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Students in the Kellogg School Saturday Program, a new part-time offering whose schedule meets the needs of an expanded market segment

New part-time offering puts Kellogg MBA within reach for savvy travelers

Saturday Program broadens Kellogg market, providing options for those far outside Chicago; inaugural class already bonding

By Ed Finkel

8/21/2007 - Kellogg has long offered its Part-Time MBA Program with classes that run from Monday through Thursday evenings. But that schedule did not work well for those seeking a Kellogg School degree while holding jobs that required frequent mid-week travel.

So to serve this important market segment, Kellogg launched an alternative schedule this summer, augmenting its part-time program with the new Saturday Program. Classes meet on Saturdays, a shift that has drawn jetsetters of two kinds: those who travel for business during the week; and, somewhat unexpectedly, those willing to fly to Chicago on the weekends.

“The purpose is to provide a Kellogg experience on a part-time basis for those who cannot attend an evening program, either because of their work schedule or because they don’t live in the area,” says Megan Byrne Krueger ’90, assistant dean and director of student affairs for the part-time program. “We were surprised with how many of our students in this first class live outside the region. Around 70 percent commute. It’s terrific.”

Students fly in from as far away as Toronto, Seattle and Washington, D.C., Krueger adds. “The faculty support of the program has been excellent. The evening students are very welcoming to the Saturday students and eager to get them involved and make them feel a part of the program.”

“We were getting inquiries from a lot of people who were consultants who did a lot of traveling during the week,” says Vennie Lyons ’72, associate dean and director of the part-time program.

Classes meet from 9 a.m. to noon and 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., which means students can fly in on Friday evening and leave on Sunday, although at least some are just making one long day of it. The program will start with a new cohort of 50 or 60 students every June and last for 2 1/2 years, with two courses per quarter, Lyons says.

For Halima Voyles, regional network development manager at truck manufacturer Paccar, based in suburban Schaumburg, Ill., the program is a chance to move into a senior level position in her company on the international side. She’s also able “to continue my weekly travel, something that is required for my job, while getting my education on the weekends.”

“I’m finding it to be challenging but exciting and very fulfilling,” she says. “We’ve got people coming in anywhere from California and Texas to downtown Chicago itself. It makes for a very nice … group in the mornings.” Voyles also praised the ability of Kellogg professors to maintain an engaging pace in the classroom — an essential component considering that some students fly into town with less than a full night’s sleep after working all week.

Catherine Walker, customer service manager at General Electric in Minneapolis, arrives around 7 a.m. each Saturday and does not return home until 10 p.m. But she had lived in Chicago before and felt strongly about receiving a Kellogg education.

Walker and her project group typically communicate via conference calls and on Google groups, she says. “Our class is a pretty tight-knit group already, considering we’re just finishing our first quarter,” she says.

Andrew Fulford, director of international business at Insituform Technologies in St. Louis, flies in for one long day like Walker and meets with his project group between classes in addition to using conference calls to stay connected.

“I’ve been incredibly impressed with the quality of faculty that they put in front of students, and the staff bending over backward to accommodate this new program,” he says. “The administration’s making an effort to make changes on the fly to improve our experience. That’s been impressive.”