Clare Muñana '89
Civic obligation takes Clare Muñana beyond the bottom line
By Adrienne Murrill
For Clare Muñana '89, an excellent education is an enduring gift and an obligation to do more.
After spending most of her childhood outside the U.S., Muñana '89 returned to the United States to earn a bachelor's degree in political science and Spanish literature from Boston College. She also holds a master's in international economics and politics from Johns Hopkins University and a Kellogg MBA. Now the president of Chicago-based Ancora Associates Inc., a management consulting firm that performs strategic and organizational planning, Muñana appreciates her time in academia.
"I'm very proud of the education I have and the privilege I had of getting that education," she says. One way she shows this gratitude is by serving as vice president of the Chicago Public School board, one of several board positions she holds.
"Education is the most important thing I can encourage anyone to get involved with," she says. She advocates "going deeper intellectually" in ways driven by one's interests. People, she adds, "need to drive their intellectual appetite throughout their lives."
Muñana's belief in education's power is evidenced by what she has seen in Chicago especially, where she says there's a great civic landscape and people interested in taking advantage of those learning opportunities. Those opportunities arise, in part, from the generosity of Chicago's citizens and business leaders. "This city is singular in that it is united in its core philanthropic approach," she says. Kellogg is a part of Chicago's civic fabric, she adds, and a factor in her continued pursuit of philanthropic work.
"Philosophically, I believe one has an obligation not only to the bottom line of a business, but also a civic obligation to the community," says Muñana.
At Kellogg, Muñana says she benefited from learning the teamwork skills and what she calls "collective wisdom" — applying knowledge collaboratively and appreciating others' talents and experiences. Such interaction is what she enjoys most about her job at Ancora, and what she enjoyed from 1987 to 1992 while she was executive director of the Financial Research and Advisory Committee (FRAC), a public/private partnership sponsored by Chicago's Civic Committee of the Commercial Club. She also employed this approach on her many international assignments including at the World Bank, the United Nations and in Africa and South America with the U.S. Agency for International Development.
"For me, the Kellogg experience was and continues to be one that provided a framework, guiding principles and a network of colleagues that helped me to articulate these and execute much better," she says. Through the Executive MBA Program, Muñana says she validated ideas and methods she had developed intuitively through her own consulting experiences.
Muñana retains a strong connection to Kellogg through relationships with her study group members and by participating in the Center for Executive Women. "The Kellogg experience provides an enduring network of collaborative, imaginative and intelligent human capital, which offers support in generous and important ways," she says.
These connections are increasingly global too. Muñana applauds the Kellogg School's "extraordinary" efforts under Dipak Jain to enhance the Kellogg brand internationally. The curriculum's global focus has also grown more robust — an important strategic move, she says.
"At the World Bank, the team was multinational and multicultural," she says. "We often had differing ideas on economic development and issues, and yet we all had been charged with the same goal of improving the economies of countries. We learned to work together, synthesize our approaches and drive to the desired outcomes."
Such responsibilities, more and more, are going to fall to business leaders, and they will need those global frameworks to succeed, says Muñana. "Everything's so much more tied to the rest of the world, and Chicago has evolved well as a city with a global focus. Kellogg has been aggressive in its efforts to provide students with an education that prepares them for the opportunities in this interconnected world."
This article originally appeared in the Summer 2007 issue of Kellogg World alumni magazine.