Kellogg World Alumni Magazine Spring 2005Kellogg School of Management
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It begins with graduation
Alumni clubs keep the Kellogg connection vital, providing lifelong opportunities for the school's worldwide community

By Nicole Joseph

"Kellogg is a huge part of my life," says Erika Haendel '02, president of the Kellogg Alumni Club of Los Angeles. "It helped me get where I am today."

For Haendel and many others, their Kellogg graduation does not signal the end of a relationship. Instead, these alumni feel that their ties to the school continue growing stronger after they earn their MBA and join the ranks of some 45,000 Kellogg School grads worldwide.

Among those stepping forward to make a difference in this large, talented demographic are the Kellogg alumni club leaders who dedicate countless hours to helping create and maintain the important networks that bring their peers together for a variety of rich opportunities. By coordinating social and professional programming, alumni leaders give back to Kellogg and their peers, extending the Kellogg experience for years beyond the last Finance or Marketing exam.

There are currently 38 clubs in the United States, 47 international clubs and 15 special interest groups that include a diverse range of subjects, such as family enterprise, Hispanic business, and skiing.

Haendel revived the Los Angeles club after it had been inactive for some time.

"There's such a strong alumni presence in L.A.," she says. "It's such a great opportunity to network and socialize. I thought it was a shame that it was inactive."

Interested in getting connected with alumni in your area? Check the club postings online.

The club holds a variety of events, such as happy hours, summer hiking trips and a well-received MBA poker tournament.

Haendel says she is motivated to stay involved with the club because of the individuals she meets at the programs.

"Kellogg students are so dynamic," she says. "I was always impressed with the people when I was a student; now at events, I still meet people who blow me away."

John Tomaszewski '98, president of the Kellogg Alumni Club of Chicago since 2001, explains that his motivation to serve his peers lies in the chance to witness the excitement of alumni at club events.

"What we do has an impact in their lives," he says. "Hearing an alum say that our activities helped them identify more with Kellogg or helped them get a job...those are the reasons I've continued to be involved."

The Chicago club creates programming that falls into four main categories: philanthropic, social, athletic and professional development.

"The professional development programs include everything from guest lectures by authors to panels on topics such as acquiring a company in today's market or how to globalize your business," says Tomaszewski.

He says that the Chicago club continues to grow each year and that alumni constantly pitch ideas for new events. He appreciates the help of his 24-member executive board.

"I couldn't handle all of the initiatives on my own," Tomaszewski says. "We've built a teamwork environment on the board, which is what we learned at Kellogg."

The Chicago club also works to make sure that current Kellogg students are aware of the strong resources they will have upon graduation.

"As students get closer to graduation, we encourage them to get involved with our club," he says. "We're a resource for Kellogg alumni, and current students are future alums, so they're always invited."

Michael Petix '99, president of the Kellogg Alumni Club of Michigan, says that "the relationships Kellogg fostered while [he] was a student" were an important factor in his decision to become so involved with the group.

The Michigan club strives to maintain such relationships by organizing club mixers, group community service events and alumni educational programs.

"We want to continue to build on what we've started and keep the momentum going," Petix says. "We've all gotten a lot out of the club and we have a lot to give back."

©2002 Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University