The unprecedented speed of innovation across all industries has redefined the skill set needed to compete in today’s MBA world. This thesis is what galvanized the creation of the MMM program at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Unlike traditional MBA programs, the MMM program is an immersive dual-degree program that gives students a rigorous business education integrated with a strong foundation in design innovation. MMM graduates receive an MBA from Kellogg and an M.S. in Design Innovation from the Segal Design Institute at the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, positioning students to drive innovation across all industries. This one-of-a-kind program, which equips students with a skillset at the intersection of business, technology and design, is what attracted Bianca Deslouches, MBA ‘19, to Kellogg.
Hoping to make a career pivot into innovation, Bianca Deslouches embarked on the program, which ultimately allowed her to land a position at a company with innovation as its driving force: Daily Harvest. This unique subscription-based service sends healthy, pre-portioned superfood eats directly to doorsteps and is constantly innovating to match the needs of its subscribers.
In this edition of Real Humans: Alumni, we hear from Bianca Deslouches on how Kellogg’s MMM program prepared her to take on a visionary role and how her business degree has brought her leadership aspirations to life. Read on for her full story.
Bianca Deslouches, Kellogg ‘19, Innovation Strategy at Daily Harvest
Hometown: Coral Springs, FL
Undergraduate Institution and Major: University of Central Florida: Finance
Graduate Business School and Graduation Year: Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management Class of 2019: MMM Program (MBA from Kellogg and an M.S. in Design Innovation with Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering)
Pre-MBA Work Experience: 6 years, a variety of corporate finance and strategic planning roles
Why did you choose to attend business school?
I used the MBA to make a career pivot into innovation. I had always planned to pursue an MBA, but working for a few years gave me the space to frame that goal with very clear intention. I also had leadership aspirations and knew there was so much more for me to learn about management, despite my business background. When I studied the bios of leaders I admired, I noticed a strong correlation between career trajectory and having an MBA. So with the support of my manager, a few close mentors, and Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT), I began the research process.
Why Kellogg? Which factors influenced your decision?
Given my interest in design thinking, I was first drawn to Kellogg for its dual-degree MMM program and it quickly became my #1 choice. I applied to a few different business school programs and ultimately weighed factors such as culture fit, teaching methods, receptivity of the alumni network, and resources provided to career switchers pursuing roles in innovation.
What was your internship during business school? How did that inform your post-MBA career choice?
I interned at Google during business school for a few different reasons. As a career switcher, I viewed the internship as an opportunity to get my foot in the door of Big Tech, by leveraging skills I’d accumulated from a prior career to explore how I might apply my new skills within tech. I’d neither worked in Big Tech nor had I ever lived in the Bay Area and felt the internship would give me a good test run at both.
Why did you choose to work for your current company?
I chose to work for Daily Harvest given my personal passion for health and wellness, experience in food and beverage, and the potential for impact on an industry ripe for disruption. I’d long admired the innovative nature of the brand and was thrilled when the opportunity became available.
How did your MBA experience prepare you for your current career?
My MBA has become more valuable with time, though it’s hard to appreciate that while you’re in it. I rely on the connections I made during business school to be sounding boards when facing new challenges on the job. Kellogg introduced me to the idea of a triple bottom line, stretching my finance-led perspective into a more holistic view. I also learned how to ask better questions, develop a growth-mindset, negotiate everything, and lead in a style that is authentic to me.
How has COVID impacted your industry/career plans?
The pandemic completely disrupted the larger food system and supply chains, which just highlighted and punctuated problems that already existed. I was drawn to Daily Harvest because not only was the organization set out to fix the system long-term, but they were already disrupting how people nourish themselves.
What advice would you give to a current MBA student? What do you wish you would have known? Is there anything you would have done differently?
There’s nothing I would change about my MBA experience. I split time between the classroom, extracurriculars, travel, and building relationships. It goes by faster than you think it will and you will miss it when it’s over. Use these two years to focus on career and purpose, but don’t forget that the people are the most valuable takeaway. Travel the world with strangers, lean into discomfort, write a school musical, take a class on entrepreneurship even if you don’t have a good enough idea yet, and try to imagine a world beyond your first job out of the MBA. Keep your eyes on your own mat and remember you’re playing the long game.
Learn about more business school alumni like Bianca Deslouches by exploring our Real Humans: Alumni series.