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  • Malvika Patil

Northwestern Kellogg MBA Essays & Analysis 2024 - 2025

Northwestern Kellogg has updated its MBA Essay Questions for the 2024 - 2025 application cycle. The 2 core essays continue to maintain the 450 word limit, but focus on career goals and leadership in this year's new prompts.

Here are the Northwestern Kellogg MBA Essay Written and Video Questions for 2024 - 2025.

Northwestern 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)

This year, Kellogg has chosen to ask applicants a classic career goals essay, including a specific "Why Kellogg" component.

​Start with a story about a past experience that shaped your interest in your target industry or role. This could be a personal or professional experience, but it should lead to a mission statement that clearly states what impact you want to have through your career. You don't need to have a grandiose mission like solving world hunger or becoming President, but you should aim to showcase the overall positive impact you will have on others through your work.

Now that you have a mission, outline the short-term and long-term goals that will help you achieve it. Ensure that you state your target role, industry, and geography.

You can now discuss the skills you already have gained so far that are useful for these goals. This could be transferable skills from your career, extracurriculars, or personal experiences, direct experience in your target industry, and even expanding your network to include people from your target industry.

Then, discuss the skills that you still need to develop to achieve your goals. Kellogg asks you to explain why this is the right time to pursue an MBA. You may have reached a point in your career where you cannot move forward without covering these skill gaps, so you need an MBA.

Finally, be specific with the skills, knowledge, and community you need from your MBA. Research classes, student clubs, extracurriculars, conferences, competitions, and any other resources that will help you achieve your goals. For example, you may be planning to pivot to a strategy role from a tech role after your MBA. Going forward, you would need to develop your strategic thinking and communication skills, which you'll get from certain courses in your curriculum.

You also need to demonstrate how you can give back to Kellogg's community. Note the use of the word "intentionality".  Again, do your research and seek opportunities where your skills and experiences will add value to your MBA cohort and the larger university. Speak to alumni, current students, and school staff to add a personal touch to your essay and show that you are already getting involved with the school's community. If you can, you should also consider visiting the school campus to understand its culture and speak to students.

Northwestern 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 question requires you to narrate a compelling 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.

Kellogg appreciates 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. 

Consider using a story in 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. 

Here's the SCAR framework in action:


  • Situation: Provide some context

  • Challenge: Describe the immediate challenge you faced

  • Action: Explain what you did to overcome the challenge

  • Result: Give a concrete result, try to quantify


  • Demonstrate leadership skills by reflecting 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 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 Essays 


  • 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. 

For the full Northwestern Kellogg MBA application course with example essays based on real essays by previous applicants, check out the Kellogg application program on 

We help determined applicants get admitted to top business schools. Get in touch if you think we can help you with your MBA application. Book a free 20 mins chat now.


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