Posts Tagged ‘ kellogg emba ’

Kellogg EMBA … Meaning and Mechanics

I am often asked … how can you complete a Masters in Business Administration in two years while you are working? Is this is a part-time MBA? What gives, considering that typical MBA programs are two years of full time commitment?

Well I cant speak for all those non full time (FT) programs out there. But I am happy to comment on the world’s #1 Executive MBA program. You know which one I am talking about.

Like high octane fuel powering a premium sports car, the Kellogg EMBA is designed to help leaders build a strong intuition. An intuition which can hold the test of time and merely fueled by the fad of the day / minute.  As it is, the world of leadership is replete with theories, hypotheses, case studies and of course real results. In a world where business opportunities and problems dont come in neatly defined packages, you cannot afford to have a program that is tied to the buzzword of the moment. Nor can you gain value from building tactical skills that are highly context specific and limited in their transferable applicability.

Here is where the Kellogg EMBA truly excels. The entire program is focused on building a strong inherent intuition. Through a combination of case studies, lectures, quizzes, in-class tests and take-home tests, you tend to develop many layers of finely tuned capabilities. Almost like Baklava that is easier to describe as an end product rather than in its making, you can be sure that each student’s Kellogg journey itself is layered with his/her own experience interweaving with the take-aways from the program.

So, how do you actually build these layers? How do you get to test the new skills and developing intuition without the opportunity to experiment and experience them in a real sandbox?

Some have said that FT programs tend to focus on building analytical firepower, while Executive programs focus on building leadership intuition. I dont see them as necessarily mutually exclusive. However, there is a difference between the means and the end.

Clearly, the FT programs are designed for younger candidates and their grounding analytical firepower is designed to help them reach the heights of their chosen pursuits. On the other hand, the Executive programs are designed for those with more experience, that now seek to make a difference in their professional lives by rounding out their capabilities. While analytical grounding is still part of an Executive MBA, the key difference is the CEO perspective in most courses and discussions.

So, yes, you can in fact combine 2 years of rigorous coursework along with ‘real’ work … and come away with a top-ranked full-fledged MBA from a top-ranked school. There is no cutting corners here. Afterall, the real test of mettle lies in putting all those strategies, ideas and plans to test in the real sandbox … and what better way to test and perfect one’s capabilities to do so than doing it in real-time while at school?



Kellogg EMBA … Wall Street, Hedge Funds and Private Equity

Prof. David Stowell is the closest thing you can get to a rock star in a B-School. Why? Just Google his name and find out. Oh well, here goes… from Kellogg’s Website:

“Prior to joining Kellogg, Professor Stowell worked at JP Morgan as Managing Director and head of Midwest Investment Banking. He also previously worked at UBS Investment Bank as Managing Director and Co-Head of Equity Capital Markets, at Goldman Sachs as Vice President for Corporate Finance and at O’Connor Partners as Managing Director for Equity Derivatives.”

He covered a week of classes on Wall Street, Hedge Funds and Private Equity. What a week. Through classroom discussion and case work, we examined the many issues and implications that arise when these worlds intersect.

While much of classical strategy is rooted in economic theory and models, Prof. Wolcott demonstrated how competitive strategy can be shaped and challenged through financial engineering and activity. Or, even activism.

3 obvious ideas for you to ponder upon …

a) convergence between hedge funds, private equity and investment banking: be ready for the ongoing convergence between these domains. no doubt the global financial system underwent a true transformation in the last 24 months. coming out of it, you can only expect that these worlds will continue to evolve as markets, regulators and you/me figure out what to do about it.

b) financial engineering is here to stay: financial engineering will not go away. innovation is a much needed fuel for growth and dare say, survival. if we dont innovate, we atrophy. so while we might look back at CDO’s and the resultant global meltdown, lets not wish away the reality of innovation in financial engineering. unless we want to go back to the days of pure barter trade, our economic system is too complex and integrated to wish for simplistic solutions with minimal risk from innovation. question is, how can you look ahead to be part of the next wave of innovation?

c) operational engineering: true operational engineering and value-creation is expected to be a large area of focus for private equity firms. with capital invested in portfolio companies desperately seeking return / exit in a soft market, operating leadership is expected to be the next source of value creation. control positions, while important, wont be the defining dimension of success.

clearly, this would mean opportunities for MBA’s and more so senior level folks from Executive MBA programs such as Kellogg’s. Oh, and please, it is “Kellogg” not “Kelloggs” as in the cereal box on your breakfast table. That is one convergence thats not quite right.



kellogg emba … a seamless tapestry

i continue to be amazed by the alignment between the kellogg emba courses.  we are currently studying finance, statistics and economics: the core analytical portion of the program.  turns out that a concept introduced in finance, is soon referenced in statistics … and later further in economics.  the hand-offs are so seamless and natural, it makes for a truly integrated learning experience.

the courses continue to be aligned towards the need of a general manager or business executive who needs to work with the solid intuition underlying these topics.  so, it turns out to be a real meaningful journey going beyond the mechanics, which are much easier to teach and learn (by rote!). 

prof. raviv’s model of introduing an intuition, demonstrating it through a ‘toy example’, highlighting a current industry perspective and finally handing over to the teaching assistant for the mechanics … is truly a remarkable one.

prof. weber and prof. vohra continue to bring the richest insights, what with the latter interlacing his commentary with british wit, shaken but not stirred.

3 obviousideas: the kellogg emba is for you if …

1. you want to get a solid foundation and intuition, through a combination of thought-provoking discussion, probing inquiry and off-line reading

2. you are comfortable learning the mechanics as you go along and are not looking purely for a mathematical experience

3. you enjoy learning through teams that will stay together for the duration of the program

quantitative kellogg

what a weekend!  a heavy weekend with finance, economics and statistics.   neat.

prof. raviv continues to strengthen our finance fundamentals through ‘toy problems’ and ‘real world stories’, ably supported by fascinating fritz, the teaching assistant that makes finance-in-excel look as easy as doodling on a piece of paper!  neat+.

prof. vohra started his economics class today.  his text has a shakespearan feel to it and in just one class he took the discussion to an entirely different level … and left us with homework due overnight!  EVC = (R – c) + p.  and the fun is just beginning.  consensus opinion is that this promises to be another intellectually stimulating class.  neat.

prof. weber is up tomorrow for more statistics.  he started two weeks ago with a philosophical question “why are we here?”… and in less than 15 minutes converted a deep philosophical question into core statistical concepts.  neat+.

the neat part about the program is the “just in time” introduction of concepts.  one classes introduces a concept … and the next professor references it within his / her discussion … to result in a seamless learning experience.  neat++.

make every employee a network node … to message + market

what a quarter at kellogg!  prof. brian uzzi wrapped up his course on leadership & organizations with a fantastic simulation game that showed the power of establishing a tipping point when it comes to selling ideas and seeking support using a network.  the finals was thought-provoking.  the cribsheet for the final synthesized the core take-aways from a fascinating class. 

which prompted me to think about the chasm between the promise of tapping into social networks and the reality of hitting up against organization structures.  establishing and refining organization structures can tend to make people speak more fluently with each other within corporate walls … but what about the whole wide world? 

3 obviousideas

a. lets start connecting + communicating across corporate functions by focusing on common organization goals.

b. lets continue finding ways to make every employee in an organization a de-facto marketing force … that can connect his/her company with his/her network

c. lets get more creative in terms of how we enable each and every employee in an organization message + market the organization. 

imagine the multiple tipping points possible when organizations are able to tap into global networks and mini-networks … sharing their message and listening to the world-at-large.  we would blur the lines between the organization and the individual, making for richer and more direct dialog.

the world is speaking, in bits and bytes, are we ready to listen?

entrepreneurship club … chicken or the egg?

last night, the emp80 entrepreneurship club came together to meet over dinner and then as a larger team at the barr forum. self-selected teams offer rich opportunity to observe human behavior and team dynamics.  the frames of reference we each bring to the table influence our approach to guiding such teams (and the preferential style for being led)

it was a thought-provoking experience with a diverse group of individuals, who described their goals on the following lines:

  • i have a lot of ideas and am looking to build something by the time i graduate
  • i have ideas but am not any timeline to start anything
  • i dont have ideas but want to connect with those that have
  • i have access to funding and am looking for good opportunities
  • i have external teams working on a start-up and want to validate ideas with this team
  • i am looking for distressed companies as turnaround opportunities (why start from scratch?)

i also found it interesting that people were looking for spanned the following:

  • learn about entrepreneurship from kellogg’s resources (“i am here to watch and learn”)
  • “do something” and learn along the way (“i am here to do”)

here are 4 different frames of reference that i observed:

  • rule-relation: the need to establish and know the overall governance constructs for the club.  who does what etc?
  • people-relation: the need to find and relate with people with complementary interests/goals and then look for ideas that might end up being feasible
  • idea-relation: the need to share ideas (in mutual confidence and trust) and find common ground on the basis of idea synchrony
  • role-relation: the need to identify each others expertise/experience roles to enable the group (and members) to identify complementary roles (e.g. a serial entrepreneur, a tech expert, a marketing expert

all though there was a largely binding common interest, ‘entrepreneurship’, the team dynamics in this loosely formed group reflected the sheer diversity in framing-perspectives, leading to potentially diverse outcomes.  we could walk away with a subset of learners, tiers, doers and maybe another google!

i look forward to observing and learning from the team dynamics of this exciting group at kellogg.  stay tuned for more info.

sai nagarajan

live in week

try this on for size.  take a boutique hotel, a dining restaurant, an open bar, an amphitheatre classroom … and bring together 72 self-selected students, fine faculty and attentive administration staff.  that is the kellogg executive mba live in week 4 you.

jan 11 to jan 17 was a week that 72 of us will not forget in a hurry.  days started with a lavish breakfast buffet, only to be outdone by a lunch buffet so rich in options one would hope to get major in fine dining and graduate with distinction.  did i tell you that the 15 minute breakouts between class sessions were yet another gastronomical interlude, with hot hors d’oeuvres, an assortment of crisp cookies and platters of fresh fruit.

where did we have the time to actually study, one might ask.  thats what the next 2 years is all about!

sai nagarajan