Kellogg graduates set their sights beyond the bottom line, changing their industries, communities and perhaps even the world
By Matt Golosinski
At the Kellogg School, success is just a starting point.
The school's ultimate goal is to develop leaders who make contributions of lasting significance to the world — to move, in the words of former Dean Dipak C. Jain, "from success to significance."
The mission is bold and transformative, an agenda with impact.
But Interim Dean Sunil Chopra, an operations expert, makes real that lofty goal without sacrificing any of its inspirational power.
"People move from success to significance when they think beyond themselves," Chopra says. "I can succeed as an individual, but the significance of this depends on how many others are influenced by my actions."
This model of significance has broad application for any organization generating what Chopra calls "surplus value."
"At the core of any enterprise, for-profit or nonprofit, the goal is creating value," Chopra says. "If I am focused on the total value that I'm going to create, I am automatically thinking beyond myself."
That way of thinking comes naturally to alums like T. Bon French '76, CEO of Adams Street Partners. As a member of the National Venture Capital Association board, French has advised senior government officials, including former President George W. Bush and Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, on regulatory and policy matters related to the venture capital industry. The company he leads, which was inducted into the Private Equity Hall of Fame in 2000, has not only delivered exceptional returns for its investors. It has also sought ways to contribute to the industry itself, pioneering important valuation guidelines and helping to set performance benchmarks.
"We're doing it because we think it's the right thing to do — giving back," French says. That impulse extends to Kellogg, where French helped launch Venture Lab, a course that lets students apply financial theories to real-world investments.
Chopra says that French and many other Kellogg alums "get it" when they hear the message of combining success and significance. "Our alums practice this really well," he says. "They add value to Kellogg for themselves and others."
This notion has always been at the heart of what Kellogg teaches, Chopra adds. He notes that the school's collaborative learning environment is designed to "maximize value creation."
"If you really look at our collaborative framework, the idea is to add significance so that not only do I personally succeed," Chopra says, "but I also enhance the success of others on my team."
What's more, the teamwork at Kellogg converts collaboration to innovation by bringing together people with diverse perspectives. "It's in everything we do," Chopra says. "It's in the way we teach, the way we do research, the way students engage inside and outside the classroom. This is a true differentiator."
Read more about the ways in which Kellogg graduates have moved beyond success to make contributions of lasting significance.
Go to "Innovation Leader"