Class gift sign @ Kellogg for Class of 2011

The annual Kellogg class gift campaign officially kicked off at the beginning of this week, with signs like the one above popping up all over Jacobs. One of my classmates said that she thought all of the people on the signs looked “fierce; like Top Model fierce.”

The campaign is the first major opportunity for the graduating class to make a contribution back to Kellogg as alums to help build the program. Each class chooses how the money they raise will be used. For example, the Class of 2010 elected to use it for a tele-presence video conferencing system, and the Class of 2009 gave a student lounge for the new building.

My class voted to contribute to a shared community space in the new building; probably something similar to the loud study room (LSR).

I made my pledge last night, and although I didn’t originally plan to go into it, one of my friends that is on the class gift committee asked me if I could write about it a bit (full disclosure).

So why did I give?

Well, if you’ve followed along on the blog you’ve probably gathered that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at Kellogg. That isn’t to say that every day was filled with sunshine and rainbows, but enough of them were outstanding to bias the whole distribution in that direction.

It is a bit early to say it, but I’m fairly certain that grad school, like undergrad, has been a major inflection point in my life that I’ll probably look back on and trace a lot of future events to. I’ve been fortunate enough to have benefited from my time here in both quantitative (…financial) and qualitative (personal development, building new friendships, expanding my perspective, etc) ways. I think that Shahid (‘09) did a bang up job of describing the benefits in his post on The MBA and What It’s Good For.

I think one of my favorite parts about Kellogg is that you can use your time here however you want and still be certain that you are going to build friendships, learn a lot (about business, yourself, life, Evanston, MarkStrat), and have access to some amazing resources, such as the professors, classmates, and alums.

That could mean getting involved in a lot of clubs, starting your own club, managing part of Kellogg’s endowment, leading a KWEST trip, working with professors on independent study projects, working with professors to write cases, organizing a conference, doing projects for companies in exchange for some much-needed cash, running a boot camp at 6am for classmates, or even cross-dressing. The possibilities may not be limitless, but I think you’d exhaust yourself out trying to test the boundaries.

There’s no right or wrong Kellogg experience. There’s just your experience. It’s totally up to you, but regardless of how you choose your own adventure, it will probably change your life.

And that to me is pretty special and definitely something that I want to support, now and in the future.

Oh…and if that support helps Kellogg build an even stronger brand, then I totally benefit from it because it’s going to be on my resume for the rest of my life. I’m riding these coattails for a very long time.