Combining passion, purpose and profession through your MBA
Bergen Carloss ’24 decided to take advantage of the Kellogg Future Leaders program and is now enrolled in the school’s Two-Year MBA Program. This opportunity has given her flexibility and a roadmap to close the future skills gap as she seeks to make a career pivot.
Learn more about how Chicago played a factor in her MBA decision, the common thread she’s identified throughout her career and how she plans on leveraging her degree upon graduation as well as how friendships can lead to opportunities.
What made you decide to pursue your MBA through the Kellogg Future Leaders (KFL) Program?
I completed a summer program through Northwestern University called Engage Chicago, which was a field studies program about Chicago history and urban development with a corresponding internship at a non-profit. I fell in love with the city, the students, and the class, and I knew that if graduate school was in my future, I would be coming back to Chicago, preferably to Kellogg — which is inarguably a top-tier MBA program. By my senior year at Scripps College, I knew I would be working in finance following graduation and felt that business school would be a logical next step to either elevate or pivot my career following my first full-time experience.
How did you find out about KFL, and did you have any prior interactions or exposure to it?
I feel incredibly lucky in the “kismet-y” way this all happened. I graduated college a semester early in December 2019 with the intention of traveling during the spring of 2020 (yikes). Obviously, COVID had other plans, so with college completed and my full-time role in flux at the start of the pandemic, I channeled my energy into studying for the GRE and GMAT. I subsequently began researching graduate programs, naturally at Northwestern, only to learn that for the first time Kellogg was creating a deferred admission program for seniors in college and had extended the deadline to apply! Dream school, dream city, and quite a bit of luck. It was a no-brainer.
In thinking about your application to KFL, what do you feel helped you stand out?
I tried my best to tell a compelling story that connected my previous experience in my internships, classes and activities in college to my future work experience and long-term goals, as well as how Kellogg specifically might help me reach those goals and how I might be an asset to the Kellogg community.
This was a bit of a challenge only because my work experience felt disjointed: I worked at a tech startup, a non-profit, a large financial institution and at my parents’ restaurant in Montana during school. However, social impact was a defining through line in my application: I was planning on working in the ESG / sustainability space in an upcoming job in asset management at Dimensional Fund Advisors, and I had worked with kids teaching a theater arts program in college. The latter experience was particularly meaningful to me. At Kellogg, I wanted to join in on all things social impact: the Golub Capital Board Fellows Program as well as the Social Impact Club, namely, with the clearly defined goal of securing a social impact-focused job in either the non-profit or private sector while somehow continuing to bring arts education to kids! I also identified with the “high impact — low ego” attitude of Kellogg students and discussed this in my interview with the school.
How did you take advantage of the "gap” time in between getting accepted into KFL and starting your MBA?
Having an acceptance in hand certainly took the pressure off studying, networking or interviewing after work, but it was still important to me to learn as much as I could at Dimensional while making the most out of my time in Austin, Texas.
I worked hard at Dimensional and tried to build professional and personal relationships there while also exploring the city and volunteering my time at arts-related events like the Austin Film Festival. Once COVID restrictions were lifted, I traveled around the country visiting friends and family while working remotely and reflected on my work experience and what I hoped to accomplish in business school. COVID reinforced to me the importance of maintaining deep and fulfilling relationships with friends and family, and I left Austin with some of the best friends I could ask for with the intention of making even more at Kellogg.
How are you planning to leverage your MBA in your career?
Big career pivot. Huge. Kellogg has already been tremendously helpful in my first year, as I am transitioning from sustainable finance into production and product management in the video game space. This summer, I will be interning at Riot Games, and I work currently with a digital board game startup called Boardible, which was founded by a current Kellogg student (and one of my best friends) Gabriela Fusco Mendes ’24 MMM.
I’ve been amazed by the support Kellogg has provided in terms of entrepreneurship opportunities — offering us unparalleled access to incredible professors, classes and facilities. I have also been able to pursue my passion for social impact through Board Fellows and the Social Impact Club at Kellogg, and one day I hope to combine my interests for a long-term role in social impact gaming.
Finally, to reiterate, the most important component of my Kellogg MBA is the friendships I make here, which will undoubtedly help me in both my personal and professional life. I have found community in my section the Turkeys (gobble gobble), at my Hinman apartment, in Pride@Kellogg, in social impact, Culture Camp, and on KWEST. The people I have met here never cease to amaze me.
What advice would you give to undergraduate students who are considering a deferred MBA program?
I talk about KFL to any undergraduate student that will listen. This is one of those circumstances where there is absolutely zero risk to applying and absolutely the highest of rewards. Identify mentors and professors that can advocate for you and give you advice on your application, prep those essays to begin crafting a compelling story, raise those GMAT and GRE scores, and come to Kellogg for two of the greatest and most transformative years of your life. Your future self will thank you.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Undergrads, please reach out to me if you have any questions — I am here to support you! And once you get here, take advantage of every opportunity and every small group dinner. Make friends with people from all over the world. Go to Culture Camp and Social Impact Days. Eat lunch with your professors and stay up an extra few hours to have deep talks with your friends. Take all the trips with Kellogg students that you can. Go to every TG in the fall, and bond with your section mates over finance and microeconomics and Drag Showcase. Take classes that scare you like ones that teach you how to code usinng ChatGPT or help you launch your own startup. Call your non-Kellogg friends and family regularly. Remember that you will get an internship, I promise. Bike around Evanston during the fall and the spring and take the train to the Art Institute in Chicago on weekends. Find your favorite place to study in the Hub. Time flies at Kellogg, and all of these experiences matter.
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