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The Kellogg School of Management — MBA Program & Application Overview (2022)

Applying to the Kellogg? Read this guide for the most practical strategies and tips curated by top MBA admissions coaches and Kellogg alumni to get you that much closer to your dream school.

February 3, 2023

Established in 1908, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management has been a source of quality business education, combining theory and practice, since its inception.

Class Profile (2024)

  • Location: Evanston, IL
  • Class Size: 503
  • Acceptance Rate: 20-21%
  • Average Work Experience: 5 years
  • Average GMAT: 729
  • Average GRE: 163 Quant, 162 Verbal
  • Average GPA: 3.70
  • Women: 48%
  • International: 38%
  • Minority Students: 37%
  • LGBTQ+: 8%

Employment Statistics

Received Job Offer Within 3 Months of Graduation: 96.3%

Average Base Salary: $143,838

Average Signing Bonus: $32,582 (85.3% received)

Major Industries: Consulting (33%), Technology (30%), Financial Services (14%), Consumer Packaged Goods (8%), Healthcare (7%)

Major Employers: McKinsey & Co. (56 students hired), Boston Consulting Group (33), Amazon (28), Google (20), Bain & Co. (20)

"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

2022 Application Overview

Kellogg Deadlines

Round 1: September 14, 2022

  • Decisions released December 14, 2022

Round 2: January 10, 2023

  • Decisions released March 28, 2023

Round 3: April 5, 2023

  • Decisions released May 10, 2023

GMAT/GRE

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

To read more, click here: GMAT vs. GRE for Business School—Which to Take and How to Ace Both

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.

Written Essays

Essay 1: Kellogg’s purpose is to educate, equip and inspire leaders who create lasting value. Provide a recent example where you have demonstrated leadership and created value. What challenges did you face and what did you learn? (450 words) Essay 2: Values are what guide you in your life and work. What values are important to you and how have they influenced you? (450 words)

  • The following applicants will have to answer additional questions.
    • 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)
    • Re-applicants: Since your previous application, what steps have you taken to strengthen your candidacy? (250 words)

Video Essay

You can only understand someone so much through written communication. Kellogg requires a video essay so they can get a better understanding of who you are.

  • 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 and payment.
  • You will be asked to answer three video essay questions:

Question 1: Please introduce yourself to the admissions committee. Question 2: What path are you interested in pursuing, how will you get there, and why is this program right for you? Question 3: This question will be based on a challenge you've faced and what you've learned from it.

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!

Read more about the Kellogg essays here: How to Nail Your Kellogg MBA Application Essays

Then read:

Recommendations

Kellogg Recommender Requirements

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)

Learn more here: How to Get the Perfect MBA Recommendation Letter—With Examples and Full-Time MBA Application Series: Letters of Recommendation.

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.

  • Currently, all interviews are 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.

Learn more here: How to Ace Your MBA Interview: With Prep Questions & Answers

Other Application Items

Application Fee

  • The cost of the 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

  • Since your prior education is a major part of why you are applying, Kellogg wants a comprehensive view. The admissions team asks you 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.
  • Hard, official copies of your transcripts are only required upon matriculation.

Resume

  • 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.

International Applicant Requirements

  • The following are required of international applicants:
    • 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.

One-Year MBA Program

The One-Year MBA program is your fastest route to a Kellogg MBA. It is designed to build upon your business fundamentals and prepare you to join the workforce with new skills and knowledge that will drive your career forward. From June to June, you will immerse yourself in a rigorous curriculum, learn from a world-class faculty, and build leadership skills.

Expert MBA Admissions Coaches on Leland

… and many more! Click here for our full roster of world-class MBA admissions coaches.

Kellogg Program Overview

While some programs advocate a narrow, specialized curriculum, Kellogg advocates a broad academic scope. The school 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.

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 special projects, labs, and courses.

You will be able to choose from more than 1,000 experiential learning opportunities to find the one that suits you best. Some examples include:

  • Analytical Consulting Lab
  • Asset Management Practicum
  • Asset Management Lab
  • Education Consulting Lab
  • Global Initiatives in Management (GIM)
  • Global Lab
  • Golub Capital Board Fellows Program
  • Growth Strategy Practicum
  • Healthcare Strategy Consulting Lab
  • New Venture Course Series
  • Private Equity & Venture Labs
  • Real Estate Lab

Global Opportunities

Kellogg’s global travel offerings introduce students to the culture and business environment of nearly 70 countries every year. The focus of the program is collaboration, community building, exploration, and individual and group ownership.

85% of Full-Time MBA students choose at least one global opportunity and 40% take advantage of multiple trips.

Faculty

Kellogg faculty members represent a diverse range of intellectual interests, international backgrounds, and life experiences.

Meet them here: Inspiring the Next Generation of Leaders

Majors and Pathways

The institution’s approach to majors and pathways gives students the flexibility and guidance they need to carve out a unique intellectual experience relevant to their education and career goals

You can choose from the following eight majors, or choose to not specialize:

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

If you are interested in building expertise in emerging and evolving industries, you can join the “pathways” program at Kellogg. 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, they do not show up on transcripts.

Right now, they are available in the following categories:

  • 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

Student Culture

As a student, you will bring your own personality, experience, and insight to the community. Kellogg prides itself on a diverse community with support for minority students, LGBTQ+ students, women, and veterans.

Students at Kellogg are driven, creative, and supportive. They make a difference through student-run clubs, nonprofit organizations, programs, and initiatives. Some of the opportunities for philanthropy at Kellogg include:

Kellogg Corps: A volunteer summer program that places students and graduates in developing countries where they use their skills in management to support nonprofit organizations.

Kellogg Volunteers: Kellogg Volunteers’ mission is to promote volunteerism and community engagement at school and beyond. The program also encourages students to form new outreach initiatives through pilot projects.

Kellogg Cares: Every October, 300-500 Kellogg students start the school year by doing volunteer work in the Evanston and Chicago area. Past projects include running a bone marrow drive, organizing a charity auction ball, and mentoring youths at the Evanston Youth Job Center.

Housing

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. The McManus Living-Learning Center, which is a few blocks from the Global Hub, serves as a wonderful housing option for Kellogg students, their partners, and children. It also houses group study rooms, computer labs, exercise facilities, a game room, an underground parking garage, and a lounge area.

Joint Degree Programs

The Kellogg & McCormick MBAi Program

In a collaboration between Kellogg and the McCormick School of Engineering, this program is a new, blended approach to business and technology leadership. The curriculum is designed to equip students with the skills to become trailblazers in fields such as technical operations, product management, product marketing, and consulting.

MBA and MS Design Innovation

This program focuses on innovation and end-to-end thinking. It 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

The JD-MBA 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 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

The MD-MBA program 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 Deferred Enrollment Program

Kellogg Future Leaders are able to secure their place in a future Kellogg class before they graduate college. In the two to five years after being accepted, they are expected to explore different opportunities, such as starting a new business, trying out a new industry, or joining a nonprofit. Deferred programs give students flexibility in their MBA timeline and security in their exploration.

As part of the deferred program, Future Leaders have access to Kellogg resources and receive support from a dedicated admissions officer.

Students who graduate between October 2021 and September 2022 are eligible to apply this year.

See our full Kellogg deferred guide here: Kellogg Future Leaders Deferred Enrollment Program

Prepare for Kellogg’s MBA Application

The Different MBA Programs at Kellogg

Meet Kellogg Admits & Applicants in Leland’s Free Slack Community

If you’re applying to Kellogg, boost your odds by joining the Leland MBA Applicant Community. It’s a free, private community of MBA applicants, admits, and world-class admissions coaches, all here to answer questions, give feedback, share stories, and help each other through the admissions process.

Membership in the Community is by invitation only. To apply, click below.

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 admissions team is also 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 more than one program at a time. 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. 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.

Do you give feedback on denied applications?

  • Kellogg wishes any denied candidates success in their future endeavors. However, they do not provide feedback to candidates who were denied admission.

Final Note

Leland provides you with the content, community, and coaching that you need to get into your dream MBA program and accomplish other ambitious goals. Sign up today to gain access to additional free resources, community events, small group classes, world-class coaching, and more.