The MBAi Experience: “In one word – amazing!”
Raisul Chowdhury (MBAi, 2023), a former campaign strategy manager at an ad-tech startup in Toronto, spoke to us about his time in the MBAi Program, a joint-degree between Kellogg and the McCormick School of Engineering. He shares everything from his experience as an international student to the connections he’s making to how he views MBAi as a launch pad for using artificial intelligence to create products that transform societies.
What was it about MBAi that appealed to you?
Working in the tech industry, I have noticed a significant gap between the “business folks” and the “tech people.” The gap can present challenges for organizations since business and tech folks often have unique approaches to problem-solving and speak different languages, meaning technical vs non-technical. As a joint-degree, MBAi’s combined courses from McCormick such as Computational Thinking, Design Thinking, and Human Computer Interaction, along with Kellogg’s world-class business-focused courses have been customized to create future AI leaders who can speak both languages. I love how MBAi combines the heart and soul of the business with the future that we all know is coming – artificial intelligence. AI is set to disrupt the world as we know it, and I want to prepare myself for that new world.
What role did MBAi’s summer internship and Bay Area immersion experience play in your decision to enroll in MBAi?
Kellogg and McCormick’s MBAi is unique from any other tech-focused MBA program in the world because it does a great job of crafting an immersive MBA experience with the rigor of tech-focused learnings. Unlike many other non-two-year programs, MBAi offers the opportunity to complete a summer internship, along with an immersion week that’s focused in the Bay Area. As an international student, I considered these crucial for building a network in the tech-industry. While the immersion gives a chance to explore many different tech companies in the Bay Area and learn more about them, the internship offers the opportunity to dive deep into a company in a low-risk environment.
It’s only been a couple months since the program started, but how has the experience been so far?
In one word – amazing! Kellogg and McCormick do a fantastic job of creating a safe environment where you can connect to yourself and others in an authentic way. It all starts with KWEST (Kellogg Worldwide Exploration Student Trips) and CIM (Kellogg’s student orientation), when you discover what makes this such a great place to be. My favorite exercise was, “I am Kellogg,” when we learned the differences every individual in the incoming class of 2023 brings to the community. With all the events happening in and outside of classes, it’s very easy to embrace Kellogg as home. One thing that truly stands out about the culture is how open-minded everyone is, be it other students, faculty, administration or staff. Like I said, it’s been an amazing experience.
How would you describe your experience in the Global Hub?
The Hub is where things come to life. I’d describe it as a place bursting with energy, passion, openness, comfort, and ideas. It’s so much more than a physical space. It doesn’t feel like “just a school.” It’s home. It’s where you learn, bond, and discover others. It’s where you can enjoy the sound of waves coming from Lake Michigan while you brainstorm about a project with your others you will call friends for life.
In what ways do you interact with students in other Kellogg programs?
In MBAi, we don’t only have MBAi-specific classes. We also have ones with other full-time MBA students. This quarter, I am in classes with students from the Two-Year program, MMM (a dual-degree program with McCormick), MBAi and the JD-MBA programs. I’m also taking an advanced marketing elective on the Chicago campus with Evening & Weekend students.
Kellogg creates a very integrated environment. You feel like part of Kellogg no matter what program you’re in. There are tons of opportunities to interact across the broader community through club participation. You can also pursue leadership positions and help shape the community. As the careers director for the Kellogg Technology Club and the Kellogg Data Analytics Club, I get to connect with and help students from all different programs and create resources for the community as a whole.
What is the dynamic like between you and your fellow MBAi students?
We are a bunch of tremendously curious people who are passionate about technology and the future of the world. MBAi is my home within the broader Kellogg community. It’s a very supportive and tight-knit family of 45 friends from all different parts of the world. Each and every student is dedicated to contributing to each others’ growth. And that goes way beyond classrooms. And the best part? These are not just the students, it’s us and our JVs (Joint Ventures are partners and families of Kellogg students) celebrating together as one big family.