The Kellogg School of Management — MBA Program & Application Overview (2024)

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Posted March 12, 2024

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The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University is a prestigious business school offering a top-class business education. With an emphasis on collaboration, innovation, and creativity, the Kellogg community is a supportive environment perfect for aspiring professionals looking to become effective leaders and team players.

Kellogg Class Profile (MBA Class of 2025)

  • Location: Evanston, IL
  • Class Size: 529
  • Acceptance Rate: 31%
  • Average Work Experience: 5 years
  • Average GMAT Score: 731
  • Average GRE Score: 163 Quant, 163 Verbal
  • Average GPA: 3.70
  • Women: 48%
  • International: 39%
  • Students of Color: 42%
  • LGBTQ+: 9%
  • First Generation: 13%

"We ask you to reflect on your career goals…ahead of time so that you come in with a grounding of what’s important to you and where you think you want to go."

Christine Mayer, Director of Admissions

2023-2024 Application Overview

Kellogg MBA Deadlines

RoundDeadlineDecisions Released
Round 1September 13, 2023December 13, 2023
Round 2January 10, 2024March 27, 2024
Round 3April 3, 2024May 8, 2024

All applications are due by 5:00 PM Central Time on the respective due date. Deadlines differ for the evening, weekend, EMBA, and deferred programs and are listed on the Kellogg admissions page.


Kellogg accepts both GMAT and GRE results with no preference for either. Remember that GMAT and GRE scores are only valid for five years.

Kellogg Essays

For Kellogg, you are required to complete two written essays as well as a video essay. Use your essays to explain what led you to pursue an MBA and why you are applying to Kellogg.

Essay 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) Essay 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)

The following applicants will have to answer additional questions.

  • Re-applicants: ​​How have you grown or changed personally and professionally since you previously applied and what steps have you taken to become the strongest candidate you can be? (250 words)
  • One-Year applicants: Please discuss your post-MBA career goals, the current experience you will leverage to support the transition, and the Kellogg 1Y opportunities that will help you reach this goal. (250 words)
  • MBAi applicants: The Kellogg McCormick MBAi program is designed to train the next generation of leaders who can help businesses deliver successful outcomes through AI-driven technology. This requires leaders who have both strong technical and business skills as many firms struggle to find leaders with both. Tell us about your firsthand experience with this disconnect between business and technology and how MBAi will prepare you to successfully lead businesses at the intersection. (450 words)
  • MMM applicants: The five core values of the MMM Program are curiosity, creativity, empathy, open-mindedness, and a learning mindset. Describe a situation in which you demonstrated one of these values. Why is this value an important part of the MMM experience for you? (250 words)
  • JD-MBA applicants: Please discuss your post-JD-MBA career goals and why the JD-MBA Program is the right program to help you reach those goals. (250 words)

Video Essay

The video essay is your opportunity to show the admissions committee more about yourself and why you belong at Kellogg.

  • You will have 96 hours after the application deadline to submit your video essay. A link will appear on your application status page after you submit your application
  • You will have 20 seconds to prepare your answer and 1 minute to give your response

Our Top Tips for the Kellogg Essays:

  1. Use unique stories and anecdotes that aren’t found in other parts of your application.
  2. Build Kellogg values into your answers.
  3. Get specific.
  4. Build a cohesive narrative.
  5. Start early!

Ultimate MBA Essay Guide

See the MBA essay prompts, top tips from experts, and real examples from admits with this comprehensive guide.


You will need to submit two letters of recommendation written by colleagues who have worked closely with you. The first letter should ideally come from a current supervisor or manager. The second should be from someone who can evaluate your performance as a professional as well as your managerial and leadership potential.

There are three prompts for your recommender to answer:

  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)

Click here for our Free Recommender Prep Doc.

Kellogg Interviews

The interview provides an opportunity for you to learn more about Kellogg’s community. It also allows the admissions committee to further evaluate your interpersonal and communication skills, career focus, and motivations for the Kellogg MBA.

  • All interviews are currently virtual. You will provide your location in the application so that Kellogg can be mindful of your time zone. You will receive an email with details and scheduling instructions within six weeks of the application deadline
  • Your interview may be waived because of their high demand and the limited availability of interviewers. If that happens, the admissions team may contact you if they need more information

Application Fee

  • The cost of the Kellogg MBA application is $250
  • Your fee may be waived if you:
    • Are an active duty military applicant or US military veteran who has been on active duty within three years of applying
    • Have been employed by Teach for America or the Peace Corps within the past three years
    • Participated in MLT, Forte Launch, Posse Foundation, JumpStart, or the Riordan Program
    • Kellogg Future Leaders deferred applicants do not need to pay an application fee

Academic Transcripts

  • You will need to list all colleges, universities, and study abroad programs you have attended or are currently attending
  • All records must show your name, the name of the conferring institution, enrollment dates, courses taken with corresponding units, marks or grades in each subject, and if available, your rank in the total class or group
  • If you studied abroad and the grades are already reflected on your transcripts, you do not need to submit a separate one
  • Official hard copies of your transcripts are only required upon matriculation


  • You will need to provide a current resume or CV as part of your application
  • This should be similar to a resume you would use for a job application but tailored to a general audience since this will be reviewed by people of various backgrounds
  • You are not required to submit the resume in a specific format or length. Instead, ensure that the admissions team can easily understand your professional background and accomplishments
  • You will complete an employment section in addition to your resume so that the committee can get an in-depth understanding of your career history, key transitions between your jobs, and promotions
  • While Kellogg does not have a minimum amount of experience required to apply, students are strongly encouraged to have at least two years of full-time work experience before applying

International Applicant Requirements

  • International students will need to submit the following:
    • A college degree equivalent to a four-year baccalaureate degree. Degrees from certain three-year undergraduate programs may also be acceptable
    • A valid TOEFL iBT or IELTS score. Both scores are only valid for two years, so check your test date before submitting
  • Exceptions are valid when the applicant completed a degree from a college or university in the US or where English was the only mode of instruction
    • Your full name in the application should match the name in your passport since it will be needed for your I-20 form. The I-20 form is required for you to obtain a visa.

For more information about the application process, check out the Kellogg MBA admissions page.

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Kellogg MBA Program Overview

Kellogg advocates a broad academic scope and believes that well-rounded managers make better leaders. As a business manager, when you understand how each part of the organization contributes to the success of the whole, you will approach problems differently and more creatively.

In addition to Kellogg’s core curriculum, you will find more than 200 electives that give you the flexibility to explore your own interests and prepare for the future. Kellogg’s course catalog, like the market, is constantly evolving. Northwestern University operates on a quarter system, giving students more opportunities for electives.

Core courses:

  • ACCT-430-0 Financial Accounting
  • STRT-431-0 Business Strategy
  • FINC-430-0 Finance I
  • MKTG-430-0 Marketing Management
  • DECS-430-5 Business Analytics I
  • DECS-431-0 Business Analytics II
  • MECN-430-0 Microeconomic Analysis
  • OPNS-430-0 Operations Management
  • MORS-430-0 Leadership in Organizations

Majors and Pathways

Kellogg MBA students can choose from eight different majors to individualize their business education. If you do not choose a major, “General Management” will be noted on your transcript.

Majors offered:

  • Accounting
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Management Science
  • Managing Organizations
  • Marketing
  • Operations
  • Strategy

If you are interested in building expertise in emerging and evolving industries, you can take on one or multiple pathways. A pathway is an integrated and cross-functional sequence of courses designed to address a particular skill set or industry. You can pursue as many pathways as you’d like, as they do not show up on transcripts.

Pathways offered:

  • Asset Management
  • Data Analytics
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Energy & Sustainability
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Growth and Scaling
  • Healthcare at Kellogg
  • Real Estate
  • Social Impact
  • Technology Management
  • Venture Capital and Private Equity

Find out more here: Kellogg MBA Curriculum Overview - Concentrations, Core, and Electives

Experiential Learning

At Kellogg, you will work alongside faculty members, fellow students, Kellogg alumni, and corporate partners. Using strategic management concepts, you will solve critical business issues through self-defined projects, courses with simulations and real-world exercises, client projects, and labs. For more information about experiential learning at Kellogg, check out the opportunities here.

Global Opportunities

Global Initiatives in Management

The Global Initiatives in Management (GIM) program is a unique course designed to provide students in any of Kellogg’s MBA programs with a foundational understanding of a country’s or region’s macroeconomic trends, politics, history, and culture, then a travel opportunity to meet with government officials and business leaders. Students will enroll in the GIM winter quarter elective and work in groups to create a major deliverable. Over spring break, students will spend 10 days on plenary meetings and conduct group research in-country.

Full-Time Exchange Programs

About 80 students participate in this study abroad program each year. With 25 partner schools in six continents, second-year MBA students can choose to spend a quarter abroad to truly immerse themselves in a different culture and learn about a new business environment.

Kellogg Worldwide Exploration Student Trips

These week-long, nonacademic trips take place before classes begin and are designed for the incoming class to bond before beginning the full-time MBA program. 85% of incoming students choose to participate in these trips, which are also open to their partners.

Life on Campus

As a Kellogg MBA student, you will be part of a collaborative and welcoming environment with support for minority, LGBTQ+, international, and female students. You’ll bond with your fellow Kellogg students through events such as Culture Camp, Engage Dinners, and Hear My Story events and more than 200 student organizations.

Almost all of the full-time MBA students choose to live in Evanston, and most prefer to be within walking or biking distance from the Global Hub, Kellogg’s flagship building. The Global Hub sits on the shore of Lake Michigan and is where you will take classes and collaborate with fellow students. Many Kellogg students choose to live on-campus in the McManus Living-Learning Center, Engelhart Hall, and Garrett Place Apartments, which are all a few blocks from the Global Hub. Kellogg supports students who bring their partners and children with them through the Joint Ventures and Kellogg Kids clubs.

If you are enrolling in the evening or weekend MBA programs, your classes will take place in Wieboldt Hall at the Chicago campus, located downtown near the Loop. Students in the executive MBA program can choose to apply for the Evanston campus, the Miami campus, or both locations.

Joint Degree Programs

MBAi Program for Business & Artificial Intelligence

In a collaboration between Kellogg and the McCormick School of Engineering, this joint degree is a new, blended approach to business and technology leadership. Students will earn an AI-focused MBA degree and learn the skills to become trailblazers in fields such as technical operations, product management, product marketing, and consulting.

MMM Program: MBA and MS in Design Innovation

This joint degree offered in conjunction with the Segal Design Institute at the McCormick School of Engineering focuses on innovation and end-to-end thinking equips students with an integrated skill set combining business, technology, and design. Students will develop skills in leading cross-functional teams of business strategists, engineers, and designers.

JD-MBA Program

This joint degree program equips you with the tools to become successful as a business leader with legal expertise or as a lawyer with a solid foundation in general management. In only three years, rather than five, you will earn both a Juris Doctorate from the Northwestern School of Law and a Masters of Business Administration from Kellogg.

MD-MBA Program

Earning an MD-MBA degree gives you proficiencies in both management and medicine to become an influential leader in the healthcare industry. Through this joint degree program with the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, you will be able to supplement your background in medicine with business expertise.

Kellogg Future Leaders Program

Kellogg Future Leaders are able to secure their place in a future Kellogg MBA class before they graduate college. This deferred program allows students to explore different opportunities, such as starting a new business, trying out a new industry, or joining a nonprofit for two to five years before enrolling in business school. As part of the deferred program, Future Leaders have access to Kellogg resources and receive support from a dedicated admissions officer.

Kellogg Part-Time MBA Programs

Evening & Weekend MBA Program

For students with career and personal commitments preventing them from enrolling in business school full-time, the evening or weekend MBA programs at Kellogg offer a flexible learning experience, with remote and in-person classes and the choice between a traditional pace and an accelerated pace (1.25 to 5 years to complete vs. 1 to 4 years). You’ll earn the same Northwestern Kellogg MBA with the same opportunities for global and hands-on experiences, career development, and customization through majors and pathways as students in the full-time MBA program.

Executive MBA Program

One of the highest ranking executive MBA programs in the nation, the EMBA at Northwestern Kellogg is designed for seasoned executives with at least 8 years of experience and builds on students’ existing expertise. Executive MBA students will join a global network of spanning six different business school campuses: the Guanghua School of Management in Beijing, Kellogg at Evanston and Miami, HKUST School of Business and Management in Hong Kong, Schulich School of Business in Toronto, and Otto Beisheim School of Management in Vallendar.

Kellogg One-Year MBA Program

This accelerated full-time MBA is an attractive option for students with focused professional goals. You’ll begin your classes in June and graduate in one year. Due to the accelerated pace, students are expected to come to Kellogg having completed pre-enrollment courses in statistics, economics, marketing, and operations, usually in the form of completing an undergraduate degree in Business.

Prepare for Kellogg’s MBA Application

The Different MBA Programs at Kellogg

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Kellogg FAQs

What does Kellogg look for in its applicants?

  • Kellogg values individuals who can motivate a team to drive impact and who are not afraid to ask questions and find the non-obvious solutions. The Kellogg admissions team is looking for someone who can approach business problems with a mix of energy, intellect, and creativity; someone who can work in a diverse background and is eager to collaborate with an engaged, ambitious community of peers

Is work experience recommended?

  • Kellogg recommends that you have at least two years of experience upon matriculation. The admissions committee believes that work experience will enhance your academic experience and allow you to participate well in classroom discussions and group projects

When is the best time to apply?

  • Applying early can be advantageous for applying to grants, scholarships, or on-campus housing preferences. Round 1 or 2 applicants can also take advantage of Kellogg’s admitted-student weekends
  • Kellogg admits candidates for all programs during all three rounds. They encourage international students to apply in Round 1 or 2 to allow more time for visa processing. They also tend to admit One-Year MBA and MMM students either in Round 1 or 2 since the programs have an earlier start date

Can I apply for more than one program?

  • No. Candidates cannot be considered for multiple programs at a time, unless they are applying for a designated joint degree. Please note that application fees are non-refundable

Can I update my application once submitted?

  • Yes. You can send employment changes, grades for recent classes, or new GMAT, GRE, or TOEFL scores to your application after you submit it. To do this, you should sign in to your application and add your update in the supplemental information page. Please note that there will be no guarantee that Kellogg will consider the added information prior to making a decision

Can I defer my application once admitted?

  • Requests for deferral after admission are rarely granted and considered on a case-to-case basis, unless you were admitted as a Kellogg Future Leader. If you do need to defer your application, provide a detailed explanation for the request and the appropriate documentation

What additional information should I include if I am applying with a spouse or partner?

  • If you are applying with a partner, each file is assessed independently. You may note in your application that you are applying with your partner

Final Note

Here are a few other articles you may find helpful as you research and apply to business school:

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