Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management today (May 20) sets its deadlines for MBA applications for the 2019-2020 admissions cycle. The school’s round one cutoff will be September 18, a day earlier than last year, with decisions being released on December 11. The round two deadline is January 8, with decisions due on March 25, while the round three and final deadline is April 8, with decisions out May 13.
At Kellogg, every applicant is invited to interview. The school asks that candidates schedule an on-campus interview no later than two days after sending in their completed application. So round one applicants should schedule an interview by Sept. 21st. Applications are due no later than 5 p.m. CT on the application deadline date. Applications are now online.
The school also announced a couple of changes to its video and written essay questions. “Our second written essay question will ask which values are most important to you,” explains Kate Smith, MBA admissions chief at Kellogg, in a blog post. “We hope to hear how these values have influenced you. Last year, this question focused on how an applicant has grown in the past, and how he or she intends to grow at Kellogg. Our change comes from wanting to understand what drives you when you get up every morning. How will this make you meaningful members of our community at Kellogg? How will these values shape the kind of leader you will become one day?”
Kellogg’s first video essay question, she adds, is also shifting from an icebreaker to “an opportunity for candidates to introduce themselves. We heard from our applicants that they were looking for opportunities to share more about their backgrounds, so this is your chance! The second and third video essay questions will remain the same.”
The changes are in line with the school’s long-standing culture. “Kellogg has always cared about the personal values of its applicants,” says David White of Menlo Coaching, a leading MBA admissions consultancy. “Former Dean Sally Blount gave inspiring speeches about the power of purpose-driven business in which she told applicants that if they were looking only for a job — not a meaningful career that would also create value for others — they should choose a different school. By giving applicants a chance to discuss their personal values, Kellogg is hoping to find the applicants who will fit in with this mission.”
Kellogg’s 2019-2020 MBA Application Deadlines
|Kellogg Rounds||Application Deadline||Interviews||Decisions|
|Round One||September 18, 2019||Applicant Initiated||December 11, 2019|
|Round Two||January 8, 2020||Applicant Initiated||March 25, 2020|
|Round Three||April 8, 2020||Applicant Initiated||May 13, 2020|
WHAT TO EXPECT ON THE OTHER WRITTEN ESSAY AND VIDEO QUESTIONS
Kellogg’s other written essay question and the rest of its video exercise will remain the same. The first essay is: “Kellogg’s purpose is to educate, equip & inspire brave leaders who create lasting value. Tell us about a time you have demonstrated leadership and created lasting value. What challenges did you face, and what did you learn?” (450 words)
For the past five years, every candidate who applies to Kellogg is required to complete a video essay. “It has taken the two-dimensional application process and made it three-dimensional for every candidate,” explains Melissa Rapp, until recently director of admissions for the full-time MBA programs. “It gives us the opportunity to hear applicants tell their stories in their own voices. Our Career Management Center and alums tell us that more and more companies are using similar technology for initial interviews so it’s good practice for future career moves too.”
Besides the change to the first video question, there are two more to expect in this exercise. “What path are you interested in pursuing? How will you get there? Why is this program right for you?” Rapp says to “resist the temptation to reuse the wording you used in our similar written essay question. Speak from your heart. The final question is randomly generated and will be about overcoming some kind of obstacle. It’s more like answering a question during an interview but you have all been successful at that so there is still nothing to worry about.”
SOME 4,471 APPLICANTS TO KELLOGG’S TWO-YEAR MBA PROGRAM VIED FOR 478 SEATS
In a year where rivals like Wharton and Chicago Booth saw a 6% to 8% drop in applications, Kellogg bucked the trend. It received just 124 fewer applications, just a 2.7% drop for its 478-member class. All told, 4,471 candidates applied for admission to Kellogg’s two-year, full-time MBA program last year. The school admitted 978 of them for an acceptance rate of 21.9%. The admit rate for Kellogg’s accelerated one-year MBA which begins in June and runs for a full 12 months is much higher, but the school declines to disclose that data (at Columbia Business School, for example, the difference between its accelerated January cohort admit rate and its September cohort is 44.1% versus 14.5%).
Despite fewer applications, Kellogg maintained its high academic standards. On average, the latest class pulls a 732 GMAT. That’s equal to the 2019 Class. Even more, it represents a 17 point improvement over the past five years. That average also ties Kellogg with incoming classes at Wharton, Columbia, and Stanford (and a point better than cross-town rival Chicago Booth). Like the average GMAT, undergraduate GPAs also stayed the same, coming in at an impressive 3.6.
One of the biggest differences, however, involves the percentage of women in the 2020 Class. Standing at 46%, this percentage represents an all-time high for women at the school — and the fourth consecutive year where that number topped 40%. In response to this surge, the school is developing additional personal and professional development programming for women according to Kate Smith. This will be added to the program’s already deep commitment to attracting women to campus.
ADVICE FROM RECENT GRADUATES & CURRENT STUDENTS:
“Some of the best advice any candidate can receive is to start early. There are so many wonderful things that Kellogg has to offer that you’ll want to give yourself enough time to learn about as many of them as possible before applying. While it is important to highlight in your application why Kellogg is the ideal school for you to achieve your career goals, you’ll also want to illustrate how you will positively contribute to the Kellogg community. I was seeking a business school experience that would allow me to broaden my skill set beyond the world of finance. I had spent almost ten years across my undergraduate and working years engrossed in finance and accounting. Quite frankly, I needed to broaden my exposure to other facets of business such as strategy, leadership, and operations. As I transition into a traditional post-MBA PE role, I will be working with and leading management teams, sitting on company boards, evaluating and negotiating new investment opportunities, developing and presenting investment theses, and driving value creation in my portfolio companies; all of these responsibilities will demand a qualitatively- and leadership-oriented skillset for me to succeed. Kellogg’s reputation and points of emphasis revolve around these crucial skills – leadership, strategy, negotiation, selling, etc. Thanks to equal parts thoughtful planning and luck during my time at Kellogg, I will have taken some of the best classes Kellogg has to offer on these very topics: Personal Leadership Insights (“PLI”), Negotiations with Professor Medvec, Selling Yourself and Your Ideas with Professor Wortmann and more. I hope to take the lessons learned from these incredible classes and apply them to my future engagements in a way that will allow me and my firm to be successful.” — Tristan Loiselle, Class of 2019
“Understand what you’re trying to get out of Kellogg and how you can lend a unique perspective to your cohort. Kellogg values cultural standards like soft skills and teamwork. Understand that your application is a part of a mosaic that Kellogg is trying to create, and make sure that the admissions team can see you can fit in and enrichen your classmates’ experience and vice versa. I was initially a little nervous applying to business school because I have non-traditional experience. Now, I realize that Kellogg specifically looks for that, as unique perspectives in class tend to open and diversify perspective and conversations. Kellogg has a reputation for being very collaborative and groupwork-focused. I wanted more experience in this, as much of my career pre-Kellogg was more solo. The other big thing that really spoke to me was the alumni engagement. In general, I found Kellogg alumni so open and engaging when I would reach out for advice and perspective. Many of them gave honest and robust feedback, and it assured me that when I graduated Kellogg I would be part of a very loyal community.” — Allison Howard, Class of 2019
“Try to find a Kellogg alum or current student who shares similar interests or background with you. Then, really build a connection with them starting from talking about your common interests. This allows you to not only learn more about what Kellogg has to offer but also how Kellogg students tell their personal stories. Be yourself and share your story with the Kellogg admissions team are essentially what a successful application process is about. I chose Kellogg because of the MMM program. By the time I decided to pursue an MBA, I had worked with many founders who were passionate about bringing their innovative ideas to life. Being able to lead product innovation myself had become a career goal for me, so I wanted to enroll in a program that allowed me to combine top business education with an innovation mindset. The unique value proposition of the MMM program (its dual degree set up and a strong cohort of like-minded people) definitely sold me on that.” — Richie Huang, Class of 2019
“Get to know the school well. Kellogg’s culture is very much built on the connection that individual students have with the school. Admissions will really appreciate hearing about your unique perspectives on how that culture and environment resonate with you. Kellogg’s unique One-Year Program gave me the opportunity to have a full-time MBA experience without giving up two years in an industry that I was eager to continue impacting. Culturally, I found Kellogg to be the kind of place where students are constantly willing to both learn from and teach each other. There is an incredible sense of mutual respect among students that turns into rich classroom conversation and deep connections outside of the classroom.” — Megha Kosaraju, Class of 2019