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By Tedd Patel ’17

Tedd 2

“Show up. Keep up. Step up!”

When I think of those words from Colette Feldges during the first day of orientation, I see just how insightful her advice was. Those words went right into my Kellogg journal, and they continue to shape the way I approach being a new student in the Kellogg community.

Let’s face it: We’re all here to get an MBA degree from a top, global program. We understand that achieving this milestone will help us reach our future career goals. Beyond that, the Kellogg program has so much more to offer, but it’s up to each person to decide how much he or she wants to contribute and invest.

Be ready to hit the ground running

When I arrived on day one of orientation, I quickly learned that everything moves at a very fast pace. There’s a great deal of information packed into orientation week. Study groups and team building exercises help set the culture for collaborating and learning about one another in fun, organized activities. The group and individual assignments build up fast, so you need an organized way to keep up and get assignments done, all while you have a full program of class and social events scheduled from early morning to late evening. While it’s fast-paced, it’s a lot of fun!

Plan ahead

Once you get past orientation week, look at the big picture for the quarter ahead. It helps to use a tool to organize the quarter as a whole and see when assignments are due for each class. Getting and staying organized is essential.

While Kellogg offers tools to track assignments, some assignments also get sent via email and from other sources. I found it helpful to create a “quarter tracker” spreadsheet where I can itemize all my assignments in one location for reference. Now, our whole cohort uses it.

Be social

I’ll never forget one of the things professor Keith Murnighan emphasized to us during one of our leadership classes during orientation week. He explained the importance of the social interaction with your cohort members and others in the Kellogg community.

Now a few months into the program, I understand why he focused on this. The better we understand how people differ and what makes them tick, the better opportunity we have to develop our ability to lead others. When you get to know people on a deeper, personal level, barriers get broken down and trust develops. Collaborating becomes more fun, which makes business discussions and group assignments more fun as well. Ultimately, great leaders can accomplish great things by establishing a vision of excellence that can then be multiplied though others.

Looking ahead to my next quarter, I can’t wait to continue to get involved in as many social activities as possible, learn from others, have fun and learn more about myself. As we’re all here together, it’s the perfect opportunity to form strong alliances that can last a lifetime.

Learn from other cohorts

One of the best opportunities for our cohort has been sharing the class weekends with EMP 98. Since this cohort is so close to graduation, we’ve been introduced to so many different perspectives on what it takes to succeed in the program, what electives students enjoyed the most, what the Global Network Week experiences were like and more. While we’re going to miss seeing them on campus after they graduate, I look forward to our cohort carrying on this tradition by helping new cohorts.

Challenge yourself

When creating my Kellogg learning contract, I made a point to challenge myself to aim high by contributing and investing in the program. My goal is to become the best person I can be and use my strengths to help others achieve their dreams and goals.

One of my goals was to become one of the cohort ambassadors for EMP 104, and I was deeply touched to be elected for this honor. I look forward to helping our entire cohort have the best experience possible while also leaving a legacy that future cohorts can benefit from.


My advice to every student is to step up and fully invest yourself in this program. The Kellogg community offers an environment for self-development that can be used to fuel all aspects of one’s life. The diverse, talented students and the knowledgeable faculty are something you need to experience to fully appreciate.

One quarter is now almost completed, and five more incredible quarters are waiting for me. The possibilities are endless.


Tedd Patel is the assistant vice president of business relationship management at, a national, online direct marketing company in the insurance industry based in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Tedd’s current leadership responsibilities have cross-functional impact to his organization and span multiple business units. In addition to his primary career, Tedd’s entrepreneurial aspirations led him to establish TMP Innovations, where he successfully started and manages a portfolio of profitable internet domains.