Here at Stacy Blackman Consulting, we love to share insider knowledge gleaned from our stellar team of MBA admissions experts. Did you know that SBC is the only MBA admissions firm with a complete panel of former Admissions Officers from every M7 program and the elite European MBA programs? Today, we bring you insight from SBC consultant Caryn, a former admissions officer at Kellogg School of Management. Here is Caryn’s advice on how to impress the Kellogg admissions committee.
What is a common challenge that applicants face?
The biggest challenge for applicants is differentiating themselves from other applicants of similar backgrounds. I see this regularly with candidates from oversubscribed professional backgrounds, such as consulting and banking. It also occurs with oversubscribed populations from particular areas of the world.
To overcome these challenges, we focus on presenting the full story behind the applicant. That means highlighting unique points of difference throughout the entire application, from the essays to resume, to interview and beyond.
For example, instead of just discussing that a client closed X number of banking transactions, we would highlight what he/she did that was not the norm on these transactions. So things like “led at a level above,” “reporting directly to the MD,” or “presented to C-level client on multiple occasions.” As much as possible, we highlight areas of accomplishment or unique background stories to help differentiate them from the applicant pool.
What should applicants do to impress the Kellogg admissions committee?
Admissions committees always want to see you highlight the traditional areas of interest: leadership, communication, analytical abilities, and community involvement. For Kellogg in particular, I’d really focus on your ability to work within a collaborative environment.
Demonstrate how you’d be involved in the program from a leadership aspect. Kellogg’s focus on educating and inspiring “brave leaders who build strong organizations. . .” should be demonstrated not only in your background but in your future plans as well.
People who work best in solo settings, owning just their own work, will not feel comfortable in Kellogg’s highly collaborative atmosphere. I would avoid relaying that you are a solo practitioner in this area. While I’d highlight your accomplishments, I’d look to balance that with the benefit of working with your teams. Also, avoid solely focusing on “I did this, I did that” or casting blame on teammates. Those two tactics are the surest way to leave a bad impression on the adcom.
Any final tips to share?
Do your research! As Kellogg has two interview components (video and live), you have a tremendous opportunity to display your in-depth knowledge before the Kellogg admissions committee. Research how you’ll plan to take advantage of Kellogg’s broad offerings. Think about everything from particular programs, classes and even professors, to specific extracurriculars you’ll participate in. Kellogg wants students to hit the ground running from Day 1. Do your research and make sure to demonstrate it where possible!
You can read more of Caryn’s advice on how to get into Kellogg School of Management in this premium article on Business Insider.