Meet Kellogg’s MBA Class Of 2019


Stephane Manuel 

Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management and McCormick School of Engineering

Describe yourself in 15 words or less:  Army vet who enjoys looking for bombs, watching Anime, and mentoring

Hometown: Miami, FL

Fun Fact About Yourself: I once baked a Cherpumple. It’s a three-layer cake with a pie baked inside each layer.

Undergraduate School and Major: United States Military Academy at West Point, B.S. Mechanical Engineering

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: 

U.S. Army, Captain

  • Platoon Leader- Led 35-soldier bomb clearance platoon
  • Executive Officer- Second in command of a 125-soldier bomb clearance company
  • Battle Captain- Directed defensive efforts for airfield that contained 18,000 people
  • Regiment Engineer- Headed strategic facility planning for 3,500-soldier aviation unit

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: During my second deployment, I was in charge of the defense of Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. My team included military and civilian personnel from the Cezch Republic, Georgia, Nepal, Afghanistan, and the U.S. I had to quickly learn how to lead in an environment with language barriers, cultural clashes, and lots of rocket attacks. By synchronizing our efforts, we efficiently used emergency services, helicopters, and foot patrols to deal with more than 45 rockets attacks on Bagram Airfield.

Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants? 

Essays: Be strategic in picking stories for your essays and interviews. Your favorite moments of your career may not be the ones that best highlight your unique attributes and convey fit for a school. Spend time researching the school’s values, and choose stories that highlight how you have shown those values in your own way.

GMAT: Quality is better than quantity when studying for the GMAT. When you are studying for the GMAT, you are doing only one of two things. You are either becoming really good at getting problems right or becoming exceptional at getting them wrong. You are not your GMAT score. Yes, it is important in a competitive application, but there are so many other important parts of your application that are unique to you.

Application: It’s also important to conduct school research before you begin the application process. Even if the schools are highly-ranked, applying to schools that you have no real interest in attending is not a good use of your time. Your application may not be as strong because you are not really interested in the school. Plus, you are taking away time that could be invested in schools that appeal to you. When I conducted school research, I wanted to know the general personality of current students; how the program would fill gaps in my resume; whether my target firms recruit from the program; and how the specific components will help me grow as a future business leader. At the end of the day, you are getting an MBA no matter what program you choose. However, the teaching methods, the people that help you grow, and the access to your dream job varies from school-to-school. Spend time considering the concentration of case-based learning, lectures, and experiential learning that will be most beneficial to your growth. Kellogg had the right mix of the three for my goals.

Recommenders: Pick people who have invested in you and know you personally. They should be excited to write a letter for and be happy to be part of your future success. Their attitude is often an indicator of how much work they will put into writing a strong recommendation.

What was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? I decided to attend Kellogg because it offered the best growth environment to make the transition from military service to business leadership.

Growth as a Leader 

Kellogg offered me the greatest opportunity to continue my growth as a leader. In the Army, I developed leadership, team building, and critical thinking skills. However, I didn’t have the skills to solve difficult business problems or drive innovation throughout a company. The MMM program, which offers an MBA and a Master of Science in Design Innovation, offers me everything I want in a full-time MBA program. In the MMM program, I can learn how to quickly design a product and build a business case to bring an offering to market. I can make creative ideas easily understandable using metrics, visuals, and an emotional touch. I’ll have a solid understanding of the precursors to successful innovations and have the tools to replicate those circumstances in any business. As a MMM graduate, I’ll be able to recognize innovation challenges and make the decisions that would bring the most long-term value to a company.

A Culture that Supports Growth 

As a veteran, I appreciate a strong sense of camaraderie in professional settings. After speaking to several students, I realized that Kellogg is a big, diverse, and global family of professionals pushing each other to grow as leaders and supporting each other to reach their goals. The collaborative environment goes beyond assigning groups projects. It’s ingrained in the culture not only as a method to learn, but also as a key driver of building strong personal relationships. After attending Kellogg’s admit weekend, I was sold on attending. I enjoy being around my classmates, and I know that the caliber of people at Kellogg will help me grow the most.

Growth for My Wife 

She is also attending Kellogg. Kellogg will enable both of us to grow as business leaders and pursue our respective professional goals.

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school? By the end of my first year, I want to leverage my leadership, business, and design thinking skills in a dynamic business environment. I will also have a diverse group of friends and leadership positions in clubs that engage my passions. Finally, I will have an internship at the company of my dreams.

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