1 or 2-year MBA

Round 1: 19 September 2018

Round 2: 11 January 2019

Round 3: 10 April 2019


The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University is one of the most sought-after MBAs. With a strong focus on diversity in its student body and curriculum, Kellogg continues to attract individuals searching for a highly customizable global MBA.

As for applicants, Northwestern is still very much looking to identify those who have done their due diligence on the program. In fact, Associate Director of Admissions Christy Heaton points out in Northwestern’s blog, Inside Kellogg, that two ways in which you can significantly improve your chances of admission are through research of the school and networking with alumni.

When it comes to Kellogg’s application, you can now count a video interview as a part of the process. This new requirement might seem a bit overwhelming but, as we’ll discuss later in the post, it’s a matter of practice.

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 in MBAs. However, Kellogg’s essay delves more deeply and intimately into the topic. Kellogg quite clearly states that it’s looking for leadership that demonstrated bravery and that created a long-term impact.

While at first, you might find it difficult to locate an example where you acted bravely, you only have to understand what Kellogg views 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 example that best complements your CV and other essays. However, whatever you choose, you need to make sure it answers the second part of the question: what was the lasting value.

The impact can take many shapes. Your experience could have had a positive effect on a person, a family, a team, a division, a company, or an industry. Whether it was on a small or large scale, you should illustrate that the value you created was noticeable and significant. 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: Pursuing an MBA is a catalyst for personal and professional growth. How have you grown in the past? How do you intend to grow at Kellogg? (450 words)

In the first part of this essay, Kellogg is trying to understand the consistency and realism of your drivers and trajectory. In other words, how is your past growth linked to and indicative of your future goals. While you might be tempted to go through the whole of your professional and personal history, beginning with your university education, you have to be much more sparing in this essay. Concentrate on a very small number of instances that illustrate how you’ve grown, making sure that they logically connect with the reasons behind your pursuit of an MBA.

For the second half of your answer, you need to focus on the subject of continuing your growth at Kellogg. Using your previous examples as a jumping-off point, dig into Kellogg’s program and highlight those resources that can help progress your personal and professional goals. Keep in mind, that Northwestern most appreciates candidates that have completed a significant amount of research and can show specificity.

Conditional essay 1/Dual-degree Applicants: For applicants to the MMM or JD-MBA dual degree programs, please explain why that program is right for you. (250 words)

Dual-degree programs at Kellogg are highly competitive, so you need to clearly understand why they would benefit you rather than simply pursuing a single-degree programme, or a dual-degree program at another institution. With only 250 words at your disposal, you need to be very specific in your explanation of how the dual-degree program is the most powerful tool available to help you reach your career objectives.

Conditional Essay 2/Re-applicants: Since your previous application, what steps have you taken to strengthen your candidacy? (250 word limit)

If you’re reapplying to the program, 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 important point in this essay is to clearly show that you have improved whatever deficiencies you may have had and that they are well behind you. If you cannot state 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.

Optional Essay/Additional Information: If needed, use this section to briefly describe any extenuating circumstances (e.g. unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, etc.) (no word count)

This question should only be used to explain away any red flags in your application. When talking about previous errors, explain how you were able to permanently rid yourself of them. For instance, if you’d suffered a year of bad grades during your university studies, how you later pursued academically challenging courses or tasks that proved your capacity to outperform scholastically. Moreover, it’s very important that your explanation is concise. The admissions committee does not want to see extensive text here.

VIDEO ESSAY: The Video Essay is one component of the application and provides you with an additional opportunity to demonstrate what you will bring to our vibrant Kellogg community – in an interactive way. You will respond to several short video essay questions. The questions are designed to bring to life the person we have learned about on paper.

•    After submitting an application and payment, you will be able to access the video essay through your application status page. One question will be a “get to know you” icebreaker type of question. The second question will be an opportunity to describe your plans for the future and how Kellogg will help you on that journey. The other questions will be randomly generated questions that will be similar to interview questions.

•    There are practice questions that you may complete as many times as you like to get comfortable with the format and technology. The practice questions and experience will simulate the actual video essay experience, so this is meant to be a useful tool to help you feel prepared.

•    We encourage you to practice so you are comfortable with the format once it is time to complete the official questions. There is not an opportunity to re-do the answer to the official video essay questions.

•    You will have 20 seconds to think about the question and up to one minute to give your response.

•    We estimate the video essays will take 20-25 minutes to complete – which includes time for set-up and answering all the practice questions.  You will need an internet-connected computer with a webcam, microphone and an updated version of Adobe Flash in order to complete the video essay.

Kellogg provides quite a significant amount of information on this section of the application. Thinking about the video 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 ace the video essay, you need to prepare significantly for this section. While you practice, don’t focus on rote memorization but rather the delivery, tone, and general content.

Published On: October 11th, 2018 / Categories: Essay, Kellogg / Tags: , , , , /