Meet the MBA Class of 2025: Brandon Fazal, Northwestern University (Kellogg)

Brandon Fazal

Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management

“Former consultant passionate about improving patient care, visiting national parks, and attending live music shows.”

Hometown: Woodcliff Lake, NJ

Fun Fact About Yourself: I’m scuba diving certified.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Michigan, Bachelor’s of Business Administration

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Devoted Health; Manager, Digital Growth Marketing

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? I applied specifically to the MBAi program at Kellogg because it perfectly marries my interests in business and technology. The MBAi program is a joint degree between Kellogg and the McCormick School of Engineering, offering AI-specific coursework integrated into both the core business classes and specialized engineering courses. Given my undergraduate business degree from Michigan Ross, I didn’t want to duplicate coursework during my MBA. The AI spin on marketing, accounting, and business analytics adds an exciting, novel layer to familiar material. Now more than ever, it’s critical for business leaders to have a deep understanding of modern technology and its potential applications.

What makes Chicago such a great place to earn an MBA? Having lived in Chicago for the past four years, I consider it my favorite city in the country. Chicago boasts every type of attraction, including a world-class culinary and nightlife scene, beautiful beaches along the lakefront, renowned museums, and an endless array of concerts and sporting events. Pursuing an MBA at Kellogg offers students the unique advantage of living in the smaller college town of Evanston, while remaining within easy reach of Chicago’s vibrant downtown, accessible by a brief train or Uber ride.

Beyond its cultural and social allure, Chicago stands as a prominent business hub, encompassing everything from consulting companies to technology startups to venture capital firms. Kellogg’s proximity to Chicago provides students with valuable networking opportunities, such as coffee chats, case competitions, and conferences. The flexibility afforded by Kellogg’s location empowers students to tailor their experience, striking a balance between the dynamic offerings of Chicago and the peaceful ambiance of Evanston. Ultimately, it offers students the best of both worlds.

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?  I thrive in diverse groups and teams, particularly where I can leverage my communication and organization skills. My experience in consulting has taught me how to effectively adjust to and work in new teams. The Kellogg MBA cohort is full of people from diverse professional and personal backgrounds, so it’s critical to approach collaboration with an open mind and an acute awareness of others’ unique backgrounds. Additionally, students are often quite busy between classwork, recruiting, and social activities, so efficient organization skills will be key to team success at Kellogg.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Northwestern Kellogg? During my MBA application process, I learned about Kellogg’s significant healthcare industry presence. As a result, I’m most excited to attend the Kellogg Business of Healthcare Conference (KBHC) and hopefully join the conference committee. The KBHC is Kellogg’s largest student-run conference and it focuses on the impact of healthcare trends across the ecosystem. The prior conference dealt with topics such as managing changes in patient care models, achieving health equity, and successfully disrupting the current paradigm. I’ve been looking forward to joining Kellogg’s thriving network of healthcare professionals to learn how to effectively lead in this dynamic space.

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. Kellogg students are among the most high-energy, open-minded, and friendly people I’ve ever met. The first few weeks on campus have been very exciting–everyone on campus is open to chatting and making plans, such as small group dinners or weekend trips to Chicago. On top of meeting fellow first-years, I’ve had conversations with several second-years and alumni during my application process and for internship networking. I find that the cheery attitude and willingness to help extends across everyone at Kellogg.

My favorite Kellogg story so far has to be Big Reveal night at KWEST (Kellogg Worldwide Exploration Student Trips). On KWEST, groups of 20 incoming MBAs travel to one of 30+ destinations around the world. We are all instructed to keep aspects of our background secret, including our prior city, hometown, Kellogg program, and work experience, until the night of Big Reveal. Our Big Reveal took place at a waterfront restaurant, where each student had a walk-up song to a center seat and described their background after a round of guessing from the crowd. Concealing these aspects of our identities until halfway through the trip allowed students to form deeper connections, in addition to adding a layer of fun and challenge in guessing others’ backgrounds. I was initially skeptical of this tradition, but it truly was a highlight of my experience so far. Even better than bonding during KWEST is having a group of 20 friends back on campus to continue spending time with!

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest career accomplishment was during my time at ZS Associates, where I helped build out a practice area for the biggest client by revenue in the Chicago office. Although almost all of my work at ZS had been in the healthcare industry, I was brought onto a CPG team that had just won a major project with a new Food & Beverage client. Not only was the industry completely new to me, but the team was developing the analytics and project processes from scratch for this project. I was able to leverage my experience in healthcare market research to spearhead the development of the surveys and analysis model, which would be used for over 10,000 consumer respondents. The data analyses were vital to the project’s overall success, which led to follow-up work in the US and Canada as well as my fast-tracked promotion. That CPG team at ZS Chicago continues to use analyses I helped establish with their clients today.

Looking ahead two years, what would make your MBA experience successful? My number one goal in pursuing a Kellogg MBA is refining and better understanding my leadership style. Kellogg emphasizes self-exploration and diversity so that students deeply understand themselves and how they work with others. I’m eager to return to the workforce as a Kellogg Leader.

Another goal I have is to develop my quantitative skills in statistical analysis, financial modeling, and data visualization, which I will polish in courses like ‘Computational Thinking’ and ‘Accelerated Corporate Finance’. Given my undergraduate major, I am looking forward to complimenting my business knowledge with the MBAi courses taught through the McCormick School of Engineering.

Lastly, as many others, I hope to build a strong network of friends and colleagues that extend beyond my time at Kellogg.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? None! Go Wildcats!

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Northwestern Kellogg’s MBA program? Reach out to Kellogg students, alumni, and faculty to learn as much as you can about the program and experience. It’s important to be very explicit about why you are perfect for Kellogg and why Kellogg is perfect for you. I was able to get a very accurate sense of the Kellogg culture and lifestyle by having conversations with people in my network. Everyone is open to telling you their unbiased opinion and connecting you with others who may be helpful resources as well.


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