Eduardo Silva received admit offers from UCLA, Yale, and Kellogg with substantial scholarships (Kellogg:70K Donald Jacobs scholarship, Yale SOM: 20k scholarship, UCLA Anderson: 70k scholarship). He chose Kellogg.
In a candid video interview with Poonam, Eduardo Silva, now a second-year student at Kellogg, shares his application experience, his amazing experiences at Kellogg that shaped his life and career. He also offers valuable advice to the prospective applicants, regarding application process, goals, campus life, and recruitment.
The transcript of Eduardo’s video Interview is published in 2 parts.
In Part 1 Eduardo talks about:
- His Background and career goals
- Application Experience
- Most challenging Part of Application process
- His Preference for Kellogg over other programs
In this second and concluding part, Eduardo shares:
- His experiences in and outside of classroom that transformed him
- His advice to the incoming students, specifically international students, about their career goals, involvement in events at Kellogg, and recruitment process
Poonam: What is your favorite thing about the program? Would you please share your best experiences in and out of the class that helped shape your career?
Eduardo: Definitely. There are a lot of things to share. I will share some of them otherwise we will be talking here for hours and hours. I will definitely start with the outside- the- classroom experiences because these are the ones that really mattered to me. The Global Lab program was special for me as in this program students go to a country and do consulting for a client. The client can be a company or the government, or a NGO in different parts of the world. I did a global lab in Ecuador this past spring break. This is a six-month consulting program wherein you get to visit the client. I was there in Ecuador for one week. I am in a project for the Government of Ecuador, our direct client, for which I visited farmers and food processing plants, and helped the farmers to increase their income on their production of hearts of palm and golden berries, which grow very well in Ecuador. Having those interactions with farmers and government officials and understanding what their struggles are, is what I enjoy the most because I can use these learnings to make an impact. This is an amazing experience because in the process you visit different places and have a lot of fun with the colleagues.
So in general, what I liked most about Kellogg was the opportunities for experiential learning outside the classroom. For example, I did a Marketing Lab which is also consulting for revamping a digital marketing strategy for a large retailer in USA. I visited the client a couple of times, and we had amazing faculty supporting our team along the way and providing us coaching. We also had support of a consulting company for coaching purposes. We had a big challenge and a big outcome at the end. So what I learned at Kellogg was relevant and impactful to companies.
In addition to Labs, I did couple of other things. Another experimental learning I would highlight is the mentorship for undergrad students from Northwestern, That has been an extremely interesting experience, so in addition to learning about coaching in a class room, I was also able to practice that. For me, it has been an amazing way of connecting with people in deep way, and I will probably continue to provide that coaching to undergrads beyond my time at Kellogg. Those personal relationships that you forge are amazing.
In the classroom, I had amazing classes. Customer Analytics is the one that I would highlight for those interested in technology, and I had professor Florian Zettelmeyer who is amazing. There is also a Negotiation class wherein you practice a lot of negotiations with your colleagues, which is lot of fun.
Poonam: Great. Great to know that you are having a wonderful time at Kellogg. I was wondering if there is there anything you will like to change about Kellogg?
Eduardo: Well. I am not sure how to change it. But one thing that nearly everyone experiences at Kellogg is the fear of missing out on events because there are so many things going on every week. So you have speakers coming to campus for lunch and for evening sessions. Also, we have a lot of opportunities to be an entrepreneur or working with startups at the Garage, a place where startups of Kellogg are. There are so many things going on, and what happens is that we have a fear of missing out on these. For example, I am one hour into the event and then one hour at another place in Evanston or Chicago. I just want to be everywhere, and I end up being a little bit over-stressed and overwhelmed. However, in second year we have a better ability of focusing on things that really matter to us and managing fun and work, because at business school it is all a big mix, as we do not have a clear weekend in a week. We are doing case competition over the weekend, and then you are having a party on Tuesday, so we have to manage and make choices of what is important to us. There is an initiative at Kellogg called the ‘Good Life’, which helps people reflect, and I think it is a very good initiative that helps people to calm down and think about the things they should prioritize and not be overwhelmed and stressed out with all the things that are available there.
Poonam: Is there anything that you wish you had known earlier, before you started your journey at Kellogg? Can you share some advice to incoming students to Kellogg to make their adjustment easier?
Eduardo: Yes, definitely. I think that it is true for me as well as for most international students, and that is not only for Kellogg but across different schools. I wish I had known earlier that recruiting is very intense, and it starts very early in the process, no matter which school you are in, because ultimately it is the timing for the recruiters and not for the schools. So my advice is you need to reflect early on, on the things that you want to do. I thought naively that I could have 2 to 3 years of reflections on what I want to do, and consider different career paths. The realty is that you do not have two years to reflect, you just spend a couple of months or may be the first two or three months to reflect, and then from there you start recruiting for internship, and then internship is a big change in terms of industries. If you are international, your internship definitely needs to start to carve the path for your ultimate goal which makes it even more important that you actually invest some time at the beginning of your MBA, reflect on your career by talking to people, to second year students, and understand different choices you have. And simply be aware that recruiting is very intense that will simply take away a big chunk of your MBA experience.
So I will recommend especially to international students to understand the importance of networking in USA, and invest time early on networking really hard because that will open up amazing opportunities. But if you do not do it or leave it for a later stage in the recruiting process, as I think many international do , then you may have a problem. I assumed that the recruiting process would be similar to what I had experienced in Brazil, but that was not the case. It is a process that you have to invest much more time, so I strongly suggest the prospective students to think hard about their goals from the very start and reflect what you want to do in the first couple of months, then dedicate time for recruiting and for networking early on because that will pay off handsomely later on.
Poonam: It sure is a valuable advice, especially for international students. What are your plans after graduation? Are your goals still the same ?
Eduardo: Yes, my goals have changed considerably. Originally, I was planning to resume my career in the manufacturing industry in Brazil. The reasoning for that was my ultimate goal of making an impact in Brazil by helping people, particularly in low income families, to improve. My long-term goal has not changed. But I realized that if I stay for a couple of years in the Silicon Valley, I will be much more equipped to bring skills to help me join a startup or a tech company in Brazil that could really drive growth and job creation. So for that I decided to stay in the USA. I interned at CISCO for my internship for the summer, and I will resume my career there as a Product Manager. I want to spend a couple of years in the bay area and silicon valley, learn a lot from the different big trends that are happening in the valley and be equipped to go back to Brazil where I make the impact that I wanted to make originally anyway. It is a big change for me, and I am very excited.
Poonam: Yes, so the long terms goals are the same. Eduardo, is here anything that I didn’t ask and you will like to share?
Eduardo: Yes, I think that my big piece of advice for anyone starting an MBA is to come with an open mind. If you come with an open mind, you take advantage of the opportunities on a whole different level. For example, you may have a career plan, and it is good to have a plan from day one, but really take a step back when you come to the campus, and talk to second year students , talk to people that have tried different areas, and then different industries and roles, and take classes for professors that are simply awesome professors, and they will inspire you for different directions. I had a class on finance that I was really impressed with though I am not a big finance guy, and at some point I even considered a career in that because that professor was so inspiring.
Poonam: Can you please tell us the name of the professor?
Eduardo: Yes, it is David Matsa. I did a couple of classes of Finance II with him. Beside him, there are several professors that will inspire you, no matter what your interests are at Kellogg. So, i would advise to come with an open mind for your career, for the types of people you meet. I think it is only natural that you tend to be in a community that is from your industry or from your country, but try to break free from those groups. Participate in clubs and events, as these are all opportunities. I think breaking free of those close communities will take you into unexpected paths. So my final piece of advice is to come with an open mind and be ready for new things. MBA is not an opportunity for you to be completely focused only on academics but exploring new options. Academics is something important, but it is probably a small piece of the overall big picture of the things that you want to learn while doing an MBA.
Poonam: Wonderful. Is there anything else that you would like to share with viewers? Any clubs that you have been part of?
Eduardo: Oh for me, one thing that I learned at Kellogg is that I think many applicants come to the MBA with an idea of leading a club, and that is like one way you can impact your community, but that is definitely not the only way. I think if you want to have leadership experiences, there are many ways you can do that. Also, if you want to contribute to the community which I think is ultimately what being joining a club is all about, there are different ways you can do it as well. So I think if you want to lead a club, or join a club, or whatever initiative you have, you should have a vision of something that you can contribute to your class, and to your colleagues and to the community as a whole, and if you find that sweet spot of having a particular set of skills and an opportunity to contribute, that is what you should choose. In my case, I wanted to have mentorship experience and that is why I have been coaching North Western university undergrads. I think I have been able to give a lot to those students and have learned from that experience.
Also, I have also been a reader for the Kellogg in the admission process. Basically, the students are trained to read the applications, in addition to a number of other reviewers including the Office of Admissions, but we do contribute to the admission process, and I believe that I bring some experience that is helpful in that sense to better evaluate candidates I also provided consulting for an NGO ‘Dream for Kids’ in Chicago. I have helped to improve their program and their plan for growth, providing support for underprivileged students. I was the project leader, and I felt that I could really contribute to that. It was deeply connected to my experience with NGO related work in Brazil.
Poonam: In fact, I was going to ask you about your voluntary work in Brazil. That was significant contribution to the community.
Eduardo: I have done a couple of years of NGO in Brazil. Focus on education for different NGOs has been my passion, and I found an opportunity to continue that contribution in Chicago. So when you think about clubs, the most important thing is you should find those kind of opportunities that really fit with you and make you contribute to the community in a unique way.
Poonam: Very true. Thank you, Eduardo for sharing your Kellogg experience with us. I am sure your insights and valuable advice will be very helpful to the prospective applicants, especially to those who are applying to Kellogg. Thank you so much.
Eduardo: Thank you, Poonam. I am happy to chat. Kellogg is an amazing school, and I will encourage everyone to apply to Kellogg, and I think that you probably have links to my linked in profile. I am happy to chat about Kellogg and the culture at Kellogg on a personal basis if anyone is interested. I had a wonderful time, and I am happy to share that experience with whoever is interested. And obviously thanks for your support as well for making this possible. We had an amazing time together. Thank you.
Poonam: Thank you. It was my privilege to work with you, and I really enjoyed chatting with you today. Thank you and best of luck for your personal and professional life in your post Kellogg career.
Eduardo: Thank you. Have a nice day. Bye.