Interview Prep Tips

Kellogg MBA application essay review

So you’ve decided to apply to an MBA, congratulations!  This is a great first step towards taking part in a transformative experience that will be with you for the rest of your life.

No matter what program you’ve decided to apply to, the application process usually follows the same steps:

  1. Prep for the GMAT or GRE and get a competitive score
  2. Write one or more compelling essays
  3. Collect and submit letters of recommendation, transcripts and an updated CV
  4. If the above three items paint an interesting picture, you’ll get invited to an interview

Today, we’ll talk about how you should think about your essays.

What should I write about in the Kellogg essay?

The answer to that question seems extraordinarily simple – just use the prompt that was given to you by the Kellogg admissions department.  This year (class of 2023) Kellogg requires all applicants to write two essays:

  1. First essay
Kellogg’s purpose is to educate, equip and inspire brave 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)

2. Second essay

Values are what guide you in your life and work. What values are important to you and how have they influenced you? (450 words)

If you are applying to the 1Y MBA program, the joint JD-MBA program, the MMM program or if this is not the first time applying to Kellogg, you have to submit a program specific, additional essay.

So I just answer those questions?

Yes, but do so in a way that you avoid the number 1 mistake we see applicants make over and over – repeating information already available somewhere else.

As part of your application, you’ve updated your CV – there is a lot of information on that document.  To name a few that you’d typically find on a CV, names of companies you’ve worked at, highlights of the results you managed to accomplish, your job titles, etc.

Does it make sense to repeat all of that on the essays?  Nope.

Do lots of applicants fall into that trap and repeat information already documented on their CVs?  Yep.

Do you think admissions likes to read essays that talk about things already discussed somewhere else in your application?  I’ll let you answer that one…

Answering the first essay on your Kellogg application

Notice how the prompt talks about “lasting value”.  That is a great clue that will help you write a truly impactful essay.

CVs are normally broken down into tightly timeboxed periods, mostly linked to job titles.  This makes telling stories about how you created value in ways that crossed departments, job titles, years, etc very hard in a CV.  So the first essay should focus on that.  

Kellogg MBA essay review. Don’t miss this important step.



You could talk about how you mentored someone over several years and how they grew.  Or how a project you started as an analyst at a company was built upon by others even as you moved to another department.

On that first question, you want to tell admissions about things that the rest of your application cannot answer.

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Answering the second essay on your Kellogg application

Here the situation is very similar to the above point.  It pays to read the question carefully.  The question talks about “your life and work”.

This is a great cue for us to go beyond our work experience and talk about the impact that our values have had in our personal lives.

So you could talk about how values guided you through a issue with your family, with a friend that needed help, etc.  Things that are impossible to capture in the rest of your CV.

Conclusion and special offer – free Kellogg essay review

The Kellogg admissions department gives you the opportunity to branch out from your CV and work experience – take those opportunities.  It helps to make admissions life a lot easier and reading your essays more interesting – ultimately, improving your odds!

At Voomer, we are offering free Kellogg MBA essay reviews for a limited time.  

Just use our MBA interview prep platform (also free!) and we’ll review one of your essays.

Questions on Voomer match what you’ll get on the Kellogg video interview and after going through a set of questions, you’ll get an artificial intelligence powered report on your results with specific, actionable steps you can take to improve your performance.

Your response is broken down into multiple components and analyzed individually and then as a whole.  From delivery to content to body language and camera position.

By David Anderton-Yang

David Anderton-Yang is the CEO and co-founder of Voomer where AI as a force for good, helping people be more confident on video.

He is a former researcher at the MIT Media Lab, Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree.

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