Kellogg World Alumni Magazine, Winter 2003Kellogg School of Management
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Ian Knox ’03 teaching in San Jose
Ian Knox ’03 takes extra time to teach English to third-graders in San Jose de Cusmapa, a mountain village in Nicaragua. Knox traveled to Central America as part of Kellogg Corps, a program that places recent MBAs with nongovernmental organizations in developing countries as consultants for up to six weeks.
Kellogg – Creating leaders who care

Through an array of community-oriented leadership initiatives and academic programs, Kellogg School faculty, students, alumni and staff prove there’s more than meets the “I”

by Matt Golosinski

For a second, it looks as if the emotion might get the better of him.

When Kellogg School Professor of Management Walter Scott talks about his “passion”— serving on the governing board of Chicago Communities in Schools (CCIS), a nonprofit whose mission is to enhance student success — there are moments he seems to pause, to gather himself before going on to explain the organization.

By connecting some 74,000 Chicago public school children with the essential community programs and services that can provide them with the support they need to learn, CCIS acts as a catalyst for creating new possibilities in the lives of young people, working with more agencies than the United Way does, according to Scott.

"Every time I see a child walking the streets when he should be in school, it terrifies me to think of what this means for the future of our city and nation,” he says. “I am convinced we can change this and create the nurturing and supportive environment which will transform the faces of our young people as well as the face of our city.”

Because children succeed or fail in school for many reasons independent of the quality of the teachers, Scott explains, CCIS arranges for provision of an array of programs, including such basic ones as free eye exams and glasses for pupils who need them. Children won’t succeed in school if they can’t read what the teacher writes on the chalkboard, but many of them labor for years without the problem having ever been addressed. CCIS also links schools with a host of agencies, hospitals, universities and human services that can help create the conditions necessary for children to learn.

The cost per year for the eclectic outreach? Fourteen dollars a student.

"Can you see why it’s easy to get passionate about this?” Scott asks.

A culture of caring
The Kellogg School’s community engagement takes many forms. Curriculum offerings such as the Public/Nonprofit Management Program (PNP) or the Business and its Social Environment (BASE) major, and dozens of clubs that provide hands-on leadership experiences for students while “giving back” to the community through efforts such as Habitat for Humanity, Business with a Heart and the Social Impact Club, make Kellogg seem more than a business school.

"Kellogg is redefining the scope of leadership,” says Kellogg School Dean Dipak C. Jain. “Our curriculum and culture, inside the classroom and out, continuously reinforce the need for our MBAs to expand their conceptions of what it means to be a true leader.”

Kellogg students volunteer to renovate Family Focus  
© Bruce Powell  
Kellogg students volunteer to renovate Family Focus in Evanston as part of Kellogg Cares, an annual service initiative. This year, some 120 Kellogg students participated in the event, which works with local schools and community outreach organizations.  

A significant part of the Kellogg mission, says Jain, is teaching that it is no longer sufficient for graduates simply to be the outstanding brand managers, investment bankers or financial consultants that Kellogg has always produced. “You must also be an outstanding human being,” the dean says. “Everything we do at Kellogg, on one level or another, is designed to support this dual mission. Concern for the community is at the very heart of the Kellogg School culture.”

Jain’s contention is backed up by some impressive data. Internal surveys have revealed that, on average, some 75 percent of Kellogg alumni, staff, administrators and faculty engage in nonprofit or community volunteer efforts. And 100 percent of the Kellogg School Dean’s Advisory Board volunteer with an average of six organizations and board service on four nonprofits.

Barry Merkin, for instance, is making a special contribution with the executive MBA school he and his wife, Dr. Jasminka Merkin, have helped create in Croatia. The Kellogg professor of entrepreneurship notes that the country, formerly part of Tito’s Yugoslavia, has been decimated by unemployment and beset by economic challenges as it transitions from communism to democracy. It’s taken five long years to make the Croma Business Academy a reality, Merkin admits. But his expression makes it clear that the struggle was worth every minute.

Bala Balachandran has also been extensively involved with establishing top-quality management education in both India and the United States. The J.L. Kellogg Distinguished Professor of Accounting Information Management and Decision Sciences is especially interested in meeting the needs of Indian scholars whom he calls “engineering types...people who are very good about using one side of their brain.” Balachandran believes that these talented people will benefit from a curriculum that offers them a chance to augment their natural abilities with B-school leadership skills.

Then there’s Kellogg School alumni Clay McDaniel and Mandy Levenberg (both ’01). The couple recently spent five weeks performing volunteer work in AIDS-ravaged villages in Africa. On their honeymoon.

Neither of them is comfortable praising themselves for this effort; instead, they prefer to recall the Kellogg experiences that helped shape their philanthropic passion.

"Our time immediately after graduation, participating in Kellogg Corps in Zambia with Africare was incredibly rewarding,” says Levenberg, referring to the Kellogg program founded in 1996 to give recent grads a chance to use their leadership skills with nongovernmental organizations in developing countries. “For us, and Ben Straley ’01 who also participated, it was a perfect ending to our ‘formal’ business education — applying what we learned in a meaningful way.”

Read the related stories:
  Kellogg alums bring leadership to public schools
  Capacity building key for nonprofits
  Kellogg School social leadership takes many forms
  Crisis management essentials

Kellogg nonprofit partnerships shaping future leaders
These individual efforts are a small, though important, way the Kellogg School community contributes to the world beyond Northwestern University. There’s also a variety of Kellogg initiatives, within the curriculum and outside of it, in the form of rigorous academic programs and student clubs with a service mission. (Visit online for the full club list.)

Kellogg lends its managerial acumen to organizations such as the Leadership Academy and Urban Network for Chicago (LAUNCH) and the Leadership Education and Development Program (LEAD). LAUNCH’s mission is to recruit and train aspiring principals and leaders for Chicago Public Schools. LEAD is a national partnership of business and academia that encourages high school students to pursue business careers.

Dr. Ingrid Carney, LAUNCH executive director, says the program has trained 183 aspiring education leaders since the “powerful collaboration” with Kellogg began in 1998. “It’s been a wonderful partnership,” she says, noting that both Dean Jain and Dean Emeritus Donald P. Jacobs have given their “full support to building leadership capacity in Chicago Public Schools” through LAUNCH.

Kellogg students in Nepal
Kellogg students (left to right) Benjamin Mahnke '03 and Babar Khan '03, with Dinesh Shrestha, Room to Read's Nepal country director, and Ram Chandra Adhikary, headmaster of the Shree Bhuwaneshwori Primary School in Jeevanpur, Dhading District, Nepal. The group toured the construction of the Shree Bhuwaneshwori school as part of a Kellogg Corps project.

Carney says that LAUNCH so far has produced 60 principals, 64 assistant principals and more than 20 central office administrators who are playing a “major role in improving teaching and learning in Chicago Public Schools.”
With LEAD, Kellogg faculty, alumni, students and corporate partners encourage minority high school students to consider business careers.

"LEAD is a real partnership among all facets of the Kellogg community to work with these highly motivated, intelligent students,” says Vennie Lyons ’72, associate dean and director of The Managers’ Program. Lyons has spearheaded Kellogg’s involvement in LEAD for more than 15 years.

LEAD students arrive at Kellogg for a four-week program that features faculty such as Dean Jain, David Besanko, Brian Sternthal, Steven Rogers and Barry Merkin, among others, who introduce LEAD participants to subjects ranging from microeconomics to entrepreneurship.

"Everyone at Kellogg who works with these students feels a great sense of pride that we can play a role in shaping future business leaders,” says Lyons.

Within its curriculum, too, the Kellogg School offers exceptional opportunities for those much closer to leadership roles who want to advance social change. The PNP and the Center for Nonprofit Management, for example, expand Kellogg thought leadership into organizations that are seriously interested in applying for-profit skills in their mission-driven enterprises.

PNP’s Executive Education for Nonprofit Leaders series is one important aspect of the program. A portfolio of courses that address capacity building, strategic leadership and partnership, governance and financial stabilization strategies, the curriculum has attracted great attention over the last two years as the economy has contracted, forcing nonprofits to stretch their limited resources even further. (To enroll or learn more, visit online.)

Professor Donald Haider, director of PNP and the Center for Nonprofit Management, points out that the nonprofit sector —“that universe of hospitals and universities, opera and orchestra companies, family service agencies and religious organizations, soup kitchens and environmental advocacy and civil rights organizations”— is a crucial part of our economic, social and civic life.

"It represents 7 percent of the U.S. economy,” Haider says. It employs some 11 million people, 84 million volunteers and has recently grown at twice the rate of the overall economy. “Leading a nonprofit has become increasingly demanding, resulting in turnover and burnout,” he adds.

Haider says these facts are why Kellogg is committed to “nurturing a cadre of talented managers who want to use their skills and experiences to improve society at executive-level positions in nonprofits.”

Social mission remains hugely important for nonprofits, says Liz Livingston Howard ’93, associate director of PNP. “That mission is often a significant one: to end homelessness or to protect children. Mission is bigger than selling widgets and often has very serious human consequences.”

But, she says, today’s economic reality means that nonprofits, as never before, must also learn the fiscal and strategic management skills that will enable them to continue their work.

"The gap between for-profit and nonprofit is not as big as people once thought,” Howard says. “You need to do good as a nonprofit, but frankly, you need to do good well. It’s no longer sufficient that you are meeting the needs of the elderly or children. If you aren’t managing your resources responsibly, hiring good people, raising money and promoting yourself in the community, you are not going to succeed.”

As president of the Chicago-based Joyce Foundation, Ellen Alberding ’89 knows all about mission. Her foundation supports a variety of public policy efforts aimed at protecting the natural environment of the Great Lakes, while also reducing poverty and violence in the region and ensuring that citizens have access to “good schools, decent jobs and a diverse, thriving culture.”

To deliver on all these initiatives, Alberding, who has been at the foundation 14 years, combines her passion for social change with her business background. “The financial and management skills I learned at Kellogg have helped me immeasurably in working to carry out our mission,” she says. “The nonprofit sector is hungry for people with these skills.”

Cheryl Gidley ’99 also recognizes the importance of balancing mission with fiscal viability. Gidley, class representative for EMP-41, runs Gidley Consulting, which offers counsel and training to assist nonprofits in staying true to their missions while prioritizing the resources to do so.

She says her firm’s “vision-based capacity planning” model keeps the nonprofit mission in focus throughout the process of improving the organization’s performance. Gidley believes that strategic planning (what in the nonprofit world is termed capacity planning) can present challenges to MBAs who move from the for-profit to nonprofit worlds and fail to appreciate the importance of mission.

"The organization and delivery aspects that may cost the most and appear to have the least payback from a for-profit perspective may be absolutely essential to the nonprofit organization,” Gidley says. Her approach is to “revalidate” the mission of the nonprofit and then “back into the strategic plan all the way down to the everyday activities” such as delivery.

Gidley, whose for-profit experience includes her tenure at GE Capital as well as board service on the nonprofit Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, encourages MBAs to lend their leadership skills to nonprofits, but cautions them to be aware of the organizational dynamics at work in that sector.

"Realize that volunteers — once the ‘nice people’ who came and helped out — are today, because of budget constraints, increasingly performing key staff functions,” she says.

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©2002 Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University