Kellogg MBAs Behaving Badly

Posted by: Louis Lavelle on October 24, 2008

The Bankers Ball blog has obtained an email written by an administration official at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management about a recent event at the Field Museum in Chicago during which the MBAs were, well, let’s just say not on their best behavior. In fact from the looks of it they were acting more like frat boys than would-be master’s of the universe. I’m going to chalk it up to the bad economy and the deteriorating market for MBA talent—let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to get blotto and vomit on T-Rex?

The blog post includes links to earlier posts about events marred by Stanford business school students in 2006 and 2007, but the post about the Kellogg event really wins the prize. It looks like Kellogg saw the the event as an opportunity for a little positive “brand building,” but it quickly devolved into a drunken mess.

Apparently the students were loaded when they arrived—which kind of defeats the purpose of an open bar—so I guess it’s natural that there will be a little projectile vomiting. But spitting? Maybe they were practicing for when they become CEOs.

There are some photos of the event posted on Flickr, but they’re pretty tame. Kellogg memo follows after the jump.

Sent: Thursday, October 16, 2008 12:54 PM


Subject: Student Conduct at Social Events


During our time at Kellogg, we have many opportunities to
strengthen the “Kellogg” brand. Our relationships with one another and
the time we spend together, both at Jacobs and away from campus, often
provide great benefits to students and the school. Unfortunately, there
are also times when students’ conduct can have a negative impact on the
brand. Since CIM Ball, there have been many rumors about what occurred
that evening. KSA would like to provide clarification as well as provide
a few reminders:

The Field Museum made the decision to shut the bar at CIM Ball
down early because of student behavior, NOT because they ran out of
alcohol. A few examples of such behavior included:

o Students were throwing things at a historic artifact: Sue,the Tyrannosaurus Rex, which The Field Museum purchased for over $8.3 million

o Students were vomiting on themselves and on the Field Museum Floors

o Students were spitting at people

o Students attempted to smuggle in a substantial amount of alcohol (large trash bins full of bottles and cans and flasks)

o Students passed out in high-traffic areas

o Students arrived at an open bar event already too overserved

While these examples apply to a very small minority of students,
it only takes a few negative incidents to tarnish our brand. It is
pretty embarrassing that the Field Museum will refuse to host future
Kellogg events unless they can treat it like a high school prom, with
breathalyzers, high security, and chaperones.

The goal of social and cultural events is to have fun, but a
formal event at historical landmarks in Chicago should not be treated as
a night out at the Keg. Not only will few venues be willing to host
Kellogg events, but this type of behavior can decrease the value of a
Kellogg MBA for us and future students.

We ask that you bear this message in mind at future social,
cultural, and recruiting events, and that you treat students, event
organizers, and the host property with respect.

Thank you,
[redacted school administrative official]

Reader Comments

Current Student

October 24, 2008 11:45 PM

Sorry that email was in no way from the school administration. Having that in there makes this seem like an official document. This was from a 2nd year student (yes a student leader but still a student) who also was not even there and obviously did not do any fact checking before sending out the email. No one was spitting, No one was passing out, and there was definitely no throwing of anything at the T-rex.

Yes a handful of people may have been overly drunk but the picture painted in the email is in no way accurate. Even the Field Museum went against some of what was said in the article.

What is true? People showed up with alcohol from their limos but it was not known that you couldn't bring anything in, remember its not a bar so people thought it was just a rented location so it would be acceptable. It was known there was only wine and beer so a few people decided to bring other drinks but it was placed on a table when they entered. Were people too drunk, yes a few were but go out to any bar with 600 MBA students from any school and a percentage will get too drunk...does this deserve to be an article in the newpaper? Supposedly a few people threw-up in a toilet but not all over themselves or the museum.

Overall it was just a bunch of business school students out dancing and having fun. I am sure student behavior at this event was no different from large social events at every other business school...BYU would be the only exception.

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