KELLOGG STRATEGY ALIGNS PERFECTLY WITH EMPLOYER NEEDS
However, Merrick cites two other strengths that may carry even greater weight with employers: analytical and strategic thinking. These strengths also align well with the direction that business is taking, Merrick adds. “The playbook for success in business today is probably different than it was 20-30 years ago. There are disruptive business and technologies. There are businesses now like Uber that did not exist six years ago. The importance of being able to look at the changes in the marketplace strategically is so critical. We get strong feedback in this area whether students are going into consulting, social enterprise or tech. It’s remarkably consistent.”
Another virtue that Merrick has noticed about the Kellogg student body is its humility. ”They are incredibly ambitious, incredibly hard-working. They are confident, but they have this sort of grounded humility that is unique and I have not seen that before.” What does Merrick mean exactly? For that, he reminisces back to last year’s DAK event.
“We had two students leaders who’d planned the weekend who were in front of the group the whole time,” Merrick explains. “When the 400 admitted students left for the breakout rooms, these two students, who were basically the Co-CEOs of the event, walked up and down the aisles to pick up any extra pieces of garbage that were lying around. They didn’t call the janitor or ask someone else to do it. They did it on their own. They did not think it was beneath them and it was done with the purpose of delivering a great experience for these admitted students.”
HIGH IQ + HIGH EQ = DETAILED ANALYSIS…WITH A HEART
Stern MBAs are also feted by employers for their mastery of the social graces. Like Kellogg, Stern values soft skills in admissions, with Sundaram noting that the ideal student has the right balance of IQ and EQ. “We have very, very bright students, but they’re also very mature and thoughtful in their approach to not only problems but to each other.”
That is on full display when Stern classmates are on the prowl for jobs. “Students are always the ones helping each other out in the job market,” Sundaram observes, “sharing information rather than keeping it to themselves. There is a fantastic culture at Stern. It is something we are very proud of.”
Recently, Sundaram got a front row seat for this unique 1-2 punch of IQ and EQ at this school. For weeks, one of his committees had been evaluating how Stern could enter the online education space. It was a complex issue with varying viewpoints on where the school should focus and how it should proceed. To help, Sundaram brought aboard two promising students from a consulting course, who were given the issues without knowing that the client was actually Stern.
Three weeks later, these students came back with some “incredibly thoughtful recommendations,” in Sundaram’s words. “They started from scratch because of the range of things you could do — from MOOCs to degree programs — is enormous. So they came up with several frameworks for how to think about it. There was one for a new entrant and another for a small player entering a mass market. They even made recommendations if you were a large player like Stern. “They crunched the numbers and analyzed the data and came up with beautiful solutions.”
For Sundaram, these students personified exactly what he has come to expect from Stern MBA candidates. “They brought a combination of analytical skills along with the ability to frame the project well; think through it with a certain degree of maturity; and understand their audience before they came up with a solution.” In the process, Sundaram adds, they brought an extra something that defines the Stern experience. “They were able to work with a group of people in a collaborative fashion without feeling threatened by someone else. That is something our students do very well.”