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Kellogg School of Management

Kellogg School of Management

Melissa Rapp 

Melissa Rapp, Director of Full-Time & MSMS Admissions, Kellogg School of Management

What is the one area of your program that you wish applicants knew more about?

 The Kellogg experience reaches beyond the classroom and, in fact, around the world. From club trips to international learning experiences, we provide opportunities that equip our students for the global marketplace – including 37 exchange programs across 20 countries. This type of global breadth means that students can participate in multiple experiences during their time at Kellogg, better equipping themselves to lead confidently in a complex business landscape.

 A popular option is our Global Initiatives in Management program, an intensive global business course that allows students to gain an in-depth understanding of the economic, political, social, and culture characteristics of a country or region. Typically more than 250 full-time and evening/weekend students participate annually in the program. Trip destinations this year include Rwanda and Kenya, Myanmar and Vietnam, and the Middle East.

What’s the single most exciting development, change, or event happening at you MBA program this coming year?

I’m thrilled to say that Kellogg’s celebrated the opening of our new flagship building, the Global Hub, in March. It is home to our Full-Time MBA programs, world-class faculty and academic departments. This 415,000 square-foot space is designed to enhance collaboration, creativity and team-based learning. Among its many groundbreaking achievements, the Global Hub also features flexible classrooms that can be reconfigured for adaptive learning, a 6,000-square-foot central meeting place for the entire Kellogg community, and a design wing for hands-on experiential learning. This flexibility not only serves Kellogg’s needs today, but also provides for greater adaptability in the future.

 In addition to a new building, Kellogg continues to develop its curriculum by offering unique and innovative opportunities in entrepreneurship that are stronger than ever. The Kellogg Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative (KIEI), which oversees our Entrepreneurship, Growth & Scaling and Corporate Innovation pathways, has been undergoing some exciting new developments over the past few months. With the 2016 debut of our new San Francisco campus, one particularly exciting new opportunity is the San Francisco Winter Quarter, where Kellogg students will study and work alongside a startup or venture capital company in the Bay area. These programs were also named one of the most innovative business school ideas by Poets & Quants.

 The ideas that come out of KIEI have also significantly impacted student scholarship funding. Thanks to strong participation in domestic and international business competitions, startups developed during students’ time at Kellogg have collectively received more than $1 million in prize money and support.

 We are so excited to say that the Global Hub is open, and can’t wait to welcome our future Class of 2019 to be the first class that experiences the new building for the entirety of their time at Kellogg.

Walk us through the life of an application in your office from an operational standpoint. What happens between the time an applicant clicks “submit” and the time the committee offers a final decision (e.g. how many “reads” does it get, how long is each “read,” who reads it, does the committee convene to discuss it as a group, etc.)

 Our comprehensive approach to admissions enables us to attract an incredibly well rounded group of students to Kellogg. Every year, we review and refine our application process to ensure it’s providing us with the best opportunity to get to know our prospective students. A typical applicant will fill out our application form, which asks for a student’s academic record, GMAT or GRE score, letters of recommendation, resume, and completion of two written essays and a video essay. We’re unique in that we also continue to seek to interview as many applicants as possible. Once interviews are completed, we begin the process of evaluating the candidate as a whole and assessing our decision on their admission to the program. This process can take several months to complete.

 How does your team approach the essay portion of the application specifically? What are you looking for as you read the essays? Are there common mistakes that applicants should try to avoid? One key thing they should keep in mind as they sit down to write them?

 At Kellogg, we’re very transparent about the six criteria we evaluate potential students on: (1) intellectual ability, (2) work experience, (3) professional goals, (4) leadership, (5) impact, (6) interpersonal skills.  The most difficult trait to evaluate continues to be leadership, so I would encourage applicants to really think about how their essay demonstrates this quality.

 Kellogg is a team-based learning environment. We need to assess if candidates are prepared to work as a leader when necessary with their study group, and experienced in how to be a good follower as well. Kellogg is still run as a partnership between the administration and the students – will applicants jump in and be a club leader at Kellogg?

 We’re also proud that Kellogg continues to be one of the only top schools with a video essay component. When completing our three video essay questions, my recommendation is to be yourself. We don’t want scripted answers – we want to get to know you and learn something new.  Please do not try to reuse an example from an essay that might in some roundabout way answer the video essay question you are being asked — and we already read that essay, so why tell us that story again?  Think about your answer and prepare ahead of time, but when you record your answer speak authentically – we can tell if you are reading notes!

 Do you have any application tips (for essays & recommendations) for MBA applicants?

Think about your application holistically. Pursuing an MBA is a catalyst for personal and professional growth. What do you want to accomplish by pursuing an MBA? How have you grown in the past? How do you intend to grow at Kellogg? We also want to see how our applicants handle leadership and teamwork, which are integral parts of the Kellogg experience. How have you been a leader? What challenges did you face and how did you handle them? Thinking about these factors before you apply will only help strengthen your application for business school.

 What are the most important aspects of the MBA application process besides GMAT score, prior GPA and current job position?

Kellogg continues to look for MBA applicants who are high impact, low ego leaders that are ready to be active contributors to our student driven culture and will embrace the rigor and collaboration of our classroom. In addition to test scores and work experience, we’re are also interested in learning about a candidate’s intellectual ability, problem solving skills, leadership experience, values and motivations, extracurricular activities, and interpersonal skills. With all of these factors taken into consideration, we have seen a diverse, top-quality group of applicants who apply for admission to Kellogg.

 How can a candidate overcome a lower GMAT score?

 We were fortunate this past year to have had an outstanding pool of applicants. But I want to stress that GMAT score is one element in our comprehensive approach to getting to know applicants and determining who is the best fit for Kellogg. We truly take a holistic look at our applicants. Our goal is to be sure students can handle the rigor in the Kellogg classroom. GMAT score, along with undergraduate GPA and course selection, help us assess a student’s readiness.

 What resources are available at your MBA program to assist with internship and full-time job opportunities?

 Every Two-Year Full-Time MBA student goes through a three-month summer internship after their first year. These internships encompass a variety of industries, from consulting and technology to consumer-packaged goods and finance. Employers seek out Kellogg students because of their balanced skill set, rigor, vision, and ability to influence and inspire teams.

 In all, 95 percent of the graduating Full-Time MBA class last year received an offer by three months post-graduation. More than 200 companies hire Kellogg graduates, with 16% of students accepting jobs internationally. This is illustrative of Kellogg’s ability to effectively empower students to compete successfully for jobs with top MBA employers.

 At Kellogg, companies use multiple channels to recruit students throughout the year. We have a robust group of companies that participate in the formal on-campus recruiting process, and we also have firms who recruit on a “just in time” basis. Recruiting kicks off in the fall with events, including more than 150 company events hosted by the CMC that allow firms to come to Evanston and engage with students. We also have the Kellogg Job Board and a resume database, which companies use to identify talent.

 Recruiting is very customized to the student. When a student comes in and has that first coaching session, it’s about understanding what they want to get out of their MBA experience and how we can guide and support them. For some students, that may mean working through a self-assessment, creating a target list, networking, resume building, etc.

 

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