As discussed in an earlier Almanac post, Kellogg School of Management has a new dean, Sally Blount, who had served as Dean of NYU’s undergrad program and Vice Dean of the university’s Stern School of Business. This is good news for Kellogg on multiple levels—Blount is expected to help the program raise money and increase placement stats, among other things.
But what does it mean for you, if anything?
In an earlier post, I talked about the departure of Kellogg’s previous dean, Dipak Jain. Here, I’ll think out loud about what Sally Blount’s arrival might mean for Kellogg applicants.
1. In the big picture it will be business as usual. Yes, Dean Blount will be busy doing what deans do—rallying faculty, raising money, enhancing curricula, meeting with other deans, meeting students, meeting employers, raising money (yes, it deserves two mentions, given its priority right now)—but for current students and applicants it won’t change much. They’ll still have to focus on their usual priorities. For students that means finding jobs, and for applicants that means putting their best foot forward.
2. So how can you put your best foot forward, in light of the new dean? Let’s think of some of the implications of Dean Blount’s arrival. These apply, to some degree, to most b-schools, but they may be more critical given the situation Blunt stepped into.
- Placement stats are crucial. Kellogg, like its peers, needs to show better internship/job placement. By some accounts, even the lower numbers they’ve put up recently don’t reflect how bad the market really is. So Kellogg, Northwestern, other programs, and the media will be watching how these figures change with Blount in charge. For you, that means making an even stronger case for your employability—are you presenting logical goals that connect to your past/current experience? do you have sponsorship? a strong network you’ve already started using? All of this helps.
- Money is critical. Blount will mostly be looking to outside donors for the big bucks, but tuition is no small part of Kellogg’s funds. Being in a position to fund your MBA might be even more important than in the past, especially if you’re an international applicant.
- She has a PhD in Management and Organization—from Kellogg. Okay, so Kellogg already has a strong emphasis on collaboration and people skills. So it’s no surprise that they picked Blount, given her background. Emphasizing your teamwork and other people skills in your application remains a huge imperative with this program. You can’t do too much in this regard (well, okay, maybe you can, but I doubt you will).
- She is a former consultant. Blount worked for Boston Consulting Group. I know, it’s not like top b-schools aren’t already putting out the welcome mat for applicants from big-name consulting firms, but think more broadly: try to show the skills a consultant has in your application. Are your essays structured well? Do you show strong problem-solving skills in multiple settings (e.g., professional and non-profit), including in the people domain? It never hurts, and almost always helps.
Dean Blount is just settling into her new home at Kellogg, so it’s hard to say exactly what changes she’ll bring, and what those mean for you. I’ll try to report back on this issue as the situation unfolds. For now, keep thinking of what will make your application stand out in the best way.
And let us know if we can help.
By Dr. Sachin Waikar, former McKinsey consultant, published author, and advisor to applicants to business and grad schools Dr. Waikar can help you tell your story through your MBA application.