Several weeks ago I posted about a hypothetical client –let’s call him Wonderman– with sterling stats, extra-curriculars and long-term goal. He wants to transition into Strategy Consulting as preparation for a VC or PE career. As an applicant from a developing economy experiencing a boom in infrastructure and manufacturing activity, Wonderman dreams of identifying local manufacturers and growing them to regional/international prominence. I lamented the fact that as brilliant as he is Wonderman’s profile was not unique, and asked myself “How can I help my very worthy client stand out in a very crowded MBA applicant pool?”
My advice for Wonderman is to look into Kellogg School of Management’s MMM program, a dual degree program that integrates management, operations and design, from concept to execution. The program combines the rigors of Kellogg’s outstanding management program with cutting-edge work in operations and design at McCormick Engineering School, a top engineering school.
“What?” I can already hear Wonderman gasp, “But I’ve spent years trying to shake my engineering label and operations background! And what does design have to do with my future Finance role!”
Well, Wonderman, think a few years down the road. Imagine the head of a VC or PE firm considering dozens of young hopefuls like you who are eager to find companies that their firm can turn into niche players. Undoubtedly, all the candidates understand sophisticated financials and strategy. But what if one in particular can also roll up his sleeves, poke into a company’s every nook and cranny and efficiently manage it, at every level? What if this candidate also understands the role of good design in companies’ products? My crystal ball says that your candidacy might get special attention…
The MMM is fully integrated into Kellogg’s MBA program. It is a shared student experience, and participants have equal access to all resources, extracurricular and leadership opportunities. MMM students earn two degrees,with one set of requirements;the MBA from Kellogg and the Master of Engineering Management from McCormick.
Students major in either Operations or Design, a track co-founded in 2007 by industrial design guru Don Norman. The flexible curriculum allows students to take courses in those areas most suited to their goals, including marketing, operations, finance and entrepreneurship, while also gaining access to world-class experts and facilities in nanotechnology, biotechnology, transportation and other technical disciplines.
According to Yhana Chavis, Associate Director of Admissions at Kellogg, “Currently, consulting is the most popular post-MBA position for MMM students, followed by energy (think ExxonMobil and General Electric) and high tech. We’re also seeing a spike of interest in Private Equity and Venture Capital, due to the operations component.” MMM graduates also go into retail, transportation and finance.” Yet others have started their own firms.
In an era of breaking down knowledge into individual parts, the MMM offers a refreshing alternative by arming its graduates with a holistic approach to management. Given today’s business environment in which funds and know-how cross the globe at breakneck pace, this breadth and depth of knowledge can be a formidable tool for a professional investor.
If you are interested in the design aspect of this program, you can also take a look at INSEAD and Rotman, two other top MBA programs that champion good product design via their collaborations with design schools. Stanford also has its own design center.