Kellogg World Alumni Magazine Spring 2005Kellogg School of Management
In DepthIn BriefDepartmentsClass NotesClub NewsArchivesContactKellogg Homepage
Be true to your school
Why alumni give back

Nonprofit service "priceless"

Power of giving: Why I support the Kellogg School
History in the details
It begins with graduation
Address Update
Alumni Home
Submit News
Internal Site
Northwestern University
Kellogg Search

Be true to your school
Each member of the Kellogg School community plays a part in securing its future, say senior administrators. Here's how — and why — you should lend your support to take Kellogg to the next level

By Matt Golosinski

The Kellogg School needs you, now more than ever. And, actually, you still need Kellogg too.

That's the message the school's top administrators are sending its alumni as peer competition spurs innovation in the MBA marketplace, and as global markets pressure leaders to continually "refresh" their degrees with the latest strategic insights. It's a situation that has encouraged many Kellogg School graduates to remain engaged with their Evanston alma mater, benefiting from the relationship's lifelong learning opportunities.
  Dean Jain and Whit Shepard
  Dean Jain and Whit Shepard
  Dean Jain and Whit Shepard
  © Nathan Mandell
Dean Dipak Jain and Roger (Whit) Shepard, associate dean of development and alumni relations.
Read profiles of successful alums and how they have given back to the Kellogg School

However, resources to attract and keep the best students and faculty are essential to secure the Kellogg School's future --- for all its stakeholders. Without tools such as scholarships, endowed chairs and research funds, no school can expect to thrive among the elite institutions shaping thought and practice today.

And, say its leaders, a school's reputation has a significant and tangible impact on the reputation and fortunes of its alumni.

"The more our alumni invest in Kellogg, the more value is produced both for them and for our school," says Dean Dipak C. Jain.

Kellogg has ranked among the top business schools for years, but it didn't achieve this stature by remaining static, says Dean Jain --- and it won't retain its position without a concerted effort by those closest to the school.

"Now is not the time to stop our efforts," Jain says. "The business world continues to evolve, presenting new challenges for leaders. We need our alumni to work with us to ensure that Kellogg can continue providing leadership that makes an impact and distinguishes the school and its graduates."

Kellogg World spoke with Dean Jain and Roger (Whit) Shepard, associate dean of development and alumni relations, about the role that philanthropy plays in enabling Kellogg to deliver an unsurpassed education.

Kellogg World: Why is it important for Kellogg alumni to give back to the school?

Dean Dipak Jain: One answer is so that they remain connected with an institution that continually strives for excellence and endeavors to make a lasting impact by producing extraordinarily talented and ethical leaders. This is an exciting project to which alumni can make key contributions. Further, alumni engagement demonstrates a commitment that benefits both Kellogg and our graduates. Our rankings are a reflection of our alumni's reputation in their workplace.

Roger (Whit) Shepard: Alumni giving is a sign of an institution's health. Alums support a school in response to the quality experience that they had there, and from a sense of having a stake in its future. Alumni are essential to keeping Kellogg as good as it is and making it even better. Fortunately, I've never seen people as enthusiastic about their school as our graduates.

Dipak Jain: Also, alumni giving is essential for a private institution such as Northwestern because, unlike state schools where government contributes funding, we rely on alumni for our innovations, curriculum design and intellectual capital creation.

KW: Those three crucial areas demand ongoing resources, right?

Dipak Jain: Exactly. On all three dimensions we seek not only monetary help from alumni, but also their corporate connections, which can create opportunities for case writing and faculty research. We also desire their insights about the best way to prepare our students for leadership roles. Another important way alumni can give back is by mentoring our students and those graduates who have been out three to five years.

KW: : Beyond being affiliated with a leading school, what other benefits can alumni expect to enjoy if they contribute to Kellogg?

Dipak Jain: Giving is a two-way street. We cannot just ask them for resources; we also have to give back to them. That's why we continuously look for ways to replenish our alumni's knowledge base. If alumni feel they are getting renewed, they will put resources into Kellogg so that they do not lose these lifelong learning benefits.

Whit Shepard: It's both a transactional exchange and something much more than that. Alumni do 'get' something out of this lifelong partnership as they become stakeholders in this organization. But there is also an important emotional dimension. People talk about the special experiences they enjoyed here, and they remember the faculty and staff who went out of their way to make that experience great.

Dipak Jain: Our alumni feel that they personally know the people at Kellogg --- including our faculty, with whom alums desire an ongoing connection --- and we pride ourselves on these personal relationships. Our graduates should know, for instance, Jim Corboy (director of Alumni Relations), Whit Shepard and Dipak Jain. This fact has bearing on our development goals because people give to people.

Roger (Whit) Shepard: At many schools, nobody knows who you are. At the Kellogg School, the administration and faculty are enthusiastic that our students are here; they go out of their way to make this a nurturing, supportive place. And we must deliver this personal touch to our alumni too. We have the Kellogg Alumni Network, which is so valuable for forming a virtual community worldwide, but it's not enough. People want to see us, to identify individuals who are there for them.

KW: Is there a secret to getting the alumni engaged more?

Roger (Whit) Shepard: The biggest secret in fund raising is that there is no secret. The fact is, Kellogg has not been aggressive in asking its alumni for philanthropy. Now we have to change that message and say, 'We need your philanthropy more than ever before, and we deserve your support.'

Dipak Jain: It is very important for us to be proactive. We can't wait for alumni to come to us. They are busy molding their careers. We must approach them to explain how this engagement is a long-term relationship.

KW: : What would you say to an alum who told you, 'With all due respect, I paid my tuition while earning my MBA degree --- and it didn't come cheap. Why should I give you any more financial support?'

Dipak Jain: That's a fair question. It's correct that they paid for what they received from Kellogg. But the knowledge base is not static --- you must continuously replenish it with new ideas. Particularly in management education, there are so many changes happening about which our alums need to be informed. The least costly means for them to do that is through Kellogg. The alternatives are far more costly, and the cost of not acquiring these insights can result in losing one's competitive edge in the marketplace.

Make a gift online  

Roger (Whit) Shepard: Philanthropy plays a role that no other money can. It funds endowed chairs, fellowships and research support for attracting and retaining the best faculty. Scholarships are another example: A school can only be great if its students are among the very best. We need scholarships to allow the best students to attend Kellogg, and we must remove the financial hurdle.

KW: What is the vision for the Kellogg School?

Dipak Jain: The most important thing is maintaining our competitive edge. Kellogg is a school that brings innovations to the market and executes them very well. The school's vision involves producing socially responsible global leaders. We need to craft very carefully what these words mean: the socially responsible aspect, the global aspect and the leadership aspect.

Roger (Whit) Shepard: We're redefining global leadership. You cannot be a leader without having a full appreciation of the larger social context. Kellogg is in a position to change the leadership paradigm better than anyother school because of the values we hold --- the team leadership concept, the comprehensive sense of leadership.

KW: It sounds exciting --- surely something our alumni will find engaging.

Dipak Jain: Our alumni have proven themselves to be exceptionally talented and passionate. We need them to join us on this journey forward, and we ask them to consider how they personally can make a difference at Kellogg --- for themselves and for our students. And, ultimately, for the betterment of all society.

©2002 Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University