Evening & Weekend MBA Program enhancements designed to support working professionals
Curricular flexibility, professional development and community building updates further support student experienceBy Sarah Aylward
It’s 5:30 p.m. on a Tuesday evening in Wieboldt Hall on Northwestern University’s Chicago campus and students from the Kellogg School of Management are gathering to share a meal before classes begin. This nightly gathering, referred to as ‘Kellogg Table’, is just one of many enhancements introduced in the past year for Kellogg’s Evening & Weekend students.
With a goal of further supporting student experience to compliment the program’s rigorous curriculum, Kellogg began introducing enhancements designed by faculty and administrators beginning in the spring of 2016. “We focused the updates to support working professionals across three key areas: academic flexibility, leadership and professional development, as well as community building,” says Professor Mike Mazzeo, who joined the Chicago campus as Faculty Director in July of 2016. “The decision to focus on these distinct areas was insight-driven. We conducted research and benchmarking to identify and address the evolving needs of the student population,” says Mazzeo.
To reflect the program updates, Kellogg renamed the Part-Time MBA Program to the Evening & Weekend MBA Program in order to reinforce the flexibility students are afforded in taking courses during either the evening or the weekend schedule as well as reflect the community built across programs, class years and cohorts. Additionally, Julia Brady joined the Chicago campus team in August of 2016 as Managing Director to focus on driving innovations for the program, including working with Kellogg’s leadership faculty and career development teams to develop tailored professional development for Evening & Weekend students.
Curricular flexibility for working professionals
Based upon the success of the Evening & Weekend MBA accelerated offering, Kellogg debuted additional academic flexibility, including allowing students in weekend courses to enroll in weeknight courses and vice versa, across the Chicago and Evanston campuses.
Additionally, the program rolled out a two-year course planning tool, allowing students to enroll in classes that best suit their career aspirations. The ability to plan ahead also ensures students are better able to balance their academic journey and their personal and professional responsibilities.
As part of the new Kellogg Leadership Journey, students in the Evening & Weekend MBA Program took part in a two-day leadership immersion facilitated by Associate Dean for Leadership Development and Clinical Professor of Management Bernard Banks.
© C. Jason Brown
Leadership and professional development from day one
At key points in the Evening & Weekend journey, students participate in the Kellogg Leadership Journey, a program that fosters growth as a purposeful leader in all aspects of life.
The reflective leadership process kicks off during orientation, referred to as Complete Immersion in Management, or CIM. Students are provided tailored leadership programming that frames their Kellogg experience and provides insights they immediately put into practice in their professional lives.
To build on the transformational experience, Evening & Weekend students are invited to participate in the Leadership Immersion Retreat, a two-day, overnight event that punctuates the mid-point of a student’s Kellogg journey with intentional reflection on one’s core values when leading across organizations.
“It was wonderful to be a part of the Leadership Immersion Retreat,” said Ali Rizvi ’19, a student in the Accelerated Evening & Weekend Program, “the guest speakers were truly inspiring and the breakout sessions were thought provoking. The event will not only help in my professional life, but will also have an impact on my personal life. The event also brought us closer together, and instilled more pride in belonging to such a great institution.”
In addition, the program also offers professional development support tailored to the specific pathways with which students identify. While a number of students are exploring a career shift as part of their Kellogg experience, others wish to amplify their impact in their chosen field, while still others intend to launch or join a new venture. A range of tailored offerings from one-to-one career coaching for students, a new professional development series that encompassed executive presence, career resilience and using improvisation for business.
To support students who wish to make a career change while completing their MBA, program leadership partners with the Kellogg Career Management Center to host workshops, panels and guest speakers throughout the calendar year on the Chicago campus. Additionally, students participate in treks to Chicago, San Francisco and Austin, visiting technology, marketing and venture capital firms, as well as startups. “We’re building greater visibility for companies seeking experienced hires outside of the traditional recruitment calendar to consider Evening & Weekend MBA candidates. These students typically begin their MBA journey with close to eight years of experience, and continue to accrue professional experience while they complete the MBA,” says Brady.
Community building and networking
For Evening & Weekend MBA students, developing a strong network and community at Kellogg is important, shares Assistant Dean of Student Life Megan Krueger. “As part of the program enhancements, the Evening & Weekend students are welcomed to Kellogg within a quarterly cohort. The cohorts provide an opportunity to immediately develop relationships with peers taking weekend or weeknight courses across graduation years."
Students also have an opportunity to build community throughout the program at Kellogg Table, the shared meal before evening and Saturday classes. “Students are busy, they’re hurrying from work and pressed for time. We wanted to eliminate the stress of finding dinner before arriving on campus, while also providing an opportunity to connect more easily in advance of class,” says Krueger.
That focus on solving multiple needs was at the core of the program enhancements. “These students encounter the same academic rigor of those in the Kellogg Full-Time MBA Program, but they are also working in professional roles, often have families, and lead busy lives outside of school. We wanted to ensure that we focused on the most valued areas to create an impactful change in the student experience,” says Mazzeo.
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The Kellogg Evening & Weekend MBA Program offers a variety of majors including Marketing, Operations and Strategy, as well as course pathways including Data Analytics, Entrepreneurship, and Health Enterprise Management
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