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

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3 ways to become a more effective impact investor [#permalink]

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New post 28 Jul 2015, 08:00
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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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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Bringing analysis back to data analytics [#permalink]

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New post 30 Jul 2015, 07:00
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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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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One-line checkouts are better than multiple-line checkouts | MBA Learn [#permalink]

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New post 31 Jul 2015, 11:00
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.

Filed under: Academics, Business Insight, Student Life Tagged: management, MBA Learnings, operations, queues 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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Bringing leadership lessons to life [#permalink]

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New post 03 Aug 2015, 09:00
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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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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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Re: Calling all Kellogg Applicants (2015 Intake) Class of 2017 ! [#permalink]

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New post 03 Aug 2015, 09:12
Thank You for sharing this, it's really useful!

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Re: Calling all Kellogg Applicants (2015 Intake) Class of 2017 !   [#permalink] 03 Aug 2015, 09:12

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