5 Tips in Bidding for Classes at Kellogg [MBA]

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Incoming Northwestern Kellogg MBA students tend to be worried about how bidding will work, and even though everyone has tons of questions in September, I noticed that most people have forgotten all those answers by the time bidding actually begins in November. Thus, here are some tips from my own experience to help you through the process.

1) Do not worry about this in September (or if you are MMM, June). There will be plenty of guidance as the first bidding opportunity opens up. This is one of those things that you won’t understand too well until you see it. Plus, it really isn’t that complicated.

2) Do not bid on multiple class times for a class. It is better to simply select the time that you want and bid more for that one time than trying for multiple times. I made this mistake and lost out of both classes even though I bid higher than what history dictated.

3) Bid 25% higher than the highest amount bid for the class for your respective round over the last 3 years across any quarter. The key here is to match the round you are in – Round 2 scores are often inflated because people are desperate to get in second choice classes at this point, and will use more points to get into something. Thus, if a class has maxed out at 500 points for Round 1 the last 3 years, and you are in Round 1, bid 625 points. Make sure you are matching professors as well, same class by a different professor will generate different results. Round 1 is the most important to be strategic as you will get the most value for your points. For 1st years, this doesn’t become that important until the Spring quarter of your first year as you will be primarily be on core classes before that.

4) Do not assume that a class that goes for a lot of points (ex. > 1,000) is really that good. Try to understand what you want out of a class before you bid that amount of points on it. If you simply follow the “wisdom” of the crowds or want an easy class, there will be plenty of cheaper alternatives. When you are bidding over 1,000 points for a class, you should really be sure you want that class – I would recommend talking to other students about it to see if what they did in the class really matches what you want to do with it. With Harry Kraemer, you are getting a great networking connection that you can reach out to in the future. There is nothing wrong with this, but for classes in which you hope to build a connection with the professor teaching it, also make sure you become the class liaison. Don’t waste the opportunity. For Kraemer’s course, the learning material is great, but you will probably get 80% of that by reading his book. Remember, you don’t just pay bidding points for classes, you also are paying $5K for each class you take. Each class you waste is a waste of time but also paid value in learning. Experiential classes can be great for contacts (for example, I worked in a couple of sports business projects), even if the projects aren’t always great. I took a class with a professor rating of 6/10, but it was my favorite class (of 5) that quarter.

5) In general, even if a class has low student TCE’s, if you are interested in the subject, that will go a long way towards your enjoyment of the class. I felt that TCEs are often reflective of entertainment value, especially for classes that also have high bidding points, rather than true academic value. If you are not interested in the subject material, you will find ways to not like the class, even with a renown professor. Remember the opportunity costs.

There you go, 5 simple tips to guide your way. Bookmark this page if needed and send me your own tips as well!

How we won the Kellogg Marketing Conference’s Creative Lab (and a really big shoe)

(This was written by my friend and teammate Justin but reposting it here after it was originally posted at the Kellogg Blog)

How we won the Kellogg Marketing Conference’s Creative Lab (and a really big shoe)

Kellogg’s Marketing Conference is by far one of the largest events at Kellogg. More than 500 attendees, hotshot panelists from companies like Google, SC Johnson, Kraft, Johnson & Johnson, Pepsico and Uber, incredible keynote speakers and the vibrancy of the student leadership team make this an exciting and informative event.

For the first time, this year’s marketing conference featured a creative session competition hosted by the Google Brand Studio. Six teams of four members competed to solve a marketing prompt delivered the day of the competition.We were excited to participate because of our interest in the rapidly evolving tech industry.  Prior to Kellogg, each of us had spent some time in the tech industry:

  • Shriansh worked with mobile and financial software
  • Josh ran several startups in the internet technology space
  • Michael served as COO for Vietnam’s first social networking website
  • Justin worked in venture capital and product development for startups in mobile and clean-tech.

 The ‘crazy, fun and different’ nature of the Creative Lab began with how the challenge prompt itself was chosen. The 500-odd audience members had to vote (with the results being live-streamed right in front of us) on their choice between two challenges. The winning prompt was basically given to us on the spot for us to work on. 

The session itself was 35 minutes of brutal creativity. Spurred on by three of Google’s best, we brainstormed and came up with a solution. Using some of the tools and methodologies used at Google, we worked in our team to flesh out ideas, challenge thought processes and uncover insights to form a strategic solution to the prompt.

The four of us definitely felt the pressure as the clock was winding down to present in front of the other five teams and the three leaders from Google’s Brand Studio. In the last few minutes we wrote down our strategy and how we’d execute it, while also figuring out who’d tell the story.

Through the lab, we learned that creativity can be rapid, structured and apparently time-boxed. We experienced first-hand how rapid brainstorming floods the mind with ideas. Frankly, we feel that being left with more time to ponder the challenge might have derailed the intuition and raw expression that came forward in our strategy. Given how much fun we had, we’ll definitely carry these methods into our classrooms and future organizations.

After each of the six teams presented, the Google representatives selected three teams to move forward and present to the conference attendees. Afterward, the audience and judges voted using a phone app. After tallying the votes, the speaker announced, “And the winner of the Google Creative Lab competition is … Team 1! Michael, Shriansh, Josh, and Justin!”  We were extremely excited!

We won a trip to Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., where we will present a more detailed version of the idea to a few Google Executives.

Oh. And we won the Kellogg Marketing Conference shoe!

Justin Saeheng ‘16 is currently a student in the MMM program. Prior to Kellogg, he spent two years at a venture capital firm in the silicon valley focused on clean-tech, semiconductor, telecoms and sensors.  He worked closely with startups through product innovation, development and commercialization as well as strategic market entries into Asia and Europe. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

Shriansh Shrivastava ’16 (@Shriansh) is currently a student in the MMM program. He grew up in India, spent 10 years in the UK (undergrad + an awesome job working with unreleased cellphones +  then worked on a mental health suicide prevention project – using smartphones, of course) and finally spent a year in Canada working for an ATM software company. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

Joshua Borin ’15 is currently a student in Kellogg’s One-Year MBA program. Before Kellogg, Joshua ran a small business, survived the rise and fall of an e-commerce company and made an industry-noticing impact on stopping trade of counterfeit goods online. He loves helping small companies overcome the challenges that arise during rapid growth and scaling. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

Michael Nguyen ’16 is currently a student in the MMM program. In the past he served as Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Cyworld Vietnam, the country’s first social network; co-founded Mimo, a popular Twitter-like service in Vietnam; and helped RedOctane launch the Guitar Hero video game franchise. Connect with him on LinkedIn.