Scott Edinburgh
July 7, 2017

Kellogg has changed things up for 2017-2018 Applicants

Kellogg once again has two required essays for the class of 2020, though some changes were made this year. Essay 1 has been altered slightly from last year while essay 2 remains the same. These two fairly broad essays give you a good opportunity to reflect on and discuss multiple aspects of your candidacy. Here are this year’s essays along with Personal MBA Coach’s recommendations on how you should approach them.

Essay 1: Kellogg’s purpose is to educate, equip & inspire brave leaders who create lasting value.  Tell us about a time you have demonstrated leadership and created lasting value.  What challenges did you face, and what did you learn? (450 words)

Personal MBA Coach’s Take: Most candidates are likely to share a professional story with this first essay. However, strong leadership examples in your extra-curricular activities could also work well here. 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 don’t have to waste too many words from this short 450-word limit setting up the situation. Be sure to clearly 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 and ideally you would also mention how you have carried them forward to future endeavors. A strong answer here will not only clearly demonstrate leadership but also showcase your strengths and specific skills.

Essay 2: Pursuing an MBA is a catalyst for personal and professional growth. How have you grown in the past? How do you intend to grow at Kellogg? (450 words)

Personal MBA Coach’s Take: This essay is fairly straightforward and is a great opportunity to talk about unique and impressive aspects of both your personal and professional background. There is a lot to discuss here and a short word limit so choose your words very carefully. Think about projects at work that stretched you, required you to tackle a fear or particular area of weakness or demanded that you learn a new skill. Personally, consider challenges you have overcome, leadership roles you have undertaken outside of work or extra-curricular accomplishments. This is a broad question and writing about more than one growth would work here.

For the second part of the question, it is important to demonstrate your knowledge of Kellogg and what the program has to offer. Think specifically about what opportunities you will take advantage of on campus and how you will develop as a result. As always, specificity is key.

Personal MBA Coach is here to help with all aspects of the application process! If you would like individual and personal support, please find information about Personal MBA Coach’s comprehensive packages which include mock interviews with former Kellogg interviewers ( or contact me to learn how I can help! As an MIT Sloan BS graduate and Wharton MBA grad, I have been helping candidates get into the schools of their dreams with a 96% success rate for over 10 years. Email me today at: