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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, Professional goals, Impact, Interpersonal skills

Many people pursue an MBA to gain experience and improve their management and leadership skills. The Kellogg admissions team is looking for both demonstrated leadership in the past and an applicant’s leadership potential. Given the scope and range of our community, this means many different things. Someone with a military background will present different accomplishments than someone with a few years as a junior analyst, or a teacher. What showcases your leadership is going to depend on the path you’ve had and the organizations that you’ve been in, and we take that into account.

A few things will be similar, though. We look for those who have taken up new responsibilities and opportunities in whatever way they can, however their career path has allowed. Maybe this means you’ve led an initiative within your company, or it could mean that you’ve secured promotions quickly, or that you’re deeply involved with a volunteer commitment. Your roles don’t have to be formal, just indicative of your drive. The better you can help us see how these activities fit in with your overall career narrative, the more clearly we can think about how you might fit in with the Kellogg community.

We also consider timeliness. The further along you are into your career, the more we’re going to expect some demonstrated benchmarks. If you’re seven or eight years out of college, consider presenting more recent examples. Likewise, if you’re early in your career, don’t worry that you’re competing with more experienced applicants. Our admissions team is just as concerned with where our students are going as where they’ve already been.

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