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Victoria Medvec, executive director of Kellogg’s Center for Executive Women, will be among the speakers at the upcoming Women’s Leadership Workshop on April 13-14.

Victoria Medvec, executive director of Kellogg’s Center for Executive Women, will be among the speakers at the upcoming Women’s Leadership Workshop on April 13-14

Unlocking women’s potential

Women on nontraditional career paths will learn about the advantages of a Kellogg MBA degree at the 2012 Women’s Leadership Workshop

By Sherry Thomas

4/2/2012 - With an undergraduate degree in American Studies and a job in the nonprofit sector, Robin Karkowski-Schelar ’13 was hardly a typical MBA candidate.

She was a woman, for one, and her career before applying to Kellogg was not in business or finance. When she left her marketing post at Feeding America to pursue her MBA degree last fall, some of her colleagues were confused.

Why an MBA? Why now?

But Karkowski-Schelar’s response to them echoes the same message the Women’s Leadership Workshop aims to deliver April 13-14 at the James L. Allen Center at Northwestern University. In its sixth year, the workshop encourages high-potential women early in their careers to consider an MBA degree — particularly those who are coming from liberal arts backgrounds or industries where business school hasn’t been a traditional part of the career path.

Experience multiplied by 10

Karkowski-Schelar, who worked in brand marketing at General Mills before exploring the nonprofit path, says she had admired colleagues who had MBAs for their ability to “step back from the business and take in a much larger perspective.”

Through case studies in the Kellogg classroom, she feels that her business experience has already been multiplied by 10.

“The most surprising thing is how applicable experiences are across different industries or companies. I’m surprised at how easy it is to apply what I’ve learned in the classroom to my past work and to my future,” says Karkowski-Shelar, who hopes to share her enthusiasm with a new group of female leaders and break what she refers to as the “final frontier in education” for professional women.

‘Rock-star professors’

“What we’ve put together is a two-day leadership and personal development workshop with an exposure to what business school curriculum is like,” she explains. “We have really amazing rock-star professors who will be presenting seminars on topics that range from marketing yourself to negotiation techniques to personal finance.”

Two themes dominate this year’s event — “unlock your potential” and “shape your future.”

Faculty members presenting include Michelle Buck, clinical professor of management and organizations and director of leadership initiatives; Harry Kraemer, clinical professor of management and strategy; and Julie Hennessy, clinical professor of marketing. Victoria Medvec, the Adeline Barry Davee Professor of Management & Organizations and executive director of the Center for Executive Women, will also lead some of the discussions.

Workshops on the first day include:

  • “Negotiating for Yourself: The Need to Ask and Ask Effectively”
  • “Interviewing When the Product that You Sell is You”
  • “Personal Finance”

Work-life balance

Register for the Women’s Leadership Workshop

Day two of the workshop features a dynamic session exploring “Values-Based Leadership and True Balance in Your Life.” The session aims to answer tough questions about “work-life balance,” how it can be achieved and how it changes over time. A Kellogg student panel will also be on hand to discuss how an MBA is accelerating the panelists’ career growth, with closing comments about “Living a Life of Leadership: Putting it into Practice.”

The Women’s Leadership Workshop is presented by the Women’s Business Association and the Kellogg Office of Admissions.