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When Kellogg admissions officers review an application, they evaluate potential students based on six categories. Here, Beth Tidmarsh, director of admissions for Kellogg’s full-time MBA programs, demystifies what happens once you submit your materials and helps you think about how to formulate the story that will help the admissions team learn more about you. 


PREVIOUS TOPICS: Intellectual ability, Professional goals, Leadership, Impact, Interpersonal skills

One thing that makes the Kellogg experience so rich is the wide variety of backgrounds — both personal and professional — in our student body. We admit applicants from diverse fields, with varying years of experience. We also analyze each applicant within the context of his or her own career path, rather than against each other. Our admissions officers are looking to understand how you’ve progressed and why what you’ve done is significant. Are you progressing faster than others at your same level? Did you get promoted more quickly? Have you taken on additional responsibilities?

The quality of your professional experience, regardless of where you are in your career, is what will stand out. A great way to make your application pop is to help us understand what the standards are within your industry and your particular company or organization. Some workplaces or careers are very structured about how someone can advance through the ranks, while others provide opportunities for leadership in other, less formal ways. One tip we will share: Think about how you would explain your job to a 10-year-old or your grandmother. Jargon and acronyms will often create confusion, so avoid them whenever you can. This is a great place to show us how you can communicate ideas across fields and disciplines.

By including your resume, you’re giving us a quick overview that highlights a few significant achievements of your work experience. Within your application, you can specify more about your day-to-day responsibilities, the nitty-gritty of how you operate in the working world. Capitalize on that extra space and don’t just copy your resume into the input fields! You have many chances to tell more about your career, so seize every one and make each part count in its own way.

Read Beth Tidmarsh’s previous series on “Tips for applying to Kellogg”