Meet Northwestern Kellogg’s MBA Class Of 2021

Student study area overlooking downtown Chicago


“I also want to call out the many resources available to our students through the Career Management Center. We’re incredibly proud that 98% of Kellogg’s Class of 2019 received a job offer three months post-graduation.

We have career coaches with deep expertise who work with our students, tapping into their unique interests in order to realize career goals. All students receive unlimited one-on-one career coaching as part of their Kellogg experience.

The CMC offers unique access to employers across all industries, functions and geographies. As an example, the CMC leads industry-specific career treks throughout the year, where students spend a day meeting with Kellogg alumni leaders at various companies for small-group discussions and Q&A. We have treks for Venture Capital, Healthcare, and Retail & Luxury Goods (among many other industries). Treks take place all over the country – last year, two-thirds of our treks took place on either the East or West Coast, reflecting students’ strong interest in those regions.”

3) Kellogg is sometimes categorized as a “marketing school” because of the program’s traditional innovation and excellence in the field. What other concentrations are students drawn to?

“The three most popular industry choices for our grads last year were finance, tech and consulting.

Near the entrance to the Global Hub

In terms of financial services jobs, private equity (PE) and investment banking are the most popular sub-groups. Kellogg has strong relationships with firms of all sizes and these firms regularly make multiple hires – including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, William Blair and a range of private equity firms. We are also seeing an emerging trend in PE firms hiring MBAs into their portfolio companies. Alpine Investors and Shore Capital are doing this, for example. Last year 25% of our students accepted jobs in tech.

More than 60 companies have recruited Kellogg talent this past year. This includes the largest firms (Amazon, Apple, Google) as well as smaller and mid-sized companies like TripAdvisor, GoPro, and Stich Fix. With the growth of the tech industry, there are more opportunities for our students than ever before across functions including finance, sales, marketing, product development, e-commerce, and operations.

In terms of consulting roles, Kellogg has long been the leader in this field, maintaining exceptional relationships with firms of all sizes and specialties. Our top three consulting firms hiring last year were Bain, BCG, and McKinsey – together, these three firms hired 101 graduates.”

4) What are the key qualities that applicants must possess to thrive in the MBA program?

“We take a very holistic approach when shaping the incoming class at Kellogg.  We are proud of our intentionality in that and believe that is a key driver in our school being known for a high-impact, low ego culture.  When we evaluate our applicants, a few attributes are paramount to us. These qualities help us understand if an applicant is ready to seize all of the opportunities that students have access to when welcomed to the Kellogg community. We look for people who possess the following:

* Can motivate a team to drive growth

* Are not afraid to challenge the status quo and creatively problem solve

* Seek diverse perspectives in their networks and teams and foster an inclusive environment

These are some of the traits that we really value and what you’ll consistently find in our students and alumni. Our robust application process allows us to understand how each applicant would bring these traits to Kellogg in his or her own unique way. From there, we teach them how to build on these abilities while they’re at Kellogg.”


Students working together after class

Growth-oriented…unconventional…diverse. In some corners, that is called an innovation mindset. That approach is forged in one of Kellogg’s most popular MBA degrees: MBA + MS Design Innovation – also known as the MMM program. A dual degree partnership with the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, the MMM program prepares students to “think big” in studio classes. Here, students prototype innovative solutions, sharpening their strategic thinking while incorporating analytics, AI, design, and storytelling into their work.

“The curriculum itself blends core business skills with design innovation in a way I haven’t seen in any other program,” writes Jeanette Stock. “In the end, what really sold me away was the tight-knit community that develops among the MMM students because of how small the program is (~60 students in each year). Coming from Canada, developing a strong community of peers here in the US was a priority for me. At an already community-oriented school like Kellogg, the tight-knit nature of the MMM program that every MMM student I met described made me confident that I could find my community here.”

Indeed, Kellogg offers something for everything. That includes one of the top one-year MBA programs in the world, along with a robust portfolio of courses, facilities, and activities related to entrepreneurship. The Zell Fellows, for example, accepts 30 student entrepreneurs into the program each year, where they can incubate their idea on a $10,000 stipend while enjoying intensive support like business planning and mentoring. The school also holds a 10-week immersion during the winter quarter in the Bay Area, which includes coursework and seminar as well as a required internship. Another 10-week program, Launch-Pad, provides a trio of courses devoted to thinking up, developing, and launching new ventures. In addition, students can choose from over two dozen entrepreneurial electives, including ones devoted to acquiring and scaling existing ventures.


Jon Leist intends to enter the green tech industry after graduation. He is looking forward to participating in Venture Lab to expose him to the world of venture capital. “Kellogg has an awesome program where you can share your resume with high-quality venture capital or private equity firms who may offer you a chance to interview and then offer an internship/co-op during a quarter. This fall, I’m really lucky to have the opportunity to work with New Stack Ventures in Chicago which focuses on investing in IOT startups. Without Kellogg, the VC world is extremely difficult to get experience in, so I’m really looking forward to this opportunity of a lifetime in my career.”

North of the plaza in Kellogg’s new global hub is a 7,800 sq. 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 student where virtual reality-assisted brainstorming can occur and a makers space where design prototypes can be built. The wing also houses Kellogg’s entrepreneurial initiative where students can work on their startup ideas.

Instead of hobnobbing with venture capitalists, Carmen Sheils plans to get her hands dirty in Chicago. As part of Kellogg’s two-year Board Fellows program, she will be sitting on a local nonprofit board. In this role, she can draw on her experience as a teacher to improve the lives of children. “When I was teaching every day, I have wondered about how larger decisions on the network level are made. I have come to recognize that a board is such an integral part of a nonprofit organization, but I have not had experience sitting on a board meeting. I am interested in learning how a board makes decisions about the nonprofit it supports and to be a voice in those decisions.”

Of course, downtown Chicago is just a 30-minute ride from the Global Hub, meaning students can quickly access Fortune 500 employers or hit a concert, game, or museum – and then retreat back to the tranquil college town life of Evanston. Overall, a third of Kellogg’s 60,000 alumni still live in the Chicago metro – and many are quite active in the MBA program says Jon Leist.

“One of the key factors that went into my decision to go to Kellogg was the strong alumni base in the Midwest,” he writes. “I feel that the region is often an overlooked opportunity. Kellogg’s alumni are living and working around the world, but at Kellogg I’m able to connect with so many alumni in the Chicago area. For example, prior to my admission, Kellogg invited me to the 1871 (an entrepreneurial working space in Chicago) for a networking event with alums who either founded their own companies or are working in private equity/venture capital. Another event was held at Google’s offices in West Loop. Both of these experiences enabled me to meet and develop meaningful relationships with alums right in the local community.”

Alas, none of these opportunities appeals to the Class of 2021 like one Kellogg tradition. “Every year, Kellogg students go on a ski trip after winter exams,” adds Jeanette Stock. “This year is in Whistler, in Canada! I can’t wait to share some of Canada with my classmates and to debunk (or maybe reinforce) some Canadian stereotypes.”

What led these professionals to enter business schools? Which programs did they also consider? What strategies did they use to choose their MBA program? What was the major event that defined them? Find the answers to these questions and many more in the in-depth profiles of these incoming MBA candidates.


MBA Students Hometown Alma Mater Last Employer
Jenieri Cyrus Philadelphia, PA Dartmouth College AEW Capital Management
Georges Durot Athens, GA University of Georgia Coca-Cola Company
Tracey Fetherson Stafford, VA University of Virginia Memphis Delta Preparatory Charter School
Kristen Kelly Park Ridge, Illinois University of Notre Dame Savanna Private Game Reserve
Jon Leist Cincinnati, OH Miami University Deloitte Consulting
Eda Levent Istanbul, Turkey University of Virginia Carraway
Caroline Nguyen Corte Madera, CA UCLA Arabella Advisors
Babatunde Oladosu Lagos Obafemi Awolowo University EduBridge Academy
Carmen Sheils Basking Ridge, NJ Barnard College Noble Network of Charter Schools
Ben Silton Boston, MA Middlebury College Divert, Inc.
Jeanette Stock Toronto, Canada Queens University Highline Beta
Juan Felipe Builes Villegas Medellin, Colombia Escuela de Ingenieria de Antioquia Tesla

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