Indiana Kelley 2014 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines

For more info, check out our Indiana Kelley b-school zone. These questions are a mix of straightforward (the goals essay) and imaginative (the personal or open-topic essays).  The adcom wants assurance that you have a clear professional focus and a solid plan for using the Kelley MBA resources.  Beyond that, they’re looking for engaging applicants who have something to contribute.  And you have a decision to make in selecting two questions out of three.  Consider which two questions, together, will give you the best means to (a) present a well-rounded profile and (b) showcase interesting and relevant experiences.


Your essays will give us an idea of your personality, perspectives, and opinions and will let us know how closely your professional objectives match the objectives of the MBA program.

All applicants must answer essay number 1.

You must also choose two of the next three essay questions (questions 2 through 4).

Essay number 5 is optional.

Please limit each essay to no more than 500 words.

We encourage you to be informative, creative, and concise.


1. Please discuss your post-MBA short- and long-term professional goals. How will your professional experience, when combined with a Kelley MBA degree, allow you to achieve these goals?

This is a straight-forward MBA goals question. As always with this type of question, connect the dots. Let the reader see that your goals grow organically from your experience and are achievable given your past experience and an MBA from Indiana Kelley.

Choose two of the next three:

2. Describe a personal or professional challenge or set-back that you were able to overcome. What allowed you to persevere?

If you answer this question, choose a challenge or setback that will present a fresh dimension of your profile or convey a meaningful accomplishment (yes, setbacks and challenges can push you to do more than you ever thought you could!).  Keep the structure simple; don’t give away the end of the story in an introduction.  Rather, jump right in with the challenge or setback, narrate the story keeping focus on your actions and thought process, and at the end reflect on how the experience allowed you to persevere.

3. Suppose you had to choose three people—people alive now or people from another era—to travel with you on a cross-country automobile trip. Who would you choose and why? What would you hope to learn from them? (Think carefully about the company you want on those long stretches through Nebraska or Kansas.)

Have fun with this question and use it to show a non-professional side of you. What  books, movies, sports, artists, or thought leaders would you love to spend time with? Who from the past has fascinated you.  More important than the person you choose is why you picked these individuals and what you would like to learn in those endless stretches through Kansas and Nebraska.

4. Describe what there is about your background and your experiences that will contribute to the diversity of the entering class and enhance the educational experience of other students.

What is the distinctive stone or hue that you will add to the mosaic that is a Kelley class? Think about this diversity question broadly, not just in ethnic or professional terms. What are you going to add? Is it an enthusiastic commitment to Barak Obama, a local environmental cause, your church, or a hobby, sport, or art form? Is it an unusual personal background? Perhaps, overcoming distinctive challenges?  And then, how will this unique facet cause you to contribute?  Will it lead to involvement in a specific club or Kelley project? An active role in classroom discussions on a specific topic?  Interest in a particular program? Show your knowledge of Indiana Kelley as well as your  fit with this great MBA program.


5. Is there anything else that you think we should know as we evaluate your application? If you believe your credentials and essays represent you fairly, you shouldn’t feel obligated to answer this question.

It is almost impossible for three essays plus a bunch of boxes, a transcript, and a GMAT score to represent fully the uniqueness and talents of a truly impressive candidate. That comment has nothing to do with writing style and everything to do with the complexity of accomplished human beings. While I certainly agree that if you have nothing to say, you should say nothing, you should have something valuable to add in your optional essay.

If you would like professional guidance with your Indiana Kelley MBA application, please consider Accepted’s MBA essay editing and MBA admissions consulting or our  MBA Application Packages, which include advising, editing, interview coaching, and a resume edit for the Indiana Kelley application. 

Indiana Kelley MBA 2014 Application Deadlines:

Application Deadline Decision Notification
Early October 15, 2013 Late December
Priority January 5, 2014 Mid March
Third March 1, 2014 Late April
Final April 15, 2014 Late May

Get clear, practical guidelines for answering the MBA goals essay question. Click here to download our free report.
Cindy Tokumitsu By , co-author of The Finance Professional’s Guide to MBA Admissions Success, and author of numerous ebooks, articles, and special reports. Cindy has advised hundreds of successful applicants in her last fifteen years with

  • Linda Abraham

    If any readers would like a profile evaluation for Indiana Kelley, please provide the following information:

    1) Brief description of your full-time work experience.
    2) Your GMAT or GRE. Percentiles preferred.
    3) College info: The name of the college, your GPA or grade average, your major, year of graduation. For any graduate degrees, please provide the same info. If you grades are low, please indicate if there were extenuating circumstances.
    4) Significant college and post-college extra-curricular activities or community service, especially leadership experience.
    5) Important certifications like CFA, CPA, FSA, or CA.
    6) Your post-MBA goal.

    Or if you just have a question about MBA admissions, I’ll do my best to answer it.

    • Siddhartha

      Hi Linda

      I am from India and have just given my GMAT. Scored a 660 (V30,Quants51). I have an experience of 9 years in the Information Technology sector. Presently I am working as a Senior Consultant with one of the top 10 IT consulting company. I graduated from One of the top 15 engineering colleges in India (VNIT, Nagpur) with 73.73 % ~ 3.6 GPA. As far as CCA goes I have been a member of my college tech fest community and have worked to get sponsors for the activities. Also I have been involved with an NGO and have developed a website for them. On the social front I am working with an NGO that works for the underprivileged children in India.
      Post MBA i want to work as an IT Strategy Consultant and then may be 10-15 years down the line would like to set up my own venture.

      Will be grateful if you can assess my profile and provide your valuable feedback.


      • Linda Abraham

        You have a competitive profile for Indiana Kelley.

    • Vincen Mathai

      Hi Linda

      1. 3.5 years of work experience in an IT company Mphasis (subsidiary of HP ) . I have worked for 1.0 years in a Banking project that specifically handles mortgages and loans of an Australian bank.

      I then moved onto another project in a manufacturing vertical where my team dealt with maintaining the GLOBAL supply chain management application for a Swedish MNC company. As of now I have completed 2.5 years with the project. This work involves communicating with clients and customers around th world and resolving issues related to delays and stoppage in global supply chain . I can arrange for LORs from my Swedish supervisors.

      Despite my CGPA I got hired with a salary package that is way above average in my university as the recruiters were more impressed by my leadership and extra curricular skills (detail below) , which are not exactly seen in most Indian engineers.

      2 GMAT 680 (Q 47 V 35) .

      3. Education
      Electronics engineering from NIT Warangal India (Consistently ranked 1st among all the NITs in India and never went below top 15 rank) with a CGPA of 6.3 / 10 . My CGPA is below average .

      4. Some extra curricular and leadership achievements

      a. i was elected School President /head boy of a school with 10000 students.As the headboy I was in charge of a student body consisting of 8 secretaries and another 20 prefects . It was the job of my team to maintain discipline and run various school events. I was the face of the students whenever different dignitaries visited my school.

      b. Quizzing – Appeared on premier Indian TV channel twice in a hotly contested International Inter school quiz contest . I have also Represented my school in many country level quizzing events and won those events as well.

      c.Led school Model UN (MUN ) team at International Georgetown MUN. I started MUN event at my college and created an increase of 150% in no; of participants over 3 years.

      d. Won college ‘Improv Ad’ event where I led my team in creating an advertisement within 15 minutes.

      5. None

      6. I want to change career from IT engineer an want to become a Marketing consultant primarily in technology industry where I can handle products management as well

      I am Indian IT male engineer and I come from the highly competitive applicant group. I spent 3/4th of my life in the Middle East . Since my childhood , I have interacted with people from different countries and diverse cultures

      I want to leverage my leadership ,EC skills and the International exposure to make up for the below average CGPA .

      Sorry for the detailed profile. Nevertheless I would like your honest opinion.

      Thanks in advance.

      • Linda Abraham


        You have assessed your strengths and weaknesses well. In think you are overall competitive at Kelley, but the GPA is a weakness. Please see 3 Steps for Handling a Low Undergraduate GPA.


    • Sarah

      Hi Linda,

      I am from NY and currently work as a manufacturing engineer for a pharmaceutical company. I have only been working here for a month; however, my previous position was in another pharmaceutical company where I worked as a manufacturing scientist II for 6 years. I had originally started as a level I scientist there but was promoted to level II after 3 years.
      I took the GRE in 2011 with the following results: Verbal: 155 (67%), Quantitative: 158 (71%), Analytical Writing: 3.5 (38%). I attended Johns Hopkins University from 2002-2006 and graduated with a B.S. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering with a 2.8 GPA. I was President of the Filipino Students Association in college, am currently a 1st degree black belt and am working toward attaining my 2nd degree. I am also a lector for my church. I have no certifications, however I am currently taking an intro course into financial accouting for audit. I would like to work in project management for a pharmaceutical company post-MBA and eventually manage an oncology division of a pharmaceutical company.
      Thank you for your time and assistance.

      • Linda Abraham


        Kelley is a stretch, but try it. Also consider Rutgers and Johns Hopkins Carey School.


  • Soumya

    Hi Linda

    i scored 700 in gmat q-49 verbal -35
    country- india
    i have graduated from RVCE , Bangalore ( among the top 30 engineering colleges in india)
    GPA OF 3.7
    industry- technology consulting
    technology – SAP , domain- Human Capital Management
    projects- Employee self service, coompensation, new hire registry, performance management
    EXPERIENCE- currently 27 months, by the time i join a bschool 37 months

    • Linda Abraham


      I see both your posts. You have a competitive profile for Indiana Kelley. You may also want to consider Vanderbilt.

      Linda Abraham

  • Soumya

    cocurrilculars- marathion runner and Working closely with an NGO for past 1 year

  • Ayushi

    Hi Linda,

    I am an Indian, Working in Deloitte for past 4 years as business analyst
    1. GRE : 309/340
    2. Toefl : 107
    3. Graduated from one of the top colleges in the State
    4. Involved in social service and NGO

    do i have a good profile for Kelly MSIS

    • Linda Abraham


      I’m assuming that you took the GRE twice and that’s what those two scores indicate. Congats on the 340. the info you provided above is competitive at the Kelley MSIS program.

  • Sid

    Hi Linda,

    2.8 years work experience as Business Technology Analyst with Deloitte Consulting India Pvt. Ltd.
    GRE: Verbal: 67th Quant: 87th percentile
    B.Tech in Electrical and Electronics from PESIT , Bangalore, GPA -3.7
    Worked with several NGOs from United Way
    PAHm cerification Level 1 and ISTQB certification
    Post MBA Goal: To leverage my technical knowledge and get into business consulting with a major in business analytics.

    Please provide my profile evaluation.

    • Linda Abraham


      You have a competitive profile for Indiana Kelley, although your verbal could be a cause of concern.


  • simplex

    Hi Linda.

    I am a re-applicant. Rejected last time after interview. Can you give me some tips on writing Re-app essay for Kelley. This is what mentioned on their site for re-app essay “In your letter,
    outline your professional and academic accomplishments since your last application”…
    My Profile: GMAT: 730 (QA-51, V-38, AWA 5.5, IR – 8)
    B.Tech in Chem Engg from IIT Delhi, India (GPA 7.33/10)
    Working for BofA from last 3 years in IT
    Many professional accomplishments to show including 1 awards.
    Good Extra currics (marathon runner, play club cricket, do trekking, work for NGO, particpiated in student formulae 1 racing event in Silverstone etc)
    4 finance certification by BofA. Currently enrolled in 2 more.
    Looking for product management role in Banking sector

    Thanks and Regards

    • Linda Abraham


      I’m surprised at the outcome. Did you have a bad interview?

      Clearly you need to show them that in some way you are an even better applicant now than you were then. Equally clear is that by reapplying you are demonstrating real interest in Kelley.

      For tips on a reapplication essay please see MBA Reapplicant Resources.


      • simplex

        I guess! My interview skills are not very good. Working on it this time around. Recently got call from Tepper. Any advice on interviews..
        Thanks in advance :)

      • GPB

        Hi Linda,

        I am a 33 years old with 11 years of experience(without considering 3 years article-ship experience). I am a Chartered Accountant( CPA equivalent in India). I have GPA of 2.8 on 4 from Kakatiya University, India but i am among top 10 students based on the total score.

        My GMAT score is 720.

        My work experience is mostly in leadership role. I was promoted to deputy manager with in 2 years after i took the job. Then I became Manager and currently working as Finance controller(senior manager) for a captive unit of US MNC with 1500 employees in India. I have good experience on handling mergers and integrating couple of legal entities/operations.

        My future goal is to become CFO/CEO.

        Can you please advice my chance of getting admit to GSB or HBS.

        Please let me know if you need any further information and thanks a lot in advance.

        • Linda Abraham

          I think that both programs are stretch programs for you. You have much more experience than the typical HBS and Stanford students and your academic stats are on the low side for both program.

          Look into the Stanford MSx for Experienced Leaders, MIT Sloan’s Fellows programs, or London Business School’s Sloan Fellows programs. All these programs are for more experienced people who want to move from middle management to senior management roles.

          I have interview recently for our podcast the directors of the MIT and Stanford programs. Check them out.