An MBA alumna of Northwestern Kellogg, Talon Rindels focused her studies in marketing. Following graduation, she interviewed and assessed candidates on behalf of the Kellogg admissions committee and served as a lead on-campus recruiter for General Mills and ConAgra Brands. Talon has successfully guided MBA applicants targeting top U.S. and European programs including Stanford, Harvard, London Business School, INSEAD, IE Madrid and Michigan Ross as well as her alma mater Kellogg.She serves as an outreach ambassador for the Network of Executive Women. Her professional experience spans brand management, ecommerce merchandising, sales, global M&A, and finance for iconic companies such as General Mills, Mars, ConAgra Brands and Target. Talon earned a bachelor of arts degree in finance and business management from the University of Wisconsin Madison and studied at the Copenhagen Business School in Denmark.Her answers to the following questions reveal the self-awareness, positive energy, and commitment to excellence that Talon brings to every client engagement at The MBA Exchange.
1. What prompted you to pursue an MBA education in the first place?
As the first person in my family to enter the business world, my baseline knowledge had been limited to my corporate finance job directly out of undergrad. I quickly became curious. I wanted to further understand the intricacies of how each piece of the business worked together to drive sales and profit – and I wanted to play a larger role in doing so. So, I pursued an MBA to round out my finance expertise with a general management perspective in order to run a business one day.
2. What was the biggest surprise you encountered at business school?
I wasn’t prepared for how truly amazing my peers would be and how much I could learn from them, whether in the classroom or out-and-about on a Friday night. I was humbled and inspired by my classmates’ multi-faceted talents and the impressive accomplishments they had already achieved in their young lives. The growth I experienced throughout my two years in business school was as much driven by what I learned from my peers as it was my coursework.
3. How did you go about choosing the business school you attended?
I wanted a program that was aligned equally with my personal and professional goals. Professionally, Kellogg’s Marketing/General Management emphasis matched my short- and long-term career goals of brand/general management. Personally, Kellogg just “felt right” when my husband and I visited. We were energized by the well-rounded nature of the students (i.e., “work hard/play hard” mindset); the diverse student body complemented my appreciation for other cultures and international travel; and, the proximity to big-city Chicago gave us confidence that my husband would be able to find a solid job after relocating there.
4. What was the most enjoyable aspect of being an MBA student?
I really enjoyed my intentional involvement in student organizations where I served as the VP of the Marketing Club, President of the Triathlon Club, and Board Representative of the Student Association. While I chose to run for these positions to further develop my leadership skills and build organizations I was passionate about, I also gained lifelong friendships. Many of the strongest relationships I built at business school – that still hold strong today – began through my involvement in student organizations.
5. Which part of your MBA education has proved most valuable to your career?
Although not what I had expected, the self-awareness I gained throughout my MBA experience has been most valuable to my career. The demands of business school require you to constantly reflect on who you are, who you want to be, and how to prioritize your time and efforts to get there. This continuous self-reflection has made me very confident in my own skin, allowing me to channel my energy in the right places throughout my career.
6. What motivates you to serve applicants as an MBA admissions consultant?
For me, it’s all about helping others to achieve their goals! As an applicant, it wasn’t intuitive to me what I needed to do to get into a top business school. Fortunately, a few key people invested their time in equipping me with the knowledge and support I needed to position myself as a viable MBA candidate (with a 690 GMAT no less!) and I was accepted into each school to which I applied. I would never be where I am today without the support of others, so it feels like my duty to thank those individuals by investing my time and skills in helping the next generation of business leaders. There’s nothing better than receiving that ecstatic call or email from a client stating that he/she was accepted to their top school(s)!
7. Which three words best describe your approach to admissions consulting?
Thoughtful. Attentive. Personalized.