Class of 2022 Kellogg Leaders, a future-ready workforce
It’s been two weeks since the newest graduating class at Kellogg walked onto the stage to receive their diplomas during Northwestern University’s 164th commencement ceremony. Nothing was going to keep the more than 1,000 Kellogg School of Management graduates from celebrating their well-earned personal and professional accomplishments.
For many of these graduates, the start of their business school journey coincided with major shifts in paradigms around the world. This year’s graduates from the Full-Time MBA Program started at Kellogg in the fall of 2020 amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, economic disruption and worldwide protests for racial justice. These upheavals magnified global inequities and demonstrated the urgent need for empathetic and adaptable leadership.
Don’t let chances pass you by
Ellen Kullman ’83 MBA, chair of the board of directors at digital manufacturing platform Carbon, addressed the Class of 2022 with vulnerability gained through personal experiences. “My message is really that the only real failure is not taking advantage of the chances that life presents, chances to make an impact. ” Encouraging students to take advantage of opportunities she also cited the changing business landscape, “The role of leadership is taking on much more complexity. More responsibility and nuance. The skills and capabilities you have developed at Kellogg will serve you well. It’s times like these that require real leadership.”
Encouraging empathetic leadership
With Kullman equipping the graduates with confidence and gusto, Sammy Goldstein ’22 MBA, president Kellogg Full-Time Student Association, reminded her peers that boldness and humility go hand in hand. “Writing off someone’s perspective because it opposes your own is the moment that your solution is weaker and your leadership growth stunted.” Instead, Goldstein said, an effective business leader seeks to understand people rather than impose authority. This high sense of collaboration is a core skill students fully embrace during their time at Kellogg, which in turn helps them be effective and nimble leaders.
Reflections to move forward
As our newest graduating class of Kellogg Leaders embark on this next chapter of their lives, they know they’re ready to take on the world’s business challenges. Their rigorous academic preparation coupled with hands-on learning and the wide range of opportunities to gain real-world business experience during their time at Kellogg serves as a framework for which they can continue their journey for success.
We asked a few of the newest members of the Kellogg alumni network to share the biggest lessons they’ve learned throughout their business school experience.
“Really lean in but gracefully. I think we are so excited by all the opportunities that there are on campus, so when we are here, understand that if you’re overwhelmed that it is OK; everyone else is overwhelmed. But also don’t be afraid to try new things. These two years are meant for us to experience and grow as humans.”
“Being a Kellogg leader to me means being an innovative leader in the business world but also being a collaborative team player. I think that’s what makes us unique: we’re all rooting for each other to succeed.”
“You really are told when you get here to just prioritize as much as you can, so figure out what matters most to you and prioritize those things over anything else. … It’s just figuring out where you can tone back on some other things so that you can really invest yourself as much as you can in the two years that you are here.”
“It’s cliché, but it’s the people. I think Kellogg really does a great job of somehow selecting just so many different people but all kind of the same as if there’s some common thread among everyone here, and you can’t really put a name to it besides just ‘Kellogg.’”
“Don’t be afraid of that impostor syndrome. You may feel like you don’t belong, but you actually do and you made it here for a reason.”
“Be brave enough to do the right thing when you know it’s the right thing to do. Also, learn to integrate the different perspectives of different team members, and then apply it in a way that would be most beneficial for people on the team and kind of the goal overall. Lastly, a highlight for me was co-leading the Kellogg Business of Healthcare Conference, one of the biggest healthcare conferences run by students. I did it this February. Super fun!”
“Probably what surprised me the most is how friendly and socially outgoing all the other students are. Students are extremely willing to help you, and they want to be friends and want to continue to build professional relationships outside of Kellogg. Actually, the professors are the same way as well, so extremely helpful both personally and professionally.”
“It goes quick. Enjoy it. Make those connections, put yourself out there, reach out to faculty, reach out to classmates, and enjoy the ride and the journey.”