Scott Edinburgh
May 31, 2019

Kellogg Class of 2022 – Essay Questions & Analysis – Fall 2019 – Spring 2020

Kellogg has released its application deadlines and essays for this season. Read below for Personal MBA Coach’s tips on tackling this year’s questions.


Once again, Kellogg asks applicants to answer two essay questions. Essay 1 remains largely unchanged for the third year in a row while Essay 2 is new this year. These two fairly broad essays give candidates a good opportunity to reflect on and discuss multiple aspects of their candidacy. Below we have shared these essay questions along with Personal MBA Coach’s recommendations on how to approach them.

Essay 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)

Personal MBA Coach’s Take: The only change in this first question is the request for a “recent” example. Last year, a time period was not specified. Many candidates are likely to share a professional story to answer this first prompt. However, strong leadership examples in your extra-curricular activities could also work well here, provided they are fairly recent.

Be sure to think of a significant undertaking where you can clearly demonstrate the value you added. This story should also be easy enough to explain that you do not have to waste too many words from this short 450-word limit setting up the situation. Be sure to discuss the actions you took and try to show how these actions required you to demonstrate bravery and leadership.

Equally as important as what you did is what you learned from this experience. Learnings should be specific. Ideally, you would also mention how you have carried them forward to future endeavors. A strong answer here will not only demonstrate leadership but also showcase your strengths and specific skills.

Essay 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)

Personal MBA Coach’s Take: This new essay is a challenging one as it forces candidates to reflect on what is truly important to them. Authenticity will be key when developing your answer to this question. Do not simply discuss the values that you think admissions committee members will want to hear. Instead, write about values that you have repeatedly demonstrated in your life. For each value selected (while I do not advise a laundry list, you should include more than one value), discuss WHY this value is important to you and show HOW you have lived this value. With this question, candidates can and should include some personal detail so that the reader can truly understand how this value has influenced their actions, beliefs, and aspirations. It is particularly crucial that you have someone who knows you well read this essay to ensure it is authentic. (Of course, this is a good idea for all essay questions).

Finally, Kellogg has retained its video essay. 

Need personal support? Founded by a Wharton and MIT graduate, Personal MBA Coach regularly helps applicants navigate their applications each year. As the #4 ranked admissions consultant on Poets & Quants, our comprehensive support includes mock interviews with a team of former M7 interviewers and customized GMAT/GRE tutoring with tutors who scored in the 99th percentile.

Personal MBA Coach has been guiding candidates through all aspects of the MBA application process for over 11 years with a 96% success rate. Call us today at +1 617-645-2424 or email for a free consultation on your profile along with how we can help make your MBA dreams a reality!