The second-year ride

The winter quarter just ended at Kellogg and this means that my MBA journey only has three more months left to completion. Ever since my second year began, my mind has been turned on to reflection mode, capturing memories, absorbing experiences, wondering what is left to do and what I may have missed out on.

At Kellogg, one of the most popular student acronyms is FOMO – Fear of Missing Out. It is touted to incoming first-year students as a warning not to overreach yourself. Kellogg’s halls are teeming with opportunities to engage with and the sheer number of choices often overwhelms new students.

I believe that we only use FOMO in half the relevant settings. It is equally appropriate for graduating second-year students, but for the opposite reason. For us, it is not so much about overextending. It is about making sure we cover as many bases as we can before we leave. In my opinion, second year is all about checking items off your bucket list and ensuring that nothing gets left behind.

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.

Lessons learned from internship recruiting | MBA Learnings

I hated looking for a job in my final year at university. It is one of those profoundly painful processes that I really wouldn’t wish on anyone. It seemed to bring to surface all my insecurities and really made me question if I had done anything of note in the past 20-odd years of my life.

So, when I decided to study again, one of my objectives was to understand how best to approach looking for a job. We’re in an age where we’re constant job seekers. Whether it is seeking an internal transfer within a company we work for or whether we’re looking for a role in a different company, it is clear that our age is one of many jobs, roles, careers and companies.

In that sense, looking for an internship at school felt like a perfect laboratory to test how this process ought to be approached. I’ve decided to break the whole process down into three main steps, catalogue my process and then share what I learned. I’ve attempted to bring it all together in one post. It is long. I hope it is worth it.

The JV Chronicles: Making Kellogg My Own Adventure

I was ecstatic for my boyfriend when he was accepted to Kellogg, but I couldn’t help feeling a bit apprehensive about how my experience as a Joint Venture (partner of a student) would differ from his experience as a full-time student.

Besides the fact that I had never seen snow fall from the sky and didn’t yet understand the power of earmuffs, I was worried about how well I would fit in with the Kellogg community and whether or not I was in for two years of always feeling like a bit of an outsider. I foolishly assumed the experience was not mine to define, because this was his adventure and that I was just along for the ride.

Oh how wrong I was …

A Tweeting priest, and what he’s learning at Kellogg

The chants rose to the roof of the Owen L. Coon Forum: “Manny! Manny! Manny!”

The Cash Cows had just won the Kellogg School of Management’s new student Olympics, and soon Manny — who had emerged as a leader during the weeklong orientation program that pits teams of first-year MBA students against each other in collaboration-inducing competitions — was being tossed in the air.

“It was like a high school football game for me,” says Manuel Dorantes, who is also known as “Father Manny.” “It was phenomenal.

There are no stupid questions. Just ask a Nobel Prize winner. | MBA Learnings

In our first Microeconomics class this quarter, our professor spoke of her experiences presenting research to audiences that included Nobel Prize winners. She noticed that the Nobel Prize winners were most often the ones who raised their hands and asked questions. Some of the questions could be perceived as “stupid” questions as they occasionally sought to clarify some of the most basic concepts of the discussion.

When she observed this pattern repeat over and over again, she realized it was that willingness to learn and dig deep that made the Nobel Prize winners special. They might not have understood the topic when they started, but they saw to it that they didn’t stay uninformed for long. Our professor’s message to us was to make sure we asked questions about any concept we didn’t understand in class.

My Kellogg experience: An interactive timeline

Ben Dowell spent more than nine years in the US Army, a span that included combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. His dream, though, was to become an investment banker. So in 2013, Dowell left the Army and enrolled in Kellogg’s Full-Time Two-Year MBA Program. Since then he’s been elected President of the Kellogg Student Association (KSA), secured an internship —and ultimately a job — with Robert W. Baird & Co., traveled to Ireland and Scotland with his classmates, and much, much more. Oh yeah, and he received a Challenge Coin from President Barack Obama.

Tour Ben’s interactive timeline to see how he shaped his Kellogg experience and how you can shape yours.

Keeping a finger on the pulse of media and entertainment

Two teams of Kellogg students recently escaped Chicago’s winter for the sun in Los Angeles to compete in the Media and Entertainment Case Competition at UCLA’s Annual Pulse Conference.

The conference hosted a series of panels that spanned the gamut of media and entertainment industries. With representatives from Hulu, Lionsgate, Spotify, and Live Nation, just to name a few, the conference certainly wasn’t lacking on insight from impactful leaders.

This year was the first year UCLA incorporated a case competition into the conference. Paramount Pictures sponsored the event, challenging teams to create a strategy to overcome diminishing margins in a world of mobile media consumption and streaming services. Sixteen teams from nine different schools were put to the task. Our team was really excited to tackle this prompt since each of us shares a passion for navigating the tumultuous digital media landscape.

Each team was given a week to come up with a solution to the prompt. We then presented to a panel of judges that included representatives from Paramount, UCLA Anderson and other industry experts. From our brainstorming process up until we put the finishing touches on our presentation, we came away with a handful of valuable insights.

Kellogg, McCormick students win Chinese case competition

Kellogg Two-Year students Rochelle Hua and Cindy Ye, along with McCormick graduate student Kevin Shi, all ’15, took top honors at the Suzhou New District, technological innovation and entrepreneurship leader competition last month. The team won $5 million yuan (RMB) — or more than $800,000 in U.S. dollars — in cash and prizes for co-founding a food and nutrition startup in Suzhou, a major city in the Jiangsu province of Eastern China.

The startup, Kosmode Biotechnology Co., Ltd., focuses on commercializing food science technologies for general consumer use. Their first proposed product is a cranberry-based supplement that would help cure urinary tract infections.

Do defaults save lives? | MBA Learnings

A powerful study by Goldstein and Johnson in 2003 explored the relevance of defaults in organ donation. We discussed their findings and the implications in our class on “Values based Leadership.” Most countries have big problems with organ donations due to the large gaps between the number of donors and the number who need organs. However, this graph illustrating the difference in organ donation rates in the European Union is telling.