Interview Prep Tips

Kellogg MBA Video Essay Prep



The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University is a pioneer in the use of video as part of the application process at their prestigious MBA program.

Kellogg made video a part of the admissions process back in 2013 and sources indicate that the relative importance of a candidate’s video essay has increased over time.  Therefore, prepping thoroughly for Kellogg’s MBA video essay is a key part of a successful applicant’s journey to admission.

Admissions staff at Kellogg value the video essay greatly since it allows them to get a better feel for who they are, in an environment that is not as staged as an essay (which some candidates even outright hire ghostwriters to pen them a perfect essay) or relentlessly drill for as the face to face interview.

We recently made a video that goes over some of the things I’m going to discuss in this article.  Take a look at the video but read on for more!

What to expect

Questions on the video interview tend to mix up classic MBA application questions (for example, “why do you want an MBA from Kellogg”, “what is your greatest achievement”, etc) with questions that would probably never make it to a formal face to face interview, such as “what is your favorite food?”.  This gives credence to what admissions has publicly stated as the purpose of the video interview – to simply get to know the applicant.

MBA Video Interviews are becoming increasingly important, but finding the right setting can be a challenge.

Recording the Kellogg video essay is a relatively straightforward process.  The interview is run on a platform managed by a company called Kira Talent.  You have to answer three questions.  Those questions are delivered in the form of a video recording, one at a time.  After hearing each question, the applicant has 20 seconds to prepare an answer and 60 seconds to respond.  There are no retries!

2020 Kellogg video essay questions

In the past, questions have been randomly drawn from a question bank.  However, due to the extraordinary events of 2020, Kellogg has changed their format slightly.

The first question asks you to introduce yourself to the admissions committee.

The second question asks about your interests and why Kellogg is the right program for you.

The third question is more complex and brings up the topics of the COVID-19 pandemic, racial issues becoming part of day to day discourse and deepening political divides.  Then the applicant is asked to explain how these issues have affected them and how the applicant has faced those challenges.

To be absolutely clear: You only have one chance to record those answers!  There are no retries!  Once you’ve recorded your answer there is no way you can record again.  The only exception is if there is a legitimate technical issue and the Kira staff verify that video was not captured or there was some other sort of problem.  If you ask Kellogg admissions to redo the video interview without a valid technical reason, your application will probably be flagged and not in a good way.

How to prepare for the video essay

A good way to avoid stressing out due to technical issues is testing the Kira platform before you start answering the Kellogg questions.  Kira has a helpful section on their website that explains in great details the technical step-by-step of recording video and what to do in case there are any technical issues.

Another big thing to look out for when preparing for the video interview is how unnatural it is to record yourself talking into your camera.  Everyone does selfie videos but this is quite a different experience!

Make sure you do lots of practice runs to familiarize yourself with recording video without anybody else on the other end.

Your question bank sample is on the way! You can practice live now at!
We’ve not been able to send you a Question Bank, but at Voomer you can start practicing with these questions now.

Get ahead of the competition

Voomer is a great way to get that practice since it was built from the ground up with this scenario in mind.  When it comes to doing well on interviews, there is only one way to improve and get ahead of the competition – practice, practice and more practice.

Questions on Voomer match what you’ll get on the Kellogg video essay 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 settings.

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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