My life, my blog, and B-school somewhere inbetween

A catalog of one reapplicant's journey towards an MBA in 2008

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Inside Scoop

Yes, I have returned. It has been much longer than I thought, but that's what b-school will do to you! To all those loyal readers who still have me on RSS-feed as well as to all those who forgot to take me off, let it be known that I will blog again. I completely understand how all the bloggers of legendary status stopped blogging. As an applicant it seemed unfathomable, but as a student I can't understand how people have time to even write a blog! So, yes, b-school is as busy as people say it is. I have managed to find time now because I'm procrastinating. But, I'm sure you'd rather hear about something else...

So, what is Kellogg really like? The answer- pretty much awesome. I know, everyone who goes to b-school says it's awesome. But every b-school is not. I have yet to meet anyone at Kellogg who is not thrilled with their experience thus far (including 2nd years). On the other hand, I have heard about significant others at other b-schools who are less than satisfied. I am fairly confident I could not have gone to a more fun b-school.

The Good

1) KWEST. KWEST is amazing. You go on a trip with 20-25 other of your fellow students (5 of them are 2nd year trip leaders) to some crazy location, and then you basically just party with them. No discussion of hometown, work experience, or b-school is allowed. You're just there to meet some people on a real level. The people in your KWEST trip become some of your tightest friends at Kellogg. We hang out all the time too. Out of the 20-25 people, I'd say I'll probably keep in touch with 3/4 of them for the rest of my life, and at least 1/2 of them I'll be tight with for a long time to come. That's how close you get. And then aside from the people, it's just a hell of a lot of fun! Activities by day, parties by night, it just never stops. Every year there's one "mystery trip" where the students have no idea where it's going- top secret. This year the mystery trip was to Dubai. No joke. How awesome is that?!

2) CIM. CIM is Kellogg's orientation program. We don't do any of that trip to the woods to bond stuff. It's basically just half a week of getting to know everyone in your section through activities like cheering competitions, talent shows, olympics, scav hunts, etc., then another half to full week of actual orientation stuff like how does the career center work, how do I add/drop classes, etc., and then you take your first class with your section for the rest of CIM. The class is on Leading Organizations. Pretty good class depending on the teacher.

3) People. The people here at Kellogg are really cool. Of course there's the typical "OMG, all my classmates have done such amazing things before they came here" stuff, but aside from that the people are genuinely people I'd want to hang out with. There's always talk of the kid in b-school that everyone is like "How the f- did that kid get in? He's so annoying and says such stupid comments in class. He's such a suck-up. Everyone hates him." In Kellogg, I have yet to see anyone even close to that. No one is pompous. People are not super competitive. Hell, people aren't even really competitive at all (in class)! No one has been like "Well I worked at GOLDMAN SACHS" or anything like it. I have yet to even be asked what my GMAT was! People are just nice here. They would much rather help someone out than win. I've never seen so many people volunteer to help in various circumstances before. Sure, there are a few people here I don't like, but they're not so bad that I dislike them. I don't mind if they're around, but I wouldn't make an effort to hang out with them. Honestly, I can only think of maybe five people like that though. And I've met at least 100. Maybe it's just a one-time thing with my class, but I doubt it. B-school matriculation is a self-selecting process. Cool people are just naturally drawn to Kellogg...

4) Ski Trip. There's a ski trip evey year the week after finals in December. We're going to Vail. 700 people are going. Sponsorship. VIP front row passes to the Counting Crows concert. Less than $1000 including airfare for the week with 4 days of lift tickets and lots of free booze at the sponsored parties every day and night. We're staying in condo-suites with no more than 2 to a room. It's ridiculous. I know. That's just how we roll.

5) Parties. It feels like everyone hangs out. Tuesday night and the weekend are huge. There are so many theme-parties to go to. They even get sponsored by the school. We hang out in Evanston a lot, but I've been down to Chicago like two out of every three weeks since I've been here. Great times.

6) Recruiting. Recruiting at this school is pretty easy. People are not super competitive, so you don't need to be elbowing anyone to get into a circle to talk to a company rep. All the big employers come to campus. The job market is great so there's no issue in terms of getting a job. You go to Kellogg- they just assume you're more personable than the rest. If you can demonstrate some quant, you are like a superstar. It's very easy to stand out here in the Finance industry if you have some experience. Very few do.

7) Northwestern University. It's such a beautiful campus when it's nice out, I can't begin to tell you. And Evanston is not your typical suburb. It's got all the stuff you'd want in a suburb (lots of green), but it has a "downtown" area where most Kellogg students live which has the stores you want (Panera, Chipotle, Borders, Cinema, Urban Outfitters, etc.) and high-rise apartment buildings you might prefer to live in. And Chicago is only 30 minutes away...

7) I could go on, but I don't need to.

The Bad

1) CIM. CIM is great, but there are bad parts to it. All the events and stuff make you feel like you're in summer camp. Kind of lame, but everyone is doing it so you all kind of just shrug it off and talk about it over a beer that night. The worst part of CIM though is that they pack in way too much. The first weekend we only had Sunday off. The second weekend we had no day off. Too much. It would've been better if they just started earlier and didn't try to cram so much in. Since this is Kellogg, if the students complain they have the ability to change it for next year. We'll see what happens...

2) Technology. Our technology sucks. Plain and simple. The hardest part of b-school is coordinating people's schedules because everyone is busy with different activities, but there's always a group project to work on for class. We do not have an Outlook exchange server, thus we can't schedule a meeting looking at everyone's availability. It's a giant pain in the ass. There are these excel sheets people send around that group members fill in to see when will work. Lame. We have to use an entirely different program that has mediocre interface to book a room too. Very annoying.

3) Incest. You pretty much only hang out with your fellow Kellogg students. It's very incestuous. I'm sure it's going to bother me by winter or spring quarter. Probably like this at every b-school though...

4) Cold. It's cold. Enough said.

5) Recruiting. Sure, it's easy to get a job. But this school is known for Marketing, Consulting, and Brand Management. Finance, not so much. Not every bank comes here for all their divisions. It would be nice if they did, but I guess the fact that I only have 20-30 kids to compete against instead of 100 makes up for it. I'm told it's not a big deal to reach out to an Alumnus at a bank and ask for some help getting access to their recruiting though. I'll let you know how that goes. Anyway, what is lacking though is training. There are interview prep classes offered by the banking club, but they only have one on a given topic and they kind of occur over an extended period of time. It's not talked about all the time the way it is at the GSB. I'm ok because I know a lot about company presentation etiquette from my friends at the GSB, but if I didn't it would not be good. GSB has this stuff down to a science. Kellogg kids are lost to a good extent on this one. We're not all about that kind of competition.