Open house shows strengths of Kellogg-NU collaboration in economics, managerial analytics; top students gain early exposure to rigorous business tools
Dozens of senior Northwestern University leaders and esteemed alumni and guests gathered November 7 for an open house to highlight two elite undergraduate certificate programs introduced this year.
A collaboration between the Kellogg School and Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and the McCormick School of Engineering, the programs are designed to offer exceptionally talented junior and senior undergraduates greater exposure to advanced quantitative training in finance or managerial analytics.
“This initiative represents a completely new chapter for Kellogg and for management schools in general,” said Kellogg Dean Dipak C. Jain at the reception, which brought together about 60 top administrators, faculty, alumni and students to celebrate the inaugural Financial Economics Certificate Program. A second undergraduate offering, the Managerial Analytics Certificate Program, begins in fall 2008.
The programs reflect the efforts of Kellogg and Northwestern to find the best way to expose NU undergraduates to business, especially to increasingly important mathematical methods and analytical models, said Jain. “We wanted to determine the optimal way to serve the Northwestern community with an analytically rigorous curriculum while also attracting the best talent from among undergraduates who might not know much about the MBA degree and its value,” Jain added. “This is our way of expanding the Kellogg family.”
Northwestern junior Claudia Barna is among some 50 top students enrolled in the Financial Economics Certificate Program, offered in cooperation with the Weinberg College. She is considering a career in investment management and said that the new offering is a “tremendous opportunity” for younger students to gain exposure to advanced finance concepts through the program’s four courses: Principles of Finance, Investments, Derivatives and Topics in Financial Economics.
“All the Kellogg resources are here,” said Barna, who emphasized the quality of Kellogg faculty members, such as Janice Eberly, the John L. and Helen Kellogg Professor of Finance. “Professor Eberly is very approachable and very knowledgeable.” Barna said she particularly values how the certificate program brings theory together with practice, showing students how they might apply their education after graduation.
Faculty members also expressed enthusiasm for the undergraduate certificate. Eberly, the program director for Financial Economics, called the students “very bright, very eager” and said they are looking for ways to begin turning their academic insights toward real-world contexts. “Undergraduates have extraordinarily extensive academic and technical skills,” said Eberly. “They really love getting all the background detail, all the color, and they like seeing the potential uses of all their technical education.”
The certificate programs offer a way for the brightest Northwestern undergraduates — those with stellar SAT scores and who have completed the prerequisites in advanced mathematics — to gain critical insights into the world of business. Said Provost Daniel Linzer: “It’s great to see this level of student demand and accomplishment. Many of our students come to Northwestern looking for a way to scale the walls of the Jacobs Center … and you opened the doors.”
The reception, held at 555 Clark St. on the Evanston campus, showcased the refurbished facilities where certificate program students attend classes. The university hired FGM Architects to create two classrooms that resemble the raked amphitheater-style seating familiar to Kellogg students in the Donald P. Jacobs Center. Associate Dean for Facilities and Human Resources Carole Cahill called the upgrade “a dramatic redesign that really enhances the space in ways that support a ‘Kellogg’ educational experience.”
Dean Jain said the certificate programs required “real teamwork to make them a success.” He said the efforts of many people at Northwestern and Kellogg should be noted, including the contributions of Senior Associate Deans Sunil Chopra and Kathleen Hagerty. Chopra, an operations expert, will serve as program director for the Managerial Analytics Certificate Program. Hagerty, a distinguished finance scholar, played a key role in designing the Financial Economics program. She praised the efforts of Carol Henes, director of the undergraduate certificate programs, and said that the new offerings will provide strong academic tools for undergraduates looking to pursue careers in fields such as financial services, consulting or investment banking.
Equally enthusiastic was Weinberg Dean Aldon Morris who said the new programs will afford students the chance to combine “the best undergraduate liberal arts education with the best rigorous business education.”
“This is a very exciting adventure for Weinberg College,” said Morris. “We are thrilled with this relationship with Kellogg.”