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Kellogg MBA Essay Questions & Analysis 2024-2025

Kellogg MBA essay

The following essay topic analysis examines the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management’s (Kellogg) MBA admissions essays. The Kellogg MBA essay questions are for the 2024-2025 admissions season. You can also review essay topic analyses for other leading MBA programs as well as general Essay Tips to further aid you in developing your admissions essays.

Northwestern / Kellogg MBA Essay Questions & Analysis 2024-2025

Let’s take a closer look at each of the Kellogg MBA essay questions for 2024-2025. While Kellogg notes a word limit of 450 words for each question, their application is comprised of text boxes that allow up to 480 words for the two main essays.

Kellogg MBA Essay 1

Intentionality is a key aspect of what makes our graduates successful Kellogg leaders. Help us understand your journey by articulating your motivations for pursuing an MBA, the specific goals you aim to achieve, and why you believe now is the right moment. Moreover, share why you feel Kellogg is best suited to serve as a catalyst for your career aspirations and what you will contribute to our community of lifelong learners during your time here. (450 words)
Kellogg poses a focused career goals essay, asking candidates to articulate their post-MBA professional goals and providing some guidance as to the scope of candidate’s responses. Along with describing their immediate post-MBA career goals, applicants should explain their long-term career goals and the broad impact they hope to have on their industry, community, country or region. A brief career summary can naturally lead to the gaps in one’s professional skill set that an MBA, particularly from Kellogg, would fill – and how.

Kellogg is also looking for what, in turn, you can contribute to the school. It will require that applicants be very thoughtful and as concise as possible. For instance, if you are interested in consumer goods, do not limit your exploration of the topic to the idea that you would acquire knowledge individually, e.g. in taking a particular course; instead, consider how you may get involved in organizing a conference or bringing a speaker to campus so that you may share this knowledge with fellow students. The key is to define what you need to learn, and integrating a sense of individual growth balanced with knowledge sharing, so that you may be seen as part of a community. Also consider what clubs and activities could help you grow on a professional level—e.g. how would you learn to motivate others by organizing a specific event?

Of course, to craft a truly compelling essay, applicants must also display a strong and specific understanding of how Kellogg’s program would enable them to accomplish their goals. Taking the time to learn about the school’s curriculum, special programs and extracurricular activities—whether by seeking out alumni or current students to engage, or connecting with resources through the Kellogg website—will pay dividends here.

Kellogg MBA Essay 2

Kellogg leaders are primed to tackle challenges everywhere, from the boardroom to their neighborhoods. Describe a specific professional experience where you had to make a difficult decision. Reflecting on this experience, identify the values that guided your decision-making process and how it impacted your leadership style. (450 words)
This Kellogg MBA essay question asks the candidate to recount a leadership experience in which they (ideally) had a substantial impact, and which also involved making a difficult decision. Given the mention of boardrooms and neighborhoods, there is a consideration of community. You’ll want to choose a leadership example that showcases not only your ability to rally others around you and guide them toward an objective, but also with clear illustration of your selected values.

The wording of this Kellogg MBA essay question pinpoints a professional experience. Rather than gauging the significance of an experience solely in dollar amounts or percentages, we encourage applicants to attend to the details of being difficult, ones values, and lessons learned (impact on leadership style). Whether the challenge was logistical (like coordinating across internal teams while managing a client’s expectations) or interpersonal (such as developing a good working relationship with an adversarial colleague), effective responses will highlight a transferable skill that was formed or strengthened during this process.

With respect to structure, we recommend a basic STAR approach for this response. Begin by describing the situation, the players, and stakeholders involved before moving into the task: what you needed to accomplish in your goal. You should also lay the groundwork for the challenges you encountered, identifying the factors or relationships you would need to navigate to make the right decision. You should then move into the action, providing a chronological account of how you moved through the project or process based on your decision.

Finally, you should comment on the result — the positive outcome of your efforts and the resolution of the story. The response should then conclude with a reflection on your leadership growth, and perhaps a comment on how it has served you since and/or how this positions you to add real value to the Kellogg community.

Video Essays

We’ve read your essays, we’ve read your resume — now we want you to bring all that to life in a video. Show us the person behind all those carefully crafted words.

The video will be comprised of three questions, each designed to help you showcase your personality and share some of the experiences that brought you here today.

Some things to keep in mind as you prepare to complete this section:

  • Video essays are due 96 hours after the application deadline.
  • A video essay link will appear on your Application Status Page after you submit your 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.

After submitting your application and payment, you will be able to access the video essay through your Application Status Page.
Video essays are just another way for the adcom to get to know applicants. Kellogg notes they will be looking to get to know your personality and history. Be sure to review our Admissions Tip on Video Essays before tackling this element of the application.

Re-applicant Essay

How have you grown or changed personally and professionally since you previously applied and what steps have you taken to become the strongest candidate you can be? (250 word limit)
The framing of this Kellogg MBA essay question suggests that the adcom is more interested in proactive steps toward material improvement of your candidacy. You should therefore focus on the specific ways you’ve worked to strengthen your candidacy over the past year (e.g. assuming more responsibility at work, attending conferences in line with your long-term professional goals, retaking the GMAT, or bolstering community involvement), and the reasons that you believe you’re a better applicant to Kellogg this time around.

Additional Information

We know that life is full of extenuating circumstances. Whether you want to explain gaps in work experience, your choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance or something else, you can use this section to briefly tell us anything we need to know about your application. (280 words)
The wording of this prompt signals that comments in this section should be limited to explaining potential liabilities or inconsistencies in your application. While applicants are free to write as much as they like here, we recommend a straightforward approach that uses as few words — and as little of the reader’s scarce time — as possible. Applicants who chose to respond to this essay should adopt a humble tone, acknowledge the issue without making excuses (though you can create context), and gently suggest other aspects of his or her candidacy that may help to compensate for this weakness.

Clear Admit Resources

Thanks for reading our analysis of this year’s Kellogg MBA essay topics! As you work on your Northwestern MBA essays and application, we encourage you to consider all of Clear Admit’s offerings: