Best Kellogg MBA Admissions Tips

Information is subject to change. Please verify all data with the schools.

~20% accepted

~60% yield


also known as 



Why does Kellogg have a two-part application? 

Kellogg requires all applicants to request an interview. Submission of Part I of the application allows candidates to request an interview and designate their interview preference (on-campus vs. off-campus) prior to completing the entire application. However, submitting an off-campus interview request does not guarantee an interview. The interview may be waived in areas of high demand or remote location. If an interview preference is not selected or if an on-campus interview is not scheduled by the designated deadline, the interview will be waived. 

What is required in Part I and Part II of the application? 


Part II 

One-Year and International Applicants 

We strongly recommend One-Year (1Y) and international applicants apply by the Round 2 application deadline. Applicants applying in Round 3 will be at a disadvantage since the Kellogg School typically admits 1Y and international applicants during Rounds 1 and 2 to allow adequate time for relocation and visa processing. 1Y and international applicants who apply in Round 3 and request an off-campus interview may be selected to interview by invitation only.

Deadlines are tentative and subject to change.


(found at; accessed 2011/07) 


Kellogg 2013 Application Essay Questions


Essay 1

Discuss moments or influences in your personal life that have defined who you are today. (500 word limit)

Vince hints

Moment / Influence 1 :

Moment / Influence 2 :

Impact on who you are today 1 :

Impact on who you are today 2 :

For reference:


Please see my analysis of Stanford Essay 1

Essay 2

What have been your most significant leadership experiences? What challenges did you face, and what impact did you have? This is your opportunity to explain how you Think Bravely (personally and/or professionally). (500 word limit)

Vince hints

Experience 1: 

How does this example show your ability to Think Bravely?

What was beyond expectations?

Challenges you faced:

Impact you had:


Experience 2: 

How does this example show your ability to Think Bravely?

Challenges you faced:

Impact you had:


(Experience 3?) 

How does this example show your ability to Think Bravely?

Challenges you faced:

Impact you had:


For reference, please refer to my previous tips. Last's year's "leadership" question was different, but the same logic and method applies this year, as well. 


THE 2011 - 2012 QUESTION

Essay 2: Describe your key leadership experiences and evaluate what leadership areas you hope to develop through your MBA experiences. (600 word limit)


Kellogg AdCom wants you to tell them what kind of leader you are and why.

Here is one possible structure for E2






First “key leadership experience” 

~200 words 

Second “key leadership experience” 

~200 words 

Analysis of your leadership weaknesses ("areas you hope to develop through your MBA experiences") 

Leadership weakness one - and how you will improve it at Kellogg 

~100 words 

Leadership weakness two - and how you will improve it at Kellogg 

~100 words 


Divide the question into two parts

Part A: two key experiences you've had.

Decide best two options for your two "key leadership experiences".

Try to think of experiences that show you in many different leadership situations


For example

First, ask yourself:

If you need help answering that question, please read this post 

How to discuss your strengths and weaknesses



Next, please list 3 or 4 options for your "key leadership experiences".  For each option, please tell Vince


Vince will help you pick the best two examples that show the depth or breadth of your leadership experience.  For example, if emphasizing depth, you can select two "key leadership experiences" that demonstrate growth. Here is a simple template.





Leadership often involves persuading other people to do things they do not want to do. Too often, my clients send me first drafts of leadership essays that leave out the most exciting part - the turning point.


Persuading someone to change her mind and support your idea is leadership in action. Show every small step that led to the final breakthrough.

Think of a typical "sports" team movie or TV show (or book)  - would you believe the story if the worst team suddenly won the World Series in the next scene? We only believe in turnarounds when we see the small steps that made them possible.

Do not skip the turning point! Show the drama.

Interestingly enough, the obstacles you face almost always revolve around resistance from colleagues or superiors, and so your solutions need to detail how you overcame that resistance. To admissions committees, these persuasive abilities are a crucial component of leadership and a vital tool during your MBA where you will be negotiating on a daily basis in an environment where no one is “boss”.

I know what you are thinking: “What about the word limit?” Word limits kill creativity. Ignore them for now and just tell your story. Trust me. We can cut words later.



Part B: What leadership areas you hope to develop through your MBA experiences?

The second part of the question is more important than the first. Everyone has leadership experiences. Only self-aware leaders can identify how they need to grow.

Save 200 words for the critical analysis section where you identify specific aspects of Kellogg's program that offer you the best opportunity to address your leadership weaknesses (areas you hope to develop through your MBA experience).



My favorite leadership model is Blanchard and Hersey's Situational Leadership. It also happens to fit Kellogg's question quite well. 

A friend of mine attended Kellogg's MBA program a few years ago. I was directing an educational non-profit at the time. We were chatting on the phone one day, and I asked him the best thing he had learned at school so far. He hit me with the "Situational Leadership" model. I found it immediately useful to help manage my staff, who ranged in age and experience from 15 to 50 years old. I could not possibly be the same leader for everyone on my team. I offer this model to you the MBA applicant not as a "perfect answer", but simply as one more tool to help you dig deeper into your own strengths and weaknesses.



In the 1950s, management theorists from Ohio State University and the University of Michigan published a series of studies to determine whether leaders should be more task or relationship (people) oriented.

Situational Leadership is a term that can be applied generically to a style of leadership, but that also refers to a recognized, and useful, leadership model.  In simple terms, a situational leader is one who can adopt different leadership styles depending on the situation.  Most of us do this anyway in our dealings with other people: we try not to get angry with a nervous colleague on their first day, we chase up tasks with some people more than others because we know they'll forget otherwise.

Ken Blanchard, the management guru best known for the "One Minute Manager" series, and Paul Hersey created a model for Situational Leadership in the late 1960's that allows you to analyze the needs of the situation you're dealing with, and then adopt the most appropriate leadership style.  It's proved popular with managers over the years because it passes the two basic tests of such models: it's simple to understand, and it works in most environments for most people.  The model doesn't just apply to people in leadership or management positions: we all lead others at work and at home.



Blanchard and Hersey characterized leadership style in terms of the amount of direction and of support that the leader gives to his or her followers.


They created a simple grid:


Effective leaders are versatile in being able to move around the grid according to the situation, so there is no one right style.  However, we tend to have a preferred style, and in applying Situational Leadership you need to know which one that is for you.

Blanchard and Hersey said that the Leadership Style (S1 - S4) of the leader must correspond to the Development level (D1 - D4) of the follower - and it's the leader who adapts. 

By adopting the right style to suit the follower's development level, work gets done, relationships are built up, and most importantly, the follower's development level will rise toD4, to everyone's benefit.

(found at accessed 2009/10)


The right leadership style will depend very much on the person being led - the follower - and Blanchard and Hersey extended their model to include the Development Level of the follower.  They said that the leader's style should be driven by the Competence and Commitment of the follower, and came up with four levels:


High Competence High Commitment 

Experienced at the job, and comfortable with their own ability to do it well.  May even be more skilled than the leader. 


High Competence Variable Commitment 

Experienced and capable, but may lack the confidence to go it alone, or the motivation to do it well / quickly 


Some Competence Low Commitment 

May have some relevant skills, but won't be able to do the job without help.  The task or the situation may be new to them. 


Low Competence Low Commitment 

Generally lacking the specific skills required for the job in hand, and lacks any confidence and / or motivation to tackle it. 

Development Levels are also situational.  I might be generally skilled, confident and motivated in my job, but would still drop into Level D1 when faced, say, with a task requiring skills I don't possess.  For example, lots of managers are D4 when dealing with the day-to-day running of their department, but move to D1 or D2 when dealing with a sensitive employee issue.


(found at; accessed 2010/09)






By contrast, how do other top schools teach leadership? You can click here ▸ to compare and contrast initiatives at top MBA programs Stanford, Wharton, Chicago, Kellogg, Tuck and INSEAD.

Need help brainstorming your weaknesses? Please see this post.

Essay 3

Imagine yourself at your Kellogg graduation. What career will you be preparing to enter, and how have the MBA and Kellogg helped you get there? (Please answer in terms of your program choice: One-Year, Two-Year, MMM, JD-MBA) (500 word limit)

Vince hints

Why you will join company A (function B)

How the MBA curriculum and professors helped you get there

How Kellogg's special programs and student culture (clubs, events, activities) helped you get there


Essay 4

What one interesting or fun fact would you want your future Kellogg classmates to know about you? (25 words or less)

Vince hints






MMM Applicants Only 

How have you redefined yourself, your business environment and your community through the pursuit of design and innovation? (400 word limit)

For MMM applicants only: This is an optional essay that will be evaluated for the Rasmussen scholarship.

Re-Applicants Only 

Since your previous application, what steps have you taken to strengthen your candidacy? (400 word limit)

Please note: re-applicants are required to answer this question in addition to #1-4. 

Additional Information (Optional)

If needed, use this section to briefly describe any extenuating circumstances (e.g. unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, etc.) (No word limit)

(found at; accessed 2012/07)


Two letters of recommendation are required for admission. If an applicant has applied within the last two years and received a decision, only one letter is required.

Ideally, one of these recommendations should be written by a current supervisor or manager. The second recommendation should be from someone who can evaluate the applicant’s professional performance as well as their managerial and leadership potential (e.g. a former supervisor, previous employer, client, etc.). If applicants are unable to ask a current supervisor or manager for a letter of recommendation, they should include a brief statement regarding their choice in the Additional Information section of Part II of the application.

The application is not considered complete until Kellogg has received both recommendations. Submitting the recommendations through the school’s online application is required.

Additional letters of support are neither required nor encouraged.

To ensure that the recommenders can be contacted, please apprise the Office of Admissions of any changes to their contact information.




Please limit your responses to two to four pages total.

1. Please comment on the candidate’s career performance and impact on the organization. Cite specific examples (e.g., ranking relative to others in the industry, progression within the organization, evidence of initiative and goal orientation).

2. Evaluate the candidate’s demonstrated leadership and potential (e.g., ability to influence others and advocate for his/her ideas, smart risks he/she has taken, ability to deal with ambiguity).

3. What do you perceive as the candidate’s weaknesses?  Provide an example of how the candidate has dealt with constructive feedback and made efforts to address these weaknesses.

4. What observations do you have about the candidate’s interpersonal skills and ability to collaborate with and support others (e.g., maturity, self-awareness, listening skills, sense of humor, respect for different viewpoints)?

5. Please comment on the candidate’s intellectual and problem-solving abilities (e.g., analytical and quantitative skills, creativity, curiosity).


One of eight Japanese in the Kellogg MBA Class of 2012 shares his perspectives on the admissions process.


Entering Full-Time MBA Students: 526 Students

19.9% accepted = 10th most selective program*

58.2% yield = 16th highest yield rate*

5,591 applicants

1,112 accepted 

647 enrolled 

*among 50 US MBA programs with lowest admit rate

(found at; accessed 2011/08) 

Average GMAT: 708

Lowest 10% GMAT range among admitted students: 670 or below

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek survey

(found at;

accessed 2011/08)

Average Age: 28

Average Work Experience: 60 Months

%Students who are Women: 33%

% Students who are International: 30%


Bloomberg Businessweek: 4

U.S. News & World Report: 5

Financial Times: 21


Median Base Salary: $105,000

Median Signing Bonus: $20,000

(found at; accessed 2011/07)


The core curriculum for the two-year MBA program at the Kellogg School of Management consists of nine courses in fundamental areas, including accounting; management and organizations; marketing; finance; managerial economics; decision sciences; operations; and management and strategy. During the Pre-Term orientation sequence of the second year, students are required to complete a half-credit course, Values & Crisis Decision Making, that encompasses much of the knowledge from the first-year core.

As of June 2008, full-time MBA students must also meet a one-credit global elective requirement through a course such as Cross-Cultural Negotiation, International Finance, International Marketing, International Business Strategy, or Global Initiatives in Management, or through approved study-abroad programs. Kellogg also offers a one-year MBA program for students who would need to skip the summer internship experience.

MBA Program Consideration Set


(found at; accessed 2011/08)


The admissions committee evaluates each applicant’s scholastic ability, personal character, motivation, leadership ability, interpersonal skills, career performance and management potential. 

The committee reviews the personal essays, academic record, GMAT score, TOEFL score (if applicable), Career Progress Survey, résumé and evaluative interview report to assess each applicant’s candidacy compared to the overall pool of applicants. 

The committee highly values full-time professional experience. Work experience adds to maturity and career- and self-awareness, which contribute to a student’s success. The committee evaluates an applicant’s potential through careful review and professional accomplishments and leadership experience, including military service, and extracurricular activities. 

Files are typically reviewed first by a student member of the admissions committee, then forwarded for additional review by staff members, including the Director of Admissions.

All applications are forwarded to the admissions committee; there are no "cuts" made on test scores, years of experience, nationality, gender, ethnicity or other factors. This process allows the committee to select the candidates most likely to be successful at Kellogg. 

For more detailed information concerning the individual components of the application, please refer to the Kellogg application. 


The admissions committee requires every applicant, domestic and international, to request an evaluative interview. Interviews allow candidates to learn more about Kellogg. The interview is an important element in evaluating an applicant’s level of maturity, interpersonal skills, career focus and motivation. However, the interview is only one criterion used in the admission decision. The interview is an independent assessment; therefore, your application will not be reviewed by your interviewer. Applicants must bring a current résumé to the interview. All interviews will be conducted in English. 

Alumni interviews 

Applicants requesting an off-campus interview will be notified of their assignment by e-mail after Part 1 of the Kellogg application has been received by the Office of Admissions. During peak season (November to March), expect to receive the interview assignment up to six weeks after the Office of Admissions receives Part 1 of the application.

Members of the Kellogg School’s Alumni Admissions Organization are located in most metropolitan areas around the world. Candidates interviewing off campus will be notified by the Office of Admissions whom to contact for their alumni interview. Applicants should not contact alumni directly to request an interview. The Office of Admissions will make every effort to assign an alumni interviewer to each candidate. However, in a few cases of unusually heavy demand or remote location, we may be unable to meet all requests. In these instances, candidates will be granted an interview waiver. Waivers have no negative impact on candidacy, and many applicants who receive waivers are admitted to Kellogg every year. The admissions committee reserves the right to contact candidates directly to seek additional information regarding their candidacy during the application process. Off-campus interviews are assigned after the Office of Admissions receives Part 1 of the application. Candidates will be notified of their assignment via e-mail. 

On-campus interviews 

On-campus interviews are conducted Monday through Friday year-round, and also on Saturdays from late fall to early spring. On-campus interviews are typically 30 minutes long. Chicago-area applicants must interview off campus, but are encouraged to visit the Kellogg School. Candidates must submit Part 1 prior to calling the Office of Admissions to schedule an on-campus interview. 

(found at; accessed 2011/07)


Please read the Kellogg Admissions FAQs for useful tips ▸

FAQ highlights



Need help with school research? Please check Vince's Kellogg links ▸

Link highlights

The Kellogg Kernal

Published by Vince Ricci

Kellogg MBA Class of 2011

I truly enjoyed working with Vince.

Vince was not there to correct my grammar or check my spelling (Well, of course he helped me on these, but...). Rather, Vince was there to teach me how to establish effective application strategies that vividly tell who I am and to incorporate them in my applications IN MY OWN WORDS. Vince allowed me to think independently while giving me necessary advice. He also allowed me to try different strategies while letting me maintain a competitive pace in the application process. I felt that my skills in writing applications were improving rapidly, and, by the time I started to work on second round applications, I was able to draft strong applications, including essays, by myself, on which Vince and I together made further improvements promptly in class, over the phone or online. The results clearly showed that we took a right approach.

Vince is the only counselor I have worked with; so I have no grounds to state that he is the best. However, if I had to apply to business schools again, I would definitely go back to Vince. If you are looking for the right counselor for you, I recommend that you talk with at least a couple of counselors before deciding on one. Also, I strongly recommend that you include Vince in your initial list!!

ビ ンスのおかげで、非常に前向きに受験に取り組む ことができました。

ビンスは、文法やスペル間違いの指摘に留まらず、自分をしっかりア ピールでき るアプリケーション戦略の構築方法、そして、その戦略を反映したアプリケーションを、自分の言葉で書き上げる方法を教えてくれました。有効な助言を与えつ つ、私が自分で考えることを促し、また、時間的制約のなかで、可能な限り試行錯誤する機会を与えてくれました。アプリケーションを自分で書き上げる力が伸 びていることはすぐに実感できました。セカンドラウンド向けの準備を始める頃には、エッセイを含めたアプリケーションを、自分自身の力で競争力のある水準 で書き上げることができていたと思います。さらに、ビンスは、クラスや電話、あるいはオンラインで、アプリケーションに素早く磨きをかけてくれました。私 の受験結果は、ビンスと私のアプローチが有効であったことを示すものだと信じています。

私はビン ス以外のカウンセラーの指導を受けたことはありませんし、ビンスが誰にとっても一番のカウンセラーであると主張するつもりはありません。ただ、私自身がも う一度MBA受験をするとしたら、またビンスに助けてもらおうと思います。あなたがもしカウンセラーを探しておられるのであれば、とにかく複数のカウンセ ラーの話を聞いてみることをおすすめします。その際には是非ビンスにも会ってみてください。



Kellogg MBA Class of 2010

Without Vince's support, I could have never made this accomplishment. I, once again, would like to appreciate his warm, sincere, but sometimes rigorous, and patient support for last six months. Vince, thank you very much!

I feel that there are two major strengths in Vince's counseling. First, he thoroughly listens to clients and draws clients' stories and opinions. Second, his ability to understand clients' opinions from very limited sources information and keywords. I also feel that he is a well-balanced counselor; affable and hard-edged. When quality and contents of an essay is not sufficient, he is very honest and says "boring", "lack of uniqueness" and "not deep enough". But he does not just yell out, but rather he analyzes and explains why and how they are not sufficient. Then finally he gives sincere advice and some recommendations to improve.

In initial phase of our counseling, we first brainstormed my past events (Background/Accomplishments) and my thoughts for the future (Goals) thoroughly but the process was not just fun chatting. As we conducted communication at sessions, output documents, which are usable as components for many schools' essay questions, were completed step by step. Vince not only understood my past events (Background/Accomplishments) and my future thoughts (Goals) in fact basis, but also he understood my humanity and character. Without Vince's support my essays would have been"general" essays without thoughts from my heart.

Because I have tendency to put difficult and time consuming tasks aside, Vince's periodic counseling  sessions, held twice a week (either by Face-to-Face at Vince's office or by Skype) was the right speed. I had to create fair amount of output between sessions or otherwise the next session would be meaningless. Because Vince corresponds level and/or amount of my output for the next session, I was able to keep myself highly motivated.

With confidence I strongly recommend Vince's counseling. Applying to a top MBA program is indeed a long and harsh process, but if you choose to walk along the process with him, I firmly believe that you will always feel an excitement and the sense of accomplishment and then ultimately you will be satisfied with a successful result.

Vinceの支援なくして合格はあり得なかったと強く感じています。この約半年間優 しく、温かく、時に厳しく、時に辛抱強く私の出願プロセスを支えてくだ さったことを改めて感謝します。本当にありがとうございました。

Vince のカウンセリングスタイルで特に優れた点は2つあると感じています。まずはじめに、クライアントの話を徹底的に聞きだす姿勢を常に持っている事。次にクラ イアントが伝えた限られた情報やキーワードを的確につかみその内容を理解する点です。またVinceは優しさと厳しさを兼ね揃えた非常にバランス感覚優れ たカウンセラーだと思います。エッセーの質や内容が悪いときは正直に「つまらない」「オリジナリティがない」「深堀が足りない」等をはっきり伝えます。し かしそれは一方的に言い放つような形ではなくクライアントがなぜそう書いたのか、何を伝えたいのかを彼なりに分析をしたうえで、彼なりの真摯なアドバイス として伝えてくれる形です。

カウンセリングを始めた当初はエッセーを書くというよりは自分の過去 (Background/Accomplishments)と未来(Goals)を徹 底的にブレインストーミングするというスタイルでしたが、単なる「おしゃべり」に終始することなく、セッションを進めるごとに各校のエッセーに活用できる 形のアウトプットが徐々に出来上がっていきました。ブラインストーミングを通じVinceは表面的な点だけでなく、自分の過去 (Background/Accomplishments)と未来(Goals)に加え人間性や性格をも理解したうえで、エッセーを組み立ててプロセスを 進めてくました。もしVinceが支援をしてくれいなかったら、私のエッセーは深堀が足りない、オリジナリティがない、「ハート」がないエッセーになって しまったと思います。

Vinceとのカウンセリングセッションは非常にスピード感があり、面倒なことや難しいことを後回しにする性格を 持っている自分にとって必ず週2回セッ ション(VinceのオフィスでのFace to FaceまたはSkype)を行うことは非常に効果的でした。次のセッションまでにある程度の分量とレベルをもった自分のアウトプットを出さないとセッ ションの意味が全くなくなってしまうのです。こちらの要求度高ければ高いほど、インプットが多ければ多いほど、Vinceはそのレベルに応じて対応してく れるので、私はモチベーションを常に高く保つことができました。

MBA受験をこれから検討されている方にVinceのカウンセリング自 信を持ってお勧めします。長く厳しい出願プロセスですが、Vinceと一緒進めば常 に達成感、そしてワクワク感をもって取り組むことができ、最終的には満足行く結果が待っていると信じています。


Kellogg MBA Class of 2008

Vince was an expert in objectively analyzing and identifying parts of the essays where it was vague or confusing to someone who would have little knowledge of me. Considering how little time an MBA administrator may have looking through my essay, Vince was truly helpful in crystallizing my ideas and assisting me in creating comprehensive essays. I also enjoyed his amiable personality and I always had a lot of fun during my counseling sessions.

客観的にエッセイを読 んでどの点が不明瞭で解り難いかを的確に探すことがビンスは長けてました。MBAアドミッションの人たちが限られた時間の中で自分の エッセイを評価することを考えると不明瞭な点を具体化し、エッセイを解りやすくするビンスの改善案は非常に助けになりました。また、性格も親しみ易かった ので気を楽にしてカウンセリングに臨めたことも満足しています。


Information is subject to change. Please verify all data with the schools.