Should You Apply In Round Three?

Father Manny

Father Manny

Catholic Priest Putting His Kellogg Experience to Work


Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A priest, an analyst, and a consultant walk into a business school.

Wait, that’s not a joke at Kellogg.

Indeed, plenty of unconventional students, from sitting mayors to opera singers, have found themselves in MBA programs. But a Catholic priest? That gives “white collar” a whole new meaning!

His name is Manuel Dorantes, but most call him “Father Manny.” This spring, he will earn his MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. So what is a cleric doing among future bankers and brand managers?

Consider it part of his calling. And the Lord is not only guiding Father Manny to serve, but also to lead. And “a leader” is how many faculty and peers would describe him.

“He’s a great example of the best characteristics of a leader,” says Harry Kraemer, a clinical professor of strategy at Kellogg. “He’s obviously self-reflective. He looks at things in a very balanced way. He has what I call true self-confidence. And he’s got enough genuine humility to always remember where he came from and not get caught up in it ever being about him. He realizes that every single person matters.”

So what brought Father Manny to Kellogg in 2013? It started with a conversation he had earlier with Cardinal Francis George, then Chicago’s archbishop. At the time, Father Manny was an associate pastor and he asked Cardinal George about the biggest need in the church. And the answer was something you’d expect from a CEO, not a servant of God. “Manny, we need help with management.”

And so began Father Manny’s next journey. Already armed with a degree in communication and philosophy from Chicago’s Loyola University (and serving as a Spanish translator for the Vatican), he sought a school whose purpose matched his own. In the end, he chose Kellogg due to its mission of “[creating] an impact in the world” and “helping others grow.”

In his time at Kellogg, Father Manny has focused on nonprofit management, marketing, and management. He has paid his own way through school (with help from a scholarship). Like his peers, Father Manny earned a paid summer internship with PricewaterhouseCoopers. He even traveled to the London Business School to participate in Kellogg’s international exchange program. And he has seen plenty of connections between the business world and the church. “When I look at talent management, for example, and the way that some big multinational corporations do it, I think, ‘How do we really empower our priests and lay employees, how do we let them know that their talents are recognized by the church?’ ”

Father Manny has always been on the cutting edge. As a seminarian, he watched the priest sex abuse scandal devastate the church’s brand. “I saw church leaders doing a poor job with the media, just being tossed around and not really knowing how to respond,” he says. That prompted him to return to school for his undergraduate degree. With his journalism background (he actually interned at Telemundo), Father Manny has harnessed the power of social media – with his @TweetingPriest account maintaining 3,500 followers. However, he intends to take this new knowledge to something larger: The immigration debate.

An immigrant himself, Father Manny came to the United States when he was 12 – and graduated from high school when he was 16. While he hasn’t received his assignment yet from the archdiocese, he hopes to use his Kellogg experience to better serve the Spanish-speaking community, which has over a million Catholics alone. “In any organization, if you were CEO, that demographic would be a prime target that you would want to identify and allocate resources to,” he says.

It appears that Father Manny has heard his next call to lead. Like before, you can expect him to answer it without doubt or fear.

To read Father Manny’s full story, click on the link below.


Source: Northwestern Kellogg