Sunday, September 27, 2009

More Amazing Things about Kellogg

My first week of classes is over! My pre-term, with CIM and a course on Leadership in Organizations ended with a final examination of the course, and of course, lots of parties.

We recently had the 'CIM Ball,' a prom style party to celebrate the dn of CIM. It was hosted at the Navy Pier Ballroom in Chicago. It was very well put together, with great music, lots of drinks and food, and plenty of place to sit, stand or dance.

There is no doubt Kellogg throws some awesome parties. It is reputed to be a party school, and it is. Not in the sense that people do not take academics seriously, but in the sense that parties and socializing and drinking are such a big part of the culture. Many of my peers have actually complained about it; why should this socializing be limited to only drinking and going out, which are often not very conducive to conversations. I agree; I participate in the Thursday morning 8 AM coffee sessions which one of my classmates started, and hope to have a lot of small dinners where I can build stronger friendships with my peers.

Another amazing thing about Kellogg is the Honor Code. People trust each other. I assume that my peers will not cheat. For example, we might have a closed book, 3 hour time limit final exam that the professor will give us to take home and do at our convenience in a 3 hour period. The exam would account for 40% of the grade in the class, yet there would be no monitoring for the students. This related directly to one of the most importance principles of Leadership we learned - voice and choice inspire people.

One of the things that our Dean mentioned at the start of CIM was to lead with your weakness. Do things at Kellogg that you would typically not do, and use the safety net the school provides to step outside of your comfort zone. I did that the first week, by standing for election for a representative of my section to the Kellogg Students Association. The process of campaigning, asking my peers for ideas, generating thoughts myself and asking people to vote for me was awesome. Ultimately I did not win. An awesome peer of mine did. But the experience was great. And i made several friendships - both by meeting new people and strengthening ties with people I already new, by finding common areas of interest. I am very glad I did it.

The courses I am taking this semester are Accounting For Decision Making, Marketing Management, Business Strategy and Analytical Methods for Operations. The classes are all over the map; from being very quantitative to being very entertaining. I do feel that international students sometime have a disadvantage. I do not include myself in this category, as i have lived in the US for over seven years. I mostly refer to people who just came to the US for the first time, and for whom English is not the first language. Some cases are confusing; for example in the first Strategy class, we did a mini-case on Baseball, a sport most of the world is not familiar with. Often, I have found some of my international friends struggling with some jokes cracked in class. For example, we were studying a case where a manufacturer of nylon cords was trying to diversify, and was launching an initiative to manufacture pet leashes. It was his pet project; get it?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Classes about to start!

We are nearing the end of our pre-term at Kellogg. This means that our class on Leadership in Organizations is coming to an end, and the regular term with four classes is about to begin. I am taking hour classes: Business Strategy, Accounting, Operations and Design (a MMM core) and Marketing. The Operations and Design is actually half of an operations course and half of a design course put together so that we have a good introduction to the MMM core. We would take the second half of both of these courses in the winter quarter. I am looking forward to my Marketing course the most, largely because it is taught by Prof. Julie Hennessy, one of the top rated professors at Kellogg and one of the top marketing professors in the world.

I am also considering taking part in several extra-curricular activities. I need to narrow down my list from the following:

1. Neighborhood Business Initiative - the Kellogg Pro-bono Consulting club. It seems like a great opportunity to get ome real life consulting experience while helping non-profits or socially minded businesses.
2. The High-Tech club and the High-Tech recruitment trip to the west coast. Self explanatory
3. I am also considering running for the position of the MMM representative to the Kellogg Student Association. This seems just the perfect way to help shape the ever-evolving MMM program.
4. Kellogg Entrepreneurship club - self explanatory

Which of these would I end up participating in? Time (and this blog) will tell..

Sunday, September 13, 2009


One of the most popular acronyms in Business School is FOMO, or the Fear Of Missing Out. Seniors have warned me about it; career counselors have warned against it; and all my peers are aware of it. Yet, even in the first few weeks or Kellogg's Pre-Term, I am reminded it often.

Nowhere it is most prevalent than future career/recruiting discussions. No matter what everyone's goals are, they seem to mention (other than a small minority) banking or consulting. Especially consulting, as banking is less sought after the financial melt down. Everyone (including me) fears missing the consulting salaries, the quick (expected career growth) and the variety of work, despite negative factors like travel and lifestyle. Kellogg typically sends about 35% of its students to consulting companies, so the effect is even more pronounced.

Another is parties. One of the major parts of B School is networking with classmates and alumni, and understandably, my peers and I sometimes go to events, socials, parties that we had no interest in. Especially if alumni is going to be present.

I have some goals from my B School experience, which include getting particular positions and the industry, building true friendships and growing personally and professionally. I have written my goals down, and am going to fight hard to not take on too much, and lose sight of what it is that I want to achieve. Would I succeed? That is the question..

Sunday, September 6, 2009

First week at Kellogg: CIM

I just finished my first week at the Kellogg School of Management. This was the first week of the three day pre-term called CIM, or Complete Immersion in Management. CIM is designed to help students to get familiar with the Kellogg culture based on teamwork, and helps you get to know your classmates. It consists of several components, all of have been a lot of fun:

1. Section Time: Kellogg students are divided into eight sections: Poets, Highlanders, Cash Cows, Moose, Turkeys, Bullfrogs, Big Dogs and Buckets. The names of the sections are based on the background of people they used to put on these sections. For example, Poets were the Arts Majors, Highlanders were the foreign students, and Cash Cows were the former investment bankers. At some point, some wise person had the bright idea that diversity is good. So they retained the names, but mixed up people into different sections. Also, each section has one sister section and one rival section.

Everyday during CIM, my section, the Highlanders, would get together and go through various activities with our section leaders. Probably the most fun activity was the name game, where you learn your section mates' first and last names. To help facilitate this, all students come up with adjectives starting with the same letter as their first name's first letter. We also spent a lot of time preparing for various activities like the cheering contest and the CIM showcase. Also, when someone would show up late, they would be asked to do some fun activity, like performing an 80's dance (see video below).

2. Cheering Contest: On the first day of CIM, we prepared for and participated in a inter-section cheering contest. We dressed up in all sorts of gear, and prepared a coordinated 3-minute cheer for their section. We also prepared a supporting cheer for our sister section, the Bulfrogs, and an anti-cheer (or rather a jeer) for our rival section, the poets.

3. Amazing Race:
Another inter-section contest was the amazing race, a race/scavenger hunt on campus. I served as one of the home-base personnel, which means I sat on the computer and waited for my teammates to call me so that I could google their clues, and help them figure out the right places to go to.

4. CIM Showcase: The CIM showcase was a 7 minute skit put together by each section. Our only requirements were that we reference atleast one recent Chicago area event, and show one cultural misunderstanding. We did our skit in the form of a newscast from Kellogg, taking our audience all the way from KWEST to all the different activities at CIM. The winning section's skit featured a guy who did the Tiger Woods golf ball commercial(see below)!

Here are few videos from last year's showcase.

5. CIM Olympics : The final event in the week was the CIM Olympics, in which we competed against other sections in five events, including a tug of war and golf ball toss. The best event was the dizzy bat race, where you run to a bat, roll it on the ground with your head on one end, and then run back to your section mates on the other end. Needless to stay several people fell while running back, and made for some great laughs!

6. Other stuff: Between all this madness, we have been going out every night, and also attending a class on Leadership, in a very intense format (one 3 hour class every day of the week). I love the class and will write more about the class later.

The whole week has been fun, and I feel like I already have learned several lessons about teamwork and leadership. My section mates are awesome, in their backgrounds, talents and friendly manner. There have been some moments where we butted heads, but we got through them. I am glad I joined Kellogg. I sum up this week in one sentence from one of the CIM showcases: the most expensive summer camp in the world, but definitely the most fun.