Meet Northwestern Kellogg’s MBA Class Of 2020

Yasmina Maria Andrea Chalhoub

Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University

“The resident fashionista and spicy friend. Will always join you on the dance floor.”

Hometown: Plano, TX

Fun Fact About Yourself:  Taught Zumba Fitness for five years. My favorite choreography was always to Shakira!

Undergraduate School and Major:  University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business (BBA Marketing); minor in French

Most Recent Employer and Job Title:

Oracle Corp.; Field Marketing Manager

Owner and Editor in Chief of Style and Travel Blog “Dress Well Travel Often”

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I was elected as President of the Toastmasters Club for my company’s chapter in Austin. It empowered a lot of my introverted colleagues in their public speaking techniques and leadership skills. Soon after I earned my dream promotion – a role that “required” 8-10 years of experience when I only had 2.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Their ambition is palpable but their camaraderie and willingness to collaborate makes them all friends. Everyone has a lot of energy; it’s truly remarkable.

Aside from your classmates, 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 knew that Kellogg was the number one program for marketing in the country, but what really sold me on Kellogg was the class visit I made before applying. I had already read a few of Professor Tim Calkins’ publications before visiting and was pleasantly surprised that he was the professor whose class I sat in on. His class was riveting and solidified my conviction that I could in fact go back to sitting in a classroom again with the right faculty and peers.

I was also impressed that the Director of Diversity Admissions made time in his schedule to visit with me in person and answer any questions I had about Kellogg. Everything about the culture, from the open space and grandiose nature of the Global Hub, to the constant talk of “KWESTie Besties”, made me feel like I had to be a part of it myself.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? As far as activities, I’m most excited about KWEST! For clubs, I want to be involved with the Hispanic Management Association, Marketing Club and the Women’s Business Association. And you can’t forget Cork & Screw, Kellogg’s wine club!!

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? Since college, I wanted to pursue a career in brand management and knew that an MBA would get me to where I needed to be. I was no longer growing in my corporate career the last 9 months and knew it was the perfect timing to go back for my MBA.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? The earning potential post-MBA is so large that the physical return is a lot greater than the cost. But as far as the investment of time and a “hold” on my corporate career, I decided it was worth it to change my trajectory, meet new people, and expand my network. I have been told that an MBA opens doors for you that you didn’t know existed, so I’m excited for the multitude of opportunities ahead.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? In an MBA program, I was looking for 4 things: cultural fit, academic reputation, job placement and classroom experience.

I physically visited all the schools I applied to, as well as reached out to alumni and current students. You can tell A LOT about an MBA program by the way their alumni treat you when you ask to connect. Determining your fit at a school can be as simple as a gut feeling you get when visiting. There’s also a saying I try to live by, “If you’re always the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.” I wanted to be surrounded by people that would push my intellectual boundaries and challenge me to be better both personally and professionally. You also need to ask yourself (about students AND faculty), “Would I hire these people? Would I want them to be my coworkers? Do I admire them? Would I want them to be my friends? Would I want to spend time with them outside of school?” If you can answer “yes” to all those questions, you found your fit.

I knew Kellogg specifically would help me with my career goals by the attentiveness of their Career Management Center. Even though it is a large program, all the students I met noted how they felt they received one on one attention from career advisors, which I really felt I needed to focus on next steps in my career. I also got a sense of belonging that I didn’t necessarily feel anywhere else.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? When my Dad was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer four years ago, I realized that “home” is wherever my family is, and that I would never lose sight of that. I revolve my life around my family and make a lot of career and personal decisions based on that.

What do you plan to do after you graduate? I hope to move back to Dallas, Texas to pursue a career in brand management or marketing consulting.

Where do you see yourself in five years? I hope to be living close to my family, as a Director of VP of Marketing (in either fashion or tech) leading change in the digital marketing and media space. And I see myself with a shoe closet, always!

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