As the vice president of social for the Kellogg Student Association (KSA), it’s no surprise Kevin Groll is busy.
Between going to class, planning school-wide events and attending meetings with administrators, Kevin has a full schedule. But for him, it’s nothing unusual.
Growing up on the west side of Cincinnati — “a small town inside a big city” —Kevin has always been involved in his community. The neighborhood he grew up in is a hub of activity where everyone knows almost everyone else. "Families stick around. A teacher I had in high school is on his third generation of families, having taught some of my classmates' grandparents," he said.
This close-knit, Midwestern neighborhood was a strong influence on who Kevin is today. It also inspired him to seek out other communities that made him feel understood and supported in the same way, like everyone has his back. When he looked at where to go for his graduate degree, he knew Kellogg was the right fit because it immediately felt like home.
“Getting that same level of care and support while also being challenged was a big driver for choosing Kellogg,” he said. Just like he had in high school and college, he dove right in, running for a spot on the KSA. Of course, even Kevin can’t be at every club meeting or small group dinner. Halfway finished with his MBA experience, he found himself reflecting. He had also just finished Harry Kramer’s managerial leadership class, where he learned that the first principle of value-based leadership is self-reflection. It was ideal timing.
He started asking himself, “Do I have any regrets from this week? Do I wish I would have done x, instead of y?”
Kevin says self-reflection is a skill set he’s building. He doesn’t use a spreadsheet or Post-it notes to keep track, something he says might surprise some people considering his background. Although he majored in mechanical engineering out of a love for math and science, Kevin knew when he graduated that consulting was a better fit because it allowed for more day-to-day variation. Now, he says, self-reflection is a gut feeling rather than a quantitative exercise.
Bringing this focus to his Kellogg experience is something Kevin encourages everyone to do when starting business school.
“Be intentional. Be self-reflective. Be honest with yourself about what you want out of the experience … If you’re being reactive to calendar invites instead of proactive, you won’t feel good about saying no. If you’re being proactive, you know you’re getting what you need.”
His time at Kellogg has also prepared Kevin for the future when he returns to his consulting job at Bain & Company. “I’m excited to walk back into something I love with a reshaped perspective.”
But no matter where he goes, he'll take the can-do attitude and generous spirit of his Cincinnati west side neighborhood with him.