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“Passion is not about being in easy situations,” Julie Hennessy, clinical professor of marketing, told graduating Kellogg students. “When you can’t figure out what you love, get to work.”

Nota Bene

‘Let your passion find you’

In a Nota Bene panel discussion, Kellogg professors share life lessons with students

By Amy Trang

5/26/2010 - Professor Steven Rogers hopes graduating students have an appetite for life.

“Your job is to eat at the buffet of life and have a little taste of everything,” said Rogers, the Gordon and Llura Gund Family Clinical Professor of Entrepreneurship. “Let your passion find you.”

Along with three other professors, Rogers bestowed advice to students during a May 10 panel discussion centered on the theme of “Making Passion Your Competition Advantage.” The event was the third in five “Nota Bene” seminars geared to graduating Kellogg students.

“If you are successful in finding your passion, you’ll be able to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary in your lives,” said panel moderator Wally Scott, a clinical professor of management.

Gad Allon, an associate professor of managerial economics and decision sciences, shared that he wasn’t always good at teaching. He even referenced a moment in high school when he failed to test into a peer-teaching program at his school.

It wasn’t until years later, Allon said, that he returned to the field, spending hours honing his teaching and research skills. His efforts paid off: In 2009, he received the Kellogg School’s prestigious L.G. Lavengood Outstanding Professor of the Year award.

“I find passion to be tied to hard work,” Allon said. “The more hard work you put into something, (the more) you’ll find that you’ll get good at it and want to share it with others.”

One place to start in determining your passion is to recall a circumstance where you enjoyed what you were doing so much that you did not even realize that time had passed, said Julie Hennessy, a clinical professor of marketing. She added that students shouldn’t be afraid to fail.

“Passion is not about being in easy situations,” Hennessy said. “When you can’t figure out what you love, get to work.”

Rogers also encouraged students to avoid thinking of money as a passion. Wealth, he said, should be a “byproduct of passion,” rather than the primary goal. “Use wealth to do good things for other people,” he said.