Hammans Stallings on How Kellogg MBA Leads to Design Career





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Uploaded on Jun 28, 2011

In Chapter 11 of 13 in his 2011 Capture Your Flag interview with host Erik Michielsen, innovation strategist Hammans Stallings shares why he left a strategy job at Dell to earn a Kellogg MBA at Northwestern University. He chooses to study consumer marketing and build upon his psychology education. This focus leads Stallings to discover designers and their passion for psychology, including ethnographic research, heuristics, and schema.

Hammans Stallings is currently a Senior Strategist at frog design. Previously he worked in business strategy at Dell and investment banking at Stephens. He earned an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, a MS in Technology Commercialization from the University of Texas McCombs School of Business and a BA in Economics and Psychology from the University of Virginia.

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Erik Michielsen: What informed your decision to return to school and earn a Kellogg MBA?

Hammans Stallings: Well, you know I’d spent years working in strategy at Dell. I really enjoyed it. I had – you know solving problems at a level I thought were pretty appropriate for me but I again, I think it’s kinda important to kind of see where I was in this arc of coming back to a world where I had much more by hemispheric thinking.

I needed to be in a world where I could reattach to people and reattach to my love of psychology and so studying Kellogg allowed me to invest in these new skills, these new perspectives in marketing and I think that there’s a lot of wonderful overlap between marketing and a lot of I do now. The way marketing is doing what it’s supposed to be which and I’m thinking less on the more calm side and more on the listening side and Kellogg is – has always kind of had a reputation for being a good score of marketing and it’s because they brought their marketing as always from the perspective of the psychology.

So, very early on, that was actually kind of how marketing came about in North Western and Kellogg –was through an interdisciplinary study of psychology and so I’d say that, I saw it as a way to sort of come back to this love I had and in doing so I realized that the people who cared less about psychology were actually design – designers and they cared about it at a level that was very rare – you rarely find it in – in kind of corporate marketing roles.

So, doing after graphic research, understanding heuristics, schemas, understanding all these things and the human factor, all these things were – it was just another language for what I’d always loved and so I realized I didn’t actually have to compromise at work. Through the lens of marketing, I could work very much directly though the lenses of psychology in the world of design.

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