Examining entrepreneurship in Cuba

The famous American Economist, Frank Knight said, “Profit is the reward for taking risk.” Dr. Knight argues that profit and risk are intertwined. In seeking profits, we must therefore seek risks that are attractive. 

That is how Kellogg students are introduced to Risk Lab, an experiential learning course that allows students to examine the attractiveness of risk in a real-world investment decision. Last year, the course examined the opportunities and challenges facing Cuban entrepreneurs.

The students worked with the Cuba Study Group, which released its full report based on the students’ findings this summer.

Carlos Castillo, who was one of the students in the course and graduated in June from Kellogg’s One-Year MBA program, took some time to talk about what he learned from the experience.

I gave a TED talk. Here’s what I learned.

By Emily Gipple

As I stood at 4 a.m. in the stairwell of an apartment building in China trying to email a minute-long video via a horrendous WiFi connection, I thought, “This will never work.”

The video, taken in selfie mode on my cell phone, was of me attempting to compress five years of thought and research into one compelling minute. I had to email the piece as my application to speak at the upcoming TEDxNorthwesternU conference, which I had just heard of that day, and the directions stipulated that all applications had to be received the previous day.

My cover email vaguely blamed my late submission on time zones and begged that I still be considered, but after the organizers’ email systems wouldn’t accept the large file, I sent one more desperate email to a general NU email address, gave up, and went to bed.

A few weeks later, I was genuinely shocked when I found out that I had been selected to present. As you may know, TED conferences present “ideas worth spreading.” Like many of you, I have been edified and moved by TED talks. I’ve always loved the idea of giving a talk, and it just so happened that when I heard about the conference at Northwestern, I had something to say.

How to live a good life takes center stage during orientation (via Clear Admit)

This article appeared on clearadmit.com. Read the full story here.

Before diving into the fray of finance, accounting, operations and marketing, every incoming first-year student at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management first spent an afternoon grappling with the question of how to live a good life.

“What do I value?” “How do I find my personal mission?” “How do I create an action plan to live a life consistent with this mission?” These considerations—not how to cut costs, gain market share or increase profits—were part of a new element introduced this year during Kellogg’s Complete Immersion in Management (CIM) Week, the stretch of days before classes start when incoming students meet each other and the school for the first time.

Lessons from Social Impact Days

By Smit Naik

Dreamers, innovators and visionaries assemble!”

That was the call I imagined myself and other first-year students hearing last month at the start of Kellogg’s Social Impact Days.

OK, so maybe I’m exaggerating a little. But honestly, not by much. Over the course of three glorious days, 100 of my closest friends and I embarked on our first Kellogg-guided journey. And what a journey it was.

To be honest, when I first signed up for Social Impact Days, a pre-term program run by the Kellogg Public-Private Interface (KPPI) Initiative, I had no idea what to expect. What kind of people would I meet? What do they really expect out of us this early in the journey? Am I even going to have any friends there? Fortunately, all of these worries were quelled on the first night when I met the other students, many of who had the same initial questions I did.

Faculty podcast: How to handle a bad boss

From Kellogg Insight

Of all the annoyances the workday can entail — that too-early alarm, rush hour traffic, late nights stuck at your desk on deadline — having a bad boss can be the most insidious.

“Nobody wants to go to work when they don’t get along with their boss,” says Jon Maner, a professor of management and organizations at the Kellogg School. “It really weighs on people’s everyday life.”

Kellogg Professors Jon Maner, left, and James B. Shein

Maner has studied bad bosses, with the goal of understanding their behavior so that it can be curtailed. He has focused in particular on power-hungry bosses who are surprisingly willing to sideline their best performing employees — and promote incompetent team members — in order to keep themselves from being out shined.

Could ‘Growth’ Become A New Business School Discipline? (via Poets & Quants)

Francisco Ochagavia arrived at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management from a family business in his home country of Chile. The 30-year-old, who graduated with his MBA in June, says that one of his more memorable courses focused on the growth challenges of mid-sized companies. It helped to prepare him for the CEO role at his family’s fruit-growing export company that he is looking to scale into a more global operation.

“Normally,” he says, “business school doesn’t cover these kinds of companies. Yet, our family business is a mid-sized company like the ones we studied in class. During the class we really got to understand the challenges you face when industry marketshare is shrinking and the competition is increasing.”

The course he took, Strategies for Growth, is one of seven new offerings at the Kellogg School that attempt to train students on how to successfully scale a business. Arguably the ultimate general management challenge, achieving growth has certainly been a part of every business school’s core and elective MBA curriculum. But Kellogg has carved out an unusual niche in the growth and scaling space from both a curricular and thought leadership perspective. The school has rolled out seven different courses on the topic since the spring of 2014. The school also is considering a capstone course or experience to what it calls a “pathway,” or set of cohesive courses that help students develop a specific set of skills.

Developing the initiative has turned the more typical way courses are developed at a business school on its head. For years, academics in narrow disciplines largely constructed theories of business education in the abstract, hoping that their outcomes would eventually line up with market needs. In crafting a curriculum around growth, Kellogg went to the market first, asked business leaders what challenges they faced, and came up with a series of courses to teach the required skills.

Read the full story on Poets & Quants.


Last week, hundreds of first-year and second-year students traversed the globe as part of KWEST: Kellogg Worldwide Experience and Service Trip. Kyle Burr, one of the student-run KWEST executive committee members, wrote about the KWEST experience in the run up to this year’s trip.

As Kellogg’s first-year students continue their Complete Immersion in Management (CIM) week, take a look back at some of the photo highlights from their trips as part of Throwback Thursday.

‘Learn how to walk the high wire’

Gil Penchina has failed in epic fashion, and not just once.

“This is the life of an entrepreneur,” Penchina ’97 told the incoming Class of 2017 during the second day of the school’s Complete Immersion in Management (CIM) Week. “Silicon Valley is a town full of people who are failing all the time.”

But failure, he countered, is often the path to success. And as the keynote speaker of the weeklong orientation for new students, Penchina talked about his time during and after Kellogg while advising the incoming class on how they could best use their time in Evanston.

“Kellogg is a safety net, so you might as well learn how to walk the high wire,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity we have at this school, which is giving you a chance to learn anything.”

Read more about Penchina’s talk.

Read more about Day 1 of CIM.

New students introduced to Kellogg

Kellogg’s Complete Immersion in Management (CIM) Week kicked off Aug. 31 as the school welcomed the Class of 2017.

During her welcome address on Monday, Dean Sally Blount ’92 posited the question, “Why do you need an MBA?” To her, the answer is obvious and inspiring.