Kellogg MBA Applicants Get Ready for Their Close-Up

As if applications, essays, recommendation letters, and interviews weren’t enough, this year’s applicants to Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management will confront a new obstacle to their B-school dreams: video.

Kellogg has become the latest B-school to experiment with a video component for the B-school application, following the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, which added video last year, and the Yale School of Management, which will do so this year.

While those schools made the move to video, at least in part, to avoid the scripted responses they often encounter in interviews, Kate Smith, Kellogg’s assistant dean of admissions and financial aid, says her team wanted a way “to allow the entire admissions committee to meet the applicants wherever they are in the world.”
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The Kellogg application will direct applicants to a landing page on which they’ll be asked a short question. They’ll have one to two minutes to collect their thoughts and one to two minutes to record an answer. They can replay their answer and start over if they’re dissatisfied with it. Three attempts are permitted, with the applicant getting a new question each time.

Smith says the questions will be of a personal nature—not asking them to solve a problem—so no preparation is needed. “It’s designed to bring to life the person we’ll learn about in the application,” she says.

While the video component is new, the Kellogg application is slimming down in other ways. The cumbersome, two-part application has been replaced by a streamlined process with a single deadline for all application materials. And the essay questions have a maximum word count of 1,350, down from 1,525 last year. The questions, though, are essentially the same: They ask applicants to describe their greatest obstacle, a significant leadership experience, and the reasons why a Kellogg MBA is critical to achieving their career goals.