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On a recent cross-country flight, I couldn’t help ask myself whether the decision I made to take my Winter electives at the Kellogg Miami campus was worth the investment.  Miami, after all, was on the other side of the nation and traveling from San Diego I knew I was in for 7 hours of airplane noise and airport chaos.  I reminded myself that I had three objectives this quarter: (1) to meet and network with people I would have never met; (2) to complete coursework in two classes I knew I was passionate about; (3) to get to know more about other parts of the world that I normally wouldn’t have been exposed to.  After three days of classes and professional development sessions, I knew deep down inside that my decision was the right one and when the weekend was over I left with a feeling of accomplishment.

kellogg emba miami campus

The students at the Miami campus come from a diverse set of backgrounds and countries based primarily in Latin America.  I found the students and course work to truly embody the Kellogg spirit of being a global program.  I made a comment to a peer that I found it cumbersome to arrange study group meetings as the 5 members of my study group were spread across 4 time zones.  She rebutted, “try arranging calls when your group is spread over 4 continents across the world.”  After she made that comment, I came to the realization that I could only think with a global perspective if I was exposed to that global perspective.  Her example acknowledged the fact that we are truly living in a global environment and thinking globally was important now more than ever.

I chose to take two electives in Miami that I felt passionate about – Leading High Impact Teams and Innovation Strategy and Management.  In my professional work environment I find myself driving results through others on a consistent basis.  In my Leading High Impact Team class this past weekend I was reminded that certain leadership skill sets are incredibly important in creating a vision and goals, providing performance feedback, working with others’ listening and performance styles, as well as developing a team process that is responsive to unanticipated change.  A hands-on class assignment worked to do just that – create an environment that required us to work with each other to achieve a common goal.  It was great way to incorporate in-class learning with a hands-on activity that drove a point in an engaging manner.

Lastly, I feel like the relationships I made with my classmates outside the classroom will be the kind of relationships I will treasure for the rest of my life.  I find that the older I get the more difficult it is to meet and make new friends.  The Kellogg experience has helped me meet like-minded professionals that I am comfortable being myself around.  This past class weekend was no exception.  My Miami study group met throughout the weekend to focus on a group project for our Innovation Strategy and Management class, but like many study group meetings we took the opportunity to get to know each other in the process.  From the start, everyone in our study group clicked well with each other and this weekend we bonded in a special way – sharing laughs, tears, and personal stories.  I know that these timeless friendships will last the rest of my life and I’ve made many special friends that I now plan on visiting next time I’m in the various parts of the world they live in.

Between now and the end of the month I have two finals to complete – it’ll be a challenging time to come, but I’m looking forward to ultimately spending my last quarter prior to graduation back at my home campus in Chicago with my other group of friends I started this journey with nearly two years ago.