A Recipe for Success: Food & Agribusiness Club Members Share Their Kellogg Experiences
In this club spotlight, we talk with six members of the Kellogg Food and Agribusiness Club (kFAB), who share how the resources they have found both inside and outside of the classroom are the perfect recipe for advancing their careers in this exciting and ever-changing field.
Why did you choose Kellogg for a food and ag career?
Benjamitir: My previous role was related to the tech industry, and it was energizing to see how tech can transform traditional businesses. But food and ag has always been a passion of mine, and I was interested in exploring food trends in relation to tech. Coming to Kellogg, I wanted to lean into the school’s reputation in the tech and food industry and its proximity to Chicago, which has been home to many food tech startups.
Gil: As someone willing to pivot into a new industry, I needed to get more experience in areas where I’ve had few exposures to, like operations, sales and marketing, and I knew Kellogg would provide me more than enough opportunities for that. I was also aware that the school had very strong relationships and positioning with different companies in the food and ag industry, which would help me have a smoother transition.
How do you engage with the food community at Kellogg or Greater Chicago?
Henderson: Kellogg has such a vibrant club community, so I’ve been fortunate to learn from and connect with students, faculty and industry experts through kFAB across a range of pressing issues: cannabis, food as medicine, sustainable supply chains, plant-based/alternative protein, affordability/access and food waste, to name a few. Beyond campus, I’ve taken advantage of Chicago’s status as the nation’s food and beverage CPG epicenter by engaging with and attending events at startup incubator The Hatchery and the Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network (CFBN).
Naccache: I am involved in kFAB and the Kellogg Energy and Sustainability Club (KESC), which have been hosting informative events related to food throughout the quarter. Both clubs are seeking to connect with the broader Northwestern and Chicagoland communities. As part of this effort, I have been learning a lot from food businesses at The Hatchery (which hosts some Kellogg alumni!) and The Plant (a network of food businesses establishing circular production practices). I’m also excited to continue attending potlucks and organizing more outings to Chicago’s great restaurant and brewery scenes!
Which Kellogg resources have you found most useful in strengthening your interest in the food industry and supporting your recruiting efforts?
Yao: The various company presentations and coffee chats have been the most useful in learning more about opportunities in the food space. I have loved hearing about how different companies are tackling challenges like sustainability and efficient distribution. On top of the company interactions, I have also really enjoyed connecting with second-year students that have interned in this space. Their experiences range from startups to established CPGs, and I have gained valuable insights on the different opportunities available.
Henderson: Company lunch & learns, as well as industry career panels helped reinforce my goal of working for a socially minded food & beverage company. With regards to recruiting, interview prep groups and the Career Management Center’s coaches and career peers were invaluable in helping me secure my summer internship at Kraft Heinz. Additionally, I’ve learned practical, industry-relevant skills through a multitude of food and ag cases covered in my favorite Kellogg classes — Retail Analytics & Pricing, Advertising Strategy and Supply Chain Management — as well as sustainable food courses offered by the Institute for Sustainability & Energy at Northwestern.
Any final thoughts about Kellogg and food & ag business?
Bellows: I came to Kellogg thinking food and cooking was just a hobby and wasn’t in the cards for my career. The Kellogg community showed me I was wrong! This community is a great place to explore your passions and learn how to marry them with your career aspirations. Take risks, meet lots of new people, and be curious. If food and ag is an area of interest to you, Kellogg has so much to offer to help you learn and explore.
Yao: Kellogg has helped me to strengthen my interests in the food industry by providing me access to others who share similar interests through kFAB. Through the various club events, I have been able to learn about different parts of the value chain related to cultivating and producing food all the way through distribution. It has been great to be able to dive deeper into these conversations with peers who are interested in different parts of this chain.
Naccache: Based on specific government policies and pledges, and anecdotally, I think food is often neglected in conversations about climate change. Food systems (including land use, transportation, etc.) make up more than a third of greenhouse gas emissions. There is so much energy around ESG on campus; and I would encourage anyone who shares these concerns to think about the food industry as a very exciting area where we can make an impact as business leaders.