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Kellogg Class of 2018 Essay Analysis

July 08, 2015

Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management has released their application for the 2015-2016 MBA admissions season! Similar to last year, they’ve asked a question about leadership; however, a new question has been introduced that will encourage you to focus on your personal growth!   

2015/16 essay questions

Essay 1:

Leadership and teamwork are integral parts of the Kellogg experience. Describe a recent and meaningful time you were a leader. What challenges did you face, and what did you learn? (450 words)

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)

Optional question:

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.)

2015/16 essay question analysis

Essay 1

A mixture of the two prompts from the previous year, Kellogg is particularly interested in the situations where you’ve led, as well as the challenges you have experienced as a leader. Whether your leadership experience was in your workplace or in a community organization, focus on one specific leadership experience that you can elaborate on. Even if you addressed leadership challenges in a different way than you would have liked, focus on the learning aspect of the situation, and how it continues to impact your interactions today.

A special note for this essay: leadership has to do with setting goals / establishing a direction, getting others on board and influencing their direction, and achieving results together. This should not be confused with a specific role / title (e.g. being President (of anything) does not necessarily make you a leader. Be specific about what it was that you did that makes you a leader. If you’re stuck on examples, let’s brainstorm together!

Essay 2

The key to this question is to be specific! Share an example when you grew, honing in on a particularly quality/qualities that grew through the experience. This question also requires you have a strong understanding of the resources at Kellogg that will spark your personal and professional growth. Be sure you know the specific aspects of the courses, student organizations, faculty interactions, student interactions, etc. that would develop. Special note: try to avoid any vague / general references to ways that you grew. Without a specific story, descriptions fall flat.

Optional essay

The optional question is available for you to explain any additional information that you may not have had the space to clarify in other parts of your application.

2015/16 deadlines

Round 1: Application deadline: September 22, 2015 at 5:00pm CT; decision date: December 16, 2015

Round 2: Application deadline: January 6, 2016 at 5:00pm CT, decision date: March 23, 2016

Round 3: Application deadline: April 6, 2016 at 5:00pm CT, decision date: May 11, 2016

Other application details
Kellogg is keeping its video essay option for this year. The video essay can be completed only after you have submitted your application. Click here for more details about the video essay component.

Short-answers and other details
The online application is open on their website.

Re-applicant?
Check out information here.

Kellogg resources
Check out our links to several of Kellogg's resources, including blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.  Click here for school interaction opportunities.