Are You Growth Minded? Mastering Kellogg’s Changing Brand

Episode 2 in our Big Brand Theory Series for MBA applicants: Northwestern Kellogg.

Two days before Kellogg’s Dean Sally Blount announced Kellogg’s motto change from “Think Bravely” to “Inspiring Growth,” I received an email and video link in my inbox from my education hero, Sal Khan about why he will never tell his son that he is smart.

His Khan Academy disrupted the education paradigm and made me a super fan years ago when my then, 10-year-old son ran into my arms, but not for a hug…no, he wanted my computer so he could earn badges. At first I thought he was planning to play a game. I limited his computer use to 15 minutes and then watched him open up the Khan Academy site and whiz through math problems that were two grades ahead of his own (earning his badges along the way). I didn’t take the computer away until dinnertime.

His love for the Khan Academy reminded me of Dr. Carol Dweck’s research on motivation, success and the growth mindset. I had read her work a few years before my son fell in love with the Khan Academy. In her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, which I highly recommend if you are applying to Kellogg, she compares and contrasts growth-oriented minds and fixed minds

The growth mindset is something to behold, and I watched it unfold over the years as my son solved my husband’s 5X5X5 Rubik’s cube, conquered my father in chess, and created “inventions” that he thought would make my life easier. I love the way his mind works. Thank you, Sal Khan and Thank you, Carol Dweck.

However, as a former admission dean and director, I often wondered when I would see Dr. Dweck’s concepts flourish in business schools. While I think several schools filter applicants for growth mindsets and challenge their students to stretch themselves, Kellogg’s new brand strategy was the first time I’ve seen Dr. Dweck’s approach become the very essence of the school.

Just as the growth mindset is dynamic and constantly seeks challenges and change, Kellogg has also reinvented itself many times over. I don’t think people will ever get over the fact that Kellogg is a marketing giant. However, since Dean Blount’s arrival, they’ve moved from “Team-Oriented” to “Think Bravely” to “Inspiring Growth” in the span of just a few years. These moves are reflected in their essay prompts, in their video essays, and in their interviews. You as an applicant need to respond to this change and address the filters Kellogg has added to its admissions process.

When working with clients applying to Kellogg, I always discuss my clients’ greatest challenges; then I push and push and push, until we discover something that they were initially afraid to reveal. If you are doing this yourself, realize that this inquiry means going deep within your psyche to figure out if you truly have a growth mindset or a fixed mindset (and I always recommend reading Dr. Dweck’s research. See link to her book above).

If at the end of our meetings my clients realize that they are not happy stretching, taking risks, and testing themselves, I ask them to rethink their school choice. Yes, Kellogg students are team-oriented; yes, Kellogg students are bright; yes, Kellogg students are personable, but Dean Blount got it right: Kellogg students are intellectually curious. They are resourceful. They challenge themselves to go beyond what they think are their limits. They have a growth mindset, and Kellogg inspires that growth.

For you the Kellogg motto means showing that you have the mindset to benefit from and contribute to Kellogg’s community dedicated to growth. As you apply to Kellogg demonstrate that you share Kellogg’s commitment to growth as an individual and as a future leader of your community and the business world.

(Look for Next Week’s Episode in the Big Brand Theory: Does Stanford Really Change the World?)

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Natalie Grinblatt Epstein By , an accomplished Accepted.com consultant/editor (since 2008) and entrepreneur. Natalie is a former MBA Admissions Dean and Director at Ross, Johnson, and Carey.

 

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Kellogg 2015 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines
Leadership in Admissions

• What Does “At The Very Center of Business” Mean for CBS Applicants? 

2014 Economist MBA Rankings

2014 Economist Full-Time Global MBA Rankings:Download your free copy of MBA Rankings: What You Need to Know

1. Chicago Booth (U.S.)

2. Dartmouth Tuck (U.S.)

3. UVA Darden (U.S.)

4. HEC Paris (France)

5. IESE Business School (Spain)

6. Harvard Business School (U.S.)

7. UC Berkeley Haas (U.S.)

8. NYU Stern (U.S.)

9. Stanford GSB (U.S.)

10. Columbia Business School (U.S.)

11. UPenn Wharton (U.S.)

12. MIT Sloan (U.S.)

13. UCLA Anderson (U.S.)

14. Northwestern Kellogg (U.S.)

15. London Business School (U.K.)

16. University of Queensland Business School (Australia)

17. Emory Goizueta (U.S.)

18. INSEAD (France)

19. Yale SOM (U.S.)

20. Michigan Ross (U.S.)

Top 10 B-Schools with the Highest GMAT Scores:

table

Top 10 MBA Programs for “Potential to Network”:

1. HEC Paris (France)

2. Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School (Belgium)

3. Thunderbird School for Global Management (U.S.)

4. NYU Stern (U.S.)

5. UC Berkeley Haas (U.S.)

6. Notre Dame Mendoza (U.S.)

7. Warwick Business School (U.K.)

8. USC Marshall (U.S.)

9. Melbourne Business School (Australia)

10. UVA Darden (U.S.)

A Poets & Quants article on the rankings states that at least 17 business schools declined to participate in this year’s rankings, many claiming that The Economist’s methodology is faulty. Some of these schools include Babson Olin, Toronto Rotman, Sauder School (British Columbia), Minnesota Carlson, McGill Desautels, Purdue Krannert, and, University of Manchester (U.K.), Imperial College Business School (U.K.), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Regarding methodology, 80% of the data used for the rankings is derived from surveys provided by the schools themselves. The remaining 20% of information comes from current students and recent grads.

John Byrne notes that since The Economist rankings launched in 2002, Harvard, Stanford, and Wharton have never topped the charts. This year, the schools rank at 6th, 9th, and 11th place, respectively. In 2005, Harvard and Wharton weren’t included in the rankings as they declined to contribute data. (That year, those two programs also declined to participate with the Businessweek rankings.)

Matt Symonds, who wrote a critique of the rankings, “Leave no MBA ranking unquestioned,” provides these additional points:

• Booth took the #1 spot for the third year in a row, and the fifth time in the last eight years.

• There are only six European schools in the top 25; in 2008, there were 11. This year, Cambridge Judge and Oxford Saïd both dropped 15 places, to 52nd and 69th place respectively.

• The breakdown of the criteria used to rank the schools goes as follows: personal development/education experience (35%), open new career opportunities (35%), increase salary (20%), and potential to network (10%).

• This year, more than 20 schools rose or fell by double-digits (and thus the rankings have been criticized for their volatility).

• Big droppers include University of Bath School of Management which fell 23 spots from its previous 20th place; York Schulich fell to 41st place from 22nd last year.

• Big jumpers include Kellogg and Yale which both jumped 9 places up to 14th and 19th place respectively; Rochester Simon and Temple Fox both jumped 20 places to 58th and 57th place respectively.

Are You Misusing the B-School Rankings?

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Related Resources:

• MBA Rankings: Why Should I Care?
MBA Rankings: What You Need to Know
• Top 10 B-Schools with the Most Satisfied Graduates

2015 Kellogg Executive MBA Admissions Tips

Want more EMBA essay tips? The Kellogg Executive MBA questions are among the most comprehensive, thorough, and numerous of any EMBA application. It takes significant effort to put together a strong set of Kellogg EMBA essays, and that fact weeds out potential students who are not seriously interested in this competitive program. Moreover, the questions encompass almost every basic type: goals, behavioral (the experience and your reflection on it), evaluative (greatest skills and talents). It offers more than one optional essay. This set of essays requires the writer to wear different hats and excel at different types of self-analysis. Not least, the messages and contents of the essays should be coordinated to strategically and holistically create a picture of you that is vivid, distinguishing, and multifaceted without being contradictory or jumbled. Note that there are no word limits, therefore use your judgment; don’t write all 1,000 word essays. Depending on the question and what you have to say, 400-750 is a good range to target.

ESSAYS:

JOB DESCRIPTION: Describe the unit for which you are responsible and relate it to the total organization in terms of size, scope, and autonomy of responsibility. What human resources, budget, and capital investment are you responsible for? Please describe your position.

A straightforward question – it contains several components, so be sure to answer all of them. Try to work in an anecdote or two somewhere, for example, if part of your role is to troubleshoot issues with global clients, give a brief example.

1. Why have you elected to apply to the Kellogg School Executive MBA Program?

This essay should discuss your interest in the Kellogg program as a means to acquire the learning you seek in light of your goals. Clarify why you are pursuing the executive program specifically. You can also discuss other benefits that relate to personal preferences such as environment and the program’s schedule, structure, and location. Be specific and add thoughtful discussion, don’t just reiterate points from the website. If possible, cite conversations with students or alumni, including relevant insights you’ve gained from them.

2. What are your goals and objectives and how will a Kellogg Executive MBA help you achieve these? Please feel free to discuss both personal and professional goals.

Discuss your goals in specific terms: industry, likely positions, which company or companies, possibly where, what you expect to do, possibly challenges you anticipate. Also discuss what you want to accomplish short- and long-term. To make the essay truly compelling, also show how your goals are rooted in your experience, what motivates your goals, and your vision for your goals. Finally, discuss the learning needs these goals engender and summarize how the Kellogg MBA meets them, saving the greater detail for essay 1.

3. Discuss a professional situation that did not end successfully. Why did you or your peers consider the situation to have negative results? How did you resolve the situation? Did it change your management style? If so, how?

In selecting the story to discuss, use something relatively recent (even though unsuccessful, it can still show you at work in an engaging context and at a decision making level with high accountability), and something substantive. Be frank about your role as it may have contributed to the lack of success. For structure, keep it simple: first tell the story, and then address the remaining questions. The last part, about how it may have changed your management style, is a good opportunity to show you’ve not only learned from the experience but applied the learning, by briefly citing a specific example of your improved management style.

4. What do you consider to be your greatest skills and talents? How will you use these to contribute to an Executive MBA class as well as to a study group?

First, what not to do: strain to find some unique skill or talent that no one else possesses in an effort to differentiate yourself. It doesn’t exist. Rather, look inward – whether it’s creativity, initiative, leadership, strategic thinking, interpersonal astuteness, analytic capability, mentoring/coaching – it’s the details and stories of how you manifest this quality that will make this essay exciting while strategically supporting and enhancing the other essays. Select 2-3 skills/talents that differ from each other (i.e., don’t do quant skills and analytic skills, or communication skills and interpersonal skills) and tell a quick story or anecdote illustrating each. Finally, for each, comment on how it will help you contribute by giving an example – these comments can be short, as they story itself will really convey how the skill or talent will let you contribute.

5. Describe how your relevant global experiences have influenced you professionally. (Optional)

This is a great essay for most people to answer – if you’ve had any global experience, it can only have influenced you professionally. If you’ve had a lot of global experiences, don’t just do a survey of them and don’t feel you must write about all of them. Select the most meaningful experiences and tell the stories, and then explaining the influence on you.

6. Is there anything else that you would like to add to help us in evaluating your candidacy? (Optional)

This question invites you to present new material that you think will enhance your application, as well as to explain anything that needs explaining (e.g., gap in employment). As far as non-necessary points, keep in mind that if you are making the adcom read more, there should be a clear value to the information. Finally, considering the many essays, keep it short.

7. Describe any major reports, instructional materials, or manuals that you have prepared or any research, inventions, or other creative work. (Optional)

Note, “major.” Do not wrack your brain for every report or training material you’ve contributed to. If you have numerous patents, ditto. Focus on the most important ones of whatever type of material you are describing. A nice format is an annotated bullet list.

8. Please list the business/professional/community organizations in which you are active. (Optional)

Note “are active.” Not “were active.”

Rolling admissionsSuggested deadlines are June 15th for programs beginning in September, andOctober 15th for programs beginning in January.

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Cindy Tokumitsu By , co-author of The EMBA Edge, and author of the free special report, Ace the EMBA. Cindy has helped MBA applicants get accepted to top EMBA programs around the world. She is delighted to help you too!

Top 10 Most Expensive Private Business Schools in the U.S.

In 2013-2014, b-school prices at private, elite business schools in the U.S. increased about $3,000 since the previous academic year. The average tuition for these 10 costly programs is almost $13,000 more than the average tuition of all ranked programs.

By contrast, one of the least expensive schools (not listed below) is Brigham Young’s Marriott School of Management with tuition and fees at $22,560 (and only $11,280 for students of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints faith).

Check out our B-School Zones to learn more about the top MBA programs!

Source: U.S. News “The Short List”

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Related Resources:

• Which B-Schools Offer the Most Scholarships?
• CommonBond’s Story: A Revolution in Student Loans
• MBA Scholarships: How Do I Apply and What Should I Emphasize?

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.

Essays:

1.
 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.

2.
 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.

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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.