Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Kellogg visit

I spent a day at Northwestern prior to the U Chicago preview. Kellogg wasn't really on my list but I thought I may as well take a look.

I showed up at 8:00a, severely underslept (flying into Chicago is always such a challenge) to catch the first classes of the morning at 8:30. No student host showed up to escort me to class (guess it was too early) so I escorted myself.

I sat in on Derivatives I which is an elective. The class was very elementary, no new news at all, and the students were very quiet and seemed to be having a hard time answering the professor's questions. The room was windowless with a ceiling that felt too low.

Since I knew where I was going next I just went there rather than going back to admissions office for an escort, guess I wasn't exactly clear on what I was supposed to do. My second class was some sort of Marketing class, one of the core requirements. I actually enjoyed that one since I don't know anything at all about Marketing. There were a number of other prospectives and we were introduced and applauded at the beginning of class. It was a case based discussion. This room had windows and it began snowing (!) during class. Snow in October is a shocking event for a Pacific NWer.

One of the best things about my day actually was getting to know the other prospectives, many of whom were going to attend Chicago for the Preview or had already been there. A couple were there for interviews that day. I ran into quite a few current and prospectives by the end of the day that didn't like U Chicago at all and said things like "They're really different down there ..." Mysterious.

After my second class I took a tour. The building is small, all the classes are in the one building, and not particularly impressive, but not terrible. After eating lunch with a bunch of prospectives I sat in on the information session. She opened up by asking if we'd been overwhelmed by Kellogg friendliness (can't remember how she phrased it exactly) - I honestly said, no, not at all. I'd been wandering around with my prospective pin on since 8:00 that morning and no one had said anything to me. I wasn't offended in the least but I think Kellogg's pride in their collegial atmosphere might be a little overblown. It's a just a school. People were friendly at all of the schools that I visited, definitely not any more so at Kellogg. In fact I found I think U Chicago was the friendliest place I visited, contrary to reputation.

After the info session I sat in on one final class (phew), Turbo Finance which combines Finance I and II, again very slow and no new news there in another windowless too low ceilinged room. The head of the Analytical Finance concentration (a woman!) was teaching and was very friendly when I spoke with her afterwards.

Bottom line - Kellogg is clearly not for folks who have a serious academic interest in Finance despite their assertions that the Marketing department unjustly gets all the attention. I sat in on the two primary requirements for the Analytical Finance major. In addition 4 more electives are required out of a list of only 6 possible electives. Good school for some, definitely not for me. Also, the students seemed too young, clean-cut and not outstandingly intelligent. If you were baffled by that Derivatives I class you clearly are not trying very hard or have some serious intellectual hurdles to overcome.

No comments: