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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, Leadership, Interpersonal skills

Our team understands how demanding work can be, but pursuing interests outside the office helps maintain a balanced and engaged life. Our admissions committee wants to understand what fulfills our applicants outside of work, and how they’ve made an impact within an organization or a community that matters to them. In the United States, we think of that as “extracurricular activity,” but it applies all over the globe.

What matters here is quality of experience over quantity; two years of involvement with one activity means a lot more than eight brief commitments in eight different places. We like to see our applicants involved with something they’re passionate about. If it fits in with your personal career narrative — say you volunteer with a literacy organization, and you want to pursue education policy after Kellogg — that’s great. But for plenty of applicants, a personal passion or commitment is not directly connected to the career goals at all.

We also recognize that some jobs may not leave a lot of room for involvement outside of work. There are opportunities for impact within the workplace, too. Did you lead recruiting efforts? Maybe you headed up a green building initiative. Having an impact on organizational culture or community is just as valid, important and interesting to us. Passion and engagement are universal features within the Kellogg community. There are a lot of ways to showcase that you’re the type of person who makes a difference.

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