How to get into the Kellogg MBA program

If you are applying to the Kellogg MBA program, this guide created by MBA Prep School is a great place to start learning about the program.

Below we discuss everything from campus life to MBA application strategy. Read on to learn how to get into Kellogg!

This school guide will provide you with a comprehensive foundation to plot your journey toward Evanston, Illinois.

Setting & Campus Life

The Kellogg School of Management is the business school of Northwestern University. The school is located in the Chicago Metropolitan Area in Evanston, Illinois.

In 2017, the school opened a stunning new 415,000 square foot building for the MBA program which they call the “Global Hub.”

School Ranking

  • US News (2020): #4
  • Economist (2019): #1
  • Financial Times (2020): #11
  • Businessweek (2019-20): #10
  • Poets & Quants (2021): #5

Kellogg MBA Application Deadlines

Round Deadline Decisions
R1 September 15, 2021 December 8, 2021
R2 January 5, 2022 March 23, 2022
R3 April 6, 2022 May 11, 2022

Kellogg MBA Class Profile

Profile data for the Kellogg MBA Class of 2022:
Source: Kellogg Admisssion Website (July 2021)


  • GPA Average: 3.6
  • GMAT Range: 640 – 770
  • GMAT Mean: 727
  • GRE Median Verbal: 163; Quant: 163


Source: 54% Jump in MBA Apps At Northwestern Kellogg (P&Q Oct 2021)

  • # of Applicants: 3,779
  • # of Admits: 982 (Class of 2021)
  • Class Size: 474
  • Acceptance rate: 26% (Class of 2021)


  • International vs Domestic: 26% international
  • Demographics: 40% female
  • Diversity Information (minority U.S.): 14%

Kellogg MBA Admissions Strategy

As a top school, Kellogg sets a high bar for admissions meaning that you will need to present yourself in the best possible light and prove to the admissions committee that what makes you compelling as a candidate matches the strengths and qualities Kellogg cares about most.

What fit qualities does Kellogg look for in MBA applicants?

Kellogg’s admissions website: “We look for people who. . .

  • Can motivate a team to drive impact
  • Are not afraid to question the status quo and seek the non-obvious solutions
  • Possess creativity and talent that is rooted in self-awareness
  • Seek diversity in their networks and teams
  • Are eager to dive in and collaborate with an engaged, ambitious community of peers”

Additional Qualities:

  • Brave leaders – Candidates who “build strong organizations and wisely leverage the power of markets to create lasting value.”
  • Scholastic/intellectual ability – The AdCom writes: “Our goal is to ensure that you can handle the rigor in the Kellogg classroom. Your undergraduate GPA, course selection, and GMAT score help us assess your readiness. But we’re also invested in finding creative thinkers who can solve problems. Qualitative evidence of intellectual ability is going to come out in your essays, your interview, and your recommendations. We truly take a holistic look at our applicants rather than only relying on a number.”
  • Personal character – The AdCom writes: “Passion and engagement are universal features within the Kellogg community, and there are a lot of ways to show us that you’re the type of person who makes a difference, whether inside your workplace or through activities outside of the office.”

What distinguishes Kellogg from other top business schools?

  • The Kellogg School of Management builds its educational experience on a “unique cross-disciplinary model,” that empowers students to become leaders who will inspire growth in markets, organizations, and people. This model is based on combining the foundational departments of business management with the integration of “cross-discipline initiatives.”
  • The Kellogg School’s global network rivals that of other top business schools with seven MBA campuses worldwide, located in Canada, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and the United States. For students looking for “complete immersion in global markets,” this partnership will provide a unique global experience. For example, the partnership with the WHO Otto Beisheim School of Management, one of Europe’s top business schools, enables interested students to study just outside of Frankfurt, Germany, where the headquarters for many of Europe’s largest leading financial institutions are located.
  • Kellogg’s philosophy of building leaders that create lasting value has influenced MBA students to become very involved with philanthropic ventures both in the Chicagoland metro area and abroad. Previous philanthropic projects started by Kellogg students include attracting more qualified young teachers to teach in inner-city schools and providing educational training opportunities in Nicaragua.

What unique/special resources does Kellogg offer?

  • Students interested in working in either the healthcare field or in the nonprofit sector post-graduation have access to unique research opportunities in these fields. For example, the Program on Healthcare at Kellogg (HCAK) emphasizes “deep exposure” to the industries in the greater healthcare field by offering courses in the “specific problems” facing managers in life science and healthcare. Students can also enhance their MBA experience at Kellogg through the Center for Nonprofit Management. Kellogg alumni of this center have gone on to establish Room to Read and to become the CEO of Big Brother Big Sisters Illinois, the President of Feed America, and the Dean of the Kellogg School.
  • The Kellogg School of Management hosts a variety of strategic initiatives such as the Kellogg Architectures of Collaboration Initiative (KACI), the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative (KIEI), and the Markets & Customers Initiative (KMCI). These initiatives offer classes, facilitate MBA Pathways, and organize conferences for interested students.

Who are some of Kellogg’s most well-known or popular professors?

Gregory Carpenter is the James Farley and Booz Allen Hamilton Professor of Marketing Strategy and Director of the Center for Market Leadership. His research, which has been featured in Harvard Business Review, Financial Times, Forbes, BusinessWeek, and NPR, focuses on corporate culture, competitive advantage, and marketing strategy. For the 2018-2019 academic year, Carpenter is teaching Consumer, Culture, and Leadership and advising Kellogg’s Field Study program. Carpenter has been awarded the H. Paul Root Award from the Marketing Science Institute as well as the Journal of Marketing Award from the American Marketing Association.

Jeanne Brett is the DeWitt W. Buchanan, Jr., Professor of Dispute Resolution and Organizations. She focuses her research on cross-cultural deal-making, dispute resolution, mediation, and emotions and negotiation. She is the best-selling author of two award-winning novels: Getting Disputes Resolved with William Ury and Stephen Goldberg and Negotiating Globally. She has been recognized for Outstanding Paper 2012 in the International Journal of Conflict Management and Best Paper 2011 by the International Association for Conflict Management. At Kellogg, Brett teaches Negotiation Strategies.

Kellogg MBA Application Checklist

  • Prospective MBA applicants are asked to submit an interview request, their answers to two essay questions (further detailed below), and unofficial academic transcripts (with official transcripts due upon matriculation).
  • Applicants record a one-take video essay.
  • Kellogg requests that official GMAT or GRE scores be submitted with a complete application.
  • Two letters of recommendation are required, one from the applicant’s current supervisor or manager, and the second should come from “someone who can evaluate your professional performance and your managerial/leadership potential.”
  • A complete application must be submitted with a $250 application fee. Fee waivers are granted only to active duty U.S. military personnel, veterans who have been on active duty within the past three years, and employees of Teach for America or the Peace Corps.

Kellogg MBA Essay Analysis

2021-2022 Kellogg MBA Essay Prompts

The following two essays are required of all applicants:

  1. 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)
  2. Values are what guide you in your life and work. What values are important to you and how have they influenced you? (450 words)

Certain applicants will respond to additional questions: Refer to the Kellogg MBA admissions website for details.

2021-2022 Kellogg MBA Essay Tips

MBA Prep School has published detailed essay guidance and tips. Click to read our Kellogg MBA Essay Tips.

Kellogg MBA Video Essays
The video essay provides you with an additional opportunity to demonstrate what you will bring to our vibrant Kellogg community — in an interactive way. You will respond to several short video essay questions. The questions are designed to bring to life the person we have learned about on paper.

Kellogg Video Essay Tips

MBA Prep School has published guidance on Video Essays. Click to read our Video Essay Tips.

Kellogg MBA Recommendation Letter Questions

Questions asked of Recommenders

Kellogg asks recommenders to respond to three questions in their recommendation letter.

  1. 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)
  2. How does the candidate’s performance compare to those of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? Please provide specific examples. (300 words)
  3. Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the candidate. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response. (250 words)

Selecting Recommenders for Kellogg

Below is some good advice on selecting and guiding potential recommenders for Kellogg:

  • Consider the people in your professional life that are willing to invest the time to support you in the application process.
  • Kellogg requires two recommendations and prefers a recommendation from your immediate supervisor, if possible.
  • If a recommendation from your supervisor isn’t possible, provide an explanation in the Additional Information section of the application.
  • Your second recommender should be someone that can evaluate your career, including your leadership and managerial potential and your career progression to date. This can be a previous supervisor or people that are above their immediate supervisor but does not have to be.

Guiding Your Kellogg Recommenders

  • Discuss your application to business school with colleagues and “prime” several of them to potentially support you.
  • Never help write recommendation letters but …
  • Sit down with each recommender to discuss why you are applying to school and remind them of the work you’ve done for/with them over the past few years.
  • Register them as recommenders as soon as you start the application; don’t ask them to serve as a recommender just a few days before the recommendation is due!

Kellogg MBA Interview Tips

Are Kellogg interviews invitation-only?
No. On-campus interviews can be requested and scheduled by applicants at the time they submit their applications. Other candidates who can’t make it to campus are likely to be interviewed by Kellogg alumni in their locale within 6 weeks of the application deadline.

Who conducts the school’s interviews?
Admissions committee members, alumni admissions organization members, or second-year students.

What interview style does the school use?
Casual, conversational atmosphere. Behavioral questions are likely.

Sample questions:

  1. What are your career goals?
  2. Why MBA? Why now?
  3. Why Kellogg in particular?
  4. What has been the biggest way in which you evolved as a leader?
  5. What would your teammates say about you?
  6. What do you do in your free time?
  7. What is a misconception people have about you?
  8. What KWEST trip would you like to go on?

Waitlist Tips

If you’ve landed on the Kellogg waitlist, don’t despair! Here are some tips to help you during this stressful (and potentially frustrating!) time:

  • Kellogg assigns every waitlisted applicant an Admissions Office contact. Reach out to your contact if you have questions.
  • Like most schools, Kellogg does not provide feedback to those on the waitlist.
  • Your Admissions Office contact will let you know if there is anything they wish to discuss with you, or if additional information is needed; in many instances, additional information will not be required.
  • Do not submit additional letters of recommendation.
  • Additional visits to Kellogg are not necessary and will not play a role in the decision-making process.
  • Admissions officers will not meet with candidates on the waitlist should they visit Kellogg.
  • Waitlist decisions will be made on an ongoing basis.

For those applicants that received a waitlist decision, we know this can be a frustrating time. But often the best course of action is to avoid doing anything rash that might hurt your candidacy. Good luck!

Kellogg Post-MBA Careers

What fields or industries do most graduates of Kellogg go to work in post-MBA?

Consulting (30%), Technology (28%), Financial Services (14%), Consumer Products (7%)

Which companies hire the most Kellogg MBA graduates?

BCG, Amazon, Bain, Microsoft, McKinsey & Company, Deloitte

Additional Resources

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Talk to an Admissions Expert

Do you know what admissions officers are looking for and how to stand out from other applicants?

Talk with one of our MBA admissions experts today to develop a winning application!