At Veritas Prep, we work with dozens if not hundreds of Kellogg applicants every year. Given the school’s sterling reputation in marketing, its ability to turn out well-rounded general managers, its enviable lakefront location in Chicagoland, and its high-energy culture, it’s no wonder that so many applicants aim for Kellogg every year. What does surprise us, though, is how many Kellogg applicants don’t really know whether the school is a good fit for them. We always urge these applicants to go back and do their homework a bit more before they start crafting their Kellogg applications. Answering “Why Kellogg?” is the key to your essays, interviews, and decision!
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 present five things that make the Kellogg academic experience unique:
The Kellogg curriculum 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 the Kellogg experiential learning. The classroom approach at Kellogg can often mirror the probing, theoretical approach of a top law school, as distinguished professors push MBA 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 Kellogg curriculum is constantly evolving with the times and the hot topics of the day.
In your essays, you may show why Kellogg is a good fit for you by identifying how you have thrived in these learning environments before and how you can contribute to the learning experience of your peers. In sharing your weaknesses and areas for development, you may also refer to how a component of the Kellogg curriculum and teaching method is the best approach to address these gaps in your toolkit. Doing so would help the admissions committee see how knowledgeable you are about the Kellogg MBA program, how you would contribute to the school community, and why Kellogg makes perfect sense to be your first choice if offered a slot. In your interviews, present yourself with confidence and articulate well, this well help show your interviewer that you will be able to participate and add substance to classroom discussions, enriching the experiences of your peers. You want to come off as engaging and someone people would want to listen to.
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.
Research on these opportunities, identify the specific courses and labs, then elaborate why they interest you the most. Do they remind you of previous experiences which you want to build on at Kellogg? Or how well will they prepare you for the next steps in your personal development? Share why these unique offerings in the Kellogg curriculum will help you towards your goals and your passions. Highlighting your fit with the Kellogg experiential learning experience could also be a good way to clearly show your preference for a Kellogg MBA. As MBA admissions consultants often advise: “Better to show than tell”. In this case, rather than saying Kellogg is my number one choice, share stories of how the right mix of experiences, knowledge gaps, and motivations that would be best addressed by the unique mix of the Kellogg curriculum. This would show that Kellogg is indeed the best fit for your MBA journey.
Aside from reading Kellogg’s official materials on these, you engage external sources online, and better yet talk to Kellogg students and alumni who have participated in the Kellogg experiential learning opportunities. Consider a campus visit, as well, to better visualize how your school life at Kellogg would be like. Doing all these extra steps would be worth your while if it would help inform your choices, prove your genuine interest, and convincingly make your case for admission.
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. Social Enterprise at Kellogg (SEEK) supports those interested in bringing social benefits to the world through business, and the annual Innovating Social Change conference, which reinforces the longstanding commitment to the community and social good that is apparent at the Kellogg School. Kellogg’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.
Applicants with long-running involvement and substantial accomplishments to social enterprises would do well to share their active engagement and why Kellogg is the perfect fit for them given this strength in the Kellogg curriculum.
As applicants prepare their application files and CV, a common question is on how to demonstrate engagement with social causes if they don’t have a formal long-term commitment to a social enterprise or organization. This is particularly challenging to applicants from roles that require extensive work hours, travel, and even relocations.
Would volunteering (typically a few months before the application deadline) in the community help? Or which activities done in the past should be shared? The answer lies in identifying and articulating the common thread that ties in these activities. This will be the most helpful way to demonstrate commitment to a social cause given the realities.
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.
Applicants with extensive multicultural exposure in their personal and professional lives can point to this strength of the Kellogg curriculum in articulating why Kellogg is the right one for them. They can share how this aspect of the learning experience enriches them, how they can contribute to this environment, and even act as a bridge for their peers. Identifying specific exchange programs and what makes the particular program or city interesting to them can come in handy whether in the essays, interview, or informal conversations.
As all other top schools do, Kellogg puts a great deal of focus on leadership. The school attempts to elevate good leaders to great ones. One required component in the Kellogg curriculum is the Leadership Core Series, which is a central part of the first semester and involves a community service project. Specific leadership courses (Leadership in Organizations and Values and Crisis Decision Making) bring this approach to the curriculum, 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.
Aside from demonstrating leadership ability through sharing team-based accomplishments throughout your application files, you need to show ability to learn from others, and ability to bring others together. Kellogg prides itself in developing leaders with command across a wide range of areas including collaboration, negotiation, finance, strategy, and data analytics. Thus, demonstrating a wide range of interests, as opposed to a very narrow perspective, is a safer way to go in presenting yourself.
Today’s article was clipped from our Essential Guide to Kellogg, one of 15 guides to the world’s top MBA programs, available for purchase on our site. Take a look if you are ready to prepare you Kellogg application. And, as always, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Call us to learn which Veritas Prep package suits you best. Our top caliber consultants will guide you throughout the entire process, saving you time and stress, while boosting your chances through personalized attention. Engage with alumni of top MBA programs, including from Kellogg, who have successfully guided candidates just like you into their dream MBA programs.