A candidate meets the interview panel

How To Ace The Kellogg Interview

November 17, 2023
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Part 1. IntroductionPart 2. About Kellogg School of ManagementPart 3. Kellogg Interview Process Part 4. How to Prepare For the Kellogg Interview Part 5. Top Tips on How To Successfully Ace the Kellogg InterviewPart 6. FAQsPart 7. Conclusion

Introduction

Every aspect of a solid MBA program application deserves to receive diligent attention; you stand the best chance of being accepted if every part of your application is the best it can be. With that said, each different part and stage of the application process has its own considerations, so it’s essential to prepare with this in mind. 

And while there are many daunting challenges within different components of a complete application, the interview is certainly one hurdle with which applicants tend to struggle. When applying to a prestigious MBA program like the Kellogg School of Management, it’s always worthwhile to understand as much as you can about the interview process. 

Along with this, staying mindful of the best studying practices will ensure that when you come to the interview stage, you’ll feel secure in your ability to deliver your story in the most compelling and composed way possible.

With that said, if you'd like to learn how to ace the Kellogg interview - you’ve come to the right place!

About Kellogg School of Management 

Since its establishment in 1908 (founded as The School of Commerce), Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management has educated future professionals on how to influence business practices in the name of meaningful progress. 

This mission has not gone unnoticed. Kellogg is ranked fourth in best business schools and third in part-time MBAs by U.S. News. Kellogg boasts rigorous instruction that merges theory and practices behind business fundamentals, leaving its students equipped to make informed decisions once they enter the business world. 

And enter the workforce, they do. In fact, 95% of recent Kellogg MBA graduates receive a job offer within three months of graduation.

As far as degree tracks go, Kellogg offers many unique MBA programs, including a one-year MBA, a two-year MBA, the highly respected MMM and MBAi dual degree programs, and a renowned part-time MBA for students with other commitments. 

The MMM and MBAi formats result from Kellogg’s collaboration with Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, which demonstrates the institution’s strive to integrate as many disciplines into its business education as it can. 

In doing so, Kellogg ensures that the motivated and academically impressive students that graduate with a Kellogg MBA tackle the challenges of their professional careers with a truly well-rounded perspective.   

Kellogg Interview Process

The interview stage of the Kellogg MBA application process provides applicants with information about Kellogg’s broader community and allows the admissions committee to learn more about applicants’ motivations and characters. 

When you apply, you’ll receive the option to request an interview, either on-campus or off. Kellogg’s application guidelines make it very clear that interview requests are final. Once the interview is set, you may not change your time slot. 

If you cannot attend the interview as scheduled, you’ll receive an interview waiver that permits your application to proceed to consideration without the interview. Missing the interview takes away your opportunity to demonstrate your communication skills and personality, so it’s best to keep your appointment. 

Interview waivers aren’t only sent to those who miss their interviews. To combat high interview demand and shortage of interviewers, Kellogg’s admissions committee may send applicants an interview waiver. 

If this happens, you may be contacted by the admissions committee to provide further personal information to fill in any gaps left by the unfulfilled interview.

The Kellogg interview is critical to understand if you want to make sure you prepare for it properly. The interview is behavioral-based, meaning that the questions you’re given will assess how you react to work situations and how you pull from past experiences to inform real-time decisions. 

This structure may seem intimidating, but it confirms your ability to navigate extenuating business circumstances and stressful expectations. It’s by no means a trial-by-fire. The interviewers want to see how you contextualize challenges and go about finding solutions, independently or based on the actions of others. 

These sorts of interviews are challenging, of course, but with adequate preparation and a proper mindset, they can bring out the best in you.

How to Prepare for the Kellogg Interview

Knowing that the admissions interview at Kellogg is behavioral-based puts you in a better position as you start to plan how to tackle this step of the process. Start by looking up examples of behavioral-based interview questions so you can get a better feel for how these questions are presented and how they vary. 

Reviewing example questions is a great way to prepare for interviews because they provide you an idea of what questions will be asked during the interview. Example questions also help you practice the critical thinking necessary to answer these questions in a timely fashion.

Take note that speed isn’t the only factor in a good admissions interview. As you prepare for the interview, and when you’re in the midst of it, focus more on answering questions well and completely rather than striving to seem smarter by answering questions immediately. Ten good answers will get you closer to being accepted than twenty short, incoherent ones.

Along with practicing answering interview questions, you should think about the kinds of values and experiences you’d like your interview answers to center around or reflect.

Thinking about these things ahead of time will allow you to insert or incorporate them easier into the conversation. By doing this, your answers will come out more naturally and convincingly. 

Additionally, you’ll benefit from thinking about what you want the interviewer to know, which will help you seem more authentic. Introduce real and compelling examples and ordeals into your interview answers. Your interviewer will be more likely to perceive you as honest, motivated, and engaging, rather than stilted and over-thinking. 

Once you adequately prepare for and think carefully about both sides of the interview, you’ll feel more confident and be ready to ace your interview. Utilize this confidence and let it echo in your demeanor. 

Not only will your delivery of answers and general rapport-building benefit, but your interviewer will also feel encouraged in your skill of balancing pressures and staying composed during challenges. 

As you apply for Kellogg, these attributes will help you stand out from the crowd and increase the likelihood you get accepted.

Top Tips on How To Successfully Ace the Kellogg Interview 

When preparing for your Kellogg interview, the priority should be research. As previously stated in this article, you shouldn’t limit or prolong your progress by not preparing for the interview’s structure and requirements. 

Know what to expect in terms of duration, types of questions asked, and any information you can find on who will conduct your interview and what they’ll already know about you. Reading up on articles about MBA interviews and business conduct doesn’t hurt, as you never know what tips may help you ace your interview.

From there, the key to interview success also relies on your proficiency in interviewing in the behavioral-based format chosen by Kellogg. Seek out mock interviews to gauge your proficiency in this interview format. 

In addition to mock interviews, you should cushion your interview skills with as many sample questions as you can find. By witnessing a wider variety of questions, you’ll get better at the fundamental thought processes involved in answering questions well, instead of having answers ready ahead of time. 

Preparing this way is crucial because it gives you better insight into how interviews flow, and it decreases the likelihood of being stumped by any unexpected questions. 

After all this practice, you’ll have the necessary skills to succeed during your Kellogg’s interview. So, what else could be left? The last aspect of truly sound preparation lies in outside feedback. One way to gain this feedback is to have a friend or roommate feed you questions and record your responses. 

Afterward, you’ll have the opportunity to look over the recording(s) to see where you excelled and where you could use some improvement. You’ll gain an appreciation for how your demeanor and conversational tendencies can impact the answers you might give to an admissions interviewer. 

For a more official form of feedback, application consulting that you trust can be a good source of insight, which is typically more objective than the feedback given by friends or family. 

Following the outside help stage of your interview application, stay mindful of what you gained from it, and use this to substantiate faith in yourself. After all, that feedback was a vote of confidence in your ability to ace the interview.

The most significant benefit to all this preparation lies in the security it's meant to give you when you embark on your actual interview. There is no sure way to know that you’ll be ready for any question the interviewer will ask you. 

So, the next best thing is to feel confident that you won’t stumble with potential questions. Think about it this way: you already have all the information you need to answer any question you’ll receive during the Kellogg interview. 

The questions will be about you, and you’re the leading expert in that topic!

FAQs

1. How much will the interviewer know about me during the interview?

Whoever the Kellogg admissions committee selects to interview you, they will have read and will have a copy of your resume. However, they will NOT have read any other part of your application or done any preliminary research on you or your background. 

Kellogg formats the interview process this way to ensure that the interviewer has as little of a chance to develop biases for or against you before you get the chance to describe yourself and your goals during the interview. 

It also reduces the chances any y conflicts of interest arise between the applicant and the interviewer based on their educational background and/or work experience. With that said, Kellogg interviewers prepare in this way so that all information and emotion presented to the interviewer comes straight from the source: you. 

The overarching objective of the interview is for the admissions committee to gauge your communication skills and ability to handle pressure and unexpected questions. So, keep in mind that the interviewer won’t understand references to your application. 

You must tell your stories and explain your insights thoroughly, as, for all intents and purposes, you’re talking to a complete stranger.  

2. How personal will the interview questions get?

While the Kellogg admissions committee wants to get some sense of your personality and character, the interview is still focused on conduct and communication. 

The questions, even the ones regarding personal matters or experiences, will most likely remain quite vague. By doing this, the interviewer lessens the chances that they might overstep with a question or receive an answer that lacks real value to your admissions decision. 

Also, by introducing vague questions, the interviewer allows you to fill in more gaps with your knowledge and accounts of your education and work history. 

If the answer to a question comes more from you and not the question itself, the more authentic you’ll come across. This will help the interviewer see you as a trustworthy source of information, who isn’t trying to stuff as many buzzwords as possible into answers.

3. What can I do so that I’m not too nervous before/during the interview?

Handling stress and anxiety is a significant and deliberate challenge sown into the interview process. The admissions committee wants to determine how well you overcome high-pressure situations to deliver the necessary information. 

The business world is not one without its pressures and expectations, so the committee’s desire to assess your stress-coping does come from a suitable place, professionally speaking. So, your goal going into the interview shouldn’t be to appear totally relaxed and nonchalant. 

The interviewer will already expect you to be nervous so that they may see this as ingenuine; plus, coming across as nonchalant may paint you out to be dismissive or indicate a lack of investment in the application process. Instead of embracing a mantra of “don’t be nervous, don’t be nervous, don’t be nervous,” repeat to yourself, “you don’t have to be nervous.” 

After all, you don’t. You know the answers, and it’s not like the interviewer will go out of their way to intimidate you. Be professional but friendly, keep your breathing even and slow, and enjoy a conversation almost solely about you and your desires. 

4. Will my application lose value or get tossed out if I miss my interview time?

Kellogg makes it very clear that failure to attend your interview will not adversely affect your chances of being accepted to the MBA program. The college understands that there will always be unavoidable challenges and emergencies that come up in life. 

If you do miss the interview, try not to worry. The admissions committee still has all the information they need to make an informed decision regarding your acceptance. If they don’t, they’ll reach out to you so that your application maintains a fair chance of acceptance. 

The downside of missing or waiving the interview is that your application and the information within will be subject to the admissions committee’s interpretation. So, it’s in your best interest to attend your interview so you can add a personal touch to your application.

5. What should I wear to the interview, virtual, on-campus, or off?

An intelligent outfit is an excellent addition to your interview, even if it isn’t in person. Kellogg doesn’t explicitly outline any dress code or expectations around clothing for the interview, but this doesn’t mean you should wear whatever. 

Again, you’re applying to a business management degree program. Your outfit is part of your overall presentation in the business world, so style and clothing are important. 

By wearing something nice, functional, and appropriate to the interview, you convey that you’re taking this step seriously and that you know how to carry yourself.

6. How do I balance being sincere and unstilted with the need to stay professional and composed?

This question is, honestly, pretty complicated. The balance between being authentic and still appropriately reserved is crucial, but this is also true in business and finance. 

If you get too caught up focusing on how your responses sound from a delivery point of view, you run the risk of edging towards sounding robotic or dubious. Instead of trying to keep the tone of your answers perfectly professional, focus on the conversation. Remind yourself that you’re interviewing for an educational opportunity. 

Draw on your experience speaking to employers, professors, and clients. You’ll find it much easier to communicate appropriately and calmly if you think less about how your answers sound and more about how you’re connecting with the person who’s interviewing you.

Conclusion

The interview stage of your application to the Kellogg School of Management is just that: one stage. A poorly executed interview isn’t sure to sink your application, just as a perfectly composed interview will not guarantee your acceptance. The key in how to ace the Kellogg interview is all about preparation. 

As said multiple times in this article, you have all the answers to any question in the interview. You’re the only person who knows the answers, given that all the questions are about you. Practice ahead of time by answering sample questions from behavioral-based interviews.

Get some experience answering questions in real-time by having a friend feed you questions or enroll in a mock interview. Keep your interview time and date on every calendar you own, but if something comes up and you miss it, remind yourself that this doesn’t doom your chances. 

Once you finally find yourself at the interview, you’ll ace it if you stay calm and composed, answer authentically, and earnestly express why you have decided to pursue a Kellogg MBA specifically. 

Demonstrate what Kellogg’s MBA will provide you in terms of your career aspirations, and illustrate what Kellogg stands to benefit from bringing you on board. Finally, remember to thank the interviewer for their time and interest in what you say. Do all of this, and you can consider your Kellogg interview aced!  

About Inspira Futures

At Inspira Futures, our sole focus is to get you accepted at your dream business school. Our team of experts consists of former admission committee members and alums from Harvard Business School, Stanford GSB, and other M7 schools. Our goal is to help you write great essays, ace interviews, and win scholarships. Without any stress or hassle. Our clients have gone on to secure admits at the world's top business schools while also being winners of some of the most prestigious scholarships like Stanford Knight Hennessy, HBS Baker Scholars, and many others.
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