Kellogg World Alumni Magazine, Spring 2001Kellogg School of Management
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Kellogg's evening program shares school's unique culture

by Joyce Hanson

  Kellogg's TMP program group shot
�2001 Steve Robb Photography
Guiding the culture of TMP are (L to R) Director of TMP Admissions Donelle Broskow, Director of TMP Vennie Lyons '72, President of the EMA Melissa Mathson '01, and Assistant Director of Student Services/EMA adviser Patrick McCarthy

A cold wind blows off the pitch- black of Lake Michigan on a recent winter's night in Chicago. It's the sort of night that drives people to seek heat and light indoors, and the building at 340 E. Superior St. seems particularly abuzz with human activity. This is, of course, the site of Kellogg's evening MBA program, The Managers' Program (TMP) where 1,300 students are working toward a master's degree.

Arriving from their full-time jobs, students steal a few minutes for a quick bite in the cafeteria before classes begin. The noise level rises as more people arrive and sit down to talk to their classmates and friends. Amidst the swirl, second-quarter student Ravi Kaushik has set up a table with a collection box as part of his fund-raising drive for survivors of the Jan. 26 earthquake in western India. Kaushik grabs Donelle Broskow, director of admissions for TMP, in the hallway to tell her about the progress of the four-day drive.

Classes start and about 60 students pack into Room 247, where Professor Mohan Sawhney teaches his massively popular course in technology marketing. Once again, people sit next to their friends and classmates and the chatter continues until Sawhney begins his lecture. At one point, he mentions a company that had a difficult product launch and asks if anyone in the room works for the company. Two or three people raise their hands and give their own first-hand accounts of the launch.

As the evening progresses, it becomes increasingly apparent that while this night might be a typical winter's night in Chicago, this evening program is no typical night school. Yes, the students here are older than Kellogg's full-time students, and they work at full-time jobs. Many have spouses and kids to go home to. But they don't fit the stereotype of the night-school student who rushes to class and puts in a few hours of time before returning to real life. What makes the difference? It's the Kellogg culture, the sense of community and teamwork that makes school a seamless part of a TMP student's busy life.

"We want TMP students to get the full Kellogg experience. Therefore, they need to get to know their classmates and get involved with extracurricular activities," says Vennie Lyons, TMP's associate dean and director. "When that happens, the bonds help give people the incentive to complete the degree requirements."

Despite their heavy course load, Lyons says, students find the time for extracurricular activities because they want a well-rounded Kellogg experience. He points to the Eco-tech entrepreneurial technology course, a student-run program that includes a four-day field research trip to Silicon Valley, and the Global Initiatives in Management course, another student-run program that ends with a two-week visit to a foreign country. Broskow says that when admitting new students, TMP looks for people who are active in their businesses' Junior Achievement mentoring programs, their churches and community groups.

To be sure, any TMP student looking to get involved in extracurricular activities has ample opportunity to do so. During the first two months of 2001 alone, TMP students held a book drive to benefit the Mercy Home for Boys and Girls, a Chicago charity, which was followed by the Managers' Ball and a silent auction, also held to benefit the Mercy Home. Students with families could attend a Kellogg trip to a Disney on Ice show, yet another event featured James Dimon, chairman of the board and CEO of Bank One Corporation, having dinner and conversation with 20 students.

Winston Awadzi, a 32-year-old pricing strategy manager for Lucent Technologies in Naperville, is vice president of TMP's Evening Black Management Association, and it was Awadzi who pulled together the submission that won Kellogg the National Black MBA Association's Institution of the Year Award in 2000. Awadzi says the Kellogg Culture is all about teamwork, which starts with classroom group assignments that may extend to weekend-long projects. TMP students who are married with children have a natural affinity, Awadzi adds -- and he speaks from experience. His second child was born during the mid-term exams of spring quarter 2000. "When you meet another TMPer, they say, 'Congratulations, I know what you were going through.'"

Melissa Mathson, 28, president of the Evening Management Association, says her closest TMP friendships have been formed with students she has met through extracurricular activities. Mathson, who lives in Chicago and works in marketing and underwriting for Foothill Capital Corp., says Kellogg's culture to her means creating a sense of community.

"It's not just about coming in and going to class after work and leaving right away," she says. "It's about getting to know your classmates outside of the classroom. It's about having an experience, not just getting a degree.

©2001 Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University