If there is one theme I heard over and over during my interactions with Kellogg representatives, whether at AIGAC or on an Accepted podcast interview with former Admissions Dean Kate Smith, it’s “intentionality.” They want to see it in you.
They really want to understand why you’re making the choices that you are making. Keep that theme in mind as you respond to Kellogg’s questions. What has motivated you in the past and what is motivating you today? What are your intentions and goals for the future? I believe those questions form the underlying foundation of the Kellogg MBA application and should be front of mind as you answer the questions posed.
The most significant change to Kellogg’s MBA application this year is video optionality. The video has been required in the recent past. However, it’s pretty clear that Kellogg would really like you to submit that video. So unless stage fright is paralyzing, we recommend you submit it. It’s a great opportunity for you to share a little more about you. Don’t dread it. Use it.
Ready to get to work on your Kellogg application? Here is some expert advice to help you get accepted:
Kellogg MBA application
Kellogg is unique in that we ask you to complete written essays as part of the application and provide the opportunity for you to record a short video. They are your chance to tell us why you think Kellogg is the right place for you. Take some time to think through the experiences that led you here and how they have shaped where you want to go.
Kellogg MBA essay #1 (Required of all applicants)
Kellogg’s purpose is to educate, equip & inspire leaders who create lasting value. Provide a recent example where you have demonstrated leadership and created value. What challenges did you face, and what did you learn? (450 words)
First things first: Kellogg is asking for ONE recent experience. Not more. Unlike many similar essay questions, Kellogg is not limiting you to professional settings. You do have the option to use a non-professional leadership experience.
I’d try to keep your example within the last two years. Presumably, you are going to choose something you’re proud of. If it’s from longer ago, a reader may wonder what you’ve been doing lately.
You can use a CAR (Challenge – Action – Results) framework for this response. Start with the challenge or challenges that you faced by simply describing the situation and obstacles. Then relate your actions. How did you motivate others to move in one direction? How did you influence and persuade?
Finally, what were the results? How did you create value, not just for yourself but for your team, group, department, company, club, or whatever entity you were contributing to? Succinctly quantify the results if you can. 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.
Kellogg MBA essay #2 (Required of all applicants)
Values are what guide us in our life and work. What values are important to you and how have they influenced you? (450 words)
This is a real stop-and-think question. (Actually, aren’t they all? Yes, but this one probably will require a little more thought.)
What values are important to you and how have they influenced your behavior, your life, and your dreams for the future?
The value(s) you focus on could be a particular religious or philosophical approach to life. It could be something political or something more personal like mindfulness, healthy living, inclusion, service to others, helping the less fortunate, or any number of values. There really are many possibilities.
However, the tough part of the question isn’t listing values; it is discussing how these values have influenced you. How are you a different person because of them? How do these values guide your behavior? Are you intentional about living up to your values?
Since Kellogg provides a 450-word limit, you don’t have a lot of room to discuss many values. I’d focus on one or two and discuss their impact on your daily or weekly life. If the impact of your value has led you to have an impact on others, briefly include the ripple effect too.
Kellogg MBA 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.).
This is a straightforward question asking you to provide context that could cause an application reader to come to the wrong conclusion about some aspect of your application. Key elements of any response to this question:
- It should be succinct and to-the-point.
- You should take responsibility for any errors on your part that contributed to whatever you’re writing about.
- You should show that the circumstances ended or are no longer affecting your performance.
- You should not whine, blame, or go into lengthy, over-the-top apologies.
Certain applicants will respond to additional questions:
One-Year applicants: Please discuss your post-MBA career goal, the current experience you will leverage to support the transition, and the Kellogg One-Year MBA opportunities that will help you reach this goal. (250 words)
This 250 word question has three parts, but the underlying question is why is the 1Y program appropriate for you. Another way to look at this question: What do you want to do post-MBA? What experience has so far prepared you to do it? What in the 1Y program will enable you to achieve that goal?
To answer this question, you need to have a goal, the experience to support it, and knowledge of how you are going to take advantage of the 1Y program to complete your preparation for realizing that purpose.
Once again, this question is all about intentionality and purpose.
MBAi applicants: The Kellogg McCormick MBAi program is designed to train the next generation of leaders who can help businesses deliver successful outcomes through AI-driven technology. Tell us about your firsthand experience with this disconnect between business and technology and how MBAi will prepare you to successfully lead businesses at the intersection. (450 words)
Before you answer this question, you may want to listen to the interview with former assistant dean Kate Smith about the MBAi program.
Where have you seen the need for leaders with knowledge of business and AI-driven technology? Where have you seen business stumble or opportunities missed because of a lack of leaders versed in both fields?
How would you be able — after attending the MBAi program — to lead in a similar situation. How will the program help you handle a similar situation?
To answer this question well, you have to have relevant experience and a knowledge of the MBAi program.
MMM applicants: The five core values of the MMM Program are curiosity, creativity, empathy, open-mindedness and a learning mindset. Describe a situation in which you demonstrated one of these values. Why is this value an important part of the MMM experience for you? (250 words)
This is a fairly straightforward question. Choose the value you want to focus on. Discuss a situation where you embodied this value. The more successful the outcome, the better.
The hard part of the question is the “why” part. Don’t ignore it.
JD-MBA applicants: Please discuss your post-JD-MBA career goals and why the JD-MBA Program is the right program to help you reach those goals. (250 words)
The question is clear. What do you want to do that requires a JD/MBA and why is Kellogg’s JD/MBA program the right place for you to achieve your goals?
Reapplicants: Since your previous application, what steps have you taken to strengthen your candidacy? (250 words)
This is the key question for any reapplicant. How are you a better candidate today than you were last time? What self-assessment have you done? What did you do to improve your candidacy and address any shortcomings?
Kellogg MBA video essay [Optional]
We’ve read your essays, we’ve read your resume — now we want you to bring all that to life in a video. Show us the person behind all those carefully crafted words. The video will be comprised of three questions, each designed to help you showcase your personality and share some of the experiences that brought you here today.
While they are an optional component of the application, we find these videos to be a great opportunity for you to tell us more about your story, experiences and why Kellogg is the right place for you.
Here are some things to keep in mind as you prepare to complete this section:
- Video Essays are due 96 hours after the application deadline.
- A video essay link will appear on your application status page after you submit your application and payment.
- You will need an internet-connected computer with a webcam and microphone.
- The video should take about 20-25 minutes to complete, which includes time for setup.
After submitting your application and payment, you will be able to access the video essay through your application status page. You will be asked to answer three questions:
Video essay 1: Please introduce yourself to the admissions committee.
Consider this your opportunity to share what you would want your future Kellogg classmates and our admissions committee to know about you. What makes you, you?
Video essay 2: What path are you interested in pursuing, how will you get there, and why is this program right for you?
This is an intentionally broad question so you can answer honestly and meaningfully. We want to know why you’re pursuing an MBA and why you’re choosing a particular Kellogg Full-Time Program.
Video essay 3: This question will be based on a challenge you’ve faced and what you’ve learned from it.
Again, the CAR (Challenge-Action-Response) format is perfect for this kind of question. Take up to 20 seconds to structure your answer in your head using this framework and add lessons learned. It’s about 15 seconds each for the challenge, your actions, the results, and lessons learned.
- There are practice questions that you may complete as many times as you 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 to help you feel prepared.
- We encourage you to practice so you are comfortable with the format once it is time to complete the official questions. You will not have an opportunity to re-do the answer to the official video essay questions.
- You will have 20 seconds to think about the question and up to one minute to give your response.
To prepare for your video session, you need to practice for the experience of talking to a camera with no responses from another human being. For tips on how to prepare and behave during the video session, see Kellogg’s “Video Essay” on its Application Process page as well as my Tips for Video MBA Essay Questions.
Also, since the questions are fairly open-ended and give you the opportunity to introduce whatever aspect of your life you want, prepare what you want them to know that isn’t discussed elsewhere in your application or on other video responses.
Typically topics would be:
Video 1: This is about as broad as they come! What would you like them to know about that is central to your identity?
It could be a challenge you’ve overcome. It could be a hobby or non-professional interest. It could be an experience or achievement not mentioned elsewhere. Remember they are viewing this video with a desire to understand what you’re going to add to the Kellogg community.
Video 2: Why a Kellogg MBA? What do you want to do that Kellogg is uniquely well equipped to help you achieve?
Video 3: What challenges have you faced?
For the second and third questions, again think of experiences that will help you respond to those questions and that also aren’t discussed in any depth in the other parts of the application. These videos should complement each other and also add to the school’s knowledge of you by presenting insight not found in the written portion of your application.
What is Kellogg looking for?
Watch this short clip where Kate Smith, former Assistant Dean of Admissions & Financial Aid at the Kellogg School of Management, talks about the type of applicants that Kellogg is looking for and the common thread that unites the Kellogg community.
For expert guidance with your Kellogg MBA application, check out Accepted’s MBA Application Packages, which include comprehensive guidance from an experienced admissions consultant. We’ve helped hundreds of applicants get accepted to Kellogg’s MBA program and look forward to helping you too!
Kellogg 2022-23 MBA application deadlines
|Round 1||September 14, 2022|
|Round 2||January 10, 2023|
|Round 3||April 5, 2023|
Source: Northwestern Kellogg website
***Disclaimer: Information is subject to change. Please check with individual programs to verify the essay questions, instructions and deadlines.***
Kellogg MBA Class of 2023 Profile
Here is a look at the Kellogg MBA Class of 2023, taken from the Kellogg website.
Class Size: 508
U.S. Race/Ethnicity (reported under Federal Reporting Guidelines as advised by GMAC, and Multi-Dimensional Reporting, which allows students to select multiple categories of race and ethnicity):
- American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, Other Pacific Islander:
Multi-Dimensional: 6 (2%)
- Asian American:
Federal: 54 (17%)
Multi-Dimensional: 69 (21%)
Federal: 23 (7%)
Multi-Dimensional: 29 (9%)
Federal: 45 (14%)
Multi-Dimensional: 45 (14%)
Federal: 186 (57%)
Multi-Dimensional: 236 (73%)
Federal: 16 (5%)
- Did Not Report:
Mean GPA (based on US schools using a 4.0 grading scale): 3.7
- GPA Range: 2.4–4.0
Mean GMAT: 727
- GMAT Range: 630–780
Median GRE Verbal: 162
- GRE Verbal Range: 154–170
Median GRE Quant: 165
- GRE Quant Range: 151–170
Average Work Experience: 5 years
- Consulting: 28%
- Financial Services: 29%
- Technology: 12%
- Other: 9%
- Government/Education/Non-profit: 4%
- Media and Entertainment: 3%
- Consumer Products: 4%
- Health/Bio: 5%
- Manufacturing: 1%
- Military: 2%
- Energy: 3%
Which MBA program is right for you? Want to know which schools to target for your best chance of admission? Check out these resources to help you in your decision:
- GMAT, GPA, and MBA Acceptance Rates: The B-School Selectivity Index
- M7 MBA Programs: Everything You Need to Know in 2022
Getting into Kellogg, or any of the top-tier MBA programs, is very competitive. Our MBA Services Packages have all you need to get you there. We’ll match you with an experienced admissions consultant who will work with you one-on-one to create an outstanding application and prepare you to ace your interview. So give yourself the edge and get ACCEPTED!
By Linda Abraham, founder of Accepted. Linda earned her bachelors and MBA at UCLA, and has been advising applicants since 1994 when she founded Accepted. Linda is the co-founder and first president of AIGAC. She has written or co-authored 13 e-books on the admissions process, and has been quoted by The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News, Poets & Quants, Bloomberg Businessweek, CBS News, and others. Linda is the host of Admissions Straight Talk, a podcast for graduate school applicants. Want an admissions expert to help you get accepted? Click here to get in touch!