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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, Work experience, Leadership, Impact, Interpersonal skills

Ask any alum, and they will tell you that Kellogg was a pivotal point in his or her career. With your work experience, you’ve told us what’s led you to Kellogg. Outlining your professional goals will help us understand how a Kellogg MBA will bridge your past and future together.

Since there many different candidates drawn to Kellogg, your reason for pursuing an MBA will be unique. Some applicants have a specific idea of how an MBA will help them grow within an industry they know already; others want to pursue a significant career pivot, while still others have more general long-term goals while remaining open to many paths that might take them there.

The MBA program will expose you to a lot of great things to help you crystallize that path, but due to the nature of our programs, a lot starts happening very fast. (Have you heard about pre-term? We don’t waste a day getting you engaged.) Your time at Kellogg is going to fly by – and you are going to want to make the most of it by giving some serious thought for your reasons for pursuing an MBA. If you arrive without a clue what direction you’re headed, you’ll get overwhelmed pretty quickly. Knowing that our applicants have thought about the deeper reasons behind pursuing this degree — why they’re doing it, where they’re trying to go, how this education and their career fit together — helps students to hit the ground running once they arrive on campus.

This is not to say that our students know everything about what they want or where they want to go on Day 1. Kellogg has many opportunities for you to explore and discover, but no student can tackle everything we offer. Our Admissions officers are checking to make sure you’ve got a plan in mind. We understand the plan may change over time, but do think about what areas and opportunities you would focus on if you were starting our program today.

The most important factor in this case is honesty, both with yourself and within the application. Forget what you may think about what kinds of aspirations will impress an admissions officer: this is about your goals and your development.

We want to see a clear narrative that explains why you want this MBA. No answer is wrong, so feel free to talk openly about how this program and community will help you achieve that goal.

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