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 you 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.


  • Linda Abraham


    Linda Abraham

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

    Subscribe to our blog – Join us on Facebook – Follow us on Twitter – Connect on LinkedIn

  • 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.