by Alykhan Kaba, 1Y 2018
I remember exactly where I was when I got my call from Kellogg. It was the early morning of Tuesday March 21, almost exactly one year ago, and I was sitting in a boutique café in Beverly Hills. Before I could even order my coffee, my phone started to buzz: an incoming call from Evanston, Illinois. Is it actually happening? Did I really get into Kellogg?!
I felt a huge range of emotions. On one hand, I was thrilled to get into such a competitive school. On the other hand, I was unsure about whether business school was the right move for me. After working as a consultant with McKinsey in Toronto, I moved to Los Angeles to join the strategic initiatives team at Live Nation, the same company that produces concerts for the likes of Jay-Z and Beyoncé. I wanted to grow my career in the entertainment industry, but I wasn’t convinced that I needed an MBA to do that.
Deciding to attend Kellogg
I went to DAK II to determine whether business school was right for me, and more specifically, whether Kellogg was the right fit. Dean Sally Blount’s opening remarks set the stage for the entire weekend.
“We search for leaders who are high-impact, low-ego. We don’t care about whether you’re going to be rich or famous; we care about the impact you’re going to have in the world. We care about status because we know it’s important, but we aren’t trying to solve for status alone.”
These words sent chills down my spine. It was exactly the type of leadership model I aspired to emulate. I knew that if I was ever going to do an MBA, it needed to be now, and it was going to be at Kellogg.
Since arriving in Evanston, Kellogg has completely surpassed my (very high) expectations. The first thing that surprised me was how entrepreneurial the Kellogg ecosystem was. I wanted to gain more exposure to media and entertainment, and I’ve been able to build my MBA experience to cater to that. For example, I’ve cross-registered in Music Law and Entertainment Law classes at the law school, and I’m currently working with another classmate to curate programming for Kellogg’s new artist-in-residence room. We most recently brought in two-time Grammy nominee Mathew Santos to speak, and the event was at capacity in minutes!
The second thing that surprised me – and I know this is going to sound crazy – was how much I was actually learning. Like most 1Y students, I studied business for four years in college, and I was worried that most of my MBA experience would be repeating content I already knew. A huge benefit of the 1Y program, though, is that we jump into advanced electives right after our first quarter. I’ve learned analytical frameworks for navigating office politics, and received personalized, 1-on-1 coaching on how to better manage myself in different dynamics. These things would have taken me years to figure out by myself.
The last thing that surprised me was that everything they say about business school is true. The friendships, the intensity, the opportunities, the travel. In fact, I’m writing this next to 13 of my classmates on a plane heading from Dubai to Arusha, where we’ll be meeting with businesses to learn about their social impact models. To say that Kellogg has been lifechanging would be an understatement. While I’m sad I’ll be graduating in a few short months, I’m excited to continue the Kellogg experience well beyond graduation, returning to the real world with new knowledge, relationships, and a strong alumni community.