Kellogg Essay Tips - Essay 1

 Intentionality is a key aspect of what makes our graduates successful Kellogg leaders. Help us understand your journey by articulating your motivations for pursuing an MBA, the specific goals you aim to achieve, and why you believe now is the right moment. Moreover, share why you feel Kellogg is best suited to serve as a catalyst for your career aspirations and what you will contribute to our community of lifelong learners during your time here. (450 words)


Well Kellogg, rather than settle on one essay question, why not ask ALL of them at once? This is a whole elevator pitch in one question.


The use of the word intentionality is interesting. I wonder if they feel that clarity and focus are of particular importance right now – if you don’t know what you want to achieve its unlikely you will achieve it.


Often, applicants want to use the MBA as a “reset” or a “chance to explore.” With a tight market for MBA jobs, I would not disclose that in this essay. Internship recruitment starts very early – sometimes the summer before matriculation! I imagine Kellogg admissions wants to avoid students who are trying to “figure things out” in the frenzy of their first year, lacking the clarity and focus needed to get an internship, return offer, subsequently messing up Kellogg employment stats etc.


Ok let’s take inventory here…


1 and 2 – motivations for pursuing an MBA…specific goals you aim to achieve.


I would consider “goals and gaps” – do you have a gap standing in the way of your goal? If you purely need an MBA to be competitive for X job that is passible, but I would also mix in a personal development goal that is related to how well you might perform the job. For example: consulting might be the post-MBA goal, but developing public speaking or teamwork skills might be the personal development goal that also would make you better at the job. It makes for a more interesting essay and shows a bit about who you are.


3 - why you believe now is the right moment.


You need to bring a “timely” element to the above. Our family business is scaling very quickly and if I don’t become stronger/learn more about X we will miss out on X. I am sure they want to avoid laid off applicants seeking to wait things out in b-school. If you have a good reason to go now, you are more likely to be engaged, motivated and add value to the program.


4 - Moreover, share why you feel Kellogg is best suited to serve as a catalyst for your career aspirations.


This is to evaluate how serious you are about Kellogg – have you done enough research to know if they are uniquely well positioned to help you? It would be a good idea to mention something practical (i.e., Healthcare Entrepreneurship Track) and something related to cultural fit, if meshes with your “gaps.”


5 - and what you will contribute to our community of lifelong learners during your time here.


I really do not know why they say both “lifelong” and “during your time here” which seems inconsistent. So, I would recommend focusing on the “what you will contribute” aspect. This requires a fair amount of introspection and quite frankly my role as an external coach is extremely vital in helping clients figure this out.


I would not advise you list a bunch of clubs you plan to lead, but rather take a more backward look on how you have contributed in the past. What is your USP, your special sauce? As an example - one of my clients said, in his testimonial, “Farrell can say anything in 10 words or less.” Think more about the person you are bringing to Kellogg, your intrinsic BEING – what comes naturally - more than promises of DOING.


A few questions that might help get you started

  1. What are your areas of mastery, both personal & professional?
  2. What would the cohort miss out on if you weren’t there?
  3. What problems are you known for solving?
  4. When you are around others of a similar “profile,” how are you different?

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