© Nathan Mandell
links mentorship with dynamic career
Soon after Christina
Ksoll '98 began her banking career at Harris Bank, a
colleague handed her the Kellogg School's Executive MBA application
package and told her she had to enroll. Since then, no matter
where Ksoll goes, Kellogg seems to follow.
"Kellogg is woven
into the fabric of all my successes, and I can track each
one of them back to Kellogg," she says.
Just when she considered
starting her own bank, a Kellogg friend encouraged her to
talk to management at The PrivateBank. A 15-year-old premium
financial services provider, The PrivateBank displayed the
entrepreneurial spirit Ksoll was looking for. She left Northern
Trust, where she was a senior vice president, to become managing
director at The PrivateBank's new Gold Coast Chicago office
"It was a perfect
fit," said Ksoll. "Starting up a new office for The PrivateBank
was in line with what I wanted to do, which was build something
from the ground up."
In the past few
months, Ksoll and the bank's other managing director, fellow
Kellogg School graduate Dave Neilson '04, have begun doing
"This is exactly
what I would have wanted to create
this exciting, stimulating, entrepreneurial environment,"
says Ksoll. "I've never seen anything like this bank, which
operates on a business model similar to that of a law firm.
All partners take care of clients and all directors have experience
as proven service providers in banking."
In a service business
like banking, Ksoll feels she must be "client obsessed." "Our
clients are extremely sophisticated, so our solutions must
be complex and technical. You must be a loyal adviser and
part of a team with your client," she explains. "This is where
my Kellogg education has paid off."
When Ksoll entered
banking in her early twenties, she had her youth and gender
working against her. She went to an image consultant to gain
advice on how to look and act more like a banker. "The consultant
told me to cut my hair short, taught me how to carry myself
and how to speak so I didn't look like my client's daughter,"
says Ksoll. "It was a huge boon to my career."
As for other setbacks
Ksoll has experienced as an executive in a male-dominated
field, she says her support system at the Kellogg School has
helped her over any hurdles she may have faced. "It's a huge
security blanket," she says.
One of the founders
of the Kellogg Executive MBA Women's Leadership Network, Ksoll
is dedicated to mentoring other women and helping network
the women of the EMBA program. "I mentor two types of women:
younger professional women and women who are in administrative
positions because life put them there. When I see great potential
in administrators, I try to encourage them to think beyond
themselves and their current situation," says Ksoll, who claims
that mentoring is in her blood.
me that I didn't have to change who I was to be successful.
I just had to be a better me," she says. "That's what I try
to teach women, how to be more effective while still being
true to themselves. There's a lot of pressure in big corporations
to be like everyone else there. When you try to be what you're
not, you won't achieve what's inside you."
Ksoll also feels
strongly about giving back to the community. Not only is she
active with the Women's Leadership Network, she also is a
member of the Kellogg Alumni Advisory Board. Beyond Northwestern,
she is involved in the Chicago Finance Exchange, Juvenile
Diabetes, the Harvard Club, the National Strategic Forum,
the American Council on Germany and the Atlantik-Bruecke,
a group of young professionals from Germany, Italy and the
United States who meet to discuss global policy issues.
"I think it's important
to be globally aware and active," says Ksoll. "My involvement
with the American Council on Germany and Atlantik-Bruecke
are especially meaningful to me. I feel like I am doing something
to keep connected to the world and keep conversations about
global policy alive locally."
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