Meet Northwestern Kellogg’s MBA Class Of 2023

Kellogg Global Hub Classroom


P&Q: What are the two most exciting developments at your program and how will they enrich the MBA experience for current and future MBAs?

EH: “There are a number of exciting things happening at Kellogg this Fall, a few that standout are below:

We recently welcomed our new Director of Diversity Admissions, Crystal Fazal ’08. Crystal is responsible for leading the diversity recruiting and admissions efforts across all of Kellogg’s programs, including Evening & Weekend, and the Executive MBA program. Crystal is a graduate of Kellogg’s Executive MBA program and comes to Kellogg from The Fast Forward Group, where she was the lead DEI workshop facilitator and executive coach.

This fall, we welcomed our inaugural cohort of MBAi students. They began their Kellogg journey (in joint with McCormick) and started the coursework that wholly integrates AI and data science with business and management skills to prepare them for leadership roles.

As a result of the transformative gift from Kellogg alumnae Ann Drake ’84 in February of 2021, we’ve launched Kellogg’s new Drake Scholars Network – an intergenerational and diverse network of students, alumnae, and faculty who will advise each other throughout their careers. They will lead the effort to distinguish Kellogg as a global leader in women’s business education by supporting scholarships, notable faculty and research, and enhanced leadership programming and networking events.

Additionally, we’re celebrating our 30th year in offering the MMM program to students.”

Emily Haydon is being named interim chief until Kellogg conducts a search for a permanent successor to Smith

P&Q: What are the two biggest differentiating features of your MBA program? How does each of these enrich the learning of your MBA students? 

EH: “Kellogg’s unique, comprehensive degree portfolio allows students to pursue the MBA program that best meets their career goals and aspirations. All of Kellogg’s programs provide exposure to star faculty, a diverse curriculum, and a strong network of peers and alumni. Kellogg offers five distinct options for pursuing a full-time MBA – all of which have been intentionally designed to fit students’ personal and professional interests. Our full-time MBA degree portfolio includes our 2Y MBA, 1Y MBA, MMM degree, MBAi degree, and our JD-MBA. Additionally, we offer flexible evening, weekend, and executive MBA programs allowing more choice and options to our MBA applicants.

Additionally, and confirmed by incoming students every year, Kellogg’s culture of collaboration, inclusivity, and empathy, is what truly sets our program apart. We are always looking for students who aren’t afraid to take risks, who want to drive lasting impact for their organizations and community, and who truly embody ‘high-impact, low ego leadership’. Kellogg’s focus is on developing a leader than can navigate an environment of change, and a leader who has been shaped by and embodies the essential quality of creativity and collaboration. With this focus and shared culture, we produce leaders who leverage this empathic mindset to drive relationships and performance both professionally and personally.”

P&Q: In recent years, there have been several areas that have gained increased prominence in business school programming, including STEM, analytics, artificial intelligence, and digital disruption. How does your full-time MBA program integrate these concepts across its curriculum?

EH: “We recognized a need for business leaders to marry business experience with deeper expertise in technical areas like science, engineering, analytics in the market early in 2020, and we acted on it right away. In August, Kellogg partnered with the McCormick School of Engineering to launch an MBAi joint degree program.

While AI and analytics hold tremendous promise, most firms continue to struggle with delivering and scaling successful business outcomes. To meet this challenge, Kellogg and McCormick faculty developed a blended curriculum combining business strategy with the complexities of emerging technologies.

Graduates will be ready to take leadership roles that bridge science, technology, and business – such as tech product management, product or digital marketing, entrepreneurship, or consulting. In some cases, the roles don’t even exist yet – they are in the process of being created right now.

Aside from the MBAi, Kellogg offers a number of curriculum pathways that support the trends we are seeing in regards to industries and functions sought-after post-Kellogg. Our pathways — integrated, cross-functional sequences of courses designed to address a particular skill set — are a great way for students to develop the cross-functional skills needed for these roles.

Our Technology Management Pathway was created in 2019 to support the increase in Kellogg students pursuing a career in the technology industry; in 2020, 1 in 4 students were recruited into technology positions.  The pathway organizes cross-department suites of courses that emphasize functional depth for the following roles: product management, product marketing management, and business operations and strategy.

Additionally, Kellogg Data Analytics pathway has been available to Kellogg students since 2014.  Long before big data and analytics became buzzwords, Kellogg was equipping business leaders with the knowledge they need to harness the possibilities of data analytics. Kellogg approaches data analytics as a fundamental leadership problem, driven by managerial judgment. The pathway was designed to teach managers how to operate and lead effective data teams.”

Kellogg MBA students at Camp Wandawega in Elkhorn, Wisconsin. Courtesy photo

P&Q: What have you learned during the pandemic and the shift to hybrid or remote learning and how will they impact the MBA experience going forward? 

EH: “As we plan for a post-COVID future at Kellogg, face-to-face education will continue to be a core element of our offerings – but we’re incorporating best practices from our virtual experience as well. 

Though our full-time programming will prioritize in-person modality, there were a number of approaches that will likely continue post-pandemic including:

* Co-Curricular Student Pods: We launched first-year “pods,” which allow small groups of 7-8 students within a larger section to develop deeper relationships from the start of students’ Kellogg experience. This pod structure allows for students to have both casual and structured touchpoints throughout the year.

* Video Content Supplements for Class: Many faculty members are starting to supplement their classes with video material that students can watch on their own time before class – also known as asynchronous videos. This allows students to come to class with a deeper background on the topic at hand, so they can spend more class time in discussions with the professor and each other.

* Extended Faculty Engagement: Some faculty have decided that they will be shifting their office hours to a virtual format to increase student participation and make themselves more accessible.

* Remote Guest Speakers: Kellogg has been able to expose our community to even more guest speakers through a virtual format, welcoming those who might not have been able to psychically join on campus.”

Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University

P&Q: In a 2020 interview with P&Q, Dean Cornelli observed that the Kellogg MBA philosophy is grounded in creativity, innovation and empathy. How are these values integrated across the program’s educational experience and professional development?

EH: “With so much change and disruption happening constantly, we can’t predict how the world will evolve in the next 10 years, much less the next 50 years. But what won’t change is the need for leaders who have the rare ability to understand and influence people, and to inspire teams with diverse backgrounds and perspectives — leaders who demonstrate great empathy. These are the type of leaders that Kellogg develops.

Kellogg’s focus on empathy is based on science and rigorous and critical thinking. Empathy is focused on understanding the point of view of others and disentangling different perspectives.  The recent launch of our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Pathway is an excellent example of how Kellogg is continuing to innovate and strengthen its commitment to living out its mission and purpose to educate, equip and inspire – and doing so with and through empathy for others.

Additionally, we’ve always embodied a broad academic scope that includes general management at the forefront because we believe well-rounded managers make better leaders. When you understand how each part of an organization contributes to the success of the whole, you approach problems differently. You ask better questions and work more effectively.

There are a number of examples of how these values are integrated throughout the student experience, below are a few examples:

* A new experiential course launching in the Spring, Leading with Empathy: Enhancing Your Emotional Intelligence to Lead in Diverse Settings, will provide students the opportunity to increase their level of emotional intelligence with an emphasis on empathy, and learning how to apply both to better interact and lead in diverse settings. Another experiential course, Leader as Coach, provides tools for understanding others’ perspectives and needs. Students learn to engage in “coaching” conversations with others, which sets a foundation for empathizing and developing trusting relationships with key stakeholders (e.g., team members, bosses, clients, colleagues, board members, etc.).

* At Kellogg’s orientation (CIM), students have a “culture box” exercise in which they pick three physical objects that represent important parts of their social identities (race, gender, ethnicity, age, religion, etc.) and explain them to a small group of peers. The goal of the box is to help others gain a deep understanding of some of the experiences that have made you who you are, including joyous and/or difficult struggles.

* A year ago, Kellogg introduced a program to help introduce international students to American culture, but we realized there was a gap to equip domestic students to behave in a culturally adept manner with their international peers. To address this gap, we launched the Kellogg Culture Camp in the summer of 2021. This two-week program designed for both incoming domestic and international students features a variety of programming, including alumni speakers on inclusion and belonging; exposure to cultural and ethnic traditions; storytelling opportunities for participants; and opportunities to connect informally with peers and learn about their unique backgrounds and perspectives.”

Bicyclists along the lakeshore in Chicago

P&Q: What makes Chicago such a great place to earn an MBA? How does the Kellogg MBA tap into these advantages to provide MBA students with opportunities to learn, grow, and advance?

EH: “We’re proud to be the only top business school with access to a major metropolitan city, but also the safety and livability that comes with a campus town environment.  Evanston fosters a sense of community that creates strong ties to classmates, which results in stronger ties to the network for years to come.

Kellogg’s proximity to downtown Chicago offers an abundance of opportunities for students whether it be socially, culturally, or professionally. The strength of Kellogg’s network and reputation locally allows for increased access and success in a variety of ways, including:

* Strong Local Alumni Network: There are over 19,000 Kellogg alumni located in the Chicago-land area, offering an abundance of opportunities to form relationships and network locally. With this large network of resources at students’ fingertips, the opportunity to form close mentorships through Kellogg’s mentorship program is expansive. Additionally, we have three active Chicago-area alumni clubs the Kellogg Alumni Club of Chicago, the Kellogg Alumni Club of Chicago-West, and the Kellogg Executive Women’s Network, which offer an abundance of networking opportunities.

* Career Opportunities: Kellogg consistently sees strong employment success right here in the Midwest in addition to the West and East Coasts and it’s likely due to the expansive number of rigorous employment opportunities in Chicago. One opportunity students have to immerse themselves with local companies is through Career Treks, hosted by Kellogg’s Career Management Center and led by students. In 2021, local treks focused on Private Equity, Healthcare, Real Estate, and Entrepreneurship. Through treks, students gain more insight into companies and the industries they represent, as well as build relationships with working professionals.

* Increased Entrepreneurial Resources: There is The Garage at Northwestern and 1871, Chicago’s largest startup incubator. Engineers, innovators, and entrepreneurs building Chicago’s next tech ventures work within the large space located inside the Merchandise Mart. Through Northwestern and Kellogg’s partnership with 1871, students have access to 1871 mentors, events and workshops, and physical access to the incubator. Similarly, students have access to mHub, the nation’s largest and fastest-growing innovation center focused on physical development and manufacturing.”

Next Page: Profiles of Class of 2023 Members

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