The Stereotype-Defying MBAs In The Class of 2018

Justin Rosenthal

Justin Rosenthal

Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management and Pritzker School of Law

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Pittsburgh-loving, music nerd who is passionate about his work and sandwiches.

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

Fun Fact About Yourself: I have survived the three fastest roller coasters in the world.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Political Science

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:
• Obama Foundation: Director, Strategy & Operations
• McKinsey & Company: Agriculture Fellow
• McKinsey & Company: Business Analyst

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I’m privileged to have been a part of the Obama Foundation since its inception. I am proud that I have helped build an infrastructure that will harness the energy and excitement around the President and First Lady and serve as the platform once he leaves office for their work that positively impacts citizens in Chicago and across the globe.

Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? You should try to have fun writing the essays. This is your opportunity to hit pause to reflect on how much you have grown and contemplate your aspirations. Take advantage of the perspective of your colleagues and mentors early in the process. They know you in a different way than you know yourself and will push your thinking and help surface new ideas. Your final essay should be clear enough that you could describe it in less than ten seconds.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? My decision was based on people, the program’s structure and curriculum and my desire to stay in Chicago. During the admitted students weekend, I just clicked with the people I met. I do not even remember discussing what people did professionally, but know that I left the weekend looking forward to getting to know them better on a personal level. Additionally, I was impressed by Northwestern’s 3-year JD-MBA Program and its strong support system between the two schools that allows for a customized experience despite the significant academic requirements. I was also excited by many of Kellogg’s new interdisciplinary curriculum initiatives, such as the Growth and Scaling Pathway, which is a combination of strategy, operations, finance, human capital, marketing and governance courses meant to help students navigate growing and scaling businesses. Furthermore, I was hoping to stay in Chicago because of its laid-back culture and my interest in staying involved in the Obama Foundation.

Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? Rather than a dream employer, what I have found is that I like to be surrounded by talented people who are invested in solving complex problems at a macro-level, and despite their passions, do not take themselves too seriously.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? I hope many will say that I have been a great friend with whom they have been able to learn and share amazing experiences, and despite my irrational love of all things Pittsburgh, they believe we will be lifelong friends.

  • matt

    what was the coverage universe that you created?

  • A.D.

    LOL! The pictures alone counter the headline…whites with privilege to explore “other” career options before moving into coveted seats at elite schools is NOT progressive when colored’s still represent one of ten at BEST! F.o.H…

    Do better Poets&Quants/Jeff Schmidt

  • avivalasvegas

    It isn’t very difficult to look this stuff up. While I give him props for leaving McK and working with the Obams, I would consider the former director of National Personnel, Samir Mayekar from the Kellogg’s class of 2013, who went on to found a battery technology startup, a far better example of a non-traditional background.
    As I’ve said many times before, Kellogg is losing their way and veering away from the best candidates from diverse backgrounds in favor of high GMAT score drones.

  • Yes

    Going from McK to a nonprofit is stereotype-defying. The stereotype is McK -> industry/b-school.

  • Reasonable

    Where did you see that he spent the majority of his career at McKinsey? I see that he had two roles there, but I don’t see that length of those roles is specified. Did I miss something?

  • avivalasvegas

    McKinsey & Company for the majority of his career makes this guy stereotype -defying? Is that the best that Kellogg the consultant factory could do?

  • Stereotype-defying?

    Unclear how a lot of these bios are “stereotype defying.” A lot of them went to top school undergrad then top consulting firms or investment banks. Does the title refer to us getting a glimpse of their more personal side? Reminds me of an HBS Twitter feed a while back of a “nontraditional” applicant who was Harvard undergrad, worked for JP Morgan for two years then did art auctioning for Sotheby’s or something.

  • Rona

    You sound awesome, good luck!