An Overview of the Kellogg One-Year MBA Program

Learn more about the one-year MBA program at Kellogg and determine whether it's the right fit for you with this comprehensive guide.

Posted January 9, 2024

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The One-Year MBA Program at Kellogg is a full-time, accelerated program offered by Northwestern University. The program is designed for experienced professionals who want to earn their MBA in just one year, rather than the traditional two years.

It covers the same curriculum as the traditional two-year program, but at an accelerated pace. The program is highly selective and typically attracts candidates with several years of experience in the workforce who have strong academic and professional backgrounds.

Program and Curriculum Overview

One-year MBA candidates will start the program in June, taking three to five courses and getting acclimated to the rigorous pace. Then, in September, they join the second-year, full-time program students and complete the electives that match their personal and professional goals. This program is unique because it allows MBA candidates to forgo the core classes and go straight into electives. Graduation happens in June, exactly one year from the program’s start date.

Because applicants don’t need to go through the core curriculum, there are a few pre-enrollment required classes. Most applicants complete these requirements in their undergraduate business degrees, though this route is not mandatory.

Here are the classes that fulfill these requirements in the four core areas. For the course to count, it must have been taken within the last ten years and the student must have achieved a grade of B or better.

Those in the one-year program are able to choose from the same eight majors as those in the traditional, two-year program. These include Accounting, Economics, Finance, Marketing, Operations, Strategy, Managing Organizations, and Management Science. For those who’d like to build expertise in an area but not necessarily major, Kellogg also offers pathways. There are 11 of these to choose from, including Asset Management, Data Analytics, Entrepreneurship, Healthcare, Real Estate, and more.

Here is information on the class profile for the graduating class of 2024. These data are not specifically for the one-year program but still provide a good idea of the application caliber required for admission.

Academic Scores

  • Average GPA: 3.7
  • Average GMAT: 729
  • Median GRE: 162 (Verbal); 163 (Quantitative)

Pre-MBA Majors + Work Experience

  • 5 Yrs. Average Work Experience
  • Common Undergraduate Majors
    • STEM: 38%
    • Economics/Business: 45%
    • Humanities: 24%
  • Pre-MBA Industry Background
    • Consulting: 24%
    • Financial Services: 19%
    • Technology: 17%
    • Government/Education/Nonprofit: 7%
    • Consumer Products: 7%
    • Healthcare/Biopharma: 7%
    • Media & Entertainment: 4%
    • Military: 4%
    • Manufacturing: 2%
    • Energy: 2%
    • Other: 8%

Graduates of the One-Year Kellogg MBA Program have a range of career options, with many going into roles in consulting, finance, and technology. The program has a strong track record of placing graduates at top companies with competitive average starting salaries and bonuses.

Here is an overview of the class of 2022 employment report.

  • Students who received an offer within 3 months of graduation: 99%
  • Median Base Salary: $165,000
  • Median Signing Bonus: $30,000
  • Top Industries
    • Consulting: 40%
    • Technology: 21%
    • Financial Services: 16%
    • Consumer Packaged Goods: 10%
    • Healthcare: 4%

Admissions Process

The admissions process for the One-Year Kellogg MBA program is competitive, with a limited number of spots available each year. To apply, candidates must submit the same online application as traditional applicants. The admissions committee will review the applications and then send out interview invitations.

The Kellogg application requires a resume, essays, test scores (GMAT or GRE), transcript, and letters of recommendation.

Essays

For all applicants, Kellogg requires the following two essays:

  1. 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)
  2. 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)
  3. Video Essay: All applicants will be required to complete a video essay. The video prompt will consist of three questions, each crafted to assist you in displaying your personality and sharing some of the experiences that have led you to this moment. Video submissions are due 96 hours after the application deadline and typically take 20-25 minutes to complete.

Letters of Recommendation

Kellogg requires two letters of recommendation, one from a current supervisor or manager. The recommenders will need to respond to the following prompts:

  1. Kellogg has a diverse student body and values students who are inclusive and encouraging of others with differing perspectives and backgrounds. Please tell us about a time when you witnessed the candidate living these values. (300 words)
  2. How does the candidate's performance compare to those of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? Please provide specific examples. (300 words)
  3. Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the candidate. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant's response. (250 words)

Interviews

The interviews at Kellogg are somewhat unique because the program tries to interview as many applicants as possible, rather than keeping it to a select few. It emphasizes that they’re a way for applicants to expound on the life experiences that led them both to MBA programs in general and Kellogg specifically.

The interviewer may be a current student, an alumnus, or a member of the admissions committee. As of right now, all interviews are virtual. They typically last 30-45 minutes, with time at the end for questions. Read The Top 10 Questions to Ask During Your MBA Interview for more information.

After the interview, the admissions committee will review all of the candidates and make a final decision about who will be accepted into the program. Candidates will typically be notified of the decision via email, and will have a limited amount of time to accept or decline the offer.

Application Deadlines

The deadlines for the 2023-2024 application cycle are as follows.

  • Round 1: September 13, 2023
  • Round 2: January 10, 2024
  • Round 3: April 3, 2024

Tips for the Kellogg One-Year MBA Program Application

  1. Make a good case for why you’ll benefit from the one-year program over the traditional, two-year route. – This program has limited seats and Kellogg wants to admit students who have a genuine need for the accelerated pace. Convince them why that’s you.
  2. Have a good GPA. – If you’ve already graduated college, you won’t have control over this factor. However, the point is that you need to show academic fortitude. The one-year MBA programs require students to feel comfortable in accelerated and more intense classes, so showing the admissions committee that you can handle that will be important.
  3. Express clear professional goals. – Many people applying to one-year MBA programs do so because it will expedite the return to their career. Usually, this means they know exactly what they want to do or have more years of work experience and are already established in their industry. Placing yourself firmly in one of these two camps will help the admissions committee understand why the one-year program better fits your candidacy.

The Pros and Cons of One-Year MBA Programs

There are many factors to consider as you decide whether to apply to one or two-year programs. The one that’s right for you will depend on your background, interests, motivations for pursuing an MBA, goals, budget, and timeline.

Below we’ve outlined a few of the main pros and cons, but the best way to determine which is better for you is to talk to a coach who can provide insight into the program drawn from first-hand experience. Kevin R. is a Leland coach who recently graduated from Kellogg’s one-year MBA program. Message him today to request a free intro call.

Pros

  • You are able to get back to your career faster than in the two-year program.
  • One-year programs are typically cheaper than the alternative; however, two-year graduates earn 9% more than one-year graduates on average.
  • You don’t have to take the many core classes required in traditional programs. Instead, you’ll focus on electives that are directly relevant to your goals and aspirations.

Cons

  • One-year MBA candidates do not have time for a summer internship.
  • You have less time to network and gain experience in a given field. This is especially pertinent to those who hope to transition into a new industry after graduation.
  • If you’re not sure what you want to do with your MBA, a one-year program is likely not the best fit for you. Two-year programs give you the time to take a breadth of classes and do internships in different industries.
  • If you weren’t a business major in undergrad, you may have to take time before applying to complete the pre-enrollment required classes.

Final Note

In conclusion, the One-Year Kellogg MBA Program is a unique and highly sought-after opportunity for experienced professionals who want to accelerate their careers and gain the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in business. The program covers much of the same curriculum as the traditional two-year program, but at an accelerated pace.

To submit the best application possible, we recommend working one-on-one with an expert Leland MBA admissions coach. Below are some of the highest-rated coaches; browse all of them here.

Here are some other resources you may find helpful:

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