Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Max Schwein, Northwestern University (Kellogg)

Max Schwein

Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management

“Outdoor-loving consultant passionate about growing businesses and making an impact.”

Hometown: Charlevoix, MI

Fun Fact About Yourself: I competed on the water ski team during undergrad at the University of Michigan and still ski competitively today.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Michigan, Bachelor of Business Administration, Master of Accounting

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Deloitte Consulting, Senior Consultant – M&A

Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key part of Northwestern Kellogg’s MBA curriculum or programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? For me, a huge differentiator for Kellogg was the focus on experiential learning. I have an undergrad business degree, so in my MBA program I was really looking for lots of opportunities to learn beyond the classroom. Kellogg has an unparalleled variety of opportunities to be paired with companies and nonprofits to tackle real business problems through courses such as the Growth Strategy Practicum and the PE and VC Labs – just to name a few. I think by gaining more hands-on experience now, I’ll greatly accelerate my learning curve for my post-MBA role.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Northwestern Kellogg? Staying on the theme of experiential learning, I am extremely excited about being selected to the Golub Capital Board Fellows program. As a Board Fellow, I’ll serve as an ex-officio board member for a local nonprofit organization for the remainder of my time at Kellogg and take two classes on board governance with my cohort. After the program, I’ll be very well-prepared to serve as full board member and drive change at a nonprofit I’m passionate about immediately post-Kellogg. Further, the longer-term involvement and strategic nature of the role allows me the opportunity to make a lasting impact on the Chicagoland community while honing my leadership skills in the process.

What has been your first impression of the Kellogg MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far. Tell us your best Kellogg story so far. My first impression of Kellogg students and alumni is that everyone is extremely willing to help you. One story that exemplifies this is my experience with Kellogg’s Alumni Mentoring program, where you are matched with a mentor and meet formally a few times throughout the quarter. I reached out to my mentor to set up our first meeting. Beyond setting up a time, he gave me his personal number and told me to text him any time I have questions or need anything, during or after the program. I think this shows how willing Kellogg people are to go above and beyond when interacting with one another.

What makes Chicago such a great place to earn an MBA? In my (admittedly biased) opinion, Kellogg’s location in Chicago is the perfect place to earn an MBA. Being in Evanston, campus is just far enough away from the city to build a sense of community, but just close enough to take advantage of everything Chicago has to offer, including amazing restaurants and a fun professional sports scene. Additionally, I’ve noticed that the Midwest location draws people from all over the country (not to mention the world) more so than other schools on the coasts, creating a very geographically diverse class.

Kellogg is known for a team-driven culture. What quality do you bring as a teammate and why will it  be so important to the success of MBA class? A strategic mindset. I believe I bring the ability to synthesize and build off of parts of others’ ideas to drive the group towards an even better solution than any one person could have gotten to on their own. I believe this is extremely important since our class is full of so many accomplished and smart individuals, so being able to combine and refine ideas can lead to great outcomes no matter the context.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest career accomplishment came during a project where my team was helping a large client execute the spinoff of a nearly $1 billion business. Over the course of a year, I led the end-to-end process of separating and standing up the finance function for the new organization. It was extremely rewarding to see the transaction come to fruition and the new company’s finance organization set up for success as they began their journey as an independent public company.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation?  My biggest reason for getting an MBA at this point was to broaden my skillset. Before Kellogg, I worked in two roles (as a CPA and most recently as an M&A consultant) where I gained a lot of depth in very specific areas. I wanted to make sure I had the strategy, management, and leadership skills to be able to effectively handle highly cross-functional business situations. I hope to return to consulting with a focus on strategy after graduation, where this will be immediately valuable in my role.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? Most schools do some form of a student blog series and I found those extremely valuable in getting a sense of each school’s values. They also helped me learn about unique programming, clubs, and classes that each school had to offer but weren’t necessarily super prominent on the website. You only have time to talk to so many students and alums, so the blogs are a great way to supplement those conversations.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? HBS, Wharton, Tuck, Darden, Fuqua

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Northwestern Kellogg’s MBA program? This will probably sound cliché, but be yourself. Be confident in yourself and the experiences that you bring to the table. The diversity of backgrounds, experiences, and skillsets that I’ve seen already at Kellogg has been astounding, which underscores the importance of leaning into your story and strengths – even if you wouldn’t consider them “traditional.”


Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.