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Kellogg Class of 2020 Essay Analysis

June 30, 2017

2017/18 essay questions

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)

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 (i.e. unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, etc.) (no word count)

2017/18 essay question analysis

Essay 1

This essay is worded slightly differently than last year, looking for when you demonstrated leadership, rather than being a leader. While they sound similar, the new essay question is more focused on impact, vs. prior years where the wording allowed for more focus on role. In fact, this was a common topic we coached clients on last year; the need to focus on your impact and results instead of just your formal role.

Last year, we saw successful essays include anything from work leadership experiences to community impact. A reminder – answer both parts of the prompt and set the context (challenges) as well as what you specifically learned from that experience. To make your answer easier for the reader to follow, focus on one leadership learning experience that you can elaborate on, rather than multiple examples. Even if you responded to leadership challenges in a different way than you would have liked, you can highlight the learning that came from the situation, and how those lessons learned benefit you 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 (i.e. being President (of anything), which does not necessarily mean you’re demonstrating leadership. If you’re stuck on examples, let’s brainstorm together!

Essay 2

To focus your answer, address one specific area of growth and detail anecdotes that relate to your lessons learned. Using the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) framework, describe your growth. Brainstorm areas that require continued development, then discuss Kellogg resources that you plan to use to continue this growth.

This question requires you have a strong understanding of specific resources at Kellogg that will spark your personal and professional growth. Aim to be as specific and differentiated as possible regarding courses, student organizations, faculty interactions, student interactions, etc. that you plan to use. Note: It isn’t enough just to mention a resource. You have to discuss how you will use it in order to reach your goal. That discussion will be key towards making this a successful essay.

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. Most of our clients used it to explain weaknesses in their applications they were unable to address elsewhere.

2017/18 deadlines

Round 1: Application deadline: September 20, 2017 at 5pm CT, Decision date: December 13, 2017

Round 2: Application deadline: January 10, 2018 at 5pm CT, Decision date: March 28, 2018

Round 3: Application deadline: April 11, 2018 at 5pm CT, Decision date: May 16, 2018

Other application details

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The online application will be available in mid-July.


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