Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Jacob Gleason, Northwestern University (Kellogg)


Insatiably curious learner, first generation University diploma, dog lover, walker, and devoted family man. “

Hometown: Springfield, Illinois

Fun fact about yourself: Although I live in 4 different cities after undergrad, I have always commuted by walking to and from work.

Undergraduate and major school: Illinois State University, Economics and Finance

Most recent Employer and job title: Wells Fargo, Commercial Director of the Investment Portfolio Trading Group

Apart from your comrades and location, what was the key element of Northwestern Kellogg’s The MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? The one-year program! Kellogg’s 1Y program was the perfect blend of everything I wanted in an MBA at my current stage in my life and career. I had over 9 years of work experience prior to admission and was not looking to return to core courses focused on areas in which I had direct work experience both academically and professionally. Having the opportunity to take electives from day one was really important for the specific goals I had in my MBA education, and the structure of the 1Y program only met that without sacrificing any of the traditional MBA benefits.

What Classes, club or activity you are passionate about the most at Kellogg from the northwest? Kellogg Worldwide Exploration Student Trips (KWEST!) Like many business schools, Kellogg offers a variety of fun activities and trips throughout the year, but KWEST is such a unique launch and orientation experience that I found the Kellogg student experience unique. During KWEST, incoming students go on a journey with a group of their peers, with the goal of not sharing anything about your background until the third night to help inspire deeper conversations and eliminate prejudice. The rest of the trip is full of bonding activities, fun events, silly themed outfits and more. The atmosphere creates such a fun bond with a wide range of people in all of Kellogg’s programs. It set the tone for what to expect and what I look forward to throughout my time at Kellogg.

Which word best describes the Kellogg MBA students and alumni you have met so far and why? Opening. From day one at CIM (Kellogg orientation), everything has been anchored in collective learning, growth and shared experiences. While I have always viewed education as an individual exercise, Kellogg consistently encourages group activities, which is much more reflective of how the “real world” works. It requires all students to commit to giving as much (or more!) Than they are receiving and this is what makes the whole experience so captivating.

What Makes Chicago a Great Place to Get an MBA? You mean Evanston, don’t you? Chicago is one of the most amazing cities in the world with access to all the attractions of the “world city” of various restaurants, entertainment and people, but at a very reasonable cost (even for a student). It should be noted that Kellogg’s location in Evanston is, in my opinion, a ‘best of both worlds’ approach where you can spend as much or as little time in Windy Town as you like with the rest of the world. your time spent embracing the vibes of the coastal (lake) college town of Evanston.

Kellogg is known for its team culture. What quality do you bring as a teammate and why is it so important to be successful? I like to act as a “bookend” helping organize things to begin with and pull everything together at the end. A lot of teamwork is just getting everyone going in the same direction and I love coordinating chaos.

Describe your greatest achievement in your career so far: Although not for a single moment, I take great pride in my continuous pivot points between wildly different jobs throughout my career. I went from small business loans to risk management analysis to researching buy-side investments. Most recently I moved on to operational management of a vital team at one of the biggest banks in the world, I stretched myself at every opportunity and always found a way to add value while giving me the best opportunity to learn. I hope I can continue this approach to work throughout my career.

How has COVID-19 changed your perspective on your career and your life in general? Professionally, COVID-19 struck just as I was applying to Kellogg in early 2020, and I was fortunate to be able to benefit from a one-year postponement before I enrolled. During this year I had the opportunity to work as a pre-MBA venture capital intern in two amazing funds with absolutely brilliant people and it was the perfect “taste test” to give me all. the information I needed to make an informed decision about my post-MBA career goals.

Personally, the pandemic reaffirmed all the thoughts I had struggled with sacrificing personal relationships and neighborhood to family and friends for faster career growth. My wife and I had returned to Chicago to be closer to family in late 2019 and this pivot, although a professional setback, was completely validated once the blocks hit and we were so close to all of our friends and our family.

What drew you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after you graduate? I had reached an inflection point in my career after nine years in banking and felt like the business world was changing so quickly as many legacy institutions were stuck in the hypothetical Jurassic Park egg. I like the complexity of financial services, so I didn’t want to leave the industry altogether. However, I wanted to get closer to some of the innovative technology companies creating more efficient and effective delivery of these same services. I’m looking to spend my time building and investing in FinTech companies that are creating the future of financial services.

What other MBA programs have you applied to? Nothing! I was focusing exclusively on Kellogg’s one-year program for all of the reasons outlined above.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Northwestern Kellogg’s MBA program? Ask your peers, mentors and / or family to read your essays. If they can’t hear your voice as the narrator, rewrite the content to be more personal to you and your story. Most people who apply to business school have an impressive track record with many personal accolades and professional accomplishments, but no one has your unique story. It is these moments of openness and reflection throughout your essays that will be so essential in connecting the dots in your application.

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