Tag Archives: Kellogg

Kellogg Video Essay Questions

For those of you who don’t speak English as a first language and/or don’t feel comfortable in front of a camera, the video essay questions that Kellogg are asking are probably causing a bit of undue stress. Below I’ll offer some tips on how to prepare, including a chance to practice using the same software that Kellogg uses.

As you know, you will be required to record answers to two video essay questions: one about your interest in Kellogg, and another about something of a more personal nature. Applicants last year were asked such questions as “What possession or memento do you treasure most and why?”, “If you could teach a class on any topic, what would it be and why?”, etc. The purpose in asking this question is to get to know you better, to see more of your personality and character beyond your resume.

For these more casual and personal questions, the key is to answer the question directly, and then offer a reason and some brief examples.

Take this question for instance:

If you could meet anyone, living or dead, whom would you choose and why?

Whom you choose will reveal something about you, although there is no right or wrong answer here. If you choose a historical figure, say, one who advocated for civil rights, the admissions committee will have learned something more about you. Perhaps you have been working intensely in your business career but in fact, on the side, you have a very activist nature and you also care a good deal about civic issues and have been active in this area. This adds a bit more depth and diversity to your candidacy.

Or, let’s say that you wish to meet your grandmother who had passed away not long ago. In your response you might reveal something about your family, or about qualities that you admired in your grandmother which in turn says something about your own values. This, too, will reveal more about you as a person.

In structuring your response, you should

1) Answer the question (e.g., “I would choose to meet xxx”)

2) Explain briefly why you have chosen this person

3) Provide some brief anecdote(s) or example(s).

In most cases, there are no “wrong” answers unless you reveal something inappropriate or (more likely) fail to provide valuable reasons or details.

I recommend spending some time going through these types of questions since they are not things we normally think about.


We have recorded questions using the same software that Kellogg uses. Our simulated practice will consist of the opportunity to record your responses to 5 questions* and detailed written feedback on both your responses and any visual issues surrounding your recording (e.g., lighting, body language).

*Our questions are based on past applicants’ experiences, though there is no guarantee that you will get the same questions in your actual video essay experience since Kellogg has a large database of questions from which they randomly generate their questions.

If you would like to experience a simulated practice and get some feedback before you record yourself on Kellogg’s application, please write to us at info[at]revecounseling[dot]com for information on how to get started.

Kellogg Essay Writing Tips and Deadlines 2012-13

– Jessica Nitschke


The Kellogg deadlines are quite complicated, involving a 2-step application process and separate deadlines for interview requests. For further details on their deadlines I’d like to direct you to Kellogg’s deadline instructions  here.


For the 2012-2013 application season the admissions team at Kellogg has completely changed three of its four required essay questions and reworded the remaining one (about leadership) to make what they’re asking more explicit. The new questions seem to be aimed at getting applicants to focus their answers more – to be more specific and direct about who they are and what they plan to get from their MBA education. These changes in Kellogg’s application are further evidence that, as always, applicants should strive to avoid generality and vagueness in their essays.

1. Discuss moments or influences in your personal life that have defined who you are today. (500 word limit)

This question is about allowing the admissions officers to get to know you more deeply, beyond the facts of your resume. This is your chance to introduce yourself and make a memorable impression on the reader, which is important when you consider that admissions officers read thousands of essays from applicants, many of whom have similar types of work experience, test scores, and so on.

What they’re looking for is a description of an influential episode or person in your life that had a lasting impact on you, such that it is in part responsible for the choices you have made in your life and the type of person you have become. It could be an encounter you had while traveling, a childhood experience, a personal setback, an influential teacher, or a book you read. Whatever you choose, you need to make it clear how this experience contributed to make you the person you are today. With only a 500-word limit, it is best to focus on just one or two moments or influences, giving sufficient explanation or narrative detail to make the episode meaningful, rather than create a list, which will be too general and not have much impact.

2. What have been your most significant leadership experiences? What challenges did you face, and what impact did you have? This is your opportunity to explain how you Think Bravely (personally and/or professionally). (500 word limit)

The admissions team at Kellogg has updated this traditional leadership question to address the specific characteristics that they look for and cultivate in leaders: courage to think outside the box and to influence others, collaboration, innovation – all of which are part of their “Think Bravely” tag line (applicants would be wise to read more about this on their website). So in approaching this question, applicants should use examples that reflect these qualities. The question asks for more than one example, but you have limited space, so it’s best to stick to just two examples, preferably ones that highlight different strengths. They don’t both have to come from your work experience (although one certainly should), and if you have had leadership experiences in sports or volunteer organizations, this is an excellent place to call attention to that part of your resume and background.

3. Imagine yourself at your Kellogg graduation. What career will you be preparing to enter, and how have the MBA and Kellogg helped you get there? (Please answer in terms of your program choice: One-Year, Two-Year, MMM, JD-MBA) (500 word limit)

What they’re looking for here is concrete evidence that you have seriously thought through your decision to pursue an MBA – that you’ve done the necessary self-reflection of yourself and your career to date; that you’ve researched what an MBA can and cannot do for you; and that you have thoroughly investigated Kellogg’s program and can articulate precisely what aspects of this program will help you in your goals.

In answering this question, be sure you present a clear idea of what you want to be doing when you finish – it’s ok if you’re not 100% sure – no one is going to hold you to exactly what you write in this essay. But you do need to demonstrate that you have specific goals that are ambitious but still realistic, and that an MBA from Kellogg is an important step in reaching these goals. The more specific you can be on this point, the better, to show your familiarity with Kellogg’s offerings and how they are well matched to your academic needs.

4. What one interesting or fun fact would you want your future Kellogg classmates to know about you? (25 words or less)

These types of questions are always difficult, as it’s challenging to try and guess what others would truly find interesting about yourself. Look at the question this way: this is a chance for you to round out your application. After you’ve finished all the other essays and finished editing your resume, you should try to take a step back and look at your application as a whole, consider the picture that you’ve painted of yourself, and ask, is there something missing? Is there something important, something beyond your professional identity, which makes you interesting and enjoyable to be around, which you just haven’t had the chance to put anywhere else in your application? Then this is the place to put it. This could be a hobby or skill, an interesting childhood pursuit, an unexpected part-time or summer job, or something else entirely. Just be sure that it doesn’t duplicate something you’ve already discussed elsewhere in your essays. If you’re struggling to answer this one, the best course of action is to consult with a variety of friends or co-workers – people who know you pretty well – about things that they find interesting about you.

Reve Counselor Jessica Nitschke has a BA from the University of Chicago and a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. She has taught at Berkeley and is a former faculty member at DePauw University and Georgetown University. Most recently she was living and conducting research in Tokyo, Japan before moving to Cape Town, South Africa.