Today's webinar was hosted by Travis Morgan, Director of Admissions Consulting at Veritas Prep
(who is a Kellogg alum and former student member of the Kellogg admissions committee).
Kellogg admissions officers are looking for:
1. A class with varied backgrounds and experiences.
2. Candidates who fit with the program.
3. Candidates with attributes to become successful leaders in B-school and beyond.
Your (respective) goals are to:
1. Differentiate yourself from other candidates.
2. Demonstrate fit with the program culturally and professionally.
3. Show balance across the “4 Dimensions of a Perfect Applicant”.
4 Dimensions of a Perfect Candidate:
1. Leadership (potential and experience)
2. Innovation (creative problem solving)
3. Teamwork (helpful and collaborative)
4. Maturity (personal maturity, comes through interview)
Support the 4 Dimensions using:
• GMAT score
• Professional experience
• Community service
• Hobbies and extracurricular activities
• International and cultural exposure
• Recommendations (make sure they support 4 Dimensions!)
Essay #1 – Discuss moments or influences in your personal life
that have defined who you are today.
• While most schools start with “Why MBA” and career goals question, Kellogg starts personal
• This shows a clear desire to see you as a person
, not simply as a list of work experience and statistics.
• Don’t feel obligated to have enormous, momentous occasions in your life. You can include small moments
that have shaped who you are today.
Strategy #1: Pick themes first
the elements of your personal profile that define you in a unique/interesting way.
o Values, attitudes, priorities, cultural outlook, empathy, approach to challenges, etc.
• Get introspective
and reflect on the moments and influences that shaped these aspects of who you are.
Strategy #2: Pick stories first
• If you have some compelling life stories
that you want to include, identify those first.
• Identify HOW
these experiences have shaped you (themes/impacts).
• Caution: admissions officers are not just looking for amazing stories, but HOW
they have impacted you.
Essay #1 enables you to show:
: if you choose stories that show your interaction with others, empathy, cultural awareness, etc.
: you can “brand” yourself
Essay #2 – What have been your most significant leadership experiences? What challenges did you face, and what impact did you have? This is you opportunity to explain how you Think Bravely (personally and/or professionally)
• Show balance
across your profile: professional, academic, extracurricular experiences
• Explain why it is significant
• Use the STAR
format: Situation/Task, Action, Result
o This doesn’t have to be long; otherwise you won’t have room for 2-3 stories in 500 words.
• Don’t ignore the “Think Bravely
• Kellogg is looking for bold, innovative problem solvers
who are willing to take calculated risks
• Show how you challenged established thinking, embraced innovation
or found creative solutions
: Leadership, Innovation, Teamwork, Maturity
Essay #3 – Imagine yourself at your Kellogg graduation. What career will you be preparing to enter, and how have the MBA
helped you get there?
• Standard “Post-MBA career goals,” “Why MBA,” “Why Kellogg” question with a creative twist
• Must Have
: clear, realistic post-MBA career goals
just copy & paste essay from another school—Kellogg is looking for evidence of careful research.
Essay #4 – Interesting or fun fact
• 25 words
• Don’t over-think.
It’s supposed to be fun and random.
repeat a bullet point from your resume
• Be willing to take a risk
–tell something that truly unusual
• Admissions committee is just trying to see you in a more personal
light. It will be hard to screw up.
Optional Essay – 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, etc.) (No word limit)
• It really is optional.
• If you have extenuating circumstances, give a straightforward explanation, but don’t make excuses.
• Use this essay to point the admissions officer to the portion of your application... (video lagged here, but we can guess what was said)
The Kellogg Essays—In a Nutshell
• Word count reduced
from 2200 words to 1525
• Essay 1
: What makes you YOU (get personal!)
• Essay 2
: How you shine
• Essay 3
: Why MBA and Why Kellogg?
• Admissions looking for a broader 360° view of applicants
• Tell stories!
This isn’t a high school report.
• Use STAR
: Situation/Task, Action, Result
: not every story needs a full intro, body and conclusion.
• By the end of your application, the admissions committee should have a real sense of who you are as a person.
Edit: Indicated host's original emphasis (bold and italicized words)
My GMAT debrief