Kellogg Adds Video Essay Component

The upcoming MBA admissions season is full of change, as several schools sharply reduce the number of essay questions or word count, require fewer letters of recommendation, and get creative with their application requirements.

Though an official announcement is still forthcoming, the MBA website Poets & Quants is reporting that, like Yale School of Management, Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management will also make video essays a mandatory component of the 2013-2014 MBA application.

According to the story in P&Q, applicants will have a few minutes to answer a randomized question on a Skype-like screen, and will have three tries to record what they consider a suitable answer. If the candidate is unhappy with the first go of it, he or she can discard and request a new question.

“The spirit of the questions is to get to know our candidates on a more personal level in a spontaneous format,” Kate Smith, Kellogg’s assistant dean of admissions and financial aid, tells P&Q. “They’re designed to bring to life the person we’ve learned about on paper in the application, including their passions, interests and ideas.”

I think this is a great idea, but I also understand why some applicants might feel nervous about answering a question on camera and on the fly. We know that interviews are increasingly important in the selection process at top schools, and it can be impossible to excel without preparation and practice. That’s why we’ve launched a Video Coaching Platform for interviews to  help prospective b-school applicants better prepare for the admissions process.

With our new video platform, we can help applicants prepare for live interviews and we can simulate any video essay requirements.  Clients can rehearse as much as they wish, respond online to a random pool of hundreds of questions, personally view their recordings, and select videos for review and feedback.  Also, SBC consultants provide feedback on dress, tone, volume and content. The unlimited opportunity to practice and review builds confidence, and as a result, our well-prepared clients appear calm and polished on screen.

As we noted in a January post on this same subject, the goal of using video essays from an admissions standpoint is simply to make better decisions about which candidates are the strongest match with the program. This component will better demonstrate communication skills, the ability to think on one’s feet, and possibly help identify those applicants who, while not quite as strong on paper, may actually be the diamonds in the rough that enrich the learning experience for all.


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