Essay 1: Kellogg’s purpose is to educate, equip & inspire brave leaders who create lasting value. Tell us about a time you have demonstrated leadership and created lasting value. What challenges did you face, and what did you learn? (450 words)
Leadership is always a subject of intense interest when it comes to MBA programs. However, Kellogg’s essay delves more deeply and intimately into the topic, as the school stresses that it’s looking for leadership that has demonstrated bravery and that has created a long-term impact.
While at first, you might find it difficult to zero in on a time when you acted bravely, the trick is that you only have to understand what Kellogg defines as brave. They don’t expect to read many tales of people risking their lives to lead a family out of a burning building. Bravery can mean putting yourself outside of your comfort zone, dealing with uncertainty, or being able to push forward when others don’t believe you can make it.
In terms of topics, this question can lend itself to a whole host of possibilities, from the personal to the professional. Depending on how many options you have, you can choose the one that best complements your CV and other essays. However, whatever choice you make, you need to make sure it answers the second part of the question: what was the lasting value.
The impact you had can take many forms. Your experience could have had a positive effect on a person, a family, a team, a division, a company, or an entire industry. Whether it was on a small or large scale, you should illustrate that the value you created was noticeable and significant—and, for this essay, a significant impact is often one which influences the lives of others. Beyond that, you should also keep in mind that part of the lasting value of your experience is what you learned from it. In other words, the impact you had on yourself.
Essay 2: Values are what guide you in your life and work. What values are important to you and how have they influenced you? (450 words)
In the first part of this essay, Kellogg is trying to understand the consistency and connection between your values and your objectives. While you might be tempted to go through the whole of your professional and personal history to find examples that illustrate your core values, you have to be much more focused here. Concentrate on a small number of instances that illustrate how the same core ideas have been a part of your path, making sure, if possible, that they logically connect with the reasons behind your pursuit of an MBA at Northwestern.
Using your previous examples as a jumping-off point to discuss what values guide your personal and professional choices, dig into Kellogg’s program and highlight aspects of it that in turn reflect your values. In other words, try to briefly illustrate ways in which your values align with and can be a positive contribution to the Kellogg MBA community. Keep in mind that Northwestern highly appreciates candidates that can show introspection and can be specific in what they are looking for in an MBA, so be sure to focus in on concrete aspects of the program.
While Kellogg offers a set of alternatives to the usual 2-year MBA program, each nonetheless remains highly competitive. If you are applying to one of them, you need to clearly understand why you would benefit from it rather than simply pursuing a traditional 2-year MBA, either at Kellogg or at another institution. Below we provide some pointers for how to approach each option.
One-Year applicants: Please discuss your post-MBA career goal, the current experience you will leverage to support the transition, and the Kellogg 1Y opportunities that will help you reach this goal. (250 words)
With only 250 words at your disposal, you need to be very specific in your explanation of how the one-year program is the most powerful tool available to help you reach your post-degree career objectives. It will also be important to argue for why you wish to fast-track your MBA studies, and what makes you equipped to regain the professional world after this intensive and relatively short program.
MBAi applicants: The Kellogg McCormick MBAi program is designed to train the next generation of leaders who can help businesses deliver successful outcomes through AI-driven technology. This requires leaders who have both strong technical and business skills; many firms struggle to find leaders with these skills. Tell us about your firsthand experience with this disconnect between business and technology and how MBAi will prepare you to successfully lead businesses at the intersection. (450 words)
Here, Kellogg is directly asking for you to demonstrate your awareness of current issues facing businesses in an era of rapid technological innovation. If you come from a tech background, this can be a great opportunity to both elaborate on those skills and how you’ve come to comprehend their potential when bridged with a business-thinking perspective. However, be sure to pay special attention to the term “disconnect” in the prompt, as Kellogg has a preference for answers that illustrate that you clearly understand the difficulties that are met in such situations.
Regardless of how you’ve come to be at the intersection of business and technology, this essay is ultimately asking about your potential future leadership in the arena. So, for the second portion of the essay, it’s important to connect your goals with the offering of the MBAi, citing concrete examples from the program and connecting them with your future employment needs.
MMM applicants: The five core values of the MMM Program are curiosity, creativity, empathy, open-mindedness and a learning mindset. Describe a situation in which you demonstrated one of these values. Why is this value an important part of the MMM experience for you? (250 words)
With only 250 words at your disposal, it’s important to be very specific in your explanation of how this dual-degree’s values have been and continue to be important to you at the crossroads of business and design. A good approach might be to list out three or so situations that illustrate each of the core values (don’t worry if a single situation matches multiple values). Once you have your list, you can select the instance that most clearly demonstrates a core value and best complements the rest of your application.
For the second part of the answer, it’s important to develop a strong understanding of the MMM program offering, as you’ll need to explain how the value you chose is going to shape your student experience for the better, and ultimately equip you to reach your career objectives.
JD-MBA applicants: Please discuss your post-JD-MBA career goals and why the JD-MBA Program is the right program to help you reach those goals. (250 words)
This is another Kellogg essay that only provides enough room for 250 words—so concision is an absolute must. At the heart of it, you need to answer how Kellogg’s JD-MBA is uniquely able to help you reach your career objectives, and how it will leave you better off than pursuing either a law or business degree on its own. To address these points, you have to both understand the program very clearly, as well as what differentiates it from a single-degree MBA or JD, and intelligently explain how your career path will benefit preferentially from the JD-MBA.
Re-applicants: Since your previous application, what steps have you taken to strengthen your candidacy? (250 word limit)
If you’re reapplying to one of Kellogg’s programs, you need to illustrate what you’ve done to improve your candidacy. This of course implies that you’ve already done some soul searching to understand what went wrong in your former application. The most important part of this essay is to show that you have improved whatever deficiencies you may have had and that they are well behind you. For instance, you’ve taken and aced additional quantitative courses at a local university, and improved your GMAT score, in order to further offset a low GPA from your undergraduate studies.
On the other hand, if you’re unable to note any concrete changes that have occurred, try to focus on the ways in which you’ve sharpened your goals for and expectations from the MBA.
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.
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. You will be asked to answer three questions:
- Video essay 1: Please introduce yourself to the admissions committee.
– Consider this your opportunity to share what you would want your future Kellogg classmates and our admissions committee to know about you. What makes you, you?
- Video essay 2: What path are you interested in pursuing, how will you get there, and why is this program right for you?
– This is an intentionally broad question so you can answer honestly and meaningfully. We want to know why you’re pursuing an MBA and why you’re choosing a particular Kellogg Full-Time Program
- Video essay 3: This question will be based on a challenge you’ve faced and what you’ve learned from it.
Thinking about the video and its three parts strategically, keep in mind that the school is judging your level of communication, how you present yourself, and how well you function under pressure. In order to be able to really do well on the video essays, you need to prepare—take time to bullet point what information you need to convey for each answer and, while you practice, focus on delivery, tone, and general content over memorization. As important as it is to get the right message across, it’s even more important that your delivery seems extemporaneous.
If you’re looking to create the most impactful essay and video content to succeed in your application to Kellogg, be sure to connect with our Kellogg Experts. Otherwise, for general application details, you can visit Northwestern’s MBA admissions page.