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Real Humans of Northwestern Kellogg’s MBA Class of 2023

kellogg mba class of 2023

Taylor Baker, Northwestern Kellogg’s MBAi Class of 2023

Age: 29
Hometown: Orem, UT
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Brigham Young University, Economics
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 4 years, Healthcare Consulting (2) and Tech Strategy (2)

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
During undergrad I had the opportunity to spend a month in India attempting to develop a low-cost CPAP device to address neonatal mortality rates. I went in naively with what I believed to be a thoughtful business strategy and left with my eyes opened to the overwhelming complexities of entrepreneurship. Ever since, I have been drawn to roles and experiences that will provide the right project management and technical skills necessary to facilitate future entrepreneurship. Attending business school now is a way for me to further develop both skillsets, network with prospective entrepreneurs, and become a more well-rounded leader.  

Why did you choose Kellogg? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I spent one year of my consulting career in Evanston, IL, a 10-minute walk from campus. I was confident I would love Kellogg after speaking with alumni and current students, all of whom spoke extremely highly of Kellogg’s collaborative culture, impressive faculty, and support for entrepreneurs. When Kellogg announced its new MBAi program (a joint  Business, AI and Machine Learning program between Kellogg and the McCormick School of Engineering), I knew this was the best program and place for me to become a successful health-tech entrepreneur.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2023?
Having prior experience in two core post-MBA target industries (consulting and tech) has allowed me to provide context and advice to students as they explore career options. Although we all have stories and goals that we clearly communicate in our MBA application essays, the reality is that a lot of us are still trying to figure out our priorities, and it’s been a joy to hear about a diverse range of experiences from fellow classmates. 

Tell us a fun fact that didn’t get included on your application:
I broke my nose mountain biking the day before my wedding engagement photos! We still got married and were able to rush our wedding invitations out on time (with a little help from photoshop).  

Post-MBA career interests:
Short-term, I want to work in Product Management at a health-tech startup where I can develop and scale software tailored to patient needs. My goal is to return to entrepreneurship long-term and found a health-tech firm, where I can build on prior experience and leverage my Kellogg network to create lasting impact.

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
– What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
I would have people who know me best (family, my spouse) review and provide feedback on my application. They were able to say, “this doesn’t sound like you” and help me be more introspective instead of my natural tendency to communicate an idealized version of myself that I thought admissions committees were looking for. 

– What is one thing you would change or do differently?
I probably would have started earlier. I ended up having to apply Round 2, after spending Round 1 studying for the GRE. 

– What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
Definitely the GRE. Three months of studying at night and on weekends was not fun to say the least, and the real test seemed even longer than the practice tests somehow. Going on bike rides with my kids to decompress after practice tests helped me get through the stress.  

What is your initial impression of Kellogg’s students/culture/community?
I have absolutely loved Kellogg so far, even more than expected. My section is a ton of fun, and the MBAi group is extremely supportive and collaborative. After only a few weeks, I can see how people say they make lifelong friends during business school. 

What is one thing you have learned about Kellogg that has surprised you?
Section pride and involvement has been surprising and fun. Throwing a random group of students together into a section and deeming us “the Poets” creates an unexpectedly high level of engagement and loyalty. The smaller “pods” within sections were also a welcome surprise and additional opportunity to bond quickly with classmates. 

Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your personal application or admissions process in any way? If so, how?
Unfortunately, it kept me from doing campus visits, which I was really looking forward to while applying. Luckily, since I had lived in Evanston previously, I had at least briefly visited campus and seen the beautiful global hub. The “Day at Kellogg” virtual admit weekend was engaging and helpful, but I know it would have been even easier for me to commit to Kellogg had I visited in person and met prospective students.  

What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
Balancing the demands of school and recruiting while also prioritizing my wife and kids. My wife has been extremely supportive going into school, and we’ve made a lot of sacrifices to be here, so I am going to do my best to take advantage of the opportunity. I just need to make sure to help them feel engaged throughout. Luckily, Kellogg offers great resources for Joint Ventures and families (e.g. Kellogg Kids). 

What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
I get a lot of energy from meeting and learning from new people, so I am very excited to further build my network within my section, the MBAi program, and clubs with like-minded prospective social entrepreneurs (e.g. KTech, Net Impact). I am also excited to apply my new technical and leadership knowledge from class in case competitions and interviews.

Posted in: Real Humans of MBA Class of 2023, Real Humans of MBA Students

Schools: Northwestern / Kellogg

About the Author


Lauren Wakal

Lauren Wakal has been covering the MBA admissions space for more than a decade, from in-depth business school profiles to weekly breaking news and more.

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