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3 Things Kellogg Looks For In Applicants

Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management ranked number five in P&Q’s most recent Top Business Schools ranking. The Kellogg School admits only one in five applicants each year, making it an incredibly competitive program to gain admission into.

Sydney Lake, a writer at Fortune, recently spoke to experts about what Kellogg looks for and how applicants can submit a compelling application.


Kellogg’s Class of 2022 has stellar academic performance. The class holds an average 3.6 undergraduate GPA and 727 GMAT score.

Experts say if you want a chance of getting into the B-school, you’ll need to demonstrate strong academic performance.

“You have to have strong academic excellence,” Donna Bauman, a senior MBA admissions counselor with Stratus Admissions Counseling, tells Fortune. “And if you don’t have it from your test scores or your GPA, then you really have to think about, ‘How can I demonstrate to Kellogg that when I get into the program that I’m not going to be an academic risk?’”


Kellogg requires applicants to submit a video essay answering three questions:

  • Please introduce yourself to the admissions committee.
  • What path are you interested in pursuing, how will you get there, and why is this program right for you?
  • This question will be based on a challenge you’ve faced and what you’ve learned from it.

The goal of the video essay is to give admissions officers a view into who you are outside of the words on your application. Experts say that when it comes to the video essay, it’s best to just be yourself.

“What I don’t like is for people to practice so many times in such a mechanical way that they’ve memorized the whole thing,” David White, founder of Menlo Coaching, tells Fortune. “If the video isn’t perfect, that doesn’t mean they’re not going to admit you.”


Kellogg specifically seeks out students who are not only well-accomplished, but can work together with their peers in leaving a huge impact on campus and beyond.

“We search for leaders who are high-impact, low-ego,” Former Kellogg Dean Sally Blount said in her opening remarks to accepted students in 2018. “We don’t care about whether you’re going to be rich or famous; we care about the impact you’re going to have in the world. We care about status because we know it’s important, but we aren’t trying to solve for status alone.”

Hereford Johnson, a Kellogg Class of 2022 MBA candidate, says the ‘high impact, low ego’ persona is central to the types of applicants that Kellogg attracts.

“For example, you could be grabbing a drink or be in a study group with an Olympic Gold Medalist or successful entrepreneur and never know it (true story). Or, on the opposite end, through deep conversations with classmates, you will uncover stories of someone overcoming unbelievable hardships, and you will wonder why there has not been a Netflix film made about their journey,” Johnson tells P&Q. “No one ever brags or comes across as a know-it-all. They are not afraid to raise their hand and admit that they do have the answer to a question and, at the same time, they are very willing to prioritize their time to support your journey. It is a special community that I feel lucky to be a part of.”

Sources: Fortune, Northwestern Kellogg, Inside Kellogg, P&Q

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