Northwestern University
Dean Blount's Blog

A Week in the Life…
November 14, 2011

People often ask me, “What does a week in the life of Kellogg’s dean look like?” Truthfully, the weeks are all different, but what ties them together is that each one is always full of rich conversation — both within and outside Kellogg. Below are some highlights from last week. 

Engaging in conversations about the future

I started out the week at a dinner with several of my peer deans, including Garth Saloner of the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Nitin Nohria of Harvard Business School. We spent a lot of time talking about the future of management education and how we as a group can work together to shape the global conversation.  Another evening I attended a lecture on campus about the Arab Spring, where I heard from an anthropologist who had been on sabbatical in Egypt during the uprisings. We talked about the implications for what is coming next for the region. Another evening was spent at the Northwestern University Board of Trustees’ dinner talking about our new building and NU’s strategic plan.

Innovating Chicago-style
On Tuesday night, I attended the Chicago Innovation Awards, presented at the Harris Theatre to an audience of 1,500 people. It was a great event, organized by Kellogg faculty member Tom Kuczmarski; his fellow founder and co-chair of the awards, Dan Miller; and one of our own Part-Time MBA students, Luke Tanen. Miles White, CEO of Abbott Laboratories and chair of the Kellogg Dean’s Advisory Board, gave a strong keynote address. I was inspired by the many businesses that have been born here in the Chicagoland area — there were many Kellogg alumni both in the audience and being honored on stage.

I also had the chance to spend time with Jason Fried and tour his new offices. Jason is the co-founder of Chicago-based 37signals, makers of Basecamp and other web-based collaboration tools, and co-author of a wonderful book titled Rework. (I just read it this week.) We spent time talking about how innovation happens and found that we share a common affinity for visual problem-solving. We brainstormed about how we might teach visual problem-solving techniques to our students — a critical skill for both strategic and innovative thinking.

I spent Friday evening at TG, where students ended the week with fun, music, and creative thinking.

I spent Friday evening at TG, where students ended the week with fun, music, and creative thinking.


I spent Friday evening at TG, where students ended the week with fun, music, and creative thinking.

The student touch
It was also a great week for student interactions. Last Saturday I stopped by one of our athletic fields in Evanston to watch the Kellogg rugby team triumph 50 to 5 against Booth.

Midweek I participated in two “coffee chats” with our second-year Full-Time MBA students, along with Betsy Ziegler, our dean of students. These are a great way to talk with our students about what’s ahead for Kellogg, while getting their honest feedback and new ideas.

Friday afternoon I was at the Allen Center, where I talked to a number of our EMBA students who were just coming in for their weekend classes. And I capped off the week with some good, old-fashioned Kellogg fun at “TG” — our regular Friday afternoon social gathering that is a hallmark of our Full-Time student experience. The theme of this week’s TG was our brand challenge — there was a lot of lively music, as well as clever visual content and creative one-on-one sales pitches.

It’s so energizing to be in the mix with our students — experiencing their diversity, vitality, intelligence and ambition. Every day I talk to future bankers, marketers, social innovators and CEOs. I love the fact that Kellogg attracts so many different types of people.

What a great week . . .

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