Meet the MBA Class of 2025: Ana Sulakvelidze, Northwestern University (Kellogg)

Ana Sulakvelidze

Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management

“I feel happy when I help others, so I try to be happy often.”

Hometown: Tbilisi, Georgia

Fun Fact About Yourself: When I was 15, I wrote a play that won a national literary competition for young writers aged between 14-17 in Tbilisi, Georgia.

Undergraduate School and Major: Tbilisi State University, Political Science; Louisiana State University, MS in Analytics

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Fried Frank, Senior Analytics Engineer

Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key part of Northwestern Kelloggs MBA curriculum or programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? Kellogg’s MBAi program, a joint degree in business and artificial intelligence from Kellogg and McCormick School of Engineering, fit my background and aspirations in tech and AI perfectly. However, knowing that I would have exposure to a very intellectually diverse cohort through all the graduate business programs that Kellogg offers also played a very important role in my decision-making process. I have a couple of MMMs, MD-MBAs, and JD-MBAs in my section, and every time they share their perspectives or experiences during our classroom discussions, I’m learning something new. It’s very stimulating.

What makes Chicago such a great place to earn an MBA? Evanston’s proximity and ease of access to Chicago through a very efficient public transportation system make it an ideal place to study. A successful MBA journey is hard work and requires tremendous focus, and Evanston’s relaxed ambiance is perfect for that. However, it takes only a couple of minutes train ride to find yourself in downtown Chicago with its beautiful architecture, phenomenal restaurants, comedy clubs, music venues, and shopping. In addition, Chicago has a very rich representation of various industries and businesses, which is particularly convenient if a student is moving to Evanston with his/her significant other.

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? From an academic standpoint, my data science and tech background will be a valuable resource for my teammates who come from less technical backgrounds. I intend to lean on my previous experiences of coaching my coworkers in tech skills to fill technical skillset gaps within my team. However, a highly skilled team doesn’t equal a successful team. As a former international student who has already navigated through a new culture and societal norms, I want to empower my international classmates in their American journey and encourage them to make their voices heard in teams.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Northwestern Kellogg? I’m very excited about my marketing class with Professor Kevin McTigue. His brilliant presentation about personal branding during CIM [our orientation, Cultural Immersion in Management] inspired and challenged me to deepen my self-awareness and harness it as a power for growth. I can already picture my “blown away” face in his classes! I also look forward to working with the Women’s Business Association at Kellogg. I’m particularly excited to join the Community committee to help create a supportive and inclusive environment for international women students at Kellogg. Another club that is close to my heart is KTech. Kellogg’s tech club is a great resource not only to connect with and learn about the tech industry but also to build/grow my tech skills.

What has been your first impression of the Kellogg MBA students and alumni youve met so far. Tell us your best Kellogg story so far. In July 2022, I attended a Meet Kellogg event in New York City. I’ve heard stories about Kellogg alumni and their notorious welcoming community and approachability before, so seeing smiling faces and participating in polite conversations didn’t surprise me. However, I looked at my watch and realized and I had been standing in front of the venue for more than an hour since the event ended and had been talking to a Kellogg alumna who was so excited to remember her time at Kellogg and share her best advice that the time flew by. I knew in that moment I wanted to come to Kellogg. Now having experienced CIM, Kellogg’s orientation, and having spent significant time with my Kellogg pod (a small group of eight or nine students), I must say that the Crucible Moments exercise, during which a pod meets for dinner in an intimate setting and students share their personal stories that shaped their lives, has been the best gift from Kellogg so far. I laughed and cried that evening, and most importantly I made some great friends.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: As a technologist in the LegalTech space, I have extensive experience working with people from non-technical backgrounds such as lawyers, word processors, marketing and business development professionals, and even librarians. Throughout my career, I’ve always strived to bring technology concepts and applications closer to my non-technical colleagues and nurture their curiosity and intuition about the nature of technology. I believe that the biggest accomplishment of my engineering career was successfully equipping my colleagues with not only valuable technical skills but also a technological mindset that often resulted in significant shifts towards more efficient business practices.

Looking ahead two years, what would make your MBA experience successful? A successful MBA journey would mean graduating with strong leadership skills and a tight network of lifelong friends and meaningful connections. Kellogg has incredible resources to help me accomplish my goals. I realize that the challenging part will be to stay focused and prioritize efficiently, but Kellogg offers a myriad of fantastic resources to help me overcome this challenge as well through coaching, formal and informal mentoring, training, and access to information. If I consistently leverage and engage with these resources even at a 50% rate, I am confident that I will succeed in achieving my MBA goals. In certain environments, it only takes to lean into it and let it do its magic, and I feel that Kellogg is that environment.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I applied to Cornell Tech, Wharton, and London Business School.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Northwestern Kellogg’s MBA program? Start with an honest Q&A with yourself and identify or deepen your understanding of the values and motivations that guide you. Research Kellogg and its programs. Be meticulous. Engage with Kellogg through online resources, virtual or in-person events, and alumni. Identify where you and Kellogg overlap: What Kellogg values are present in your life and what values will you bring to Kellogg? Be specific with examples. Finally, don’t forget to be humble, because a Kellogg leader is high impact – low ego.

DON’T MISS: MEET NORTHWESTERN KELLOGG’S MBA CLASS OF 2025

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