Application Process

What You Need to Apply

We are thrilled you’ve decided to apply to Kellogg. This is the start of an amazing journey — both personally and professionally — and we’re honored to be a part of that. The application process is designed to give us a sense of who you are, what drives you and why you think Kellogg is the right place for you.

The following is a list of components you'll need to apply for admission to our Full-Time MBA Programs.

Criteria for Admission

Eligibility
While some specific requirements vary from program to program, a bachelor’s or equivalent degree from an accredited college or university is required to apply. Previous study in business or economics is not required, with the exception of the One-Year Program. Since much of the MBA curriculum utilizes quantitative skills, we encourage students to complete introductory courses in calculus and statistics prior to enrolling. Learn more about eligibility for each program by visiting their individual pages:

Evaluation & Assessment
When we evaluate our applicants, a few qualities really stand out to us, including the ability to push past comfort zones and question the norm. These qualities help us understand if an applicant is ready to seize all of the opportunities that come with joining Kellogg.

The committee assesses your:

  • Application responses
  • Essays
  • Transcripts
  • GMAT or GRE score
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Resume
  • Interview report
  • Video essays

For international candidates, the committee also assesses:

  • TOEFL
  • IELTS

Professional experience
The committee also values professional experience that demonstrates maturity and self-awareness, including military service and extracurricular activities. We look for people who are not afraid to question the status quo, can motivate a team to drive impact, and are eager to dive in and collaborate with an engaged, ambitious community of peers.

Interviews

The interview provides an opportunity for you to learn more about our programs. It also allows the admissions committee to further evaluate your interpersonal and communication skills, career focus and motivations for the Kellogg MBA. We want to look beyond what we see on paper and learn more about you in-person, which is why we strive to interview as many candidates as possible.

  • Chicago-area applicants must request an off-campus interview. This is due the volume of applicants visiting campus from different states and countries.
  • All interviews must be scheduled by the listed deadlines.
On-Campus or Off-Campus Interview
We ask all applicants to indicate their preference for an on-campus or off-campus interview in their application. All interviews are considered equally, regardless of the format. Please note all interview request locations are final.

On-Campus Interview
On-campus interviews may be scheduled online through the applicant status page after you submit a completed application. Interview slots are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis. Schedule your interview as soon as possible to secure your desired date. Interviews are conducted Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and select Saturdays. On-campus interviews typically last 30-45 minutes.

Off-Campus Interview Request
If you request an off-campus interview, you will be notified of your assignment or waiver via email within four to six weeks from the application deadline. Off-campus interviews are conducted by members of Kellogg’s alumni admissions organization.

Interview Waiver
Due to the high demand for interviews and limited availability of interviewers, you may receive an interview waiver. If your interview is waived, the admissions committee may contact you to schedule a phone or Skype interview. If you receive a waiver, you may not request a phone or Skype interview.

Phone or Skype Interview
If your interview is waived, the admissions committee may contact you to schedule a phone or Skype interview. If you receive a waiver, you may not request a phone or Skype interview.

All Interview Requests are Final
You may not change your interview request after submission. If you are unable to attend your interview, please contact the office of admissions at 847.491.3308 to cancel your request. The office will issue an interview waiver, which will not have a negative impact on your candidacy.

Essay Questions

The essays let you explain, in your own words, why you think Kellogg is right for you. Take some time to think through the experiences that led you here and how they have shaped where you want to go.

The following two essays are required of all applicants:

  1. Kellogg’s purpose is to educate, equip and inspire brave leaders who create lasting value. Provide a recent example where you have demonstrated leadership and created value. What challenges did you face and what did you learn? (450 words)
  2. Values are what guide you in your life and work. What values are important to you and how have they influenced you? (450 words)

Certain applicants will respond to additional questions:

1Y applicants: Please discuss your post-MBA career goal, the current experience you will leverage to support the transition, and the Kellogg 1Y opportunities that will help you reach this goal. (250 words)

JD-MBA applicants: Please discuss your post-JD-MBA career goals and why the JD-MBA Program is the right program to help you reach those goals. (250 words)

MMM applicants: The five core values of the MMM Program are curiosity, creativity, empathy, open-mindedness and a learning mindset. Describe a situation in which you demonstrated one of these values. Why is this value an important part of the MMM experience for you? (250 words)

Reapplicants: Since your previous application, what steps have you taken to strengthen your candidacy? (250 words)

All applicants have the opportunity to provide explanations or clarification in Additional Information. Use this section if you think the person reviewing your application might have a few questions about one or more of your responses. This could include:

  • Unexplained gaps in work experience
  • Academic, GMAT or GRE performance
  • Extenuating circumstances that we should be aware of when reviewing your application

Video Essay

The video essay provides you with an additional opportunity to demonstrate what you will bring to our vibrant Kellogg community — in an interactive way. You will respond to several short video essay questions. The questions are designed to bring to life the person we have learned about on paper.

  • After submitting your application and payment, you will be able to access the video essay through your application status page. You will be asked to answer three questions:

    • Video essay 1: Please introduce yourself to the admissions committee.

      Consider this your opportunity to share what you would want your future Kellogg classmates and our admissions committee to know about you. What makes you, you?

    • Video essay 2: What path are you interested in pursuing, how will you get there, and why is this program right for you?

      This is an intentionally broad question so you can answer honestly and meaningfully. We want to know why you’re pursuing an MBA and why you’re choosing a particular Kellogg Full-Time Program.

    • Video essay 3: Each of you will receive a randomly selected prompt, all of which have the same objective. We want you to show us how you handled a challenging situation in your career or personal life. For example, we might ask you to tell us about a time you failed to achieve a goal you had set for yourself.

  • There are practice questions that you may complete as many times as you like to get comfortable with the format and technology. The practice questions and experience will simulate the actual video essay experience, so this is meant to be a useful tool to help you feel prepared.
  • We encourage you to practice so you are comfortable with the format once it is time to complete the official questions. You will not have an opportunity to re-do the answer to the official video essay questions.
  • You will have 20 seconds to think about the question and up to one minute to give your response.
  • We estimate the video essays will take 20-25 minutes to complete — which includes time for set-up and answering all the practice questions. You will need an internet connected computer with a webcam, microphone and an updated version of Adobe Flash in order to complete the video essay.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why does Kellogg have a video essay?
A: Student culture is hugely important at Kellogg, so we want to meet everyone. We use the video essays as additional information to the application. It is the last thing we review when reading an application. It gives us a sense of your personality and allows us to get to know you in a more personal way than we can through your essays.

Q: What makes a good video essay?
A: Be yourself. We don't want scripted answers — we want to get to know you and learn something new. Please do not try to reuse an example from an essay that might in some roundabout way answer the video essay question you are being asked. We already read that essay, so why tell us that story again? Think about your answer and prepare ahead of time, but when you record your answer speak authentically — we can tell if you are reading notes! And, no need to memorize an answer to the Kellogg question!

Q: Are there right or wrong answers?
A: No. This isn't a test. We use the video essay to gain additional information about you and get to know you in a more personal way. Don't have a perfect answer to the question? Do not panic! Answer it the best way you can and let your personality shine.

Q: How many times can I record myself?
A: You can practice recording yourself as many times as you want and the practice experience (format and types of questions) will be identical to the actual experience. But, when it comes to getting your actual video essay questions, you will only have one try. So, practice. We know you like to be prepared! Get comfortable with the technology. We put good practice questions out there so you won't be nervous. Have fun and do your best.

Q: How much time will I have to think of a response and how long will I have to give my answer?
A: You will have 20 seconds to think of your response and 60 seconds to give your answer. We suggest you practice. It will make this easier. Take 10 minutes to go through the practice questions. Answer them as if they were your real questions. The more you practice the more comfortable you will feel doing the real video essays.

Q: What should I wear? Do I have to wear a suit?
A: You can wear a suit if you want to, but business casual is certainly okay with us too. And really, we will only see your head and shoulders so you can wear a collared shirt and we would never know you were still in your sweatpants.

Q: Where should I record my video essay?
A: Wherever you like — your office, kitchen, apartment, hotel room. Just make sure you pick a place where you have a good internet connection and no distractions.

Q: How much time will I have to complete the video essays?
A: After submitting your application you will be given access to the video essay component and will have 48 hours after the application is due to complete the video essay. We encourage applicants to complete their video essay shortly after submitting the application while information is still fresh in your mind and so you don 't forget!Also, please try not to wait for the last possible moment to record your video essay. It will feel more stressful if you are doing it at the last minute and in a rush. Block out 20-25 minutes a few days after you submit your application and complete it.

Academic Transcripts

Your education is a major part of how you got here today, and we want to make sure we understand all parts of it. We ask that you list all colleges, universities and study abroad programs you have attended or are currently attending. Please note:

  • If the grades you received from a study abroad program are on your transcripts, you do not need to submit a separate transcript for that program.
  • If the grades from your study abroad program are not included in your transcript, you do need to submit a separate transcript for that program.
  • Transcripts from transfer programs are not required if grades are included on the transcript of the degree-granting institution.
  • Hard copies of official transcripts are only required upon matriculation.
  • Your transcripts must have a conferred date or you will need to submit a copy of your diploma.
  • Applicants accepted to the JD-MBA Program must submit two sets of official transcripts — one to Kellogg and one to Northwestern Law.
  • If academic records and diplomas are not originally issued in English, you must submit both the original record and an authorized, verbatim English translation.

All records must show your name, the name of the institution, enrollment dates, courses taken, units of credit, marks or ratings in each subject, and rank in the total class or group (if available).

GMAT or GRE Scores

We require GMAT or GRE scores for all Full-Time MBA Programs. Kellogg has no test preference, so a score from either the GMAT or GRE will fill this requirement. Scores must be reported by the application deadline.

Please request that official test scores are sent to Kellogg by using one of the following school codes:

  • Our GMAT code is 6WZ-3J-89
  • Our GRE code is 7921

We will record the highest valid score but encourage you to report additional scores received after submission of your application. However, there is no guarantee the new score will be evaluated when the admissions committee reviews your file. To do this, please sign in to your application and then add your update in the supplemental information page. Also, be sure to report your official scores to Kellogg using one of the school codes listed above.

Important Facts

  • We do not require a minimum GMAT or GRE score
  • The GMAT or GRE is just one criterion our admissions team considers and not the only indicator for success in business school
  • The total GMAT or GRE score is based on your performance on the Quantitative and Verbal sections only
  • GMAT/GRE scores are valid for five years

You must submit a complete application prior to the expiration date of your GMAT/GRE score. Only valid test scores will be considered.

Letters of Recommendation

You must submit two letters of recommendation through the online application.

Ideally, one letter should come from a current supervisor or manager. The second should come from someone who can evaluate your professional performance and your managerial/leadership potential (e.g., former supervisor, previous employer, client).

The application is not considered complete until we have received both recommendations. Please choose your recommenders carefully as additional letters of support are neither required nor encouraged.

Have your recommenders respond to the following prompts:

  1. Kellogg has a diverse student body and values students who are inclusive and encouraging of others with differing perspectives and backgrounds. Please tell us about a time when you witnessed the candidate living these values. (300 words)
  2. How does the candidate's performance compare to those of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? Please provide specific examples. (300 words)
  3. Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the candidate. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant's response. (250 words)

Application Fee

The application fee is $250. Submit your payment via credit card with the application. Do not send payments directly to Kellogg.

Fee waivers are granted to:

  • Active duty U.S. military applicants or U.S. military veterans who have been on active duty within three years of applying
  • Candidates employed by Teach For America or the Peace Corps within the past three years

If you qualify for a fee waiver, send a formal request to mbaadmissions@kellogg.northwestern.edu before you submit your application. Provide supporting evidence of your current employment or military status. Military applicants should submit either a pay stub or letter from a commanding officer to verify active duty status. For military veterans who have completed service within the last three years, please submit a copy of Form DD-214.

Candidates may not be considered for more than one program at a time. Please note that all application fees are non-refundable.

Deadlines & Notifications

Application Deadlines

Round 1 - Sept 18, 2019

Round 2 - Jan 8, 2020

Round 3 - April 8, 2020

Decision Released

Round 1 - Dec 11, 2019

Round 2 - March 25, 2020

Round 3 - May 13, 2020

The Inside Perspective: Full-Time MBA Blog

The Inside Perspective

Choosing your MBA Program: Check out more from our admissions team on the student blog.