Increasingly, MBA programs are encouraging or requiring candidates to submit videos online shortly after submitting their application. Among other benefits, this helps schools see the real you and gauge how you present yourself without much preparation.
This year, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management is really looking to see how you think on your feet. Last year, they provided general versions of the questions in advance. This year, the school did not provide a hint about what the questions would be — and they are mixing them up. From the experience of 2024 candidates who applied for the Round 1 September 13 deadline, two of the three questions are randomly assigned.
Question 1 is consistent: Kellogg asks you to introduce yourself by telling admissions something they wouldn’t already know from your resume.
Questions 2 and 3 are behavioral interview questions aimed to elicit more about you and your skills and experiences. Examples we have seen so far ask you to tell the committee about:
- A time when you experienced a team conflict
- An innovation you made in the past year
- A misconception people have about you
- An important relationship in your life
- A time you created value
- A problem you faced and the creative solution you came up with
The Video Process
After submitting your application and paying the fee, you’ll receive access to the video essay link from your status page in Kellogg’s application portal. (Given processing time, there may be a delay of a few hours before the link appears.) Videos are due within 96 hours after the application deadline.
There are practice questions you can answer as many times as you like. Kellogg recommends using the practice questions to get comfortable with the format and process. We strongly agree, because there is no option to edit or redo your videos once you start.
When you’re ready and start the video recording, you’ll have 20 seconds to think about the question presented, and up to one minute to give your response.
Expect the entire video process to take 20 to 25 minutes, including time for set-up practice, and recording and submitting your responses to the actual questions. Note that you’ll need an updated version of Adobe Flash to complete the video essay.
Kellogg says the video is optional in an email sent after applications are submitted, but we strongly encourage all candidates to submit them. Consider the video essays a huge opportunity to showcase your personality and character in ways that may not come across in the written word.
Seize the advantages of the medium and get creative; one standout example we remember is a candidate who began their video introduction with a brief viola performance, then used an element of the instrument itself as a metaphor to convey their personality and interpersonal style.
Remember that Kellogg wants to learn something new about you. The video is the place to tell stories or share important information that did not fit anywhere in the more structured elements of the application. As you prepare, imagine how to convey what’s not obvious in your resume, credentials or LinkedIn profile. What will help make your application sticky and memorable? Again, reflect on the story you want to tell and offer a dimension that might be missing.
In this year’s behavioral questions, Kellogg is inviting you to demonstrate qualities they value: leadership, impact, empathy, collaboration and so on. Consider how your responses can share short stories that reflect these qualities.
5 Top Tips to Performing Well on Video Essays
- Plan your answers. Jot down a few bullets or talking points or outline a quick structure, e.g., main answer and supporting examples. But avoid overly scripting – you want to appear fluid and natural on camera.
- Optimize your image capture. If possible, stand and deliver your responses. You’ll convey more energy. Be sure to elevate your laptop to eye level, and ensure your face is in good light (consider a ring light if you don’t have good natural light).
- Record yourself when you practice. What type of impression are you giving? Are you friendly and approachable? Would others feel comfortable working with you?
- Dress for success. This is still an interview after all, so put on your best Zoom outfit. If you work in a more creative or entrepreneurial field, it’s fine to skip the tie or jacket, but dress like you’re interviewing for your post-MBA dream job.
- Connect with the viewer. Ask yourself, if the person reviewing my video essay takes nothing else, what is the number one thing I want them to remember about me? And enjoy yourself. The admissions team wants to get to know you, and when you smile and authentically convey who you are, it’s easier for the viewer to envision how you’ll be in a classroom.
Fortuna’s expert coaches can help you prep for videos or any aspect of your application. To learn more about how we can make your MBA dreams a reality, book a free consultation.