Kellogg 2015 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines

In September 2014, Kellogg “rebranded” itself and moved away from the more obscure “Think Bravely,” which was difficult to wrap your mind around. It’s returning to its traditional core values or at least to a more concrete mission: “Inspiring growth.” The video below explores and clarifies this mission as well as the values Kellogg holds dear. I highly recommend that you watch it to grasp understand Kellogg’s fundamental principles. 

A couple of key takeaways from the video: Kellogg seeks individuals who:

  • Have a growth mindset (for details, please see Caroline Dweck’s Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, one of my favorite books).
  • Work well in a collaborative environment while striving to grow individually and at the same time inspiring growth in individuals, organizations, and markets.


 Resilience. Perseverance. Grit. Call it what you will…. Challenges can build character. Describe a challenging experience you’ve had. How were you tested? What did you learn? (450 words)

A perfect prompt for an essay showing that you take responsibility for your actions — even in challenging situations — and that you courageously face those challenges, deal with them, and grow from them.

The question asks you to describe one experience that you found challenging. I suggest you open with either a difficult moment or interaction, then describe what led up to it and continue with how you dealt with it. Reveal results both in terms of the situation and more importantly in terms of your personal character growth.

For more thoughts on resilience, please see Resilience: Moving On.

 Leadership requires an ability to collaborate with and motivate others. Describe a professional experience that required you to influence people. What did this experience teach you about working with others, and how will it make you a better leader? (450 words)

This question reflects Kellogg’s emphasis on collaborative leadership. As in question 1, Kellogg is asking you to describe one experience. This time  the school seeks a professional one where you influenced others. You can use a STAR framework for this response (Situation, Task, Action, Results). Start with the situation and simply describe what was going on. Then relate your group’s task and responsibility. How did you motivate the others to move in one direction? How did you influence and persuade? Finally what were the results for the group, but more importantly for you? What did you learn about leadership, collaboration, and influence?

While it isn’t a requirement and I can imagine instances where this may not be true, in general examples where you led by virtue of your stature and others’ respect for you will be more compelling than those where you led by virtue of station and title. 

Re-Applicants Only: Since your previous application, what steps have you taken to strengthen your candidacy? (250 word limit)

No trick questions here. How are you a better candidate today than when Kellogg rejected you? Have you addressed weaknesses in your previous application? Check out MBA Reapplicant 101 — a lot of (free) resources. 

Additional Information (Optional): If needed, use this section to briefly describe any extenuating circumstances (e.g. unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, etc.) (no word count)

This is a true optional question If necessary, use it to provide context for possible negatives. Take responsibility for mistakes if necessary and discuss what you have changed so that you don’t err in the same way again.

Keep this section short and to-the-point. Don’t be fooled by “No word count.”

Video Essay: 

The Video Essays provide applicants with an additional opportunity to demonstrate what they will bring to our vibrant Kellogg community – in an interactive way. Each applicant will complete two short video essay questions. The questions are designed to bring to life the person we have learned about on paper.

 • After submitting a completed application, each applicant will be asked to complete two Video Essay Questions. One will be about the candidate’s interest in Kellogg and the other will be a “getting to know you” type of question.

 • There are 10 practice questions which candidates can complete as many times as they like to get comfortable with the format and technology. The practice questions and experience will simulate the actual video essay experience, so this is meant to be a useful tool and help applicants feel prepared.

 • There is not an opportunity to re-do the answer to the official video essay questions. We encourage applicants to practice so they are comfortable with the format once it is time to complete the official questions.

 • Candidates will have 20 seconds to think about their question and up to 1 minute to give their response.

• We estimate the Video Essays will take 30 minutes to complete – which includes time for set-up and answering all the practice questions.

To prepare for your webcam session, you need to practice for the experience of talking to a video camera with no responses from another human being. For tips on how to prepare and behave during the webcam session, please see Kellogg’s “Video Essay” on its Application Components page as well as my Tips for Video MBA Essay Questions.

If you would like professional guidance with your Kellogg 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 Kellogg application. 

Kellogg 2015 MBA Application Deadlines:

Round     . Due Date*            . Decisions Released
Round 1 September 24, 2014 December 17, 2014
Round 2 January 7, 2015 March 25, 2015
Round 3 April 1, 2015 May 13, 2015

*Your application must be received by Kellogg no later than 5p.m. CT on the deadline for the round in which you are applying.

MBA Admissions A-Z: 26 Great Tips - Download your free copy!

Linda Abraham By , president and founder of and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.

  • Linda Abraham

    If any readers would like a profile evaluation for Kellogg, please provide the following info:

    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.

    • T.D.

      (What are my chances here and in the other top 5 MBA programs excluding Harvard, thanks!)

      1. Formulating creative analytics and holistic solutions surrounding financial, strategic, and business development decisions for executive leadership at a 10 billion dollar integrated payor-provider healthcare system. (Started as an associate, 2 yr Financial rotation program, and now a Sr Analyst)
      2. 710 (50 quant/ 37 verbal)
      3. Grove City 2011 3.7 GPA B.S. in Finance
      4. Varsity Golf Captain, Vice President of Social Fraternity, Supporting 2 Entrepreneur Start-Ups, Led system-wide volunteering events at current employer which totaled 1000 volunteer hours.
      5. Six Sigma Green Belt Certified Katz Business School
      6.Earning my MBA will be the foot in the door I need
      to secure a consultant role in Bain’s Strategy group. Will deploy
      my honed management skills and innate analytical abilities to solve the
      toughest challenges facing c-suite healthcare executives around the world.
      After two years move to their Private Equity Group. Want to bring inspired
      individuals together to reengineer and transform healthcare to become the
      consumer-driven yet altruistic industry it can be.

      • Linda Abraham

        You have a shot and a lot going for you,so do apply, but I think Kellogg is a stretch because of your verbal score and GPA, which is excellent but is not from a top-ranked program. Your work experience and extra-curriculars are strong. The same is true for the other top 5 programs, with the possible exception of Wharton. i encourage you to apply to Wharton because you are close and you would be a good fit for their Healthcare Management Program. Also consider Yale and Duke’s MBA programs as well as Ross and Darden, which send a lot of grads in to consulting.


    • Shan

      I am interested in applying for 1 yr MBA programs. Kellogg, Cornell, Emory, MSMS @MIT. I am from India.

      1) Working as a Research Engineer for the past 1.6 years in a niche tech based startup into Tech Forecasting (Only experience excluding 9 months of internships)
      2) GRE – quant 95% verbal 61%
      3) Undergraduate – Engineering -8.81/10 Gold medalist (2011)
      Graduate – Masters in Management (Tech management)- 7.2/8 (Highest grades) (2013)
      4) Robotics – won several inter university championships, free style dancing – won several inter university championships
      Served in the NSS for 2 years (community service) and a volunteer guest faculty at an engineers training institute. Trained more than 100 students.
      5) Published 16 credit thesis, 1 int research paper, 1 conf research paper (All related to tech management and forecasting)
      6) Would like to get into a strategic RnD management role in order to gain experience in launching a tech forecasting product based startup in the coming future.

      Considering all the above points will having only 2 years of work-ex be a con ? How should i pitch to the 1 yr adcoms ?

      • Linda Abraham

        Since you already have the MS in Mgmt, why do you want an MBA?

    • AKoepke

      Hi Linda-

      I am planning to apply to the Kellogg part-time program this fall. Could you please evaluate my profile?

      1) A total of 4.5 years in corporate finance and financial services. I am currently an Associate on a transaction team at a commercial lender originating large debt facilities in the specialty finance space.
      2)710 GMAT (42 Verbal 96%, 45 Quant 68%)
      3) University of Wisconsin Madison, 3.7 GPA, finance and investment banking, December 2009.
      4) JDRF young leadership committee
      5) Passed Level I of CFA
      6) Post MBA I would like to build an alternative asset manager specializing in debt investments in the specialty finance space.


      • Linda Abraham


        You have a competitive profile for the Kellogg PT program.


  • Linda Abraham


    Linda Abraham

    COMPREHENSIVE & SUCCINCT: *MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools* (written with Judy Gruen)

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  • Linda Abraham


    All these programs are stretch programs, particularly Kellogg and Stanford, where your GMAT, especially the quant, is an issue. At the same time, your experience and background are very impressive. Do apply to these programs including INSEAD and LBS, but also consider programs like UNC, Johns Hopkins, Rutgers, HEC where your chances of acceptance are much higher and that also have strength either in marketing and/or in healthcare. And continue to take steps to improve your quant skills, as you have done with the excel course. Check out .


    • hameed khan

      Hi Linda,

      Thank you so much for your comments- really appreciate it.

      I would request your opinion on two more queries- in case I don’t get through any of the ‘stretch’ schools, do you think I should settle for ‘possible/likely’ schools like HEC, NUS, IE, Oxford / Cambidge or should I retake my GMAT aiming for a higher Quant score and reapply to the stretch schools next year (I would have 7 years of work-ex by when I reapply)?

      Also, do you think Columbia is highly unlikely with my GMAT score or is it worthwhile to give it a shot?

      Thanks in advance,

      • Linda Abraham

        Regarding your question about “settling”: That depends on how likely you feel it is that you can raise your GMAT score. If it is very likely and you feel that the enhanced network and brand of the more elite schools is important to achieving your goals, then yes retake and wait, or apply R2.

        I think CBS is very unlikely with your current score.

        • hameed khan

          Thank you so much Linda.

  • Amit

    Dear Linda,

    Please assess my profile for the colleges in USA.

    nationality : India

    GMAT – 670 ( Q: 49 , V: 31 )

    Undergraduate Degree : Engineering, Computer Science – 70%

    NGO experience

    – 3 years with TechMahindra Foundation (2011-2014)

    – 6 Months with SAHARA NGO for a government program (July 2010- Dec 2010)

    Total professional work exp ( as of 31/12/2014 ) – 4 years

    Current designation : manager – Business development for a 3 billion dollar IT Company

    Looks after and heads the Mobility Business of the company in North India region of 2.3 Million USD.

    Worked in IT delivery for close to 2 years for British Telecom Client and received several appreciation letters from clients.

    Worked as a member of the canteen committee in the company for almost 2 years.

    Was among a selected few (only 29) from 85,000 employees through a rigorous selection process for the Sales role in the organization.

    Led the team of 4 people in the IT support project as a team lead

    Acted as a RCA champion for the platform/project.

    Received several certificates in quiz at College level

    Received scholarship from Indian railway for my Academic performance in undergraduate college.

    Please let me know what would be my target colleges. Since i dont have good financial backup required for USA MBA, i am only looking for colleges that provides a Non us co-signer student loan to International Students.

    Please help.


    Amit Kumar

    • Linda Abraham

      What do you want to do after your MBA?

      • Amit

        I would like to work in the consulting or sales field for some years and then would start my own firm.

        • Linda Abraham


          I do not believe you have a competitive profile for Kellogg. Also realize that the elite consulting firms will want to see a higher GMAT as will the higher ranked MBA programs. Your work experience is good. Consider Foster, Boston College, Emory, Vanderbilt, and Kelley.


  • AD

    1) worked in product development for financial services, then marketing strategy consulting, now in edtech (3.5 years out of college)
    2) GMAT 770 (99th) Q50 (92nd) V45 (99th)
    3) NYU Stern, 3.5 GPA, Marketing 2011
    4) On Board of Directors (title: director of operations) of education non-profit
    5) —
    6) work in tech product management short term, start edtech venture long term

    by the way, i’m specifically interested in the MMM program

    • Linda Abraham


      You have a competitive profile for the MMM progrm. You may also want to consider MIT’s LGO . Other MBA programs to consider Stanford, Wharton, and Haas.


  • Sam

    Hello Linda,

    I am considering applying to Kellogg in Round 2 this year and would appreciate your feedback.

    1) 5 years in international marketing and business development for a large Indian conglomerate involved in oil, gas and energy. Developed and handled largest key accounts in North and South America. Led teams that executed strategic tie ups resulting in the launch of several new business lines. Partnered with MBB to develop a strategic expansion plan for the business, my teams recommendations are currently being implemented. Promoted 3 times in 5 years, youngest in the company’s 40 year history to occupy the current role.

    2) GMAT 750 (98%ile) / Q49 (79) V44 (99) IR 8 (92)

    3) Mumbai University, India. GPA 3.8 (Ranked 1st in class) Production Engineering. Graduated in 2009

    4) Some months trying to found a start up that did some business but never really took off. Shelved the project.

    5) None

    6) Work with MBB in their energy practices

    Also considering MIT and Ross. Please comment


    • Linda Abraham

      You have a competitive profile for your target programs including Kellogg. MIT and Ross are excellent options. You may also want to consider Duke and UT Austin.

      If you would like help with your applications, please let me know.



      • Sam

        Thank You Linda,

        I will surely get in touch if I need assistance.


  • Danny Walsh

    Linda, Please provide a profile evaluation for Kellogg, UofC- Booth, Michigan and others you see fit. THANKS!

    1)1.5 years at a global Insurance Brokerage Firm performing risk management and consulting on Large Law Firm’s malpractice insurance limits. 2.5 Years at a Large Medical Device company as a sales rep with the spinal device team. Work in Operating Rooms with neuro and ortho surgeons to develop operative plans for specific patient needs. Started as an Associate and have been promoted to a junior rep and now a senior rep/territory manager. Manage a 9 hospital territory, overseeing a junior representative, 2 associates and 2 clinical specialists. Have grown territory revenue almost 20% over prior year.
    2) GMAT: Q: 49 V: 38 (Both above 80% with a 92% overall).
    3) College info: Yale University 2011: 3.53GPA; Major: Political Science
    4) Varsity Football Player at Yale; Big Brothers Big Sisters Mentor in College; Alumni Interviewer; Yale Football Mentoring Program Mentor in which I have been paired with an incoming Freshman footballer and communicate on a weekly basis to provide insight/advice on life at Yale, football and the job recruiting/networking process.
    6) An MBA will help open doors into strategy consulting. After a couple years with a large firm (MBB) I hope to return to healthcare and work with hospital system management to develop more efficient, money saving strategies.

  • JK

    I’m applying to HBS, GSB, Wharton, Haas, Kellogg, Sloan (all in R2). What are my chances of getting accepted? Any other schools I should apply?

    1) Worked for 5 years full time in architecture firm as a designer/ theatre consultant.
    2) 730 (96%) M 50 (89%) V 39 (88%)
    3) UC Berkeley- BA in Architecture (2006) GPA- 3.5; UCLA- MA in Urban Planning (2011) GPA-3.62
    4) Initiated and led a ‘cultural walking tour’ in immigrant based community- to foster interaction among multicultural residents and to promote the community to potential visitors.
    5) none-working towards architect’s license.
    6) Business consultant at Cisco or IBM, the pioneer companies in creating ‘smart cities.’ The industry is new but promising. According to Cisco’s study, the industry will generate 1.9$ billion in next decade. I can contribute to companies with my architect/urban planner’s perspective + technology management skills gained from MBA programs.


    • Linda Abraham


      You have a competitive profile for all the programs on your list and are applying appropriately. You may also want to consider Columbia or MIT.


  • Rajeev

    Hi Linda,
    Please assess my profile. Looking to apply to – Kellogg, Haas, MIT

    1) 7.5 years of overall experience in internet technology. Out of that 4 years in Product management in growth stage startups in India. Currently in product management in one of India’s booming ecommerce company (Series D funded).
    2) 750 – 98% (V-40/91%, Q-51/97%)
    3) Government college – Engineering’ 2007 passout (GPA- 3.0/5)
    4) Played multiple sports at competitive levels – State, India Nationals etc, Nominated for United Nations online volunteering awards (Volunteered online for 2 African NGOs), Mentored startups for Nasscom (India’s leading government body)
    5) Nothing major
    6) Take a business leadership role in a growing early stage startup and then transition to tech VC in 2-3 years.

    • Linda Abraham

      You are applying appropriately and have a competitive profile for your target schools. Also consider Stanford, UCLA, and Wharton.


  • Krishna Somani

    1.Working in the UK as a financial consultant for a major banking client
    2. GMAT 710 (QA- 49, V-37)
    3. BIT MESRA, GPA- 7.22/10 , Honors- Distiction, year of grad- 2012

    4. Extra currics- Volunteer for a NGO for education of children, public speaking and organising annual college festivals during graduation years.
    5.CFA Level 3 cleared in 2014
    6.Work as portfolio/fund manager for major hedge fund/bank or in mergers & acquisitions.

    • Krishna Somani

      Graduation in Engineering

      • Linda Abraham


        Kellogg is a significant stretch.

        Consider Cornell Johnson, Yale, UNC, UT Austin, and UCLA.


  • sanchit

    Hi Linda,

    I am planning to apply for 1 Year MBA program at Kellogg. Please help me understand my chances for the program. Also, do let me know if you feel there are other programs that I can apply to ( I will prefer a 1 year program)

    1) At the time of matriculation, I will have 8 years of total work experience (6 years after MBA and 2 years prior to MBA). Currently working with a sector focussed PE fund in India and prior to this was working with an International financial institution in Equity Research role.

    One downside to this – I will be 32 years old this December end.

    2) GMAT score –
    Overall – 720 (94 percentile)
    Verbal – 40 (91%)
    Quant – 49 (79%)
    AWA – 5 (60%)
    IR – 6 (67%)

    3) College – MBA from Top B school in India and prior to that BE from top engineering college in India. Decent GPA…nothing great but not bad either

    4) Decent extracurricular activities and have been very active in social programs

    5) I am CFA charterholder since 2013

    6) Post MBA goal – Looking to work in Asset Management or Equity Research roles

    Do let me know your views on my chances.
    In addition to Kellogg, I plan to apply for INSEAD

    • Linda Abraham

      Also consider LBS.

      First, realize that you need to confirm that Kellogg (or any other program) will consider you given that you already have an MBA. some won’t.

      If they will, then be prepared to explain what their program will do for you that your past MBA has not done. And the answer can’t be brand.

      Your age and level of experience is an issue. Consider also Columbia, Booth, and Wharton.


  • anon2

    Hi Linda, curious as to how you see my profile:

    1. 4.5 years working for major investment bank in municipal securities. Currently an associate
    2. 760 (99th)
    3. UC Santa Barbara: 3.6 GPA. Major: Financial Mathematics and Statistics
    4. Captain of Soccer team in college.
    5. FINRA Series 7, 63 and 79
    6. Begin working for a PE firm to gain the skills needed to help a start up firm succeed.

    Thank you much

    • Linda Abraham

      You have a competitive profile for Kellogg. Also consider HBS, Columbia, Wharton, and Stanford.

  • jss

    Linda, would love your feedback:
    1) work experience: 6 yrs of various global marketing roles for small educational tech firms, continued to grow in leadership positions. Currently direct sm marketing team in fast growing startup (I’ve grown the brand & all marketing initiatives from the ground up, our company size has grown 10x and customer size 5x). Formerly led marketing campaigns in German & English for international clients.
    2) GMAT: 720 (94%) — 47 Quant (70%), 41 Verbal (93%)
    3) UNC Chapel Hill, Kenan-Flagler undergraduate program, 3.74 GPA (2008 graduate)
    4) College: VP of GA for AKPsi coed business fraternity, financed school completely through work & internships. Post-college: volunteered for 5 yrs for food non-profit in marketing & education roles. Led culinary immersion trip in France (did minor social media marketing for the program).
    5) no certifications. Fluent in German, conversationally and for business.
    6) post MBA goal: lead global marketing team in large multinational organization with recognizable brand.

    • Linda Abraham


      Your work experience is strong and the international aspect of it will be very attractive. I’m a little concerned about your quant score — less so if you have a good quant grades as a undergrad. Your goal makes sense for Kellogg. Also consider Ross, Duke, Columbia, Tuck, and Wharton.


  • Yun Greene

    Dear Linda,

    All ears to your thoughts –

    1) F500 Asia Pacific regional office 3 years, promoted to business process manager supervising market sizing, strategic planning and business process integration;
    2) GMAT Q 97% V 91%
    GRE Q 92% V 98%
    3) USST & U of North Dakota dual BBA, GPA 3.5;
    4) Gold medal, best speaker – Int’l Entrepreneurial Debate Competition 2011;
    SIFE World Cup 5th place – presenter, project manager;
    5) None
    6) Marketing in health care industry – Asia Pacific Region

    • Linda Abraham

      Yun Greene,

      You have a competitive profile for Kellogg, although your work experience is on the low side. You seem to have done a lot in those 3 years.

      Also consider Wharton, Duke, Columiba, and Haas.


      • Yun Greene

        Dear Linda,
        Thanks for the helpful advice. Merry Christmas in advance!

        • Linda Abraham

          Thanks. Same to you.

      • Yun Greene

        Hey Linda,
        The alternatives you proposed were exactly the same as mine. Christmas miracle!

  • Lisa Ramirez

    Hi Linda,
    I’ll really appreciate your feedback. I am applying to the Stern, Kellogg and Booth Part Time MBA programs. I am eligible to apply to Kellogg’s Accelerated PT MBA program as well.
    1) 3.5 years working at a consulting firm that specializes in the retail space
    2) 660
    3) BA in Economics and Spanish from UVA 2010, GPA 3.3; MS in Commerce with a concentration in Marketing and Management from UVA, GPA 3.67
    4) At work: Director of UVA recruiting, Peer Advisor, Leader of KNOW (women’s group),
    5) Certified in Prosci Change Management
    6) Remain at my firm, but be better positioned to become more of a leader at my firm (goal is to make it to Partner, and then move into a strategy group of a retailer and move up from there)

    • Linda Abraham


      As I’m sure you realize your quant score is low, but given your URM stats + your achievements, professional progression, and grad GPA with relevant coursework, you have a competitive profile.

      You may want to address why you need an MBA given that you have a MS in Commerce from UVA.


  • K-Pil

    Thanks Linda for your efforts. I am applying for Booth Weekend MBA program, spring 2015. Can you please evaluate my profile.

    1) 5 years of experience as a structural engineering at an engineering firm supplying nuclear grade air conditioners to nuclear plants around the world.
    2) GMAT: 670 (83%ile), Quantitative Score: 47 (68%ile), Verbal
    Score: 35 (76%ile)
    GRE (taken 8 years ago) : 1460, Quantitative Score: 800 (92%ile), Verbal Score: 660 (93%ile)

    3) Educational Background:
    The Ohio State University (OSU) Columbus, Ohio
    Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering, GPA: 3.88 (4.00 scale), June, 2009

    Indian School of Mines (ISM) Dhanbad, India
    Bachelor of Technology in Mechanical Engineering, GPA: 4.20 (5.00 scale)
    April 2006

    4) ·

    -Professional Member- Ohio Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE)

    -One of the 10 nationally selected canvass group
    ballot member of Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National
    Association (SMACNA) for approval of Round Industrial Duct Construction
    Standards, 3rd Edition as an American National Standard. July 2013

    – Volunteer-Engineers without Borders.
    – Worked with a team six experts to design a bio-gas digester (700 cubic feet volume) to be installed in Busesa, Uganda for converting animal waste into useful biogas.

    – Volunteer-Habitat for Humanity.

    -Team Captain-Cricket Club,
    -Professional Member-American Society of Mechanical Engineers

    5) Professional Engineer License, PE Ohio

    6) Advance career within engineering field. Aiming for engineering director position in the company.

    Linda, Is the GMAT score too low, should I retake it ? Also, my essay score is 3.5 badly does it impact my chances ?

    • Linda Abraham

      Your quant score is low, but you have all kinds of evidence that you can do the math both through your work and your education. Certainly a higher score wouldn’t hurt, but I don’t think you have to retake in order to apply. If you don’t get in, then retake.

      The AWA is unfortunate, but again I wouldn’t retake the GMAT because of this AWA score. Ask your recommenders to comment positively on your communications and writing ability (without mentioning the AWA). Obviously, submit well-written essays.


  • T.T

    Hi Linda,
    i want to apply this year , unfortunately that doesn´t give me enought time to retake the gmat but i would love your feedback. I would like to apply to Kellog.
    1)Responsible for credit card campaigns at the second largest bank in the country.Launch diverse campaigns (mass campaigns and for selected groups of people) so our customers choose to use our credit card instead of one of other banks.
    current: Credit card Campaign Management Specialist
    Country: Peru
    Total professional work exp: 5 years

    2) 590 /58%
    AW: 5.0 /60%
    IR: 3 /25%

    3) Universidad del Pacifico.
    Grade average: 14.41(grade scale from 0-20)
    Major: Business
    Year of graduation: 2009

    ESAn – Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
    Grade average: 15.7 (grade scale from 0-20)
    Marketing diploma course
    year of graduation: 2011

    4) Significant college and post-college extra-curricular activities or community service, especially leadership experience.
    College: financed school through work & internships.
    post college: coach to family business from 2009 to 2011 (start-up)
    5) –
    6) Marketing in banking industry


    • Linda Abraham

      I really think you should prepare again, retake, and then apply. Perus doesn’t send tons of applicants to Kellogg. Your experience is good, You say you also have good extra-curriculars and leadership. But that quant score is really low for a school like Kellogg. I’m not that familiar with the 20-point grading scale, but it seems that your grades are solid albeit not exceptional. I really think you need a higher GMAT to be competitive.

      Your other option is to apply R2 with this score and hope for the best. If accepted, fantastic. If not accepted, you then retake and reapply R1 next year and also apply to a broader range of schools.


  • Shan

    I am interested in applying for 1 yr MBA programs. Kellogg, Cornell, Emory, MSMS @MIT. I am from India.
    1) Working as a Research Engineer for the past 1.6 years in a niche tech based startup into Tech Forecasting (Only experience excluding 9 months of internships)
    2) GRE – quant 95% verbal 61%
    3) Undergraduate – Engineering -8.81/10 Gold medalist (2011)
    Graduate – Masters in Management (Tech management)- 7.2/8 (Highest grades) (2013)
    4) Robotics – won several inter university championships, free style dancing – won several inter university championships
    Served in the NSS for 2 years (community service) and a volunteer guest faculty at an engineers training institute. Trained more than 100 students.
    5) Published 16 credit thesis, 1 int research paper, 1 conf research paper (All related to tech management and forecasting)
    6) Would like to get into a strategic RnD management role in order to gain experience in launching a tech forecasting product based startup in the coming future.
    Considering all the above points will having only 2 years of work-ex be a con ? How should i pitch to the 1 yr adcoms ?

    • Shan

      AWA – 5/6 93%

      • Linda Abraham


        I’m sorry I missed your post earlier. I’m not sure if my reply matters to you any more, but here goes..

        Yes, having only two years of work experience is a negative. You need to show that you have grown and accomplished in these two years what others do in 3, 4, and 5 years.

        Please see .


  • TAS

    Hi Linda,

    Really great blog. I’m applying to Kellogg, Wharton, UNC and Georgetown.

    1) 1.5 years at the world’s largest entertainment talent agency (annual revenues ~ 500MM), working in the Motion Picture department, representing celebrity writers/directors/producers/etc.. Will have 6 months (.5 years) experience at family investment banking firm prior to matriculation.

    2) Q: 48 (79%) V: 45 (99%) Total: 740 (97%), perfect scores in AWA & IR

    3) UNC-Chapel Hill, 3.6 GPA, Class of 2013, History & PWAD Double Major, Entrepreneurship Minor

    4) Various leadership positions in entertainment industry at my level.

    5) Nothing of note

    6) Personal statement is desire to enhance financial acumen and skills, to be able to integrate back into family business and help lead deep into the 21st century. Focus on further expanding global footprint and how to break our M&A practice into other industries (currently just work in a niche market/1 industry).

    • Linda Abraham


      Thanks for the feedback.

      Your academics are competitive at your target schools. I think lack of work experience however makes Kellogg and Wharton into stretch programs. You are more competitive at UNC and Geogetown because your experience is distinctive and your stats are above average for those two programs.


      • TAS

        Thanks Linda, that was my suspicion as well! I just got into UNC round 2 admission, so relieved to have that option.

        Do you have any opinion on my chances on a school like Tuck Round 3? Any other good Round 3 options in this wheelhouse?

        Thanks again!

        • Linda Abraham

          You might try Chicago Booth, UCLA Anderson, or CMU Tepper all a little friendlier to early career applicants. Columbia may also be a little more receptive. But it’s still round 3 and I’m hearing about increased application volume which will make R3 harder. I think Tuck would give you serious consideration, but again, it’s R3.


  • Indian Female

    Hi Linda, I have applied to a few schools (Foster, Anderson, A&M Mays, Marshall) this year and have heard back from Mays & Foster so far. However, when I applied, I had a 640 GMAT. Now that I’ve improved some elements of my profile, I believe I may have a better chance applying in Round 1 of the 2015-16 application cycle. I would really appreciate your inputs on my profile and your opinion on whether I should take the offer from Foster / Mays this year or wait for the next year – if I have a better shot.

    I would really like to apply to Anderson (again) / Kellogg MMM / Harvard.

    My profile –

    1) 1.5 years as Account Manager for an advertising firm, almost 2 years as Risk Consultant at Deloitte (from Oct 2013 – present) {Also have 3.5 years as an audit intern at a local audit firm). Planning to change jobs soon before the R1 application deadlines though.

    2) Your GMAT or GRE. Percentiles preferred. – 760 (Q50 V43) {Although this was my 4th attempt}

    3) College info: University of Mumbai (Bachelors in Commerce, 2011) – around 67% which comes to First class (grade A – 3-3.5 not entirely sure though) ; Masters of Commerce, 2014 (Accounting degree) – around 67% (3.5 GPA I think)

    4) Started an online dance academy while in college and offered lessons to people all over the world. Also diversified to another form of dancing and recruited 3 teachers to offer lessons, I write 2 niche blogs (1 of which is consistently ranked as a top blog & have increased readership to over 1.5 million), registered trademark for the brand, have written and sold 1 eBook through the blog (has been bought over 1500 times), launched 2 android apps, employ 2 interns to manage social media analytics for my online brands, guest blogger for Huffington Post India, Volunteer at a local NGO and have taught lessons to over 100 kids, organized multiple fundraisers for various local charity causes, launched an online tutor academy and offer free/subsidized classes for low income students of Chartered Accountancy curriculum along with a couple of friends.

    5) CA (Chartered Accountant), May 2013. Also planning to clear CFA Level I in June 2015 (although I don’t want to be in core finance, I do love financial management as a subject and believe it is necessary for me to be a well rounded leader and a future CEO)

    6) Short term – move to internet / digital media industry in a strategist / business development / product management role.

    • Linda Abraham

      I rarely give this advice, but based on what you wrote above, I’d advise reapplying next year with the higher score.

      Then apply to a range of schools. Include Kellogg MMM, HBS, Anderson, Marshall, and maybe also Duke and Cornell Tech.


  • Nancy

    Hi Linda –

    Your advice seems very realistic and helpful! Would you mind assessing my profile as well?
    1) currently working in strategic sourcing at a major multinational consumer packaged goods company. I will have about 3 years under my belt by the time I apply, including a promotion and increased responsibility globally.
    2) GMAT: 750
    3) Top tier US University (top 10 for engineering) – BS Chemical Engineering with a 3.02 GPA. Graduated in 4 years in 2013.
    4) Founder and president of two prominent organizations on campus in college, currently business volunteer for the arts (pro bono consulting for non-profit organizations), and taking on leadership roles within affinity groups at my company.
    5) none.
    6) post-MBA goals include assuming a leadership role in a strategic division at a large company. Preferably in Tech or CPG.

    • Linda Abraham


      Thanks for the feedback. Sure.

      First a couple of questions:

      1) There is a disconnect between your GPA and GMAT. Any reason for the below average (for top ten programs) GPA?
      2) Were there any trends to your GPA while in college?


      • Nancy

        Hi Linda –

        Thanks for your response! Here are my answers to your follow-up questions below:

        1) It was a mix of different factors. I was not passionate enough about my field of study, and unfortunately realized that too late into my college career. I also had a very personally difficult time my sophomore fall – I took too many difficult classes and didn’t know what I was getting myself into, and was suffering from some personal issues that took focus away from my studies. I was also extremely dedicated to my extra-curricular activities at the time and still was after that drop (when I founded an organization and built it from scratch while in school, etc).
        2) Sophomore fall definitely took a hit on my GPA the most. Since then, there has generally been an upward trend – with about 1-2 more hits to my GPA with 1-2 more difficult classes in my engineering curriculum.

        I hope that the above helps! Thanks so much again! Looking forward to your response.

        • Linda Abraham


          The question is going to boil down to whether the programs will be willing to overlook the GPA in light of everything else that is positive. That will depend on how well you present the compelling aspects of your profile as well as on application volume when you apply.

          Kellogg is a stretch, but give it a try. You have a better chance just outside the 10 or in its lower ranks. Consider Duke (yes I know about BW), Ross, Darden, Haas, Yale, and Tuck.

          Please see MBA Admissions A-Z: U is for Undergrad Grades.


          • Nancy

            Hi Linda –

            I appreciate your transparency. I am planning on giving Kellogg and Booth a shot, realizing that they are both stretch (but dream) schools. I am also planning on enrolling in a pre-MBA program at one of the top schools (should I get accepted) – do you think that this would paint a better picture with regards to how well I can handle my academics in a field I am passionate about/interested in?

            Many thanks,

          • Linda Abraham

            Kellogg and Booth are fine, but also apply to some of the other programs I mentioned (or be prepared to reapply) in the event you aren’t accepted to them. Dreams do sometimes come true, but not always. :-)

            I don’t think those plans are as convincing as something you have already done. it doesn’t show how you can handle academics in a field that you are passionate about until they accept you. That’s a little late…

            Take some classes now or over the summer. Graded classes in a classroom would be better, but if that doesn’t work with your schedule, take MOOCs. Show the passion by making time for it.


          • Nancy

            Your advice makes complete sense – I have been looking into Yale and Haas actually, so I am glad I am not completely off track with my goals!

            The pre-MBA programs I am looking into consist of courses that are actually graded – would that change or alter your advice on me taking advantage of the pre-MBA program? There are local universities that I can attend, but I am afraid that the “caliber” of the classes will not match up with the rigor that top schools would offer – not sure which would help me more?


          • Linda Abraham


            The problem with the programs that you’re talking is not their quality (they’re good!), but the timing. If you only take them after you are accepted, then you’re not able to show the ability to perform in a relevant academic environment until after they’ve evaluated you. Now if I misunderstood and you’ll take these programs and earn the grades BEFORE you apply, that entirely changes my advice.

            Regarding local college, your competition also earned their grades at colleges of all different calibers. Your GMAT shows you have the raw talent. Your GPA may cause some to doubt if you have the self-discipline and interest to excel in academia. Earning A’s now shows that you know how to do it.

            At the same time, if your grades were really strong let’s say in the last year and you also provide context for the sophomore dip and take responsibility for what may not have been the wisest choices, you may not need the recent A’s. Still they certainly wouldn’t hurt you.