What would happen if recent graduates of Northwestern’s world-class liberal arts education were given access to the business and management skills the Kellogg School of Management prides itself in? Through a process that began in 2012, Kellogg might have found the answer.
“We were looking at the landscape and thinking about where Kellogg could have a distinctive advantage,” Betsy Ziegler, Kellogg dean of students and associate dean of MBA programs, said. “There’s a growing need in the marketplace for well-rounded liberal arts students that have business acumen and we can play a very important role in educating those folks.”
After noticing a rise in one-year master’s programs, the school got to work. Ziegler assembled a team of tenured professors to consult with companies and students of multiple disciplines to gauge interest level and create the most effective product possible.
Nearly a year later, Kellogg announced their finished product: the Russell Fellows Program.
“We kept getting validation that it was enough for us to test it,” Ziegler said. “We’re hoping to enroll 30 students this summer. It’s not a huge class. It’s a small to class to make sure we get this right.”
Beginning in July 2013 and concluding in May 2014, the inaugural program will cover three quarters with 12 credits with courses in marketing, finance and international business – which includes a trip to a region the student focuses on for the quarter. At its conclusion, students will earn a Master of Science degree in Management Studies. The deadline for the applications in the inaugural group of Russell Fellows is Feb. 28.
The program is named in memory of alumnus Jim Russell, who graduated from the School of Commerce (now Kellogg School of Management) in 1935.
“If you’re a Russell Fellow, the goal is for that to feel very selective, very distinctive over time,” Zeigler said. “It’s quite exciting to think about all the possibilities we could do connected to this family and to this person.”
Ryan Thompson (Comm '12), who majored in Biochemistry and Communication Sciences and Disorders, said he sees this as a good addition to his already-diverse lineup of majors. Thompson also considers it a smart move before entering graduate school and sees potential in the unique brand of business education that the program could give him.
“I was looking for something to do in the meantime,” Thompson said. “If I do this it might strengthen an application.”
Kellogg associate professor Meghan Busse will teach a course on business strategy for the Russell Fellows Program. Busse specializes in strategy and context for business markets.
“This a great opportunity for students who have interests in doing things with business or doing things with organizations who have a great, solid Northwestern education," Busse said. "And to have a more specific set of skills added to that to better able them to do – we hope – really amazing things.”