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Photo courtesy of Northwestern Magazine (by Victor Sokolowicz)
Photo by Victor Sokolowicz

From Northwestern Magazine — By Sean Hargadon

The chants rose to the roof of the Owen L. Coon Forum: “Manny! Manny! Manny!”

The Cash Cows had just won the Kellogg School of Management’s new student Olympics, and soon Manny — who had emerged as a leader during the weeklong orientation program that pits teams of first-year MBA students against each other in collaboration-inducing competitions — was being tossed in the air.

“It was like a high school football game for me,” says Manuel Dorantes, who is also known as “Father Manny.” “It was phenomenal.

“They had no idea who I was,” adds Dorantes, a Chicago diocesan priest who had ditched the collar for his Cash Cows team T-shirt throughout Kellogg’s Complete Immersion in Management Week. “So on Monday, the first day of class, I show up with my collar on, and you should have seen the jaws drop. My classmates [who knew there was a clergyman in the class] were like, ‘You’re the Catholic priest? Are you serious?’

“I think they were disappointed,” he says with a laugh.

Dorantes is now a second-year MBA student who splits his time between Chicago and the Vatican, where he occasionally works as a liaison to the Spanish-speaking media for the press office of the Holy See, the central government of the Roman Catholic Church. Dorantes’ first major assignment was the canonization of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II last April. It was an unforgettable experience, he says.

In the fall Dorantes studied change management and global economics through Kellogg’s International Exchange Program at the London Business School — a convenient two-hour flight from Rome — after a paid summer internship with PricewaterhouseCoopers as a financial services consultant in the fraud and money laundering department for a Chicago client. (Unlike priests in a religious order — Jesuits or Franciscans, for example — diocesan priests do not take a vow of poverty. Dorantes manages his own finances and is paying his own way at Kellogg with help from an F.C. Austin Scholarship.)

Dorantes has come a long way from his roots in Ixtapan de la Sal, a town in the State of Mexico near Mexico City.

Read more about Dorantes and his Kellogg experience