Making a ‘transformational’ leap into a Bay Area tech job through the Kellogg MMM Program
The career successes of recent Kellogg MMM Program graduates are proving just how powerful this dual-degree combination in business and design innovation can be. Of the Class of 2021, 64% of graduates went into the tech industry, up from 46% the year before. And nearly 70% of graduates went to the West Coast to pursue jobs after graduation. We caught up with one of these students, Ivy Chamness (MMM, 2021), whose Kellogg experience helped her make a big career pivot from the consulting world to a tech job at a Bay Area design and innovation lab for Ford Motor Company. Here’s what she had to say:
Some people spend a lifetime searching for a fulfilling career and meaningful relationships. Before applying to the Kellogg MMM Program, I wasn’t sure if business school — or any graduate degree program for that matter — was the right path to find either of those things. Spoiler alert: it was — for me. While I’m far from the end of my career journey, I love my current career, the people I work with, and the relationships from Kellogg so much that I often pinch myself to remember they’re real. That might sound a little dramatic, but considering that I previously had no idea my current role or even the company I now work for even existed, and that I had a limited professional network outside of the military, I think a little hype is warranted.
After graduating from Kellogg last summer, I took a job as a business designer at D-Ford, which is Ford Motor Company’s Human Centered Design Innovation Lab in Palo Alto, California. If those words mean nothing to you, then we would have had a lot in common on the first day of class! I entered business school as a non-traditional applicant – I majored in kinesiology for undergrad, then joined the U.S. Marine Corps and, after the military, took a role as a consultant for a large defense contractor. I began my journey in the MMM Program knowing a good deal about the things I wanted and didn’t want in a career.
So, I ventured to Evanston, hunting a strange beast of a profession where I could blend both creativity and analytical thinking, find a warm welcome in a quirky and fun culture, and continue pursuing my interest in innovation and smart cities. I was skeptical that I could find a place that would check all of those boxes. It was sort of like the search for a romantic partner — you know you want, but it can be stressful knowing almost nothing about where or how to find such a thing (though some say swiping left or right can be fun!).
I quickly found that the MMM Program was exactly what I had been looking for. On my first day as an MMM student, we went on a trip to a prominent Chicago design innovation firm, and it was there that I learned about what the business design role does — a path-less-travelled career that blends the analytical and creative sides of business. I immediately knew it was for me. My experiences in the classroom taking design thinking and experiential classes, such as Research Design Build (RDB) and Business Innovation Lab (BIL), further reinforced this career path for me. I felt particularly passionate about and suited for this work, and Kellogg empowered me with the tools to be successful. Here, I gained a robust portfolio of work that was instrumental in helping me make a major career pivot to land my dream job. I first heard about my current company, D-Ford, one fateful afternoon while browsing the Kellogg Job Board, and the rest is history.
Although I knew a company’s culture would be important in my job search, I’m in awe of how impactful the Kellogg community’s culture would turn out to be in my graduate program. In addition to the exceptionally bright, collaborative and fun learning environment, my fellow MMMs were — and remain — especially close. Outside of academics, our first summer as classmates was full of wonderfully weird bonding moments, outings and social activities that set the tone for the rest of our time in Evanston. A particular highlight was when a few MMMs organized an informal recruiting brunch group that was equal parts mimosas, resumes and wholesome encouragement.
For me, the MMM Program at Kellogg was more than a dual-degree program and an avenue to an ideal career. The creativity, quirkiness and community of the MMM program is both unique and unmatched. I’m blessed to have such a supportive network – especially during the ups and downs of business school and when I moved to a new city to work in the Bay Area. For context, I had a full ride at a few other MBA programs, but in retrospect the MMM Program was absolutely the right choice for me. I wouldn’t trade the relationships, memories and experiences for anything. It’s been, in a word, transformational.
Read our latest employment report to learn more about the strong demand for Kellogg talent across our MBA programs >