What can you expect when you sit down for an admissions interview with Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management?
A lot of fairly reasonable questions.
Kellogg is the only prestige business school in the world that requires all MBA applicants to request an interview and ultimately interviews a high percentage of them. In a few cases, applicants who cannot be paired with an interviewer in a far flung location can be waived from the requirement. All admitted students, however, are interviewed before they matriculate. The policy was put in place by legendary Dean Don Jacobs who led the Kellogg School from 1975 to 2001 and led the institution to global prominence.
For many years, especially in the early 1980s, it was as much a selling tool as it was an evaluation technique. Kellogg alumni and students often persuaded applicants who would otherwise go to rival schools to instead attend Kellogg if accepted.
In any case, the practice gave Kellogg a distinct advantage in admissions because it was the only school that could best assess a student’s communication and interpersonal skills as well as professional presence. Other business schools never saw their applicants in those days unless they wandered on campus and into the admissions office.
Kellogg alums do the vast majority of off-campus interviews all over the world, while the school’s admissions staffers and current students do most of the on-campus interviews. In a typical year, alumni do about two-thirds of the interviews (precisely 66.8% last year), while admission staffers do nearly three of every ten (exactly 26.12%%). The remaining 7% of the interviews are done by students.
There’s a general set of questions that interviewers are asked to pose to MBA candidates in a manual put out by the school. But there also are variations, depending on the person who does the interview. The most common questions, culled from reports by applicants during the 2011-2011 application season follow:
- Walk me through your resume.
- Why do you want an MBA now and why now?
- Why Kellogg?
- What will you bring to the Kellogg community and how would you get involved?
- What is your biggest accomplishment at your current job?
- What are your short and long-term goals?
- What has been your most significant leadership experience?
- What would your peers say are three things you bring to the team?
- Tell me about a significant challenge at your current job
- Tell me about a time you had to motivate a group of people to work towards one thing
- Tell me about a time you had to sway a team toward your point of view.
- Tell me about a time where you had to handle conflict within a team.
- Tell me about a time where you worked with someone who wasn’t doing their share of the work.
- Tell me about what you contribute to your team (in the context of work)?
- What would your teammates say about you?
- What is one negative thing they would say about you?
- Is there anything you would like to point out that is negative on your application?
- What other B-schools have you applied to? How can I be sure that you would pick Kellogg if you were to be admitted?
- Do you have any questions for me?