Application Process

What You Need to Apply

The application is your first step toward developing skills to build strong organizations, making the connections to help grow your career and realizing your potential on a professional level. The following is a list of components you'll need to apply for admission to our Full-Time MBA Program.

Criteria for Admission

Eligibility
A bachelor’s or equivalent degree from an accredited college or university is required to apply. Previous study in business or economics is not required, with the exception of the One-Year Program. Since much of the MBA curriculum requires quantitative skills, we encourage students to complete introductory courses in calculus and statistics prior to enrolling. Learn more about eligibility for each program:

Evaluation & Assessment

The Admissions Committee evaluates your:

  • Scholastic ability
  • Personal character
  • Motivations
  • Leadership ability
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Career performance
  • Management potential

The committee assesses your:

Professional Experience
The committee also values professional experience that demonstrates maturity and self-awareness, including military service and extracurricular activities.

Interviews

The interview provides an opportunity for you to learn more about our program. It also allows the Admissions Committee to further evaluate your maturity level, interpersonal skills, career focus and motivations.

About the Interview
  • Interviews may be scheduled after you submit a completed application
  • Interviews are granted on a first-come, first-served basis. Schedule your interview as soon as possible to secure your desired date
  • Chicago-area applicants must request an off-campus interview unless applying to the JD-MBA program
  • You must bring a current resume to your interview
  • Off-campus interview candidates must email a resume to the interviewer ahead of time
  • All interviews must be scheduled and then completed by the listed deadlines
On-Campus or Off-Campus Interview  
We ask all applicants to indicate their preference for an on-campus or off-campus interview, each of which carries equal weight.

On-Campus Interview
On-campus interviews are conducted by admissions staffers or student admissions officers. Call the Office of Admissions to schedule your on-campus interview. Interviews are conducted Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from September through April and on select Saturdays from late fall until early spring. On-campus interviews typically last 30-45 minutes.

Off-Campus Interview Request
If you indicate your preference for an off-campus interview, you will be notified of your assignment or waiver via email within four to six weeks from the deadline. Off-campus interviews are conducted by admissions officers or members of Kellogg’s Alumni Admissions Organization.

Interview Waiver
Due to the high demand for interviews and limited availability of interviewers, you may receive an interview waiver. Waivers will not have a negative impact on your candidacy. Each year, many applicants who receive waivers are admitted to Kellogg.

Phone or Skype Interview
If your interview request is waived, the admissions office may contact you to schedule a phone or Skype interview. If you receive a waiver, you may not request a phone or Skype interview.

All Interview Requests are Final
You may not change your interview request after submission. However, if you are unable to attend, please contact the Office of Admissions at 847.491.3308 to cancel your request. The office will grant you a waiver, which will not have a negative impact on your candidacy.

Essay Questions

For 2014-2015, the following two essays are required of all applicants:

  1. Resilience. Perseverance. Grit. Call it what you will…. Challenges can build character. Describe a challenging experience you’ve had. How were you tested? What did you learn? (450 words)
  2. Leadership requires an ability to collaborate with and motivate others. Describe a professional experience that required you to influence people. What did this experience teach you about working with others, and how will it make you a better leader? (450 words)

Certain applicants will respond to additional questions:
  • Dual-degree applicants: For applicants to the MMM or JD-MBA dual degree programs, please explain why that program is right for you. (250 words)
  • Re-applicants: Since your previous application, what steps have you taken to strengthen your candidacy? (250 word limit)
All applicants have the opportunity to provide explanations or clarification in Additional Information:
  • If needed, use this section to briefly describe any extenuating circumstances (e.g. unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, etc.) (no word count)


Video Essay

The Video Essays provide applicants with an additional opportunity to demonstrate what they will bring to our vibrant Kellogg community – in an interactive way. Each applicant will complete two short video essay questions. The questions are designed to bring to life the person we have learned about on paper.

After submitting a completed application, each applicant will be asked to complete two Video Essay Questions. One will be about the candidate’s interest in Kellogg and the other will be a “getting to know you” type of question.

There are 10 practice questions which candidates can complete as many times as they 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 and help applicants feel prepared.

There is not an opportunity to re-do the answer to the official video essay questions. We encourage applicants to practice so they are comfortable with the format once it is time to complete the official questions.

Candidates will have 20 seconds to think about their question and up to 1 minute to give their response.

We estimate the Video Essays will take 15-20 minutes to complete – which includes time for set-up and answering all the practice questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:    Why does Kellogg have a video essay?
A:    Student culture is hugely important at Kellogg. So we want to meet everyone. EVERYONE. We use the video essays as additional information to the application. It is the last thing we review when reading an application. It gives us a sense of your personality and allows us to get to know you in a more personal way than we can through your essays.

Q:    What makes a good video essay?
A:    Be yourself. We don't want scripted answers - we want to know what you think. We want to get to know you and learn something new about you, so please do not try to reuse an example from an essay that might in some roundabout way answer the video essay question you are being asked.

Q:    What kind of questions will you ask?
A:    We are going to be honest about this. Really. We don't want you to stress. We will ask you one question about your interest in Kellogg (no need to memorize the website). We will also ask you one question to help us get to know you. Want an example? Okay. "If you could live anywhere in the world for a year, where would it be and why?" See, not so hard. Right?

Q:    Are there right or wrong answers?
A:    No. This isn't a test. We use the video essay to gain additional information about you and get to know you in a more personal way. Don't have a perfect answer to the question? Do not panic! Answer it the best way you can and let your personality shine.

Q:    How many times can I record myself?

A:    You can practice recording yourself as many times as you want and the practice experience (format and types of questions) will be identical to the actual experience. But, when it comes to getting your actual video essay questions, you will only have one try. So practice. We know you like to be prepared! Get comfortable with the technology. We put good practice questions out there so you won't be nervous. Have fun and do your best.

Q:    Really, I don't get a second chance
?
A:    Nope, sorry. This is a bit like an interview. Sometimes in an interview you are asked a question and you don't have the perfect answer, but you go ahead and give the best response you can. And, most of the time, it turns out well. That's what this is. Take a deep breath before you start and be confident in yourself and your ability to give a great answer.

Q:    How much time will I have to think of a response and how long will I have to give my answer?
A:    You will have 20 seconds to think of your response and 60 seconds to give your answer. We suggest you practice. It will make this easier. Take 10 minutes to go through the practice questions. Answer them as if they were your real questions. The more you practice the more comfortable you will feel doing the real video essays.

Q:    What should I wear? Do I have to wear a suit?
A: You can wear a suit if you want to; but business casual is certainly okay with us too. And really, we will only see your head and shoulders so you can wear a collared shirt and we would never know you were still in your sweatpants.

Q: Where should I record my video essay?

A: Wherever you like - your office, kitchen, apartment, hotel room. Just make sure you pick a place where you have a good internet connection and no distractions.

Q:    What part of the application process is the video essay? How do I access the Video Essay?
A: After submitting your application, the Video Essay will be available when you log in to your applicant status page.

Q:    How much time will I have to complete the video essays?
A:    After submitting your application you will be given access to the Video Essay component and will have one week after the application is due to complete the Video Essay. We encourage applicants to complete their Video Essay shortly after submitting the application while information is still fresh in your mind and so you don’t forget!  Also, please try not to wait for the last possible moment to record your video essay - it will feel more stressful if you are doing it at the last minute and in a rush. Block out 15-20 minutes a few days after you submit your application and complete it.

Q:    How long will this take me?
A:    To be safe we are saying 15-20 minutes, but we think 15 if you decide not to do all the practice questions and don't have any questions on the set-up.

Academic Transcripts

Please list all colleges, universities and study abroad programs you have attended or are currently attending. Please note:

  • Study abroad program transcripts are not required
  • Transcripts from transfer programs are not required if grades are included on the transcript of the degree-granting institution
  • Hard copies of official transcripts are only required upon matriculation
  • Applicants accepted to the JD-MBA Program must submit two sets of official transcripts — one to Kellogg and one to Northwestern Law
  • If academic records and diplomas are not originally issued in English, you must submit both the original record and an authorized, verbatim English translation
All records must show your name, the name of the institution, enrollment dates, courses taken, units of credit, marks or ratings in each subject, and rank in the total class or group (if available)

GMAT or GRE Scores

We require GMAT or GRE scores for the One-Year MBA, Two-Year MBA and MMM programs. You must report your scores by the application deadline. JD-MBA applicants can only submit a GMAT score.

Please request that official test scores are sent to Kellogg by using one of the following school codes:

  • Our GMAT code is 6WZ-3J-89
  • Our GRE code is 7921

We will record the highest score but encourage you to report additional scores received after submission of your application. However, there is no guarantee the new score will be evaluated when the Admissions Committee reviews your file. Please send subsequent test score reports to MBAadmissions@kellogg.northwestern.edu and also be sure to report your official scores to Kellogg using one of the school codes listed above.

Important Facts

  • We do not require a minimum GMAT or GRE score
  • The GMAT or GRE is just one criterion our admissions team considers and not the only indicator for success in business school
  • The total GMAT or GRE score is based on your performance on the Quantitative and Verbal sections only
  • GMAT/GRE scores are valid for five years
You must submit a complete application prior to the expiration date of your GMAT/GRE score.

Letters of Recommendation

You must submit two letters of recommendation through the online application.

Ideally, one letter should come from a current supervisor or manager. The second should come from someone who can evaluate your professional performance and your managerial/leadership potential (e.g., former supervisor, previous employer, client). If you are unable to ask a current supervisor or manager for a letter of recommendation, you should include a brief explanation in the “Additional Information” section of the application.

The application is not considered complete until we have received both recommendations. Additional letters of support are neither required nor encouraged. 

Application Fee

The application fee is $250. Submit your payment via credit card with the application. Do not send payments directly to Kellogg.

Fee waivers are granted to:

  • Active duty U.S. military applicants or U.S. military veterans who have been on active duty within three years of applying
  • Candidates employed by Teach For America or the Peace Corps within the past three years 

If you qualify for a fee waiver, send a formal request to mbaadmissions@kellogg.northwestern.edu before you submit your application. Provide supporting evidence of your current employment or military status. Military applicants should submit either a pay stub or letter from a commanding officer to verify active duty status. For military veterans who have completed service within the last three years, please submit a copy of Form DD-214.

We cannot issue a refund after your application fee has been submitted.


Deadlines & Notifications

Application Deadlines

Round 1 - Closed

Round 2  - Jan. 7, 2015

Round 3  - April 1, 2015

Decision Notifications

Round 1 - Dec. 17, 2014

Round 2 - March 25, 2015

Round 3 - May 13, 2015

The Inside Perspective

Choosing your MBA Program: Are you being challenged to reach for greatness?