Applying to the Full-Time Kellogg MBA Program

Discover key tips on how to prepare for and navigate the application process.

We are thrilled you’re interested in the Kellogg School of Management and can’t wait to learn more about you. Our 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. And just remember — you’re not alone in this process! Our admissions team is available to answer any questions you may have.

As you get started, and throughout this process, we recommend becoming familiar with what is required for each section of the application. You’ll see information and key resources sprinkled out below to help you prepare, navigate and successfully complete your application.
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Getting Started

Application Process

The most important thing you can do during this process is to be your authentic self. We can’t stress enough that there are no “right” or “wrong” answers. Rather, we encourage you to tell your story as authentically and honestly as possible, because we truly want to get to know you and the experiences that helped shaped you as a person, student and employee.

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Criteria for Admission

Eligibility

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.

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:


Professional Experience

The committee also values professional experience, including military service, that has provided a breadth and depth of skills and experiences to serve as a foundation for the MBA classroom. 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.


Program of Interest

There is no "one-size-fits-all" when it comes to business, so why should your MBA be any different? At Kellogg, we are proud to offer five distinct Full-Time MBA Programs — One-Year, Two-Year, MBAi, MMM and JD-MBA — all uniquely designed to fit your personal and professional goals. If you haven’t already, we highly encourage you to research all program options to make sure you’ve found the right fit for your needs.

Each applicant is allowed to apply to one Full-Time Kellogg program per year. Once you submit your application, you will be given the option to select one alternate Full-Time MBA program of interest and /or the Evening and Weekend Kellogg MBA program. Individuals who select an alternate program will be asked to provide a short paragraph explaining why they are also interested in the alternate program.


Find Your Fit

Experience and Test Scores

These components of the application are core to evaluating your experience and aptitude, giving us a better idea of your ability to tackle the challenging MBA curriculum.

Tips for Employment and Resume/CV

You’ll be asked to provide a current resume or CV as part of the application. It should be similar to one you would use for a job application, but tailored to a more general audience as it will be reviewed by those with different backgrounds. You are not obligated to submit it in a specific format or length. Instead, try to ensure our team can look at your resume and application and easily understand your professional background and accomplishments.

In addition to submitting a copy of your resume/CV, you’ll also complete an employment section of the application to provide us with a more in-depth understanding of your career history, key transitions between jobs, and promotions. Make sure to double check the accuracy of information in this section.

Read more application tips


We ask you to reflect on your career goals…ahead of time so that you come in with a grounding of what’s important to you and where you think you want to go.

Christine Mayer, Director of Admissions
Read more about setting career goals

Education and 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).


Test Scores

Kellogg requires you to submit either a GMAT or GRE score; no preference is given to either test so choose the option that works best for you. If you’re interested in seeing a typical score range, check out our latest Class Profile. Note that we do not have a minimum acceptable score.

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

Important Facts

  • For those submitting a test score, you must submit a complete application prior to the expiration date of your GMAT/GRE score
  • Only valid test scores will be considered
  • The GMAT or GRE is just one criterion our admissions team considers and not the only indicator for success in business school
  • GMAT/GRE scores are valid for five years

Essays

Kellogg is unique in that we ask you to complete written essays as part of the application as well as video essays. This is your chance to tell us why you think Kellogg is the right place for you. Take some time to think through the experiences that led you here and how they have shaped where you want to go.

Written Essays

The following two essays are required of all applicants:

  1. Kellogg’s purpose is to educate, equip and inspire 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:

One-Year 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)

MBAi applicants: The Kellogg McCormick MBAi program is designed to train the next generation of leaders who can help businesses deliver successful outcomes through AI-driven technology. This requires leaders who have both strong technical and business skills; many firms struggle to find leaders with these skills. Tell us about your firsthand experience with this disconnect between business and technology and how MBAi will prepare you to successfully lead businesses at the intersection. (450 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)

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)

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


Insights from Admissions


Video Essays

We've read your essays, we've read your resume — now we want you to bring all that to life in a video. Show us the person behind all those carefully crafted words. The video will be comprised of three questions, each designed to help you showcase your personality and share some of the experiences that brought you here today.

Here are some things to keep in mind as you prepare to complete this section:

  • Video Essays are due 96 hours after the application deadline
  • A video essay link will appear on your application status page after you submit your application and payment
  • You will need an internet-connected computer with a webcam and microphone
  • The video should take about 20-25 minutes to complete, which includes time for setup

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: This question will be based on a challenge you've faced and what you've learned from it.

Here are some additional tips:

  • 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

Recommendations

Letters of recommendation are particularly useful to us because they provide insight into your experience and accomplishments as a leader through the eyes of someone else.

You’ll need to submit two letters of recommendation for your application to be considered complete. 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).

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)

The people who you select to write these letters will likely be people who have seen you make an impact on your organization, and our team loves reading about your contributions to your organization.

Emily Stevens, Associate Director of Admissions
Read Emily’s tips on letters of recommendation

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
  • Participants in MLT, Forte Launch, Posse Foundation, JumpStart, and Riordan Program Alumni

Active duty U.S. military or U.S. military veterans, Teach For America, Peace Corps applicants:
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.

Applicants participating in MLT, Forte Launch, Posse Foundation, JumpStart and Riordan Program Alumni:
Candidates should inform their partner organization that they are applying to Kellogg’s Full-Time MBA degree program. The partner organizations will provide Kellogg a list, and Kellogg will waive the application fee within our application system.

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

Interview

The interview provides an opportunity for you to learn more about our community. It also allows the admissions committee to further evaluate your interpersonal and communication skills, career focus and motivations for the Kellogg MBA. We strive to interview as many candidates as possible.

Virtual Interviews

All interviews are currently virtual; in the application, you will provide your location so we are aware of your time zone. You will receive an email regarding the status of your interview and scheduling instructions within six weeks of the application deadline.

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 if further information is needed to make a decision on your candidacy.

All Interview Requests are Final

You may not change your interview after it is scheduled. 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.


How to Prepare

Application Deadlines

Round 1: September 15, 2021
Round 2: January 5, 2022
Round 3: April 6, 2022

Decision Released

Round 1: December 8, 2021
Round 2: March 23, 2022
Round 3: May 11, 2022

Questions? Get in touch.