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 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.
Kellogg MBA application
Kellogg is unique in that we ask you to complete written essays as part of the application as well as video essays. This is 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 brave 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 in the past, 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?
Keep in mind the word “brave.” It implies there were risks (without risk, bravery just isn’t necessary).
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? 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 you in your 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 a lot of 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 essays
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 1Y 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 questions: 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. This requires leaders who have both strong technical and business skills; many firms struggle to find leaders with these skills. 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 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
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.
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.
- 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 you would 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, 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 2021-22 MBA application deadlines
|Round 1||September 15, 2021|
|Round 2||January 5, 2022|
|Round 3||April 6, 2022|
***Disclaimer: Information is subject to change. Please check with individual programs to verify Kellogg’s essay questions, instructions, and deadlines.***
Source: Northwestern Kellogg website
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