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Kellogg Admissions Essays

I admit, I’ve always been a bit of a geek. My biggest passion as a teenager was playing Laser Tag, a laser arcade competition. Laser Quest, the town’s premier arcade, was the center of my world back then, and where I was employed as an instructor.

However, Laser Quest was not a very lucrative establishment. In fact, it was teetering on the verge of bankruptcy, but it had a few young, repeat customers. These loyal customers represented untapped potential, so I proposed establishing a Laser League to spur continuous competition and more social interaction. The league was a hit, greatly increasing our revenues.

No less importantly, I learned a vital lesson, which over the years became one of the guiding values in my life: If I realize the full potential to make a change and take the initiative, I can make a real difference. With time I learned that empowering others to do the same is equally important, and can lead to unusual impact and results that were seemingly impossible before.

I remember the first time I felt I can really encourage others to make their lives better. Before I started my undergraduate degree I traveled in India and spent 3 weeks in a small village. Our group befriended our guesthouse owners, who a year before experienced a disaster when a fire burned their guesthouse and home. Now, they were very poor and considered relinquishing their business and moving away. Yet I was eager to help them stay.

While analyzing the situation, I noticed that most guesthouses around don’t have a modern toilet room. I told the family that if they would be able to build a toilet, their guest house would be immensely more attractive. The father was reluctant, saying “costs are too high.” I then pitched the idea to other guests and convinced them to help build the toilet room.

We traveled for half a day to buy the necessary materials and everybody helped to build the rest room, which was up and running in 3 days. The word was out, and more tourists came to spend their time in the guesthouse, helping cover the debts of rebuilding their home. Again, I learned that initiative and empowering others can make a real difference.

I took this attitude with me to my professional career as well. I was a young project manager appointed with the development of the international corporate site of one of the largest food companies in my country. Soon after, my client rejected the initial site design, saying it had no “vision or excitement in it”. I quickly realized that to succeed in this project, we would need to deliver quality creative concepts.

However, this was a problem. For one thing, our company rarely provided creative services. Moreover, the project’s budget included no allocation for such services. After some thought, I realized that some of our employees were skilled enough to produce quality creative concepts. I then decided to pitch to management forming our own in-house creative team.

I talked with my CEO, but he was initially against my idea. A day later I came up with my final “sales pitch”. I offered that we do a pilot by delivering an initial creative concept just for the site’s homepage and present it to the client. I was thrilled when my CEO agreed to give my idea a chance.

I assembled and led a 7-member creative team, we built a new creative concept, and presented it to our client. The client‘s Corporate Brand Manager was excited: “This creative team adds huge value to our project” he said. He then agreed to enlarge the original project budget by 15% to include our creative services. Eventually we delivered the corporate site and it was approved by our client, securing $1.2 million in revenues.

This experience reinforced what I already knew – if I succeed in empowering peers and subordinates to realize their full potential, we can do great things together as a team. This is exactly the attitude I want to take with me to Kellogg.

Surrounded by fellow students, the sharpest minds from a wide range of professional and cultural backgrounds, I want to do my best to empower follow students and work together as a team to get the most of our MBA experience, in study groups, group projects, and any program we take part in.

Moreover, I would love to share both my international and corporate experience and insights with fellow students during classes and in Kellogg’s clubs, such as the Entrepreneurship Club, while helping other students realize their own initiatives.

 

Good luck to all the Round 2 applicants to Kellogg! Deadline is 2 months,0 weeks,4 days,8 hours ago and our Kellogg essay guide can help!

 

Hooboy. The Kellogg Class of 2019 profile is… daunting. Can you say “EVEN HIGHER GMAT”?! The Class of 2019 profile for Kellogg is out and average GMAT NOPE, BOYS AND GIRLS, IT’S 732 NOW. Please don’t hit your head on the ceiling, you crazy GMAT test takers. Sheesh.

 
 


 
These essays are HARD!!

Our Kellogg MBA essay guide for 2017 will help you out.


 

 
 

2017 Kellogg Full-Time MBA Essay Questions – Class of 2020

The essay questions for Northwestern Kellogg are only slightly changed from last year:

  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)
  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)

The second question is the same as the past few years, but they’ve tweaked the wording on the first one to a) incorporate their purpose thing and b) introduce this “lasting value” angle in what they’re asking you. Eeek! That’s gonna be tough!!!!! And, if previous Brave Supplicants’ experiences are any guide, you’re going to have some trouble with essay 2 question 2 especially. The wording is not as straightforward as it could be and it’s not so easy to do a good job with this.

Here’s a classic mistake that many make in writing for these types of questions. We also talked about the Kellogg essays in this post on inside-out and outside-in stories and another on professional stories and showing “growth” for Kellogg MBA Essay 2. The Kellogg adcom suggests that you think about the essays combined, as a set, and look at the balance of content you’re presenting across both of them. They also encouraged you to use more recent examples.

You’ll note that there is no explicit career goals essay, though you will be answering questions about goals in the application. It’s often relevant to discuss goals in essay 2 question 2, but not always. It’ll need to be handled carefully if you do.

They’re also keeping the three video questions (they were one of the pioneers for this format back in 2012). You’ll complete these after you submit the written application.

On the video essay, don’t read from notes when you give your answers! They want you to be yourself. You should not be overpreparing. It’s fine to take notes when you get the question but you should not have a scripted answer prepared in advance.

The earlier you submit your application (before the deadline) then the more choices you’re going to have with the interview request.

Our Kellogg essay guide has been updated for 2017 – no excuses, you can get started now!

 

Kellogg MBA recommendations 2017

In 2017, Kellogg is again deviating from the standardized recommender questions and in entirely new and different ways. Gah!

This can be enough to throw a wrench into the works for a recommender. 🙁

For Kellogg especially, our Recommenders’ Instruction Sets is likely to be of real help to your recommenders.
 

The Kellogg Application Guide is ready to roll to support you in this application!
 

Kellogg Class of 2020 Full-time MBA Dates & Deadlines

Kellogg F/T MBA Application Deadlines – if you’re requesting an off-campus interview then you should do your best to submit your application as early as possible (in 2013 they recommended submitting almost a MONTH before the Rd 1 deadline – they don’t have such explicit recommendations these days but they do say they can more easily accommodate your requested interview option if you submit early). If you can’t pull that off, don’t panic.

  • Round 1: – no change from last year. Kellogg does not do a midcycle “release” since they manage interviews differently than other schools.
  • Round 2: January 10, 2018 – YAY!!! THEY MOVED OUT THEIR ROUND 2 DATE!!! One of the few adcoms that is actually being applicant-friendly on this Round 2 deadline!

EssaySnark does not list Round 3 dates because you really shouldn’t bother, it will just be a waste of your time and money and it will set you up for greater challenges as a reapplicant in the Fall.

 

Kellogg Links & Application Info

Kellogg Info Courtesy of EssaySnark

Pro Tip: We give PRO TIPS!! They’re in SnarkCenter! If you’re signed up for stuff here on essaysnark.com you can set your School Targets in My SnarkCenter and see our breaking-news and don’t-do-this advice for all BSers, along with a link to the full ‘Snarchive on Kellogg-specific posts going back to the beginning of snarkville.

 

EssaySnark Reviews

We’ve done a lot with the Kellogg essays! And there’s a lot of former BSers in Evanston. Here’s where we ripped some of those previous essays to shreds:

And really old:


 

For Reference: Kellogg’s Past-Season Questions

Click to view 2016 questions
The current essay questions for Northwestern Kellogg are:
  1. Leadership and teamwork are integral parts of the Kellogg experience. Describe a recent and meaningful time you were a leader. What challenges did you face, and what did you learn? (450 words)
  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)

Those happen to be the same as they asked in 2015. And, if last year’s Brave Supplicants’ experiences are any guide, you’re going to have some trouble with essay 2 question 2 especially. The wording is not as straightforward as it could be.

However, essay 2 question 1 is also proving sticky for many BSers. We covered a classic mistake in writing for these types of questions on the blahg in September. We also talked about the Kellogg essays in this post on inside-out and outside-in stories in December, and here it is right before the deadline and we’re doing another post on professional stories and showing “growth” for the Kellogg MBA Essay 2.

Also you’ll note that there is no explicit career goals essay, though you will be answering questions about goals in the application. It’s often relevant to discuss goals in essay 2 question 2, but it’ll need to be handled carefully.

For essay 1, this previous post on “lessons learned” in essays might be useful.

They’re also keeping the video questions (they were one of the pioneers for this format) and even expanding them from two to three. You’ll complete these after you submit the written application.

In a webinar in August 2016, Kellogg adcom was very candid in offering some advice from last year’s applicants since the essay questions were the same. They suggested that you think about the essays combined, as a set, and look at the balance of content you’re presenting across both of them. They also encouraged you to use more recent examples.

And finally:

Can you say “high GMAT score”? The Class of 2018 profile for Kellogg is out and average GMAT is now 728!!!!! They’ve also got 20 fewer students in the class, which is the opposite direction we’d expect to see in an increasing-apps environment. Last season was indeed crazy competitive. Let’s hope this year’s not quite so bad!!!

A few other trends:

  • Fewer women: 41% which translates to 194 female students, compared to 211 in the Class of 2017
  • Fewer internationals: 35% (166 students) compared to 40% (197) last year
  • More work experience: 80% range of 3.5 to 7 years of experience, compared to 3 to 7 years in the class of 2017

We doubt that they explicitly designed these shifts into the class makeup so it’s not like these are trends that will continue for the upcoming admissions season – but they’re definitely marked changes from the year before.

[end discussion of last year’s questions.]


Click to view 2015 questions

The Class of 2017 profile for Kellogg is a little intimidating!! Average GMAT up to 724?!?
The Kellogg essay questions are reasonably straightforward but the second question is tricky, and they do have those video questions which makes some people nervous. The Kellogg application process is also different, since you need to request your own interview – plus there’s some important wrinkles and potential gotchas in the app itself. Our Kellogg MBA Application Guide walks you through everything.

Here are the 2015 essay questions:

  1. Leadership and teamwork are integral parts of the Kellogg experience. Describe a recent and meaningful time you were a leader. What challenges did you face, and what did you learn? (450 words)
  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)
  3. After submitting a completed application, each applicant will be asked to complete two Video Essay Questions. One will be about the candidate’s interest in Kellogg and the other will be a “getting to know you” type of question.

You can see their FAQ on the Video Essay in their application instructions .

Their online app also asks for a lot of stuff, as every school’s does – including, in this case, some questions on your career goals.

There’s also a reapplicant essay (up to 250 words) and another essay if you’re applying to MMM or other dual-degree program, plus an optional Additional Information section with no word limit (only use that if necessary to explain something you’re not covering elsewhere).

Just like the 2014 season, Kellogg is continuing the trend of being kind to Brave Supplicants. Clear language, easy-to-understand questions, and a real opportunity to share something important, with both essays.

For 2015-’16, Kellogg took the extra step of publishing some specifically useful and practical tips for your essays – advice which we’ve covered for years in our Kellogg application guide (/end shameless self-promotion) and which also can apply to plenty of other schools.

[end discussion of last year’s questions.]


Click to view 2014 questions

Two written essays and two in-app video questions:
  1. Resilience. Perseverance. Grit. Call it what you will…. Challenges can build character. Describe a challenging experience you’ve had. How were you tested? What did you learn? (450 words)
  2. Leadership requires an ability to collaborate with and motivate others. Describe a professional experience that required you to influence people. What did this experience teach you about working with others, and how will it make you a better leader? (450 words)
  3. After submitting a completed application, each applicant will be asked to complete two Video Essay Questions. One will be about the candidate’s interest in Kellogg and the other will be a “getting to know you” type of question.

Wow. Kellogg. Nice essays.
[end discussion of 2014 questions.]


Click to view 2013 questions

2013 Essays – EssaySnark’s Analysis

Things were CON-FUS-ING at Kellogg that year. They completely changed their application process, AND they implemented a video essay at the same time – and none of these changes were managed well.
Here’s how the interview/application deadlines worked then:

  • Round 1
    • Off-campus interview request – recommended deadline was September 18 last year – the problem was, they announced this on like August 20th or something crazy! It created much panic in the minds of BSers everywhere
    • Final Rd 1 deadline was October 16 last year – they claim no disadvantage to submit on the deadline but they were pretty firm that you should apply early if you can
  • Round 2
    • Off-campus interview request – recommended deadline was December 3 last year
    • Final Rd 2 deadline was January 7 last year

Thankfully they fixed this problem for the 2014 season.

This is what we said when the 2013 essay questions came out… remember this analysis is not for the current season (but the Kellogg adcom does still care about these things, which is why we’re keeping this for your reference).

Here’s the Kellogg essay questions – they went shorter with one but not unreasonably so. Good job, Kellogg!

Three essays including a very straightforward career goals question:

  1. What’s the greatest obstacle you’ve overcome (personally or professionally)? How has overcoming this obstacle prepared you to achieve success now and in the future? (350 words)
  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. (500 words)
  3. (This requires two separate answers; it’s not a single essay)
    • Part 1: What career/role are you looking to pursue and why? (250 word limit)
    • Part 2: Why are Kellogg and the MBA essential to achieving these career goals? (250 word limit) (Please answer Part 2 in terms of your program choice: One-Year, Two-Year, MMM, JD-MBA).
  4. There’s also a Video Essay – you’ll answer an impromptu question within the application itself using a webcam and your browser (we discuss it in the Kellogg essay guide and if you want help preparing, our Automated Interview Prep offers a very similar experience in a practice environment)

These questions were different, but they were still very Kellogg! Besides that video essay, Aw snap. They really didn’t. There were indeed two sets of dates per round again that year. And they only announced it A MONTH BEFORE THEY WANTED PEOPLE TO SUBMIT APPS. And they had only released the app on August 22nd!!! With apps due on September 18th? Totally uncool, Kellogg.

[end discussion of 2013 questions.]
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Click to view 2012 questions

2012 questions – these are REALLY OLD
Three essays and a quick answer:
  1. Discuss moments or influences in your personal life that have defined who you are today.
  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).(You can definitely expect a question about leadership from Kellogg.)
  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)
  4. What one interesting or fun fact would you want your future Kellogg classmates to know about you? (25 words or less)

[end discussion of 2012 questions.]


Success Story!

We always preserve anonymity for our successful clients, and sometimes they prefer us not even to divulge the name of the school they got admitted to when they write about their experiences… but sometimes they’ll tell where they’re going! This former Brave Supplicant got into Kellogg a few years back and offered a great story about the process. Here’s another from a 2015 military candidate.

Our SnarkStrategies Guide for Kellogg has been updated for 2017 questions and details.

 

[Index of essay questions by business school]