Kellogg MBA Interview Questions

I Intro
II Sample Kellogg MBA Interviews
III Insights From Past Kellogg MBA Interviewees

I Intro

After submitting your MBA application to Kellogg all students are asked to request an interview. If you plan on interviewing on-campus, getting your application in before the deadline will allow you the most flexibility in choosing your date. If you live in Chicago you should request an off-campus interview. Other applicants can choose between an on-campus or off-campus interview. About 40% of candidates interview on-campus. 75% of on-campus interviews are conducted by admissions committee members and 25% are conducted by current students. The remaining 60% of interviews are conducted off-campus by alumni.

When a school has students and alumni interviewing candidates it serves the purpose of ‘selling’ the school and the student experience to the applicant. That’s right. You probably think of interviews as being unidirectional – an opportunity for the school to evaluate YOU. In reality, interviews are also marketing tools for the school in order to increase their yield of offers extended/offers accepted each round. Kellogg was one of the first MBA programs to begin interviewing all applicants. Putting its current students and alumni in front of candidates (many of whom will end up attending other schools) has done a lot to create and reinforce the Kellogg community’s reputation as one of the friendliest around.

Because Kellogg relies on the admissions committee, current students and alumni to conduct interviews, there is really no way to quality control the interview process or objectively interpret the feedback provided on candidates. At best the admissions committee is able to screen for three things 1) Do you have realistic and convincing answers for the Why MBA/Why Kellogg/Career Goals questions? 2) Are you able to connect with your interviewer? Do you demonstrate good social skills and project an outgoing disposition? 3) Are you able to convincingly convey your excitement for and knowledge of Kellogg, its community and its MBA program? Remember, admissions committees only want to extend offers to candidates who they believe WILL enrol in their program (and keep their yield high… Yield = offers extended/offers accepted each round).

This applicant comment sums it up well: My Alum Interviewer prefaced the interview by saying that he has a set list of guidelines from Kellogg, which outline the questions he’s going to ask me. His approach was well-defined and by the book. He did not deviate from his script. He did, however, speak a lot to his experience at Kellogg and respond to my answers with insights about his time applying and then pursuing an MBA. So it wasn’t all one way traffic when I was asked to respond to a question. He also took down some notes while I spoke. He seemed pretty organized and genuinely interested in what I had to say.’

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II Sample Kellogg MBA Interviews

Kellogg interviews are done blind. That means that the person interviewing you will not have read your application, essays or recommendations. The interviewer will have reviewed your resume (or at least received it). That means that some of the stories you already covered in your written application can be used to answer interview questions (if appropriate).

Kellogg asks interviewers to cap the interview at 60 minutes in order to maintain fairness. That said, interviews range from 30-60 minutes with 45 minutes being the average. Interview length can depend on how well the interviewer and interviewee click personally but don’t be alarmed – a short, to the point interview isn’t a bad sign. Every year Kellogg’s admissions committee releases a list of questions interviewers can put to candidates during interviews. While the questions change slightly year to year, there are a few standard questions that pop up quite frequently along with a few topical areas questions gravitate around.

  • JOB: Walk me through your resume OR What role do you play in your company? OR Tell me about yourself
  • GOALS: What are your short/long-term goals?
  • WHY: Why an MBA? Why Kellogg?
  • CHALLENGE: Tell me about a time you changed your approach to a process or overcame a challenge OR What is the most difficult thing you do at work?
  • OPINIONS: How would colleagues/friends describe your (positive/negative)?
  • PERSONAL: What do you do in your free time? AND What will you involve yourself with at Kellogg (outside of class)?

Typically there aren’t a lot of behavioral questions. Some candidates will get one during the interview. If you do it might look something like this ‘Tell me about a time…when you struggled to meet a deadline’. The remaining questions will probe into how you view yourself or a past experience. Be sure to have a few classes and clubs you’re particularly interested in participating in top of mind when you walk into the interview. Likewise, be prepared to talk about what you will contribute back to the Kellogg community (while a student) – will you get involved in leading a club? start your own activity or trek? etc.

mba interview one (adcom)

  • Tell me about yourself
  • Tell me about your short-term goals
  • Why Kellogg?
  • (Behavioral Question) Could you tell me about your leadership style
  • Questions for Interviewer

mba interview two (adcom)

  • When did you get to Evanston? Have you gotten to see campus yet?
  • I haven’t read your application – please start by telling me about your educational background and why you made the choices you did
  • Tell me about your case experiences
  • What is ORGANIZATION?  What did you do there?
  • (Behavioral Question) How would you describe your leadership style?  Can you give me examples?
  • What would colleagues describe as the best thing about you?What is something colleagues wish you would change?
  • What is your short term career goal?
  • What is your long term goal?
  • What are the challenges which companies in South America face (after the candidate made a reference to South America)
  • How does Kellogg fit into these goals?
  • What impact will you have at Kellogg?
  • What is something you would participate in at Kellogg?
  • What do you do in your free time?
  • Is there anything that you would like to add?
  • Questions for Interviewer

mba interview three (current student)

  • What extracurricular activities do you do?
  • What did you learn from your current project?
  • How have you grown in the past year?
  • What do you like most about your job?
  • How would the Kellogg MBA change you?
  • What paths would you go if you do not have the Kellogg
  • MBA Questions for Interviewer

mba interview four (current student)

  • Walk me through your resume
  • Tell me about your team work experience in your product manager role
  • (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time when a team had no leader and you stepped up
  • What is your short term career goal
  • What is your long term career goal
  • Why do you want an MBA now?
  • What would Kellogg be your choice?
  • What activities do you plan to get involved in?
  • What would your teammates wish they could change about you?
  • How do you define leadership?
  • (Behavioral Question) What is your leadership style? Tell me about a time when you led?
  • What is a common misconception about you in the workplace?
  • What is a question you wished I had asked you
  • Do you have any questions for me?
  • Questions for Interviewer

mba interview five (alum)

  • Tell me about yourself
  • – Most of the interview was just follow up questions on my work experience
  • – Lots of questions about my rotations and work experience – just trying to understand the exact responsibilities
  • What are you career goals?
  • What do you hope to gain from your MBA?
  • What can you see yourself getting involved in at Kellogg?
  • Why do you think you are a good fit?
  • What research have you done to determine you are a good fit?
  • Which leadership experiences did you volunteer for, and which were you asked to do?
  • Questions for Interviewer

mba interview six (alum)

  • Walk me through your resume and the reasoning behind the decisions you have taken to date.
  • (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time when you overcame a challenge.
  • (Behavioral Question) What is your leadership style?
  • You seem to have significant education and experience, then why an MBA? Why Kellogg?
  • (Behavioral Question) Tell me about your most significant accomplishment to date.
  • (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time when you changed your approach to a process. What was the outcome?
  • What other programs are you applying to?
  • What are you looking for in an MBA program?
  • What sort of activities do you see yourself getting involved in at Kellogg
  • Questions for Interviewer

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III Insights From Past Kellogg MBA Interviewees

The interviewer was very friendly, attempted to put me at ease at the beginning by asking softball questions like “When did you get to Evanston? Have you ever been here before?”  She was very friendly and we both chatted about the gorgeous day and fall foliage because her office had a great view of the campus.  Most often she responded to my answers by asking a follow-up question. It felt much more conversational than I expected it to be because the questions all seemed to flow nicely with the previous question. 1) Have a very strong “Why Kellogg” story.  Make sure to know a lot about the school 2) Be able to talk about Kellogg alumni and Kellogg culture 3) Have questions ready for the interviewer.  They expect them and leave time for them.
 Interviewed by Kellogg Adcom on campus

Since Kellogg does bind interview and asks typical questions such as leadership or teamwork experience that basically requires you to tell your stories. So it is essential to prepare your stories well. The interviewer was very friendly. Since I did campus tour the day before interview, we chatted a little about my campus tour in the beginning of the interview. The interviewer then explained his background and started to ask me questions. The whole interview was formal but not stressful. I could feel the interviewer was listening and trying to get a good picture of my background while I was talking. The interviewer also pointed some connections between us, such as he was a civil engineer before MBA, he is taking a course that I am interested, and he is married as I am. These made me feel less stressful during the interview and easy to ask questions later. I can feel the interviewer was not only asking me questions, but also wanted to help me understand Kellogg better.
 Interviewed by current Kellogg MBA student on campus

Definitely prepare in advance to have like 5 or 6 stories readily available. They can be applied across a broad range of question topics. For Why Kellogg? — he really seemed to like me discussing a specific example about a conversation I had with the current student as a way to support my claim about “liking the culture.” So having specific examples is key.
Interviewed by current Kellogg MBA student on campus

My interviewer started off the interview by saying these interviews are typically really informal and it’s a way for her to get to know me and my goals but also for me to be able to ask a past student about Kellogg.  Very conversational and relaxed.  Felt more like an informal informational meeting with an alum than an interview.  The hour went by really fast and she was incredibly easy to talk to and friendly.  She probably asked me questions for about the first 20 minutes and then it was about 20 minutes of conversation and questions for her.
Interviewed by Kellogg alumnus off campus

My interview was okay – the interviewer made a point to say that he was basically communicating on my behalf to the AdCom. He took diligent notes and stressed that he would be my voice to Admissions. He asked me a lot of questions – very probing and almost transactional. Not too conversational. It was a little surprising based on everything I’ve heard about Kellogg’s culture, so it caught me off guard. Be ready to dive into your work experience and provide specifics – expect lots of follow up questions.
Interviewed by Kellogg alumnus off campus

I suggest thinking through your story and doing a mock interview. It’s a huge help to verbalize answers as practice at least once before the actual interview. I strongly suggest getting to know the school well by browsing through its website, speaking with current and former students, and visiting the school. Frank was definitely trying to gauge how much I knew about Kellogg. Mentioning specific examples that interest you about the program will show that you are genuinely eager to attend the school.
– Interviewed by Kellogg alumnus off campus

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