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Northwestern Kellogg MBA Essay Analysis

(Application cycle 2024-2025)

Northwestern Kellogg MBA Essay 1

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)

This question requires you to narrate a compelling career goals story of a professional challenge you faced. Highlight how you embraced the situation, formed your strategy, and managed to create a “long-lasting impact”. Finally, reflect upon your learning from this situation - recount how you grew professionally, improved your leadership style/skills and added value.


Consider using the SCAR framework to answer this question. Start the essay by defining the situation, explaining the challenge at hand, stating the action(s) you took and concluding with the result of your leadership efforts. 


Note: Explore the anecdote in detail by emphasising the actions you took. 

The question emphasises specific points. You ought to reflect upon these in your essay: 

  • Brave - You could say that Kellogg appreciates the candidates with the potential to take calculated risks in service of the larger value-added proposition. Thus, your ability to take calculated risks, overcome challenges and push beyond the boundaries would be an excellent point to add. 

  • Recent example - Do not include an old example from your academic years. Ideally, pick up a story from your most recent professional stint. 


Covid-19 posed significant challenges globally - This might be a good place to include an anecdote where you rose to the occasion and dealt with a tricky situation. 

  • Demonstrated leadership skills and value-added - Reflect upon your values that resonate with Kellogg’s core cultural values. These could be - teamwork, collaboration, long-lasting impact, sync with the Kellogg purpose in post-MBA career, innovative approach, etc.

  • Learning - How you dealt with challenges and received feedback are important for all  MBA programs. Therefore, reflect on how this situation enabled you to grow further and highlight your willingness to learn and develop throughout your MBA. 

Northwestern Kellogg MBA 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)


This question requires a two-fold answer. The first part of the question requires you to talk about the core values that have been a guiding force in your life. The second part must reinforce the relevance of these values to an MBA at Kellogg to reassure that you will be a meaningful member of the Kellogg community. 


It might be tough to reflect upon the values you’ve stood for and back them up with concrete examples of times when you’ve demonstrated them. Consider reverse engineering this answer. Start by brainstorming for the stories by reflecting upon different times in your life - challenges you faced, accomplishments, important events and experiences. Then, consider the values which guided you. 


Northwestern Kellogg MBA Reapplicant Essay 

Since your previous application, what steps have you taken to strengthen your candidacy? (250 words)

Write about how you’ve grown since the last time you applied to Kellogg. This answer is where you would refer to your improved GMAT/GRE score and add recent leadership experiences such as extracurricular activities, community work, and/or new projects you began since the last time you applied. Also, mention any promotions or new responsibilities you’ve been given since you last applied.

Northwestern Kellogg 1-Year Applicant MBA Essay 

Please discuss your post-MBA career goal, the current experience you will leverage to support the transition, and the Kellogg 1Y opportunities that will help you reach this goal. (250 words)

A classic career goals essay. Don’t over-complicate it. Start by stating your post-MBA career goal. Don’t commit to a specific company and role, but show that you’ve done your research. Ideal is to apply to 3 companies in a similar space, such as McKinsey, Bain & BCG or Pfizer, J&J & AstraZeneca.


Next, explain the skills you already have and the skills that you’ll need. Ideally, this would be a mix of soft skills and technical skills. Examples of soft skills include public speaking. Technical skills might be valuations of early-stage startups. Tie the skills you need to specific electives, trips, treks, societies, programs and clubs at Kellogg.

Northwestern Kellogg MBA Video Essay 


  • Three questions will be available post-application submission and payment.

  • Essays are due 96 hours after the application deadline. 

  • For the final assessment, join through an internet-connected laptop or computer with a webcam and microphone. 

  • Answers should be consistent with your application, but try not to repeat yourself verbatim. For example, feel free to refer to a project you already wrote about, but if you wrote about it from a leadership standpoint, best to use it from a different angle such as teamwork.

Northwestern Kellogg Video essay 1 


Please introduce yourself to the admissions committee.

Think of this as your elevator pitch. Share with the admissions committee what makes you different. . Talk about some key aspects of your professional role and what you do outside of the office.


Northwestern Kellogg Video essay 2 

What path are you interested in pursuing, how will you get there, and why is this program right for you?

Begin by explaining your career goals. These should be clear to you by now. Avoid sounding overly committed, but show that you’ve done your research. If you’ll be taking on a new job after MBA, a good idea is to refer to 3 specific companies or roles which you would consider. Then talk about the skills you’ll need and how an MBA at Kellogg is going to give you these


Northwestern Kellogg Video essay 3 

This question will be based on a challenge you've faced and what you've learned from it.


For this behavioural question, stick to the SCAR format. Describe the situation, explain the challenge, what you did and what the result was. A good story will demonstrate one or more of the 12 key traits

Check out our Kellogg MBA Interview Guide for in-depth insights into Kellogg's interview process, what they're looking for in prospective candidates, interview schedule and questions for 2024, and tips to ace your interview. 

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