“HIGH IMPACT, LOW EGO”
There is a saying around the Kellogg Global Hub: “High Impact, Low Ego.” By that, they mean students who are looking to make a difference but also looking to support and champion their peers. Uriel Kim, who is also pursuing a medical degree, appreciates how classmates are always looking to celebrate his successes or jump in when he needs help. In essence, these tendencies reflect the singular quality of Kellogg MBAs: passion.
“It is such a unique experience to be surrounded by 1000+ energized students boldly going after their dreams,” explains Tracy Striebich. “I have met individuals that have started their own healthcare company, aspire to transform the energy industry, plan to rethink financial services for women, and everything in between. Alumni and current students are not afraid to voice their aspirational vision for themselves and go after it! It is extremely motivating and has pushed me to think even bigger about my personal and professional goals.”
Teamwork is another hallmark of the Kellogg MBA experience. It is ingrained into every aspect of every course. As a result, Students estimate that they participate in over 200 team meetings over their two years at Evanston. Call it a real-world boot camp, where they can practice the same communication skills they’ll need to galvanize peers who have very different backgrounds and motivations than their own. That approach really differentiated Kellogg from other programs, says Letícia Vieira Salvador.
A TRUE TEAM
“The reason why I chose Kellogg was because of the collaborative culture and expansive network. I want to make the most of my MBA experience: connect to different people, think together ways to solve the world’s most complex problems, and deliver true impact to society. And for me, you can only achieve these things in a collaborative environment, where people are willing to help each other instead of competing.”
For Salvador, empathy —being able to put herself in another’s shoes — is the quality that she brings to Kellogg teams. In contrast, Tracy Striebich is always happy to “step in and fill the gaps” wherever she is needed. Laura Alonge is the planner who shows up with an outline and objectives to ensure a team is “moving in the right direction.” Add Alex Quoyeser’s contribution — accountability — and you have a pretty unbeatable team.
“Trust is essential in a team environment,” Quoyeser explains. “I hold myself to a high standard, so my teammates can trust me to lead them. I’ll be the first to point out my own mistakes, so people feel comfortable to be forthcoming and transparent with their ideas and opinions.”
A BIG BOOST IN WOMEN
The 2019-2020 applications cycle turned out to be a banner year for Northwestern Kellogg. Notably, the school saw applications jump from 3,719 to 5,883 this year, with class size jumping from 474 full-time MBAs to 508. You could call this year’s class “a return to normal.” On one hand, applications sunk to 4,632 applications. Technically, that represents the second-largest number of applications over the past five years. Even more, this number wasn’t padded by Kellogg, extending its third round by two months like the previous year. At the same time, the number of students in the Class of 2023 — 508 — is also the second-highest total over the past five years, which consistently ranged from 474-478 students.
One major difference from previous years: the Class of 2023 consists of 49% women — a near parity that tops Kellogg’s 46% best in 2019. “We are proud of our legacy and longstanding commitment to advancing women leaders,” explained Kate Smith, assistant dean of admissions and financial aid, in an August email to P&Q. “Our success in growing representation of women this year is also due to the great support and engagement of the student and alumni community, who have been terrific partners in helping us attract talented students and demonstrating what makes Kellogg special. We offer pathbreaking programming and resources for women at every stage of their professional and personal journey. We continue to build on our legacy with innovations such as co-curricular offerings with Poker Power.”
By the same token, the percentage of international students climbed ten points to 36%, again returning to averages produced in previous classes. In addition, underrepresented minorities account for 23% of the class. Overall, the Class of 2023 brings a 730 median GMAT to campus, with scores ranging from 630-780. With GRE scores, the class produced median 165 (Quant) and 162 (Verbal) scores. Undergraduate GPA also inched up 0.1 of a point to 3.70.
As undergraduates, 49% of the class majored in Business or Economics. Another 35% studied STEM-related fields, up six points from the previous year. 21% of the class holds degrees in Humanities-related disciplines (with 5% of the class holding degrees in two of these categories). Before arriving in Evanston, the largest segment of the class — 29% — last worked in Financial Services. Another 22% of class seats are held by Consultants, with Technology making up another 12%. The rest of the class features students who last worked in Healthcare, Consumer Products, Energy, Media and Entertainment, Manufacturing, Government and Non-Profits, and the Military.
TOP MARKETING PROGRAM
For many, Northwestern Kellogg is the “Marketing School.” After all, its marketing program consistently ranks atop U.S. News’ ranking of MBA specializations, which is based on survey results from business school deans and MBA directors. Notably, the program boasts a diverse range of marketing coursework and programming, not to mention top research and teaching faculty like Florien Zettelmeyer, Jim Lecinski, and Eric Anderson. The school has also produced graduates who oversee the marketing of top brands ranging from Modelo to Old Spice. Even the “Father of Marketing” — Philip Kotler — spent over a half-century teaching at Kellogg!
One of the favorite traditions in the marketing department is the Kellogg Super Bowl Ad Review. Here, students apply what they learn in their Advertising Strategy course to evaluate Super Bowl ads in real-time to determine what works and why. The event was one of the highlights for Di Gao, a 2021 P&Q Best & Brightest MBA who joined GlaxoSmithKline after graduation.
“Every year about ~50-60 students are selected to participate in Kellogg’s legendary Super Bowl Ad Review led by two Kellogg marketing professors (Tim Calkins and Derek Rucker). Students rank the advertisements in real-time using Kellogg’s ADPLAN framework. It is really a great way for students with interest in marketing (like me) to apply what we have learned in class to real-life examples.”
A WELL-ROUNDED EXPERIENCE
However, marketing isn’t the only area where Kellogg excels. In the U.S. News survey, Kellogg also ranks 3rd for Management and among the ten-best for Non-Profits and Operations. Last year, 27.6% of its grads landed work in the Tech sector. What’s more, the school has produced one of the largest alumni bases in consulting, including 495 grads who joined the MBB from 2016-2020. For Gao, this created a well-rounded experience that made her all the more versatile.
“While Kellogg certainly has an impressive marketing program, it is so much more than that. For example, I really enjoyed my finance classes, venture capital and entrepreneurship classes, and operations classes. Kellogg professors are not only knowledgeable in their disciplines but also really good at teaching. So many of my classmates are pursuing careers in healthcare, consulting, private equity and venture capital, investment banking, design, and entrepreneurship. I was able to find a venture capital internship through one of my classes during the San Francisco Immersion Program. In my class Forging and Funding Healthcare Start-ups, several CEOs from local startups were invited to pitch their startups to our class, and we were expected to evaluate and write investment memos.”
The Kellogg MBA has also invested heavily in emerging areas like social impact and healthcare. Even more, the program has made strong moves in Entrepreneurship, where 31% of its electives focus on entrepreneurship and 42% of students are members of entrepreneurship-themed clubs. Emily Mohr, a 2021 grad who launched her gluten-free, dairy-free dessert bakery as an MBA student, credits the Zell Fellows program for her firm’s success out of the gate.
AN ENTREPRENEURIAL HUB
“Zell Fellows not only advanced Nine Times to be a scalable, venture-backable business, but more importantly, it taught me how to be a better founder,” Mohr notes. “Every week, we met with our mentors who were experts across varying industry startups and venture capital firms. Those meetings held me accountable for the progress I wanted to make and also helped shine a light on opportunities that I hadn’t seen right off the bat. There are endless things to do when you’re a founder, so working with mentors and peers in one-on-ones and group meetings helped me to prioritize, test quickly, and focus on what had the highest impact. I remember a point early on in Zell when multiple companies placed orders from Nine Times for client gifts. My cohort and the network of the Zell Fellows program helped me test corporate gifting as a potential customer segment and sales channel, and within 2 weeks, I found that it wasn’t worth pursuing because customer acquisition was so expensive. I would not have been able to test hypotheses and evolve the business that quickly if it weren’t for Zell.”
Mohr’s classmate, Ben Preston, won $161,000 from winning the 2020 VentureCat, a university-wide competition for Northwestern entrepreneurs. He believes the school’s alumni network is an underrated asset for Kellogg founders.
“The network proved to be more valuable than I could have ever anticipated. A large majority of our seed funding came from Kellogg alumni or by way of a connection made through the Kellogg network. More importantly, the key advisors we were able to gain along the way have been invaluable. We have been able to put together a world-class advisory board of well-known entrepreneurs, professors, and venture capitalists that would have been very challenging to do without Kellogg’s help.”
HOME SWEET HOME
These offerings don’t even include Kellogg’s Launch, a series of entrepreneurship courses to prepare students to research, develop, and launch their venture. What’s more, the programming provides a 10-week immersion in San Francisco, an opportunity to complete entrepreneurial coursework, complete an internship, and network with Silicon Valley founders and investors. In addition, the school recently rolled out its 15-month MBAi, a curriculum that integrates MBA content with artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, and data science. Basically, the MBAi prepares students to better deploy cutting-edge technology in roles ranging from the c-suite to product management.
Alas, MBAs can enjoy much of this from the Global Hub. A 415,000 square foot glass and steel marvel, the hub ranks among the most spacious and luxurious business school campuses in the world. Overlooking Lake Michigan, the Global Hub includes amenities like fireplace-warmed study rooms, terraces views of downtown Chicago, and a fully-loaded fitness center — not to mention a tech studio, design studio, and even space to build prototypes.
What else can MBAs expect from Kellogg in the coming year? This fall, P&Q reached out to Emily Haydon, interim assistant dean of admissions and financial aid. In a wide-ranging interview, Haydon outlines new developments at the school, along with some of the differentiators that make the Kellogg experience so special.
Next Page: Q&A with Emily Haydon, Interim Assistant Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid