Kellogg EMBA Short Answers - Goals Questions

Round 1 April deadline for Fall intake is approaching and I'll be tackling the various elements of the Kellogg EMBA application.

Essay 1 starts out with, “In the application, you shared your short-term and long-term goals” so before tackling essay tips – let’s start here first. These short answers are the basis for the your response in Essay 1 - I will write a separate article for that.

What is your short-term career goal? 150 characters (~23 words)

They only give you about 20 words and specify “career” goal because – here, you just need to state your goal job title upon completing the Kellogg EMBA. If you are a Marketing Manager now, it might be Director of Marketing; if you are Director of Marketing now, maybe VP of Sales & Marketing, for example (I mention marketing because Kellogg is the clear winner in all things marketing).


The role should require a more holistic view of the enterprise, requiring a greater understanding/appreciation of how all functions work in tandem; looking at the organization as a system. If this isn’t the case, you might ask whether or not this is the right degree for you. If you are getting into a more specialized area of tech or finance, for example, a specialized masters might make more sense.


The EMBA is really meant to help candidates climb the ranks in their current org or *at least* within their current industry – so I don’t recommend citing a goal that is a huge departure from your current function and industry; maybe function or industry but not both.


Adcom is looking to make sure you have realistic expectations. This is what is often referred to as fit: there is a good match between your aspirations and what they are suited to deliver. That you aren’t a Health Care Analytics Manager hoping to become a Hedge Fund Manager.


Also, the role you specify should be a significant enough pay bump to justify the $200K+ outlay, or at least put you on a higher earnings trajectory to create an ROI over the short to medium term.


What is your long-term career goal? 150 characters (~23 words)


Whereas the short-term goal might be a promotion within the company or an industry competitor, here you have a bit more leeway. It's best to take a “stepwise” approach – first changing the function or industry, but not both. For example, if you want to change the function/role in your short-term goal – then at this point, it's OK to change the industry.


These are not hard fast rules of course; main thing to keep in mind is, even with an MBA in hand, you need something to offer the next job. This is hard to do if you are unfamiliar with both role/function and industry.


If you have startup ambitions, make sure to park them in the long-term category unless this already speaks to the nature of your job and not a hopeful side hustle. It's very unlikely you will have time to start this during the program, given the 15-20 hour/week commitment, class meetings, residence weeks. Your free time will be well spoken for. (that said, it’s worth noting that Kellogg EMBA is less rigorous than Wharton and Booth – which are very, very demanding. If you have kids, Kellogg might be the way to go).


What drives your interest in these short- and long-term goals? 240 characters or ~44 words


Its only 44 words which again means you need to cull your response down to something very core.


Here, Kellogg wants to understand why you are putting your hand up for this – will your motivation sustain you throughout those 24 months? Will this be enough of an anchor for you to stay focused and committed? Willing to weather the sacrifice of your hobbies, family time, bowling league, etc.?


If it isn’t - you might request a deferral which is not optimal for Kellogg; a deferral is an “accounts payable” hanging out there, plus they would have to backfill your seat.


This question also allows Kellogg to get to know you a bit as a person – which is the only reason they are reading this application, at the end of the day. Kellogg loves to ask questions about values, and this might reveal a bit about yours.


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