Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, or simply Kellogg, is a perennially top-ranked MBA program. Northwestern Kellogg prides itself on developing leaders who have a thirst for creativity and innovation, a commitment to collaboration, and an eye toward empathy. Although Kellogg is perhaps best known for its marketing major, esteemed professors such as Dr. Philip Kotler, and placing students into brand management roles at consumer products companies, the top industry for the school’s 2020 graduates was consulting, with 36.3% of the class entering the industry, consistent with job placement results since 2005 (32%–41%). Technology ranked number two (27.6%), followed by financial services (14.9%) and consumer packaged goods (6.6%). Located in Evanston, Illinois, just 13 miles north of downtown Chicago, Kellogg offers the best of both an intimate, student-centric college town and a big city. Kellogg’s new flagship building, the Global Hub, located on the shores of Lake Michigan, helps facilitate a culture of teamwork and collaboration, evident in both group project requirements and the many student-led extracurricular activities and clubs. But do not let the top-notch technology of the Global Hub fool you; students can also find serene spots with a view of the waves of Lake Michigan to unplug for a bit. As a midsize school, the Northwestern Kellogg MBA program seeks to support a tight-knit community feel through smaller first-year sections, interactive student experiences, and Kellogg Worldwide Exploration Student Trips for incoming first-year students, planned and led by second-year students and consistently named a favorite Kellogg experience. Although academics and the recruiting process are a top focus, Kellogg MBA students also make time for social endeavors, with Special K, the student variety skit show offering a satirical view of life at Kellogg, and the annual ski trip at the end of first semester often cited with fondness. With an acceptance rate of approximately 20%, Northwestern Kellogg requires you to present a strong application both professionally and personally. Fortunately, mbaMission offers a depth of resources and services to help you on your journey.
Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management: Multiple MBA Options, One Core Application with Required Ranking
Multiple specialized MBA degree options set Kellogg apart from other top-ranked business schools, including a one-year MBA program, an MMM dual degree (an MBA from Kellogg and an MS in design innovation from the Segal Design Institute), an MBAi joint degree (an MBA from Kellogg and the McCormick School of Engineering), an executive MBA (offered at two different locations, Evanston and Miami, Florida), and part-time weekend and evening options. Kellogg recognizes that some applicants desire specialized programs to better enable attainment of specific career goals or to match lifestyle requirements. Simplifying the admissions process for those interested in multiple variations of the MBA, Northwestern Kellogg now allows applicants to apply to more than one program with just one application by ranking the programs to which they are interested in applying. This unique benefit can increase the odds of being accepted to one of Kellogg’s very selective MBA programs. The requirements of each program differ, but many elements of the overall application and student experience remain consistent, as detailed by mbaMission’s thorough guides and resources, developed to aid you in your pursuit of an MBA.
Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management Insider’s Guide
After consulting with Kellogg MBA students, admissions committee members, and alumni about their experiences, we have prepared our Insider’s Guide to Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. We take an in-depth look at life as a Kellogg MBA student, highlighting how the school’s location, class size, curriculum, teaching methods, facilities, alumni involvement, and rankings all affect its culture and MBA experience. Then, we delve into Kellogg’s faculty and professional student clubs, revealing how they facilitate the careers of Kellogg MBA students. Through our guide, you will learn more about the spirit of collaboration and teamwork that is core to Kellogg.
In addition to academic quality and high rankings, culture is frequently named as a key reason students choose Kellogg. Clubs and extracurricular activities are often student run, allowing for ample leadership opportunities. The inclusive environment facilitates developing deep bonds with one’s classmates and learning from diverse perspectives. With international students making up 36% of the student body and women 49%, Kellogg offers a diverse MBA program and values the perspective that individuals of various backgrounds bring to lively class and team discussions. The quantitatively rigorous first-year core curriculum allows for some flexibility, with the option to waive up to seven classes with approval and the opportunity to take electives in the first year. Although Kellogg’s teaching style is neither exclusively case method nor exclusively lecture, team projects are an important part of essentially every class, simulating the reality of most business environments. Students choose one major and as many “pathways” as desired to tailor the MBA experience to their specific career goals. And you will often find Kellogg MBA alumni back at the Global Hub as guest speakers, sharing real-world case studies in the classroom and through club conferences. The sense of teamwork and comradery so pervasive in Kellogg’s culture continues long after graduation.
Dean Francesca Cornelli, an accomplished scholar and a leader in business education, joined Kellogg in August 2019. Given the prevalence of change and disruption in the current era, Dean Cornelli said her goal is “to teach people to be adaptable, to see change and to embrace opportunity.” She went on to say, “So when people ask what is the value of an MBA, I say it’s not your next job. We want to impact all your life, the entire trajectory.” The new dean also emphasized the deep-rooted strength of Kellogg’s culture, sharing that “the biggest surprise is how big and distinctive the culture is.” Learn more about Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management through our comprehensive guide, which presents eight key criteria to consider when evaluating whether Kellogg is a good fit for you.
Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management Interview Guide
Kellogg MBA interviews are typically friendly and conversational in nature, conducted by trained second-year students, alumni, or occasionally members of the admissions committee. To enable deeper conversations, Kellogg attempts to match applicants with interviewers who have similar career aspirations or history. And, uniquely, Kellogg attempts to interview all applicants, a stance that aligns with the school’s value of inclusiveness. Not surprisingly, the interviewer is interested in learning why Kellogg is a good fit for the applicant and is assessing the candidate’s cultural fit throughout the discussion while looking for indicators that the prospective student has thoroughly researched the school. Kellogg conducts its interviews using a “blind” format (versus a “comprehensive” one), meaning the interviewer will have only your resume for reference and not seen any other elements of the MBA application. Beyond general questions about career goals and why an MBA is needed to achieve them, Kellogg interviewers tend to lean on behavioral questions tied to past experiences to gain insight into your decision-making abilities and your values. For sample interview questions and insightful commentary from past students, check out our Northwestern Kellogg School of Management Interview Guide.
Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management Essay Analysis, 2021–2022
Value are at the heart of both of Northwestern Kellogg’s required written essays, but a unique interpretation is needed of each. Examples provided in response to each essay prompt can be professional or personal, though we recommend using a mix of both. Although Kellogg does not focus on career goals for its two longer-form essays, the application includes four short-answer questions related to career aspirations and motivation. In addition, Kellogg requires you to provide responses (up to 60 seconds long) to three video essay questions, including a goal-related one.
Kellogg’s video essays are an opportunity to show the admissions committee the human behind the paper application. The school’s former assistant dean of admissions and financial aid, Kate Smith, explained that the video component sprang from the admissions committee’s desire to “actually see and hear the applicants they were evaluating.” Given that Kellogg’s interviews are typically conducted by alumni and students, the video is usually the committee’s only “live” interaction with candidates. Remember to remain relaxed and authentic when recording your video responses.
Kellogg recognizes that this newer essay format might at first feel somewhat uncomfortable and thus allows applicants to practice on the video platform as much as they would like; practice questions simulate the actual video essay experience. Do not forget to dress professionally and ensure that nothing in the background could be distracting.
In our analysis, we provide in-depth guidance on each of Kellogg’s 2021–2022 written and video essay questions (note that specialized MBA programs require responses to additional essay questions):
- Written Essay 1: Kellogg’s purpose is to educate, equip and inspire 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)
- Written 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)
- Video Essay 1: Please introduce yourself to the admissions committee. Consider this your opportunity to share what you would want your future Kellogg classmates and our admissions committee to know about you. What makes you, you?
- Video Essay 2: What path are you interested in pursuing, how will you get there, and why is this program right for you? This is an intentionally broad question so you can answer honestly and meaningfully. We want to know why you’re pursuing an MBA and why you’re choosing a particular Kellogg Full-Time Program.
- Video Essay 3: This question will be based on a challenge you’ve faced and what you’ve learned from it.
Kellogg’s admissions page provides the following information about the video essays:
- A video essay link will appear on your application status page after you submit your MBA application and payment.
- You will need an internet-connected computer with a webcam and microphone.
- The video should take about 20–25 minutes to complete, which includes time for setup.
- There are practice questions that you may complete as many times as you like to get comfortable with the format and technology. The practice questions and experience will simulate the actual video essay experience, so this is meant to be a useful tool to help you feel prepared.
- We encourage you to practice so you are comfortable with the format once it is time to complete the official questions. You will not have an opportunity to re-do the answer to the official video essay questions.
- You will have 20 seconds to think about the question and up to one minute to give your response.
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Northwestern Kellogg MBA Application Deadlines (2021–2022)
Round 1 Application Deadline
September 15, 2021
Round 1 Decision Released
December 8, 2021
Round 2 Application Deadline
January 5, 2022
Round 2 Decision Released
March 23, 2022
Round 3 Application Deadline
April 6, 2022
Round 3 Decision Released
May 11, 2022