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10 Alumni on Why They Chose MMM

Recent graduates from the dual-degree program thought back to their time as prospective students and explained why MMM appealed to them.

Northwestern's MMM program is uniquely positioned to prepare students to lead innovative organizations thanks to its dual degrees from Northwestern Engineering and the Kellogg School of Management. The program teaches students design-centric tools to find and frame problems and to ideate and iterate solutions. This creative and customer-driven process is a strategic complement to the analytical approach traditionally taught in business management. 

Ten graduates of the program recently reflected on their time as prospective students and shared what it was about MMM that initially appealed to them.

Claire Marsh (MMM '20)

"Plain and simple -- the notion that business and design could be a symbiotic relationship. In previous positions, there seemed to be a tension between design and business, between desirability and viability. I wanted to learn more about how I could bridge the tension and find that beautiful relationship between viability and desirability, of how to uncover a real need in the market, a real human pain point, and rather than sell a product to that pain point, create value that was worth paying for to really grow a business."

(Read more about Claire)

René Peters (MMM '18)

"I wanted to learn how to make the right decisions to improve products, services, and experiences. MMM was the only degree program that built this skillset into the foundation of its curriculum. I’ve always enjoyed learning 'how things tick,' and I think understanding why people use the products they use, and how they interact with them, caters to that curiosity. Our day-to-day experience is heavily influenced by the legacy of design decisions within our environments, and I saw MMM as a way to gain that perspective on the world around me." 

(Read more about René)

Ryan Lee (MMM '16)

"I enjoyed helping clients solve their business and technology challenges in my prior career in technology consulting. However, I wanted to add another dimension to my career of creativity and design. MMM was the exact type of holistic business and design program that I knew would extend my thinking and capabilities. There was also the intangible value of joining a cohort of classmates with diverse experiences, joined together for a shared appreciation of business and design innovation."

(Read more about Ryan)

Ellen Wilcox (MMM '20)

"I was eager to go somewhere where human-centered design thinking was not a side hustle or an elective class, but a core part of the program’s ethos. A place where we live and breathe the tensions between human and business, rational and irrational, creative and analytical." 

(Read more about Ellen)

Marney Boughan (MMM '11)

"I studied product design as an undergrad at Stanford and absolutely loved learning how to study people, how to interpret their needs, how to build and test ideas on users. But I felt I was lacking an understanding of what to do with my idea once it was tried and iterated; how could I take an idea from prototype to implementation? How could I ensure my idea would make money? What was the business and marketing model behind the idea? I needed an MBA, but a traditional MBA felt like I'd be straying off my design-focused course for a couple of years. When I found the MMM program, it was spot on; an opportunity to learn the numbers and economics of product development while maintaining a focus on innovation. I loved the creative program offerings, the second-year project opportunity to collaborate with a company on a real-world problem, and the best-in-class faculty." 

(Read more about Marney)

Stephen Chang (MMM '21)

"The MMM program allowed me to break outside of my traditionally technical background. While the MBA exposed me to areas of business that were completely new to me, the design side of the program made sure I never lost sight of what is most important to product managers: the customer."

(Read more about Stephen)

Danielle Ma (MMM '22)

"MMM humanizes everything about business school. You cannot escape the MMM program without talking to humans, otherwise known as ethnographic research. There are four required classes in the curriculum that call for this, reminding us each time that the whole reason businesses and products exist is to serve people. Human-centered design is the antidote to navel-gazing corporations, and I knew I wanted that to sit at the center of my business school experience." 

(Read more about Danielle)

Michael Perry (MMM '18)

"My undergraduate degree and career before MMM was in architectural design (buildings, not technology) and I only targeted graduate programs that enabled me to strengthen my design toolkit while teaching me the concepts of a traditional MBA."

(Read more about Michael)

Claire Henderson (MMM '18)

"Throughout my life, I have always had a left-and-right brain approach to learning, thinking, and doing. MMM truly embodies that mindset, and I loved the small cohort of like-minded individuals to learn from and grow with. The hands-on prototyping and real-world application of the human-centered design methodologies also stood out to me and were a huge part of my experience."

(Read more about Claire)

Adam Attas (MMM '18)

I came into the application process specifically looking at business schools but immediately was drawn to MMM. I've always been interested in innovation and product development, but a lot of my perspectives came initially from the R&D world given my background in engineering. I wanted to learn how companies and entrepreneurs approach bringing the future to life and loved the idea of both left- and right-brain thinking." 

(Read more about Adam)
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