Kellogg MBA Admissions Director Interview Available Online

Northwestern KelloggThank you Jennifer Hayes, Senior Associate Director of Admissions at Kellogg, and Erik Mazmanian, a second-year student at Kellogg, for an excellent Q&A about life and admissions at Northwestern Kellogg. Jennifer and Erik covered a wide range of topics, including the following advice on how to avoid some common Kellogg application mistakes:

Linda Abraham: What are the most common pitfalls of prospective students in the application process, and how would you advise candidates to best avoid them?

Jennifer Hayes: Very good question. I’ve been at Kellogg for eight years now, so I’ve seen a lot of applications, and I’ve seen a lot of things that aren’t in the best interest of the applicant. I do think that the biggest pitfall is that people do their research on Kellogg, they understand what’s important to us as an institution, and then they frame their experiences, their accomplishments, and the things that are important to them around that. Those are things that are important to us and those are things that you will experience if you’re here. However, you don’t necessarily have to frame your experience around that. We really want to understand what has motivated you, what’s been valuable to you, and what’s been most important to you in your life and in your career.

I would really encourage people to set aside that they’re applying to Kellogg and who we stand for as an institution, and really just think internally; really reflect on themselves when they’re starting to answer the application questions. You will look more genuine and more authentic. If you’re really talking about yourself, your values, and your motivations, you will look more diverse and unique as an applicant, instead of trying to do maybe what everyone else is doing by just reviewing the website and telling us those are important to you.

For the full Q&A, please view the Kellogg transcript or listen to the audio file. You can also read up on Kellogg news and advice at our Kellogg B-School Zone and the Northwestern Kellogg 2012 MBA Application Questions, Deadlines, Tips blog post.

NOTE: Kellogg’s next deadline is Tuesday, January 10th…so hurry!

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  • Anonymous

    My toughest problem with Kellogg essays (or similar schools) is that, let’s be honest: everyone is actually aiming for H/S/W —- Kellogg will be a wonderful choice for me if I don’t get in to my “first choice(s)” and I will happily enroll, but let’s call a spade a spade: it’s not anyone’s (anyone with a TIPPITY-TOP profile, at least — or maybe a few people here and there who only want to live in Chicago), first choice.

    And yet we need to pretend that it is.

    Do you have any advice for how to get across that I sincerely want to go there (if I don’t get in to my other choices, that is)? Forcing us all to pretend that it’s our first choice when EVERYONE KNOWS THAT IT REALLY ISN’T is just a farcical game, and leads to PRECISELY the sorts of “I pulled this info from the website” blandness that the admissions officers hate reading so much. They claim they want honesty, but….???? Not TOO much honesty, ha ha. :) Good luck, everyone!

    • Linda Abraham

      First of all, there are a lot of people who would give their eye-teeth to go to Kellogg and yes they have tip-top profiles.

      However, that is not your situation. Let’s forget about the other schools. Which of Kellogg’s recruiting opportunities, curriculum elements, and co-curricular activities will help you achieve your professional and personal goals in pursuing graduate management education?

      A real and substantive reply to that question will sincerely and authentically respond to anyone asking Why Kellogg, which is not asked in the application. Obviously, in responding to #1, if you respond in a way that suggests you are seeking something Kellogg doesn’t offer, you are not helping your cause. And that goes back to my question. What about Kellogg will help you achieve your MBA goals.


    • Linda Abraham

      CLG 123,

      First of all, there are lots of people with tip-top profiles who have Kellogg as their first choice. You’re just not one of them.

      So let me see if I can help you. For now let’s forget about the other schools and whether you are accepted elsewhere or not. To respond in an essay or interview to a question like “Why do you want to attend Kellogg?” reply to this question (and again forget the other schools): “What aspects of Kellogg’s recruiting/career management services, curriculum, and co-curricular activities will help you achieve your goals for your graduate management education?” The answer to this question should help you respond to Kellogg 1 (which doesn’t ask Why Kellogg, but does ask Why MBA) as well as “Why Kellogg” interview questions. And you will be able to do so honestly