Today a reader asked me for some advice about applying to Kellogg. I realized my reply could help others that are thinking of applying, so I decided to post it here. Enjoy.
Here is what I know about Kellogg, which should help you frame your essays:
-Teamwork. This is hugely important to them. They want to know that you are a team player and want to see evidence of this. They want to know that you understand how important it is to them and that is why you are applying to Kellogg (they consider this a major differentiator between them and other top schools).
-Community. This is a tie-in to teamwork, but they want people who are going to be very involved in the community of the MBA. Play up any community involvement you have in your background. Volunteer work is part of this and is important, but also they like to see any other activities you might have such as a recreational sports team or alumni club or maybe you organize a family poker competition (see what I mean, look everywhere for evidence of this). Even if you have done some extra-curriculars at work, this will show that you are going to be someone that will contribute and not just attend and go home to study. It will probably help to discuss what clubs and activities you specifically want to be involved in
-Leadership. This is a new focus for Kellogg, but they definitely want to see that leadership learning is a priority for you. But the leadership focus is within the teamwork concept. Show that you've been a leader in a team situation (so it doesn't have to be where you supervised people, but any situation where you took the lead in helping a team make a decision would work).
-Personality. It helps to visit so you can see it for yourself, but the typical Kellogg student is very outgoing and "fun". This is probably a result of the aspects of focus above. It probably matters more for your interview, but you want to show that you are not only smart, but nice to be around and will be an asset to any team you are on.
-Uniqueness. There is an essay question from last year that I would expect to be there again, since it has been there for a long time. They ask what makes you unique and what will you contribute to the class. This was the hardest question for me, and requires a lot of self-reflection. I think you need to think about what makes you unique in all aspects: work experience, extra-curriculars, interests, etc. Sure, many people may share any of these with you, but no one is the same combination of all of these as you! Show that you understand how every aspect of who you are will help you contribute to the experience of everyone else. And they really do want to know who you are.