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Master’s in Management: Lily Gandhi, Northwestern University (Kellogg)

Student Name: Lily Gandhi

Graduate Business School: Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management

Describe Yourself In 15 Words: Caring, quiet, intellectual, compassionate, creative, curious, goofy, genuine, artsy, foodie, sporty, outdoorsy, musical, familial, listener.

Master’s Graduation Class: 2020.

Undergraduate School and Major: Northwestern University, Economics and International Relations, International Political Economy, and Leadership.

Current Employer and Job Title: Capital One Bank, Associate Healthcare Banker.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest accomplishment so far was when I presented a construction loan (underwritten by my team) for a Life Science Lab space in Boston. This was presented to Vice Presidents of Capital One and I gained approval for the respective $400M acquisition. 

Describe your biggest accomplishment as a graduate student: As a graduate student, I equate my biggest accomplishment to the number of positive relationships I was able to build with my peers and professors. I gained so much insight on their various life experiences and career trajectories that has allowed me to carry insights into my own life and journey.

What was the key factor that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you?  Kellogg’s MSMS program is a great next-step after an undergraduate degree for many different reasons. 1) It allows you to learn all your key foundational business courses that will launch you ahead of other analysts in your career. 2) The Kellogg hub and alumni network are so strong, comprehensive, and diverse that you enter a truly wonderful world of possibilities and opportunities because of the people you meet and continue to stay in touch with. 3) The Professors, TAs and resources at Kellogg are world-class and enable a collaborative learning environment where everybody is truly challenged. 

What led you to choose a Master’s in Management over an MBA? I chose the MSMS program because for me and my immediate career goals, it was more convenient to pursue a master’s right after completing my undergraduate degree than to potentially take two years out of the workforce for an MBA.

Now that I have a MSMS, I have the option to come back to Kellogg and pursue a one-year MBA, since I wouldn’t be so focused on switching career paths. Or, since all of the business foundational courses are already complete, I might choose to remain in the workforce! 

What has been your favorite course and how has it helped you in your career? My favourite course was Negotiations Fundamentals because it taught tangible and relatable case studies and simulations to learn how to negotiate. It also taught us which type of negotiation skills suit your respective surroundings. This was by far the most applicable and interesting class; everything from discussing your first salary, buying your first car, or purchasing a home requires negotiation. Thinking about your reservation points/BATNA is a valuable skill that prepares you for different situations in life. 

What role did your school play in helping you to land your first job out of the program? The MSMS program assigned every student to a career coach who was helpful in providing guidance throughout the interviewing process. Northwestern University’s online platform, Handshake, was ultimately the way I was able to attain my job and I am grateful that the platform was so diverse and well-connected in the number of job opportunities it offered.

How did your classmates enhance the value of your business school experience? The MSMS program values collaboration and team-building projects. Throughout the program, there were many group projects, so weekly group meet-ups were a normal part of the Kellogg experience. This allowed for people to share their perspectives and different approaches to problem solving, and a lot of osmosis learning was able to take place because of this. The diversity of my peers was valuable in preparing for the workforce.  

Who was your favorite faculty member and how did this person enrich your learning? Bernard Banks’ Leadership Development Models and Practices was one of my favorites. Professor Banks provided so many great resources, research, and insight into his leadership conclusions. It was a great class that enabled students to learn more about themselves and types of leadership styles that we would come across in life. 

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s graduate Master’s program? My best advice would be to KNOW YOUR WHY and how this Kellogg Master’s would help you launch you to the next stage of your life. Think carefully about how you would like to use this master’s to make your environment better – personally and professionally.

What was your best memory from your Master’s program? The best memory from MSMS was participating in the Iron Chef cook off challenge with my peers at the end of the 2019 fall quarter. This was an event put on by the program for team building purposes. It was such a blast and I highly recommend going with some friends if you get a chance.