Sunday, January 23, 2011

Collaboration at Kellogg

Executive roundtable @ #KMC2011

I spent yesterday, along with something like 600+ students, alums, and professionals, at the Kellogg Marketing Conference. It was a good event, though at times I did feel restless sitting in the OLC for so long, with the 2 key messages that I took away being:
  1. Social media is important to marketing. Of course, there were lots of folks livetweeting the conference under the hashtag #KMC2011
  2. "O'Toole: the revolution in marketing is the shift to data driven marketing and the interrelationship between tech and marketing." This ties in to what my professors were saying earlier this quarter about the need for quant/analytical skills in the industry
Anyways, that's not the point of this post. Rather, the conference got me thinking about Kellogg's collaborative culture. When it comes to collaboration, not only does Kellogg talk the talk, but it also walks the walk, and I think that is really important because actions speak louder than words.

Although the school could say that they care about collaboration and then just build a team-component into every class, that would be kind of inauthentic, because it just delegates it down. Like "Oh, we believe in teamwork....between students...in the class." Instead, the school lives up to its words by also building collaboration into the broader aspects of how the program is run, meaning that students and faculty work together to make Kellogg kick butt on a daily basis. That leads to the extremely student-run environment at the school, because collaboration and the student-run component are just two sides of the same coin.

So students either have control, or a say, in all major components of the school. In fact, just last week a project was announced to allow students to participate in the design of our new building. And clubs are run by students with faculty lending a hand to facilitate some of the logistics, recruiting prep is tackled by both the CMC and industry-specific clubs, conferences are planned by students with the help of faculty advisers, DAK is planned and executed by students, etc.

The student-run component is probably one of the reasons that we have so many clubs; we are empowered to create new clubs that meet our needs, and then it is up to us to keep them alive. In my time here, I've already seen the creation of 2 additional clubs (the Kellogg Japan Club and On the Rocks).

Of all of the ways to get involved with the school, the Kellogg Student Association (our student government) is probably one of the most impactful. Although I'm only familiar with what they do indirectly, it is pretty impressive how engaged they are in the strategic decisions that will continue to make the school awesome. Beyond the stuff we don't see, there impact is also felt in a more direct way as mediators between the student body and administration. For example, last year when students were upset about changes to the core DECS class curriculum, the KSA worked with administration to address the issues, ultimately making it into a non-issue in a few weeks.

I admit that I haven't been very engaged in the collaborative opportunities this year, but it is still great to see them all around me.

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