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. 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.


Click for more posts containing Application Advice for the Northwestern Kellogg MBA Program.
To see our Northwestern Kellogg MBA Essay Guide for MBA Applications, click here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


(323) 934-3936

Latest Blog Post

B-Schooled Podcast Episode #146: Standing Out From Your Competition

How can you differentiate yourself from your MBA competition, particularly if you’re in one of the most competitive buckets regarding demographics, industry, and function? That’s the focus of this episode of B-Schooled, which details ...