A candidate meets the interview panel

How to Ace Northwestern Kellogg MBA Interview - Full Guide

March 13, 2024
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About Kellogg School of ManagementKellogg Interview ProcessHow Long Is the Kellogg MBA Interview?Kellogg Interview FormatHow to Prepare For the Kellogg Interview When Do Decisions Come Out?Northwestern Kellogg MBA Video InterviewTop Tips on How To Successfully Ace the Kellogg InterviewExample Questions For Kellogg MBA Interview

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. 

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 second 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 MBA 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 who 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.

Who Conducts Northwestern Kellogg MBA Interview?

Northwestern Kellogg MBA interviews are typically conducted by alumni, admissions officers, or current students. The interviewers only have access to the applicant's resume, not the full application. This is known as a "blind" interview format.

How Long Is the Kellogg MBA Interview?

Interviews are conducted virtually and typically last 30–60 minutes. They include questions about the applicant's background, career goals, reasons for pursuing an MBA, and interest in Kellogg specifically. Behavioral questions focused on teamwork and leadership are common.

Kellogg Interview Format

The format is usually a resume review, a discussion of career goals and why an MBA is needed, and a few behavioral questions focused on teamwork and leadership. The Kellogg MBA interview is a chance for the admissions committee to get to know applicants beyond their written application.

Some sample questions to be ready for:

  • Walk me through your resume
  • Why do you want an MBA? Why Kellogg?
  • What are your short and long-term career goals?
  • Describe a time you dealt with a difficult team situation
  • How will you contribute to the Kellogg community?


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.

When Do Decisions Come Out?

Kellogg MBA decisions come out at different intervals, depending on the program. Once decisions are made, Kellogg emails applicants a link to their application status page to view the admissions decision.

For the Full-Time MBA program:

Round Decision Release Date
1 December 13
2 March 27
3 May 8

For the Evening & Weekend MBA program, most applicants can expect a decision six to eight weeks after applying. The upcoming application deadlines are:

Term Application Deadline
Winter September 27
Spring January 3
Summer March 27
Fall June 5

For the Executive MBA program, candidates are admitted on a rolling basis and notified once a decision is made. Upcoming application deadlines are:

  • January 24 
  • April 3 
  • June 5 
  • August 14 
  • October 2

Kellogg encourages international applicants to apply in Round 1 or 2 to allow sufficient time for the visa process.

Northwestern Kellogg MBA Video Interview

The video essays allow Kellogg to get to know you beyond your written application. They want to see your personality, communication style, and fit with Kellogg's collaborative culture. The videos are the last part of your application that the admissions committee reviews, so it's a chance to leave a strong final impression.

Know What to Expect

You'll receive a link to record your videos within 96 hours of the application deadline.

There are three questions total, with 20 seconds to think and one minute to respond to each.

Question one asks you to introduce yourself and share something not in your resume. Questions two and three are randomly assigned behavioral or "Why Kellogg" questions.

Outline key points you want to make, but avoid memorizing responses so you seem natural. Practice recording yourself to get comfortable with the format and check your delivery. Reflect on stories and examples that highlight your personality and qualities Kellogg values like leadership, collaboration, and a growth mindset.

Use a computer, not a mobile device, and ensure you have a strong internet connection. Elevate your laptop to eye level and ensure your face is well-lit. Choose a quiet space where you won't be interrupted. Dress professionally, as if for an admissions interview.

Example Questions For Kellogg MBA Interview

Here are some common questions you can expect in a Kellogg MBA interview, along with tips on how to approach them:

Introductions and Resume Review

  1. Tell me about yourself. Walk me through your resume. 
  2. Tell me about something missing from your resume that you'd like to share.
  3. How have you grown in your career over the years?

Tips For a Successful Response

  • Be concise in summarizing your background and highlight key accomplishments, transitions, and learnings. 
  • For things not on your resume, focus on hobbies, volunteer work, or personal qualities you want to convey. 
  • Share how you've progressed and matured professionally.

Why MBA and Why Kellogg?

  1. Why do you want an MBA? Why now?
  2. Why Kellogg? How will Kellogg help you achieve your goals?
  3. What unique contribution will you bring to Kellogg? 
  4. How do you envision being involved in the Kellogg community?

Tips For a Successful Response:

  • Clearly articulate your motivations for an MBA and why it's the right time in your career. 
  • Show you've done your research on Kellogg, its culture, and its offerings. 
  • Mention specific classes, clubs, and programs that interest you. 
  • Demonstrate what you'll contribute and how you'll engage.

Behavioral and Fit Questions

  1. Tell me about a time you dealt with a difficult teammate or experienced team conflict.
  2. Describe a misconception others have about you.
  3. Share an example of how you created value or came up with an innovative solution.

Tips For a Successful Response:

  • Use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to concisely share examples. 
  • Highlight leadership, collaboration, creativity, and a growth mindset - qualities Kellogg values. 
  • Show your personality and ability to self-reflect and grow from challenges.

Career Goals

  1. What are your short and long-term career goals? 
  2. What is your backup plan if those goals don't work out?

Tips For a Successful Response:

  • Clearly articulate your post-MBA and long-term career vision. 
  • Show you've thought through how an MBA, and Kellogg specifically, will help you get there. 
  • Have an alternate path in mind to show you're adaptable.

The keys are to know your story, practice delivering concise examples demonstrating fit with Kellogg's collaborative culture, and let your personality shine through. With preparation, you'll be able to authentically convey why you're a great fit for Kellogg.

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!


If you still have questions about the Kellogg MBA interview, we’ve got you covered. View our FAQ section for all your answers.

1. How Much Will The Interviewer Know About Me During The Interview?

The interviewer will have reviewed your resume, essays, and other application materials before the interview. They will be familiar with your background, work experience, career goals, and reasons for wanting to attend Kellogg.

However, don't assume they have memorized every detail. Be prepared to walk through your resume and highlight key points. Have examples and stories ready to elaborate on things mentioned in your essays.

2. How Personal Will The Interview Questions Get?

Kellogg interviews focus on your professional experiences and goals. They may touch on personal motivations or challenges you've overcome, but the emphasis remains on your career trajectory and how an MBA fits into your plans. Expect insightful questions, not intrusive ones.

3. What Can I Do To Relieve My Nervousness?

Nerves are natural before a big interview like Kellogg's. Here's how to manage them:

  • Preparation is key: Review your application, practice answering common questions, and research Kellogg's program thoroughly. Confidence comes from knowing your material.
  • Focus on the conversation: It's not a performance, but an opportunity to connect with an alum or admissions officer. Be present and engaged.
  • Remember your worth: You've been invited for a reason! Your background is impressive. Focus on what you can contribute to the Kellogg community.
  • Breathe: Simple deep breaths before and during the interview can calm both your mind and body.

4. Will My Application Lose Value Or Get Tossed Out If I Miss My Interview Time?

Kellogg does not explicitly state that missing your interview will cause your application to be rejected. However, the interview is a critical part of the evaluation process, allowing the admissions committee to assess your communication skills, interpersonal abilities, and overall fit with the program. Failing to complete the interview would leave a significant gap in your application.

5. What Should I Wear To The Interview, Virtual, On-Campus, Or Off?

Kellogg's interview invitations often specify a dress code, typically business casual. If a dress code is stated, be sure to follow it. Failing to adhere to the recommended attire could signal an inability to follow directions.

Business casual generally means slacks or khakis and a collared shirt or blouse - no suit required. However, interpretations can vary by industry. When in doubt, err on the side of being slightly overdressed rather than underdressed.

Even for virtual interviews, dress as you would for an in-person meeting. Wearing professional attire will boost your confidence and convey that you're taking the opportunity seriously.

6. How Do I Balance Being Sincere With The Need To Stay Professional And Composed?

Kellogg wants to see the real you but within a professional context. Here's how to strike that balance:

  • Share with purpose: Connect your personal stories to your professional goals. Why does a particular experience fuel your ambition for an MBA?
  • Be concise and focused: Avoid overly long, rambling answers. Share the highlights of your story that demonstrate the qualities Kellogg values.
  • Manage emotions: It's okay to show enthusiasm, but avoid getting overly emotional. Maintain composure even when discussing challenging topics.
  • Find your authentic voice: Don't try to be someone you're not. Use language that feels natural to you while remaining professional.

Remember, Kellogg values authenticity as much as professionalism.  Focus on showcasing your best self in a clear, compelling manner.

Final Thoughts

Acing your Kellogg MBA interview is all about striking the right balance between sincerity and professionalism. It's essential to let your personality and passions shine through, while still treating the interaction with the respect and maturity it deserves.

Prepare thoroughly, but don't script your responses to the point of sounding robotic. Have faith in your ability to add value to the Kellogg community and let that confidence guide your delivery. Focus on engaging with your interviewer, providing specific examples, and clearly articulating your fit with the program.

So take a deep breath, trust in your preparation, and approach the interview as an opportunity to share your authentic self. Manage your nerves, and maintain your poise, but don't be afraid to let your passion for Kellogg and your future goals come through.

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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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