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“Today, you join the Kellogg family,” Dean Sunil Chopra told the Class of 2011 on the first day of CIM Week.


Incoming students join the ‘Kellogg family’

The Class of 2011 receives a warm welcome — and sound advice — on their first day of business school

By Rachel Farrell

9/3/2009 - On the morning of Aug. 31, 586 members of the Kellogg School’s Class of 2011 filed into the Owen L. Coon Forum, bursting with energy. It was day one of CIM Week, the Kellogg School’s fun-filled “boot camp” for incoming students.

The students filled every seat in the auditorium, which was decorated with clusters of multicolored helium balloons and vintage posters of Chicago. The room swelled with chatter as the students introduced themselves to each other.

Jon Nathanson ’10, a second-year student, took to the podium in a black suit. He cracked jokes and offered a humorous slideshow on the “Five Common Myths about Kellogg,” which elicited laughter and broke the tension in the room. Then he introduced Dean Sunil Chopra.

“Today, you join the Kellogg family,” said Chopra. “All of you are here because of the legacy of faculty and alumni that have passed through Kellogg in the last century. You’re building on the legacy.”

A long-time tradition at the Kellogg School, Complete Immersion in Management Week is designed to introduce incoming MBA students to the Kellogg culture and give students an opportunity to socialize before classes begin. Events include a section cheering contest, a welcome barbeque with the deans, Community Impact Day, MORS/TEK Camp, and CIM Olympics.

Incoming students will also enroll in two required courses before classes officially start on Sept. 21: “Leadership in Organizations,” which runs Sept. 3-18 through the Management and Organizations Department, and “Values and Crisis in Decision Making,” which runs Sept. 14-18 through the Social Enterprise at Kellogg (SEEK) program.

Chopra encouraged the new students to think about how they can make the most of their two years at Kellogg. He urged them to express their point of view and listen to students who disagree with them. He told them to take advantage of — and contribute to — the Kellogg School’s collaborative culture.

“Culture is like a garden,” he said. “You have to work very hard to create it, but if you don’t maintain it, it withers. You have to work to maintain it.”

Senior Associate Deans Jan Van Meigham and Kathleen Hagerty offered brief presentations, and then Beth Flye, director of admission and financial aid, stood before the group with a smile.

“There’s no finer moment than standing here and seeing one of the — no, I’m just going to say it — the finest MBA class on the planet,” she said. “I know many of you had many options [on where to attend business school]. You made a great choice.”

Flye offered a snapshot of the Class of 2011, whose average GMAT score is 707, came from 35 different countries and went to 240 different colleges and universities. She shared interesting facts about the student body: One student entered college at age 11, another worked on the sub-prime lending investigation, another skydived 700 times, another was a certified hypnotist, and another comes from an Italian family of winemakers.

“We are not a cookie-cutter environment,” she said. “We like different types of people so you can learn all different types of things.”

Chopra echoed that statement at the end of the event. “We are confident that the Class of 2011 is extremely well prepared to make contributions of lasting significance to the world,” he said. “Welcome and good luck.”