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My "senior" year at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management (Kellogg Full-Time MBA Profile) has been tremendously rewarding so far. It has gone by quickly. I can't believe that midterms are over, which means only a couple of weeks are left before the end of the quarter.
I am currently taking a heavy course load, but I'm enjoying the topics covered and I will put this information to good use once I graduate. The bonus is that most of the courses are electives that I chose and about which I am passionate. Also, the courses are friendlier, in part because you need only to prepare for them once a week, as opposed to twice. Readings have become more interesting, especially since my English has improved and I have a better understanding of core business concepts. My progress brings me great satisfaction and confidence. There are also fewer group meetings and more courses that require individual work. We are now used to the pace of school, managing our time and conflicting priorities, and taking exams.
It's also more relaxed for some people because they have found a full-time, post-graduation job and they realize this is the last time that they will be in school. To think that I will soon go through my very last day of school—ever—is actually quite sad. Still, I can't be too blue because I'm among those with jobs; I just signed my offer letter and I am going to New York to work in a management development program for the Luxury Products Division of L'Oreal USA.
Among the courses I am taking is entrepreneurial finance, which is taught by Steven Rogers, an amazing entrepreneur who wrote the book Entrepreneurial Finance: Finance and Business Strategies for the Serious Entrepreneur, which many business schools use to teach the subject. In my managerial leadership class taught by Harry Kraemer, former chief executive of Baxter International, great speakers such as the human resources director from Kraft and the former CEO of Motorola have joined us. This course has given me the opportunity to reflect on my life and daily issues as I work to become a better leader. I have also gotten to know Kraemer as one of the advisers to Catholics at Kellogg, a club in which I hold a leadership role.
Also, I am taking market research, a requirement to major in marketing. It is taught by Kelly Goldsmith, who worked for Urban Decay, a very cool cosmetic firm, and who participated in the reality show Survivor before coming to Kellogg. Finally, I am taking Pricing, Promotion, and Retailer Behavior with Eric Anderson. I was inspired to take it following my internship because brand managers spent a lot of time on the topic of pricing and top management was constantly concerned about it.
I am starting to feel pressured because there is little time left to perfect my skills and get all I can out of school. I'm focusing not only on marketing, but on becoming a better manager. In my clubs, I have been leveraging networks. For example, I have started an initiative with my committee in the Luxury Goods and Retail Club to connect with alumni and prospective students. We will also be going to New York in January for the Luxury Goods and Retail Trek, where we will visit Coach, Louis Vuitton-Möet Hennessy, Tiffany, and Estee Lauder.
While classes and career planning are important, I'm changing as a person, too. Now, I have many stories—both of failure and success—to tell. I am more mature and logical in my decision making. For example, as I consider my career transition, I have reshaped my goals to integrate factors that I had not considered before, such as the need to balance my personal life, think of starting a family, and plan my short- and long-term career objectives, which have become clearer.
I would love to become a brand manager in the cosmetic industry. I have gained clarity on my motivation; The work will put me in the middle of a fast-paced industry and expose me to global cultures. My job will be to design not only what consumers need, but what they desire. As a result, I'll have to make an impact on consumers every day, a dream come true for me.
I also discovered my strengths. I understand the link between product development and marketing and branding value. I have a global mind-set and passion about different cultures. I can assess the differences and similarities in various markets. Living in other countries and speaking other languages is one of my biggest assets. I live and breathe beauty by spending countless hours in department stores as well as reading fashion and beauty magazines. I yearn to understand how consumers interact with both domestic and international beauty products and brands.
My MBA journey has been amazing so far. I am proud to attend a school at which a Nobel Prize winner, Dale Mortensen, teaches. I would have never dreamed of this. Kellogg has made it possible. Overall, I can tell you that I love this place for what it means and for what it has taught me, as well as for the amazing friendships I have developed.