Kellogg MBA Essay Questions - Analysis & Tips 2021

If you’re planning to apply to MBA at Kellogg School of Management you will have to answer the essay prompts mentioned in this article.

Our focus today is to provide you with the latest Kellogg SOM essay prompts, what the admissions committee hopes to learn from your answers to these essays, and how you can create unique and authentic answers to the same.

The most important activity that will help you answer these MBA admissions essays beautifully is Networking. Make sure you understand Kellogg’s school environment to be able to provide deep introspective answers to these questions.

This is also an opportunity for the applicant to show the admissions committee at Kellogg that they are committed to the school and the school is the correct next step for their career.

Types of Kellogg SOM MBA Application Essays

Kellogg SOM has three types of essays.

Written Essays for Kellogg MBA

  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)

    The two key terms in this essay are “leadership” and “created value”.

    Using these key terms, formulate your answer to this question. You need to focus on a recent leadership incident from your personal or professional life. But be warned, your answer needs to be more than just “I was an amazing leader”, or “It couldn’t have happened without me”.

    You need to share the details of the incident. One easy way to do so is by using the STAR format.

    S (Situation): Explain the situation in detail. Mention all the players involved. All the moving parts that can possibly affect your outcome need to be mentioned here.

    T (Task): This requires you to detail the challenge you faced. It is an extension of the situation as it explains the conflict that you had to troubleshoot.

    A (Action): This is the part that you need to spend most of your word limit on. Explain what actions you took to solve the problem, and what was your decision-making process.

    R (Result): What came out of your problem-solving efforts?

    The result that Kellogg is hoping to read should be a long-lasting one. They want to know whether you were able to create a result that eliminated the issue for the foreseeable future.

  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)
  3. This is very clearly a question regarding your personal life. While the question prompt allows you to share an incident from either your personal or professional life, pick a personal experience.

    Don’t feel tempted to create the perfect Kellogg answer for this question. Don’t run to Google the values that Kellogg resonates with. Also, don’t try to list 50 values that you hold dear. Stay realistic in this essay.

    The Kellogg admissions committee isn’t looking for an applicant who can list the most values. They are looking for an applicant who is self-aware and can provide them with solid examples of how they have stood true to their values even in difficult situations.

    Start by narrowing down about 20 important events from your life. These could be your accomplishments, failures, or conflicts. Write down the reasons why these events are important to you and why the admissions committee should know about these.

    Go over this list and mark all the events that showcase the same values. Use two to three of the values that these events showcase and pick the strongest events that support your claim.

    These values and the incidents that back up your claims will now create your perfect answer for this essay. Take your time with this one. Introspect. Dig Deep.

Additional Essays for Reapplicants

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

  2. Some applicants need to write additional essays for their Kellogg SOM MBA application.

    For the MBA application of the two-year MBA program at Kellogg SOM, re-applicants need to write an additional essay. This essay is an amazing opportunity for the re-applicants to list their accomplishments and share their growth, since their last application, with the admissions committee.

    All the essay questions before this one focused on the mindset and the internal growth of an MBA applicant over the years. This one is focused on the quantifiable growth of the applicant since the last time they applied.

    Whether it’s a promotion, a new job, a new venture, or anything else in your profile that saw significant growth since your last application attempt at Kellogg SOM.

    Did you take the admissions committees to advise and improve your GMAT score? Or take more initiative at work? Took a major step towards your long-term goal? Got more involved in your community?

    Mention it all here.

Video Essays

As per the Kellogg SOM website, the video essays are only accessible once the application is submitted and the payment is made.

Some things to note:

  1. They are due within 96 hours post the application deadline.
  2. The essays are available through a link that the applicant receives on the application status page after submitting their Kellogg application.
  3. The video needs to be recorded on a computer with a webcam and microphone.
  4. The video would take you approximately 20-25 minutes including setup time.

Here are some tips to answer the video essays, directly from Kellogg:

  1. There are practice questions that you may complete as many times as you like to get comfortable with the format and technology. The practise questions and experience will simulate the actual video essay experience, so this is meant to be a useful tool to help you feel prepared

  2. 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

  3. You will have 20 seconds to think about the question and up to one minute to give your response

  1. Please introduce yourself to the admissions committee.
  2. This is the MBA applicant’s opportunity to share their personal story with the admissions committee.

    It is also very similar to the dreaded, “Tell me about yourself?” interview question. How do you answer this question correctly? Do you fumble around and give information that’s too personal? Or do you keep it strictly professional? But then what is the point of your resume if you simply share your professional life?

    The best way to answer this question is to share the right amounts of your past, present and future.

    1. Share what brought you to this point. Not your Why MBA answer. Share interesting life decisions that made you choose the field of work you chose. Sprinkle in some details about your background.
    2. Move on to talking about your recent accomplishment and why you’re excited to be able to share it with the admissions committee.
    3. End the answer by sharing what you wish to be working on in the next five years and why you are a great fit for that role.

  3. What path are you interested in pursuing, how will you get there, and why is this program right for you?
  4. This answer is pretty self-explanatory. Also, the ending of your last question is the perfect segue into your answer to this question.

    Use the information you collected through networking and share how various clubs, electives, and faculty at Kellogg can help you achieve your short term goals.

  5. 2020 has been a year of seismic disruption — fighting the global COVID-19 pandemic, tragic deaths that have brought systemic racism and social justice issues to the forefront of long-overdue conversations, and economic and political divides that are growing deeper and deeper. How has this unprecedented year challenged you and how have you faced that challenge?
  6. In the previous years, the third video essay question was an impromptu question about a challenging situation that the applicant had faced.

    Applicants would have 20 seconds to prep for an answer and 1 minute to answer the question.

    However, having the question provided beforehand this year is both a blessing and a curse.

    COVID-19 has been a difficult year for everyone and your answer to this question would reveal a lot about you. You also don’t want to sound robotic or rehearsed. So while you would need to be very strategic with your answer, don’t shy away from major growth you have achieved throughout this year.

    A lot of people have struggled mentally, emotionally, and physically due to COVID-19. So feel free to share how you dealt with the lockdowns, the virus, the financial issues due to layoffs, or any other aspect that COVID-19 brought to your life.

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