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Kellogg Students Receive $35,000 Siebel Scholarships

ARTICLE BY: Vasiliki Mitrakos

Daily Northwestern

September 27th 2011

Five Kellogg seniors are among the 85 students the Siebel Scholars Program has recognized for their academic excellence and leadership skills and will each receive $35,000 toward their last year of tuition.

Recipients Adrienne Day, Matt House, Sidharth Kakkar, Kevin Poff and Jessica Young have also been invited to join current and alumni Siebel Scholars at a conference in Ashburn, Va., in October to discuss the potential benefits and risks of synthetic biology.

The Siebel Foundation was established in 1996 to support projects and organizations attempting to improve the lives and opportunities for their members, according to the Siebel Foundation website. Since 2000, the Siebel Scholars Program has awarded scholarships to students selected from the world's top 17 business, computer science and bioengineering graduate schools. Each school selects five students who demonstrate strong leadership skills in their graduate program and previous work experience from the top 5 percent of its class.

"It's very exciting to be recognized for not just the grades, but also that the committee felt that I had really demonstrated leadership at Kellogg," Young said. "When I was thinking about business school and why I wanted to go, one of the things I wanted to work on was my managerial capabilities and becoming a leader. Getting the Siebel reinforced that I had accomplished one of my goals, and in coming to business school, that I had indeed demonstrated leadership."

The Siebel Scholars also serve as advisers to the Siebel Foundation, which has funded projects to aid the homeless and improve education, among others. Young, Poff and Kakkar are all passionate about educational reform: Young through the arts, Poff through performance-based assessments for teachers and Kakkar through technology.

"Especially as an entrepreneur and technologist, the potential of the Internet and the potential of technology to construct education in a way that makes it more accessible (is important)," Kakkar said. "I'm hoping I can help make an impact by helping an organization that is already doing a great job or possibly starting on my own in the future."

Earning the Siebel also brings more immediate benefits. The award helps lessen the financial burden on graduating seniors, Poff said, enabling recipients to make career choices that are not entirely based on financial compensation.

"Having almost a year of your tuition paid off really lets you consider different job opportunities," Poff said.

With lowered debt, a student could join a nonprofit without feeling pressured to take a higher paying job offer, he said. In addition, Poff said the Siebel Foundation creates a network for alumni across different fields. Recipients have the opportunity to collaborate with the nearly 700 graduate students and more than 50 Kellogg alumni in the program.

"You have the Kellogg network and now you have the Siebel network, which is even smaller," Poff said. "That for me is the true benefit. I don't know if I'll be able to come up with some great idea for the conference in October, but a year from now, 10 years from now, knowing that this is available for you to tap into, to be sharing ideas and getting the conversation started, is fantastic."

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