Saturday, April 3, 2010

Consulting Club Elections!

I haven't been able to sit down and write anything the last week because I'm still getting used to the workload for my new set of classes, which are very team project heavy, and I've been prepping with my team, the Performance Enhancers, for the Consulting Club leadership elections.  The campaign period started today and runs through next Friday.  Afterward, the club members will have a few days to vote for the next leadership team.

One of the interesting things about club elections at Kellogg is that you run as a team (slate), not individually.  It's just another reflection of the collaborative culture at Kellogg, and I think it is a great idea.  It allows you to bond as a team early on so that you can hit the ground running if and when you start leading a club.  And we have definitely bonded.  We have been meeting regularly for about 3 weeks to discuss our slate's ideas, how to campaign, what needs to get done, what the other slate might be doing, etc, and in that time we've become a close-knit circle of friends willing to challenge each others' ideas, help each other out, and just have a good time.

Last night, I decided that I wanted to document why exactly I'm running to lead the club.  This is completely separate from our official campaigning, and it is meant solely for my blog.  After all, this is supposed to be an account of my experience at Kellogg, and for the last 3 weeks, the election planning has been the central component of that experience.  My "official" response to the question is:
I want do everything possible to help my classmates by building on the excellent foundation that the prior leadership teams have developed. The Consulting Club has been an integral part of my experience at Kellogg, both on a professional and personal level. The dedication from all Kellogg students (1st-years, 2nd-years, and alums) to help each other out throughout the entire recruiting process was invaluable for me, and it is a testament to the school's culture. Furthermore, the club has helped me form strong bonds with many folks that I am glad to call friends. 
But that is a bit too polished for my taste!  I wanted something that was closer to what I would say if I were speaking to someone in person.  So I decided to sit down and record something.  I've been wanting to do a video blog for a while, but I always ditch the idea because I hate how the videos come out.  In this case, I recorded only 1 take.  It's not perfect -- I wish I were more eloquent; I wish that I didn't look so sleepy; I wish that the answer flowed better -- but at least it's earnest!

Why I want to help lead the Kellogg Consulting Club next year from Orlando O'Neill on Vimeo.

After recording the video, I started thinking about all of the seemingly unconnected decisions/experiences that led me here.  Although I could easily go back as far as my memory allows, I limited myself to a few years back when I bought the book Now, Discover Your Strengths, which I found out is used in a Kellogg course, after attending a career panel based on the book.

I read through the book and although the second half (of the 1st version) wasn't very good, the first half was fantastic.  It made me think about the characteristics of my job that I enjoyed the most, and what I thought my strengths were that allowed me to do well in my role.  Since I was preparing to head to grad school and change career paths, I though it would be good to try and understand that stuff.  I took the online Strengthfinder test, and received the following list of my core "strengths" that I wrote a note about in Facebook back in 12/2008. I was surprised by how accurate the results were; of course it could also be the case where you believe what you want to believe and modify things to apply to you, a la fortune telling.
Your Achiever theme helps explain your drive. Achiever describes a constant need for achievement. You feel as if every day starts at zero. By the end of the day you must achieve something tangible in order to feel good about yourself....

You like to explain, to describe, to host, to speak in public, and to write. This is your Communication theme at work. Ideas are a dry beginning. Events are static. You feel a need to bring them to life, to energize them, to make them exciting and vivid.

Learner <--- (This one seems the most accurate, down to my taking yoga and piano classes...)
You love to learn. The thrill of the first few facts, the early efforts to recite or practice what you have learned, the growing confidence of a skill mastered—this is the process that entices you. Your excitement leads you to engage in adult learning experiences—yoga or piano lessons or graduate classes. It enables you to thrive in dynamic work environments where you are asked to take on short project assignments and are expected to learn a lot about the new subject matter in a short period of time and then move on to the next one.

“When can we start?” This is a recurring question in your life. The bottom line is this: You know you will be judged not by what you say, not by what you think, but by what you get done. This does not frighten you. It pleases you.

You are inquisitive. You collect things. The world is exciting precisely because of its infinite variety and complexity. If you read a great deal, it is not necessarily to refine your theories but, rather, to add more information to your archives.
A few months later, I met up with my assigned Kellogg buddy at the Keg during DAK.  We started chatting about careers, and we ended up talking about consulting because he had done it before Kellogg and was doing an internship at BCG that summer.  Before then, I had never considered Consulting as a career option, and I didn't know anything about it.  As we chatted though, I started to realize that it aligned ridiculously well with my perceived strengths and interests.  When I returned home, I finalized my decision to attend Kellogg (DAK was awesome) and started learning about consulting firms.  I figured I should at least know the names of some of them so I wouldn't sound completely ignorant come fall.

A few months later, I received an email from my K-bud about an opportunity to apply and interview for a BCG internship through the BCG Scholars Program.  By then, I had read enough to know it was something I was interested in pursuing so I applied.  Much to my surprise and delight, I was invited to interview shortly thereafter.  With the help of alums, coworkers, Kellogg classmates, and a very understanding GF (I spent that month engrossed in case prep), I managed to navigate the process and secure an internship early.

As soon as I was done, I knew that I wanted to use the experience to help out my classmates however possible, because I had already received so much help from folks that I didn't even know.  I've always thought that the more information you have going into something, the better off you'll be, so I wrote up all of the info and tips I had acquired during the interviews and my accounts of the 1st and 2nd-round interviews.  I passed this information along to anyone that I knew would be recruiting for consulting.

I still wanted to do more, so I decided to apply for one of the club's 1st-year Director spots, which I was fortunate enough to receive.  Before coming to Kellogg, I was on the board of a local non-profit in Austin, so I hoped that experience along with my recruiting experience would allow me to make a positive impact.  That was easily one of the best decisions that I made during the first quarter.  My involvement with the club was one of the highlights for me during the 1st quarter, and by the time we joined the team, most of the company events had already passed, so there wasn't really much of a networking opportunity (meaning I hadn't take that away from someone).

In January, I realized that the club truly was a priority for me.  It was the only thing that I was involved in outside of classes, and I enjoyed doing case prep with a lot of classmates in the thick of recruiting (it's a lot easier to be the one giving the case instead of receiving it).  A few weeks later I committed myself to trying to be a part of the leadership team next year

Wow. That was long winded!  Anyways, if you are interested in reading about my team, please head over to our website.  And if you happen to be a classmate that went through the recruiting process for consulting and have ideas for how it can be improved, please, please don't hesitate to contact me; stop me in the hall if you see me, send me an email, look me up in the Kellogg facebook and give me a call, send me a FB message, a Tweet, etc.  I'd love to hear from as many folks as possible.  Even if we don't end up leading the club next year, I will pass along everything that I learn to the next leadership team.  In the end, the ultimate goal for me is to make the club better, regardless of who is leading it, and I think one of the best ways to do that is by leveraging all of the information that we have at our disposal from the 150+ folks that experienced the recruiting firsthand.



  1. your team site looks awesome and your team looks like a wonderful group of people! I actually exchanged email with Elly through her email before too. She is also very friendly and helpful. Too bad class of 2012 can't vote yet but I would love to have you guys as leaders next year! :D

    I still need to dig through all your posts for the wonderful information you shared about recruiting for consulting since it's definitely one of my interests. Thanks again for sharing!

    Best of luck with the election! Rooting for you guys! :)


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