Alumni Testimonials

  • Adam DeSantis Adam DeSantis
    JD-MBA '19
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  • Courtney Armstrong Courtney Armstrong
    JD-MBA '97
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  • Derek Jones Derek Jones
    JD-MBA '18
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  • Isaac Todd Isaac Todd
    JD-MBA '19
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  • Sarika Kasaraneni Sarika Kasaraneni
    JD-MBA '20
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Adam DeSantis

Adam DeSantis

Hometown: Detroit, Michigan

Class Year: 2019

Current Residence and Job Title: Chicago. I’m an Associate at Kirkland & Ellis.

Why did you decide to enroll in the JD-MBA program? What was your favorite thing about the program?

The students in the program seemed like well-rounded, intelligent and driven individuals, so it seemed like a great group of people to join. In the end my fellow students were my favorite part of the program, they enhanced the experience of getting two degrees in three years.

How has your experience in the JD-MBA program informed or benefited you in your current position?

As a Mergers and Acquisitions attorney, understanding how contracts interact with a business model and being able to read financial statements helps me understand my job a lot better and makes my work more enjoyable.

Please describe something unique about the JD-MBA program -- something that isn't common in other graduate programs with which you are familiar.

The small cohort means you have a good group of colleagues coming out of the program, but you also get two degrees in three years, which reduces the opportunity costs of going to school.

What would you say to somebody who is considering enrolling in the JD-MBA program?

It’s the best program in the country. If you’re really hoping to advance your career, two strong degrees from a great university is an excellent way to do it.

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Courtney Armstrong

Class Year: 1997

Courtney Armstrong, executive vice president for world business affairs at Warner Brothers Pictures, combined his Northwestern degrees with his lifelong passion for movies to forge a dream career.

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Derek Jones

Class Year: 2018

Derek Jones combined his dream of becoming a lawyer with his experience in tech and intellectual property in Northwestern's JD-MBA program.

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Isaac Todd

Isaac Todd

Hometown: Royal Oak, Michigan

Class Year: 2019

Current Residence and Job Title: New York City. I am an Associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP currently focused on M&A matters.

What was your career before entering the JD-MBA program?

I was an Army officer for approximately five years between undergrad and grad school, specializing in reconnaissance and counter-terrorism.

What was your favorite thing about the program?

Although it sometimes felt like there were a lot of requirements, I was able to tailor my three years to focus on the learning and experiences I valued and, as such, was able to access both the variety and depth of academics and extra-curricular experiences I had hoped for. I also built great personal friendships and accessed formidable networks that I'm sure will pay dividends throughout my career.

How did your experience in the JD-MBA program inform or benefit you in your current position?

As an M&A attorney, my business training helps me better understand the strategic objectives and financial metrics of clients, allowing me to craft effective solutions to their problems and help them achieve value maximizing business transactions. The combination of big-picture thinking and interpersonal acumen developed in business school, and the detail orientation and complex analysis derived from legal training, produces graduates with a variety of tools to draw from as we face an ever-changing professional landscape.

Describe something unique about the JD-MBA program.

The amount and quality of extracurricular offerings, by virtue of having access to both Kellogg and Northwestern Pritzker Law, is remarkable. I spent two weeks in Israel negotiating an agricultural joint venture simulation across from a team from Tel Aviv law school, served on the board of the Joffrey Ballet where I discovered a new passion for nonprofit service and the Arts, and played on the Kellogg hockey team.

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Sarika Kasaraneni

Sarika Kasaraneni

Hometown: Glastonbury, CT

Class Year: 2020

Current Residence and Job Title: Nashville. Manager, Strategy and Operations, Cigna Medicare; Associate, HealthService Leadership Program at Cigna

What was your career before entering the JD-MBA program?

I most recently served as a Policy Advisor in Secretary Sylvia Burwell's office at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. One of my key achievements was launching a national design and innovation challenge on behalf of the Secretary called “A Bill You Can Understand” to engage the private sector in redesigning the medical bill and patient financial experience.

Why did you decide to enroll in the JD-MBA program?

Given that I aspire to leadership in healthcare and public health, I know I’ll need to innovate in a highly regulated field. I felt both legal and business education would give me a strong foundation from which to develop the skillset for doing so most effectively and impactfully.

What was your favorite thing about the program?

The people who are now in my life because of it. I couldn’t be more thankful for everything I’ve been able to learn through them, both about myself and the world; all the great laughs we shared and memories made; and of course the friendship and support I’ve gained.

Best piece of advice that a professor has given you?

Prof. [Jason] DeSanto encouraged each of us to find our unique voices and recognize the power in our profession to advocate for the causes we care most deeply about in whichever venue we choose. Additionally, Kellogg Prof. Suzanne Muchin’s mantra of finding and doing “what is yours to do” will continue to be a north star for both my life and career.

What would you say to somebody who is considering enrolling in the JD-MBA program?

Be as intentional as possible about your priorities and what experiences you want to have before graduation. You will be inundated with opportunity, so reflect regularly on how you’re spending your time to ensure it truly aligns with what matters most to you.

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