Why my part-time Kellogg MBA is a big-time blue sky moment
By Alexandra Tyrrell (E&W, 2022), Sales Excellence Lead, Google
After spending the first ten years of my career in various client-facing sales roles, I decided to pursue my passion for helping my peers develop and grow their capabilities, and so I transitioned to teaching and training other sales professionals in September 2019. Two short years later, I had the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of helping to build a sales coaching program at Google and I took on the role of Sales Excellence Lead in July 2021 — and for me, the timing could not have been better. This move came just shy of a year after I began to pursue an MBA through the Evening & Weekend MBA Program at Kellogg.
To be sure, Google stands out as a stellar place to work. But it’s also incredibly demanding; Google is a fast-paced, data-driven workplace that encourages the pursuit of excellence in all that we do. Working towards my MBA part-time represented the best fit for me: the kind of win-win business schools teach students how to identify and claim. To that end, the Kellogg School of Management is delivering for me in big – and unanticipated – ways.
My path to Kellogg, much like my path throughout my career, has been marked by positive challenge and transformative discovery. Flash back to 2018, a time that found me living in London: My career to-date had been in various high-growth startup environments, and I knew that a role at a larger, more established company could help me round out my experience and, hopefully, take my business acumen to the next level. In the Winter of 2018, I found myself packing up my life in London and relocating to Toronto (I’m from the west coast of Canada originally) to begin my new role on the Google sales team. For some, landing at such a prestigious company – the top one on my list, in fact – might seem like the end goal.
But in terms of my career development (and my seemingly unquenchable thirst for knowledge), I knew I wanted more. I needed the tools to make my time at Google all the more rewarding. I began to wonder, how would I get there?
This was on my mind during my first months at Google, which were an intense, rewarding experience — as well as a crash course in full-scale media marketing. In September 2019, I relocated to Chicago to join the Google Sales Faculty and facilitate its inaugural program launch. It was a dream role, followed in short order by a worldwide nightmare: just six months later, the pandemic hit.
The high stakes of it all spoke to me: Was it time to explore business school? Yes — and right away, Kellogg emerged as an obvious choice. For starters, my earliest exposure to Kellogg’s culture and teaching philosophy made it stand out, just as I wanted to stand out among my peers by obtaining an MBA.
What’s more, the Evening & Weekend Program made my Kellogg experience financially and professionally feasible. Having just taken on such a satisfying role at Google I was compelled to stay in it and maintain my career momentum, while pursuing my MBA part time.
Today, I’m a couple of quarters away from wrapping up my MBA experience, and I’ve found that my time at Kellogg has yielded a rich array of highlights. For starters, the people here have been incredible: professors, administrators and students alike. Kellogg’s culture and values have also set it apart, as I’ve learned from discussions with MBA students at other schools. Kellogg brings together so many like minds thinking deeply about the challenges our world faces today.
I’ve also been (pleasantly) surprised in ways I could never have anticipated, like when I took a software development class with Professor Benjamin Block, an adjunct faculty member who also works in the field where he teaches. Despite working in technology companies my entire career, I had not ever considered a role in software development. Kellogg’s software development course and, in particular, Professor Block’s support and influence was so profound that at this point I’m actively entertaining ways to integrate software development into my future career path. Without Kellogg, such a revelation would not have been possible.
What happens after I graduate with my MBA? Even then, Kellogg will be with me in a very real sense. I’ve made strong friendships with classmates who will continue to be a big part of my life, and Professor Block is helping me to visualize what integrating aspects of software development into my career might look like.
I knew the opportunity to earn a Kellogg MBA would prove an exciting path. But at this moment in time, it’s safe to say that it will also define my road ahead. No matter where I land, or what I do, you could say this: Given how much time I’ve dedicated to the world of sales, I’m so glad I was sold on Kellogg.
Learn more about the Evening & Weekend MBA Program at Kellogg >