“No, I want to hire the Sopranos to beat the sh!t out of him with a hammer.”

Impressed.

That’s how I felt walking away from Northwestern Kellogg’s information session. Held on the 41st floor of the Alliance Bernstein building in New York City, the room held a massive, sweeping view of Central Park. But I didn’t arrive to soak in the view. I naturally gravitated towards the drinks table, helping myself to a Poland Spring after picking up one of Kellogg’s information packets (which, by the way, were of impressive build/quality. Even the little touches count.)

Within the first minute I saw a familiar face from the an earlier information session I attended this summer. Ah, the effects of networking.. turns out it is fairly useful. Not something I’m used to having spent the last few years glued to a desk doing IT work. We immediately exchanged smiles and caught up on how each of us were doing and handling the b-school admissions process. Interestingly, I came to learn that we have quite a good deal in common, both in terms of background, age, and target schools. Still, though he technically was what you would consider my “competition”, my mind didn’t even remotely cross the idea – his friendly demeanor was welcome in my book and it just felt great to bounce off some frustrations with someone you know who is going through a similar process, another fellow MBA hopeful going through the rounds. I’m also thrilled I haven’t run into as many folks whose noses were held up so high you’d think they were nursing a nosebleed. Again, small sample sizes… but who’s counting?

Kellogg brought out a slew of alumni in impressive fashion, prominently placing 5 of their 7 alums on stage to answer a variety of questions and offer their highly insightful impressions and feedback on their MBA experiences. This was an excellent decision to frame the info-session in this manner as it allowed for any one of them to chime in with their input throughout what would otherwise likely have been a standard, fairly monotonous PowerPoint presentation by an associate admissions director. The alums were quite diverse as well: a finance-to-brand-manager career changer, graduates of the JD-MBA and MMM programs, as well as a marketing strategist from Verizon Wireless. But also representing the recent alumni group was Divya Narendra (who arrived more than fashionably late in a pair of sneaks).

As a huge fan of The Social Network and a tech-news aficionado, I instantly recognized his name on the big screen when they flashed the list of present alumni. He hadn’t arrived by then and so after all of the alums introduced themselves, I slid back from the edge of my seat a bit, conceding he wasn’t coming after all. But he ended up dashing towards the front a few slides later.

Following the presentations and Q&A session, I originally tried to reach the admissions director to ask him about the recently retired Technology Industry Management major. Note to self: when gathering your things following a talk, take no more than 15 seconds to make a beeline directly to the speaker (in this case, the admissions director). I found myself standing behind 4 individuals, 2 of them rocking full power suits. I recognized this game from the Fuqua info-session… not worth the 15 minute wait. I gritted my teeth and walked away, probably to the satisfaction of the girl who had just slid behind me.

That’s when I noticed Divya engaging in what looked like light conversation with another individual. A quick scan of the room revealed that just about every other Kellogg alum had 2-5 people around them, ready to pounce. And yet here was Divya Narendra, co-founder of HarvardConnection, the very man who recruited Mark Zuckerberg before he was Mark Zuckerberg the boy billionaire. A multi-millionaire Kellogg alumni and current founder and CEO of SumZero is in the room and only one person is speaking to him? I began to wonder if all but maybe a very small handful of people in the room knew who he was. I immediately made my way over and introduced myself.

Divya was affable, honest, and insightful. He gave us both time to slip in a few questions but also gave broad and interesting answers and stories about his Kellogg experience, though to be fair, he had spent a great deal of his time in graduate school focused on his start-up SumZero. Turns out we had both spent time overseas in India and he had actually met the former CEO of one of the companies I used to be employed at.

Well, I cannot believe August is close to wrapping up and good Lord my first R1 deadline is a little over six weeks away. It’s really time to kick things into high gear and focus focus focus. Things are still only beginning. (I suspect I will be saying this quite often over the next few months… maybe years…)

embeeay out.

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One Response to “No, I want to hire the Sopranos to beat the sh!t out of him with a hammer.”

  1. Ange says:

    Glad to find this blog about another person going through the same process. You write well and thoughtfully 🙂 Yes things are only still beginning indeed!

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