Career Advice

Kellogg Commencement Remarks

22 Jun 2013  

Yesterday I spoke at the Kellogg School of Management Commencement Ceremony; it is tradition for the winner of the L.G. Lavengood Professor of the Year Award to address the graduates.

Here are my remarks.

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Thank you so much for this award.

I’d like to share with you one of my secrets to creating a good class at Kellogg: guest speakers.

Each semester I bring in dynamic business leaders why connect the concepts and theories we discuss in class to real-world business challenges.

Students often ask me: Where do these speakers come from? The answer is simple: everywhere.

Sergio Pereira from Quill, a division of Staples, was my first boss at Kraft Foods when I started as an assistant brand manager 22 years ago. A classmate from business school introduced me to John Hixon from Eli Lilly. I met Dr. Jeff Kopin from Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group when my wife was his intern several years ago. I connected with John Anton from Pedigree through one of my former students at Kellogg.

But there is a common link: everyone came through a personal connection. It wasn’t through Facebook. It wasn’t through Twitter. It wasn’t through LinkedIn.

Social media is nice but personal, face to face relationships matter more.

Remember this as you start your post-Kellogg career. The people you work with over the next three or four years will be your peers for the rest of your life. Don’t let your drive for a promotion get in the way of forming relationships at your new job.

The same goes for your Kellogg classmates. You share a common experience and this can be the base of a long-term relationship. It is just the start, however; now you have to build on it.

Come back for reunions.

And on behalf of the faculty, remember to keep in touch with us: we’d love to hear how things are going, both your successes and your setbacks. Of course, given all you’ve learned here at Kellogg those should be few indeed.

Jobs come and go but the relationships endure: your colleagues, classmates, family.

Congratulations and good luck.

3 Responses

  1. Robin S. says:

    Great advice! I’ve gotten most of my work as an independent consultant through personal connections, especially former work colleagues from early in my career – way before social networking existed. having said that, LinkedIn has helped me stay in better touch with people and keep abreast of who is now working where.

  2. says:

    Hi Tim, A value speech… my experience is that Kellogg connection is just talk not reality….. for last 10 years since I secure my EMBA, I have been trying to present the Business of my profession to my colleges, I define Quality….one that meet & exceed requirement, not just polished floor & hi tack 3D, A paper published at JAAO, I presented a CE course on the Business of Orthodontics, how to manage treatment effeciently & effectivly. on orthotown web page, , well received visited by over 1560, Now the down economy is sinking the solo practice, here goes our brand name…. Beautiful Smile is a human right. but not any more., cost is very Hi………… I am writing a paper on Future Orthodontic treatment, introducing Differentiation, how to create a point of difference to attract new patients, , Customization, what work & what not can not be same for every one, Human biology is Variable… & integration…. yet my thought need to be reinforced, refined. with a good business person from kellogg… any professor can do needs your help… or direct me..? … Theoretical knowledge is no more than talk therapy it have to be interg rated with Clinical expertise… I value my profession & kellogg as Orthodontist serve Health & happeness ….. hope to hear from you. Al Atta DDs, MSD, MBA, few in my global profession have my vast clinical experience & kellogg expertise….

    • Tim Calkins says:

      Al—Thanks for the post and thoughts. I agree a network is only of use if you invest in it; a Kellogg degree is a good start but it is just that.

      Sounds like you have been busy! Differentiation is certainly critical in the world of dentistry; there are many providers and I suspect demand isn’t too robust now that the economy isn’t doing well. So finding a compelling benefit and unique value proposition is essential.

      Keep me posted on how things go.


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