I thought Kellogg would prepare me for the manager’s chair, teaching me how to march up and down income statements and make the most of an alphabet soup of marketing frameworks. Those skills in hand, I’d spend my career safely squatting in the halls of corporate America. I thought Kellogg would teach me how to make a quick buck for the firm, return those profits to shareholders, and call it a day.
But I’ve learned so much more.
The Neighborhood Business Initiative (NBI), our pro bono consulting club that sponsors first-year projects for local non-profits and social enterprises, first exposed me to organizations driven by a mission rather than by money alone. Our client’s social enterprise focused on the bottom line, not only for its own sake but also for the fraction for a good cause. Our project kept the same spirit as we developed a marketing strategy for the health of the business and its charitable cause.
Kellogg Board Fellows (KBF) then took me to work directly with the board of a non-profit. Placed on the board of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, I learned to appreciate how each of my growing business skills could help achieve a non-profit’s mission. An MBA can unlock dollars for a firm or grow measurable good in the world – or, even better, both. KBF exposed me to people who understand that.
Last quarter, Professor Besanko’s Public Economics for Business Leaders helped me understand policy and the math behind governing effectively. I can now clarify the editorial pages and clearly consider how future legislation might impact my business.
Finally, over spring break, GIM GHI India took me to Delhi and Hyderabad to determine the go-to-market strategy for Northwestern-developed HIV and TB diagnostic devices; the Indian government and NGOs couldn’t be more important to our strategy.
Kellogg has taught me much. I thought the experience would be limited to learning skills strictly for propping up profits. Yet Kellogg has done a great deal to extend my way of thinking beyond the firm to organizations that are mission-driven and respectful of the power of the state – the best ones are clever about maximizing the value of policy, purpose and profits. Kellogg keeps you thinking about all three.