Becoming ‘a better leader’ through the One-Year MBA Program
Early in her career, Aishley Hassell (1Y, 2021) realized getting her MBA would be the only way to achieve her professional aspirations. She joined the One-Year MBA Program at Kellogg to accelerate her career, and today she’s part of an increasing number of One-Year graduates succeeding in the healthcare field. In fact, the number of Class of 2021 graduates landing healthcare roles after Kellogg increased 5 percentage points from the year before. We caught up with Aishley, pictured above at right on graduation day, to learn more:
My journey to business school began when I was working and living in the small town of Lafayette, Indiana. I realized that I wanted to be a decision-maker versus the advisor to the decision maker. But while I had an undergraduate degree in business, I also recognized that I didn’t have the skill set I needed to fully step into the role of decision-maker. That’s when I thought that now is the time — I knew I needed to pursue my MBA.
I did my research and Kellogg’s One-Year MBA Program really stood out. Kellogg has such a great reputation, and ultimately Kellogg had the right culture for me. When I spoke to current students, they were so helpful, giving me their time and introducing me to other students who could answer my questions. I think I spoke to about 10 or 12 Kellogg students even before I applied. When you go into the Global Hub, it’s such a warm feeling, and when I saw during classroom visits how engaged the students were with the professors, that set Kellogg apart. After I began at Kellogg, I thought the program did a great job of giving us One-Year students the summer semester to bond as a class, while also immersing us immediately into the program.
The One-Year MBA Learning Experience
I feel like that year went so fast! Academically, I focused on taking as many classes as I could. I also really enjoyed how we were encouraged to integrate with the Two-Year MBA students, and it was great that I could have leadership experiences in the different full-time student clubs outside the classroom as well. For example, I coordinated and led Kellogg Cares Days, a school-wide volunteer event for staff, faculty and students across programs to come together and give back to Evanston. Before school, I honestly didn’t expect that I would have an opportunity for that kind of cocurricular leadership experience as a One-Year MBA student.
I learned a lot from everyone, partly because my classmates represented such a wide variety of backgrounds and viewpoints — different styles, different cultures, different languages. In business school, I like that the conversations go deeper, and you hear those other perspectives. During my year in the program, all my barriers came down; I felt like I am now a better leader, and honestly a better person because of all the people I met.
One of the highlights of my Kellogg experience was a trip to Spain that several classmates and I took following graduation. I didn’t know everyone; some were from outside my class and none of us spoke Spanish, but I really had fun. We had a great experience together visiting several cities. A highlight of business school was participating in those kinds of amazing cultural opportunities, but also just the day-to-day coffee chats, informal get-togethers and gatherings to support one another as we went through the program.
Life After Kellogg
I am now a part of the commercial leader program at AbbVie, a biopharmaceutical company based in the Chicago area. The rotational program I’m in lasts about four and half years. I will have the opportunity to go through two 18-month rotations in marketing and market access, and then spend a year as a field sales representative.
The marketing courses I took at Kellogg prepared me for this next level of my career. Omnichannel marketing is a big topic right now, and that was actually one of the final classes I took while completing my MBA. Kellogg gave me the foundation to learn the theory, and now I am fortunate enough to learn how the tactics work. I also really enjoyed Marketing Strategy with Professor Tim Calkins, who taught us how to create a marketing plan and how your different decisions as a marketer or a P&L owner impact the business.
Kellogg also taught me a lot about leadership. I learned to get comfortable with being vulnerable. I had to undo the thinking that being vulnerable is bad or makes you weak. I learned that a good leader is vulnerable and transparent.
At AbbVie, I’ve been applying that with my teams, and the level of conversation that I’m able to have as a business leader is much higher. I’m also producing executive presentations using skills I honed when I was at Kellogg doing those group projects and presentations. Today, I’m able to tell a fuller story in those strategy conversations, just from all the different classes that I took in that one year.
Read our latest employment report to learn more about the strong demand for Kellogg talent across our MBA programs >