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 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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