Meet Northwestern Kellogg’s MBA Class Of 2020

Eric Dodds

Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University

Native New Yorker, recovering journalist, aspiring problem-solver, long-suffering Braves fan and devoted fried chicken enthusiast.”

Hometown: New York, NY

Fun Fact About Yourself: I got a call-back to audition for the lead in Home Alone 3 when I was 8, but I skipped it due to concerns about the script (or because I had a soccer game at the same time).

Undergraduate School and Major: Princeton University, History

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Rossoff & Company, Associate

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Transitioning from a job as a culture and sports reporter for TIME Magazine to a role as an associate for a boutique investment bank without any previous finance experience—or even having taken an econ course in college. Also writing a 13,000-world oral history of “The Mighty Ducks” film franchise for TIME.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Enthusiasm. Whether it’s been at admitted students weekend, self-organized happy hours in New York, or on the class-wide GroupMe chat, my classmates have consistently proven themselves to be some of the most enthusiastic, engaged and curious people I’ve ever met. Entering into a new environment with a large group of strangers can often lead to reticence, but that’s not been the case at all for my Kellogg classmates. Everyone appears genuinely enthusiastic to meet one another and to make the most of this opportunity.

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? Community. Of all the MBA campuses that I visited last year, Kellogg was the only where I immediately—and confidently—felt I could see myself for the next two years. I think that’s partly due to the program’s reputation and remarkable facilities, but what made Kellogg immediately feel unique was how obvious it was that the students, faculties and administrators not only cared deeply about the program but also about one another. There were lots of little moments that offered that impression—including hearing how enthusiastically the program embraces students’ partners—but the one that stood out the most for me was when my tour guide said that when multiple Kellogg students go after the same job, they work together to make sure at least one of them gets it. A program where that’s the case is one that I knew I wanted to be a part of.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? There are a lot of clubs and activities at Kellogg that I’m excited about, but one that definitely stands out is the Media & Entertainment Club. I spoke with a handful of members during the application process, and their passion and insight reaffirmed my desire to be part of the Kellogg community.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I had been thinking about pursuing an MBA since leaving TIME in 2015, but decided at that point it would be prudent to get a little experience in a more traditional “business” field first before returning to the media industry on the business side. After two years as an associate at Rossoff & Company, I decided it was time to add more formalized training in fields like marketing, strategy, operations and technology to what I’d learned as a journalist and as an investment banker.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? The chance to have an incredible academic experience and bolster my career prospects were major factors, but I also knew that an MBA would offer me an opportunity to build the sort of network I couldn’t create in another setting. Between that and the fact that I knew attending Kellogg would be a genuinely unique experience, I decided it was a worthwhile investment.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Harvard Business School, Columbia Business School, London Business School, Wharton, NYU Stern School of Business

How did you determine your fit at various schools? For me, the single biggest factor in determining fit was taking the time to visit the schools and speak with both current students and alumni, especially those with an interest in media, entertainment and sports or who had experience in non-traditional fields. I did plenty of research online, both on the programs’ websites and third-party ones, to learn more about the academic offerings as well. Ultimately, though, I knew I’d get a strong education no matter which program I chose, so I wanted to make sure the culture of the school was the right one for me and also that I’d be well-situated to join a field I was passionate about after completing the program. I will say that the time I took to actually visit the programs themselves proved invaluable, not just in taking tours, sitting in on information sessions and visiting classes, but also in seeing students interact with one another and getting a feel for the atmosphere on campus.

What do you plan to do after you graduate? My plan after completing my MBA is to work at a media company in a brand development or strategy role. That said, a large part of my motivation for attending Kellogg is to meet new people and open myself up to new opportunities that could change my future plans. I have long had a passion for entertainment, sports and technology, and could easily see myself exploring one of those industries after graduation—or perhaps another one entirely.

Where do you see yourself in five years? I see myself shaping the direction and strategy of either a growing digital media company or a particular title for an incumbent publisher—or I could see myself pursuing a similar position in an industry that I’m not deeply familiar with now but have the opportunity to discover in the next two years and beyond. One of the main reasons I’ve chosen to pursue an MBA at Kellogg is because I want to create more possibilities for my future, not fewer. But wherever I am and whatever I’m doing in five years, I want it to be somewhere and something that can create a significant, lasting impact.