Kellogg 2016 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines

In September 2014, Kellogg “rebranded” itself and adopted a more concrete (and in my opinion better) mission statement: “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 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.

Kellogg also changed both its questions this year and #2 certainly reflects the new emphasis on growth.

My tips are in blue below.

Essays:

1.
 Leadership and teamwork are integral parts of the Kellogg experience. Describe a recent and meaningful time you were a leader. What challenges did you face, and what did you learn? (450 words)

First things first: Kellogg is asking for ONE experience. Not more. It also reflects Kellogg’s belief that teamwork and leadership go hand-in-hand. Unlike last year’s similar essay question, Kellogg is not limiting your professional settings. You do have the option to use a non-professional leadership experience.

 You can use a STAR framework for this response (Situation, Task, Action, Results). Start with the situation and simply describe what was situation/problem/opportunity you were asked to respond to. Then relate your group’s task and your 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? And 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, 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. 

2.
 Pursuing an MBA is a catalyst for personal and professional growth. How have you grown in the past? How do you intend to grow at Kellogg? (450 words)

This is a difficult question that should provide Kellogg with real insight into the individuals applying to its MBA program. Before responding do your homework on the Kellogg program and what you want to do after you leave Kellogg. The latter will tell you how you want to grow and the former will tell you how you will do so at Kellogg.

First think about the times you have grown either professionally or personally. Which of those instances would you like Kellogg to know about? Ideally the event you choose to focus on will relate in some way to the growth you want to have at Kellogg.

Then reflect on how you intend to grow while at Kellogg. I think this the strong answer to this question will really go beyond mere skill acquisition, although that can be part of your response. How are you going to take advantage of what Kellogg offers to become more like the people in the video: able to see opportunity when faced with challenge, to envision a beautiful finished structure when staring at a bare shell, and to harness your emotional intelligence and acquired skills to lead collaboratively and with clarity of purpose? 

Certain applicants will respond to additional questions:

Dual-degree applicants: For applicants to the MMM or JD-MBA dual degree programs, please explain why that program is right for you. (250 words)

A straight-forward response is required here.  What do you want to do that requires both degrees? Why is this joint program the right one to fill in the gaps in your education and take you to a point where you can go down your desired professional path.

Re-applicants: 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. 

All applicants have the opportunity to provide explanations or clarification in Additional Information:

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 15-20 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 2016 MBA Application Deadlines:

Round     . Due Date*            . Decisions Released
Round 1 September 22, 2015 December 16, 2015
Round 2 January 6, 2016 March 23, 2016
Round 3 April 6, 2016 May 11, 2016

*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 Accepted.com 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.

Related Resources:

• 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your MBA Application Essays [Free Guide]
• 2016 School-Specific MBA Application Essay Tips
• Optional Essays: When and How to Write Them [Short Video]

Top Ranked Part-Time MBAs

The U.S. News has released its list of the top-ranked part time MBA programs.

Here are the top 10:

Are you using the rankings correctly?1. UC Berkeley (Haas)

2. U Chicago (Booth)

3. Northwestern (Kellogg)

4. NYU (Stern)

5. UCLA (Anderson)

6. U Michigan (Ross)

7 (tie). Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)

7 (tie). U Texas- Austin (McCombs)

9. Ohio State (Fisher)

10 (tie). U Minnesota- Twin Cities (Carlson)

10 (tie). USC (Marshall)

For the full list and details of the ranking methodology, visit the rankings. We offer comprehensive consulting services for both full- and part-time MBA applicants!

Are You Misusing the B-School Rankings?
Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

• Ace the EMBA
• Tips for Applying to Part-time MBA Programs
• The MBA Family: A Roundup and Overview

U.S. News 2016 Best Graduate Business Schools

U.S. News released its graduate school rankings today. Let’s see how our top b-schools fared…

Top 20 U.S. B-Schools – 2016

Visit our b-school zone page for info on the top business schools.1. Stanford GSB (1)
2. Harvard Business School (1)
3. UPenn Wharton (1)
4. Chicago Booth (4)
5. MIT Sloan (5)
6. Northwestern Kellogg (6)
7. UC Berkeley Haas (7)
8. Columbia Business School (8)
9. Dartmouth Tuck (9)
10. UVA Darden (11)
11. NYU Stern (10)
11. Michigan Ross (11)
13. Duke Fuqua (14)
13. Yale SOM (13)
15. UCLA Anderson (16)
16. Cornell Johnson (17)
17. Texas McCombs (15)
18. UNC Kenan-Flagler (19)
19. Washington Olin (22)
20. CMU Tepper (18)

25% of US News rankings is made up of survey responses from business school deans and directors; 15% is based on recruiters’ survey responses. The remaining 60% is based on statistical data reflecting program selectivity and placement success. (For details, read up on U.S. News methodology.)

Here are some highlights from the Poets & Quants article on the rankings:

• Last year’s three-way Stanford/Harvard/Wharton tie was broken this year with each school taking one of the first three spots (Stanford in first, HBS in second, and Wharton in third).

• The P&Q article states that Wharton’s slip to third is due to lower peer assessment and corporate recruiter survey scores.

• Wharton also reported an acceptance rate of 20.7%, up from last year’s 18.7% — this is another metric used by U.S. News in their methodology.

• Another factor contributing to Wharton’s position this year is its position regarding salary and bonus. Last year it took top slot at $141,243, while this year it slipped to fourth place at $142,574 – yes, higher than last year, but this year, Harvard, MIT, and Stanford reported even higher salaries/bonuses (HBS took the cake at $144,936 this year).

• Stanford’s top stats this year: average GMAT – 732; average GPA – 3.74; acceptance rate – 7.1%.

• In the top 20, there weren’t significant changes beyond a given school moving up or down a couple places. But further down in the rankings there were some big shifts. Texas A&M jumped 10 places to 27th place (tied with Carlson); Wake Forest jumped 13 places to 45th place; and Louisville moved up at least 31 places to 71st place – it was previously unranked.

• Big drops include Missouri Trulaske which fell 21 places from 58th to 79th place; Pepperdine Graziadio which fell at least 25 places, from last year’s 76th place to its unranked position this year.

Wondering how much rankings should play a roll in determining where you apply? Watch the video below for Linda Abraham’s answer:

Are You Misusing the B-School Rankings?

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

Related Resources:

• Financial Times Global MBA Rankings 2015
• What’s an MBA Really Worth?
• PayScale: How Much Can You Earn, and How to Earn It?

MBA/MMM Kellogg Interview with Shriansh: Explaining What Makes Kellogg, Kellogg

Read  more MBA student interviews!This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with current MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. And now for a chat with Shriansh Shrivastava, a student at Northwestern Kellogg’s joint MBA/Masters in Design Innovation program.

Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What was your most recent job? Where are you currently studying?

Shriansh: I grew up in India, then moved to the UK for undergrad in electronics and communications at the University of Sussex. After graduation, I worked at Ericsson UK, working with mobile phones and broadband, and also worked in the Ericsson Innovation Scheme. After this, I moved to Canada to work with mobile phone innovations in suicide prevention.

I’m currently attending the Kellogg School of Management, due to graduate in June 2016.

Accepted: Can you tell us more about your joint degree? What do you plan on doing with your degrees?

Shriansh: The MMM program at Kellogg has to be the best kept secret in the MBA world. It’s a joint program – you end up with a Kellogg MBA and a Master in Science in Design Innovation from the McCormick/Segal schools at Northwestern.

The biggest misconception about the MMM is that it’s an ‘engineering-y’ program. Not true. Around 50% of my class is from a completely non-technical background! My MS:DI degree is teaching me design thinking: how to approach any problem creatively and differently. So skills I’m going to end up with will be a very creative spin on an already great MBA program. This fits best with my current objective of getting involved with innovation in big tech post graduation.

Accepted: How are you liking Chicago? Do you plan on staying local after you receive your degrees? Any ideas yet where you may be headed?

Shriansh: Chicago’s brilliant. We’re based in Evanston, which is about 20 minutes north of Chicago by the Metra. Evanston’s very self-sufficient, so I actually don’t end up going to Chicago all that much. But it’s an awesome city, of course. The architecture is amazing, the culture’s friendly and the food is awesome. And it’s cold. Very cold. Having spent the last year in Canada, I’m actually comfortable with the weather so far, but my peers from tropical parts of the world are…having fun!

Accepted: Do you have a favorite coffee shop or another nice place where you like to study or hang out with friends? 

Shriansh: We MMMs have our very own exclusive lounge, which is a modern space, well lit, with some sort of creativity always going on. I love hanging out here with my peers. There are actual coffee shops and breakout rooms around campus, of course, but this is the best place to be at, at least for me.

Accepted: Why did you choose Kellogg? Which other programs had you considered? How would you say that you’re a good fit for Kellogg’s program?

Shriansh: For me, it came down to Haas or Kellogg – what both have in common is the extremely cooperative, friendly spirit. Kellogg really embodies this – from day #1, we were thrown into tons of group work – at this time, I’ve completed 9 courses, each with its own team, and have done more coursework in groups than individually. Also a brilliant example: For recruiting, a bunch of us work together on making each other better – we all know we’ll be gunning for the same job, but that ‘competition’ is just not in the picture. For me, it’s important that my peers do well – and vice versa. This lack of any sort of animosity actually makes Kellogg, Kellogg.

Discover free MBA admissions resourcesAccepted: If you could change one thing about the program, what would it be? 

Shriansh: I’d move it to someplace warmer…I’ve heard Hawaii is nice this time of the year…

Accepted: What’s your favorite class so far?

Shriansh: I’d like to say Operations, with Professor Chopra. It’s not my favorite, but it’s the one that’s blown my mind the most. I enjoyed Marketing, really enjoyed Research-Design-Build, and Strategy. But ops is a different beast, and portrays concepts you learn in Marketing in a completely different light (e.g. Selling more can end up ruining your business!!).

Accepted: Can you share your top 3 admissions tips with our readers?

Shriansh:

1. In essays and interviews, be clear why you want the second degree and tie it to your goals. If it brings you new skills, say that. If you have the skills and want to practice them in the real world, say so.

2. Saying ‘what people might want to hear’ rather than what’s real will get you into trouble. An interview is a ‘personality fit’ test as much as a competence test. If you fake it, you might even end up in a program, but probably will end up around the type of people you don’t gel with, instantly diluting the value of the MBA.

3. Network, network, network – talk to alumni – LinkedIn is a great resource for this. When I was applying, I spoke to a lot of alums. All Kellogg alums I reached out to were happy to help, which actually factored a lot into my decision. When approaching an alumni or current student, do ask precise and intelligent question. Asking someone “So tell me what Kellogg does” is horribly vague and will probably irritate the person. A better question could be “I’m interested in photography. What do you think the photography club on campus is like? Did you go to events?

For one-on-one guidance on your b-school application, please see our MBA Application Packages

You can read more about Shriansh’s journey by checking out his About Me page. Thank you Shriansh for sharing your story with us – we wish you loads of luck!

Learn How to Choose the Best MBA Program for You!

Accepted.com: The Premier Admissions Consultancy
Related Resources:

• Kellogg 2015 MBA Questions, Deadlines, Tips
• MBA/MMM Interview with Kellogg Student: Using Empathy to Succeed
Mastering Kellogg’s Changing Brand

MBA/MMM Interview with Kellogg Student: Using Empathy to Succeed

Click here for more MBA student interviews!This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with current MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. And now for a chat with Michael Nguyễn, a student at Northwestern Kellogg’s joint MBA/Masters in Design Innovation program.

Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? Where are you currently studying?

Michael: I was born and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. I was unfortunately a mediocre student at Cal (UC Berkeley) because I spent a lot of my time playing video games. Thus, even though I started in Computer Science and really enjoyed it, I eventually changed to Comparative Literature (which is actually really difficult – I did not know this when I switched) after a couple of years. However, the time spent in both majors has helped me immensely throughout my career.

I am currently at Kellogg (Northwestern) in its newly revamped MMM program, which is a dual-degree MBA and Masters of Science in Design Innovation program run in conjunction with the McCormick School of Engineering and Segal Design Institute.

Accepted: Can you tell us more about your joint degree? What does “Design Innovation” mean? What do you plan on doing with your degrees?

Michael: The MMM program ends at the same time as the normal Kellogg two year MBA program but now starts one quarter early, in the summer. Though this does come with additional cost, this also means you get to enjoy the summer in Chicago! Another great benefit is that you will become very close with your MMM program mates, the other 59 students (the program is limited to 60 per year).

I personally define Design Innovation as an end-user empathy lens for looking at the world, but one that is not just relevant to developing products. If you manage a team, you need to be able to put yourself in team members’ shoes before you can create a rally point. If you are trying to sell a product, you need to know what your target customer is thinking – who they are, why they do what they do. It’s not that someone is just “stupid” or one of “those people” you can generalize. Everyone is unique and design thinking helps you use those lessons in your career.

From my time working in Southeast Asia, I used empathy in order to succeed at creating compelling products for different types of people as well as to win trust and motivate teams despite cultural and language barriers.

After the program, I am looking to return to smaller tech startups or perhaps start my own. However, the range of careers that others in the MMM program are seeking is very broad. Many are looking to enter into consulting, with more top firms now embracing design innovation, but there are also students looking to go into finance, consumer packaged goods (CPG), and technology.

Like the MBA, I think the Design Innovation degree is a toolset you can adapt for any career trajectory. Simply, the Innovation is the change you make in an existing product, process, or organization; the Design is the user-driven approach.

Accepted: It looks like you’ve got an interesting work history! Can you talk about a few of your most recent projects?

Michael: Previous to Kellogg, my professional background for the last decade has been in Business Operations at multiple startups. My first work experience was helping RedOctane become acquired for the Guitar Hero game franchise by Activision. I ran its e-commerce operations, including shipping logistics and customer service.

I then spent 7 years in Vietnam, becoming COO of the first social networking service there, Cyworld Vietnam, a 70 person startup funded by SK Telecom and IDG Ventures Vietnam. During my time in Vietnam, I worked closely with partners such as Nokia, LG, and Yamaha as well as local mobile carrier giants such as Viettel within the restrictions of one of the rare capitalist-socialist governments in the world.

During this time, I co-founded the most popular Vietnamese microblogging service, Mimo.vn, in 2010, helping it grow to 2 million users. Before I left Vietnam, I also worked on another side project which became a dating app called FriendsPlus. It was sold pre-launch to the largest dating service in Vietnam, Noi.vn, and the technology and service concept was integrated into Noi.vn as a whole.

In general, I have a deep interest in how different types of people connect with and add meaning to each other’s lives.

Accepted: What is your favorite thing about Kellogg so far? 

Michael: When you are in a good class (happens more often than not thankfully), you can compare it to seeing a brilliant performer, whether that be musical, athletic, or theatrical. In many ways, that’s exactly what it is – a professor with a tremendous academic and real work pedigree who is educating you about different aspects of business. Because of this, I actually like to sit in the front to get the best view. After all, I am paying over $60,000 a year for this show!

What most surprised is me how every class links to each other. In a business setting, that wouldn’t be surprising because well, that’s business. If you run a company, you cannot just be a product guy with no understanding of finance and vice versa. But in this class format, you will see each class bring in aspects of the entire MBA education. Thus, if you are taking Finance, you are not asked to just do math. You are asked to think about what firm and market strategies change the math in the real world and how you sell that story to someone else (your boss, management, investors, etc.).

I feel that in every class, you are not challenged to solve the problem but to create and then sell the story so it can be implemented in a company.

Accepted: If you could change one thing about the program, what would it be? 

Michael: In the busy lives of the MBA students here (classes, groupwork, recruiting, competitions), it’s not easy to make deep connections with others in the student body. I think this problem likely exists at many schools, so despite Kellogg’s reputation as a great school to make friends and be around team-focused individuals, no school can create the perfect social setting for everyone.

Thus, if you are an international student or more of an introvert, Kellogg’s emphasis on big social group events may be uncomfortable at times. CIM week can feel like a rehash of your undergrad years where the majority of students solidify their social groups within the first few weeks and do not go outside their comfort zones to befriend people that may be unlike them.

It is something that Kellogg is aware of and looking for initiatives to help address the issue. In fact, a friend and I are working on a mobile product that we hope will help with this and we are looking to get the Kellogg administration’s support for it as well.

Accepted: Looking back at the MBA application process, what would you say was your greatest challenge? How would you advise others who may also be facing that challenge?

Michael: I actually decided to apply to MBA programs two months before Round 1’s began, and I also wanted to make sure I applied for Round 1. This meant I needed to prepare for the GMAT and every other part of the application in a very short amount of time – an MBA was something I had not seriously considered for the previous five years. Fortunately, things worked out, and I got into a great school.

However, others should not follow this route. An MBA program is a very serious time and financial commitment, one that is essentially your last chance to use an academic setting to create a long term impact on how people view you professionally. Do spend the time (at least 1 year in advance) to prepare your applications properly to maximize your chance into getting the program that’s best for you. Beyond that, also use that time to get a proper understanding of which schools you can actually get into.

I am not a big believer in backup schools. If you there is a school you absolutely want to go to, and your background is a good fit for that school, spend the most time on that school. Even if that means working an extra year to improve your professional accomplishments, I say do it!

Accepted: Do you have any other admissions tips for our readers?

Michael: Although we are asked to pretend we know what we want to do after our MBA, few people really do. Because of this, don’t be worried if you really will follow-up on everything you talk about in the application. What’s most important is to think about what you would want to do right now and think through how going to a particular school is well suited to help with those specific goals. I think schools like Kellogg are not judging your ambitions but your ability to construct plans and build towards them.

For Kellogg MMM specifically, it’s a great program that is not getting a lot of publicity right now, likely due to the recent curriculum change. However, I recommend (to everyone) to look at it more closely and talk to people in the program (like myself). Many people I’ve met at Kellogg regret not applying for it because they had misconceptions about the program or thought it wouldn’t be relevant to their career. Once they better understood how the program works, however, they realized its applications were much more broad than the words “Design Innovation” may initially suggest.

For one-on-one guidance on your b-school application, please see our MBA Application Packages. For specific advice on how to create the best application for Kellogg please see:

Kellogg 2015 MBA Questions, Deadlines, & Tips
2015 Kellogg Executive MBA Admissions Tips

You can read more about Michael’s journey by checking out his LinkedIn profile and his blog, I Spit Hot Fire. Thank you Michael for sharing your story with us – we wish you loads of luck!

Learn How to Choose the Best MBA Program for You!

Accepted.com: Helping You Write Your Best
Related Resources:

Are You Growth Minded? Mastering Kellogg’s Changing Brand
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