Category Archives: Kellogg

Kellogg Admissions Essays for 2012-2013

Today we dig into the application essays for Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management for the 2012-2013 admissions season. Continuing the trend we have seen among other top MBA programs, Kellogg has made some significant changes this year. In fact, Kellogg has perhaps gone further than any other school this year, completely replacing its essay set and making the total word count much lower in the process.

Here are the school’s new essays, followed by our comments in italics:

Kellogg School of Management Application Essays

  1. Discuss moments or influences in your personal life that have defined who you are today. (500 words)

    As we mentioned above, Kellogg has replaced every one of its admissions essays this year. Business school application essay sets often (though not always) start with “Why an MBA? Why this school?” questions, and it’s interesting that Kellogg chose to lead off with an essay prompt that has more to do with getting to know you as a person. This question is the perfect example of one where an honest, personal answer will be much more interesting to admissions officers than one might sound “impressive” to a novice’s ears. While some applicants will surely write something along the lines of, “Learning about Steve Jobs has profoundly influenced the way I think about innovation,” you’ll do best by focusing on moments and relationships closer to home. Describe what has shaped you, how it’s shaped you, and why… If it weren’t for these influences, how would your life be different today? If you can answer that honestly, you may have the makings of a great essay. Finally, most applicants will likely read this as a prompt that asks for positive moments or influences, but that doesn’t have to be the case. You don’t necessarily want to be a downer with this essay, but if earlier in life you faced a rough setback that really defined who you are today, then that is definitely fair game here.
  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). (500 words)

    This is another all-new question. Since you only have 500 words, we advise that you focus on no more than two short stories (or possibly three, but no more than that!). The fewer, the better, since including too many examples means that no one story will have very much impact. Be as specific as possible here, rather than discussing leadership in broad terms or with vague generalities. We always tell applicants to use the “SAR” (Situation – Action – Result) response outline, and notice that Kellogg is pretty explicitly asking for at least two of those (“What challenges did you face, and what impact did you have?”). Also, notice how Kellogg squeezed in its new slogan (“Think Bravely”)… The school looks for applicants who are willing to go outside their comfort zone, go beyond their job descriptions, and challenge established thinking. The most effective responses to this question will describe times when you have done these things.
  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) (500 words)

    Earlier we mentioned that Kellogg decided not to make its first essay the standard “Why an MBA?” question. Well, it’s still present, but it’s just wearing a new, more creative skin. The admissions committee looks for a couple of key things here: First, do you have clear, realistic post-MBA career goals? No, you don’t need to know for certain what you will be doing three years from now, but take your best guess given the path that you’re trying to pursue. Show them that you have a good grasp of how you will grow at Kellogg and what opportunities you will have upon graduation. Second, Kellogg wants to see that you’ve done your homework and can convincingly articulate why Kellogg is the right school for you, given where you’ve come from and where you want to do. Don’t only think in terms of what you will experience in your time on campus… What else does Kellogg bring to the table (hint: alumni network!) that could help you get there? Rattling off clubs and course names isn’t particularly interesting or convincing… Help admissions officers envision you as a successful Kellogg student and as a successful alum well beyond your time in Evanston!
  4. What one interesting or fun fact would you want your future Kellogg classmates to know about you? (25 words)

    Yes, you read that word limit right… just 25 words! It’s easy to over-think this question and end up writing something that’s neither interesting nor fun. Admissions officers frequently say, “There is no right answer to our essay questions,” but this guidance is particularly true in this case. They truly just want to get to know you a little better… Until you interview with a Kellogg admissions representative, you are just words and numbers on a page, so help add some more dimension to your application by making yourself sound more human! No need to be gimmicky, but don’t be afraid to take a chance and tell that something truly unusual about yourself. It will be pretty hard to ruin your chances with this response… If anything, this is a chance to have a little fun and stand out from the pack!
  5. (Re-applicants only) Since your previous application, what steps have you taken to strengthen your candidacy? (400 words)

    This last question says it all when it comes to describing what every top MBA program looks for in any re-applicant. Ideally you will have at least one or two significant achievements or experiences that will bolster a weakness that may have kept you out of Kellogg last year. The most obvious examples are a big promotion at work, a higher GMAT score, or strong grades in some post-college coursework, but anything that demonstrates leadership, teamwork, maturity, or innovation — if one of these was a weakness in admissions officers’ eyes last year — can help your candidacy.)

To stay on top on all of the latest news about Kellogg and other top-ranked business schools, be sure to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

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Get to Know: Kellogg School of Management

Given the school’s sterling reputation in marketing, its ability to turn out well-rounded general managers, and its high-energy culture, it’s no wonder that so many applicants aim for Kellogg every year. Are you thinking about applying to Kellogg this year? If so, why? How do you know if it’s really is a good fit for you? More importantly, how do you know the Kellogg admissions team will think you’re a good fit for the school?

Today we dig into five things that make the Kellogg MBA experience unique:

Blended Teaching
Kellogg offers perhaps the most blended teaching approach of any of the top business schools, dividing its course styles into three nearly equal parts: case method, lectures, and team projects — all bolstered by the school’s commitment to experiential learning. The classroom approach at Kellogg can often mirror the probing, theoretical approach of a top law school, as distinguished professors push students to go beyond the rules of business by testing theories and assumptions. Classroom participation is one thing that all of Kellogg’s class formats have in common. The curriculum is constantly evolving with the times and the hot topics of the day.

Social Responsibility
The school has a range of opportunities for students to both get involved in their local communities while also building strong skills for a future career in a social venture or nonprofit. The Kellogg Board Fellows program is an opportunity for students to serve on the board of a nonprofit. The Social Enterprise at Kellogg (SEEK) program supports those interested in bringing social benefits to the world through business, and the annual Innovating Social Change conference has been running for well over ten years now, which reinforces the longstanding commitment to the community and social good that is apparent at the Kellogg School. The school’s socially-focused culture is also highlighted by the fact that they have a faculty Director of Diversity and Inclusion (Angela Edwards-Campbell), and these values are emphasized throughout the curriculum.

Global Perspective
A typical Kellogg class is composed of students from 40 different countries. And, another 100 international exchange students come to campus each year, taking the place of the 100 Kellogg students who travel to foreign universities for study abroad opportunities. Beyond this diverse mix of nationality and culture among the student body, Kellogg has focused coursework and experiential learning opportunities specific to the global landscape, such as the Global Lab, Global Initiatives in Management, and a requirement that every student take at least one course with a global focus.

Experiential Learning
Many elite business schools offer their students the chance to study in the field and to get real world experience, but few incorporate the mantra of “learning by doing” to the extent that Kellogg does. From the number of students who participate in business plan competitions, to the wide range of unique opportunities to create and test new technologies offered, Kellogg allows every student to find a way to put his or her theoretical learning to the real world test. The school offers a nearly unparalleled variety of courses and labs that focus almost entirely on learning by doing.

Leadership
Kellogg puts a great deal of focus on leadership, and attempts to elevate good leaders to great ones. One required component in the school’s curriculum is the Leadership Core Series, which is a central part of the first semester and involves a community service project. Specific leadership courses highlight this approach, while a residence series brings in high-level executives as part of a speaking program to discuss leadership issues and concepts surrounding social responsibility. The Business Leadership Club and the Kellogg Student Association rank among the most popular and important student groups at the school.

To stay on top on all of the latest news and analysis of Kellogg admissions, be sure to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Kellogg Application Essays and Deadlines for 2011-2012

Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management recently released its admissions essays and application deadlines for the Class of 2014. We dig into them below.

Pay special attention to the school’s two-part application process. Each round has two deadlines — one for Part 1 and separate one for Part 2. This confuses many applicants every year, so pay attention!

Here are Kellogg’s admissions essays and application deadlines, followed by our comments in italics:

Kellogg Admissions Deadlines for Part 1: Off-Campus Interview Requests
Round 1: September 22, 2011 (Oct. 18 for on-campus interviews)
Round 2: December 14, 2011 (Jan. 10 for on-campus interviews)
Round 3: March 22, 2012 (Apr. 5 for on-campus interviews)

Kellogg Admissions Deadlines for Part 2
Round 1: October 18, 2011
Round 2: January 10, 2012
Round 3: April 5, 2012

These dates are virtually unchanged since last year. Note that applying in Round 1 means that you’ll get a decision from Kellogg by December 19, giving you plenty of time to pull together additional Round 2 applications in January, if needed.

Kellogg School of Management Application Essays

  • a) MBA Program applicants – Briefly assess your career progress to date. Elaborate on your future career plans and your motivation for pursuing an MBA. (600 words)

    b) MMM Program applicants – Briefly assess your career progress to date. How do the unique characteristics of the MMM Program meet your educational needs and career goals? (600 words)

    These questions are almost the same as last year’s, with the only difference being the addition of the “unique characteristics” phrase in the question for MMM (which is a Kellogg MBA plus a Master of Engineering Management from the McCormick School of Engineering). That addition suggests that, if you apply to that program, Kellogg wants you to go beyond platitudes and information easily found in brochures, and demonstrate that you really understand how the program is unique among joint degree programs. Beyond that, these are the same “Why and MBA? Why now?” questions that you will see on nearly every top business school’s application. One challenge that you will face is BRIEFLY describing your career progress until now, and then devoting enough space to why an MBA is right for you, why now is the right time, and why specifically Kellogg is the ideal MBA program for you. While there is no hard rule, ideally the backward-looking part of this essay will take up no more than half of the total word count. Admissions officers will learn enough about your professional background from the rest of your application (your CV, your data sheets, your letters of recommendation, etc.), so no need to completely rehash it here.
  • Describe your key leadership experiences and evaluate what leadership areas you hope to develop through your MBA experiences. (600 words)This question has been the same for several years now, and so our advice remains the same. The best examples of responses to this question are ones in which the applicant focuses on no more than two or three mini stories. The fewer, the better, since including too many examples means that no one story will have very much impact. Be as specific as possible here, rather than discussing leadership in broad terms or with vague generalities. When discussing what areas you want to develop, be realistic about what you will learn in the classroom — Kellogg knows that you won’t emerge from a classroom lecture as a completely polished leader. Discuss what you want to learn at Kellogg, but also tie it back to the “real world” and your post-MBA career goals.
  • Assume you are evaluating your application from the perspective of a student member of the Kellogg Admissions Committee. Why would you and your peers select you for admission, and what impact would you make as a member of the Kellogg community? (600 words)This question also carries over unchanged since last year. It is actually quite similar to an even older Kellogg essay question, which encouraged applicants to evaluate their applications as if they were admissions officers. Note that the emphasis is now on how a STUDENT member of the admissions committee would look at your application, driving home the emphasis that Kellogg places on fit with its culture. This is a terrific opportunity to highlight the two or three core themes that you want to make sure jump out from your application. While Kellogg looks for some humility in every one of its students, don’t be a afraid to toot your own horn a bit here… This is your chance!
  • Complete one of the following three questions or statements. Re-applicants have the option to answer a question from this grouping, but this is not required. (400 words)
    a) Describe a time you had to inspire a reluctant individual or group.
    b) People may be surprised to learn that I…
    c) The riskiest personal or professional decision I ever made was…

    Questions A and C are new this year, although each is essentially a rephrasing of a past question. Question A, which used to ask you to describe a time when you “encountered resistance in a professional team setting,” has now shifted a bit to place the emphasis on “inspiring” someone, which we think is an interesting choice. This is a great place for you to share a story that shows off your leadership abilities, empathy, or teamwork skills. If the word “inspire” is too intimidating (it shouldn’t be!), think of a time when you had to convince someone to go along with a plan or come around to your way of thinking.

    Question C used to ask, “The best mistake I ever made was…” The change here suggests to us that the Kellogg admissions team wants to move the emphasis away from “mistake” (which many applicants assume is synonymous with “failure”) and get to know your decision-making process for any big decision, regardless of whether it turned out well. This question gives you a chance to show off some serious introspection, making a potentially very valuable one to use in your Kellogg application. And don’t automatically assume that your decision MUST be one that turned out well. Mistakes and “I wish I had done this a bit differently”-type stories can still work well for you here.

    Question B, which has been around for a long time, lets you have some fun and discuss some less obviously MBA-related traits. Don’t underestimate how important these traits are to admissions officers; they truly do want to get to know you “beyond the numbers.” Ask yourself this: After an admissions officer has read more than 25 applications in one long evening, what about your application will make her specifically remember you?
  • Required essay for re-applicants only — Since your previous application, what steps have you taken to strengthen your candidacy? (400 words)

    This last question says it all when it comes to describing what every top MBA program looks for in any re-applicant. Ideally you will have at least one or two significant achievements or experiences that will bolster a weakness that may have kept you out of Kellogg last year. The most obvious examples are a big promotion at work, a higher GMAT score, or strong grades in some post-college coursework, but anything that demonstrates leadership, teamwork, maturity, or innovation — if one of these was a weakness in admissions officers’ eyes last year — can help your candidacy.)
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Five Reasons Why Kellogg Might Be a Great Fit for You

Every year the Kellogg School of Management attracts thousands of applications from hopefuls around the world. If you’re researching top-ranked MBA programs, Kellogg is almost certainly on your radar. But how do you know if Kellogg really is a good fit for you? And how do you know if the Kellogg admissions committee will decide that you’re a good fit for Kellogg? Today we look at five reasons why Kellogg might be your first choice among MBA programs:

You like the idea of a larger program.
There’s a lot going on at Kellogg, not just with all the various types of students attending in different degree programs, but because it’s one of the largest class sizes of any business school in the world. About 650 students are in each full-time two-year class, which is double the size of many more intimate programs like Yale, Tuck, or Stanford. It’s a great opportunity to make a lot of friends and really expand your network, however it’s also possible to get a little lost in the sea of students.

You’re a little older.
While some top business schools are trending younger, Kellogg continues to prefer applicants with several years of full-time work experience; the average is 5.3 years. Those coming straight from college or with limited work experience may still apply however they will need to present exceptional achievement and readiness in order to be seen as competitive at this school.

You want to work in the tech sector.
Kellogg’s MMM degree is a joint MBA-MEM (Master of Engineering Management) with the McCormick School of Engineering. This is a unique program that supports a variety of careers in operations and design for manufacturing industries, especially technology-based products. Those with previous careers in engineering (and even with advanced degrees) may find special value in the MMM program if they are interested in continuing their career in technology.

You’re thinking about management consulting.
Kellogg sends more graduates into the field of consulting than almost any other school – they are even comparable to Harvard, which both placed about 200 consultants out of the Class of 2010 (31% at Kellogg, versus 24% of Harvard’s larger class).

You’ve got a great work history from a strong career — and that’s it.
If you have extensive professional experience with demonstrated responsibility and results, but you never completed your undergraduate studies, you can still pursue an Executive MBA. Surprisingly, Kellogg does not require a bachelor’s degree — or a GMAT score — for admission to their EMBA programs (those without a bachelor’s must take the GMAT, but it is not otherwise required). The Kellogg EMBA is appropriate for those with significant work experience, in the range of 12 to 15 years. The EMBA programs are separate from the MBA programs and there is little student interaction between the two, however students in both tracks are granted with the same MBA degree upon graduation.

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Sally Blount’s 21st-Century Plans for Kellogg

In an in-depth interview published by the Financial Times recently, new Kellogg School of Management Dean Sally Blount shared some of her thinking regarding what’s next for the school. Now that she’s more than 100 days into her job (a period of learning and listening that she chronicled on her own blog), Dean Blount is ready to roll up her sleeves and make her mark on the school.

While it sounds like she’s treading somewhat carefully, it also is clear that Blount is not afraid to shake things up. When asked about Kellogg’s current way of expanding its footprint in new markets, which relies heavily on partnerships with institutions in those countries, Blount described the approach as “a great late 20th century strategy.” But, now things have changed, and she is considering all sorts of new options for how to expand Kellogg’s global footprint, including possibly building Kellogg-run schools in other parts of the world.

Perhaps Blount’s most interesting comment had to do with the school’s one-year MBA program, which is perhaps the best known one-year program among top U.S. business schools. Noting the importance for Kellogg to raise its global profile and the popularity of the one-year program among international students (56% of one-year students come from outside the U.S.), Blount suggests that the traditional two-year program will shrink over time while the school enrolls more students in its one-year program. And, as Kellogg enters or expands in new markets, it is likely that the one-year program, not the traditional two-year MBA, will lead the way.

Some Kellogg students alumni may raise their eyebrows at Blount’s comment that the school has cut down the size of its planned new building in Evanston in favor of investing more in its second U.S. campus, in Miami. One only hopes that the cutbacks for the new Evanston building are not so significant that it will wipe out most of the benefit of the new building to begin with. The school’s current quarters are somewhat dated and cramped (especially given Kellogg’s emphasis on team-based work, which necessitates a lot of open space and meeting rooms for those teams), and hopefully this will finally be addressed with the new building, which is still at least a few years away.

Finally, Dean Blount made some interest comments about being open to the idea of using online learning tools to cut down costs. “Basic courses will go electronic,” she says, again making some wonder if this is really what’s best for the students or if it’s a matter of cost savings coming before curriculum development. However, if Kellogg can strike the right balance and free up students to get more quality face time with professors in classes where such a lecture style makes the most impact, it could take the lead in an area that no school administrator has fully figure out yet.

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Kellogg MBA Application Deadlines for 2010-2011

Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management recently released its application deadlines for the 2010-2011 admissions season. This year there are just some subtle changes, which we’ll cover below.

Note that Kellogg presents its admissions deadlines a little differently than most other schools. For each round, the first deadline is the date by which you should contact the admissions office to set up an interview. At Kellogg, the applicant initiates the interview process, not the school.

Here are Kellogg’s admissions deadlines, followed by our comments in italics:

Kellogg Admissions Deadlines for Part 1: Off-Campus Interview Requests
Round 1: September 24, 2010 (Oct. 14 for on-campus interviews)
Round 2: December 15, 2010 (Jan. 11 for on-campus interviews)
Round 3: March 24, 2011 (Apr. 7 for on-campus interviews)

Kellogg Admissions Deadlines for Part 2
Round 1: October 14, 2010
Round 2: January 11, 2011
Round 3: April 7, 2011

Kellogg’s deadlines have changed very little since last year, although note that the deadline for contacting Kellogg for a Round 1 off-campus interview is now a bit earlier, on September 24. This is consistent with the trend we’ve seen across most of the top MBA programs, with deadlines creeping forward a little more each year. Note that, for the first time, Kellogg will send out Round 1 decisions in December, giving you a couple of weeks to pull together Round 2 applications to other MBA programs if you don’t get good news from Kellogg.

For more news and advice on getting into Kellogg and other top MBA programs around the world, be sure to subscribe to this blog and to follow us on Twitter!

New Dean at the Kellogg School of Management

According to a news release put out by Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, Sally Blount, the dean of the undergraduate college and vice dean of the Stern School of Business at New York University, has just been named dean of the school, effective this coming July.

Blount, who is currently the Abraham L. Gitlow Professor of Management and Organizations at NYU Stern, is an expert in the fields of negotiation and behavioral decision making and has extensive international experience in higher education. In 2007 she was appointed by NYU’s president and provost as their special advisor for global academic integration.

In this morning’s news release, Northwestern Provost Daniel I. Linzer said:

Dean Blount brings a remarkable combination of strong academic achievement and proven administrative experience at both the business school and university levels. She is someone who has a demonstrable record as both a scholar and as a leader in the field of global business education. We are very excited to welcome her back to Kellogg and Northwestern.

This is a return trip to Kellogg for Blount, who earned her PhD in management and organizations in 1992 after earning a joint bachelor’s degree from Princeton University’s engineering and Woodrow Wilson schools in 1983. After earning her PhD, Blount taught for nearly a decade at Chicago Booth (back when it was called Chicago GSB), where she she consistently earned high teaching marks from MBA and executive education students.

Today’s Financial Times led with this headline: “Kellogg Appoints Female Dean,” which unfortunately downplays all that she’s accomplished but nonetheless points out just how rare is its for a woman to lead a business school. (Judy Olia at UCLA Anderson and Sharon Oster at Yale are the two other examples of women leading top-ranked MBA programs. Former Chicago Booth dean Edward Snyder will take over for Oster next year.)

We’re glad that Kellogg now has its future leadership picture sorted out. Hopefully now the school can forge ahead with is plans for a new building and continued international expansion.

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