What Does Kellogg Look For In MBA Candidates?



As an M7 school, Kellogg is a sought-after MBA program for many applicants. For any business school that you apply to, it’s imperative that you understand the qualities that each is seeking in candidates so that you can demonstrate knowledge of the school as well as fit.

So, what does Kellogg look for in candidates? In short, these include impactful leadership, intellectual ability, and interpersonal skills. Below I elaborate on each one.

Impactful leadership

Impactful leadership is a quality that is ranked very highly at Kellogg and is reflected right on its website, namely to “develop brave leaders who inspire growth in people, organizations, and markets.” Think about your own experiences; through projects and initiatives that you have led, both in the workplace and through your extracurricular activities, how have you positively made a difference to people and organizations? Additionally, how do you plan to make a difference in the future as a leader? As with any top business school, you should be able to clearly articulate your career goals. Kellogg will draw upon your examples of impactful leadership throughout your application (such as your essays and recommendation letters) to determine whether you will be an impactful leader as a student and as you pursue your post-MBA goals.


Intellectual ability

Given an increasingly talented candidate pool (which has resulted in an uptick in Kellogg’s average GMAT score over the years), it is imperative to demonstrate your intellectual prowess through your application. Kellogg will assess your intellectual ability, and in particular, your analytical and quantitative skills, in multiple ways – through your undergraduate GPA, GMAT/GRE score, and professional work experience. These metrics give Kellogg the confidence that a candidate will be able to handle the rigor of its MBA curriculum.

Interpersonal skills

Kellogg wants to ensure that a candidate will be “all in” when immersing himself/herself in its community; this includes fully engaging in the classroom as well as in extracurricular activities. An important element of doing so is being able to demonstrate strong interpersonal skills – for instance, the ability to collaborate with others, communicate well, and be self-aware. Kellogg will evaluate a candidate’s interpersonal qualities through the application, the video essay, and the interview; the school wants to understand who you are as a person and how you will contribute to Kellogg both as a student and beyond.

When applying to Kellogg, keep these qualities in mind to give yourself the best chance of success!


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Ivy Groupe is a boutique MBA admissions consulting company founded by Shaifali Aggarwal, who received her MBA from Harvard Business School and undergraduate degree from Princeton University. Shaifali’s philosophy focuses on authenticity and storytelling to help clients craft compelling and differentiated applications that stand out. With this approach, Shaifali’s clients have gained admission to top-tier MBA programs such as Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Kellogg, MIT, Columbia, Booth, Tuck, and Yale, among others.

Click on the links to learn more about our company and how you can work with us to maximize your chances of gaining admission to the MBA programs of your choice.

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