Kellogg World Alumni Magazine Winter 2007Kellogg School of Management
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Joint Ventures
Kellogg students and their partners spent time together at the Chicago Botanical Gardens this fall. From left, Maureen Smithe Brusznicki, Rick Perez '08, Melissa Carpenter, Janet Miller, Kristy Kyriakopoulos, Ryan Miller '08, Dave Badler '08, Amy Badler, Cara Belvin, Shane '08 and Murphy Belvin.

Joint Ventures at 25: a 'better experience for all'

Long-running program gives significant others a place to call home while their partners earn the Kellogg MBA

By Adrienne Murrill

Besides a reputation for academic excellence, the Kellogg School is known for the familial culture it fosters for students, faculty and staff. One way the school establishes this is through the Joint Ventures program (JV). 

JV began in 1982 to support the immediate families and partners of enrolled Kellogg students. And 25 years later it is still going strong. Associate Dean Emeritus Edmund Wilson, who oversaw student affairs from 1980-2002, said Joint Ventures was a "marvelous addition" to Kellogg.

"As a school, we wanted those who accompanied students to be included in Kellogg life," he said. The McManus Living/Learning Student Center was a common meeting place back then, he added, and it still is today.

Thadius Seymour '87 recalled the experience he had when his wife, Katie Glockner Seymour '84, was enrolled in the full-time program. "I felt very welcomed at Kellogg when Katie was working on her degree," he said. "In fact, I liked the school and her colleagues so much that I enrolled after her and graduated in 1987."

Some 35-40 percent of Kellogg students have a significant other, many of whom relocate to Evanston when the student does. The current JV membership is about 250 couples, making it one of the largest and most active Kellogg clubs. The members represent more than 20 countries, bringing a cultural richness to this group and the school.

Within the JV program, "Kellogg Kids" connects MBA families and helps partners find schools and day care. The JV network connects members with jobs and social outlets.

Janet Miller, a current JV, appreciated the program's value during her transition from Cleveland to Evanston. "Usually when you move you have to try to break into a group of friends that has known each other for a while, and here we were all new to the area and to each other," she said.

The JV group makes its members feel like a part of the Kellogg community, Miller noted. In turn, this makes domestic life easier. She said she has enjoyed her experience at Kellogg as much as her husband, Ryan Miller '08.

Moving to Evanston from the Philippines, Margarita Castro-Zarraga also found comfort in the JV network. "This MBA sabbatical is a unique stage of excitement and uncertainty," she said. "Having people in the same situation eased my concerns and made the journey all the more enjoyable."

Wendy Metter, associate director of student affairs, said the JV community is an important part of Kellogg. "The partners bring a wealth of interests, experiences and energy that add greatly because they are active participants in the school."

This network is one of the factors that draws students and their families to Kellogg. "When deciding on which school to attend, Joint Ventures played a considerable role in that decision," said Amy Badler, a current JV.

"Joint Ventures extends the Kellogg community beyond students to include their loved ones, thus making it a better experience for all."

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