Alumni Allison Rabin of the class of 2020 was working as the Senior VP/ Director of Commercial Business Development for Fidelity National Title Group when she decided to pursue an Executive MBA degree from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business in Illinois. She felt as though she had hit the limit in her current role and wanted to explore other career opportunities.
“I knew that there was no further growth possible for me at that organization and initially decided to return to school to increase my strengths and understand and reduce my weaknesses. I love learning and the idea of attending Kellogg had been a dream of mine since law school.”
Although she explored a few EMBA options, Rabin knew that Kellogg was the perfect fit for her. “After attending the informational meeting at Kellogg, I knew this was the place for me. I loved the team-focused learning and the high-impact low-ego philosophy that Kellogg embodies,” she says.
According to Greg Hanifee, Associate Dean of Degree Operations of Kellogg’s Executive MBA Global Network, the EMBA at Kellogg is a three-way intersection: “It starts with developing yourself to be the best leader you can be combined with research and rigor our faculty bring to the classroom. This is met with a cross-cultural collaboration and team approach that has been at the heart of Kellogg for so long. It sets the stage for students, for whatever their potential might be.”
Kellogg EMBA students enter with a wide range of industry experience in fields such as technology, consulting, financial services and healthcare. Although 8 years are required, students on average have 14 years experience, and about 64% currently hold a senior-level position. Application materials include two recommendation letters, a sponsorship letter from the applicant’s employer, and a mandatory interview with the school.
The EMBA at Kellogg dates back to 1976 when it was instituted by former long-time dean Don Jacobs. Today the EMBA program has two locations in the U.S. — Evanston, Illinois and Miami, Florida — as well as 7 campuses around the world based in Canada, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the U.S. The program is known for attracting ambitious students who want to propel their professional development and leadership capabilities without putting their careers on hold.
“We start every cohort off with a launch week that’s basically six days of opening the program with a mix of co-curricular design thinking concepts and team building and we put them in classes worth 1.5 credits,” Hanifee says.
The EMBA students become a close knit group and tend to lean on each other for support. “I was nervous, because I had been out of school for a while and was worried that I may not fit in with the rest of the cohort. The first day however was amazing and I instantly found a group of people who shared my love for learning and excitement about starting this 2 year journey. It was difficult to balance school and a demanding work schedule at times, but we were all going through the same thing and we grew very close during the 2 am study sessions with our teams,” says Rabin.
The Evanston EMBA takes place two times a month – Friday through Saturday and occasionally on Sunday – at the Allen Center at Northwestern’s Evanston campus, 30 minutes from downtown Chicago, and the Miami EMBA is held once a month from Thursday through Sunday in Coral Cables, Florida. These varying locations serve as breeding grounds for the global network.
As part of the 22-month curriculum, the school requires a week-long international trip to one of the five global partner schools or an elective in another international location. To add to the week-long international experience, the Kellogg EMBA also has three week-long, live-in residencies that are required at different points throughout the program.
The curriculum covers the full spectrum of general management principles, including accounting, finance, organizations, strategy, economics and marketing courses designed to give students a dynamic skillset. The course work is centered around readings, cases, and group projects with study groups to boost students’ networks.
When asked about her favorite course, Rabin finds it difficult to narrow it down. “If I had to pick just one, I would choose our Supply Chain Management course taught by Sunil Chopra. He is a genius when it comes to work flows and conveys his knowledge in such an understandable manner. I learned so much in that class which translated into greater efficiencies at work,” she says.
Rabin praises the support she received from top notch staff and faculty. “The Kellogg Admissions team really knows what they are doing when building their cohorts. My experience was amazing because of staff, professors, my cohort, all the global trips — despite the COVID issues that we had which sidelined the second year of in person learning,” she says.
“Don’t put off starting your EMBA,” Rabin advises. ”Everyone is busy with work, family and the other commitments that seem to take up our weekly 168 hours — but that will always be the case. Kellogg is a special place where if you put in the time and really focus on classes, network with everyone in your community, overcome and accept your limitations, and embrace and grow your strengths, you will be your best self upon graduation. When you join this community, it is important to understand that we all have an unwritten obligation to assist each other. Make the most of your time at Kellogg.”