Northwestern University
Dean Blount's Blog

Convening Conversations that Matter
February 17, 2011

Dean Blount with the Kellogg Student Association Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been traveling more internationally and have had several great conversations with highly-placed alumni and advisors in global leadership roles. From those conversations, I have gotten a much keener sense for what they want and need from business schools and what they want and hope to see from Kellogg, in particular. They all love Kellogg. They have a deep passion and connection to the school. But there is a general sense across all of my conversations that Kellogg has an opportunity to reignite its spark—that gutsy, innovative, entrepreneurial spirit that first put us on the map.

But the task is different in 2011 than it was in 1981, and so is the landscape. We’re an established player—a known entity with some distinct strengths and legacies, and the world is more complex. To set our next trajectory, we need to reconnect with our core—a deep understanding of markets and how to strategically position firms within them, strong relationship building and negotiations skills, and an innate sense for the importance of culture in building resilient companies and organizations more broadly. Through those differentiators, we’ll create avenues for Kellogg to innovate the practice of management education once again.

One key element of our new trajectory is to reenvision how we connect with our core community members—our students, alumni and corporate partners—how we engage with them, deepen relationships and ignite that purple Kellogg spirit. In the age of social media and the Internet, the task of community building is so different now than it was 30, or even 10, years ago.

We held some important conversations on campus last week, where we announced a new organizational structure. This structure takes key administrative units that used to report independently to the dean’s office and creates integrated teams focused on community building—across all of our degree programs, geographic locations and different community members. It will be exciting as we move into these new teams over the next few weeks and months and brainstorm about how to build and engage the Kellogg community in new ways for the 21st century.

I welcome your comments, feedback and ideas at sallyblount@kellogg.northwestern.edu

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