Kellogg’s $250 Million Marvel On The Lake

To celebrate the building’s lakefront location, Kellogg’s new 415,000-square-foot Global Hub pays homage to the environment in two ways — the curved exterior walls reflect the wave movement on the lake, while the glass reflects the blues of the water as well as the sky.

Night and Day.

Sure, it’s a quintessential Sinatra tune from another era. But the cliche aptly describes the dramatic difference between the old, comparatively drab gray concrete home of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and its new, ultra-modern, glass-and-steel global hub that officially opened today (March 29).

The $250 million lakefront structure with two atriums piled on top of each other is a breathtakingly expansive building that makes Kellogg’s old home feel like a dated high school facility. You could easily think, in fact, that the now near-empty Jacob Center, named for the school’s legendary Dean Don Jacobs, could fit in just the soaring four-story, 6,000-square-foot “collaboration plaza” at the center of the building.


All together, with its four wings of nooks and crannies for students to study and hang out, the 415,000-square-foot building is nothing less than an architectural marvel among a sea of Northwestern campus gray. Or as Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin recently observed, “This is a carefully wrought, spatially complex design that promises to teach future executives valuable lessons about collaboration, boldness and flexibility.”

It is also a sorely needed upgrade for Kellogg. Harry Kraemer, a clinical professor of strategy, concedes that “The Jake,” as students affectionally call the Jacob Center, was “a pretty miserable environment.” With the sole exception of Columbia Business School, which is preparing to move to a new New York building in a couple of years, Kellogg was the graduate school of business without a home worthy of its prestige and pedigree. No longer.

Just read the prose architected by Kamin, who clearly fell in love with the new building that opened to students on the first day of the new quarter classes on Monday. “Curving walls and canopies, inspired by the way the lake’s waves round off materials, relate well to the contours of the shoreline and an undulating lagoon to the south,” wrote the critic. “The curves join with translucent vertical fins to give the building an appealing sense of fluidity. Reddish-brown wood soffits lend the cool blue-green facade much-needed warmth. Outdoor terraces, some with spectacular views of the Chicago skyline, suggest that the B-school is not a hermetically sealed glass box shut off from its surroundings.”

Phew. The only fault Kamin found was some unevenly poured concrete, though none was in evidence today. Seven years in the planning, the building took, in the words of Dean Sally Blount, “every ounce of faith, grit, and patience” to get it done: More than one million work hours by over 1,500 people. The materials used in the fabrics in the building are from 17 different countries.

Here’s a photographic peek at Kellogg’s new magnificent home, designed by the Toronto-based architectural firm of Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg (KPMB).

Leading Bravely Into A New Era


At the Global Hub, incoming students are welcomed by two hanging banners in the university’s trademark purple that proudly announce the school is “Leading Bravely Into A New Era.” Gone is the formal oil portrait of legendary Dean Don Jacobs who had welcomed visitors to “The Jake” for years in a humble, low-ceiling vestibule. Instead, to the immediate right of the entrance at the Global Hub, there’s a new Don Jacobs wing.

The Collaboration Plaza


The architectural brief for Kellogg’s Global Hub called for an “excessively public” building. Bruce Kuwabara, a foundering partner of Toronto-based KPMB Architects, says objective brought to mind an “academic village a hilltop town or a piazza.” During an early presentation on the project, the architects had put up a slide with the words “from the shores of Lake Michigan to Piazza San Marco,” a reference to the public square in Venice. The Kellogg imagined version turned out to be the so-called Collaboration Plaza on the first floor, with a three-story-high atrium and two glass openings that draw attention toward Lake Michigan and Chicago’s skyline. “A lot of business schools are about power and donors,” Kuwabara says. “This is about collaboration.”

The Spanish Steps


A pair of sweeping 34-foot-wide stairways reminiscent of Rome’s renowned Spanish Steps anchor the Collaboration Plaza. The steps serve as a convening place for students and link the lower level, first floor, and second floor of Kellogg’s new Global Hub.

The Galvin Family Design Wing


North of the plaza in Kellogg’s new Global Hub is a 7,800-square-foot space called the Galvin Family Design Wing & Conference Center. Among other things, the wing includes four design studios: a company-in-residence studio, an artist-in-residence studio, a tech studio where virtual reality-assisted brainstorming can occur, and a maker space where design prototypes can be built. The wing also houses Kellogg’s entrepreneurial initiative where students can work on their startup ideas.


  • Current Student

    I understand the points you are making but it sounds like you need to forgo the business school experience in exchange for a masters in architecture. We have a new building, it’s gorgeous, and it better suits our needs as a growing institution. I enrolled in Kellogg when it was in an old concrete box. But that was certainly not my measure for success when choosing the right business school for me. Turning down a business school for its building is like turning down a job offer because of the office cafeteria. Maybe it’s time to look into architecture…

  • night_in_mexico

    Yeah I love everything in the Midwest.

  • morning_in_america

    Magnificent 21st century palace of learning. Makes HBS look terribly old-fashioned and out of date, almost medievally so.

  • morning_in_america

    Resistance is futile. Kellogg is the best in all dimensions.

  • KelloggGrad

    I agree with you, Tim. Kellogg students really do stand out in a good way. Part of the reason so many investment banks/boutiques don’t conduct OCR is because there are fewer kellogg alumni in those banks.

    However the bigger problem is that the CMC assumes it is entirely because of lack of student interest when membership in IBCM club shows that there are 70+ students interested in IB recruiting and only around 35 getting IB internships and 25-30 getting FT. While seniors and professors are super helpful in preparing students for recruiting, there is no dedicated point person responsible for getting banks/boutiques on campus. If they asked themselves “Why have JPM/Credit Suisse/Deutche Bank/UBS/BMO/Moelis/Jeffries/Pipar Jaffrey/Greenhill/Houlihan Lokey/Guggenheim/Rothschild/etc stopped conducting OCR at Kellogg while continuing to conduct OCR at peer and much lower ranked schools?”, they would see there is indeed a weak spot that can be improved upon.

    This is how Cornell fixed this same problem:
    They hired Drew Pascarella, a 15 year veteran former Director of investment banking from Citi, who leveraged his contacts to get financial firms (e.g.: Evercore) that previously didn’t even recruit from Cornell to do so and the ones that did to expand hiring. (Kellogg has an amazing finance professor for this but his focus rightfully is on technical prep, not on bringing banks to campus).

  • DACochran

    Gorgeous building. As someone at a great school in the 20-30 range with a lovely building but certainly nothing like the Global Hub, I wonder whether the MBA “arms race” is anywhere close to a fair fight. If we put out a better “product” but without the facilities and sexiness of Kellogg, do we really have a chance at winning that prospective student over? It’s a tough environment for a school looking to rise in the rankings.

  • Tim Hennessey

    I am amazed how little things have changed. I was Kellogg Class of 1987, and I was one of just a handful of Kellogg grads who got Corporate Finance/Offers from the big banks. Sales and Trading however? Tons of Kellogg grads got offers. What seems different from now is EVERY IB came to Kellogg to interview (Goldman, Morgan Stanley, etc.) when I was there. It is a shame that the banks have cut back. I always thought Kellogg students brought something extra to the party – IB grads from the quant schools all looked and sounded the same. I got to meet a lot of them because I traveled to Wharton and Harvard for a Top 30 School MBA Conference they used to have (I was in the Kellogg student govt). Kellogg students really, really stood out – and in a good way!

  • GZRAMS124

    Is this how all Kellogg students handle criticism?

  • Love4 Music

    Bullshit… you are a clear looser who never got an invite to ivy league schools not even top 30 but paint a picture you know better, but in reality you a douche bag

  • Mies

    The new building is one of the reasons I reject Kellogg’s offer this year. Looking at this building from an architectural stand point, it hardly has real innovation. It is totally understandable that Kellogg administration wants this new facility to be collaborative, transparent and exciting, which however ironically leads to a learning facility that very much looks like a shopping mall. The so-called “Spanish Step” can be easily seen in the atrium of a local middle school, which can hardly be really functional; the curvy glass facade, which has a mimic of Michigan Lake, is nothing more than a simple extrusion of several curve lines in plan; the “Collaboration Plaza” is a left-over space after all the classrooms, offices and other functional rooms been placed along the curtain wall… The exterior envelope also makes the building looks like a giant object that is resisting visitors from outside. The interiors color palate and finishes are mediocre, giving the user a rather office space feeling, transient and flashy rather than long term and eternity.

    Maybe we can talk about some of the peer school’s recent buildings. Chicago Booth’s Harper Center successfully creates a formality and order in its central atrium space through the innovative structure which supports the skylight as well as its massive and grandeur scale. Credits to Rafael Vinoly, although he is not my cup of tea personally. Yale SOM’s Evans Hall may have certain resemblance to the global hub on the surface, but Norman Foster did an extraordinary job in bring the outside into the inside through creating a courtyard space in the center. A totally different style, Robert Stern’s classical elements can be finely blended into modern academic buildings to give them a sense of comfy royalty, such as the ones in HBS and Darden.

    One word that jumps out my mind when looking at this new building and how Kellogg marketing it is superficial. Perhaps this is how “marketing” works? This leads me to doubt the mentality of the school. Will the curriculum, the culture and the administration be similar? It is hard to tell and maybe I’m wrong, especially when its ranking is satisfying and incoming students are ambitious and hardworking.

    In all likelihood, this building perhaps mirrors, but fails to improve the brand and identity of Kellogg as an academic institution.

  • Kelloggstudent

    I don’t think I have known anybody at Kellogg recruiting for RBC or BNP, of course I see you meant bulge bracket example in your own term. I have to admit that I don’t know the yield number because I don’t recruit for IB, but then I am not sure whether your number is accurate either. If it is and if you are Kellogg student, you should have a serious talk with the Dean, because it also means the recruiting feedbacks CMC collects from us students are of no use. And this is important as a lot of people going to Kellogg to recruit for IB.
    At least for Microsoft, the finance director who went on campus for interviews early this year told me that they would have more spots for Kellogg this year. But I see your point as I know people from class 2016 didn’t take FT offers after internships and it might hurt their interest in hiring corporate finance folks from Kellogg if this persists.

  • Brad

    Your statements do not change the fact that Kellogg student gets to interview with far fewer banks than students at peer (Wharton/Columbia/Chicago) or lower ranked school (Cornell/Darden/duke/Yale/Nyu/tuck/etc) on account of banks not coming to campus.

    These non campus recruiting banks have given out very few (2-3) offers in the last two years and not a lot of offers.

    The reasoning that those banks go to lower tier schools because they get better yields at lower ranked schools is refuted by the fact that they go to every single school in the top 15, except Kellogg and Berkeley.

    “Also IB recruitment has reduced by 50% this year across all schools”. This can be easily verified to be inaccurate by comparing the employment report of present year with the previous year for any school, which shows IB recruiting to be flat. Example: at Darden IB internships in 2016 = 16%, in 2017 = 15%. At Cornell 18% vs 17%. At NYU 21% vs 22%.

    Around 60-70 people join the IBCM club and only around 40 students got IB internships offers and last year (2016) only around 25-30 students had full time IB offers. At other peer schools around 90% have IB full time offers mostly on account of the number of bulge bucket (DB, CS, UBS, BNP, RBC, etc) and middle market (Jeffries, Rothschild, Guggenheim, Pipar Jafffray, etc ), banks recruiting on campus which are missing at Kellogg.

    Kellogg is unparalleled in recruiting in consulting, tech, CPG, healthcare, etc. It also has the best finance professors in the world. It’s community, academics and now it’s facilities are unmatched. However Kellogg could benefit from hiring a Employer Relations Manager in CMC focused on investment banking

  • Daming Li

    The biggest problem with these banks not coming on campus is because they have been giving alot of offers and no one or very few accepted (those went to take offers from better banks). Those banks get better yields in lower tier schools like you have mentioned.

    Also IB recruitment has reduced by 50% this year across all schools, its a market driven business.

  • SranfordOrBooth

    Looks great. Wonder why there isn’t much hoopla about it, considering Kellogg is a Marketing school

  • Brad

    Thanks for your article John.

    As a current Kellogg student I think this new building is amazing and Dean Blount is inspiring. The above poster who criticized the train commute clearly never went to Kellogg, because most students stay in McManus, E2, 1500 Chicago, Optima Horizons (building in walking distance). I love the increased dining options, study rooms, etc.

    I love Kellogg. The only thing that I am disappointed by is the poor recruiting in investment banking and corporate finance at Kellogg.

    I sincerely hope Dean Sally Blount asks CMC for the list of investment banks who conducted OCR (on campus recruiting) last year and then she compares that to the OCR banking just 3 years back at Kellogg itself. Financial firms that used to conduct on campus recruiting at Kellogg just 3 years back have stopped doing so, banks such as: Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, UBS, Jeffries, Pipar Jaffrey, BNP Paribas, Rothschild, etc. Even non-banks such as American Express, Microsoft, etc that used to hire from Kellogg for Corporate Finance roles have stopped doing so. I once stopped by the CMC to inquire with the relevant person about American Express as it was listed as one of the firms recruiting on campus, after a little research she realized that it had stopped recruiting and she was unaware of that.

    Also lower ranked schools (like Cornell, Duke, Darden, NYU, Yale) have above listed financial firms do OCR.

    On the flip side, Kellogg is unparalleled in consulting, tech and CPG. Professor Stowell does a great job at preparing students for finance interviews but the school needs someone who attracts firms to campus. I hope Dean Blount hires someone to re-attract firms for financial roles back to Kellogg.

    Kellogg will still be the best 2 years of my life and the new building is very exciting.

  • avivalasvegas

    Its a no brainer. New building = higher rankings. Higher rankings equal better students. Ofcourse people are going to be ecstatic… It’s a new building that has everything! I’m surprised they stopped short of offering residences as well!

    The problem with Kellogg was never the admittedly bland infrastructure. It was the terribly bland leadership that infiltrated the school post Deepak Jain. And while this 250MM glass structure is a testament to Sally’s incredible salesmanship and fundraising ability, I’m yet to see a less fragile example of her character, integrity and leadership that the namesake of Kellogg’s previous home was famous for.

  • K2017

    Exactly, suggestion that students take the train to class was ridiculous. Clearly a troll that knows nothing about student life at Kellogg.

  • applicant

    Why did you go to Cornell to begin with?

  • Total nobody

    No, this pathetic clown is not a Cornell alumnus either. He’s a worthless internet troll with no life who’s desperately trying to pretend he went to Yale SOM (or any good b-school). He just sits on this site all day like the idiotic clown he/she is. I earned my MBA from Cornell last year, and *no one* who attended/currently attends Cornell is *this* awful, sad, and pathetic. If anyone who ever goes to Cornell is this hair-brained and immature, hopefully there’d be a petition to have that student expelled like the turd he/she is.

  • Appreciate the response. Our interviews with students over the past two days tells us that they are more likely to spend the entire day in the building as opposed to just going to The Jake for class or a club meeting. The vast number of student meeting rooms, private phone booths for cell calls, spectacular library-quiet lounges, much better food, etc., is already creating greater community at Kellogg, a school known for its tight-knit community. I believe the new Global Hub is a game changer, not merely a pretty building. And before the official opening, the trustees were already asking Dean Sally Blount to imagine she was the new dean and just walked into this new building. Now what would you do? No one at Kellogg is resting on laurels, though I think the school has an awful lot to celebrate with this new fantastic home.

  • Kellogg Student

    “A lot of inconvenience”? Yes, it’s an extra 7 minutes each way, but that’s the only sacrifice over the Jake. If anything, it forces students to spend more time in the building and less time by themselves in their apartments, so I see my classmates way more. No idea what you’re talking about with regards to noise issues. Haven’t encountered that at all.

    I agree the “Collaboration Plaza” is a tacky name, but it is now much easier to spot my friends and spark up a conversation than it was in the Jake.

    Sure, $250MM would have sponsored some interesting research, but it’s easier to raise money for tangible items such as buildings so to think that we could have just as simply sourced $250MM for research is naïve. And FYI, having a nice building attracts faculty as well as students.

    As Qman mentions below, haters gon hate, nothing you can do about it.

  • Qman3b20

    John, notbuyingthehype is certainly not a Kellogg student, but apparently someone with a gripe. I am a current student, and while everything isn’t perfect yet with the new building, I will say it’s an amazing upgrade to the Jake.

    First, the vast majority of classes take place on the lower level or second floor, and no outside noise can be heard with the doors closed. Same goes for the study rooms and student meeting rooms. Second, I’ve never heard of anyone taking the El to class, ever. 98% of students live in downtown Evanston, and there is no reason whatsoever to take the El from there when campus is a walk or quick bike ride away. The El would actually take you out of the way. Third, while the building is an extra walk for students compared to the Jake, it’s about 6min rather than 15min. This puts the walk to class from downtown Evanston at 17-18min compared to 11-12min.

    But I suppose trolls gonna troll.

  • Not-Orange

    at least he isn’t orange !

  • JohnAByrne

    Thanks for weighing in. This is a photo essay to show the would what Kellogg’s new home looks like. Our story on the Hub will be up shortly. And let me assure you, we spent a good bit if time there over two days interviewing students, faculty, the dean, the architects and many others.

  • notbuyingthehype

    This article is overly simplistic. It’s pretty clear that the author only went to the Kellogg open ceremony yesterday and the Kellogg tour for press without actually spending any time doing normal activities.

    The “collaboration plaza” is just an atrium. And having an atrium with glass classroom walls means that you hear everything going on in the building while sitting in class. If a “collaborative” experience is listening in on conversations from the hallway while you are trying to learn, then Kellogg is definitely a nailing their goals.

    Also, the Global Hub is much further from the El, the main way students commute to school. The Global Hub tacks on an extra 15 minute walk for each student compared to the Jacobs Center. That doesn’t sound like much until you are out in the Chicago winter with 15 mph wind chill coming off Lake Michigan.

    The building is definitely beautiful and great PR for the school, but it isn’t all rainbows and sunshine. It adds some conveniences and also adds a lot of inconveniences for students.

    The money would have been better spent improving the teaching and research instead of building a new building. All of these business schools are in arms races with each other to boost their rankings, but it would be more useful for students to focus on the curriculum and how your professors teach and research. At the end of the day, the new building doesn’t make the teaching any better. You just get a prettier space to spend your day in.

  • MBB

    Oh SOM kids… insecure

  • somsquared

    no building can outweigh brand Yale SOM > Kellogg in the future – just watch