Applicant Question: What Qualities Does Kellogg Look For?

Every year, thousands of people apply to business school and apply to Kellogg. Senior managers looking to transition from one firm to another.  Former consultants and bankers looking to gain credentials to go back to their former firms. And recent graduates ready to gain access to more opportunities and take on the world. Despite their differences in backgrounds they do all share one commonality. They all want to figure out how to get in to business school, including Kellogg.

In a recent post on a person asked me about just that.  In short, they wanted to know what Kellogg loos for. Her full question was: “When you interview a first year candidate, what qualities do you specifically look for ? How do evaluate ‘fit’ for Kellogg?”

In part, this is a tough question because there are so many moving parts to an interview and so many possible answers here. And it was also tough because I had very limited time to answer the question, given I was on a chat forum. Maybe just two or three minutes. That said, I did have a few thought to share. See below for my response. And below that for her counter response.

And also be sure to check out and BeatTheGMAT’s Kellogg Wall for similar question on MBA admissions.



When you interview a first year candidate, what qualities do you specifically look for ? How do evaluate ‘fit’ for Kellogg?”



Great question. First, I’ll note that everyone’s interview is very different, so you can’t necessarily predict your interview experience. That said, there are a few things that Kellogg likely assesses candidates for. I’ll provide three here:

1) Culture. The Kellogg culture is vibrant, fun, and high energy. People also spend a lot of time working in teams here, so the ability to show cultural fit is key. While there’s not one specific way to do this, focus on being yourself, on demonstrating how you like to work in teams, and on being personable.

2) Communications skills. Because spends so much time in teams and focused on leadership development, people here tend to be very good at communication skills. So high energy, ability to tell a good story and convey a message, things that are not only important here at Kellogg but also professionally after school is over.

3) Being well-rounded. As a general management school, being well-rounded is also important. That means displaying a high number of interests and skills. A propensity to work on a number of different business issues rather than just being a finance person or a marketer. And the ability to work with a large number of people. Further, if you work hard during your day job but area blogger, singer, dancer or anything else, make sure to discuss those things. You’ll likely be better off.



Thanks Jeremy.. big fan of your blog.. I also hope to create a blog which is as organized as yours by next year..once I get thru one of my top choice Bschool..



Thanks for the follow up message. Blogging takes a lot of work, but for many is well worth the time. Feel free to let me know once you get started. I’d love to have a look.

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011 Admissions, Business School, Careers 1 Comment

When to start worrying about classes?

A week or two ago, a good friend had just received the results of her midterm exam. I don’t know what her final score was but she clearly didn’t do as well as she wanted.  She was wondering what she should do to make sure she does well in the class. She asked me, How long before I should start worrying? Should I start preparing for the final now? And does the midterm really matter? All good questions, especially because I don’t think there is a real answer that works for everyone.

First is the obvious answer. “You should NOT worry.”  Most people would tell you that in business school, grades aren’t all that important so worrying isn’t worth the effort. They’d ensure you that most of the time grades don’t make a difference, as recruiters often don’t ask about them. they often don’t come up in interviews, and they often don’t fit into any of the applications you might consider submitting.

Similarly, you’ll also hear that in business school people won’t put in as much work for the rest of the class as they might if they were in law school or a PhD program.  So because the competition might not be as stiff, you shouldn’t worry because you still have plenty of time to figure it out all out.

But putting all of that aside for a second, let’s assume that grades are important for you and that people will try.  Then, the next question that comes up is the one she actually asked. When, should she “worry”?

My first response is, You should NEVER be WORRYING.”  The psychologist’s argument would probably be  that worrying is a waste of time. That it’s not a useful way to improve performance. It also often doesn’t change the outcome in the end. And that instead, it makes you jittery and distracts from you from other important things you have to get done.

That said, my response my be similar to that. I’d say that you should do your best not to worry, but that you should be thinking about them, given there are only a few weeks left.  So figure out how to channel your energy appropriately.

In business school things are busy.  So you have to think about things early. For class, that means making sure you don’t keep falling behind. Getting your hands on all the handouts and printouts. Organizing the concepts not only to be printed but also in your head to better conceptualize the class. And thinking about if you need a tutor. This all before you even start learning anything.

After that, then you have to schedule time to spend reading and learning the material. Schedule time with a classmate or tutor. And schedule time to see the professor if needed. And then schedule time to learn it on your own again before the exam.

So given that, my answer is the same – don’t worry, because worrying will slow down the process. Especially, now you’ve got lots of other things to do before you can even study.

That said, I know some people that never “worried” or “started thinking”  about the content until the final week of the quarter.  And others until the final days of the quarter. And they still got A’s in the class. This happens a fair amount of the time in business school. But it’s not the most common case.

Either way, don’t worry. Just think about the timeline that works best for you, and take action accordingly.

Good luck.

Monday, November 21st, 2011 Admissions, Business School No Comments

#AskJeremy – Applicant Question: Preparing to Apply to the Kellogg JD-MBA Program

Every fall around this time I start to get this question a lot. Am I a competitive applicant to the JD-MBA program? Can I get into Kellogg and into the law school?  Do I have enough years of experience? And is my GMAT / LSAT score good enough. Well, in a recent question from one of my readers, I was asked about the odds of getting into the JD-MBA program as well as what the required GMAT score is to get in.  Because these are questions on everyone’s mind, I’ve decided to put my answers to those questions here as a blog post. See below for the reader’s question, and below that for my response.


From: (Name)

Subject: Preparing for the Northwestern JD-MBA


I would like to say I have just recently found your blog during some research on the JD-MBA program and I am enjoying every bit of it. As I am entering my senior year at the University of Oklahoma, I was wondering on the possible outlook of getting into the JD-MBA program at Northwestern. I will have completed 2 majors (Marketing & Entrepreneurship) along with 2 minors (Management & MIS). I may extend my stay and also major in MIS rather than minor (3 majors, 1 minor). My GPA as of now is a 3.4. Community service is approaching 200 hours now and I have completed an internship with a company the past 2 years in a position that is usually held by a post graduate. Is there a chance of making the illusive jump from college straight to the JD-MBA program? Also, what kind of GMAT score should I aim for? Thanks for any help and advice you could provide. I look forward to reading the rest of your blogs.



Hi (name),

Thanks so much for writing, and congratulations on your achievements in undergrad so far. I hope that you are satisfied with your experience.

I am glad that you are interested in the JD-MBA program at Kellogg.  Broadly speaking, our programs gets applications from people with a very wide range of personal and professional backgrounds. As a result, the list of undergraduate majors and universities, job experiences, backgrounds, grades and test scores can be very diverse. And I would say that this isn’t just true of Kellogg or our JD-MBA program but that many of the top MBA programs around the country aim for the same level of diversity of students.

With regard to your email, I noticed two specific questions that you had. First, you asked about the required GMAT score to be accepted. And then you asked about applying to the JD-MBA program out of your undergraduate program. I’ll answer both, in part by pointing you to previous posts I wrote on the topics.

First, with regard to the GMAT,  I would say that formally there is no minimum GMAT score required to be accepted into any MBA program. And every single school will tell you the same thing. Every year, schools accept applicants with a wide range of test scores (and GPAs), some of which might really surprise you. That’s because in a lot of cases, candidates offer a lot more to a school than a high score. Some offer many years of work experience; others offer unparalleled community involvement and impact; while others offer an unmatched level of leadership capacity in the eyes of the admissions committee.

That said, the majority of successful applicants to top business schools, and particularly to the Kellogg JD-MBA program have high GMATs (and GPAs). In the last few years, the average GMAT at top five MBA programs has been around 710 and in the JD-MBA program has been closer to 730. Likewise,  the average GPA is usually over 3.5. And many of the folks I know did better than that.

In the end, that means do you best to get the highest score you can, especially if you are in no rush to apply by an approaching deadline. And even if there is an approaching deadline, I’d still say focus on attaining the highest score, within reason, that you can get, as putting your best foot forward is always important when applying to competitive graduate school program.  For a more complete answer to this question, please see my post about GMAT scores here:

Second, with regard to being a young applicant, I would say that you should be sure to target programs that routinely accept younger applicants. Years ago MBA programs did routinely admit younger candidates. I’ve met a number of alumni from my undergrad that went to business school about 20 and 30 years ago, and the vast majority of them went straight out of undergrad.

In the 80s and 90s that changed, and MBA programs started accepting more people with more years of experience. In large part, this was one way to make the classroom experience and discussions better and also a way to ensure that students could make the most of the experience. Even today, many older candidates often tend to do a better job at getting more out of the classroom and recruiting experience than younger/less focused candidates.

In recent years however, MBA programs have began trending down again in terms of preferred years of experience. Today, many of the top schools in the United States welcome applicants with 0 to 2 years of experience. In fact, schools like Stanford, Harvard, and Sloan are openly taking more and more younger candidates, many of which are straight out of college.

From what I’ve noticed, most of these younger applicants submit applications with GPAs and GMAT scores since they have less work experience and community involvement to point to in an application. Many of them also have strong letters of recommendation, sometimes from professors, because these letters provide more insight about the candidate since they can’t talk about as many accomplishments on the job.

Likewise, JD-MBA programs have also traditionally welcomed younger applications. Because while business schools usually prefer a couple of years of experience, law schools have traditionally taken students with little or no work experience.  On the other hand, the Northwestern JD-MBA is just the opposite, where the typical student here has nearly five years of experience. The JD-MBA program at Wharton/Penn is similar.

So to directly answer your second question: making the jump from undergrad to Northwestern’s JD-MBA program would be difficult given the age/experience discrepancy. If you’re dead set on going straight into a program, then you would have to find programs that take applicants directly from undergrad. On the other hand, if you’re set on applying to Kellogg’s program, than you’d be best served by working at least three years and then applying once you have more experience on your resume.

For a more complete answer to your ‘years of experience’ question, please see my post about younger applicants at: And if you have any other questions about the program, or other programs around the country, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line.




Monday, September 5th, 2011 Admissions No Comments

Fall 2011 MLT Info Sessions at a Location Near You

Greetings everyone! I hope you are all having a good start to the Labor Day Weekend. Things are off to a good start here in Chicago. Not only have people been out and about in the city but also Kellogg CIM week has finally come to an end this week. Anyhow, I just wanted to pass along the word about some of the upcoming MLT and MBA Prep information sessions that are taking place in many of the major cities all across the United States.

As many of you may know, MLT is one of the premier career development organizations that equips high potential minorities in the United States. MLT has traditionally had events like these to inform people all over the country about the organization and to introduce them to alumni of the program. If you’re interesting in attending one of the events CLICK HERE to see the event calendar. If you find one that makes sense for you to attend, please CLICK HERE to RSVP.

As mentioned above, at the events, MLT national representatives and program alumni will give an overview of the program, share personal perspective, and answer your individual questions. Likewise, if you have any comments or questions in advance of attending, feel free to contact me as well.

See below for a listing of some of the upcoming events. MLT looks forward to seeing you there.



MBA Prep Info Session – Dallas

MBA Prep Program
September 7, 2011

Partner Host – Booz & Co – Dallas

Join MLT staff, fellows and alumni for an informative evening of program highlights and personal personal perspectives. The info session will include a live presentation by MLT staff,  panel discussion with program Fellows and Alumni, audience Q&A and networking. Join us.

Time: 6:30 PM – 8:30PM

Attire: Business Casual Register Here >

MBA Prep Info Session – New York

MBA Prep Program
September 8, 2011

Partner Host – NYU Stern School of Business

Join MLT staff, fellows and alumni for an informative evening of program highlights and personal perspectives. The info session will include a live presentation by MLT staff,  panel discussion with program Fellows and Alumni, audience Q&A and networking. Join us.

Time: 6:30 – 8:30 PM

Attire: Business Casual Register Here >

MBA Prep Info Session – Minneapolis

MBA Prep Program
September 13, 2011

Partner Host: Target – Minneapolis

Join MLT staff, fellows and alumni for an informative evening of program highlights and personal perspectives. The info session will include a live presentation by MLT staff,  panel discussion with program Fellows and Alumni, audience Q&A and networking. Join us.

Time: 6:30 – 8:30 PM

Attire: Business Casual Register Here >

MBA Prep Info Session – Chicago

MBA Prep Program
September 14, 2011

Partner Host – Chicago Booth School of Business

Join MLT staff, fellows and alumni for an informative evening of program highlights and personal perspectives. The info session will include a live presentation by MLT staff,  panel discussion with program Fellows and Alumni, audience Q&A and networking. Join us.

Time: 6:30 – 8:30 PM

Attire: Business Casual Register Here >

MBA Prep Info Session – Boston

MBA Prep Program
September 20, 2011

MIT Sloan School of Management

Join MLT staff, fellows and alumni for an informative evening of program highlights and personal personal perspectives. The info session will include a live presentation by MLT staff,  panel discussion with program Fellows and Alumni, audience Q&A and networking. Join us.

Time: 6:30 – 8:30 PM

Attire: Business Casual Register Here >

MBA Prep Info Session – Atlanta

MBA Prep Program
September 21, 2011

Partner Host: Deloitte – Atlanta

Join MLT staff, fellows and alumni for an informative evening of program highlights and personal perspectives. The info session will include a live presentation by MLT staff,  panel discussion with program Fellows and Alumni, audience Q&A and networking. Join us.

Time: 6:30 – 8:30 PM

Attire: Business Casual Register Here >

MBA Prep Info Session – Philadelphia

MBA Prep Program
September 27, 2011

Partner Host: Wharton Business School – Philadelphia

Join MLT staff, fellows and alumni for an informative evening of program highlights and personal perspectives. The info session will include a live presentation by MLT staff,  panel discussion with program Fellows and Alumni, audience Q&A and networking. Join us.

Time: 6:30 – 8:30 PM

Attire: Business Casual Register Here >

MBA Prep Info Session – Miami

MBA Prep Program
September 29, 2011

Partner Host – Knight Foundation – Miami

Join MLT staff, fellows and alumni for an informative evening of program highlights and personal perspectives. The info session will include a live presentation by MLT staff,  panel discussion with program Fellows and Alumni, audience Q&A and networking. Join us.

Time: 6:30 – 8:30 PM

Attire: Business Casual Register Here >

MBA Prep Info Session – Washington, D.C.
MBA Prep Program
October 13, 2011

Partner Host: Deloitte – Washington, D.C.

Join MLT staff, fellows and alumni for an informative evening of program highlights and personal perspectives. The info session will include a live presentation by MLT staff,  panel discussion with program Fellows and Alumni, audience Q&A and networking. Join us.

Time: 6:30 – 8:30 PM

Attire: Business Casual Register Here >

Saturday, September 3rd, 2011 Admissions, Business School, Careers No Comments

Attend a Kellogg MBA Information Session on September 6, 2011

The Fall season is one of my favorite times of the year.  Not only because schools starts back up again but also because the MBA admissions cycle is in full swing. That means students will become visiting campus, sitting in on the classes, and contacting current students looking for a golden ticket to gain admissions into top MBA programs all over the country. Well, in addition to that, a lot of programs also hold information sessions across the country. And one of them happens to be put on by the Kellogg School of Management in early September.

At long last, the admission seasons is finally ramping up again. As such, I wanted to write a quick post to inform you about an upcoming Information Session in Chicago.  Since Chicago is a hub for people that apply to the Kellogg School, I thought I would pass along the official invitation for the event, which is put on by the Kellogg admissions team. I suspect that many of my readers might be interested in attending.

The event will be the first of two events that are held in Chicago. This one will be held on September 6, 2011 and the second will be held on a date which is still to be determined.

In general, these events are always a lot of fun. Not only are they are a great chance to mingle with lots of potential business school students, some who may even end up at Kellogg but also a great chance to meet admissions officers and learn more about the school.

See below for a snapshot of the invitation for the event.


Wednesday, August 17th, 2011 Admissions, Business School, Careers No Comments

BeatTheGMAT and Team Up on New Admissions Product

As you know, I spent a lot of time on my site writing about MBA admissions. Well rather than discussing topics that are on my mind today, I figured I’d devote this entry to promote two other organizations that give information and advice about the MBA application process. Recently, the BeatTheGMAT teamed up with to launch a new product which looks like it’s going to be a hit with a lot of applicants. I also think it has the potential to be a great product, as I recently had a chance to do a review last weekend before the product came out.

Just a few days ago, BTG asked me to do a product review of their new MBA admissions tool – a class that is entirely online and that walks the user step by step through every part of the admissions process. BeatTheGMAT has been growing exponentially over the past year, and it sounds like they plan to continue to do just that with this new product. Here below is a short summary of my initial impressions.

The good: The BTG and Clear Admit class does something that no admissions service has done before – they bring together admissions advice with the internet, allowing people to tailor the experience and leverage online to accommodate their busy lives.  They bring in graduates of top MBA programs and admissions teams to take you step by step through the application steps. And they tackle topics that are not only the ones most people are thinking about in the application process but also some you wouldn’t initially consider.

The bad: Admittedly, the online experience may not be for everyone. Some may prefer a real classroom experience, where you can change the direction of the class and go through Q&A as needed. Some people may simply find the internet to be distracting. And others may want to go through the experience/to a class with a group of people rather than by themselves.

More: Online social networks and classes are generally expected to be the wave of the future. This online network allows you to the service when you have free time. You can start watching classes as soon or as late in the process as you would lie to. You can watch and rewatch parts as needed depending on your level of understanding. You can take more notes on your computer as you watch to make sure you capture what’s being said. In addition to that, you can also access the material any time, A slides and outlines are downloadable and printable.

Another main benefit is the fact that the class has multiple instructors. While most other classes provide you with one main instructor, here you get to learn from three different experts, all with unique insights and  experiences in the admissions world. And together, they’ll tackle topics like how to research and select MBA programs, how to write your admissions essays, how to find letters of recommendations, how to market yourself in applications, and much much more.

If you do decide that an online class is for you, then Navigating the MBA Admissions Process might be a good option. The price is not cheap, but $249 is less than you might spend on some other types of MBA courses. You’ll just have to decide what works for you.

To learn more about the product CLICK HERE

And to learn via YouTube CLICK HERE

Friday, July 15th, 2011 Admissions, Business School 2 Comments

Reasons to Go Back to Business School

A lot of people think about going back to business school, but not all of them actually do. Some defer their admissions for a year.  Others wait until later years to apply. And some people never actually end up applying at all.   But no matter which category you fit in, many of you have still probably considered going back to school. And as such, I thought I’d brainstorm the reasons why some people consider going back

A couple of things to note. First, the list is not comprehensive. There are plenty of other reasons other people might rely on when making the decision. Second, some of the reasons might be more applicable to you than others. Likewise, some probably dont’ apply to many applicants at all. And finally, any combination of reasons could also be relevant to you. And in my case, a couple of the reasons came to mind when I was applying. Either way, I thought it’d be fun and entertaining to share that list here with you.

Without further ado, below is the list. Do any of these reasons apply to you?

  1. You want to increase your earning power and make more money when you graduate
  2. To increase your pedigree
  3. To improve your business profile if you have a non traditional business background
  4. Get a two year vacation, especially if you’re sponsored
  5. You have a lot of money and think business school will be a fun experience
  6. Other people that you admire went so you want to follow in their footsteps
  7. You spent so much time applying that you feel like you have to now
  8. Your company requires an MBA to advance at the company
  9. Because your significant other is going back to school too
  10. To hide from a recession
  11. You lost your job due to the economy so need a way to fill the time
  12. You lost your job due to performance but happen to have a good profile
  13. You want to switch careers and find it hard otherwise
  14. You don’t want to keep specializing at your job and can broaden your horizons at school again
  15. You want to learn the language of business and/or finance and school is the best way to do that
  16. To get ties to a new city or new region
  17. To reflect on your goals and aspirations and find a way to pursue them
  18. You want to build a network as a budding entrepreneur
  19. You  want time to work on your start-up as an entrepreneur
  20. You want to start a company and need resources
  21. Want to improve your education background
  22. You want to change the world
Friday, June 24th, 2011 Admissions, Business School 1 Comment

In Search of Questions from Readers

Regular readers know that in addition to discussing school, career, and leadership topics, I also spend lots of time answering questions on my site. Particularly questions about MBA admissions.  In fact, I recently looked at some of my most popular posts, and noticed that multiple posts in my top ten were those where I answered questions from my readers.  You can see examples of that HERE, HERE and HERE, among other places.

Well the good news is that I want to do more of the Q&A.  However, starting at some point over the next few weeks, I’ve decided to try a different approach to my Q&A posts. Instead of writing out all of my responses, I plan to leverage more audio and video here on my website. In this manner, I’ll be able to answer questions faster than usual. And I’ll also be able to answer more questions than ever before.

That said, please feel free to send in any questions you have regarding admissions, recruiting, or anything. Likewise, if you know someone who can benefit, I hope you’ll share the site with them. The MBA application process is about to get under way, so I’d love to hear what types of questions you have.

Best of luck everyone!

Monday, June 20th, 2011 Admissions, Business School 1 Comment

2011 Annual BTG Scholarship

Over the past few years, aspiring business school students have been applying in large numbers to top MBA programs. Not only do they bring strong work experience from highly regarded companies, but they also come from top academic institutions and get top scores on the  GMAT exam.  As a result, applicants today feel the pressure to submit a top application given the stiff competition, particularly with regard to the GMAT scores which have been trending upwards the past few years. Well one of the best MBA admissions resources I know, Beat The GMAT, has recently launched its annual GMAT scholarship program aimed to help people applying to school.

Given the attention that students give to the GMAT, I couldn’t help but take a second to pass along the information when my friend Eric from Beat The GMAT passed it along. He told me it was that time of year again. When people are gearing up for applications. When they are thinking about the GMAT. And they are about to get started applying to MBA programs.

The scholarship program came out last week. And it is looks to be a great opportunity for those who look forward to embarking on their MBA journeys.  See below for details about the program and below that for a link to the Beat The GMAT website.

For reference, the deadline to submit an application is May 24, 2011.

Best of luck if you decide to apply.

Blurb from Beat The GMAT webpage:

“Beat The GMAT is now accepting applications for the sixth annual Beat The GMAT Scholarship Competition, co-sponsored by Grockit, Kaplan,Knewton, Manhattan GMAT, Master GMAT, The Princeton Review, and Veritas Prep.  The Beat The GMAT Scholarship is one of the largest GMAT scholarship programs in the world and our community has distributed over $185,000 in awards to date. This year we have seven scholarship packages for seven people, valued at over $8,000! We accept applications up until May 24, 2011 and winners will be announced on June 1, 2011.”

Click here for the website:

Friday, April 29th, 2011 Admissions, Business School 4 Comments

Applicant Question: Should I Take The LSAT When Applying to the JD-MBA Program?

I recently received a question about Northwestern’s JD-MBA program. The question comes from a potential applicant that has asked me whether he should consider taking the LSAT as part of the application process. I’ve received similar questions on various occasions in times past, so wanted to include the question here on my site, so readers could have a bit more information on how to think about the topic.

See below for the reader’s question and below that for my response.

From: (name)

Subject: LSAT

Message Body:

Hey Jeremy,

I know that Northwestern’s JD-MBA program doesn’t require the LSAT on its app, is there an unspoken expectation? From what you have seen, does it help or hurt to put an LSAT score on the app?  I haven’t taken the LSAT; is it advisable that I do to potentially strengthen my candidacy? Does the admission board view the lack of an LSAT score as a detriment? Not sure how you reply back to people, but you can email me if you’d like.

Thanks, keep up the great work.


This mail is sent via contact form on www.JEREMYCWILCOM.COM

Hi (name)

Thanks so much for reading my site and for writing in.  And sorry for the late response.  Here below is a quick answer to your question.

You are correct that Northwestern’s JD-MBA program doesn’t require the LSAT on as part of your application submission. And as such, a large number of JD-MBA applicants do not take the LSAT. The specific number of those who actually take it changes from year to year, but my hunch is that more people apply without taking the LSAT than those who apply after taking the test, perhaps significantly more.

It’s likely that this is why many people who apply to the NU JD-MBA program are considering the dual program along with other MBA programs, rather than along with other JD and JD-MBA programs. To that end, you’d be in good company if you decided not to take the LSAT exam, at least in terms of the numbers.

In terms of the score, there’s no question that a good LSAT will stand out from the other applicants and enhance your application to the dual program. Not only does a good score show that you put the time and effort to submit a strong application but it also shows that you care specifically about law school by taking the exam, since it’d be easy to just skip over.  Likewise, doing well can also prove that you are a competitive law school applicant, which would really stand out given that most JD-MBA applicants skew a bit more toward the business side of things.

On the other hand, it is always possible that you may not do as well as you hoped on the LSAT. After all, the exam is quite difficult and some people take it multiple times and still never achieve the score they were targeting. In that case, the tradeoff is that you’ll be spending time and money taking the LSAT even though the result may not be perfect. But not getting the LSAT shouldn’t be a big knock against you given the exam isn’t required. So in the end, the decision may ultimately hinge on how important your time is right now, and on if it’s worth putting a lot of that time into studying for the exam rather than strengthening other areas of your application.

Good luck in your decision and let me know if you have any follow up  questions.

Jeremy C.


Friday, April 8th, 2011 Admissions, Business School 3 Comments

Applicant Question: Career Changing and Kellogg Class Size

The MBA admissions process is difficult to navigate. Not only does it take a lot of work to get admitted but it’s also enormously unpredictable. As a result, a lot of people get started doing research early to get a head start on putting together a quality application. They do their best to get good scores and write great essays, and they  also do a lot of research beforehand to find a school that’s the perfect fit. With that in mind, I recently received an email from one of my readers about my experience at Kellogg as she is gearing up to apply to business school next fall.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve gotten a pretty large number of questions about interviews from aspiring MBA and JD-MBA applicants. Given the applicant pool for top MBA programs is highly competitive, filled with applicants applying with perfect GPAs and GMAT scores, this year, it seems as though a lot of applicants are ahead of the game.

This reader asked me two specific questions. One in regards to career changing while at Kellogg. And the other with regards to the culture at Kellogg, given the size of the school.

See below for the question and below that for my response.


Thank you so much for taking some time out of your schedule to speak to us and answer questions during the student panel at the MLT Kick off.

As I mentioned, I am interested in transitioning from the oil and gas (energy) industry to the health care industry. Can you provide any insight as to the challenges of going through a career change during the MBA process?

Also, more specifically to Kellogg, I am really interested in applying. However, I am concerned about the large class size and whether it hinders a close knit community feel between the students. Any thoughts on the culture at Kellogg and your experience in general? I’ve read a lot about the reasons to go to Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern, what are some of the reasons why someone should not go there?

Thanks again for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.



Hi (name)

Great to hear from you. And sorry its taken a few days to get back – we’ve been taking final exams all this week. That said, I’m glad I was able to make it out to Charlottesville to speak to the group.  Here are a couple of quick responses to your questions.

One, career change is hard but it is doable. I mentioned this in the session a few times – that changing careers in school is not a walk in the park. Why? Because there are usually fewer spots available than there are people going after the spots. So if two people with similar credentials are applying for the same roles, the one with the better background, more relevant story, and more applicable skills might have a bit of a better shot at getting the job offer.
However, fortunately there is good news too. One is that you get two tries to find your perfect role since you can recruit both in the summer, and then again for a full time job in your second year.  Second is that the career change you mentioned is seemed pretty aligned with some of your skills so you’ll definitely have a head start on people doing a pure change.  Likewise, if you know exactly what it is you want to do ahead of time, the process is usually much easier, especially if its a job in industry rather than services.
So while the consulting/banking route might be saturated with lots of people and have a somewhat ambiguous process that doesn’t always reward those who do the most research, the healthcare industry is more specific and you can specific knowledge to really stand out. And finally, another thing to note is that most people go to business school to do some sort of career change. And everyone comes out with a good job. You just have to work hard to make sure you’re successful.
Two, you’re absolutely right. Kellogg is definitely bigger than some of the other schools you might be considering – Berkeley, Stanford, Yale, Duke, Tuck, and Johnson to name a few.  On the other hand, Kellogg is also smaller than some of its peer schools – HBS, Wharton.  To that end, I’m of the opinion that picking the right class size for a school really comes down to personal preference, since there are pros and cons to the different classes sizes.
The advantage of a smaller class size is obvious – you get to know a majority of the students there, on average you get to know students a little better than you otherwise would, and often times the community and alumni base is more close knit. On the other hand, a big class size also has its advantages. Big classes usually translate into having more alumni taking part in more activities, more access to professional resources, more on campus activities, and more classes offered by the school.  So in the end, I think it’s a pretty personal decision. Personally, I’m glad I chose big. And even though Kellogg is about 600 students per class, I’ve still developed a good number of close friends.
Anyhow, I hope this information is helpful. My contact info is below in this email. Please do not hesitate to keep in touch as you navigate the admissions process. Also, feel free to reach out if you make it out to visit Kellogg at any point. Happy to help however I can.
All best,
Thursday, March 24th, 2011 Admissions, Business School No Comments

Congratulations Kellogg Class of 2013 MBA Admits

Waiting for a business school admissions decision can feel like one of the hardest things in the world.  Not only do you not know whether you’ll get in or not, but you also don’t know when they’re actually going to contact you, at least not for most schools. Well, after weeks of waiting patiently, and after months of applying to schools all across the country, Kellogg applicants have finally been receiving their admissions decisions this month. And over the past two days, a couple of my good friends have recently been admitted.  So to the members of Kellogg’s Class of 2013, congratulations on your acceptance!

Hi everyone, I’m writing here just to send a quick congratulations to everyone who has been accepted so far.  For those of you who are seriously considering Kellogg, you should definitely make sure you come to Day at Kellogg (DAK) to see the campus and meet your potential classmates before making your final decision.

As an applicant I went to Kellogg’s DAK weekend and had a blast. Likewise, I also went to DAK 1 earlier this year (click here to see my post on DAK 1) to meet the new crop of admits, and plan to come out for DAK 2 this year to meet some of the new ones. Hopefully, I’ll see you there for the weekend.

Best of luck to everyone else still waiting out admissions decisions.

And best of luck to my friend from Kenya who is planning to apply in round three.

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011 Admissions, Business School 2 Comments

Welcome to Evanston!

To the applicants admitted to Kellogg’s Class of 2013 who are here for Day At Kellogg, otherwise known as DAK, welcome to Evanston! Hopefully you are excited about the opportunity to meet potential classmates, learn more about Kellogg, and decide if this is a place you want to call home for the next two years. Likewise, congratulations on your achievement. For many of you, the journey to Kellogg and to Evanston has been long.

Choosing to come to Evanston this weekend is definitely the right choice.  It’s a chance to come see if this is a place you can call home. If the culture, energy and dynamism is a place that feels like a good fit for you. Meanwhile, be sure to speak with the students you get the chance to meet. Elicit their perspectives. Hear about their successes with their job search process, and also their struggles. See what clubs they lead and which ones they wish they could lead. And hear about the opportunities that they’re currently pursuing. And above all, engage!

One thing we learn here in business school is that the experience flies by.  Not only because two years is a short time period, but also because there are dozens of competing priorities at any given moment, all competing for your attention at the same time. Friends, assignments, networking events, recruiting, exams, club activities, and taking part in activities outside of Kellogg, just to name a few. Likewise, the weekend will probably fly by quickly for you.

So along with the great opportunity to come to Kellogg and take a break from work for a few years, you still have to constantly engage and do your best to optimize your experience. Hopefully you’ll start off by engaging in the activities at DAK this weekend.

Best of luck during your visit. And as I mentioned in my previous post, feel free to say hello if you catch me around Jacobs.

Thursday, February 10th, 2011 Admissions, Business School 1 Comment

2011 Kellogg Sneak Peek

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be at student at Kellogg? Or what about listening to one of Kellogg’s top professors giving a talk on your favorite business subject? I wondered about those things a lot when I was applying to business school. Well, if you are too, then now is your chance. On Friday February 25, 2011, the Kellogg School of Management is hosting its annual “Sneak Peek” event, where you’ll get a sneak peak at what it feels like to be a student.

It’s that time of year again. The time for snowstorms in Evanston. Job interviews in Jacobs. Admissions interviews all over the country. And last but not least, admissions events being held for next years class.

On Friday, February 25, the Kellogg School of Management is excited to host another admissions event for minority prospective students. Co-sponsored by the Africa Business Club (ABC), Black Management Association (BMA) and Hispanic Business Students Association (HBSA) Sneak Peak gives you the opportunity to experience Kellogg first-hand.

In my personal view, events like this are almost always worthwhile. Not only is it a chance to meet students at a school you might be interesting in attending, but it’s also a chance to meet future applicants, many of which will be applying to the same schools you are, including Kellogg. So even though you’ve probably got a lot on your plate right now – studying for the GMAT, starting applications, preparing for interviews – I’d suggest that you strongly consider taking some time out to learn a bit more about Kellogg.

For reference, below is the official blurb about the event from Kellogg admissions, which includes a link where you can register.

Hopefully see you there!

The BMA Conference will be hosted the same weekend and you are invited to both!

Click Here to register.

Click Here for more information on the BMA Conference.

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011 Admissions, Business School, Diversity No Comments

Congratulations Kellogg Class of 2013

To the applicants admitted to Kellogg’s Class of 2013, congratulations on your acceptance! What a wonderful achievement. Hopefully you are excited about the opportunity to attend Kellogg and learn more about the program over the upcoming weeks. As a current student, I can’t say enough about how great the experience is, not only because it’s an enjoyable environment to be in, but also because of the immense number of opportunities that you have at your fingertips from the very first day.

But no need to take my word for it. Instead, be sure to come out and attend Day At Kellogg (DAK) and get a feel for the experience yourself.  My fellow classmates and the admissions team have been working hard all quarter putting together the DAK programing. And if it’s anything like last year, I’m sure you’ll have a blast here in Evanston this year.

DAK takes place the weekend of February 11-13, and the experience will be once in a lifetime. You’ll have the chance to attend a class with professors like Mazzeo and Rogers to see how those discussions will go.  You’ll be able to chat with current students, meet recent alumni from Kellogg, listen to various panels of students and professors, and spend the evenings in the city to see how much students enjoy the experience.

And while you’re here, you’ll also see that we take the experience seriously. And not just with respect to grades and jobs, but also the community. Because along with the great privilege of having access to jobs and capital, we also realize we have a responsibility to give back both to our communities and also to others more broadly.  And one way we’re starting now is by creating this great weekend for incoming students.

So I highly recommend you consider coming to Kellogg for DAK. And if you do come, feel free to drop me a line here or find me in the hallways of Jacobs during the weekend.

Congratulations again!

Below, please find a few of my posts about previous DAKs at Kellogg.

1. My thoughts on DAK 2010, click here

2. Congrats on your acceptance to Kellogg, click here

3. Congrats Kellogg Class of 2012, click here

4. Kellogg MBA Admit reception, click here

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011 Admissions, Business School 3 Comments

Happy MLK Day & Application Question: Can I Submit a GMAT Score Late for the MLT Program?

Happy belated MLK Day Everyone! I hope that you were able to observe the holiday and commemorate the day that has helped to change America over the last few decades. At Northwestern, there were a number of scheduled events over the past week, so hopefully it was the same in your geography as well. Last year, I posted a post about leadership lessons from Martin Luther King (click here for the post).  But this year however, I thought I’d try something different. In the spirit of the MLK holiday, I wanted to respond to one of my reader’s questions about Management Leadership for Tomorrow, one of the world’s most influential programs for up and coming minorities in America.

Before I dive into the question, first, I want to emphasize that MLT is a wonderful program, and that anyone who is eligible should consider applying (click here for my last post about applying to MLT).  For years now, MLT has been helping up and coming professionals all over the world achieve their full potential by assisting with career visioning and planning.

Below is my reader’s question and below that is my response.


Dear Jeremy,

I was recently accepted into the MLT program, but will not receive my official scores by the deadline of February 1st. I expect my score to be well above the minimum requirement for entry into the program, and need either- an extension, or provisionally sustained enrollment until the end of February. Do you think this would be possible??? I do not want to pass up on this opportunity OR to postpone all of my plans for another year… Who should I talk to about this?

Thank you!



Dear Reader,

Thanks so much for your question. First, congratulations on getting accepted into the MLT MBAP program. What a wonderful accomplishment! In my view, MLT is one of the best organizations anywhere for business professionals. Not only because of the support it provides to applicants during the application process but also because of the networks of friends and colleagues it provides you in the journey.

In regards to your question, there are a couple of things to keep in mind-

One, it is important to know that MLT is organized just like a business school. MLT has its own admissions process, has tangible application deadlines, and asks that you to write thoughtful essays and submit GMAT scores to gain acceptance.

Second, the program itself is also highly structured. You have a formal set of rules that you’re asked to comply with as a fellow.  There are a number of assignments that you must complete on time throughout the program. And you have a set of deadlines and due dates that more often than not are not negotiable.

As such, I think it’s important that applicants also do their best to adhere to the deadlines and meet all the requirements, which includes sending GMAT scores on time at the onset of the program. Applicants that don’t do this can risk of missing out on admission.  On the other hand, MLT also understands that sometimes logistics are not always in your control. So you should let them know the specifics about what happened and your workplan for completing the exam.

In my personal experience, I recall that a few people also had trouble with the GMAT timing right as MLT was beginning, and MLT was able to accomodate those that had solidified a date to take the exam.  However, this was also a few years ago, before MLT moved many of its deadlines earlier and began emphasizing how important it is to finish the GMAT earlier than later. In fact, my MLT class was the first to really prioritize the  idea of moving the GMAT earlier, when we provided feedback after our fellowship year.

So if you have a solid reason for not being able to submit scores on time, then it would make sense to speak with someone directly from the organization and ask what the protocol is for exceptions. First, I’d try contacting the person who admitted you into the program, since they are likely your point of contact. Second, you can find MLT’s contact info on this link. for more general questions, or as a second point of reference. And third, for more specific questions, you can feel free to drop me a line and I will connect you someone else who can help you. But from what I know about the program, I suspect MLT has already provided you with the right contact information.

Back before I conclude, I want to re-emphasize that MLT runs its program this way for a reason. In my view, one of MLT’s greatest lessons for its fellows is the importance of structure — Being on time. Following protocol. Playing by the rules.  And being organized. It’s not because they want to make your life more difficult but because business school moves at a faster pace and if you are not organized, you might miss she chance to sign up for an event, miss out on a class you were hoping to take, or worst of all miss the drop deadline for a resume submission.

But like I said, MLT also understands that logistics can be tricky. So try to get in touch with the person who contacted you regarding admissions. And if you can’t, send me another note and I’ll put you in touch with someone I know at the office.

In any event, congratulations again, best of luck in the admission process, and perhaps I’ll see you in March at the MLT kick-off event!

Note: I will also note that I got this great picture from Orlando, who is in Kellogg’s Class of 2011. He has a great blog that is very helpful for those who are considering Kellogg and are seeking information about the school.

Thursday, January 20th, 2011 Admissions, Business School, Careers, Diversity No Comments

Webinar for Indian Applicants Hosted by

Indian students have long applied in large numbers to top MBA programs. Not only do the applicants bring strong technical training from highly regarded international institutions, but many also work at top tier companies after that. More and more, Indian students have been looking for a competitive advantage given the stiff competition they face to gain entry into MBA programs. Well one of the best MBA admissions resources I know has recently decided to host a Webinar specifically for Indian students.

Given the unique profile (and perceived profile) of the Indian segment of the population, my good friend Kaneisha Grayson, from The Art of Applying, has decided to host a webinar specifically dedicated to the Indian application population. The Webinar is sheduled to be hosted in April, after round three applications are in, but well in advance of next year’s round one admissions cycle.  Below are a couple of details about the call:

* Date and Time (in India): Saturday, April 16 at 9:30 am IST
* Date and Time (in USA): Friday, April 15 at 8 pm PST / 10 pm CST / 11 pm EST
* Duration: 1 hour
* Host: Kaneisha Grayson
* CLICK HEREto read all the details from Kaneisha’s webpage

Here is some additional information on the Webinar taken directly from Kaneisha’s website.

* The webinar has been postponed to Saturday, April 16 at 9:30 am IST. Since so many people requested that the webinar be free, I have to move it to after R3 applications are finished. I’m willing to work for free sometimes but not during peak season!
* For all of you living outside of India, that’s Friday, April 15 at 8 pm PST / 10 pm CST / 11 pm EST.
* Don’t worry if you can’t make it live! The webinar will be recorded.
* Remember – the webinar is limited to 100 people! Be there – or be . . . sad.

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010 Admissions, Business School No Comments

Applicant Question: Tips for MBA Admissions Interviews (Continued)

December is the season where a lot of MBA applicants are looking for that one special gift. A call from admissions committees telling them they’ve been admitted to their favorite MBA programs. As such, applicants begin to focus more on their applications and prepare intensely for interviews. Unfortunately, executing a good interview is a difficult task.  Like just about every meeting you’ve ever had, an MBA interview can take an innumerable number of twists and turns, so it’s imperative that you go into your interview prepared.

In a recent post on MBA interviews (click here to read the post) I wrote a bit about what it means to be prepared, discussing “research” and “fit”  This post is an extension of the first post. And here I not only emphasize how to prepare for questions that might come up, but also how to stay prepared for the twists and turns that the interview might take.

Below are two additional tips that will help you to successfully navigate the interview process.

1.  Know Your Application. Part of proving fit in the application process is being consistent with what you wrote in your application – what you included on your resume, the information you wrote in the data form, the high level content of your recommendations, and the stories you described in your essays.  Generally, be ready to discuss every line of your resume and to elaborate on the important pieces of everything else.  Specifically, focus on the high-impact issues, which can be critical in shorter interviews because time is limited, the stakes are high, and in many cases those issues add more value to your candidacy.  Similarly, focus on issues that may appear to be inconsistent on the surface as these subjects tend to catch the attention of interviewees right away. And remember that anything you wrote in your application is fair game; so never be caught off guard.

2.  Don’t Memorize. Because time is limited, in most cases it doesn’t make sense to try to memorize details of your application. First, it won’t do you much good if you invest time in areas that never come up, which is likely in a 30 to 45 minute MBA interview. Second, even if it does come up, you don’t want to appear to be robotic or be too strongly convinced that the interview should go in a certain direction, especially if the interviewer is steering you otherwise. On the other hand, not memorizing also means that you won’t have time to think about every possible answer that may arise. But that’s fine. It’s more important that you think critically about the issues and provide thoughtful and organized responses, in place of memorized ones. So think about all the issues ahead of time and be prepared to discuss them analytically. The best way to prepare for that is to practice. But once again, don’t memorize.

If it’s any consolation, I’ll be employing many of the same methods during my MBA recruiting process too. Not only do many of the tactics will overlap but the timing does as well, as many MBA interviews also happen in January and February.

Best of luck everyone with your upcoming interviews!

Friday, December 24th, 2010 Admissions, Business School, Careers 1 Comment

Applicant Question: Tips for MBA Admissions Interviews

Every person applying to business school has both good and bad parts of their application. So as an applicant, it’s in your interest to not only to formally submit a strong application but also to submit one that both highlights the good parts, while also mitigating the bad parts. One way to do that is by delivering a strong interview, especially at schools, like Kellogg, where everyone gets a chance to interview with the admissions committee (or alumni/students who represent the admissions committee).

Over the past few weeks, I’ve gotten a pretty large number of questions about interviews from aspiring MBA and JD-MBA applicants at Kellogg. Given the applicant pool for top MBA programs is highly competitive, filled with applicants applying with perfect GPAs and GMAT scores, not to mention rigorous analytical work experience, my belief is that you should always be very well prepared for interview.

Below, I’ve listed a couple of tips that I’ve provided to applicants. While they are general pieces of advice that many of you have heard before, they’re things are sometimes still easy to forget, so I’ve provided them here for reference.

1. Research. In any interview, you should know the organization you’re interviewing with, in the case the MBA program (or dual degree program if applicable). Research the ins and outs, and not only of the organization itself, but also the industry and the school’s top competitors.  And you should also be prepared to demonstrate that knowledge by talking about it analytically, not just factually.  That means mentioning programs, people, events, clinics, culture, and recent program changes, and then discussing how that compares to other schools.

2.  Fit. Further, you should be crystal clear on how all of the research you’ve done relates to you and ties into your specific application. Talking generally about pros and cons of a school is easy, but figuring out where you fit in will take some additional work. Ultimately schools want to admit students who not only want to be there but also who will thrive in that specific environment. So it’s highly beneficial to understand how you can benefit from programs at the school. Practically, that means talk about the nuances that make it unique, why those nuances are important to you specifically, and why you would excel as a result of those things.

Be sure to check back for more interview tips over the upcoming weeks before round two interviews begin.

Good luck!

Sunday, December 5th, 2010 Admissions, Business School 6 Comments

The JD-MBA Revolution

There is a new movement taking place in the world of business education, which seeks to combine some of the world’s most challenging business problems with other problems in the world. One way it’s doing that is by combining the challenging business and legal problems in JD-MBA programs. The JD-MBA program is an accelerated course of study that allows students to graduate from business and law school in three years. And it not only allows them to take courses in business and law, but also then also work in areas such as finance, entrepreneurship, business law, real estate and an endless number of other professions.

Top MBA programs, of course, will continue to thrive, and they will continue to enroll some of the most talented business people in the world.  But more and more these program will integrate with schools, such as law, public policy, education and others, as business continues to become more cross disciplinary and as teams become more cross functional to tackle today’s most important business decisions.

Meanwhile, everything in the JD-MBA program exudes that integration. Because it not only gives you the legal and business training but also the networks and resources from both schools. A network of diverse students and alumni, professional and academic resources, professors that you can call upon later in your career, and a mix of interesting classes to help you triangulate around your interests, both in business and law.

Sound like something you might be interested in?  If so, then you’re definitely not alone. People are increasingly starting to look more and more into the programs. And further, schools are also becoming enormously interested. This year Columbia and Cornell recently launched three year JD-MBA programs and last year, Wharton and Yale came out with accelerated programs.

  • Click here to learn more about Kellogg’s dual degree program. Launched in 2001, Northwestern had the first fully integrated JD-MBA program and today it continues to serve as one of the leading programs, given it’s size, number of alumni, and reputation with recruiters.
  • Click here to learn about Columbia’s new dual program, which will begin in 2011. Also, click here to read their press release from Wednesday. Given its NYC location, the Columbia program will be a good draw for many students.
  • Click here to learn about the Wharton program, which was launched in 2009, as the second fully integrated JD-MBA program. The creation of Wharton’s program was significant, as it helped spur Cornell and Columbia to recently to launch their respective programs
  • Click here to learn about Cornell’s new program, which began last year in 2010. Cornell was the first school to launch a program in NYC
  • Click here to learn about Yale’s program, launched in 2009. Given its unique application procedure – must apply and get into the Yale Law and then apply to Yale SOM as a 1L – the program will likely be a good draw for students more interested in law than in business

On the other hand, some top schools are still in decision mode.  Stanford, for example, has decided against the program so far. Just last year, the Dean of Stanford University Law School, said they also thought about creating a program (i.e. shortening its four-year program to three years) but decided not to create one. (click here to see the article). I’m interested to see if they change their mind over the next few years.

But more important than them, what about you?  Are you looking to join the revolution in the business and legal worlds? And are you considering a joint program in business and law? If so, then check out the programs above, and see if one of them sounds appealing to you.

Personally, I’m a big proponent of the Northwestern JD-MBA program, but I suspect different programs will work better for everyone, depending on what you want to get out of the experience. Best of luck in your choice and feel free to get in touch with me if you have any immediate questions.

Friday, December 3rd, 2010 Admissions, Business School, Careers, Law School No Comments

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Jeremy C Wilson is a JD-MBA alumni using his site to share information on education, the social enterprise revolution, entrepreneurship, and doing things differently. Feel free to send along questions or comments as you read.


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The contents of this blog are mine personally and do not reflect the views or position of Kellogg, Northwestern Law, the JD-MBA program, or any firm that I work for. I only offer my own perspective on all issues.
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