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Choosing to apply to a full time MBA program is a significant moment in your professional (and personal) journey and a commitment. You will devote hours to test prep, drafting and redrafting essays, practicing for interviews, perusing websites and visiting campuses. During this process, we know you have questions on how to make your application stand out.

To help demystify how our admissions team evaluates your Kellogg application, we’ve compiled a helpful “Top Ten” list of factors to keep in mind when preparing to submit your materials.  Doing so will help you identify key focus areas to strengthen your application and help you to formulate the story that will help the Admissions team learn more about you.


10. Prepare a well-rounded application to convey intellectual ability and creativity.

Our goal is to ensure that you can handle the rigor in the Kellogg classroom. Your undergraduate GPA, course selection and GMAT score help us assess your readiness. But we’re also invested in finding creative thinkers who can solve problems. Qualitative evidence of intellectual ability is going to come out in your essays, your interview and your recommendations. We truly take a holistic look at our applicants rather than only relying on a number.

9. Highlight the quality of your professional experience, regardless of where you are in your career, to distinguish your application.

The Kellogg experience is enriched by the diversity of our student body, both personally and professionally. We admit applicants from a variety of fields, with varying years of experience. We also consider each applicant within the context of his or her own career path, rather than against each other. Be sure to include your resume and details to help us understand what the career advancement standards are within your industry and your particular company or organization.

8. Avoid jargon whenever you can.

Jargon and acronyms often create confusion. Use your application as an opportunity to showcase your ability to clearly communicate with others, without relying on industry or organization ‘speak’ as a filler to convey your ideas.

7. Have a clear understanding of your reasons behind pursuing an MBA.

Describing your goals is not an exercise in impressing the Admissions committee; it is an honest reflection of where you hope your life is heading. We want to see a clear narrative that explains why you want to pursue an MBA. No answer is wrong, so please speak freely and openly about how Kellogg and its community will help you achieve your professional goals.

6. Share how you have made an impact on the world around you.

Passion and engagement are universal features within the Kellogg community, and there are a lot of ways to show us that you’re the type of person who makes a difference, whether inside your workplace or through activities outside of the office.

5. Display an openness to collaboration and teamwork.

Our ideal applicant likes to hear different viewpoints, respects others, can challenge opinions and isn’t afraid to speak up, but can do so in a way that’s collaborative and would help further a group or classroom conversation. If you thrive in a team-based environment, or want to grow your interpersonal skills, Kellogg could be the right fit for you.

4. Provide context and background during your interview.

The interview is your opportunity to highlight aspects of your story that you believe are most important and to let us know about anything you weren’t able to address in the application. Keep in mind that your interviewer will only see your resume – not your full application – so the additional detail is helpful to facilitate a great conversation that helps us to get to know you better.

3. Keep in mind the 7 categories admissions officers use to evaluate your application.

When Kellogg admissions officers review an application, they evaluate potential students based on: intellectual ability, work experience, professional goals, leadership, impact and interpersonal skills.

2. Clearly communicate your leadership journey.

The Kellogg Admissions team is looking for both demonstrated leadership in the past and an applicant’s leadership potential.  Although leadership may be defined differently among candidates based on their experiences, our Admissions team looks for individuals who have taken on new responsibilities and opportunities, in whichever ways they can. Your roles don’t have to be formal, just indicative of your drive. If you can help us see how these activities fit within your overall career narrative, we can more clearly identify how you might fit in the Kellogg community.

And our final tip for applicants is…

1. Be authentic.

When submitting your materials for consideration, ensure that your total application, including the interview, reflects your authentic story. Above all else, be thoughtful, be honest and be yourself.

Click here to begin your application. We are very excited to get to know you!