogg’s essay questions — Part 1  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Jul 2015, 08:00
FROM Kellogg MBA Blog: How to answer Kellogg’s essay questions — Part 1
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The 2015-16 Kellogg Full-Time MBA application features two distinct essay questions. In the first of a two-part series, Beth Tidmarsh, director of admissions for Kellogg’s Full-Time program, reveals how to write a stellar response.

Question 1: 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?

So, leadership again, eh? Yep. Once again in considering our overall application, we decided that leadership is the most difficult trait to draw out, and we want to encourage you to discuss it.

Sure, we can see your resume and your list of activities – possibly you were president of every single one, and we can safely assume you’re a leader. But more often, people choose one area to take on a significant leadership role and do it well – whether professionally or maybe in an activity outside of work – and you need some space to tell us about that. Maybe your title does not accurately convey the leadership responsibilities you managed on a particular project.

Why do we specify “recent and meaningful”? Well, you might be surprised how far back people dig to find examples. Here’s a good rule of thumb:

  • If the example is from your professional time horizon, great, solid choice.
  • If you think back to college, OK, that may work.
  • If you really want to use a pre-college example … that may not stand out for the reasons you hope.
What challenges did you face? Oh yes, we want to understand the challenges for your team. (You had a team, right? Because you were a leader, there must have been some other people involved.) The challenge is what tests you as a leader. Was it a lack of resources? A last-minute change of scope? Unclear goal? A mistake for which your team had to take accountability?

If you’ve led people, then I bet you’ve faced an obstacle that would make great essay material.

But most importantly – what did you learn?

How did this challenge and this experience change your perspective? A warning to people who write about marathons, triathlons, mountain climbing and mud races – what did you learn that you can bring to Kellogg? I already know mud racing is hard, that’s why I avoid it! Spend most of your response talking about what you learned from your leadership experience, and perhaps how you have applied it.

These lessons learned and your changing perspectives are going to be the foundation for your growth as a leader and team member at Kellogg.

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.”

Beth Tidmarsh ’03 is the director of admissions for full-time MBA programs at Kellogg. As a vice president at Jones Lang LaSalle, she led and executed tenant representation and corporate solutions work for companies such as Xerox, KPMG and Huron Consulting Group. Prior to attending Kellogg, Beth spent six years in consulting for Accenture based out of Chicago and Sydney.

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How to answer Kellogg’s essay questions — Part 2  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Jul 2015, 07:00
FROM Kellogg MBA Blog: How to answer Kellogg’s essay questions — Part 2
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The 2015-16 Kellogg Full-Time MBA application features two distinct essay questions. In the second of a two-part series, Beth Tidmarsh, director of admissions for Kellogg’s Full-Time program, reveals how to write a stellar response.

Question 2: 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?

View Beth’s tips for Question 1

This has to be one of the most straightforward questions you are going to see. It gives you a lot of latitude to talk about a subject you know well – yourself!

You are a bright, successful person, and that’s part of the reason you want to attend business school. You aren’t going to invest all the time, energy, and frankly money it takes to get through B-school to stay the same.

You want to change.

You want to grow.

You want to be brighter and more successful. Let’s hear about it.

First part, take some time to look back over your life – what do you think brought you to this point? What stretched you and made you who you are today? What might your unique background contribute to your Kellogg classmates?

Then let’s hear about your future. Why do you want to come to Kellogg? What gets you excited? Do you think you’ll be involved? How will you juggle the demands of preparing for class, making friends, taking risks, joining clubs, being social, oh – and finding a new job? Each applicant probably thinks about the importance of those categories differently. Help us understand your motivations for applying.

Just don’t get carried away telling us about Kellogg – tell us about YOU. We know Kellogg. What you have is an opportunity to convey more about you.

And that’s it. A portion reflecting back, some time explaining why you are interested in Kellogg and you’re done.

Isn’t this just the age old “Why Kellogg?” in a different form? Sort of, but with the added lens of how you hope to grow and develop while you’re here. So get writing! Take a step back, focus on the big themes and talk about your journey.

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.”

Beth Tidmarsh ’03 is the director of admissions for full-time MBA programs at Kellogg. As a vice president at Jones Lang LaSalle, she led and executed tenant representation and corporate solutions work for companies such as Xerox, KPMG and Huron Consulting Group. Prior to attending Kellogg, Beth spent six years in consulting for Accenture based out of Chicago and Sydney.

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Learning with Legos  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Jul 2015, 07:00
FROM Kellogg MBA Blog: Learning with Legos
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By Marita Fernandez and Terri Petmezas

Kellogg’s Leadership in Organizations course prepares students to solve problems and influence the actions of individuals, groups and organizations. Earlier this quarter, students in the class learned valuable lessons in leadership thanks to an unlikely source: Legos. Marita Fernandez and Terri Petmezas, both One-Year students in the class, wrote about the assignment and what they learned from the hands-on experience.

MARITA FERNANDEZ:

This course is part of the basic curriculum that will train us as students to develop our skills to inspire growth in organizations through our behaviors. One of the main goals of this course is to understand that a key capability of successful leaders is to forge and drive high performance teams.

TERRI:

The gist of the exercise is that in a team of five, you have to replicate a Lego figurine. Each team gets 20 minutes to plan their design, then the team to build it correctly the fastest wins.

There are a few catches, though:

  • Only one team member is allowed to look at LegoMan at a time.
  • You cannot bring any writing materials with you while you look at him.
  • You cannot touch him.
  • Each team has an enforcer to make sure that rules are followed (each team chose an enforcer from their group who would go to another team and be their third-party enforcer).
  • When completed, the enforcer delivers your LegoMan to the professor who simply says “Correct” or “Incorrect” with no additional help or directions. If yours was incorrect, you had to figure out what was wrong and how to fix it.
MARITA:

During the planning period, each team established its own goals and strategies to achieve the objective and split the work so every member had a specific role. I volunteered to be an enforcer. After that decision I thought that maybe I would not experience the fun and challenges involved with the project, but my role as an observer actually was a great place for some interesting learnings.

TERRI:

We put together our strategy, fully utilizing our 20 planning minutes. We saw some teams finish their 20 minutes and start building early, and I got nervous that we were behind. But then I remembered that the 20 minutes were irrelevant; all that mattered was who had the shortest time in production, from the second you started building after planning was over until LegoMan was completed correctly.

Once we got started, we quickly built our first version, feeling pretty confident in the results. So we sent our enforcer to the professor, but the verdict came back: Incorrect. One team member knew of a not-visible part that was built either “like this” or “like that,” but he wasn’t sure. So after hearing that the LegoMan we built “like this” was incorrect, he quickly grabbed our LegoMan and changed a few pieces around so that it was “like that.” We sent the enforcer up again, and we were done!

We looked around, and everyone else was still working frantically, even the team who started building before us. As the minutes wore on, we saw the other teams’ energy slowly wane.

MARITA:

Coordination and focus among team members was important during the whole activity to achieve effective results. As an observer of the winning group, I witnessed the concentration and commitment the team had during the process.

TERRI:

Afterward, we met back in the classroom and the results were in. Our team finished in 3 minutes 38 seconds. The next closest team finished in 5 minutes 43 seconds, and the last team in just under 20 minutes. We were feeling pretty proud of ourselves until Professor Nordgren told us the fastest team ever … 16 seconds! Sheer insanity. But our team was quite happy with our 3:38.

MARITA:

The activity was followed by a debriefing session in which highlights of the process and learnings were identified. Careful observation and detailed sketches of the model were fundamental for a successful planning process. However, what made the difference in the teams’ production timing was whether each team member knew how their portion of the work interconnected with the whole figure.

As in real life, the first important steps for effective teamwork involve sharing a common view of the ultimate goal (the sketching). To do that, you need to see that everyone’s responsibilities are interdependent with the other contributors. It is key to be aware of those interconnections and realize the impact of our tasks in the overall team’s results.

TERRI:

The exercise was more than just an excuse to play with Legos. It taught us how we work in a team under pressure, how we respond to critiques and that there is a benefit to taking creative approaches. It also showed that team projects can be fun.

Learn more aboutKellogg’s One-Year MBA program.

Marita Fernandez is a student in Kellogg’s One-Year MBA Program. Prior to Kellogg she worked in brand management in Mondelez International, a consumer product goods company. She is from Lima, Peru.

Terri Petmezas is a Chicago-area native and former UW Badger in Kellogg’s One-Year Program. She lives in Vernon Hills with her husband, 4-month old daughter, and 18-month old Rhodesian Ridgeback “puppy.” Prior to Kellogg, she worked at ZS Associates in Evanston doing Sales and Marketing consulting for Med Device companies, and is exploring a variety of post-graduate opportunities.

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A look at conflicting incentives | MBA Learnings  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Jul 2015, 11:00
FROM Kellogg MBA Blog: A look at conflicting incentives | 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.

In my last post about the tension between debt, shareholders, management and taxes, I ended with a line that leads straight into today’s post – “But, if there’s one thing I’ve learned about markets, they’re rife with conflicts of interest.”

Let’s now take a look at the life of John Doe. John is an executive at a leading Fortune 500 company headquartered in the US. He gets paid $1 million in cash, $4 million in stock, and $20 million in various incentive related bonuses that are tied to “EPS,” or earnings per share.

Now, let’s think about the many decisions he needs to make as a CEO that impact other constituents:

– How much debt should the company take on?

– How much tax will the company pay? (vs. how much of income it will recognize in low tax jurisdictions?)

– Should we pay dividends or repurchase shares?

– Should I take riskier investment bets or less risky bets?

Every one of these has an implication on the company’s profitability. And a company’s profitability directly affects its share price. However, they do so in a different place.

Let’s take dividends vs. share repurchases. When John’s company has a $100 in extra cash, John and his colleagues can either choose to pay the money in dividends to shareholders or choose to buy back their own shares from shareholders. Technically, they are both ways of returning money to shareholders. However, dividends inevitably reduce the share price (a company’s share price reflects the value of future cash flows: less cash available = less share price) while share repurchases increase the share price (since there are lesser shares available for the same amount of cash).

While there are other impacts of making a dividends vs. repurchase decision, this difference alone highlights a conflict of incentives. John Doe and his executive team are compensated on EPS. EPS goes up when share price goes up. Now, it is great when that happens because of excellent management and/or smart investment bets. But financial re-engineering (e.g. taking on excess debt, avoiding taxes, and/or repurchasing shares vs. paying dividends) can also increase executive compensation significantly. John knows that he, at best, will get a few good years as the CEO of this firm before he inevitably gets fired. So, why not make the most of it and swing these decisions in his favor?

There’s been a lot of discussion in the news about executive compensation as such decisions frequently come under scrutiny. In some ways, these conflicts make the markets fascinating. In other ways, they can make us cynical about decisions made by companies. My take has been to examine decisions more carefully to really understand what is going on and to understand the incentives in place. More often than not, the behavior we reward is the behavior we get.

One final plug on executive compensation – there are huge implications on the importance of ethics in these conversations. There has probably been an uptick in these conversations post the Enron debacle. I don’t think these conversations happen nearly as often as they should.

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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How one Kellogg student raised $2.6 million (and counting) on Kickstar  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jul 2015, 08:00
FROM Kellogg MBA Blog: How one Kellogg student raised $2.6 million (and counting) on Kickstarter
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By Marc Zarefsky

Hiral Sanghavi and his wife Yoganshi strolled through the San Francisco International Airport last December as they giddily awaited their flight to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico to celebrate their one-year wedding anniversary.

The young couple could not wait to spend a week together in paradise, but before they made it to the gate, Hiral realized he forgot something.

A pillow.

Now usually this would not be a big deal. He figured he would shell out $25, or however much the closest airport store was charging for a travel pillow, and be back on his way. The problem was this was not the first time he forgot one while flying. Or the second time. Or even the third.

Hiral had four airport-bought pillows comfortably resting in his apartment in Evanston, where he was pursuing his MBA at Kellogg, and five in Yoganshi’s San Francisco apartment.

His wife decided nine airport-bought pillows was enough.

“She told me I wasn’t allowed to buy any more, that I had accumulated enough,” Hiral said. “So I said, you are a professional designer, why don’t you come up with a solution to ensure that I don’t forget?”

The two kicked a few ideas around as they boarded the plane. Then, settled in their seats, Yoganshi had an epiphany.

What about a jacket with a pillow inside it?

The two thought the idea had potential, so Hiral frantically pulled a sheet of paper out of his wallet and borrowed a pen from the person sitting next to him. For the next four hours, he and Yoganshi listed all the problems they could think of that travelers face, and then sketched out a jacket that could solve those problems.

And with that, the BauBax jacket was born.

https://d2pq0u4uni88oo.cloudfront.net/projects/1895274/video-559261-h264_high.mp4

On July 7, with Hiral as CEO and Yoganshi as Chief Design Officer, the two launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund “The world’s best travel jacket with 15 features.” They solved Hiral’s pillow problem by including an inflatable pillow (that inflates in two seconds), but they did not stop there. Additional features include:

  • Eye mask
  • Portable charging pocket
  • Phone pocket
  • iPad pocket
  • Earphone holders
  • Zipper that serves as a pen and stylus
  • Drink pocket
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Sunglasses pocket
  • Gloves
  • Hand warming pockets
  • Passport pocket
  • Blanket pocket
CNN Money called it “The Swiss Army knife of travel wear.”

The jacket comes in four styles (sweatshirt, windbreaker, bomber and blazer), multiple colors and is available for men and women. On the Kickstarter site, it is described as “the jacket you’ve always needed but never existed.”

The campaign launched with a modest goal of $20,000 in backing.

That goal was met in five hours.

In one week, they had more than $500,000 in funding. In 10 days, they surpassed $1 million.

This past Friday, less than three weeks since launch, they passed $2 million.

As of Monday morning, they were at more than $2.6 million. And the campaign still has more than five weeks to go.

“We have been very overwhelmed and very humbled by all of the support,” Hiral said. “The entire team is very happy to see that the product has actually resonated with people all around the world.”

More than 15,000 people from 75 countries have backed the product on Kickstarter. The jacket — and the Kickstarter campaign — has been written about in dozens of publications, from Yahoo! and Mashable to Business Insider and Inc.

So what’s been the secret to all the success?

“The evolution of the jacket,” Hiral said, “the success of the campaign, the success of the video, all the success we’ve had is thanks to what I’ve learned at Kellogg.”

When Hiral returned to campus from his Mexico vacation in January, he was busy recruiting for his summer internship, but he was also focused on fine-tuning the idea he and Yoganshi sketched out.

He spoke with more than 30 classmates and several professors. He found out what their pain points were while traveling and asked if they thought those problems could be solved with a jacket.

Hearing and watching their reactions, Hiral knew he was on to something big.

Hiral spent January and February refining the idea. During that time, he kept coming back to a lesson he learned during his first quarter in Prof. Julie Hennessy’s Marketing Management course.

“It was in that course that I learned how important it is to have a niche product,” Hiral said. “If I had this idea before coming to Kellogg, I would have launched it as the coziest jacket made for everyone. My belief would be to make a product that everyone could use.

“But Prof. Hennessy taught us to always narrow down your segment. You should be very focused on your customers. You should really know who your customers are and make a world-class startup for them.”

With that in mind, Hiral focused on frequent travelers. As he and Yoganshi would discover, though, the jacket appealed to a much wider audience.

Image

The next two months were dedicated to prototyping the product. By May, Hiral was ready to focus on the marketing, which ranged from filming the promotional video to creating content for the product’s online presence.

Prof. Derek Rucker, who teaches advertising strategy at Kellogg, became a valuable resource as Hiral turned to him outside of the classroom for guidance on both the product and the communication message.

“When I saw Hiral’s product, I immediately saw the promise based on the product and his understanding of the target market,” Rucker said, “so then it became a matter of discussing how to represent the brand to the consumer. In terms of potential, it seems to fulfill an unmet consumer need, and that’s critical in impactful products and marketing.”

“Of course great ideas have to be executed well, and we can see the proof in the tremendous results he is seeing.”

One area where Hiral greatly benefited from Rucker’s expertise was in his planning for the Kickstarter campaign.

The BauBax jacket Kickstarter page is extensive, featuring far more than just the promotional video and a little text. There are infographics, photos, GIFs, sizing charts and more, all seeking to provide viewers with a complete look at everything the jacket has to offer.

Image

“What I love about Kickstarter is that you hear the consumers’ voice (about) your product directly,” Rucker said. “(To succeed), it takes the fundamentals of marketing. You have to identify a target, have an insight and position around that insight. Based on our personal meetings, Hiral has thought through these issues. BauBax jackets have all of this.”

So why the name BauBax?

Hiral said it was a no-brainer for the young couple.

“My wife’s nickname is Bau, and she calls me Baxhu,” he said. “This is our thing. It’s our baby. We have achieved this together, and with that name, it gives us a sense of ownership and responsibility.”

The jacket is the first of what Hiral and Yoganshi hope will be many products from their newly launched BauBax product design firm. The company’s goal is design and manufacture creative lifestyle products, and while Hiral said they plan on sticking to apparel for now, he could easily envision a line of home improvement products in the future.

As for the jacket, the original plan was to manufacture them in October, but with the increase in support and demand, the manufacturing process will begin right away. Backers have been told that jackets will be shipped in November in time for Thanksgiving and the holiday season.

“Hiral is an example of all that we aspire to at Kellogg,” said Prof. Andrew Razeghi, who taught Hiral’s Launching New Products and Services course. “Attract the best and brightest students from around the world, give them the knowledge and access they need to succeed, and support them in fulfilling their dreams.”

This is the fourth startup Hiral has launched in the past 11 years. The self-described serial entrepreneur said it’s the idea of living life on the edge that makes entrepreneurship so appealing to him.

“It’s a roller coaster ride, and I’m an adventure junkie,” Hiral said. “I need the adrenaline rush to keep me moving.”

The overwhelming support has given Hiral all the adrenaline he needs to keep moving forward with BauBax.

“I am feeling very humbled and thrilled,” Hiral said. “This response has encouraged me to be more courageous to work on innovative ideas and travel the uncharted path.”

Marc Zarefsky is a content strategist on Kellogg’s Marketing & Communications team. In that role, he manages all content related to the school’s Full-Time MBA program and MSMS program.

Filed under: Academics, Career, Student Life Tagged: Advertising, advertising strategy, BauBax, entrepreneurship, jacket, Kickstarter, Launching New Products and Services, marketing, Marketing Management Image
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3 ways to become a more effective impact investor  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Jul 2015, 07:00
FROM Kellogg MBA Blog: 3 ways to become a more effective impact investor
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By Mark Fleming

How should MBAs think about integrating financial returns with sustainable community impact?

That was the question I sought to answer earlier this year when I participated in the New Orleans Learning Journey — a conference for impact investors — leading up to New Orleans Entrepreneurship Week.

The Learning Journey’s organizers, Daryn Dodson and Jenna Nicholas, believe that people open to embarking on a journey of knowing themselves better are more equipped to invest in personal relationships that, over time, lead to structural community change. Dodson works with the pioneering impact investing firm Calvert Funds and is on the board of directors at Ben & Jerry’s, a billion dollar company at the forefront of responsible business. Nicholas helps lead the Divest-Invest Philanthropy, a movement with nearly $5 billion in assets pledged to divest from fossil fuels and invest in clean energy solutions.

Looking back on the four-day event, I learned three major things that could help an MBA become a better impact investor.

1) Leadership through personal core values
Often we start projects with the best of intentions, but the day-to-day process of reports, meetings, fundraising and deadlines frequently move us away from the initial goal of the project.

We’re taught to figure out the quantitative aspects of an investment, but if we want to invest in businesses that create social good, we also need to look at what motivates us to stay involved. If you want to produce financial returns and create a social impact, then look introspectively at your core values.

During the Learning Journey, we spent part of the first day asking ourselves a series of questions and mapping out the mission of our life’s work. There were two key insights here:

  • If you don’t ask yourself the tough questions about where you are and what you want to be, you will not fully understand your core values.
  • When you feel like you are too busy, need more time or can’t devote time to yourself, you immediately need to take the time to realign your values with your day-to-day activities.
2) Build values-based relationships
At many business schools, when students travel together before officially beginning school, they are asked not to talk about where they are from, what they did before school or where they hope to work after school.

I come from a town where the first two questions you ask a stranger are “what’s your name?” and “who do you work for?” Getting past these questions enables you to see people for who they are, not who their resume says they are.  At this conference, we didn’t start off by asking each other where we worked or what we did. Instead, we were instructed to talk about the questions we asked ourselves to shape our core values. Naturally, this lead to professional conversations, but the major difference was that we were sharing our core values and not just past work experience.

As we get busy and our post-business school lives become cluttered with the day’s to-do-list, it would benefit us to have a network of investors with whom we can have high-impact conversations about collaborating at the point where our work and values intersect. This way, we, and our firms, can create long-lasting collaborative opportunities.

As you get further into your careers, your network will tend to become increasingly mission-driven and share your vision.

3) Local communities come first
Once you have a network of mission-driven investors and entrepreneurs with similar values, how can you create community-level collaboration that will continue to yield business opportunities?

The Learning Journey conference unfolded with New Orleans Entrepreneurship Week (NOEW) as a backdrop. NOEW is attended by investors, entrepreneurs and thought leaders from around the world. As we traveled throughout a city still recovering from Hurricane Katrina, I thought about how the recovery has affected local residents who lived there before the storm and whether they were a part of the rebuilding process.

In order to create a long-term ecosystem, we should involve the community in solving its own problems. If our vision for the community aligns with what the community wants for itself, then we can utilize our network of relationships and differing skill sets to solve local problems. The solutions will be more sustainable because the local community will be involved.

Utilizing these three lessons should help impact investors build more meaningful, values-driven and convergent opportunities. Thinking through a values-based sustainability lens will help investors leave legacies they can be proud of.

Most importantly, these tips could be an early step in creating an ecosystem that is better equipped to support the strategic, community-level collaboration needed to solve the pressing social and environmental issues of our time.

Mark Fleming is entering his second year in Kellogg’s Full-Time Two-Year program. At Kellogg, he holds leadership positions in the Business Leadership Club and the Private Equity and Venture Capital Club. Prior to Kellogg, he worked as the Associate Director of Business Outreach for the Senate Majority Leader; in that role he led efforts to build relationships between US Senators and Fortune 500 CEOs.

Filed under: Academics, Business Insight, Student Life Tagged: entrepreneurship, impact investing, leadership, leadership lessons, social impact, values, values-based leadership Image
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Bringing analysis back to data analytics  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Jul 2015, 06:00
FROM Kellogg MBA Blog: Bringing analysis back to data analytics
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Joel Shapiro, JD, PhD, is the Executive Director of the Program on Data Analytics (PDAK) at Kellogg. Since joining the school in spring 2015, he has been engaging with students via the Big Data and Analytics Club and developing a new course for the PDAK curriculum. Shapiro helps businesses understand how to better take advantage of data and to improve decision-making across the enterprise. He has served on faculty at Northwestern for 11 years, and in 2010 built the first online degree program in predictive analytics.

In this Q&A, Shapiro talks about big data, his vision for data analytics at Kellogg, and more.

What do you think is the biggest misconception about data analytics?
There are so many – choosing the biggest is a challenge! One critical mistake is thinking that a company’s data analytics initiative should exist primarily to generate dashboards or similar types of reports. Sure, it’s good to have snapshots of what’s going on at any given point in time, but these tools often say nothing about what actions we should take or decisions we should make.

Plus, any time data are used to generate a dashboard or other summary of data, someone on the back-end of that tool is making decisions about what data are important and how they should be aggregated or parsed. That can’t be a cavalier process – it needs to be highly strategic with buy-in at the highest levels. Very frequently, there’s way too little thought given to how data should be synthesized to provide a useful overview of what’s happening.

Another misconception is that analytics is primarily an IT function. No one can argue that good IT systems are critical to data analytics – they absolutely are. We must have easy and efficient ways to collect, store and access a tremendous amount of diverse data. But analytics doesn’t help us make good decisions unless someone with key business strategic responsibility purposefully uses it to answer a well–defined question.

It seems to me that the hype around analytics often leads – quite unfortunately – to the removal of “analysis” from “analytics.” At the end of the day, you can’t get insight from analytics without knowing the business context and having great analysis and critical thinking skills.

In your bio, it says you have “a strong focus on how to apply analytic solutions to solve real-life problems.” Would you provide one or two examples of a problem most people face that you think could benefit from analytic solutions?
Most people use data analytics to describe what’s happening or predict what is likely to happen, but then don’t know how to move to action. Analytics can help us define what actions we should take and improve our decision-making, but only if we use it carefully and strategically. Too often, people rely on data that describe or predict behavior and then make unfounded guesses and assumptions about what they should do to bring about a desired outcome.

For instance, I used to do some work with a firm that was trying a new strategy to retain customers. They had learned that the percentage of customers that reached out to their customer support team was much higher for repeat customers than for non-repeat customers. The firm did a great job of using data to describe and even to predict what would happen – if someone engaged with customer service, they were much more likely to turn into a repeat buyer. But the firm used this evidence to justify a new strategy of having customer support reach out to all customers, hoping to turn even more of them into repeat buyers. That action is not at all supported by the data.

What is Kellogg’s approach to teaching data analytics?
We believe that data analytics is primarily a management and leadership problem, not an IT or data science problem. That is, business leaders need a strong working knowledge of data science to derive the benefits of data analytics, which fundamentally change the way we make decisions. Analytics isn’t useful if it doesn’t help solve real and important business problems. Thus, we teach a strong foundation of analytics methods, while being relentlessly problem–driven.

We want our students to not only understand the methods, but to practice using them in diverse contexts. After graduation, we want them to have the facility to see any problem in any context and understand how data analytics can be used effectively.

How would you describe the opportunities available for students?
Within Kellogg, students will have the chance to learn critical data analytics tools and to practice, practice, practice. No two real-world problems look exactly alike, and we want our students and alumni to be able to recognize and solve problems across widely-varying business contexts. We want our students to engage deeply with their professors, who will help them recognize patterns and problem-solving strategies.

The professional opportunities for students are immense and tremendously exciting. Our goal is to train the best bosses that the best data scientists have ever had. It is hard to overstate the value of someone who can merge business strategy with a rigorous data analytics decision-making mindset and capability. Those people are in short supply, and they will succeed. Quickly.

What is your vision for what students will learn about data analytics moving forward?
There’s so much hype about big data and analytics right now, and it’s important to keep a sense of perspective. Big data can not and will not be a panacea to all business problems. Unfortunately, it’s so compelling for firms or departments or employees to say that they are data-driven, that we’re finding a lot of imposters. Those will shake out over time.

That’s why students and professionals need to learn the fundamentals of data science. Becoming a truly rigorous, data-driven decision maker will not go out of fashion. Those who possess a strong working knowledge of data science and use it strategically will make better decisions, and ultimately see better outcomes.

Learn more about the Program on Data Analytics at Kellogg.

Filed under: Academics, Business Insight, Student Life Tagged: analysis, analytics, big data, data analytics, leadership, PDAK Image
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One-line checkouts are better than multiple-line checkouts | MBA Learn  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Jul 2015, 10:00
FROM Kellogg MBA Blog: One-line checkouts are better than multiple-line checkouts | 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.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about why queues form. The one line answer is that they form because of statistical fluctuations and dependent events. The concept is simple: if your presence at a meeting is dependent on the previous meeting, and the average time in the meeting is variable, it is likely that you’ll have people waiting for you, on average.

There’s a really cool application of this principle when it comes to checkout lines in stores and supermarkets. Multiple line checkouts are woefully inefficient.

If the supermarket next door replaced multiple checkout lines and replaced it with one line, it could reduce your waiting time to approximately one-third of your normal waiting time. Why? Because longer lines minimize variability. If you are stuck in a short queue with two coupon sharks who take forever to pay, your average waiting time becomes very long. Such variability is minimized in a single queue as it is unlikely you have a coupon shark at every checkout counter.

The beauty about one-line queue systems is that it also feels fair. We all hate it when we see that other queue go much faster. The downside, however, is that single queues can look and “feel” really long. So, the conventional wisdom is to have multiple queues because long lines can turn off customers.

Whole Foods in Manhattan, however, decided to just ignore the conventional wisdom 10 years ago and implement the more efficient single queue checkout. It has worked fantastically well for them.

And now you know why.

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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Bringing leadership lessons to life  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Aug 2015, 08:00
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FROM Kellogg MBA Blog: Bringing leadership lessons to life
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By Amrit Chavada

It would be hard to imagine any business school degree without significant coursework on leadership. Yet I think many people believe it is a skill individuals are born with, or something that perhaps could be honed over an extensive period of time in the right environment.

As a first-quarter student in the One-Year MBA program at Kellogg, we dove into our academics with a course titled “Leadership In Organizations.” The class is designed to enhance our leadership skills.

The coursework for leadership is interesting because it places a lot of importance on practical and conceptual training. The professor for the course brings together theories and concepts from behavioral sciences to understand people, and he uses these insights to change behavior for more effective leadership. Through case studies, class discussions, research findings and simulation exercises, we have been able to think through the application of these concepts to real-life situations.

Read about one of our class exercises that revolved around Legos

Many of my fellow classmates have held important leadership positions at some point in time in their careers. These are people who are used to managing teams and making hard decisions in complex situations. With that context, we had particularly interesting sessions on negotiations and influence; it is challenge to negotiate in situations where all individuals involved are dynamic and powerful.

The ability to participate in simulations and class discussions with a variety of powerful, well-informed personalities adds tremendous value to the overall learning experience.

My classmates and I are already taking the concepts taught in class and applying them to our lives outside of the classroom. From actively building diverse networks to trying to influence what after-hours spot we go to, we are using these behavioral science tools extensively and constantly find ourselves referencing them in casual conversations.

This leadership course has given us a strong base of concepts, and going forward, there are many electives in the One-Year program that build off of this course.

Can leadership be learned in a classroom? My answer would be a strongly resounding yes.

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

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.

Filed under: Academics, Student Life Tagged: 1Y, leadership, leadership in organizations, One-year, One-Year MBA Program, organizations Image
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Re: Calling all Kellogg Applicants (2015 Intake) Class of 2017 !  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Aug 2015, 08:12
Thank You for sharing this, it's really useful!
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Re: Calling all Kellogg Applicants (2015 Intake) Class of 2017 !  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Apr 2018, 03:45
Hi -

I am trying to begin my re vera process for Kellogg and it asks for my "applicant ID". Is this the number. Is this the "reference number" listed at the top of the application?

Thanks!
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Re: Calling all Kellogg Applicants (2015 Intake) Class of 2017 !  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Aug 2018, 12:10
Thanks, this was great!
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Re: Calling all Kellogg Applicants (2015 Intake) Class of 2017 ! &nbs [#permalink] 16 Aug 2018, 12:10

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