The business world is flat. Forget industrial age hierarchies and command-and-control cultures. Today’s competitive advantages are derived from teamwork. To thrive, companies need teams who can maximize their members’ talents and work lock step towards a common goal. A fast-changing world demands teams who can harness the diversity in their ranks to attack issues from every angle. Such teams are founded on communication, flexibility, and accountability. While teamwork seems easy in theory, in practice it is rare indeed.
That’s why Northwestern University ‘s Kellogg School of Management has long made made collaboration the centerpiece of its program. As employers demand more interpersonal skills from graduates, the school has turned teamwork into its calling card, with every class infused with team-based activities and projects. As a result, students work with hundreds of personalities over their two years, exposing them to a wide range of team dynamics and best practices. As a result, students can exponentially grow their networking relationships beyond the usual interactions with section mates and club peers. This philosophy also gives graduates an advantage in the marketplace, with recruiters ranking the school among the top two full-time MBA programs in both the U.S. News and Bloomberg Businessweek polls.
This team-driven mindset doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It starts in the recruiting process, where students are carefully screened for soft skills. Every student completes a video essay, with admissions or alumni interviewing every student either in-person or via Skype. For many members of Kellogg’s Class of 2018, this commitment to fostering teamwork was the deciding factor for choosing the school. “There will always be a program that teaches me how to succeed on my own,” says first year Nattariya Wittayatanaseth, “but I want to be in the program that teaches me how to succeed as a team. Kellogg’s emphasis on educating growth-minded leaders who inspire others and ignite collaborative communities aligns with my goals.”
TOP GUN’S MAVERICK GOES TO B-SCHOOL
The incoming class comes to Evanston with some big personalities —and impressive resumes. The companies dotting their resumes are household names: Google, McKinsey, P&G, PepisiCo, Booz Allen Hamilton, Accenture, and Bayer. That doesn’t even include the first years who’ve worked for the White House and the Obama Foundation. However it is who they are that makes them so special. Brian Quimby describes himself as a “gregarious geek” and an “impromptu show tune singer.” Ladini Jayarante is Kellogg’s renaissance woman, calling herself a “Sri Lankan-Australian-American trivia fanatic, movie-watching addict, and music lover (the 80’s are the best!). Proud Jayhawk and Obama Campaign alumna.” Alexander Przewozniak is undoubtedly the class comic, writing that, “in my head, I’m Warren Buffett-meets-Bruce Springsteen. In reality, I’m probably Woody from Toy Story.” Of course, the Class of 2018 can strike a serious tone too. Dana Weinstein is a “champion for saying “yes” to underserved people and communities when it’s easier to say no.” Similarly, Wittayatanaseth straddles the line between being a banker and an advocate “for financial inclusion and female education.”
In their personal lives, Weinstein is related to the “real” Jim Halpert from The Office (i.e. John Krasinski). As a sixth grader, Quasie Jones was accepted into the musical advancement program at Julliard as a violinist. At the same time, Quimby has sung the national anthem at a Major League Baseball game, while Justin Rosenthal has “survived the three fastest roller coasters in the world.” When it comes to the “coolness” factor, few can compete with Daniel Flatley. Sure, Jayarante worked in the White House, but Flatley is Top Gun’s Maverick come to life. A former operational test pilot and instructor pilot for the F-35B, Flatley is also a TOPGUN alum. However, this superman has his kryptonite. “I have got to be the only fighter pilot that is terrified of heights,” he admits.
Professionally, the class is equally impressive. Rosenthal has worked for the Obama Foundation since its inception, while Jayarante created “an educational LGBT display during Pride Month for the public White House tours.” Quimby was part of the team that developed and launched Google Helpouts. Looking for impact? Przewozniak was instrumental in designing a bidding process for the UK government to select investment banks to “sell shares in state-owned companies on the public equity markets.” At the same time, Michelle Perkins developed a strategic plan that resulted in her luxury products firm producing 170% year-over-year revenue growth. Equally imposing, Nicki Granadier was a key figure in Gatorade’s development of one of Major League Baseball’s first live action virtual reality experience for fans.
GMAT SCORES JUMP 20 POINTS IN FIVE YEARS
Kate Smith, Assistant Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Kellogg, is among the school community who are smitten with the incoming class. “We’re particularly thrilled with our new cohort’s exceptional diversity. When combined with last year’s class, Kellogg’s 2Y MBA program now counts more total women than ever before. U.S. minorities account for more than one-quarter of the incoming class, and international students account for more than one-third. The class also brings a dynamic range of professional and academic backgrounds that will enrich class discussions, with the strongest representation in the financial services, consulting and tech industries. We can’t wait to see what these students will accomplish at Kellogg and beyond.”
By the numbers, Kellogg generated 4,533 applications for the incoming class, a slight uptick over the 4,300 applicants from the previous class. Although the number of accepted applications and acceptance rate are unavailable at this time, the school has traditionally hovered around a 20% acceptance rate. Academically, the 2018 class boasts a 728 average GMAT, up from 724 last year. In fact, average GMATs have risen by 20 points in the past five years, an indication that Kellogg is increasingly winning in the recruiting wars. Average GPAs, however, remained steady at 3.6.
Demographically, women represent 41% of the class, down two points from the 2017 Class. However, this still represents a substantive improvement over previous years, with the 2013 Class, for example, reflecting a 2:1 male-to-female balance. International students also account for over a third of the student population. In terms of academic backgrounds, business and economics majors comprise nearly half of the class at 45%. They are followed by STEM majors (29%) and the humanities (28%). Professionally, 22% of the class comes from financial services, following by consulting (19%), technology and communications (14%), consumer products (7%) and the public sector and non-profits (7%).
Go to next page to read 12 student profiles from Kellogg’s Class of 2018