The 11 takeaways from my Kellogg experience

Tomorrow I will officially transition from being an MBA Candidate to an MBA Graduate of Kellogg’s Class of 2015. Over the last few weeks, as the journey started approaching its goal, a few of us had conversations about what our key takeaways were.

What are the things we learned that would stay with us for years to come?

An MBA gives you technical skills and core subject matter knowledge, but some lessons stand out. As I thought about my own learnings, a few things came to mind and I thought it was worth it to share them with current and prospective students.

A letter to an incoming MBA student | MBA Learnings

Around this time last year, once the realization that I was going back to school sunk in, the immediate question that followed was – how do I get prepared? I was, after all, going to be spending in excess of $200,000 without accounting for the loss of income in the next two years.

This had better be worth it.

My plan of action was to do three things – read books on the topic, check out the blogosphere and speak to as many people as possible. So, I did just that.

I found three resources useful – the “Case Studies and Cocktails” book was pretty hands-on, the famous Stanford letter to incoming students was reassuring and the 108 tips on the MBA Excel blog was very useful from a logistical point of view.

I did, however, feel a few things were sorely missing.

And, on top of that list was a way to “frame” the MBA experience. Great frames help us cut through the noise and understand what matters. And, given we likely have a hundred thousand capable folks jumping into expensive MBA programs all over the world, I found myself wondering if we could do a bit better in preparing them for the journey.

Luckily, I stumbled upon a first version of the “frame” I craved in my first three weeks thanks to two wonderful people – an insightful professor who taught us business analytics and a dear friend. Their insights made all the difference to my experience in the past eight months, and I’d like to share them with you.

As with my essay on internship recruiting, I’d like this to be comprehensive, so this will be long.

I hope it will be worth it.

Culture at Kellogg: One big family

Admission season seems to be in full force, and I’ve received a few emails from applicants with questions along the lines of:

– What’s Kellogg’s culture like?

– What’s so different about Kellogg?

– How many calories does a typical Kellogg student have to eat in a day in order to survive? (I made this last one up … interesting question, though).

Anyway, I thought I’d share my experience that I feel aptly sums up Kellogg culture.