Kellogg, ETHS students partner for business mentoring program
A group of Kellogg School of Management students are helping launch a mentoring program for local high school students to provide them with preprofessional experience and personal guidance.
Martin Green, a Kellogg graduate student, conceived the idea for “Kellogg Connections @ ETHS” in the spring following the school’s first annual business case competition in which a group of Evanston Township High School students competed.
The program emerged from a collaboration among Green, Kristen Perkins, the Northwestern/ETHS partnership coordinator, and Darlene Gordon, a teacher in the high school’s applied sciences and technologies department.
Through one-on-one interactions between students and mentors, the organizers hope the students will gain business skills, exposure to working environments and a connection to someone who can provide guidance as they begin to consider plans for life after high school, Green said.
“A lot of people in Kellogg have had an opportunity to be mentored and the opportunity to serve a group of kids in the local community that could use their input and guidance was really appealing to this group,” Green said.
ETHS is holding information sessions and releasing the application this week. Green said they are seeking 10 students, ideally juniors, who are committed to the project.
The structure of the program is based around biweekly meetings between mentors and students, where they will discuss different aspects of business or fields in which the students can pursue jobs.
The program will include field trips to 1871, an entrepreneurial hub for digital startups in Chicago, and professional services firm Deloitte LLP.
“We want a teaching element, but also a very experiential element,” Green said.
Toward the end of the second semester, students will begin consulting for The Fitness Matrix, an expanding chain of gyms in Evanston.
“I’m hoping that they’ll be able to put themselves in the place of a small business owner and be able to look at the minutiae,” said Albert Ferguson, founder of The Fitness Matrix. “It’s one thing to advise a business, but it’s another as an entrepreneur to implement and to find the time and resources to bring that to task.”
The program is a product of the strengthened relationship between the University and the high school, which became closer with the appointment of Perkins as the liaison position between the two groups. It emerged as a part of NU’s “Good Neighbor, Great University” initiative.
“We’re focused on sharing resources,” Perkins said. “We have other programs that are ongoing and in-depth, but this one will be very intense and very immersive.”
After graduation, many ETHS students go on to college and professional tracks, but the students who don’t attend college could benefit just as strongly, Gordon said.
“We want a diverse and motivated group of students,” Green said. “We don’t necessarily want all AP students. We want the diversity that you see at ETHS to be reflected in the group.”
Although the case competition last year was the first of its sort for ETHS students, a chapter of DECA, an international entrepreneurial business organization, has existed at ETHS for years. Last year, one of the students who competed at the Kellogg competition went on to take first place at a DECA international conference.