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Em Kuo ’22

With a passion for understanding human behavior and creating positive impact, Em Kuo is on a mission to create products that serve the human. Learn how her time at Kellogg became a safe space to try new things and hone her leadership style.

In college, Em Kuo made the brave decision to embrace her true self and come out as part of the LGBTQ community. From that moment on, she doubled down on her “chosen family” and has been on a mission ever since to promote allyship and acceptance of the LGBTQ community.

While studying psychology at Duke University, Em grew fascinated at understanding human behavior. "I've always been passionate about understanding humans in terms of what makes us the same, what connects us and learn more about our differences," she says. Em then brought this knowledge to the marketing space. Working as a media planner at OMD, Em created marketing campaigns and analyzed media consumption patterns for major clients like Disney. Wanting to gain more strategy experience, she transitioned into a role at Amazon where she discovered a love for product services.

As she moved throughout her career, an MBA was always part of her plan. Struck by the quote, “Before you manage others, you need to manage yourself,” Em felt the best way to grow as a leader was by earning her MBA.

Finding Purpose at Kellogg

For Em, Kellogg was always on her radar as a top choice because of the MMM Program. The joint MBA from Kellogg and an M.S. in Design Innovation from the Segal Design Institute enabled her to dive deeper into psychology and how to create products that serve the human.

"A big reason why I chose Kellogg was the emphasis of honing soft skills, people management, and the opportunity to select on leadership styles," reflects Em.

In addition to her dream curriculum, Em is an Austin Scholar. Beyond the financial support she receives through the Austin Scholars Program, she has faculty advisors and coaching, all of whom are supporting her to be a more socially responsible leader.

During her time at Kellogg, Em has served as the EVP of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion on the Kellogg Student Association, coaches students as a Career Management Center "career peer," and is actively involved with Pride@Kellogg. While leadership may appear to come naturally, she admits she’s always struggled with anxiety when taking on leadership positions. “A large part of why I came to Kellogg was to reflect on my purpose, and how I show up and motivate others,” says Em. For her, Kellogg was a safe space to try new things and get outside of her comfort zone.

After Kellogg, Em will join Nike as a product manager. Inspired by their DEI efforts, she wants to advocate for allyship in the business world. Whatever role she takes on long-term, she hopes to never stop mentoring and encouraging people to be their best selves.

About Em
Diamond Bar, CA
Psychology, Duke University
Pre-Kellogg Job
Product marketing manager, Amazon (Whole Foods Market & Fresh)
Favorite Kellogg experience so far
Leading KWEST Santa Fe! I remember how meaningful it was to watch our KWESTees form bonds with one another across the week. Being able to play an integral part in creating the space for the formation of friendships was incredibly special.
A large part of why I came to Kellogg was to reflect on my purpose and how I show up and motivate others.
Em Kuo '22
MMM Program

What has surprised you most during your time at Kellogg?

Opportunities and growth come from the most unexpected of places. From pushing myself to audition for Special K (the annual student-produced musical), dancing bhangra for Bollywood Bash, and going ice-climbing with the Wilderness Club, my time at Kellogg has been an expansive experiment in trying new things and hearing new perspectives. I didn’t expect quite so much learning to come outside the classroom!

If you could describe your Kellogg experience in three words, what would they be and why?

Sandbox: I received the sage words to treat Kellogg like a safe sandbox, as a space to test out different leadership styles or personal patterns. It helped re-frame the way I viewed step-up opportunities to lean into uncomfortable growth zones in a relatively lower-stakes environment.

Grounding and friendship: It has been transformative to be able to take these two years and get clear about who I am, how I need to show up as my best, and the friendships and relationships that fill up my soul.

Share something you’ve learned that you see being valuable throughout your career.

I’ve learned the power of boundaries and saying no – kindly, transparently and directly. Saying no so that you can say yes to the things that matter most to you is something that is vital to reduce burnout and show up as your best self as much as possible.