KWEST, CIM launches the journey

Lucky for me, I began business school in the heyday of Facebook, and a strategically timed “Kellogg Class of 2013” Facebook group allowed first years to get here and hit the ground running. Long before any official orienting or educating began in September, we met at Evanston bars, we went as a big group to get our WildCards (cards that allow us access to all things Northwestern-related), and we cruised along the Chicago River on an architecture boat tour. Next on our list was the KWEST (Kellogg Worldwide Experience and Service Trip) excursion. I was lucky enough to get a spot on the “Mystery Trip,” in which you’re not told where you’re going until you’re on the way to your destination. It’s highly recommended if you can get online and sign up for it quickly enough. Our destination ended up being Zanzibar! Yes, I mean Zanzibar as in the tiny island off the coast of east Africa, and no, I didn’t know exactly where it was either. But on our Chicago-to-DC-to-Ethiopia-to-Tanzania-to-Zanzibar flight, I figured it out. The trip was led by five 2Y Kellogg students, and words/a blog entry cannot possibly do it justice. If you attend Kellogg, I not only recommend but actually demand that you go on a KWEST trip. It is the most incredible way to get to know 24 amazing people while exploring a place that you had never even considered visiting before – or been waiting your whole life to visit.

We came back from Zanzibar on a Saturday afternoon, had that Sunday off for quick runs to Trader Joe’s and Staples, and then CIM started that Monday. CIM stands for Complete Immersion in Management, but I think the first week might be better referred to as “Complete Immersion in Madness” – we could even keep the acronym. We’re split into sections of about 75 first-year students. I’m in the “Jive Turkeys” section. Don’t ask where the name came from, because apparently no one knows (but we’re widely acknowledged by all to be the section with the best name). You start off with a cheering contest on Monday and end with a 10-minute skit on Friday, with competitions, social events and career service/academic workshops interspersed throughout. It’s like summer camp for grown-ups, and I mean that in the best possible way. You have a lot of fun and become extremely close to all of the folks in your section, which is a good thing since you take your core classes with the majority of them once the quarter actually starts. To counteract the summer camp atmosphere, we also started our first class, MORS 430, otherwise known as Leadership in Organizations. Professor Vicky Medvec is a rock star professor, and the class, which covers everything from negotiations to restructuring an organization to the real reason why it’s difficult to get a taxi on a rainy day in New York City (you’ll have to come to Kellogg to find out), was the best way possible with which to start our time at Kellogg.

Suffice to say that my first few weeks at Kellogg surpassed my expectations. And my time here so far has made me aware of the unique and exceptional individuals who come here to do their own soul searching; we’re all in for quite the journey over the next two years together.

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