Tuesday Tips: Kellogg MBA Essay Tips 2023-2024

Kellogg MBA essay tips

If you are getting ready to apply to Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management this year, these Kellogg MBA essay tips will help you prepare to knock it out of the park. The Kellogg School is a close-knit community that values a diverse community and philanthropy. Our insiders tell us that candidates who show the right combination of high-impact leadership and humility demonstrate “Kellogg DNA.”

Is Kellogg the right fit for you? To find out, do your research. For example, what are the programs, activities, clubs, and classes you are most excited about? While you are talking to students and alumni, look for ways you will contribute to the Kellogg MBA community.

Advice From One of SBC’s Resident Kellogg Experts

Caryn Altman, a tenured consultant on our SBC team, previously served as a Kellogg admissions officer and also holds an MBA from the school. For these Kellogg MBA essay tips, Caryn describes the importance of “unique points of difference” throughout your entire application—essays, resume, interview, etc. It can be challenging to distinguish yourself from other applicants of similar backgrounds.

“This is especially the case for those coming from oversubscribed professional backgrounds such as consulting and banking, along with oversubscribed populations from particular areas of the world,” Caryn notes.

Curious about your chances of getting into a top B-school? Contact us to talk strategy with a free 15-minute advising session with an SBC Principal Consultant.

Kellogg MBA essay tips

Kellogg MBA Essay Tips

Essay One: Kellogg Leaders are primed to tackle today’s pressing concerns everywhere, from the boardroom to their neighborhoods. Tell us about a time in your life where you’ve needed a combination of skills to solve a problem or overcome a challenge. Which skills did you use? What did you accomplish? (450 words)

This essay focuses on leadership using a behavioral essay framework (the clue is “tell us about a time…”). Details about exactly what you did, said, and learned provide details about your skills.

As you structure the essay, spend some time setting up the background of the story. Then use most of the space to describe what you did, thought, felt, and how you behaved. Also, use details to entice the reader and set yourself apart. A few well-placed specifics will add color without adding length to these Kellogg MBA essays. Make sure you are outlining the skills that you used in this example.

If you choose a challenging situation that you overcame, make sure you demonstrate lessons learned. In addition, describe the various skills you used. Also, a willingness to be open to feedback and improve will be an asset.

As you consider the skills you highlight in your example, do not neglect teamwork, a Kellogg core value. Your leadership experience is likely part of a team at work or in an extracurricular activity. Also, collaboration demonstrates maturity and social skills. Finally, make sure you explain what you accomplished in this example. Ideally, it is impactful to the organization and those around you.

Kellogg MBA essay tips

Essay Two: At Kellogg, our values are based on research that concludes organizations comprised of leaders with varied backgrounds and perspectives outperform homogeneous ones. How do you believe your personal and professional experiences to date will help to enrich the Kellogg community? (450 words)

This essay question is a hybrid of a classic career goals essay and a personal essay. Kellogg is interested in candidates who can integrate their values into their personal and professional goals. This question is also looking for what is unique about you. The ideal Kellogg class is a diverse group of people with varied backgrounds.

Consider what you will contribute from your unique background. Therefore, the story you tell provides insight into your decision to pursue an MBA. During the brainstorming process, you might come up with a whole list of facts about your background and perspective. Think about your upbringing, family background, places you have lived, and the people who have influenced you. Also, is there anything surprising about you? Because this isn’t a question about your entire work and life, choose only one or two main experiences to share.

Learn more about this program on B-Schooled Podcast #86: Spotlight on Kellogg School of Management

The Video Essay

The Kellogg admissions team advises the following in regards to the video essay: We’ve read your essays, we’ve read your resume — now we want you to bring all that to life in a video. Show us the person behind all those carefully crafted words. The video will be comprised of three questions, each designed to help you showcase your personality and share some of the experiences that brought you here today.

We find these videos to be a great opportunity for you to tell us more about your story, experiences and why Kellogg is the right place for you.

Here are some things to keep in mind as you prepare to complete this section:

  • Video essays are due 96 hours after the application deadline.
  • A video essay link will appear on your application status page after you submit your application and payment.
  • You will need an internet-connected computer with a webcam and microphone
  • The video should take about 20-25 minutes to complete, which includes time for setup.
  • After submitting your application and payment, you will be able to access the video essay through your application status page.

Watching a video essay gives the admissions committee a truer sense of who you are. Therefore, the Kellogg admissions committee advises: “Be yourself. We don’t want scripted answers — we want to get to know you and learn something new. Please do not try to reuse an example from an essay that might, in some roundabout way, answer the video essay question asked. We already read that essay, so why tell us that story again?”

Kellogg’s video essays should reveal your personality. Preparation will help you be comfortable and be yourself when you are recording the video. That said, it’s essential not to sound as if you are “acting.”

Also, it would be useful to do a few rounds of practice in front of the camera to get comfortable. Draft a friend or family member to ask you some common interview questions and record your answers. Think of a few personal stories about your background that may be good examples for the video questions you are presented with.

Kellogg MBA essay tips

Reapplicants will receive a prompt about their growth since their last application: How have you grown or changed personally and professionally since you previously applied and what steps have you taken to become the strongest candidate you can be? (250 words)

Provide tangible evidence that you have improved your candidacy in this answer. Some visible improvements could be a higher GMAT score. Also, grades from any new quantitative classes you took.

In addition, you could describe a promotion at work or new volunteer activities. Another area could be increased responsibility at work or in your extracurriculars. Or, discuss how your career goals have changed. Finally, you could focus on how you have refined your personal goals.


Now that you’ve seen these Kellogg MBA essay tips, would you like personalized help with your MBA applications? Stacy Blackman Consulting offers multiple services to meet your needs, from our All-In Partnership to test prep to hourly help with targeted tasks. Contact us today for a free 15-minute advising session to talk strategy with a Principal SBC consultant. Here’s a snapshot of the caliber of expertise on our SBC team.

Stacy Blackman

SBC’s star-studded consultant team is unparalleled. Our clients benefit from current intelligence that we receive from the former MBA Admissions Officers from Kellogg, Booth and every elite business program in the US and Europe.  These MBA Admissions Officers have chosen to work exclusively with SBC.

Just two of the many superstars on the SBC team:
Meet Beth who held the position of Director of Admissions for Kellogg’s Full Time MBA program selecting candidates for the 2-year, 1-year, MMM and JD MBA programs.

Meet Kim, who was an Senior Associate Director of Admissions at Chicago Booth.

Tap into this inside knowledge for your MBA applications by requesting a consultation.

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