Kellogg Application Essays for 2009-2010

Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management has just released its admissions essays for the coming year. While the school has not yet released its application deadlines, Kellogg applicants can start digging into these essays now.

Note that there are some changes to Kellogg’s essays this year, although the application still features three required essays and two “Choose your own question” short answers. Our comments follow in italics:

Kellogg Admissions Essays

  1. a) MBA Program applicants – Briefly assess your career progress to date. Elaborate on your future career plans and your motivation for pursuing a graduate degree at Kellogg. (600 words)

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

  2. (These questions are the same as last year’s, and are the standard “Why and MBA? Why now?” questions that you will see on nearly every business school’s application. One challenge that applicants face is BRIEFLY describing their career progress until now, and then devoting enough space to why an MBA is right for them, why now is the right time, and why specifically Kellogg is the right MBA program for them.)

  3. Describe your key leadership experiences and evaluate what leadership areas you hope to develop through your MBA experiences (600 words)
  4. (This question remains from last year. We recommend focusing on just two or three mini stories, at the most. 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 finished leader. Discuss what you want to learn at Kellogg, but also tie it back to the “real world” and your post-MBA career.)

  5. Assume you are evaluating your application from the perspective of a student member of the Kellogg Admissions Committee. Why would your peers select you to become a member of the Kellogg community? (600 words)
  6. (This question is new since last year, although it’s similar to a question that Kellogg used to use, which encouraged applicants to evaluate their applications as if they were admissions officers. This is a terrific opportunity to highlight the two or three core themes that you want to make sure jump out from your application. And, while Kellogg looks for some humility in every one of its students, it’s also a chance to toot your own horn a bit!)

  7. 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 when you had to make an unpopular decision.

    b) People may be surprised to learn that I…

    c) I wish the admissions committee had asked me…

  8. (Questions A and B are new since last year, although A is a slightly different take on a previous question that asked about motivating a reluctant individual or group. This gives you a chance to discuss an experience that shows off leadership abilities, ethics, and/or analytical abilities. Question B gives you a chance to have some fun and discuss some less obviously MBA-related traits. Don’t underestimate how important these traits are to admissions officers. Question C can be used in much the same way.)

  9. 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 reapplicants. 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 example is a promotion or a big project you led at work, but any type of experience that demonstrates leadership, teamwork, maturity, or innovation — if one of these was a weakness in admissions officers’ eyes last year — can help your candidacy.)

For advice on getting into Kellogg, please visit Veritas Prep’s Kellogg information page.