Kellogg Essay Examples (23–24): Cracking The Code to Win -

Philippe Barr, PhD
12 min readDec 5, 2023

Are you an applicant trying to crack the code of Kellogg’s MBA admissions process? Crafting a stellar application essay can be daunting for many, but with our helpful tips and tricks as well as detail-oriented Kellogg essay examples, you’re sure to create an effective piece of writing that will set your candidacy apart. Whether it is through illustrating growth in professional experiences or leveraging diversity stories — we’ll show you how to tell the story of who you are and why Kellogg should say yes! We understand that the road to MBA admission can seem murky-but fear not! With this post focused on 2023–2024 Kellogg essay examples, get ready to take ownership of your story and begin your journey toward achieving your business school dreams.

Introducing Kellogg and Its Application Process

Kellogg School of Management, a part of the esteemed Northwestern University, is renowned for its emphasis on global and experiential learning. The application process at Kellogg is designed to assess not just the academic prowess of potential candidates, but also their leadership attributes, team skills, and potential to make an impact. The process typically involves multiple essays, recommendation letters, and an in-person or virtual interview. These components strive to give the admissions team a holistic view of each applicant, ensuring that those accepted will not only thrive in the academic environment but also contribute meaningfully to the Kellogg community.

Why studying Kellogg essay examples is key to success

Studying Kellogg essay examples is key to success for several reasons. These examples provide invaluable insight into what the admissions committee values and is looking for in potential candidates. They offer a blueprint for effective storytelling — showcasing not just the what, but the how and why of your experiences, aspirations, and values. Examining these essays can help applicants understand how to balance between personal anecdotes and professional accomplishments, demonstrating both competence and character. Understanding the structure, tone, and content of successful essays also allows applicants to avoid common pitfalls, craft compelling narratives, and ultimately stand out in a highly competitive applicant pool.

How to read and analyze Kellogg essay examples for improved application essays

When reviewing Kellogg essay examples, it’s vital to approach them analytically rather than imitatively. The goal is not to replicate another applicant’s story but to glean insights on structure, tone, and content. Start by examining how the essay begins — does it grab your attention, and how does it do so? Take note of the balance between personal anecdotes and professional aspirations; a compelling essay seamlessly weaves these elements together. Look at how the writer demonstrates their understanding of Kellogg’s culture and values. Do they make clear connections between their goals and what Kellogg can offer? Pay attention to the language and style — is the tone formal or conversational? Does the writer use complex sentence structures or keep it simple? These considerations can help in honing your own unique narrative that is compelling and authentic.

Tips for writing an effective Kellogg essay

In crafting an effective Kellogg essay, it’s crucial to be clear, concise, and authentic. First off, start with a compelling introduction that hooks the reader’s attention. Draw on experiences that have shaped your professional aspirations, ensuring to tie these elements back to Kellogg’s values and offerings. Remember, specificity is key. Instead of writing in broad strokes, detail precisely how Kellogg’s resources or programs align with your goals. Finally, maintain a balance in tone — while professionalism is essential, a bit of conversational flair can inject personality into your essay. Keep the language simple and clear, and always proofread for grammar and punctuation errors. A well-crafted essay not only communicates your suitability for Kellogg but also reflects your ability to communicate effectively and thoughtfully.

Question 1: Analysis and Tips

Kellogg Leaders are primed to tackle today’s pressing concerns everywhere, from the boardroom to their neighborhoods. Tell us about a time in your life where you’ve needed a combination of skills to solve a problem or overcome a challenge. Which skills did you use? What did you accomplish? (450 words)

Analyzing the Question

This question from Kellogg is seeking to understand your problem-solving skills, leadership ability, and flexibility to use a combination of skills. It’s looking for evidence of how you’ve navigated complex situations to achieve a desired outcome. Your response should demonstrate your ability to think critically, adapt, collaborate, and lead, tying into the overall theme of leadership that Kellogg emphasizes.

The mention of boardrooms and neighborhoods suggests a consideration for community. Therefore, it is important to select leadership examples that not only demonstrate your ability to rally and guide others toward a common goal but also showcase your innovative approach.

This essay question allows for a wide range of recent examples, both personal and professional. Instead of solely measuring the importance of an experience based on monetary value or percentages, the focus should be on the challenges faced and the lessons learned. These challenges can range from logistical hurdles, such as coordinating internal teams while managing client expectations, to interpersonal obstacles, such as building a positive working relationship with a difficult colleague. Effective responses will highlight transferable skills that were developed or strengthened throughout the process, with the result being a lasting and positive impact.

When it comes to structure, we highly recommend using the STAR approach for crafting your response. Begin by setting the stage with a detailed description of the situation, including the key players and stakeholders involved. Then, transition smoothly into discussing the task at hand-clearly outlining the specific goals you needed to accomplish. Furthermore, it is imperative to recognize the challenges faced, highlighting the multitude of factors and complexities that were overcome to achieve victory. As you move forward, provide a cohesive and chronological account of the actions you took throughout the project or process. To maintain narrative flow, integrate the challenges you encountered and how you overcame them within this section, rather than separating them into distinct segments.

Finally, wrap up your response by commenting on the positive outcome of your efforts and how the story resolved. Conclude with a reflective note, discussing the valuable lessons learned and how they continue to shape your ability to bring significant value to the Kellogg community.

Tips for Convincing Response

  1. Choose an impactful story: Select a situation from your past experiences that had a significant impact on your professional or personal life. This could be a challenging project at work, a community initiative, or an unexpected crisis that required quick thinking and action.
  2. Detail your skills: Explicitly mention the skills you employed to address the situation. This could range from technical skills to soft skills like communication, team management, strategic thinking, or negotiation skills.
  3. Showcase problem-solving ability: Illustrate your problem-solving process clearly — how you assessed the situation, identified the problem, considered various solutions, and decided on the most effective one.
  4. Highlight your achievements: Conclude your response by discussing the outcome of the situation. What did you accomplish? How did the situation improve as a result of your actions? This should ideally tie back to the skills you employed.
  5. Connect with Kellogg: Finally, subtly highlight how this experience has prepared you for Kellogg’s leadership-focused environment. Show how this instance has honed your abilities and how you intend to further develop these skills at Kellogg

Example

During my tenure as a Project Manager at XYZ Corp, we were faced with a complex challenge. A high-stakes project we were handling for an important client was falling behind schedule due to unforeseen technical issues. As the leader of the team, it was my responsibility to navigate this situation and deliver the project as promised. I utilized a combination of technical, analytical, and interpersonal skills to tackle this problem.

First, I applied project management and technical skills to understand the nature of the technical issues and assess their impact on the project timeline. I collaborated with the technical team to explore potential solutions, and we decided to implement a more efficient algorithm that could speed up our processing time.

Simultaneously, I leveraged my communication and negotiation skills to manage the client’s expectations. I clearly communicated the issues we were facing, and the steps we were taking to resolve them, and negotiated a slight extension for the project delivery.

To ensure that the team was motivated and focused, I employed leadership and team management skills. I arranged daily stand-ups to track our progress, identified and addressed any concerns team members had and fostered a positive and collaborative work environment. Despite the odds, we managed to complete and deliver the project within the extended deadline. The client was satisfied with our transparency and the quality of our work. As a result, we not only retained the client but also secured a new project from them.

This experience was instrumental in enhancing my problem-solving, leadership, and communication skills. I also learned the importance of agility and adaptability in managing unexpected challenges.

I believe the skills and experiences I have gained align well with Kellogg’s focus on cultivating versatile leaders who can navigate complex situations effectively. I am excited about the prospect of further developing these skills and leveraging them to tackle pressing issues in the Kellogg community and beyond.

Question 2: Analysis and Tips

At Kellogg, our values are based on research that concludes organizations comprised of leaders with varied backgrounds and perspectives outperform homogeneous ones. How do you believe your personal and professional experiences to date will help to enrich the Kellogg community? (450 words)

Analysis:

Analyzing this question, it becomes apparent that Kellogg is seeking individuals who contribute diversity and richness to their community. Therefore, your response should demonstrate how your unique personal and professional experiences can add value to the Kellogg community.

In essence, since the aim of this Kellogg MBA essay question is to provide the admissions team with greater insight into who you are, it’s beneficial to begin with some reflections on your personal journey, experiences, and accomplishments, and then work backwards to uncover the prevailing qualities. Remember that it’s not your direct “answer” to the question that will set you apart (which may even be somewhat ordinary), but rather the series of anecdotes and supporting evidence you provide that will effectively convey your unique candidacy to the admissions team.

The admissions committee is eager to learn how your background, perspective, and experiences can contribute to the Kellogg community. To conclude your essay effectively, it would be prudent to establish connections with Kellogg’s offerings. Gaining insights into the school’s curriculum, special programs, and extracurricular activities-whether through a campus visit or conversations with alumni-will enable you to craft a standout response.

Tips for Convincing Response

To address this convincingly, focus on the following areas:

  1. Professional Experiences: Share specific examples of how your professional experiences have shaped you as a leader and how you can bring these insights to Kellogg. Discuss the skills and competencies you have developed, such as problem-solving, leadership, communication, etc.
  2. Personal Experiences: Talk about your personal background and experiences that have influenced your values, beliefs, and perspectives. Relate how these elements will enhance the diversity of the Kellogg community.
  3. Contribution to the Kellogg Community: Clearly articulate how you plan to use your experiences and skills to enrich the Kellogg community. This could involve discussing your plans to participate in specific clubs, initiatives, or programs, and how your unique perspective would contribute to these activities.
  4. Alignment with Kellogg’s Values: Highlight how your experiences and perspective align with Kellogg’s values of leadership, diversity, and community.

Remember to keep your response authentic and personal. The readers should get a sense of who you are as an individual and what you can bring to the table, so make sure your personality shines through in your response.

Example

Throughout my professional journey and personal life, I have sought to embrace diversity, thrive in leadership roles, and contribute positively to my community. These experiences, I believe, align remarkably with Kellogg’s values and will enable me to enrich your esteemed community.

Professionally, as a project lead in a multinational tech firm, I have had the privilege of working with and leading diverse teams spread across different continents. This exposure to various cultures, work ethics, and perspectives has honed my problem-solving and leadership skills. I have learned to appreciate the power of diverse ideas and have seen firsthand how a multifaceted team outperforms a homogeneous one. At Kellogg, I intend to share these experiences and insights, potentially influencing my peers’ understanding of creating and managing diverse teams.

On the personal front, I come from a small town in Asia with a unique cultural heritage. My upbringing in a multicultural environment has instilled in me a deep appreciation for diversity and an understanding of different perspectives. I believe my background will add a unique flavor to the Kellogg community, broadening its cultural and experiential diversity.

Beyond just adding to the diversity at Kellogg, I plan to contribute actively to the community. Particularly, I am interested in the Technology Club and Entrepreneurship Club. As someone who has worked in the tech industry and harbors entrepreneurial ambitions, I can bring a unique, ground-level perspective to these clubs. I would love to organize workshops and seminars to share industry insights and foster a culture of technological innovation and entrepreneurial thinking.

Lastly, my experiences have reinforced my belief in the power of community and collaboration. Throughout my academic and professional life, I have always prioritized contributing to my community, be it through mentorship roles or voluntary services.

At Kellogg, I intend to continue this trend, using my experiences to contribute to the community positively and constructively. In conclusion, I believe my professional experiences, personal background, commitment to community service, and alignment with Kellogg’s values equip me to make a significant contribution to the Kellogg community. I look forward to enriching and being enriched by this diverse community of future leaders.

Mastering your MBA essays for Kellogg

Considering the high caliber and diversity of candidates applying for the Kellogg MBA program, it’s undoubtedly a daunting task to stand out from the crowd. The admissions committee seeks applicants who not only excel academically and professionally, but also demonstrate distinct personal experiences, unique perspectives, and a strong commitment to the community. The scrutiny and attention to detail in their evaluation process can be intimidating, as even minor shortcomings or inconsistencies in your application or essays can potentially impact your chances of admission. Therefore, it is essential to critically assess the quality of your essays to ensure they effectively highlight your strengths, uniqueness, and alignment with Kellogg’s values.

The Kellogg essay examples provided above should serve merely as sources of inspiration, and by no means as templates to emulate. Each candidate brings a unique set of experiences and perspectives, hence, it is paramount to reflect this uniqueness in your essays. Instead of replicating these examples, let them inspire you to weave your own narrative that genuinely encapsulates your individuality. Remember, the objective is to distinguish yourself from other applicants, so strive to imbue your essays with personal experiences, distinctive insights, and an authentic voice that resonates with the ethos of Kellogg. Your essays should unequivocally reflect who you are, what you value, and how you envision contributing to the Kellogg community.

Final thoughts on cracking the code with Kellogg essay examples

In conclusion, cracking the code with Kellogg essay examples comes down to understanding your personal narrative and how it intersects with Kellogg’s values. The essay should be a window into your professional aspirations and how Kellogg’s unique resources and culture can help you realize these goals. While showcasing your proficiency in clear and effective communication, also embrace your uniqueness and authenticity.

You have what it takes to craft a great Kellogg application essay; you just need the know-how of how to do it. What sets The Admit Lab apart is our focus on delivering a portfolio-driven approach that helps applicants craft narratives to stand out from the competition. With our unique approach, you can create an eloquent portrayal of your journey thus far -and why you deserve a seat at the world’s greatest business school, Kellogg! So if you’re ready to join the Kellogg community take ownership of your story and don’t hesitate to reach out to us for advice and guidance every step of the way. We’ll be more than happy to guide you in any way we can. And if writing powerful essays just isn’t your strong suit, remember that we offer top-notch MBA admissions consulting services so that you can stay ahead of the competition. So grab hold of this golden opportunity and plan for success — let the journey begin!

With a Master’s from McGill University and a Ph.D. from New York University, Philippe Barr is a former professor and assistant director of MBA admissions at Kenan-Flagler Business School. With more than seven years of experience as a graduate school admissions consultant, Dr. Barr has stewarded the candidate journey across multiple MBA programs and helped hundreds of students get admitted to top-tier graduate programs Follow Dr. Barr on YouTube for tips and tricks on navigating the MBA application process and life as an MBA student. all over the world.

Originally published at https://admit-lab.com on December 5, 2023.

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Philippe Barr, PhD

I am Philippe Barr, founder of The Admit Lab, a graduate school admissions consultancy that helps students get admitted into grad school: https://admit-lab.com/