Kellogg Essay Analysis 2014-15
1. Resilience. Perseverance. Grit. Call it what you will … challenges can build character. Describe a challenging experience you've had. How were you tested? What did you learn? (450 words)
Kellogg has always asked about challenging situations or obstacles in their essay lineup. This year, there is a little bit of a twist to it.
“Challenges can build character”!
We completely agree. Challenges bring us face-to-face with adverse situations, those that we are not used to handling. Coping with such situations requires that we step out of our comfort zones and take actions to overcome them. Along the way, we display persistence, our unbending spirit and the ability to bounce back. Needless to say, your example should embody these traits.
What is the challenging experience that you have had? Go on to describe the event, giving details that make the picture complete- Who were the other people involved? What was your role in the situation vis-à-vis theirs? What were the challenges that you faced? Did they arise from people or processes or both? Most important, how did you overcome them- what steps did you take to navigate your way through the situation?
To answer the cue “how were you tested”, some reflection is required on why you thought these were challenges in the first place. People view situations differently and your view of this situation will give the reader some idea about what you consider as difficult or easy. Where possible, mention what steps did you decide to take to overcome the situation and why? This detail is crucial because you are not just describing a one-off situation that required a quick fix; but you are telling about a time that led to your personal characteristics getting built/enhanced, which would have involved some thoughts, analyses and actions.
A reader who has got involved in your story would wait to know the outcome of your efforts, so do make a mention of it.
End the essay with your takeaways from this experience. What did you learn from this example and if applicable, how did you use that learning in future.
Personal or professional situation- the adcom has not given any specific directions as they have in the next question, so feel free to select a strong example from either sphere that hits the right chords.2. Leadership requires an ability to collaborate with and motivate others. Describe a professional experience that required you to influence people. What did this experience teach you about working with others, and how will it make you a better leader? (450 words)
Leadership is an all-pervasive component of the MBA education and influencing or motivating others to achieve a common goal is a quality of an able leader. The adcom has specifically asked for a professional experience where you influenced a person or a team to follow your ideas.
As in the situation of the previous question, your character is strengthened when you face resistance. Chances are that people did not buy into your idea at the first instance and that you had to reason with them, use persuasion, mild authority (in a nice way) or spot early adapters who would become your champions. Typically influencing others requires you to do some groundwork yourself – you may need to build a relationship with people to gain their trust, be receptive to their thoughts and ideas, be willing to compromise and include their perspectives in your plan. Whatever be your style, make the reader visualize your commitment to your vision, the multiple steps that you took to win people over and the individual's/team's gradual conversion to “aye”sayers.
You are the protagonist of this show, so take adequate credit for your work in influencing the team- don't downplay your role in the situation because that will not show you as a strong leader. On the reverse, over praising your actions can make you sound vain.
The situation would require you to use varying tactics with different people. What did you learn about other people's behavior or about your own style of dealing with them? Did you realize that you were great at reading people and altering your communication strategy accordingly? Or did you realize that you needed to be more accepting of other peoples thoughts? Whatever your key learnings, make an honest judgment of yourself. Lastly, how will you use these lessons in the future to become a more effective leader? If there is some component of the Kellogg program that you think will benefit you, then mention it here.
Additional questions:Re-applicants: Since your previous application, what steps have you taken to strengthen your candidacy? (250 word limit)The Video Essay:
Kellogg had introduced a video essay last year as a way to interact with every applicant. The video makes your application all the more personable by giving a face to your name- this is pretty much the Kellogg way, a b-school that is known for its collegial environment and for the high value it places on relationships among students and faculty.
The change from last year is that Kellogg has removed one written essay and made that a video essay. So now you have two video questions to answer. We are reprinting their guidelines about the video essay over here:
- After submitting a completed application, each applicant will be asked to complete two video essay questions. One will be about the candidate's interest in Kellogg and the other will be a “getting to know you” type of question.
- There are 10 practice questions which candidates can complete as many times as they like to get comfortable with the format and technology. The practice questions and experience will simulate the actual video essay experience, so this is meant to be a useful tool and help applicants feel prepared.
- There is not an opportunity to re-do the answer to the official video essay questions. We encourage applicants to practice so they are comfortable with the format once it is time to complete the official questions.
- Candidates will have 20 seconds to think about their question and up to 1 minute to give their response.
- See more at: http://mbadecoder.com/blog/#sthash.QcE7Q9Ma.dpuf