How to Ace the Kellogg MBA Essay

(Updated for 2018-2019)

Essay 1: Kellogg’s purpose is to educate, equip & inspire brave leaders who create lasting value. Tell us about a time you have demonstrated leadership and created lasting value. What challenges did you face, and what did you learn? (450 words)

This question serves to highlight Kellogg’s deepest mission to develop strong leaders who create lasting value. Think about which leadership experience you should highlight – ideally, this is not a one-time event but part of a deeper commitment to leadership.

Here are some general tips:

• Take enough time to describe the situation and your leadership role, but make sure you leave enough space to address what you learned.
• Don’t be afraid to talk about failures; sometimes you learn more from failures than from successes.
• Go back as far as you need to in sharing an example where you created lasting value, but don’t lose sight of the fact that business schools are most interested in what you did recently and how this is relevant to your overall goals and interests. A personal example could also work here as long as you have created lasting value.
• Self-reflection is a key part of this essay, so be prepared to share some things that went right and some that didn’t.

Essay 2: Pursuing an MBA is a catalyst for personal and professional growth. How have you grown in the past? How do you intend to grow at Kellogg? (450 words)

This question requires some more reflection on how you have changed personally and professionally based on previous experiences. The essay has to simultaneously show experiences that allowed you to grow in the past and also identify areas of your life that could flower at Kellogg.

• You can address both personal and professional growth in your response. Think about how the experience changed you and how you can continue to grow through your experience at Kellogg.
• Be specific in identifying the classes, clubs, pathways and community activities that will help you grow at Kellogg. What skills and qualities do you need to develop? How will you do it at Kellogg?
• Another area you might touch on for growth is engaging with diverse classmates who bring different perspectives and experiences.

For example, a student who wishes to be a leader in healthcare could gain deep academic experience through the Health Enterprise Management Pathway. They could then develop their leadership skills by taking a leadership role with the Healthcare Club while developing a national network of healthcare professionals by participating in the Healthcare Trek.

Remember that real people are reading these essays. I had the opportunity to meet with several members of the admissions team at Kellogg this past year and I was impressed with how sincerely they approach this admissions process. They want to use these essays to get to know you as a candidate.

Be specific and tell the stories that only you can tell so that you stand out as the unique individual that you are.