UPDATE- The tips for Kellogg’s 2009-10 Application are now available online. Please post questions or comments to the new post.
Application Deadline Notification
Round 1 Oct 17, 2008 Jan 7, 2009
Round 2 Jan 12, 2009 Mar 30, 2009
Round 3 Mar 9, 2009 May 18, 2009
Please note that Kellogg has a separate set of deadlines for interviews. Please see the website for those deadlines.
My comments are in red.
All applicants are required to answer questions 1, 2 and 3 in addition to 2 of the essays in question 4.
For questions 1-3, please limit responses to 2 pages.
1: Briefly assess your career progress to date. Elaborate on your future career plans and your motivation for pursuing a graduate degree at Kellogg.
This question is the same as Kellogg’s #1 for the last several years. Kellogg wants to know your goals and how you believe Kellogg will help you achieve them. As I have said repeatedly, post-MBA goals are front and center in the MBA application. You need to connect the dots between your past, your desired future, and Kellogg to answer this question well. Thought and research are prerequisites.
When writing an earlier Kellogg tip, I referenced an email from a client. In the email, he thanked his editor for pushing him to clarify his goals — which he hadn’t wanted to do. He acknowledged how important they are. Make sure you know why you want an MBA before you start to answer this question.
2: Describe how your background, values, academics, activities and/or leadership skills will enhance the experience of other Kellogg students.
Almost identical to last year’s question, which began with “Each of our applicants is unique.” What are you going to bring to the Kellogg party that every other IT professional, investment banker, marketer, and consultant cannot bring? Is it a commitment to a particular community service? a sports craze? musical talent? dance ability, auto racing, a unique personal story? This essay begs for an anecdotal approach and individuality. However, don’t forget Kellogg’s commitment to community and teamwork. If you can show those qualities too, this essay will be a home run.
Recently I spoke to a few MBA telethon participants with “typical” or “common” profiles. While it is prudent for them to be concerned, they each have certain aspects of their background and experience that are highly distinctive. If you hail from an over-represented group in the applicant pool, you need to highlight those points of difference. This essay is a wonderful vehicle for showcasing at least one point of distinction
3: Describe your key leadership experiences and evaluate what leadership areas you hope to develop through your MBA experience.
Kellogg of course is famous for its teamwork. It certainly wants students with strong teamwork skills, but it also wants leaders. Don’t be taken in by Kellogg’s teamwork mantra and laid-back reputation. Employers wants to see leadership in Kellogg’s grads, and you need to show leadership in your application — especially in answering this question.
This question allows you to both spotlight your outstanding leadership skills and show your knowledge of Kellogg. Go beyond your response to #1 and focus here on leadership. A corollary of this tip would be to use #1 to focus on non-leadership aspects of your experience i.e. teamwork, .
As usual, you don’t have a lot of room to elaborate. Choose 1-2 examples not discussed in depth elsewhere in the application. State how they prepare you for Kellogg in terms of allowing you to demonstrate “leadership potential” or “diversity of thought and experience.” Don’t forget to answer the last part of the question.
4. Applicants must answer 2 of the below essays. (Re-applicants must answer question 4D and 1 other essay). Please keep responses to two paragraphs.
4A – Describe a time when you had to motivate a reluctant individual or group.
New question. Please note a few facets of this question. It is only two paragraphs. It does not ask for a treatise on motivation. It asks you to “describe a time” (emphasis added), not multiple times. It asks for a story, an anecdote. Yes in discussing this incident, you can draw a conclusion or two about motivation, but keep your response succinctly experiential.
4B – I wish the Admissions Committee had asked me…..
Have fun with this one. Let this essay show a different facet than is revealed by any of the other essays. If you play basketball every Sunday and haven’t mentioned it anywhere, perhaps this is the place to talk about the fun side of you. Or perhaps you are a cellist in a local orchestra. Or you were active in the Barack Obama’s Iowa campaign. Or you lead a church youth group. Or…?
4C – What do others admire about you?
New question. And not an easy one. Kellogg is asking for a self-reflection and awareness without arrogance . Talk to significant others or friends before answering this question. And whatever trait you decide to write about, illustrate it with an example.
4D – For re-applicants only: Since your previous application, what are the steps you’ve taken to strengthen your candidacy?
No trick questions here. How are you a better candidate today than when Kellogg rejected you last time? Have you addressed weaknesses in your previous application? If you aren’t sure where you fell short, obtain an MBA Application Review.
Responding to the Kellogg application essays will tell the committee a lot about you, your character, and your interests — if you do a good job. It is a solid and comprehensive set of questions.
If you want to start now on your Kellogg application, please keep in mind that Accepted.com is running an Early Bird Special through the end of July: 10% off all MBA essay consulting and editing. Alternatively, consider our Kellogg consulting and Editing Comprehensive Packages. They too are 10% off this month. Start your applications early, submit first round, and save money.