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Real Humans of Northwestern Kellogg’s MBA Class of 2022

Adam Root, Kellogg One-Year MBA Class of 2021

Age: 32
Hometown: Traverse City, Michigan
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Michigan State University, BA Finance
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 2 years in Retail (Target), 4.5 years in e-commerce (AmazonFresh), and 2 years as COO of a CPG start-up (Blake’s Seed Based).

Why business school? Why now? 
Earning my MBA was always in the back of my mind. As I continued to pursue amazing work opportunities (new roles, move to London, join a start-up) going to business school continued to be pushed to the side. Then I came to two key realizations that made me realize that going to business school was the right move for me. First, my work experience highlighted a number of professional development opportunities where I believed attending an immersive, inclusive, and focused business school experience would support my development and complement what I learned on the job. Second, I am a big fan of the concept of regret minimization (shoutout to Bezos). I asked myself if in 30/40/50 years if I would be more likely to regret going back to school or not. The answer was an easy yes, so the decision became pretty clear for me.

Why Kellogg? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
Kellogg was my #1 choice for several reasons. First, Kellogg people are my people. The collaborative, low-ego, inclusive, and student-led culture is without comparison. Second, Kellogg has invested heavily in creating amazing programs and resources, such as the Zell Fellows Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition Program and the partnership with Northwestern University’s The Garage to support entrepreneurship in its many forms. Third, Kellogg’s proximity and integration with the Chicago community is a vital asset for students to pursue internships, networking, and post-MBA job opportunities. Finally, Kellogg’s 1 year MBA program is an incredible and undervalued option for prospective MBA students that either have a clearer post-MBA path or are later in their career (as I am).

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2021?
Throughout my career, I have worked for both giant companies and early-stage start-ups. I bring a unique perspective on how to operate a business at scale and how to build from the ground up. I think this experiential bridge will be a particularly valuable contribution to the entrepreneurial community at Kellogg.

Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application? 
I am a registered officiant and have officiated 2 weddings, including my mother’s wedding to my stepfather.

Post-MBA career interests? 
Post-MBA I intend to pursue Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition (ETA) by launching a search fund to acquire and manage a small/medium size company. ETA is an amazing vehicle to engage in the entrepreneurial path while also providing the opportunity to lead a team and growing business.

Advice to current prospective applicants:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Focus on the program that was right for me rather than focus on “ranking” or where other people apply/attend B-school. I dialed in on Kellogg early and made it my #1 priority.

–One thing you would change or do differently?     
I would have been more open with people close to me about my intent and motivations for pursuing my MBA. Their insights into my strengths, weaknesses, personality, etc. would have been invaluable as I developed my story.

Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
I would have skipped the GMAT if I could have (not a fan of standardized tests). While studying for the test I had an accountability partner that was also studying for the GMAT. We kept each other on track.

What is your initial impression of Kellogg’s students/culture/community?
Even better than advertised! Resilient, inclusive, helpful, supportive. Too many superlatives. The quality of people, not just resumes, throughout the community is incredible. Kellogg does an incredible job of building a class that is both incredibly diverse but also aligned with the broader culture and objectives of the program.

One thing you have learned about Kellogg that has surprised you? 
The number of clubs, groups, committees, career paths, programs, experiential learning, and on, and on, and on. From the outside looking in it is hard to appreciate the quantity, quality, and accessibility of resources available to support personal and professional inclusion and development. You can really curate your own experience at Kellogg.

Thing you are most anxious about in your first year? 
No surprise, but I am most anxious about the impacts of COVID-19 on the total Kellogg experience. Developing close relationships with my amazing peers was a priority coming into Kellogg and navigating a more virtual/socially distant program will be a challenge (and opportunity) for all of us. Although this year’s program will not have some of the same large and seminal group events as year’s past, I have been encouraged by the approach of both students and the University to foster the development of close relationships across the student body.

Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
Finding my tribe at Kellogg. I’m excited to interact with, learn from, and contribute to the incredible culture that Kellogg has built. I expect the relationships I develop in my first year to be transformative in my development and an accelerant in my career.

Posted in: Real Humans of MBA Class of 2022, Real Humans of MBA Students

Schools: Northwestern / Kellogg

About the Author

Christina Griffith  

Christina Griffith is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. She specializes in covering education, science, and history, and has experience in research and interviews, magazine content, and web content writing.

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