Tag Archives: Kellogg

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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Evaluate in Which Round to Submit Your B-School Application

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA blog on U.S.News.com – See more at: http://www.stacyblackman.com/2013/07/08/dont-ignore-a-low-gpa-in-b-school-applications/#sthash.ThWkBFpR.dpuf This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA blog on U.S.News.com – See more at: http://www.stacyblackman.com/2013/07/08/dont-ignore-a-low-gpa-in-b-school-applications/#sthash.ThWkBFpR.dpuf This …

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA blog on U.S.News.com – See more at: http://www.stacyblackman.com/2013/07/08/dont-ignore-a-low-gpa-in-b-school-applications/#sthash.ThWkBFpR.dpuf
This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA blog on U.S.News.com – See more at: http://www.stacyblackman.com/2013/07/08/dont-ignore-a-low-gpa-in-b-school-applications/#sthash.ThWkBFpR.dpuf
This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA blog on U.S.News.com – See more at: http://www.stacyblackman.com/2013/07/08/dont-ignore-a-low-gpa-in-b-school-applications/#sthash.ThWkBFpR.dpuf

This post originally appeared on Stacy's "Strictly Business" MBA Blog on U.S.News.com

I field questions every admissions season from clients about when to submit business school applications. They ask if they have a better shot in round two rather than round one, or if it's even worth submitting in the final round.

Schools regularly address this question on admissions blogs, but seldom provide insight beyond the standard advice of applying whenever you can put forth the strongest application.

I polled several consultants on my team and while there may be no definitive answer, I believe you'll find their feedback informative.

Applying in round one: First-round applicants tend to be extremely well-prepared candidates who have known they want to go to business school for awhile. They have spent considerable effort preparing for the GMAT, cultivating extracurricular activities and seeking out leadership opportunities either at work or in volunteer settings.

Early applications show serious interest and planning. In this round, you may have the greatest statistical chance, since you're only being compared to the current candidate pool.

In fact, a former Chicago Booth School of Business admissions committee member says the committee accepted 65 percent of Booth's students during this round.

For applicants to second-tier schools, the top 20 to 40, applying in the first round conveys that the school is a top choice and could result in a scholarship, says a former committee member at the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business.

Applying early also allows you to submit applications to other programs in later rounds if you're not admitted in round one. Programs with an early action or early decision round, such as the Tuck School of Business and Columbia Business School, value the commitment shown by applying ahead of the crowd.

An ex-Tuck admissions committee member shared reports that showed early action applications were up 30 percent this year. Since Tuck's class size is so small, earlier truly is your best shot.

Likewise, a consultant formerly with Columbia admissions says if you're committed to Columbia Business School, you should absolutely apply in the early decision round, as it's the only school with a binding decision. Columbia will also frequently offer applicants a spot in the January start if September is full.

In the end, there are more slots available in round one and more opportunities to be placed on the waitlist if that's the route the admissions committee decides to take, says a former Duke Fuqua School of Business admissions committee member.

On the other hand, a lot of strong applications come in during the first round, says one former Wharton School admissions staffer. According to an ex-Kellogg admissions committee member, you're more likely to be wait-listed for this round versus round two.

If you need to demonstrate your commitment to improving your quantitative profile by taking additional course work, or believe you can perform significantly better on the GMAT, you probably should wait for a later round.

Applying in round two: Second-round applicants have the advantage of visiting campus in the fall, which can help tremendously when it comes to drafting compelling essays and demonstrating that all-important fit with your target schools.

The general population tends to apply in this round, so it may be more favorable for candidates with less-than-perfect backgrounds, says the former Kellogg admissions committee representative. If you're accepted in this round, you'll have plenty of time to start preparing for this next phase of your life, from leaving a job to moving.

This is when most of the seats fill up, explains a former Wharton admissions committee member, so accepted candidates have a chance to participate in a welcome weekend and make a sound decision on a school. On the flip side, rejected applicants will have time to start strategizing their applications for the next year, notes one ex-Chicago Booth admissions member.

Round two receives the highest number of applications, which makes competition fierce as candidates are compared with the round two pool as well as the accepted candidates from first round. Your application may not stand out as much if you have a common profile, warns a former Wharton admissions committee member.

The increased volume may also mean longer processing times, and some schools might wait-list applicants they never had a chance to interview. Also, says an ex-Kellogg admissions committee, applicants are less likely to be wait-listed or get in off the waitlist.

Applying in round three: Round three is the trickiest time to apply, as almost all b-school seats have been filled and programs are waiting for stellar candidates who will help round out the class profile. While schools encourage students with a solid application to apply in the final round, they candidly admit it is uber-competitive and often counsel including an optional essay to explain why you've waited.

While it's better to submit a strong application in the final round than a weak one in round two, applying with a generic background is far less compelling at this point. It was almost impossible to find a consultant to endorse applying during this round.

One former admissions employee explains that people best suited for this round have a highly unique background that would truly add to the class. A former admissions committee member from the Haas School of Business says there were admission spots available at the end because by that time, the school knew who had already accepted offers elsewhere.

Aside from the potential drawbacks of having no choice but to interview on-campus and miss out on welcome weekends, our ex-Chicago Booth insider reveals that programs say this round is reserved for wait-listed candidates and the "superhuman," such as, for example, the Olympic gold medalist from Cameroon. Statistically speaking, one's chances are slim.

The bottom line: There are many outside factors that come into play when it comes to making admissions decisions. It can depend on who reads your file, their mood and what other applications they read that day, notes the former Haas representative.

Everything else being equal, I would always advise a client to apply as early as possible to any program, so long as you aren't sacrificing the quality of your application.

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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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SBC Scoop: When Numbers Aren’t Enough

Rahul signed up with Stacy Blackman Consulting for a two-hour feedback session on his unsuccessful application from the prior year. With a 760 GMAT and a near perfect GPA from an Ivy League school, Rahul …

Rahul signed up with Stacy Blackman Consulting for a two-hour feedback session on his unsuccessful application from the prior year. With a 760 GMAT and a near perfect GPA from an Ivy League school, Rahul was surprised that he failed to receive even a single interview invitation from his applications to HBS, Stanford, Columbia, and Chicago. With better-than-average numbers, I had a feeling that Rahul needed to focus on the qualitative factors to make his case for admission.

When I read through Rahul’s application to Stanford it was clear that there was room to improve his essays and his recommendations. Rahul’s career goals were a logical extension of his current job in consulting ”“ he planned to return to the firm and advance to partner, ultimately specializing in the technology side of the firm and focusing on developing that side of the business. However, he never explained WHY technology was a passion for him, or WHY he was so devoted to his firm that he wanted to make his career there. Though in conversation Rahul was passionate about his path, it came across as a default answer in his essay.

“What Matters Most” is a tough essay topic for every candidate. In Rahul’s case he focused on his family and particularly his relationship with his grandparents who had immigrated to the United States from India and embraced a new culture and way of life. Again, Rahul’s admiration for his family and forebears was captivating in speech, but did not translate in writing.

As for Rahul’s recommenders, they praised his work, but did not advance his cause. None of them addressed Rahul’s career goals in any depth, and they did not highlight his exceptional work as compared with his peers. Overall it seemed as if Rahul was a strong contributor to his firm, but he didn’t come across as the next generation of leader and superstar there. When we discussed this issue, Rahul explained he had not shared his career goals or any of his other essay topics with his recommenders. As a result, I guessed his recommenders were not as invested in his success and may have lacked direction in writing the letters.

Rahul was receptive to my feedback and continued to work with us to reapply to HBS and Stanford, while adding Wharton, Michigan and Kellogg as new schools on his list. Rahul devoted himself to essay writing, and the results reflected his infectious enthusiasm for his work and his personal life. He also set up lunch meetings with his recommenders to go over his strategy and plans for re-application. With his recommenders in the loop on his overall goals they supported him with enthusiastic letters, and even helped him take on new projects related to technology at the firm in the year before he went to school.

Rahul was ultimately admitted to Wharton and the Kellogg MMM program.

We have so many client stories and each one is different. Even applicants who appear to have similar bios are unique when we peel back the layers. View more client case studies here.

*Please note that no client details are ever shared in SBC Scoop or otherwise without complete sign off from client.

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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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SBC Scoop: Getting Your Goals Right

I worked with Janet nine years ago, and our work together spanned two application seasons because she did not quite meet her goals the first time around.  Working with Janet reinforced an incredibly important application …

I worked with Janet nine years ago, and our work together spanned two application seasons because she did not quite meet her goals the first time around.  Working with Janet reinforced an incredibly important application rule, one that I now always keep in mind when working with clients.

Janet had very strong numbers:  3.6 and 720, and she had solid work experience in the marketing field.  Although all of this was great, as her consultant, I was most excited about what set her apart:  a great passion and talent for the violin.  Many of her extra-curricular and volunteer activities centered around this interest.

In creating Janet’s applications to Kellogg, Wharton, Columbia and Cornell, we talked a lot about the violin.  This was especially pertinent because it tied in to her career goal of managing a symphony in a major city.  We were both pleased with her final applications, which showcased her accomplishments, while also helping to set her apart from others in the applicant pool.

That year, Janet was admitted to Cornell and denied from the other three schools.  Although she was excited by the Cornell admit, we were both puzzled by her overall results.  We truly thought her application rocked it!  Janet was set to enroll at Cornell, when she was able to elicit some feedback from the Kellogg admissions committee (something that is very uncommon now).  Kellogg gave her bits of feedback that were not terribly helpful.  But there was one nugget that spoke to us.  Kellogg told her that her application made them wonder why she was applying to an MBA program instead of an arts management program.  She was very impressive, but they were not confident that the MBA program could actually help her reach her goals.

As we reviewed her application, we understood more clearly that she had done a very good job of presenting her case:
past –  a strong track record of success
future –  focused career goals
However, we needed to build a stronger case for why an MBA was a logical bridge between past and future.

Lesson learned – it’s not enough to wow an MBA program with all of the great things that you have done, and will do.  You also need to help the b-school understand that they can actually help you reach your goals.  While we knew that going in, we got so carried away with crafting a terrific and unique story that we forgot to pay attention to this very important rule.

Janet took a risk and turned down Cornell.  She reapplied to Kellogg, which was her first choice, as well as Columbia, and then applied for a first time to Haas and Stanford.  This time she tweaked her goals to focus on the business end of driving an arts organization and transforming the arts and the public’s perception of the arts.  She made it clear that her leadership, marketing, and management skills would develop in an important way in an MBA program.  She was admitted to Kellogg and Haas and eventually enrolled at Kellogg.

To read more SBC Case Studies, click HERE.

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