Essay 1: Kellogg’s purpose is to educate, equip & inspire brave leaders who create lasting value. Provide a recent example where you have demonstrated leadership and created value. What challenges did you face and what did you learn? (450 words)
Use the SAR method to tell stories. This essay is a classic candidate for the SAR (Situation–Action–Result) outline that we recommend our clients use. The situation will likely be an opportunity or challenge where you needed to demonstrate leadership in order to get something done and achieve a favorable outcome. The action will be how you exercised your leadership skills to move towards this result. Perhaps you influenced a team to see things your way and convinced them to take up your cause or implemented innovative tactics to mobilize your colleagues. Finally, the result will be the outcome—the lasting value you created–not just of that particular situation, but also the positive impact that it had on you as a young leader. Pay particular attention to the last few words of this essay prompt; what you learned may be what the admissions committee pays attention to the most so be sure to articulate the important takeaways and how they had an impact on you.
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)
Provide insight on what motivates you. The values you choose are important, but the reasons why you chose those values are even more important and will give the admissions committee the most insight into your personality. The best answers will include specific examples or stories that demonstrate how or why these values have significance in your life. We really cannot say it better than Kate Smith, Assistant Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Kellogg. “We hope to hear how these values have influenced you. Last year, this question focused on how an applicant has grown in the past, and how he or she intends to grow at Kellogg. Our change comes from wanting to understand what drives you when you get up every morning. How will this make you meaningful members of our community at Kellogg? How will these values shape the kind of leader you will become one day?” It’s a lot to pack in to 450 words but try to be as specific as possible and providing examples with concrete details will help bring your answer to life and be an engaging read.
Highlight what you want to do at Kellogg and in the future. Thinking about how these values have guided you and influenced the decisions you have made in your past and present and will continue to make in the future can help you craft a compelling story. You may want to weave into your answer your “Why Kellogg” and what you want to do at Kellogg and/or how these values influence the business leader you want or hope to be.
Don’t try too hard to impress. It is far more important for you to help the admissions committee get to know you (and want to admit you!) than to come up with an artful essay theme that does not reflect the true you or make a convincing case that Kellogg is right for you. This whole process is designed to make sure you get admitted at a program that will best suit your needs and where you will thrive. An honest representation of yourself is the best way to achieve that.
Additional Information: If needed, use this section to briefly describe any extenuating circumstances (e.g. unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, any disciplinary or legal situations that need to be explained, etc.) (no word count)
Yes, it’s really optional. As we always tell applicants with these optional essays: Only answer this essay prompt if you need to explain a low undergraduate GPA or other potential blemish in your background. No need to harp on a minor weakness and sound like you are making excuses when you do not need any. If you do not have anything else you need to tell the admissions office, it is entirely okay to skip this essay. Do not let yourself get too tempted by that lack of a word limit; less is more! Be concise, address any aspects of your application that you believe require additional context, and move on!
Choice of recommenders. As we discuss in the next section, Kellogg prefers to have a recommendation from your current supervisor or manager. If you do not include a recommendation from this person, they ask that you briefly explain it here. Many applicants have not yet told their current supervisor there is a chance they will be leaving the company to go to business school. This can be explained with a line as simple as “I have not yet informed my current supervisor that I may leave the company to pursue a business education, as this may affect my project assignments and upcoming bonuses. Therefore, I have selected a professional mentor of three years, John Doe, who serves in a senior-management capacity at our company and can speak to my professional potential from firsthand experience.” No further explanation needed!