When it comes to Kellogg’s essay questions, you can count two required essay questions alongside a conditional essay question depending on the program you are applying to, and – last but not least – two video essay questions to complete.
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: 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 goals. 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 in this essay. Concentrate on a small number of instances that illustrate how the same core ideas have been a part of your path, making sure 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 personal and professional goals. 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.
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 programme, 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 technology and its business ramifications. 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 understand their potential when bridged with a business-thinking perspective. Regardless of how you’ve come to be at the intersection of technology and business though, this essay is ultimately asking about the future and your future leading them – so make sure to project from your past experiences towards the future, all while proposing attainable goals.
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)
As with other options, 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 intersections of business and design. How are these values 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)
Again, only 250 words – so get specific. How is Kellogg’s JD-MBA uniquely able to help you reach your career objectives, and how will it leave you better off than pursuing either a law or business degree on their own? Why do your future goals require that you study both areas together? What will you learn from studying at the intersection of law and business that you could only learn through a program tailored for individuals looking to master both areas in the same time as one degree?
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 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.
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.
Kellogg provides quite a significant amount of information on this section of the application. Thinking about the video and its three sections 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 – 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.
If you’re looking to create the most impactful essay and video content for Kellogg, be sure to connect with our experts. Otherwise, for general application details, you can visit Northwestern Kellogg’s MBA admissions page.