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Calling all Kellogg Applicants (2016 Intake) Class of 2018!!

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Re: Calling all Kellogg Applicants (2016 Intake) Class of 2018!! [#permalink]

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New post 04 Apr 2016, 14:04
captainpockets wrote:
I got straight up dinged last week but Kellogg admissions reached out to set up a phone call with Dean of Admissions Kate Smith on Monday. She was basically apologetic and said that this year's applicant pool was the most competitive ever. Definitely appreciated the call but it's a little depressing knowing I was somewhat close. Did this happen to anyone else?


That's really weird I have never heard of something like this, but sorry about the ding. Do you happen to be an NU undergrad alum or have some kind of connection?

Either way, I would believe her that Kellogg was probably super competitive this year. I wouldn't be surprised to see their average GMAT score bump up a bit more to 725+, and with the opening of the new building in the winter there are simply more attractions and good vibes around the school than ever before.

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Re: Calling all Kellogg Applicants (2016 Intake) Class of 2018!! [#permalink]

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New post 04 Apr 2016, 18:44
kman3b18 wrote:
captainpockets wrote:
I got straight up dinged last week but Kellogg admissions reached out to set up a phone call with Dean of Admissions Kate Smith on Monday. She was basically apologetic and said that this year's applicant pool was the most competitive ever. Definitely appreciated the call but it's a little depressing knowing I was somewhat close. Did this happen to anyone else?


That's really weird I have never heard of something like this, but sorry about the ding. Do you happen to be an NU undergrad alum or have some kind of connection?

Either way, I would believe her that Kellogg was probably super competitive this year. I wouldn't be surprised to see their average GMAT score bump up a bit more to 725+, and with the opening of the new building in the winter there are simply more attractions and good vibes around the school than ever before.


No connections really besides one of my recommendations being written by a Kellogg alum. Just a little surprising to get a call since I wasn't even waitlisted, which I asked about - she pretty much said it's sometimes better to not have people hold on to a tiny sliver of hope.

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Faculty podcast: Does what candidates say matter? [#permalink]

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New post 05 Apr 2016, 08:00
FROM Kellogg MBA Blog: Faculty podcast: Does what candidates say matter?
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From Kellogg Insight

We are in the thick of the 2016 presidential primaries, and you are likely hearing from candidates every time you turn on your TV or radio, or go online. The candidates are eager to set themselves apart in your mind and tell you what sort of president they would be. Essentially, they are fighting to brand themselves.

Beside possible election fatigue, what is the impact of all this branding? What do we think of the candidates, and what is the effect of their rhetoric, especially when it feels inflammatory and targeted against certain communities?

Take a listen to our latest podcast to hear what Kellogg professors have to say on the topic.

Listen to this month’s faculty podcast

Listen to previous faculty podcasts

Kellogg Insight is an online publication where faculty bring their latest research and expertise to you in an accessible, engaging format. Kellogg Insight provides ambitious business leaders with the research and expertise needed to drive growth.

Filed under: Academics, Student Life Tagged: branding, faculty, faculty podcast, podcast 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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Become an entrepreneur at Kellogg [#permalink]

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New post 06 Apr 2016, 08:00
FROM Kellogg MBA Blog: Become an entrepreneur at Kellogg
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This content was originally posted in #daybreaK, a student-run daily email newsletter that features stories about things going on at Kellogg. The project was one of five to receive funding from the Kellogg Education Technology Incubator (KETI) competition.

Have you ever wondered how you go about starting your own venture while at Kellogg?

We sat down with Linda Darragh, the executive director of the Kellogg Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative (KIEI), and Sunny Russell, manager of entrepreneurship, to find out more. Read on if you’d like to know more about how you can explore entrepreneurship at Kellogg.

What’s new in entrepreneurship at Kellogg? What are some of the latest initiatives?
This year, we’ve launched two new courses: Entrepreneurship through Acquisition and Creativity as a Business Tool. We’re also piloting a new track of the Zell Fellows Program on Acquisition and Ownership. More changes are on the horizon, so stay tuned!

How can students get involved in entrepreneurship at Kellogg? 
There are so many ways to get involved! Take New Venture Discovery, join eClub, hang out at The Garage, and don’t forget to participate in Startup Week!

Any pitch competitions coming up soon? 
Kellogg students are competing in the Oregon New Venture Challenge (April 7-9), Rent the Runway Pitch Competition (April 10), Clean Energy Trust Challenge (April 12), Rice Business Plan Competition (April 14-16), Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge (April 15), and Kellogg Real Estate Venture Competition (April 27). We’re also looking forward to a great representation of Kellogg students at the Northwestern University New Venture Challenge (NUVC) on June 2.

Is there any funding available to students? How can they apply?
Absolutely. Funding is awarded through the Zell Fellows Program, Pritzker Group Venture Fellows, Project Impact, KEIP, LEAP Innovations Summer Stipend, Kellogg Social Entrepreneurship Award, NewDay Social Entrepreneurship Award, and Youn Impact Scholars.

What are key resources that Northwestern has dedicated to entrepreneurship? Are Kellogg students able to use them?
Kellogg students are encouraged to attend events and apply for programming at The Garage, access legal support through the Donald Pritzker Entrepreneurship Law Center, take interdisciplinary NUvention courses with the McCormick School of Engineering and participate in challenges, such as NUVC.

Are there any resources downtown you recommend?
Students should check out open events at 1871, especially the Founders’ Stories Series, founded by Pat Ryan Jr. ’97 and organized by current student Beth Santos. Students can also attend open events at MATTER Chicago, the medical tech incubator which was co-founded by three Kellogg alumni including Professor David Schonthal.

If students are interested in entrepreneurship and want to be involved in a startup community but don’t have an idea of their own yet, what should they do? 
Students can gain a lot of valuable experience by working at a growth-stage company. We also encourage students to take New Venture Discovery or NUvention courses and attend events sponsored by KIEI, eClub and the Garage in order to connect with other entrepreneurially-minded students and potentially form a startup, or join an existing venture.

Any overall advice and words of wisdom you have for students interested in entrepreneurship? 

Think big, focus on real problems, and utilize the Kellogg alumni network!

Learn more about entrepreneurship at Kellogg.

Filed under: Academics, Student Life Tagged: 1871, entrepreneurship, Kellogg Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative, KETI, KIEI, The Garage, Zell Fellows Image
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Transforming buildings of the future [#permalink]

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New post 12 Apr 2016, 08:00
FROM Kellogg MBA Blog: Transforming buildings of the future
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By Rose Jordan

Meeting with newly admitted students to help decide if a Kellogg MBA is right for them is one of my all-time favorite extracurricular activities. Those conversations reveal so much about incoming classes, and a common theme has emerged: a lot of prospective students are interested in startups.

Am I surprised? No! After all, I was exactly the same two years ago when I was researching MBA programs. The surprising part came when I experienced how low the barriers are to getting immersive, hands-on entrepreneurial experience while at Kellogg. In my case, it was as easy as grabbing Margaritas with a friend-of-a-friend; a drink and a half into the conversation with serial entrepreneur Ada Kussainova, I was hooked, and shortly thereafter I formally joined INjoo Networks as a contracted CMO.

The last seven months have been times of accelerated growth as I seek to apply everything I’m learning at school to help launch a company. Around every turn, there is a new hurdle or opportunity waiting. As I write this, our team is staring down our biggest opportunity yet. We just made it to the finals of the largest single-day pitch competition for energy startups in the United States, the Clean Energy Trust Challenge (more on that below).

But first, what is INjoo?
Glad you asked! INjoo is a smart resource management software developed for the commercial real estate market based on breakthrough research at Northwestern University. Our key insight is that across industries, commercial buildings pay too much to condition unoccupied spaces, but all solutions to date have relied on expensive, inconvenient sensors that commercial building owners don’t want to install. INjoo’s self-learning software completely eliminates the needs for sensors and other hardware; instead we use robust, real-time data to automatically optimize commercial buildings’ HVAC system, cutting each energy bill by 5-30 percent. Thus, INjoo helps building managers realize the full potential of their existing building automation system, delivering simplicity, occupant comfort and dramatic savings. Our mission? To transform ordinary buildings into smart buildings of the future.

Where did the idea come from?
This solution would not have been possible without the convergence of some key regulatory and technological advances (for anyone interested, we’re happy to meet over drinks to talk about the critical roles of the BACnet communication protocol and recent advances in machine learning research at Northwestern), but the spark that truly ignited INjoo was a NUvention Energy course. The class brought together our incredibly diverse founder team that who saw the potential for a breakthrough solution like INjoo. Here’s some more info about our founders:

  • Ardak (Ada) Kussainova (CEO) built two successful startups in Kazakhstan prior to coming to the U.S. to earn her Kellogg MBA with concentrations in managerial analytics and entrepreneurship/innovation.
  • Shashwat Adhikari (CTO) is a software and robotics engineer pursuing his masters in Mechanical Engineering, focusing in Energy and Sustainability at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering.
  • Arturo Hernandez (CIO) brings critical supply-side energy efficiency perspective through his work as an energy efficiency engineer at ComEd; he is currently completing his Master’s degree in Engineering Management at McCormick.
So what’s that you said about a pitch?
Well, the Clean Energy Trust Challenge is a BIG deal for us. It’s a nationally recognized accelerator program that has jumpstarted more than 80 startups in the Midwest to date … and as a matter of fact, its alumni include AMPY, started by Northwestern engineering PhDs Tejas Shastry, Mike Geier, and Alex Smith — they who won the Challenge in 2014 and went on to launch a national Kickstarter campaign (that raised more than $300,000). So no pressure INJoo team, but Northwestern already has a legacy of success to maintain.

On April 12, we’ll have the chance to pitch our business plan in front of more than 400 entrepreneurs, investors, business executives, students, and university faculty and have our crack at $1 Million in prizes. We’re up against an incredible group of competitors (three other student-led startups and ten early phase startups).

How do you get ready for something like this?
The past few weeks at INjoo have been a flurry of hardcore preparation. We’ve been soliciting candid feedback about our pitch from advisors and past winners, tweaking and fine tuning, and practicing, practicing, practicing. When I run into mental resistance, I just remember this amazing post about doing a Ted Talk by Tim Urban and get back to work. On April 12, even if we do not take home one of the biggest prizes, the connections we build and investors we meet will fundamentally shift INjoo’s trajectory. As I write this, I can’t get the image of a roller coaster out of my mind; we’re all feeling some heart palpitations as we slowly crest the biggest hill, and on April 12, gravity is going to take over and off we go!

What’s your biggest insight for other Kellogg startups?
Candidly, an unexpected but powerful source of energy for our team is the positive feedback cycle between our team’s efforts and Northwestern’s investment in us: the harder we work, the more Northwestern throws its support behind us, and the more motivated we are to live up to their expectations. I recently asked our co-founders what their biggest high-five moments were to date, and we realized that a faculty or alum instigated and enabled each great moment to date. For example, there was the game-changing instant when the team’s NUvention professor announced that Sonny Garg, the then CIO of ComEd, would mentor the new INJoo team. Or the moment when the team was busy interviewing Kellogg alumni in real estate (our target market), and word traveled up the food chain at GGP (the second largest Real Estate Investment Trust in the country) about our product, and suddenly the team was invited to meet GGP executives who signed a letter of intent to work with us. In a word: mind-blowing.

Just a few of the many incredible Northwestern faculty names that we want all budding entrepreneurs at Kellogg to know about include:

  • Melissa Crounse, the executive director of The Garage, has brought our startup to a new level, introduced us to Y Combinator, and some of the most talented entrepreneurs in Chicago.
  • Mark Werwath, director of McCormick’s Master of Engineering Management Program, and co-director of Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, has served as INjoo’s faculty mentor and provided unbelievable support.
  • Linda Darragh, executive director of Kellogg’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative and the Heizer Center for Private Equity and Venture Capital, has thrown her support and mentorship behind us from the beginning.
We want to say a huge thank you to these individuals and everyone who has helped propel us to this point, and we’ll share the outcomes with everyone the week following the pitch. Wish us luck!

Rose Jordan feeds her desire to advance urban sustainability with a marketer’s tool belt as a program manager at Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, She is pursuing marketing management and strategy majors in Kellogg’s Evening & Weekend MBA Program and serves on the leadership team of the Net Impact Club.

Ardak (Ada) Kussainova ’15, CEO of INjoo Networks, graduated from Kellogg’s Full-Time Two-Year MBA Program this past year. 

Filed under: Academics, Student Life Tagged: competitions, entrepreneurship, Innovation, NUvention, Startups, The Garage 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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Lessons from Net Impact’s Empathy Week [#permalink]

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New post 14 Apr 2016, 08:00
FROM Kellogg MBA Blog: Lessons from Net Impact’s Empathy Week
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By Alexandria White

If I was like the 45 million Americans enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (i.e. food stamps), I would have $22 to spend on food for five days. Since I am participating in Net Impact’s Empathy Week and taking the SNAP challenge, my husband and I went to the grocery store to see if we could stick to that budget.   

Eligibility requirements for SNAP begin at or below 130 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, and nearly 44 percent of SNAP participants are children. We kept these numbers in mind as we walked into the grocery store.

We typically snack on red grapes, but they were $6 a bag — no way we were allocating more than 13 percent of our budget to grapes! We made our way to the reduced produce section, an area I normally pass by, and found cheap cucumbers and bananas — we felt like we cracked the case!  That is until we got to the meat department. We could only afford six chicken breasts since we wanted to buy organic, a decision we may regret later in the week.

No coffee, no wine, no chocolate, no cheese — by the time we went to the register we both had a newfound consciousness about decisions we take for granted at the grocery store. 

As the cashier rang me up I realized we had gone over our budget before she even included the whole grain bread that was a cornerstone of our meal plan (toast with peanut butter, not the healthier almond butter that was $15, and bananas for breakfast every day!).  Panicked and slightly embarrassed (I’m in B-school, shouldn’t I be able to do math?), I asked her to remove the romaine lettuce and a jar of pasta sauce so I could afford the bread and stay in budget.

If I had been thinking rationally rather than rushing to not hold up the line, I would have asked to remove the olive oil I bought that had a sign that said $5.35 but rang up for $6.99!  This was quite annoying since I didn’t realize I was overcharged until we left. It made me think about a time I stood in line frustrated by someone arguing with the cashier over a dollar or two. I now understood just how much difference that dollar or two can make.

On the drive home, we also realized how fortunate we were to have a car and time to plan and cook meals.

While one week cannot come close to the challenges faced each day by SNAP participants, my husband and I have already developed a heightened appreciation of the value of food and the lack of variety and flexibility with such a tight budget.

The events of Empathy Week will provide me with a better understanding of the solutions and innovations that exist to help reduce food insecurity in America.

Alexandria White is a first-year student in Kellogg’s Full-Time Two-Year Program. Prior to Kellogg she worked in asset management on a fixed income portfolio team managing over $5 billion. She will be interning at Goldman Sachs in Private Wealth Management this summer.

Filed under: Academics, Student Life Tagged: empathy week, net impact, Net Impact Club, social impact Image
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A winning marketing strategy [#permalink]

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New post 15 Apr 2016, 08:00
FROM Kellogg MBA Blog: A winning marketing strategy
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By Emily Pallotta

Imagine a Top 3 Global Food and Beverage company — Kraft Heinz — asking you about a 125-year-old, $1 billion-plus revenue coffee brand that you probably drank the last time you were in your grandmother’s kitchen. How would you position this brand to win with omnipresent ‘millennials’, the same demographic so many Fortune 500 companies are trying to resonate with?

How would you convince an entrepreneurial, free-spirited and tech savvy millennial who is commonly seen drinking a Pumpkin Spice Latte to give a heritage ‘at-home’ coffee brand a place in their daily routine?

These are the questions that our group of five One-Year MBA program students set out to answer during Marketing Strategy Challenge, a five-week class sponsored by Kraft Heinz, hosted by Kellogg and open to some of the country’s top MBA programs.

We compiled a diverse team of two former management consultants, two former international brand managers — one from India and one from Peru —and a prior pricing analyst for a top CPG (Consumer Product Goods) company. The diverse backgrounds represented on the team allowed us to not only leverage differing expertise to develop a thoughtful solution, but it also served as a natural first layer of initial judging before the big competition. This dynamic is what differentiated our team from other Kellogg teams and led to our subsequent success over competitor teams from Harvard Business School and Duke’s Fuqua School of Business. While several factors propelled us to win the Marketing Strategy Challenge case competition, the authentic collaboration across our diverse team was one of the single biggest elements of our success.

In addition to the diversity and professionalism of the team that contributed to our success, the overall experiences of the course were also foundational to our victory. The experiences that were a part of this class and key to our success included:

Impressive, relevant classroom speakers to spark ideas
The overall case competition centered around 15 hours of class time that included interactive class discussions, impressive guest speakers and a review of important marketing frameworks. In this class we had a chance to hear brand growth stories from impressive marketing leaders. We heard firsthand from the VP of Marketing at Kraft Heinz who led the repositioning of a popular Mustard brand, and we also discussed the launch of a sports drink supplement with a Kraft Heinz senior brand manager who contributed to redefining expectations in an entire beverage category. All of these perspectives gave our team tangible examples and inspired creative thinking to inform our recommendations for a brand within the coffee industry.

Genuine, experiential immersion to understand the consumer
In addition to the hands-on classroom experiences, everyone on the team engaged in genuine experiential learning outside the classroom through qualitative and quantitative analysis. Our team conducted two ethnographies by visiting the homes of coffee consumers to not only learn about these individual’s coffee drinking habits, but also better understand their lives and how this may impact food and beverage consumption choices. To supplement the vast amounts of secondary research we did on the coffee industry and millennials, we also analyzed a survey of coffee drinkers across the U.S. The quantitative findings from the survey were invaluable in outlining three usage occasions for coffee drinking, identifying differing trends across millenials and non-millenials, and understanding the positioning of various brands in the industry.

Bringing the story to life
In addition to the findings that came from the experiential research, the learnings from these experiences allowed us to illustrate a compelling story. Not only were we able to explain the daily routines of real ethnography subjects and their consumption habits, but we also used a strategy of creating imagery that brought the challenge and solution to life. In particular, we compared leading at-home coffee brands to outfits you might wear to bring to life millenials’ associations with these brands. For example, we compared a bridesmaid dress buried in the back of your closet to a coffee brand that only 15% of survey respondents had tried in the past month. These vivid comparisons allowed the challenge and strategy to come to life for the Kellogg faculty judges and the final panel of Kraft Heinz executives.

Reaching victory by believing in ourselves and the bold vision
Taking a brand that is more than 125 years old that carries with it ‘baggage’ — such as associations with elder consumers — made it that much more challenging to reposition to young, hip millenials. In fact, as our team discussed the topic with a range of well-reputed Kellogg professors, some of whom had even worked for the company, they all mentioned that this problem had been grappled with for decades. The willingness to work tirelessly to understand the coffee industry, the millennial consumer and the brand equity made us confident we had discovered strong, compelling findings. The repositioning we recommended to Kraft Heinz for this brand allowed the product to not only resonate with the growing base of millennial consumers but also leverage and not alienate the core consumer base that had grown the product to a $1 billion-plus coffee brand.

While the classroom and qualitative and quantitative research efforts provided genuine learning experiences, we learned the most from working with one another. One teammate shared perspectives on how other brands had approached similar problems in India, while another teammate was able to quickly describe the pricing architecture in the coffee category. Discussions like these not only validated our team members’ understanding of the challenge, but these perspectives also allowed the rest of the team to learn firsthand from our peers.

Overall, this experience provided a holistic learning process and the opportunity to tackle a real world problem, similar to what we might face when we leave Evanston with Kellogg MBA degrees. Given the immense challenge of repositioning an extremely old coffee brand to the new generation of consumers, we were extremely excited about winning the competition. Based on the positive feedback from the competition judges, we also look forward to seeing some of our recommendations come to life over the next few months as this coffee brand seeks to become a part of millenials’ daily rituals.

Emily Pallotta joined Kellogg’s One-Year MBA program after working five years in strategy consulting at Strategy& / PricewaterhouseCoopers. Following her graduation from Kellogg, she will be joining NIKE’s Global Strategy team that leads a variety of strategic initiatives for the market-leading sports apparel company.

Filed under: Academics, Student Life Tagged: competition, CPG, experiential learning, Innovation, marketing, marketing strategy challenge, storytelling Image
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MOSAIC 2016: Unity in diversity [#permalink]

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New post 18 Apr 2016, 08:00
FROM Kellogg MBA Blog: MOSAIC 2016: Unity in diversity

Today marks the beginning of MOSAIC Week, Kellogg’s annual celebration of diversity and inclusion.

This year’s theme is “Unity in Diversity,” and Kellogg’s student clubs are hosting a variety of events to honor this theme. From cultural workshops to cooking classes to global business panel discussions, MOSAIC attendees will have the opportunity to learn about a vast array of cultures — all of which contribute to Kellogg’s vibrant community.

View this year’s event schedule for the Evanston campus and register here:

MONDAY, APRIL 18
Global Transactions in Finance 

Sponsored by the IBCM Club and PEVC Club

12:15-1:15 p.m.

Jacobs Center Room G40

SEA Travel and Culture Workshop

Sponsored by the Southeast Asia Club

12:15-1:15 p.m.

Jacobs Center Room G40

Hear My Story: Leadership Lessons from the Military

Sponsored by the Kellogg Veterans Association

5:15-6:15 p.m.

Jacobs Center LSR

Wines of the World

Sponsored by the European Business Club, LAHIMA, Africa Business Club, Cork & Screw

6:30-8:30 p.m.

Jacobs Center LSR

TUESDAY, APRIL 19
Global Advertising Review

Sponsored by the Kellogg Marketing Club

12:15-1:15 p.m.

Jacobs Center Room G40

Chat with Anders Ericsson

Sponsored by the High Tech Club

12:15-1:15 p.m.

McCormick Auditorium, Allen Center Room 164

Asia Trivia Challenge!

Sponsored by the Asian Management Association

5:15-6:15 p.m.

Jacobs Center Room G40

International Game Night

Sponsored by LAHIMA

8:30-10 p.m.

27 Live

CarnaKellogg

Sponsored by LAHIMA

10 p.m.-2 a.m.

27 Live

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20
Kellogg and Google: Ignite Inclusion

Sponsored by HMA, BMA, WBA, P@K

9 a.m.-1 p.m.

McCormick Auditorium, Allen Center Room 164

Capoeira for Beginners: An Afro-Brazilian Martial Art

Sponsored by the Martial Arts & Capoeira Club

1:30-3 p.m.

Blomquist Recreation Center

Hear My People’s Freedom Story

Sponsored by JBA, EBC, MCBA, BMA, LAHIMA, IBC

6:30-8 p.m.

LSR

Kellogg’s Got Talent: Asia Show

Sponsored by the Chinese Business Club

8:30-10 p.m.

Nevin’s Pub, Evanston

THURSDAY, APRIL 21
Management Practices across East and West

Sponsored by the General Management Club and Chinese Business Club

12:15-1:15 p.m.

Jacobs Center Room 1246

Multiracial People and Interracial Relationships in Media

Sponsored by the Kellogg Bridging Cultures Club

12:15-1:15 p.m.

Jacobs Center Room G40

Improv Across Borders

Sponsored by the Improv Club

5:15-6:15 p.m.

Jacobs Center Room G40

Learning About Happiness Through Tibetan Buddhism

Sponsored by the Buddhism and Zen Club

5:15-6:15 p.m.

Jacobs Center Room 1246

FRIDAY, APRIL 22
Hear My Faith Story

Sponsored by C@K, KCF, JBA, MCBA, LDSSA, Buddhism and Zen Club

12:15-1:15 p.m.

Jacobs Center LSR

Emerging Markets: The Biggest Opportunity in the History of Capitalism

Sponsored by the Emerging Markets Conference

12:15-1:15 p.m.

Jacobs Center Room G40

Bollywood Bash

Sponsored by the India Business Club

7 p.m.-1 a.m.

Jacobs Center OLC and Atrium

FRIDAY, APRIL 29
Taste of Kellogg

Sponsored by KSA Social

5:15-8 p.m.

Jacobs Center Atrium

View and register for the Part-Time MBA Program’s MOSAIC Week events here.

 

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Learning about customer experience in Las Vegas [#permalink]

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New post 21 Apr 2016, 08:00
FROM Kellogg MBA Blog: Learning about customer experience in Las Vegas
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From left: Valentina Titiun, Beth Malin, Jenna Meyerson and Quentin Renson at the Bellagio in Las Vegas

By Valentina Titiun

Coming into Kellogg, I knew I wanted to be involved in every opportunity I could find related to the hospitality industry. Since I was young, I’ve always been passionate about hospitality, and one of the many reasons I chose Kellogg is that I could find other people with this same interest, despite it being a very niche area.

One of my favorite experiences so far has been traveling with three Kellogg friends to the cross-school Las Vegas Hospitality Trek with Wharton, Harvard, UCLA and Columbia. Over the course of the weekend we met executives from the biggest casino resorts and restaurant groups in the city, toured the premises and met people with similar interests.

This year we stayed at the Caesars Palace, and throughout the two days of the trek we met with executives from Caesars Entertainment Corporation, MGM Resorts International, Wynn Resorts and Tao Group at breakfasts, Q&A sessions and keynote speeches (we of course also found time to meet people from the other schools in between and after activities!). During these interactions we learned about the history of the hospitality industry in Vegas, the major challenges for resorts of this kind today and some great insights about how to achieve outstanding customer experiences.

Some of the insights/facts that stood out for me were:

  • The increasing use of big data to get to know clients and anticipate their needs in order to create memorable and differentiating experiences.
  • The major shift in the sources of revenue for companies on the Las Vegas Strip. Years ago, gaming made up about 70% of revenue, while now the change in customers’ interests has flipped these revenue sources so that lodging, entertainment and dining now represent 70% of revenue. These new trends have led to exciting new developments on the Vegas Strip like MGM’s first outdoor, natural area called “The Park,” as well as a 20,000 seat arena opening this year.
  • Since the 1989 opening of the Mirage, the first mega resort on the Vegas Strip, Las Vegas has changed immensely. Hotel and resort ownership has shifted from resorts owned by various different groups to a consolidated Strip with just four major players (MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment Corporation, Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands).
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James Murren, chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International, talks to students about the company and the challenges within the industry.

The activity that stood out most to me was a meeting and Q&A session with Brian Gullbrants, the GM of Operations at the Wynn and Encore. Although he had to run out of our meeting because of an emergency, he managed to meet us for another hour during a Saturday afternoon to share his experiences and insights with us. Brian started his career in hospitality with the Ritz-Carlton as a bellboy and moved up to Global VP of Operations for the company. He was then contacted by Wynn Resorts and has been tremendously successful in generating exceptional experiences for guests in his new role there. He shared some of his tactics to achieve these achievements:

  • Every night, he sends an email to all staff at the Wynn. In the message he discusses the day ahead, the company philosophy, highlights an outstanding story that happened at one of the resorts or just says thanks to the employees. He says this has allowed him to focus on the people by rewarding them and ensuring everyone uses the same language.
  • After a long career in hospitality, he firmly believes that hiring the best people, training them and treating them well is the most important thing. But he thinks that there are two things that just can’t be taught: how to smile and how to care for others.
  • He always motivates his employees to listen to what guests want and make sure they’re doing something more to exceed their expectations (i.e.: if a bellboy sees someone sneezing, he will let the housekeeper know so that they can leave a box of tissues next to the guest’s bed).
It was very inspiring to hear a successful leader in the hospitality industry talk about how they achieve outstanding results by focusing on the people. Brian also gave us an inspiring piece of career advice grounded on how he himself found success: Success is today – don’t just focus on what you want to be, be happy today and work hard to do your best at where you are now: this will bring success tomorrow.

All in all, the trek was an incredible experience that I would recommend to anyone who is looking into this industry or who would like to know how exceptional customer experience is achieved. In addition, sharing this experience with other MBA students with my same interests was very enriching and something I would certainly want to do again.

Valentina Titiun is a student in Kellogg’s Two-Year MBA Program. She grew up in Chile. Prior to Kellogg she worked as a consultant, where she had the chance to work on projects for the hospitality industry. She is a director in the Hospitality Club and also one of the lead vocalists of the Captains of Industry, Kellogg’s Top 40 cover band.

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Transforming buildings of the future (Part 2) [#permalink]

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New post 26 Apr 2016, 08:00
FROM Kellogg MBA Blog: Transforming buildings of the future (Part 2)
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By Rose Jordan

This post is a follow up to a Tuesday, April 12 story about INjoo Networks and the startups’ preparation for the Clean Energy Trust Challenge, the largest single-day pitch competition for energy startups in the United States.

In the immortal words of Tom Petty, “the wa[aaaaa]iting is the hardest part.” No seriously. The waiting is the hardest part. It’s rare that you need to nag yourself to keep breathing in and out, but that’s exactly the negotiation I was having with my lungs in the hours and minutes leading up to our pitch.

It was actually a relief to step onto the stage at 10 a.m. just to be finished with the anticipation. And miraculously, all the words were there, right where I left them after hours upon hours of practice (anyone who’s taken Professor Ed Hughes’ “Perspectives on Leadership” class has heard his inspiring stories about the payoff of a well-rehearsed speech). He was right. The intimidating mics, bright lights, and hundreds of upturned faces have NOTHING on the power of relentless practice.

I vaguely remember introducing myself to kick off the pitch, but the rest felt like a blur until I heard Ada, our CEO, finish with a perfectly chosen quote by Arthur C. Clarke, saying, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” adding “… and I believe that’s what we’re seeing today.” Pure joy washed over me and my teammates as we walked off stage and into congratulatory hugs.

The INjoo team was the very first of 14 teams to pitch, and by all accounts, our team set a high bar, capturing the crowd’s attention and soliciting excellent investor questions. We were approached by dozens of attendees throughout the day with congratulations for our strong pitch and with questions about the technology. And though we did not take home one of the top prizes, we made enormous strides in our connections and awareness within the Chicago market and beyond. We were thrilled to see our friends from Hazel Technologies (a company born out of the same NUVention course that sparked INjoo) win a $500K investment. All around, it was a great day for Northwestern University!

Finally, we have received confirmation that we’ll be pitching at the MegaWatt Ventures Competition in the coming months, so our journey is just beginning.

I’m also happy to report my lungs have remembered how to breathe on their own.

Rose Jordan feeds her desire to advance urban sustainability with a marketer’s tool belt as a program manager at Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, She is pursuing marketing management and strategy majors in Kellogg’s Part-Time MBA Program and serves on the leadership team of the Net Impact Club.

Ardak (Ada) Kussainova ‘15, CEO of INjoo Networks, graduated from Kellogg’s Full-Time Two-Year MBA Program this past year. 

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Re: Calling all Kellogg Applicants (2016 Intake) Class of 2018!! [#permalink]

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New post 26 Apr 2016, 10:14
I have never heard anything like that happening, either, but can add that I have a client with an extremely strong application whose father is a Kellogg alum and that client was waitlisted. I was shocked. Similar thing happened with another client of mine at CBS (he was dinged after an interview and had several family members with Columbia degrees -- seemed like a great match to me and I was again shocked). I've been doing this since 2008 and this year did indeed seem CRAZY competitive. I hope that makes someone out there feel better!

captainpockets wrote:
kman3b18 wrote:
captainpockets wrote:
I got straight up dinged last week but Kellogg admissions reached out to set up a phone call with Dean of Admissions Kate Smith on Monday. She was basically apologetic and said that this year's applicant pool was the most competitive ever. Definitely appreciated the call but it's a little depressing knowing I was somewhat close. Did this happen to anyone else?


That's really weird I have never heard of something like this, but sorry about the ding. Do you happen to be an NU undergrad alum or have some kind of connection?

Either way, I would believe her that Kellogg was probably super competitive this year. I wouldn't be surprised to see their average GMAT score bump up a bit more to 725+, and with the opening of the new building in the winter there are simply more attractions and good vibes around the school than ever before.


No connections really besides one of my recommendations being written by a Kellogg alum. Just a little surprising to get a call since I wasn't even waitlisted, which I asked about - she pretty much said it's sometimes better to not have people hold on to a tiny sliver of hope.

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Kellogg’s Women’s Leadership Seminar [#permalink]

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New post 28 Apr 2016, 08:00
FROM Kellogg MBA Blog: Kellogg’s Women’s Leadership Seminar
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By Libby Koerbel

Engaging a room of more than 100 people for two straight hours is no easy task, but the Women’s Business Association (WBA), Professor Victoria Medvec, Dean Sally Blount and an all-star panel of three female alumnae pulled it off. One of the panelists summed it up perfectly afterward when she said, “I knew we had hit a nerve when 80% of the crowd’s hands were raised to ask a question.”

The Women’s Leadership Seminar focused on preparing current Kellogg female students to achieve quick success, position themselves in the corporate world and overcome challenges that sometimes provoke women to leave their corporate roles in their 30s and 40s.

Professor Medvec and Dean Blount developed the Women’s Leadership Seminar in partnership with current students Rebecca Sholiton — who initially had the idea for the program — Blair Pircon, Danielle Lozier and other leaders from the WBA. The school’s vision for the program was to ensure that high potential women are equipped to aggressively pursue and successfully navigate careers that have impact as well as personal meaning.

As a woman in the business world who has participated in my fair share of women’s leadership trainings and programs, I have to admit that at first I was a little skeptical about what this program would offer. After the first session, however, those doubts were quickly erased, partially due to the thoughtfulness that the program was designed with, but more so due to the incredibly authentic energy and insights from our guest panelists. It was refreshing and inspiring to hear from a panel of three women, each approximately 15 years out from Kellogg, about the challenges they have and continue to face professionally and personally as successful, working women.

Although much progress has been made on gender equality and women leadership in business, my classmates and I are still asking a lot of the same questions that women have faced in the generations preceding us. How do I deal with gender discrimination? How do I overcome the confidence gap? How can I balance a family and a career? How can I craft a career path that is successful in my own eyes?

The panel felt so energizing because the women shared their stories in an unscripted way that put the room at ease. It is uncommon to have an opportunity to pass back wisdom in this way. Moreover, bringing together 120 second-year women in one room where we had the opportunity to connect over shared concerns, fears and hopes was equally powerful. We left inspired for the next 15 years of our careers, and our lives in general Everyone I spoke to after the seminar expressed a newfound sense of inspiration as we prepare to reenter into the workforce and to become leaders in our respective fields.

A few concrete lessons that I took away:

  • Take a long-term perspective – sometimes what seems like a risk in the short term will pay dividends down the road
  • Mentors in your professional life are very powerful, but so are mentors in your personal life (that person who lets you know what is going on in the community and reminds you when it’s your turn to bring snack to school) as well as anti-mentors (that person who is so miserable to work for and who teaches you exactly what not to do)
  • Focus on how you define success personally instead of how it is defined for you – this may mean ignoring prestige and not being afraid to take what others might consider a step back
This program is a truly great example of how student-led initiatives can make an impact on the Kellogg experience – a big thanks to Professor Medvec, Dean Blount, Rebecca Sholiton and the rest of the WBA for pulling this program together.

Libby Koerbel is a second-year student in Kellogg’s Full-Time Two-Year MBA Program. Libby is an expert strategist with experience at the Boston Consulting Group, Pandora, Universal Music Group, Muzooka, and Pritzker Group Venture Capital. After graduation, she will be leading growth strategy initiatives at Pandora, based in Oakland, California. She is a Colorado native with a passion for music, mountains and adventure.

 

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Three cities, one eye-opening trip [#permalink]

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New post 05 May 2016, 08:00
FROM Kellogg MBA Blog: Three cities, one eye-opening trip
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Last month, I traveled with 41 students from Kellogg’s MS in Management Studies Program to Greater China, which is constitutionally governed as “one country, two systems”. Our 10-day Global Immersion in Management (GIM) trip began in Hong Kong, passed through Shenzhen and ended in Beijing.

While in Hong Kong, we connected with international students over lunch at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and attended an animated lecture by Professor David Zweig, the university’s director of the Center on China’s Transnational Relations. Professor Zweig’s lecture focused on Hong Kong-Chinese relations over the last decade, and it was interesting to learn about Hong Kong’s support of mainland China, which has ebbed and flowed over the years, peaking in 2008 during the Beijing Olympics. This lecture perfectly set the stage for our visit to Next Digital Ltd., a leading Chinese language media group.

CEO Cassian Cheung ’78 warmly welcomed our class to the impressive Next Digital offices and printing presses, both of which were housed in a recently renovated building. Next Digital’s presentation included speeches by the chief editor, CFO and the heads of marketing and operations. They gave concrete examples of how Chinese media censorship affects their business, even though they are located in Hong Kong. In addition to being sued by local businessmen, tycoons and politicians who are scrutinized in its publications, the company has seen its delivery trucks torched in an attempt to stop sensitive news from reaching the masses. (One such example occurred in 2014, after Next Digital used drones to capture footage of the Umbrella Revolution.)

From the business perspective, it was interesting that many companies, including American companies, are reluctant to buy ad space in Next Digital’s Apple Daily publication in order to avoid potential friction with mainland China. As we learned, media firms must be willing to play by the rules of the PRC if they hope to build a relationship with the country and break into the biggest consumer market in the world.

Our visit to Huawei Technologies, a Chinese multinational networking and telecommunications company, was impressive because of the company’s sheer size and the complexity of its technology. Many students would argue that Huawei was the highlight of our trip, as we had the unique opportunity to tour its cell phone manufacturing plant. As we shuffled along in antistatic coats, hats and slippers, we observed a large automated assembly line, which produced 2,000 phones per 8-hour shift. Impressively, this specific plant had not produced a defective phone in over 900 days.

Next, we visited Tencent, China’s largest and most-used Internet service portal, which I believe could become Google’s greatest rival. This $175 billion Internet company has built a platform through which they can virtually meet every individual’s needs.

This year’s GIM class strategy project will focus on analyzing Tencent’s competitive landscape, the sources of competitive advantage and the ability of Tencent’s applications to create and capture value. As explained by a member of the internal strategy consulting group, Tencent is aiming for complete vertical integration: take a selfie and scan a picture of your passport to set up a bank account through WeBank, pay for your new dress with WePay, let your friends know about it on Qzone and, while you’re at it, book a trip and pay your utilities using one of Tencent’s numerous apps.

In terms of the cultural portion of our GIM trip, we made visits to the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City, and even ate a Peking duck dinner. We also had the opportunity to visit the six-story Silk Street Market, which boasted a large assortment of knockoff products and revealed the complex issues that foreign brands face because of outsourcing and China’s manufacturing boom.

We concluded our trip with a visit to China’s Starbucks Corporation, where we learned about the challenges of international expansion. Starbucks was able to adapt its strategy of becoming the “third place” between home and work to the ancient teahouse culture. It also capitalized on the importance that Chinese consumers place on brand names as status symbols. Starbucks’s adapted menu now includes a greater tea selection and snacks such as moon cakes. The stores are also tactically decorated with regional art works.

One of the most noteworthy aspects of our trip was to see and experience how government policies impact daily life. While in mainland China, it was interesting to see consultants from McKinsey-Beijing gracefully sidestep questions regarding government manipulation of stock markets and watch tour leaders at Huawei ignore questions about minimum wage. Thanks to these unique experiences, along with in-class guest lectures from Chinese economy experts, my classmates and I are now better prepared to work with Chinese customers and companies in the future.

Kateryna Gudziak ’16 is a student in Kellogg’s MSMS Program. She completed undergraduate degrees in Spanish and in Fine Art at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

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Why I’m looking forward to the Kellogg Emerging Markets Conference [#permalink]

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New post 06 May 2016, 08:00
FROM Kellogg MBA Blog: Why I’m looking forward to the Kellogg Emerging Markets Conference
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The importance of emerging markets in today’s global economy in undeniable.

That’s why I am excited to collaborate with my peers to organize the inaugural Emerging Markets Conference, which will take place tomorrow on Saturday, May 7.

Focusing on the theme of rediscovering sustained growth, the conference will feature more than 30 prominent business leaders, scholars and policy-makers from around the world. These featured thought leaders will share their knowledge and expertise on four of the world’s fastest growing markets: Greater China, India, Latin America and Africa.

Attendees will have the unique opportunity to take a deep dive into one of these four dynamic regions in order to understand how a certain market is rekindling growth and why certain businesses within an emerging market are more successful than others.

Within each of these four key regions, our slate of speakers will discuss three key topics:

  • The Consumer
  • Technology and Innovation
  • Policy
By providing both regional and thematic tracks, it is my hope that conference-goers will walk away with a comprehensive, balanced understanding of how Greater China, India, Latin America and Africa will drive global growth over the next century.

As an attendee myself, I look forward to enhancing my knowledge of these emerging markets and learning about each respective market’s culture, competitive landscape and business environment. I also look forward to networking with the students, business professionals and speakers in attendance. Some of our featured speakers include:

  • Niren Chaudhary, president of KFC Global
  • Salman Amin ’85, COO of SC Johnson
  • Ricardo Arian-Nath, CMO of PepsiCo Latin America
  • George Zoghbi, COO of Kraft-Heinz
  • Makul Deoras, CMO of Colgate-Palmolive
To learn more about Kellogg’s Emerging Markets Conference and purchase tickets today, visit: http://emc.kellogg.northwestern.edu. I hope to see you there!

Deepti Gupta is a first-year student in Kellogg’s Full-Time Two-Year MBA Program. She’s from New Delhi, India and comes from a strong background in digital marketing, having worked for India’s leading online travel portal for over 3 years. Deepti is co-leading the marketing initiatives for the Emerging Markets Conference and will be the co-president of the Emerging Markets Club in 2016-2017. This summer, she will be interning with Dell Inc. in Austin.

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The power of a strong, diverse team [#permalink]

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New post 09 May 2016, 08:00
FROM Kellogg MBA Blog: The power of a strong, diverse team
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As we began our journey through the Executive Leadership Council Case Competition, our first step was to establish a strong, well-rounded team.

The competition centered on devising a talent management strategy for a F100 company, and as we discovered in our research, diversity of thought and cultural background correlates positively with a number of desirable business outcomes, including innovation. Although we didn’t realize it at the time, this would eventually become one of our greatest strengths. Across just four people, we represented the voices of several communities: African-American, Hispanic, White, Biracial, LGBT, Male and Female.

Our professional backgrounds were varied as well, spanning higher education, media and entertainment, human capital and financial services. Drawing from so many experiences created a wellspring of ideas. Human resource practices that were common and accepted in a particular industry were questioned by members of the team unfamiliar with the space.

We then drilled down into the motivations behind these policies and analyzed their effectiveness. In doing so, we began to formulate new strategies that represented the best of our respective experiences and would serve as the structural framework for our plan.

As explained in a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, titled How to be Creative, “big breakthroughs often depend on the naive daring of outsiders. For prompting creativity, few things are as important as time devoted to cross-pollination with fields outside our areas of expertise.” We’d love to say that we were following this formula, but in reality the team was formed based on genuine friendship and mutual admiration of the intelligence and work ethic of the other group members.

Preparing Our Write-Up

Researching and subsequently writing our paper was incredibly rewarding. Not only is talent management a particularly compelling topic as it pertains to the corporate landscape, but it is also a subject that as a group we have grown passionate about. Said passion was only fueled by the guidance and expertise of a fellow teammate who had previous experience in an HR role, and thank goodness he did.

Two themes were incredibly important in researching and writing this paper throughout the duration of the competition.

  • The first was clear and constant communication. As a team we set expectations from the beginning. We were in this competition for two reasons; to learn and to win. We wanted to learn about the importance of talent management in a corporate setting. We wanted to learn more about how major initiatives are implemented not only vertically but cross functionally within an organization. Outside of the pure content, we looked to refine our presentation skills and our ability to think and respond clearly to intense and at times convoluted questioning. With those goals in mind it was clear that everyone within the team had high expectations for the quality of research they would be conducting.
  • It was of the utmost importance that we set clear deadlines for certain deliverables. This allowed us to stay on track leading to the submission of the paper and adjust in case there were any unforeseen circumstances that needed to be addressed.
A real breakthrough we experienced was when we determined the framework that our talent management strategy would be built on. Each individual took ownership of a section of our talent management house, and that allowed us to become subject matter experts in a certain area (aka nerd out).

What this competition came down to was that we took it seriously, but we had fun. We dove into the subject matter. We found hard evidence supporting our hypothesis, which was that diversity and cultural inclusion were central themes to talent management and needed to be at the forefront of any talent management strategy for corporations going forward in this increasingly global business landscape.

Presentation Prep

We’d done our research. We’d put pen to paper and come up with a cohesive, unified approach to talent management. We’d taken the separate streams of thought of four individuals and morphed them into a single story. And then, we sent in our submission and waited.

Weeks passed, and we were distracted by the day-to-day of being students: term papers were due, studying for and then taking finals, and finally Spring Break! We headed our separate ways across the globe, only to be brought back together electronically with the news that we were one of the three finalist teams in the competition. We were thrilled, but we also knew that we had a lot more work to do. In the next four weeks (two of which were spent internationally vacationing with friends and loved ones), we needed to transform our research paper into a 45-minute PowerPoint presentation, as well as practice and deliver the presentation in an engaging way.

By the time we got back to Evanston, we had framed the high-level presentation, keeping in place the framework from our original paper. We met three times that week to focus on fleshing out the details in a thoughtful and substantive way (we were later told by the judges that these details mattered).

We planned for a logical thought order to the presentation and made sure to build in statements that supported one another.

We created one central theme and revisited that theme in each sub-section to make sure that the audience knew where each point fit in the overall framework.

We spent quite a bit of time ensuring the slides were attractive, but not distracting, as we wanted our presence to be the focus during the presentation.

Finally, by the Sunday of the competition, we had the materials ready.

The final week was just as busy as the previous week had been. We again met three times to practice and rehearse the presentation. We each had different styles — some used cue cards, some followed the language of the report, and others practiced using the slides themselves — but at this point, we knew the material well enough to be confident in our presentation. It was a matter of polishing: choosing the language for specific points we wanted to convey, practicing the transitions between the group members, and of course, making sure that we had the timing right. We added in a few “extras” here as well; one team member had the idea to print out executive summaries for the judges, which were well received at the formal presentation. We practiced a couple of light-hearted jokes that would fit with the material while allowing us (and the audience) to have fun. By the night before our trip, we were ready to go. We each got home and tried to get some sleep before our 5 a.m. cab to the airport.

Houston, We Have Lift Off

And off to the airport we went. Passing coffee around the cab, we were tired, anxious and excited all at the same time. We had done what we could with the last two weeks and knew that now it was about impressing the judges and nailing the presentation.

As soon as we landed Houston, it was time to be “on.” Not only are case competitions great ways to research real-world business problems and win a nice paycheck, it’s also an opportunity to network for the future, with the company(ies) hosting the competition, the judges as well as the other teams.

Our first day was filled with a lunch — hosted by Exxon and The Executive Leadership Council — with the other two teams and a tour of the new gorgeous Exxon campus. Upon arrival we were a bit alarmed to learn that one of our final round competitors was a returning finalist from the previous year who knew the judges and company well. However, we couldn’t let that discourage us. We put on our Sunday best attitudes and prepared to wow them with our professionalism and fun spirit.

First impressions are critical, and we wanted to make sure they knew each of us and liked each of us. No matter how great a presentation is, if they don’t like you they aren’t going to buy what you’re selling.

At the end of the night, we met up in one of the hotel rooms to gorge on room service, sing Justin Bieber and practice our presentation before heading to bed.

We woke up and the day had finally come. We were lucky enough to have been slotted last to present. Exactly what we wanted. This gave us time to attend the opening ceremonies, enjoy a hearty breakfast in the hotel restaurant (bacon is the key to success), and do one final run through of our presentation. While it’s nice to get it done and over with early on, do not underestimate how extra time can help you and your presentation.

Now it was time to go in.

Time to face the music.

Time to take that big check home to Kellogg.

Prior to the opening ceremony we had a chance to view where we would be presenting and map out where we would stand. The projector was in the middle of the room, with the judges’ seats on the right and a smaller open space on the left. We chose to stand to the left, away from the judges. We believed this would give us the opportunity to face diagonally towards the judges so our backs would never be at them, but we could also turn and point to the projector when needed. We had debated having some members stand on the right while they weren’t presenting and the presenter standing on the left, since it was smaller, but thought crossing the projector to hand off the clicker would make our transitions less smooth. Ultimately, the judges didn’t fault us for standing on the left, but noticed that we did seem a bit cramped and questioned why we didn’t stand on the right. While we believe it’s vital to have a plan, we don’t think one should put too much emphasis on where exactly the judges want you to stand. We stood on the left because it made us feel comfortable and confident. Those are the keys to success. Not your position next to the projector.

It was now presentation time. We knew our material. We had practiced enough to be comfortable, but not so much that it sounded like rote memorization. So now it was time to employ our three presentation must-dos:

  • Don’t forget the small details. Immediately before the presentation, we went and shook each of the judge’s hands, wished them good morning and gave them our executive summaries. Judges came up to us afterward and specifically mentioned that small step and how significant it was for them.
  • Don’t lose your swag, but know the audience. Ways that millennials may present to younger generations can be different than how you present to baby boomers. Know what is appropriate and what isn’t, but don’t lose yourself. Which leads to …
  • Be yourself and be confident. You put in the work. Now go get that win and bring home that big check.
A Final Thought

Don’t forget to say thank you. Whether you win or lose, people put a lot of effort into creating and managing the competition. If you’re smart about it, you learned and grew through the process. And that deserves a thank you.

Alicia Luchetti is a licensed California attorney and joined Kellogg’s Two-Year MBA program after four years in sales and marketing for legal service companies. This summer, she will be joining Intel as an Accelerated Leadership Program intern. Long term she hopes to do global corporate strategy and mergers & acquisitions for a company in the San Francisco Bay Area

 Anthony Gonzalez joined Kellogg’s Two-Year MBA program after working five years in advertising sales and operations within the media and entertainment industry, most recently with About.com. This summer he plans to build on his business development skills while working for a small startup in the New York or Chicago area. On-campus he serves as Co-President of the Hispanic Management Association and is Co-Chair of the upcoming 30th Annual Black Management Association Conference.

 Jason McCoy joined Kellogg’s Two-year MBA program after six years of working as a recruiter in the financial services industry, most recently for State Street Corporation. In line with his professional interests of consulting in the human capital space, he will be joining the Boston Consulting Group’s Los Angeles office for his summer internship, with a focus on their People and Organizations practice. On campus, he is a member of Pride@Kellogg, a Kellogg tour guide, and loves participating in case competitions.

 Adjatay Nyadjroh joined Kellogg’s Two-Year program after nearly eight years in financial services with Brown Brothers Harriman, FactSet Research Systems and Natixis. Adjatay most recently worked in sales prior to coming to Kellogg and this summer will be joining the BCG Boston office as a summer consultant. Long-term he hopes to develop industry expertise in the retail and human capital space. Adjatay currently serves on the executive board of the Black Management Association. 

Filed under: Academics, Student Life, Uncategorized Tagged: competition, experiential learning, leadership, Two-Year MBA Program Image
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The power of a strong, diverse team [#permalink]

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New post 09 May 2016, 09:00
FROM Kellogg MBA Blog: The power of a strong, diverse team
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As we began our journey through the Executive Leadership Council Case Competition, our first step was to establish a strong, well-rounded team.

The competition centered on devising a talent management strategy for a F100 company, and as we discovered in our research, diversity of thought and cultural background correlates positively with a number of desirable business outcomes, including innovation. Although we didn’t realize it at the time, this would eventually become one of our greatest strengths. Across just four people, we represented the voices of several communities: African-American, Hispanic, White, Biracial, LGBT, Male and Female.

Our professional backgrounds were varied as well, spanning higher education, media and entertainment, human capital and financial services. Drawing from so many experiences created a wellspring of ideas. Human resource practices that were common and accepted in a particular industry were questioned by members of the team unfamiliar with the space.

We then drilled down into the motivations behind these policies and analyzed their effectiveness. In doing so, we began to formulate new strategies that represented the best of our respective experiences and would serve as the structural framework for our plan.

As explained in a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, titled How to be Creative, “big breakthroughs often depend on the naive daring of outsiders. For prompting creativity, few things are as important as time devoted to cross-pollination with fields outside our areas of expertise.” We’d love to say that we were following this formula, but in reality the team was formed based on genuine friendship and mutual admiration of the intelligence and work ethic of the other group members.

Preparing Our Write-Up

Researching and subsequently writing our paper was incredibly rewarding. Not only is talent management a particularly compelling topic as it pertains to the corporate landscape, but it is also a subject that as a group we have grown passionate about. Said passion was only fueled by the guidance and expertise of a fellow teammate who had previous experience in an HR role, and thank goodness he did.

Two themes were incredibly important in researching and writing this paper throughout the duration of the competition.

  • The first was clear and constant communication. As a team we set expectations from the beginning. We were in this competition for two reasons; to learn and to win. We wanted to learn about the importance of talent management in a corporate setting. We wanted to learn more about how major initiatives are implemented not only vertically but cross functionally within an organization. Outside of the pure content, we looked to refine our presentation skills and our ability to think and respond clearly to intense and at times convoluted questioning. With those goals in mind it was clear that everyone within the team had high expectations for the quality of research they would be conducting.
  • It was of the utmost importance that we set clear deadlines for certain deliverables. This allowed us to stay on track leading to the submission of the paper and adjust in case there were any unforeseen circumstances that needed to be addressed.
A real breakthrough we experienced was when we determined the framework that our talent management strategy would be built on. Each individual took ownership of a section of our talent management house, and that allowed us to become subject matter experts in a certain area (aka nerd out).

What this competition came down to was that we took it seriously, but we had fun. We dove into the subject matter. We found hard evidence supporting our hypothesis, which was that diversity and cultural inclusion were central themes to talent management and needed to be at the forefront of any talent management strategy for corporations going forward in this increasingly global business landscape.

Presentation Prep

We’d done our research. We’d put pen to paper and come up with a cohesive, unified approach to talent management. We’d taken the separate streams of thought of four individuals and morphed them into a single story. And then, we sent in our submission and waited.

Weeks passed, and we were distracted by the day-to-day of being students: term papers were due, studying for and then taking finals, and finally Spring Break! We headed our separate ways across the globe, only to be brought back together electronically with the news that we were one of the three finalist teams in the competition. We were thrilled, but we also knew that we had a lot more work to do. In the next four weeks (two of which were spent internationally vacationing with friends and loved ones), we needed to transform our research paper into a 45-minute PowerPoint presentation, as well as practice and deliver the presentation in an engaging way.

By the time we got back to Evanston, we had framed the high-level presentation, keeping in place the framework from our original paper. We met three times that week to focus on fleshing out the details in a thoughtful and substantive way (we were later told by the judges that these details mattered).

We planned for a logical thought order to the presentation and made sure to build in statements that supported one another.

We created one central theme and revisited that theme in each sub-section to make sure that the audience knew where each point fit in the overall framework.

We spent quite a bit of time ensuring the slides were attractive, but not distracting, as we wanted our presence to be the focus during the presentation.

Finally, by the Sunday of the competition, we had the materials ready.

The final week was just as busy as the previous week had been. We again met three times to practice and rehearse the presentation. We each had different styles — some used cue cards, some followed the language of the report, and others practiced using the slides themselves — but at this point, we knew the material well enough to be confident in our presentation. It was a matter of polishing: choosing the language for specific points we wanted to convey, practicing the transitions between the group members, and of course, making sure that we had the timing right. We added in a few “extras” here as well; one team member had the idea to print out executive summaries for the judges, which were well received at the formal presentation. We practiced a couple of light-hearted jokes that would fit with the material while allowing us (and the audience) to have fun. By the night before our trip, we were ready to go. We each got home and tried to get some sleep before our 5 a.m. cab to the airport.

Houston, We Have Lift Off

And off to the airport we went. Passing coffee around the cab, we were tired, anxious and excited all at the same time. We had done what we could with the last two weeks and knew that now it was about impressing the judges and nailing the presentation.

As soon as we landed Houston, it was time to be “on.” Not only are case competitions great ways to research real-world business problems and win a nice paycheck, it’s also an opportunity to network for the future, with the company(ies) hosting the competition, the judges as well as the other teams.

Our first day was filled with a lunch — hosted by Exxon and The Executive Leadership Council — with the other two teams and a tour of the new gorgeous Exxon campus. Upon arrival we were a bit alarmed to learn that one of our final round competitors was a returning finalist from the previous year who knew the judges and company well. However, we couldn’t let that discourage us. We put on our Sunday best attitudes and prepared to wow them with our professionalism and fun spirit.

First impressions are critical, and we wanted to make sure they knew each of us and liked each of us. No matter how great a presentation is, if they don’t like you they aren’t going to buy what you’re selling.

At the end of the night, we met up in one of the hotel rooms to gorge on room service, sing Justin Bieber and practice our presentation before heading to bed.

We woke up and the day had finally come. We were lucky enough to have been slotted last to present. Exactly what we wanted. This gave us time to attend the opening ceremonies, enjoy a hearty breakfast in the hotel restaurant (bacon is the key to success), and do one final run through of our presentation. While it’s nice to get it done and over with early on, do not underestimate how extra time can help you and your presentation.

Now it was time to go in.

Time to face the music.

Time to take that big check home to Kellogg.

Prior to the opening ceremony we had a chance to view where we would be presenting and map out where we would stand. The projector was in the middle of the room, with the judges’ seats on the right and a smaller open space on the left. We chose to stand to the left, away from the judges. We believed this would give us the opportunity to face diagonally towards the judges so our backs would never be at them, but we could also turn and point to the projector when needed. We had debated having some members stand on the right while they weren’t presenting and the presenter standing on the left, since it was smaller, but thought crossing the projector to hand off the clicker would make our transitions less smooth. Ultimately, the judges didn’t fault us for standing on the left, but noticed that we did seem a bit cramped and questioned why we didn’t stand on the right. While we believe it’s vital to have a plan, we don’t think one should put too much emphasis on where exactly the judges want you to stand. We stood on the left because it made us feel comfortable and confident. Those are the keys to success. Not your position next to the projector.

It was now presentation time. We knew our material. We had practiced enough to be comfortable, but not so much that it sounded like rote memorization. So now it was time to employ our three presentation must-dos:

  • Don’t forget the small details. Immediately before the presentation, we went and shook each of the judge’s hands, wished them good morning and gave them our executive summaries. Judges came up to us afterward and specifically mentioned that small step and how significant it was for them.
  • Don’t lose your swag, but know the audience. Ways that millennials may present to younger generations can be different than how you present to baby boomers. Know what is appropriate and what isn’t, but don’t lose yourself. Which leads to …
  • Be yourself and be confident. You put in the work. Now go get that win and bring home that big check.
A Final Thought

Don’t forget to say thank you. Whether you win or lose, people put a lot of effort into creating and managing the competition. If you’re smart about it, you learned and grew through the process. And that deserves a thank you.

Alicia Luchetti is a licensed California attorney and joined Kellogg’s Two-Year MBA program after four years in sales and marketing for legal service companies. This summer, she will be joining Intel as an Accelerated Leadership Program intern. Long term she hopes to do global corporate strategy and mergers & acquisitions for a company in the San Francisco Bay Area

 Anthony Gonzalez joined Kellogg’s Two-Year MBA program after working five years in advertising sales and operations within the media and entertainment industry, most recently with About.com. This summer he plans to build on his business development skills while working for a small startup in the New York or Chicago area. On-campus he serves as Co-President of the Hispanic Management Association and is Co-Chair of the upcoming 30th Annual Black Management Association Conference.

 Jason McCoy joined Kellogg’s Two-year MBA program after six years of working as a recruiter in the financial services industry, most recently for State Street Corporation. In line with his professional interests of consulting in the human capital space, he will be joining the Boston Consulting Group’s Los Angeles office for his summer internship, with a focus on their People and Organizations practice. On campus, he is a member of Pride@Kellogg, a Kellogg tour guide, and loves participating in case competitions.

 Adjatay Nyadjroh joined Kellogg’s Two-Year program after nearly eight years in financial services with Brown Brothers Harriman, FactSet Research Systems and Natixis. Adjatay most recently worked in sales prior to coming to Kellogg and this summer will be joining the BCG Boston office as a summer consultant. Long-term he hopes to develop industry expertise in the retail and human capital space. Adjatay currently serves on the executive board of the Black Management Association. 

Filed under: Academics, Student Life, Uncategorized Tagged: competition, experiential learning, leadership, Two-Year MBA Program 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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Re: Calling all Kellogg Applicants (2016 Intake) Class of 2018!! [#permalink]

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New post 10 May 2016, 08:49
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Re: Calling all Kellogg Applicants (2016 Intake) Class of 2018!! [#permalink]

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New post 10 May 2016, 18:36
Good luck to everyone tomorrow.

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Calling all Kellogg Applicants (2016 Intake) Class of 2018!! [#permalink]

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Re: Calling all Kellogg Applicants (2016 Intake) Class of 2018!! [#permalink]

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New post 11 May 2016, 08:29
Narenn wrote:
Kellogg R3 decision deadline is tomorrow. Does anyone know if calls will go out today or tomorrow?


For R1/R2, they went out on the very day of the results deadline. No calls before.
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Re: Calling all Kellogg Applicants (2016 Intake) Class of 2018!!   [#permalink] 11 May 2016, 08:29

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