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Kellogg Class of 2023 Essay Analysis

July 01, 2020

Kellogg has released its 2020-21 application, having kept its essay questions the same.

2020/21 essay questions

Essay 1: Kellogg's purpose is to educate, equip and inspire brave leaders who create lasting value. Provide a recent example where you have demonstrated leadership and created value. What challenges did you face and what did you learn? (450 words)

Essay 2: Values are what guide you in your life and work. What values are important to you and how have they influenced you? (450 words)

Additional Information: 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.).


2020/21 essay question analysis

Essay 1

Similar to last year, this essay question is more focused on impact rather than role. Successful candidates in the past have included anything from work leadership experiences to community impact. A reminder – answer both parts of the prompt and educate the reader on the context of the situation (i.e. how was it challenging? What might have happened had you not led others to a successful outcome?) 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 discuss in-depth, rather than multiple examples that skim the surface, making it harder for you to differentiate yourself from other applicants. Even if you made mistakes when responding to leadership challenges, you can highlight insights that came from the situation, and how those insights benefit you today.

Two special notes for this essay: First, 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), which does not necessarily mean you’re demonstrating leadership. Second, make sure you’re giving a recent example, not an older story from your childhood. Examples should be from the last three years, with a preference for the more recent stories. If you’re stuck on examples, let’s brainstorm together!

Essay 2

Similar to last year, this question pushes candidates to share deeper insights about themselves. It is important to remember that many applicants will choose similar/overlapping values (most applicants view themselves as honest, hardworking, etc.), so successful essays will require storytelling through an example that ties closely to the value you choose. The value itself you choose (i.e. empathy, open-mindedness, perseverance) will likely not be enough to differentiate you from other applicants.

Answering how your values have influenced you is also critical; make sure the tight word limit doesn’t crowd out this part of the answer. Ideally, it will link to a professional success that others were not able to achieve. The stronger a link you can make between the impact you had and the value you chose, the more thoughtful your answer will come across.

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.


2020/21 deadlines

Deadline time: 5:00pm CT

Round 1: Application deadline: September 16, 2020; Decision date: December 9, 2020

Round 2: Application deadline: January 6, 2021; Decision date: March 24, 2021

Round 3: Application deadline: April 7, 2021; Decision date: May 12, 2021


Other application details

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