Category Archives: Northwestern Kellogg Advice

Northwestern Kellogg MBA Essay Tips

Fit is a crucial aspect to demonstrate in your Kellogg MBA application. The close-knit community values leadership and teamwork. At the same time, diversity in experience, background and thought is valued among the developing leaders …

Fit is a crucial aspect to demonstrate in your Kellogg MBA application. The close-knit community values leadership and teamwork. At the same time, diversity in experience, background and thought is valued among the developing leaders of Kellogg. Doing your research on the programs, activities, clubs, classes and professors at Kellogg will be important as you approach your essays. While you are reading and conversing with students and alumni, keep in mind how you envision your own background adding to the community.

This year, Kellogg has added a mandatory video interview to the application process. While it won’t replace the in-person interview for Kellogg, it is an opportunity for the admissions committee to see the person behind the accomplishments you will describe. Video interviews can be daunting, and Stacy Blackman Consulting has developed customized preparation to help you practice for this important component of the application and provide our expert feedback. Contact us to learn more about how we can prepare you for the entire Kellogg application.

Essay 1
What’s the greatest obstacle you’ve overcome (personally or professionally)? How has overcoming this obstacle prepared you to achieve success now and in the future? (350 word limit)

This essay question is designed to evaluate your character and how you handle adversity. Even if you have not faced a dramatic difficulty in your life thus far you have definitely encountered challenges. The obstacle is not as important as the lesson, so consider moments in your life when you changed perspective or learned how to solve problems as a result of a difficult situation.
No one has a completely smooth road to success, and it is often the obstacles that clarify your true passions and lead to growth. Leaders are not always perfect when difficulties arise, so even if you made mistakes along the way it is likely you learned from them. The bulk of this short essay should focus on how you overcame the obstacle and what you learned that has prepared you to solve problems or handle challenges. Consider how you would approach a similar difficulty now and what you might advise a friend in a difficult circumstance.

Essay 2
What have been your most significant leadership experiences? What challenges did you face, and what impact did you have? This is your opportunity to explain how you Think Bravely. (500 word limit)

The Kellogg MBA seeks to make “strong leaders stronger.”?Therefore, you will want to demonstrate that you are a strong leader, and that a Kellogg MBA can make you stronger. This question focuses on leadership experiences you have had and seeks to understand how you think and behave in challenging situations that may have tested your ability to work with others.
This behavioral question requires a very specific example to work effectively. The intention for this question is to see an example of a past experience that indicates how you will behave in the future, potentially when you must lead at Kellogg and in your future career. Make sure you include details about exactly what you did and said in your leadership story.

Essay 3
Part 1: What career/role are you looking to pursue and why? (250 word limit)
Part 2: Why are Kellogg and the MBA essential to achieving these career goals? (250 word limit)
(Please answer Part 2 in terms of your program choice: One-Year, Two-Year, MMM, JD-MBA).

This question has changed slightly from prior years and indicates you can approach it either as a long-term or short-term career question. Ideally your career vision is cohesive and both flow together. A career unfolds over time and can include many roles, so it’s most reasonable to consider both your long-term and short-term goals in answering this question.

Doing your research on Kellogg MBA’s academics and resources will help you answer the question about how Kellogg is essential to achieve your goals. Choose specific classes, professors and programs that fit into your career goals. Think about clubs and conferences that are unique to the Kellogg MBA and will advance your career. Your motivation to pursue an MBA at Kellogg should also show that you are interested in being an active part of the community if possible.

If you are applying to the MMM program, you’ll have to show how the MEM degree will prepare you more effectively for your career goals than the MBA alone. Be able to articulate what is different about the Kellogg MMM program as compared to the MBA and other joint degrees. Know the classes you want to take, the professors you hope to work for, and how the MMM experience will be an asset in your future career.
Similarly, the JD-MBA at Kellogg is a highly competitive admissions process and will require a very clear explanation of what you will do with both degrees after school. Consider the unique attributes of the Kellogg JD-MBA program as compared to others, and also why you specifically need both a JD and an MBA.

Re-Applicants Only
Since your previous application, what steps have you taken to strengthen your candidacy? (400 word limit) Please note: re-applicants are required to answer this question in addition to #1-3.

In answering this question make sure you provide tangible evidence that you have improved the overall package you are submitting this year. Improvements like GMAT score or new quantitative classes are especially tangible, but a promotion, increase in responsibility at work, a job change or even a change of goals and mission can apply.

Additional Information (Optional)
If needed, briefly describe any extenuating circumstances (e.g. unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, etc.) (No word limit)

If there are any areas of concern, this is the correct place to address them. Strike an upbeat tone here and avoid excuses. Explain your issue clearly and focus most of the essay on the correction for the issue. For example, if you had a disciplinary issue in college, spend most of the essay demonstrating that you learned from the experience and have been an ideal citizen ever since. Low GPA issues should be explained here, and if there is a grade of C or below on your transcript the admissions committee will want to know why and feel comfortable it is an outlier in your overall academic record. For academic questions make sure you emphasize your improved performance either later in your college career or in subsequent work or classes since college.

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Tuesday Tips: Northwestern Kellogg MBA Essay Tips

Fit is a crucial aspect to demonstrate in your Kellogg MBA application. The close-knit community values leadership and teamwork. At the same time, diversity in experience, background and thought is valued among the developing leaders …

Fit is a crucial aspect to demonstrate in your Kellogg MBA application. The close-knit community values leadership and teamwork. At the same time, diversity in experience, background and thought is valued among the developing leaders of Kellogg. Doing your research on the programs, activities, clubs, classes and professors at Kellogg will be important as you approach your essays. While you are reading and conversing with students and alumni, keep in mind how you envision your own background adding to the community.

The advice we give about every MBA application is also relevant to Kellogg: make sure to choose a range of experiences from your professional and community life for your essay topics. When approaching any MBA application essay, be as specific as possible in every example to authentically communicate your unique leadership and teamwork style.

1. Discuss moments or influences in your personal life that have defined who you are today. (500 word limit)

This essay gets more personal than the Kellogg application has asked for in the past. As the first essay of the set, it will also set the tone for the rest of your story. This question should definitely be personal, and ideally, focus on people and experiences that have influenced you rather than accomplishments or achievements.

To generate ideas, try brainstorming over a period of a few days. Ask friends and family what values they see you demonstrated in your life and choices. Keep a notebook by your bed so you can record your first thoughts upon waking up, and mine your personal history for ideas.

This essay will be most effective if you answer the question with vivid and specific examples that demonstrate who you are today and how your life choices have defined you.

2. What have been your most significant leadership experiences? What challenges did you face, and what impact did you have? This is your opportunity to explain how you Think Bravely (personally and/or professionally). (500 word limit)

The Kellogg MBA seeks to make “strong leaders stronger.” Therefore, you will want to demonstrate that you are a strong leader, and that a Kellogg MBA can make you stronger. This question focuses on leadership experiences you have had and seeks to understand how you think and behave in challenging situations that may have tested your ability to work with others.

This behavioral question requires a very specific example to work effectively. The intention for this question is to see an example of a past experience that indicates how you will behave in the future, potentially when you must lead at Kellogg and in your future career. Make sure you include details about exactly what you did and said in your leadership story.

3. Imagine yourself at your Kellogg graduation. What career will you be preparing to enter, and how have the MBA and Kellogg helped you get there? (Please answer in terms of your program choice: One-Year, Two-Year, MMM, JD-MBA) (500 word limit)

This question focuses mainly on your short-term goal- the career that you will pursue immediately after graduation from Kellogg. Doing your research on Kellogg MBA’s academics and resources will help you answer the question about how Kellogg helped you achieve your post-graduation career goal. Choose specific classes, professors and programs that fit into your career goals. Think about clubs and conferences that are unique to the Kellogg MBA and will advance your career. Your motivation to pursue an MBA at Kellogg should also show that you are interested in being an active part of the community if possible.

If you are applying to the MMM program, you’ll have to show how the MEM degree will prepare you more effectively for your career goals than the MBA alone. Be able to articulate what is different about the Kellogg MMM program as compared to the MBA and other joint degrees. Know the classes you want to take, the professors you hope to work for, and how the MMM experience will be an asset in your future career.

Similarly, the JD-MBA at Kellogg is a highly competitive admissions process and will require a very clear explanation of what you will do with both degrees after school. Consider the unique attributes of the Kellogg JD-MBA program as compared to others, and also why you specifically need both a JD and an MBA.

4. What one interesting or fun fact would you want your future Kellogg classmates to know about you? (25 words or less)

With just 25 words to work with, your fun fact needs to be concise and focused. At the same time, this is an opportunity to describe 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 mention 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. Whatever fun or interesting fact you choose, make it relevant to your story and don’t forget your overall application strategy.

Challenged by your Kellogg MBA application? Contact us to learn how a Stacy Blackman Consultant can help you.

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Tuesday Tips – Northwestern Kellogg MBA Essay Tips

Fit is a crucial aspect to demonstrate in your Kellogg MBA application. The close knit community values leadership and teamwork. At the same time, diversity in experience, background and thought is valued among the developing …

Fit is a crucial aspect to demonstrate in your Kellogg MBA application. The close knit community values leadership and teamwork. At the same time, diversity in experience, background and thought is valued among the developing leaders of Kellogg. Doing your research on the programs, activities, clubs, classes and professors at Kellogg will be important as you approach your essays. While you are reading and conversing with students and alumni, keep in mind how you envision your own background adding to the community. What will you bring to Kellogg and how will Kellogg take your career to the next level?

The advice we give in every application is also relevant to Kellogg: make sure to choose a range of experiences in your professional and community life for your essay topics. When approaching any MBA application essay, be as specific as possible in every example to authentically communicate your unique leadership and teamwork style.

Make sure to review the Kellogg MBA deadlines before starting your applications to make sure you have plenty of time to write and review your essays.

Essay #1
MBA Program applicants ”“ Briefly assess your career progress to date. Elaborate on your future career plans and your motivation for pursuing an MBA. (600 word limit)

Kellogg’s career goal essay remains the same as in previous years, and is a straightforward question. Since you have a fairly limited amount of space to explain your entire career path, focus on the high points. Rather than running down your entire resume of achievements, think about highlighting turning points or decisions. Consider your proudest accomplishments, and determine whether those stories are useful background for your career goals, or if they belong in Essay 2 or Essay 4.

As you describe your career background, describe the experiences that are most relevant to your future career plans. If you are a management consultant now and want to become an entrepreneur, what transferrable skills can you define and describe?

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 Kellogg. Choose specific classes, professors and programs that fit into your career goals. Think about clubs and conferences that are unique to the Kellogg MBA and will advance your career. Your motivation to pursue an MBA at Kellogg should also show that you are interested in being an active part of the community if possible.

MMM Program applicants ”“ Briefly assess your career progress to date. How do the unique characteristics of the MMM Program meet your educational needs and career goals? (600 word limit)
The Kellogg MMMprogram grants students both an MBA and MEM. The purpose is to teach applicants how to think holistically about product and business. The idea is to fuse technology and business and prepare candidates for careers in a new global economy. If you are applying to the MMM program, you’ll have to show how the MEM degree will prepare you more effectively for your career goals than the MBA alone. Be able to articulate what is unique about the Kellogg MMM program as compared to the MBA and other joint degrees. Know the classes you want to take, the professors you hope to work for, and how the MMM experience will be an asset in your future career.

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

The Kellogg MBA seeks to make “strong leaders stronger.” Therefore, you will want to demonstrate that you are a strong leader, and that a Kellogg MBA can make you stronger. 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? How do your friends and colleagues describe your leadership style? Sometimes referring to performance reviews at work can show how others view your strengths and weaknesses.

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. Once you have identified your areas of growth, 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 Admissions Committee. Why would you and your peers select you for admission, and what impact would you make as a member of the Kellogg MBA community? (600 word limit)

It’s important to note the subtle change in this question since three years ago, when the Kellogg MBA asked what “in your background, values, academics, activities and/or leadership skills [would] enhance the experience of other Kellogg MBA students” This list of potential areas that you might want to pull from can help guide any brainstorming. Also note that the Kellogg MBA is seeking candidates who will make an impact. What experiences in your past might demonstrate your ability to create impact in a community?

Doing your research is essential here. What will you contribute to the Kellogg MBA community? Investigating the activities, people and projects available at the Kellogg MBA 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 you had to inspire a reluctant individual or group.
This behavioral question requires a very specific example to work effectively. The intention for this question is to see an example of a past experience that indicates how you will behave in the future, potentially when you must inspire a lackluster team or colleague at Kellogg and in your future career. You will want to choose an example of a time when you were ultimately successful in achieving your goals and/or learned a valuable skill in motivating others. Make sure you include details about exactly what you did and said to address the situation.

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) The riskiest personal or professional decision I ever made was”¦..

Risks sometimes lead to great rewards”¦ and sometimes they don’t. For this essay you can choose either a risk that worked out, or one that didn’t. The key part to highlight in your response is why you made the decision and what inspired you to take the risk. It will be illuminating to know what you consider risks to be (in your personal or professional life) and your process for determining whether to take a risk. While the outcome is less important than the process, describing what happened as a result of your risk is usually a good closure for this essay.

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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Kellogg Announces 2011 Business For Scientists Course

In the biotech field, a little business savvy can go a long way toward enhancing a scientist’s impact on his or her organization. That is the idea behind the Kellogg School of Management’s Business for Scientists, a five-day certificate course occurring this year on April 11-15. The program will take place at the Kellogg Conference Center at Northwestern University’s Downtown Chicago Campus.

In the biotech field, a little business savvy can go a long way toward enhancing a scientist’s impact on his or her organization. That is the idea behind the Kellogg School of Management’s Business for Scientists, a five-day certificate course occurring this year on April 11-15. The program will take place at the Kellogg Conference Center at Northwestern University‘s Downtown Chicago Campus.

According to a Kellogg press release, the course is appropriate for “scientists in the biomedical industry who would like to familiarize themselves with basic business tools. It is also relevant for doctoral students, fellows and research faculty who would like to learn management skills for startups.”

Participants will learn basic concepts in accounting, strategy, finance, marketing and management, and they will learn how to apply these skills to the biomedical sector. The course also teaches startup management skills and the bench-to-market process for innovation.

Kellogg has been offering the Business for Scientists course since 2007. The first cohort was comprised of faculty from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Since its inception, Sangeeta Vohra has served as the program’s director. Dr. Vohra is the senior lecturer of Kellogg’s Health Enterprise Management Program and the academic director of Kellogg’s Center for Biotechnology.

Registration costs $4,650, and accommodations are available at a reduced rate until March 11. For more information or to register for the course, visit http://kellogg.northwestern.edu/biotech/execed/scientists.htm.

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Tuesday Tips – Kellogg MBA Essay Tips

Kellogg continues to seek strong leaders, team players and diverse experiences in this set of essay questions. Check out our tips for the 2011 application.

Fit is a crucial aspect to demonstrate in your Kellogg MBA application. The close knit community values leadership and teamwork. At the same time, diversity in experience, background and thought is valued among the developing leaders at the  Kellogg MBA.
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 an MBA. (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 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 Kellogg. Choose specific classes, professors and programs that fit into your career goals. Think about clubs and conferences that are unique to the Kellogg MBA 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)

The Kellogg MBA seeks to make “strong leaders stronger.” Therefore, you will want to demonstrate that you are a strong leader, and that a Kellogg MBA can make you stronger. 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 Admissions Committee. Why would you and your peers select you for admission, and what impact would you make as a member of the Kellogg MBA community? (600 word limit)

It’s important to note the subtle change in this question since two years ago, when the Kellogg MBA asked what “in your background, values, academics, activities and/or leadership skills [would] enhance the experience of other Kellogg MBA students” This list of potential areas that you might want to pull from can help guide any brainstorming. Also note that the Kellogg MBA is seeking candidates who will make an impact. What experiences in your past might demonstrate your ability to create impact in a community?
Doing your research is essential here. What will you contribute to the Kellogg MBA community? Investigating the activities, people and projects available at the Kellogg MBA 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 an instance where you encountered resistance in a professional team setting. How did you address the situation?
This behavioral question requires a very specific example to work effectively. The intention for this question is to see an example of a past experience that indicates how you will behave in the future, potentially when you encounter resistance as part of a team at the Kellogg MBA program. You will want to choose an example of a time when you were ultimately successful in achieving your goals and/or learned a valuable skill in approaching a team. Make sure you include details about exactly what you did and said to address the situation.

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) The best mistake I ever made was”¦

This essay can be a fun choice to highlight an interesting event from your background. Perhaps you can start with one of the best events of your life ”“ a great job, friendship or project ”“ and trace the opportunity back to a mistake you made. Another way to think about this question is a mistake that led to a pivotal moment in your life, a key learning experience, or an opportunity for self reflection.

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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Admissions Advice From The Kellogg MBA Program

Deena Williams, associate director of admissions at the Kellogg MBA Program, updated the admissions blog last week with some feedback designed to clear up the misinformation floating around cyberspace that may be contributing to “applicant …

Deena Williams, associate director of admissions at the Kellogg MBA Program, updated the admissions blog last week with some feedback designed to clear up the misinformation floating around cyberspace that may be contributing to “applicant freak out.” (You know who you are!)

Here are some of the details Williams offers up to help ease your anxiety:

Round 1 Waitlist

  • Have questions? Call your waitlist manager!
  • This is your chance to update AdCom about any life/work developments that might strengthen your application.
  • Admit/deny decisions came out Monday, February 15th. If you did not receive a decision at that time, then you are still on the waitlist.
  • Don’t call the office to check your status. Use the Application Status Check page located on the full-time website.

Round 2 Applicants

  • Admissions officers are currently reading applications and conducting admissions interviews.
  • Admissions decisions will begin in mid March and continue through March 29th.
  • The Kellogg MBA program is in the process of matching off-campus interview requests with alumni interviewers. (Make sure that your email settings do not filter Kellogg MBA emails so that you don’t miss an email about your match.)
  • On-campus interviews must be completed by March 6th. There are not many spots available so call the office immediately to schedule your interview.
  • Your interview information will also be noted on the Status Check page.

Round 3 Applicants

  • The Kellogg MBA program is scheduling on-campus interviews beginning March 15th.

The waiting game is extremely stressful, so we hope this information helps calm frazzled nerves somewhat. Best of luck to all Kellogg MBA applicants!

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