Founded in 1908 as The School of Commerce, the Kellogg School of Business is among the oldest management schools in the world — it gained its current name in 1979 after a donation from the John L. and Helen Kellogg Foundation.
Located near the vibrant city of Chicago, Illinois, its parent institution is the lauded Northwestern University. Kellogg consistently ranks in the top five schools in the USA by U.S. News & World Report and in the world by Forbes.
This school offers two standard programs: a one-year full-time MBA and a two-year full-time MBA. The former is often taken by established professionals looking to move up in their careers. The latter offers extensive education for recently graduated college students or those moving into the business world from another field.
Whatever program you choose, competition is intense, and as a result, it takes excellent prep work before you apply to ensure you have a higher probability of admission.
This guide will show you how to get into Kellogg and provide some helpful information to craft the best possible Kellogg application. It will also help you understand the level of competition you might end up facing.
About Kellogg School of Management
Kellogg School of Management’s mission is, “To educate, equip and inspire brave leaders who build strong organizations and wisely leverage the power of markets to create lasting value.”
This speaks well to what Kellogg is known for, which is a legacy of alumni who have left a lasting impact on the world. Kellogg’s notable alumni include Arthur E. Andersen, the founder of Accenture, and Peter G. Peterson, the founder of The Blackstone Group.
Kellogg has also given rise to many prominent web-based companies that have shaped our modern world. Examples include Kayak.com and OpenTable.
Additionally, students at Kellogg School of Management are known for their impact on and contributions to the communities surrounding the school. Student contributions include notable events like the Charity Auction Ball and a variety of cultural clubs for students of all types.
Kellogg’s students can vote on issues important to them. One of the most prominent votes resulted in their collective decision not to disclose grades to any recruiters.
The school is prestigious, and as a result, its graduates often go on to find great success upon completing their education. Furthermore, evening and weekend programs, executive, MMM, JD-MBA, Ph.D. degrees, and an Asset Management program are available, in addition to standard program offerings.
Students may study at satellite campuses in Evanston, Illinois, and Miami, Florida. Adventurous students can take advantage of international campuses through Kellogg’s overseas exchange programs at institutions in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Canada, and Australia.
Level of Competition
Because of its notable offerings and alumni network, competition for admission into the Kellogg school of business is intense.
The average Kellogg School of Management GMAT score achieved by admitted students is usually around 730, and Kellog’s GMAT range is 630 to 780. Use this Kellogg MBA average GMAT score as an indication of what you should aim for.
The average undergraduate GPA of Kellogg’s admitted students is about 3.6. The average verbal and quantitative Kellogg GRE scores are around 163 for each section. These are impressive scores, and they reflect the fierce competition to gain admission.
The majority of students enrolling at Kellogg are coming from undergraduate majors like economics or business. However, a significant number also come from humanities and STEM fields.
Additionally, students typically have around five years of work experience before applying. Regardless of previous schooling experiences, those admitted represent the best of the best among their peers.
Beyond academics, those who apply to the Kellogg School of Management tend to have a good idea of their dream trajectory and what it takes to get there, so you should, too. Think about your exceptional skills and achievements.
Do not be afraid to reach out and connect with people from Kellogg.
It is a great idea to reach out to others who have attended within your company or social circle. This will help you better understand the school’s competitive spirit and environment. Keep your ears open during these interactions; you may learn tips that can give you a competitive edge.
Kellogg states that, beyond grades and test scores, their admitted students tend to be those who have made an impact in their communities and have clear, well-thought-out ideas and plans to continue to impact the world. They are confident and self-assured, yet able to accept criticism and work with others to bring to life concepts and businesses that will benefit the world.
Requirements and How to Apply
It is best to know exactly what to expect to prepare yourself for the fierce competition associated with applying to the Kellogg school of business. Before you start, always remember that every step requires you to be your true, authentic self.
There is no “ideal” type of person that Kellogg is seeking, and you should not think you have to change your entire personality just to improve your chances of acceptance. Instead, emphasize your strengths while understanding your limits and explain how you are able to work past them.
Kellogg School of Management Admission Requirements
The Kellogg MBA requirements include the following:
- A four-year bachelor’s degree or an equivalent degree from an accredited institution
- GMAT or GRE scores from within the last five years
- For international applicants: a TOEFL or IELTS score (certain exceptions may apply; contact the admissions office for more information)
- Professional experience in the business world, with notable aspects emphasizing how your jobs influenced you (military service accepted)
- Official transcripts from your undergraduate institution
- Paying the $250 application fee or applying for a fee waiver
International candidates are held to the same standards. But they should ensure that their degree is equivalent to a four-year, accredited baccalaureate degree from the United States.
Letters of Recommendation
In addition to the above, you will need to have letters of recommendation for your Kellogg application. These should be written by professional references with whom you have a long relationship and have worked on important projects.
Choose people who know you well from work or school settings — you need to have met with them more than once. It is helpful if you know they are likely to say “yes” to your request to write a letter. Good candidates are bosses or supervisors, professors, and business professionals.
Be sure to give them plenty of time to write the letter, and it is acceptable to send them formal, polite reminders via email every so often about the letter. Your letters should meet the following criteria:
- At least two letters of recommendation that respond to prompts similar to the following:
- “Kellogg has a diverse student body and values students who are inclusive and encouraging of others with differing perspectives and backgrounds. Please tell us about a time when you witnessed the candidate living these values. (300 words)”
- “How does the candidate’s performance compare to those of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? Please provide specific examples. (300 words)”
- “Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the candidate. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response. (250 words)”
MBA Admissions Essays
The Kellogg business school admissions office also requires you to create well-written MBA essays answering questions similar to the following:
- “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)”
- “Values are what guide you in your life and work. What values are important to you and how have they influenced you? (450 words)”
You also get an optional third essay. You may wish to use it to cover any gaps in your résumé or any academic weaknesses in your application.
The video essays are of particular note and represent a unique opportunity. They might seem like an unusual requirement, but these essays are used to get a sense of your unique personality.
There are three required video essays. The questions asked often touch upon your ability for introspection, your unique strengths, and how you go about planning and problem-solving in ways that are not captured on résumés or CVs.
The questions are rather open-ended, so you should avoid rambling, but do feel free to explain your thought process and make a case for yourself with specific experiences and ideas.
Examples of prompts you may encounter are as follows:
“Video essay 1: Please introduce yourself to the admissions committee.
– Consider this your opportunity to share what you would want your future Kellogg classmates and our admissions committee to know about you. What makes you, you?”
“Video essay 2: What path are you interested in pursuing, how will you get there, and why is this program right for you?
– This is an intentionally broad question so you can answer honestly and meaningfully. We want to know why you’re pursuing an MBA and why you’re choosing a particular Kellogg Full-Time Program.”
Video essay 3: This is usually a question related to current events or major themes that affected everyone throughout the year and your response to them. Be sure to keep up with world events and news to be prepared for this one.
It is a good idea to practice your answers before filming your responses to these three prompts. You get 20 seconds to consider the question and up to one minute to respond. Expect the entire process to take around half an hour.
You do not get any chances to redo these video essays, and you have 96 hours after submitting the application to complete them. However, you can take advantage of Kellogg’s practice questions to get comfortable with the recording process and technology.
If Kellogg likes your application, they may invite you for a virtual interview. Remember to dress professionally and look your best for these interviews — just as if they were live and in-person. Don’t forget to be mindful of your background.
There are three rounds in the application cycle. The first two give you the best chance to get scholarships or funding. The first two rounds also give you the opportunity to meet other applicants and students during on-campus visits.
The deadlines usually fall around mid-September, the beginning of January, and the beginning of April for rounds 1, 2, and 3, respectively. Remember — begin your application process well before these dates!
Top Tips on How to Get Into Kellogg Business School
Now that you know how to get into Kellogg business school, we will present a few tips that will prove helpful for you.
Question the Status Quo
Kellogg School of Management values applicants who “can motivate a team to drive impact [and] Are not afraid to question the status quo and seek the non-obvious solutions.” So, be sure to emphasize specific examples of how you will do this and show your ability to meet these standards.
Describe your intellect, curiosity, energy, and creative capacity. Emphasize your diverse range of interactions and experiences and your eagerness for collaboration. Remember to be specific and to ask your letter writers to provide specific examples.
Your Work Experience Matters
Solid intellectual performance during your previous education is expected, as is work experience. Acquiring meaningful work experience will undoubtedly improve your MBA profile and chances of admission.
Most of Kellogg’s full-time MBA applicants have five years of work experience under their belts before enrolling. However, the quality of your work experience matters more than the quantity of it.
Graham Richmond, a former admission officer at UPenn's Wharton School, says, “I’ve seen wonderful candidates with just one to two years of experience and others that clearly would benefit from more ‘seasoning’ in the professional world.”
Ideally, your work experience will show Kellogg’s admissions committee you have strong managerial and professional potential. Increasing levels of responsibility and progression in your career also indicate you are dedicated, hardworking, and ready to take on an MBA.
Furthermore, you should have strong values and be ready to explain how and why you maintain them.
Kellogg Interview Tips
The Kellogg interview is your chance to meet face-to-face with an admissions official.
Unlike many other MBA interviews, Kellogg’s takes a behavioral-based approach. This means that your interviewer will simulate a work situation, ask you questions surrounding it, and see how you deal with the scenario.
This form of interview aims to see how you approach new and challenging situations with your current knowledge. The interviewer will almost certainly throw some unexpected questions at you, so stay calm and draw on your experiences.
Practice makes perfect with interviews; arranging several mock interviews will familiarize you with the interview format and help combat any pre-interview nerves. Your interviewer just wants to know more about you! Using specific stories is a great way to engage with your interviewer.
Additionally, do your research and identify common MBA interview questions. If you have a rough idea of what your Kellogg business school admissions interviewer may ask you about, you can prepare for it.
An essential part of the Kellog interview process is communicating with the interviewer. So, be prepared to talk about yourself without sounding like you are bragging or boasting while highlighting your strengths and knowing limitations you are prepared to overcome.
Pursue Excellent Extracurricular Activities
Beyond the basics and expected aspects of applying, remember that extracurricular activities and volunteer experiences are good to have, and you should mention them wherever applicable.
Although your extracurricular activities may not be the most important factor in Kellogg’s admissions decision process, impressive extracurriculars will help you get in.
Tie your experiences with these activities into your ability to lead others and your development of problem-solving skills. Explain why you chose the particular activities and how they reflect your values and commitments. Describe how your various activities reflect your goal-setting mindset and passion for success.
If your extracurricular activities demonstrate an ongoing passion or interest of yours, it shows you are a persistent individual. However, it is important that your extracurriculars reflect a genuine interest of yours.
You may only apply to one program at a time. Persevere and re-apply if you do not gain admission the first time around.
Your re-application process will require new letters of recommendation, new answers to the essay prompts, and new interviews. If you already have a GMAT, GRE, or TOEFL score from a previous year, then there is no need to update scores. If you believe you can improve your scores to become significantly more competitive, it may be worth retaking your exam.
If you are waitlisted, you can submit additional information, such as your list of schools under consideration, which helps admissions officers understand how much you wish to attend Kellogg and what other options you may receive. Plus, you can send any professional or personal updates that have affected your interest in Kellogg.
Do not have your recommendation writers submit additional letters of their own or ask to speak to the admissions committee. If they wish to speak to you or your letter writers, an admissions officer will reach out directly.
Kellogg MBA FAQ
Getting into Kellogg’s MBA program is tricky. However, we’ve compiled several questions and answers to make the Kellogg application process as painless as possible.
1. Is Kellogg a Renowned Business School with a Good Reputation?
Yes, Kellogg is world-renowned with an excellent reputation, and its alumni have gone on to found prominent businesses and lead some of the world’s largest companies. Notable examples include Kayak.com and Accenture.
2. Are the Kellogg MBA Admissions Statistics Competitive?
Yes, Kellogg’s admissions statistics are highly competitive; Kellogg’s acceptance rate is 27.9%.
Be sure to have excellent academics and an outstanding admissions packet ready to submit if your dream is to gain acceptance to this school. Remember to practice for your three video interviews thoroughly!
3. Should I Have a Good LinkedIn Profile Ready Before Applying to Kellogg?
Yes, and be sure your social media presence is professional and reflects your best self.
Emphasize your business interests and leadership experiences. Be sure to check for typos or missing information so that if an admissions officer does see your profile, it reflects the best version of you.
4. What Is the Student Environment Like at Kellogg?
Students at the Kellogg School of Management enjoy excellent on- and off-campus opportunities and experiences.
You are sure to have many meaningful interactions at the school’s Global Hub, which is the central place for learning, networking, events, and much more. Numerous social clubs exist on campus for students of varying backgrounds and interests.
Off-campus, the Chicago business world is ready for you to discover. Plus, the city of Chicago itself offers an excellent and vibrant arts scene, museums, lakefront, parks, and much more.
5. What Are the Video Interviews Like?
The video interviews are a unique part of the application process for the Kellogg School of Management. You must do them within 96 hours after submitting your application, using the interface the school provides.
There are three prompts (described above) that allow you 20 seconds to read and must be answered within one minute. It is best to practice your answers beforehand. Be honest, open, and engaging in your responses. You cannot redo or re-submit your replies, so be sure you know what you want to cover and can deliver it in under one minute.
6. Are There Research Opportunities Available at Kellogg?
Kellogg may be famous for its excellent business education programs, but plentiful research opportunities are also on offer.
Researchers at Kellogg investigate everything from drug spending and capital accumulation to e-commerce models and social efficiency. They regularly publish papers in journals like The Quarterly Journal of Economics and Perspectives in Psychological Science.
Furthermore, the school itself has founded two journals: the Journal of Economics and Management Strategy and Games and Economic Behavior.
7. What Are My Prospects After Graduating from the Kellogg School of Management?
Your prospects upon graduating from Kellogg are excellent. Around 95 percent of graduates receive a job offer after just three months post-graduation.
With an alumni network of more than 65,000, you have fantastic networking opportunities available to you, as well. Beyond these immediate benefits, you have continuing career development options available to you. Don’t forget the benefits of having an MBA earned at the world-renowned Kellogg School of Management.
Getting Into Kellogg Isn’t Easy, but It’s Worth the Effort
The Kellogg school of business is world-renowned for a reason. Your decision to apply reflects both your passion and commitment to succeed.
While it may include some unconventional application procedures, such as the video essays, these are designed so that you can present your best self to the admissions officers. Be sure to include outstanding letters of recommendation and a strong résumé, and be ready to explain how your career experiences are relevant.
Take advantage of this opportunity and make sure to have polished, prepared answers ready to go, as well as the ability to respond and think on your feet. Getting into Kellogg isn’t easy. However, with a little preparation and time, you can surely achieve your dream of attending the Kellogg School of Management.