Tuesday Tips – Kellogg MBA Essay Tips

Fit is a crucial aspect to demonstrate in your Kellogg MBA application. The close knit community values leadership and teamwork. To understand what Kellogg offers to prospective students, note the areas of excellence demonstrated in the academic program, from Marketing to Finance. As Kellogg MBA’s Dean Dipak C. Jain explains, the Four Pillars are “instrumental in advancing the Kellogg MBA’s dual mission of creating knowledge and producing socially responsible global leaders, The Four Pillars ”” intellectual depth, experiential learning, global mindset and values/people skills ”” [provide] our students with the balanced tools to succeed at the top levels of any organization.”

As you determine your application strategy for this set of Kellogg MBA essays, think about how the Kellogg MBA community reflects your own background and goals. In addition, make sure to choose a range of experiences in your professional and community life. When approaching any MBA application essay, be as specific as possible in every example to authentically communicate your unique leadership and teamwork style.

Essay #1
MBA Program applicants ”“ Briefly assess your career progress to date. Elaborate on your future career plans and your motivation for pursuing a graduate degree at the Kellogg MBA program. (600 word limit)

The Kellogg MBA career goals essay takes a standard approach, asking for your past experiences, your future goals, and how the Kellogg MBA program fits into your plans. Since you have a fairly limited amount of space to explain your entire career path, focus on the high points. When did you face a turning point or make a big decision about your career? What were some of your proudest accomplishments?

As you describe your career background, keep in mind any aspects that will relate to your future career plans. If you are a management consultant now and want to become an entrepreneur, what have you learned and experienced that will help you with those plans?
Having done your research on Kellogg MBA’s academics and resources will help you answer the question about your motivation to pursue a graduate degree at the Kellogg MBA program. Choose specific classes, professors and programs that fit into your career goals. Think about clubs and conferences that are unique to the Kellogg MBA program and will advance your career.

Essay #2
Describe your key leadership experiences and evaluate what leadership areas you hope to develop through your MBA experiences (600 word limit)

Answering this question effectively requires a candid self evaluation. Think about your key strengths and development areas in the realm of leadership. When you look back at your key leadership experiences, what did they all have in common? Can you identify a particular behavior or approach you take in your leadership style? Are you directive, collaborative, or a teaching leader? When people choose to follow you, why do they do so?

Once you know your own strengths as a leader, it’s easier to identify some areas for development. If you are great at motivating people, but not as strong in driving follow through and results, you might want to develop your directive qualities. If you are good at pushing results, yet alienate your team members, developing a consensus based leadership style may be worth your focus. Whatever your own unique approach, determine what you could use a little bit of help with and describe the specific Kellogg MBA resources to help you reach your own leadership potential.

Essay #3
Assume you are evaluating your application from the perspective of a student member of the Kellogg MBA Admissions Committee. Why would your peers select you to become a member of the Kellogg MBA community? (600 word limit)

It’s important to note the subtle change in this question since last year, when the Kellogg MBA program asked what “in your background, values, academics, activities and/or leadership skills [would]l enhance the experience of other Kellogg MBA students” While you have more latitude this year in answering the question, it may help to refer to this list for brainstorming ideas.

Doing your research is essential here. What will you contribute to the Kellogg MBA community? Investigating the activities, people and projects available at Kellogg will help you determine what you would like to be involved in. Once you determine what you are interested in participating in, you will want to clearly explain what you have to offer.
Your peers might be interested in: your ability to bring unique company or industry knowledge, attract interesting speakers to your club of interest, or manage teams in the classroom or in a club. Think about the attributes you can bring to the table and how you will drive value for the Kellogg MBA community.

Essay #4
Complete one of the following three questions or statements. (400 word limit) Re-applicants have the option to answer a question from this grouping, but this is not required.

a) Describe a time when you had to make an unpopular decision.
This question requires a very specific example to work effectively. The decision could be one that had ethical or moral implications, or perhaps demonstrated your courage and tenacity. It could be a decision you made at work or in an extracurricular setting. Whatever the story, make sure it demonstrates core attributes you want to communicate to the admissions committee. Though you are only asked to describe the decision, a satisfying result to your decision would be welcome to conclude the essay.

b) People may be surprised to learn that I”¦.

An open ended question that is ideal for any differentiating factor. If you are a typical Indian IT applicant who actually grew up in France on a vineyard, this is the place to discuss it! Think about what aspects of your background that might be interesting, unique, and surprising in the context of the information you have already shared in this set of essays. Do not forget your overall application strategy, whatever topic you choose should be relevant to your story.

c) I wish the admissions committee had asked me”¦”¦

This is a great question to help you fill in any gaps in your application strategy. What did you want to communicate to the admissions committee and weren’t able to in any other essay? Here’s your chance. You may want to use this space to highlight special leadership or teamwork examples or to differentiate yourself from your peers. Whatever topic you choose, make sure you can compose a concise and specific example and outline your own thinking and motivation.

Required essay for re-applicants only ”“ Since your previous application, what steps have you taken to strengthen your candidacy? (400 word limit)

When determining how to strengthen your reapplication, you likely improved aspects like GMAT score, formulated an alternative transcript or become more involved in extracurricular activities. Whatever advances you have made since the last time you applied, make sure you can clearly explain what you did and how it makes you a stronger candidate. Think beyond the benefits in the MBA application to how your progress rounds out your experience. For example, an improved GMAT score could have helped you brush up on your quant or verbal skills to be more prepared for demanding MBA classes.

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