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Kellogg Executive MBA Application Essays 2024-2025

There will be two essay questions included on the application and provide an opportunity for you to share more about your background and values so the admissions committee can get to know you on a more personal level. In your own words, you’ll be able to tell us your story and what you want to achieve in your post-Kellogg life. Professional or personal examples for your essays are welcome.

Question 1 (450 words)

Kellogg Leaders are primed to tackle today’s pressing concerns everywhere, from the boardroom to their neighborhoods. Tell us about a time in your life where you’ve needed a combination of skills to solve a problem or overcome a challenge. Which skills did you use? What did you accomplish?

Question 2 (450 words)

At Kellogg, our values are based on research that concludes organizations comprised of leaders with varied backgrounds and perspectives outperform homogeneous ones. How do you believe your personal and professional experiences to date will help to enrich the Kellogg community?

If needed, you can submit a third essay to briefly describe any extenuating circumstances (e.g. unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, etc.).

Kellogg Executive MBA Winning Sample Essay -1

Essay 1:

Intentionality is a key aspect of what makes our graduates successful Kellogg leaders. Help us understand your journey by articulating your motivations for pursuing an MBA, the specific goals you aim to achieve, and why you believe now is the right moment. Moreover, share why you feel Kellogg is best suited to serve as a catalyst for your career aspirations and what you will contribute to our community of lifelong learners during your time here.**

My professional journey, marked by 14 years in technology and finance, has been driven by a desire to blend technological innovation with strategic business initiatives. Leading the development of trading systems and research platforms at Citadel Securities, I have gained significant experience in managing complex projects, influencing cross-functional stakeholders, and delivering impactful results. However, to transition to a senior executive role such as CTO or CIO, I need to deepen my understanding of business strategy, finance, and leadership—areas that an MBA from Kellogg can uniquely provide.

My motivation for pursuing an MBA at this stage stems from a confluence of professional milestones and personal readiness. At Citadel Securities, I recently led the development of a unified trading platform, a project that required strategic vision, cross-functional collaboration, and robust execution. This experience underscored the importance of a holistic business perspective in driving technological advancements. Concurrently, my role on the CTO’s strategic leadership committee has heightened my awareness of the strategic challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. These experiences have prepared me to fully leverage the advanced business education that Kellogg offers.

Kellogg’s renowned emphasis on leadership, collaboration, and experiential learning aligns perfectly with my career goals. The focus on team dynamics and leadership development through programs like the Kellogg Leadership Journey will enhance my ability to lead diverse teams and drive organizational change. Courses in strategy, finance, and innovation will equip me with the tools to align technological initiatives with business objectives, fostering a strategic mindset essential for executive roles.

Moreover, Kellogg’s strong network and culture of collaboration are pivotal for my growth. Engaging with peers from diverse backgrounds will provide new perspectives and foster innovative thinking. I am particularly drawn to Kellogg’s emphasis on experiential learning through the Global Lab and the opportunity to work on real-world business challenges. These experiences will not only enrich my learning but also enable me to apply theoretical concepts to practical situations.

As a member of the Kellogg community, I aim to contribute my unique blend of technological expertise and strategic experience. My background in leading large-scale projects and my commitment to mentoring will allow me to support and collaborate with my peers. Additionally, my global experience working in diverse cultural contexts will add a valuable dimension to classroom discussions and group projects.

In summary, an MBA from Kellogg is the catalyst I need to transition to senior executive roles. The program’s rigorous curriculum, leadership focus, and collaborative environment will equip me with the skills and network to achieve my career aspirations. I am eager to contribute to and grow with the Kellogg community of lifelong learners.

Essay 2:

Kellogg leaders are primed to tackle challenges everywhere, from the boardroom to their neighbourhoods. Describe a specific professional experience where you had to make a difficult decision. Reflecting on this experience, identify the values that guided your decision-making process and how it impacted your leadership style.**

A pivotal moment in my career came when I led the development of Citadel Securities’ unified trading platform, a project that streamlined high-touch trading across multiple financial instruments and geographies. This project was not only technically challenging but also required significant strategic alignment and consensus-building among various stakeholders.

In 2022, I proposed a vision for the platform to the CTO, who supported the idea but emphasized the need to garner consensus among cross-functional leaders in business, trading, technology, compliance, and operations across different regions. This required me to influence stakeholders over whom I had limited or no authority, necessitating a strategic approach to decision-making.

The first critical decision I faced was to choose between a traditional centralized platform resourcing model and a more innovative hybrid resourcing model. The centralized model, though straightforward, would require extensive hiring and ramp-up time, potentially delaying the project. Conversely, the hybrid model involved assembling a central team for core platform development and a rotating virtual team of desk-aligned technology experts for onboarding, which promised greater flexibility but required extensive negotiation and resource commitment from business leaders.

Guided by the values of innovation, collaboration, and strategic thinking, I opted for the hybrid model. I believed this approach would not only expedite the project but also foster a sense of ownership and collaboration among the teams. To implement this, I engaged in detailed discussions with key stakeholders, explaining the strategic importance and long-term benefits of the platform. This process involved negotiating operating agreements and securing commitments, which were crucial for the project’s success.

The decision to adopt the hybrid model proved to be transformative. It allowed us to onboard all US-based businesses within a year, enabling 150+ traders to trade billions of dollars daily. This success reinforced the importance of strategic decision-making and collaborative leadership in driving complex projects.

Reflecting on this experience, I realized that my leadership style is deeply rooted in the values of strategic vision, collaboration, and innovation. The ability to navigate ambiguity, influence without authority, and build consensus are skills that have become integral to my leadership approach. This experience also highlighted the importance of continuous learning and adaptability in leadership.

The impact of this decision on my leadership style has been profound. It has taught me the value of embracing innovative approaches, fostering collaboration, and maintaining a strategic focus. These lessons will continue to guide me as I tackle future challenges, both in the boardroom and beyond.

In summary, the experience of leading the unified trading platform project at Citadel Securities was a defining moment in my career. It underscored the importance of strategic decision-making, collaboration, and innovation, shaping my leadership style and preparing me for future challenges.

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Kellogg Executive MBA Winning Sample Essay -2

Essay 1

From my early childhood, I was inspired by my father, who spearheaded digital transformation projects at Syndicate Bank in India. Witnessing his transition from paper-based to electronic payments ignited my passion for fintech. This passion guided my academic and professional journey, leading me to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and eventually hold pivotal roles at Infosys and Bank of America (BofA). At BofA, I led core banking transformation projects across APAC and EMEA, achieving significant cost reductions and operational efficiencies while spearheading initiatives that onboarded new clients and enhanced automation.

My decision to pursue an MBA is driven by a desire to amplify my leadership skills and gain a comprehensive understanding of global business dynamics. The Kellogg Executive MBA program’s rigorous curriculum, emphasis on leadership development, and collaborative community align perfectly with my aspirations. I believe that now is the ideal moment to pursue an MBA to bridge the gap between my technical expertise and the holistic business acumen required to lead in the fintech sector.

In the short term, I aim to transition into a Product Manager role within the FinTech sector, leveraging my technical expertise and strategic insights to drive product innovation and business growth. Long-term, I envision myself leading a FinTech firm, focusing on democratizing financial services and enhancing digital literacy in underserved regions.

Kellogg’s Executive MBA program stands out as the perfect catalyst for my career goals. The program’s global perspective will provide me with a broader understanding of international markets, crucial for my aspiration to lead in the global FinTech arena. The emphasis on leadership and self-awareness at Kellogg will help me refine my leadership style and prepare me to tackle complex challenges. Additionally, the diverse and collaborative community at Kellogg will offer me invaluable opportunities to learn from and contribute to a network of driven and accomplished professionals.

During my time at Kellogg, I plan to actively engage in initiatives like the Women in Technology (WIT) and Employee Engagement clubs, similar to my involvement at BofA. I am passionate about promoting inclusivity and empowering women in the workplace, and I look forward to bringing this passion to the Kellogg community. Additionally, I am eager to contribute to Kellogg’s FinTech initiatives, sharing my experiences and insights to foster innovation and growth.

In conclusion, pursuing an MBA at Kellogg represents a pivotal step in my career journey. The program’s emphasis on intentionality, leadership, and global perspective aligns perfectly with my goals, and I am confident that Kellogg will equip me with the skills and knowledge needed to achieve my aspirations. I am excited about the opportunity to contribute to and grow within the Kellogg community of lifelong learners.

Essay 2: 

One of the most challenging yet defining moments in my professional journey occurred early in my career when I faced workplace sexual harassment. As a young professional at IBM, I encountered unwelcome advances and inappropriate behavior from senior team members. This experience profoundly tested my values of respect, integrity, and self-worth.

The decision to stand up against the harassment was not easy. Rooted in my cultural background, I was determined not to let my core values be compromised. After careful consideration, I decided to report the incidents, despite the fear of repercussions. This decision was guided by my belief in justice and the need to ensure a safe working environment for all employees. The subsequent investigation led to the termination of those responsible, sending a clear message about the importance of respect and integrity in the workplace.

This experience had a significant impact on my leadership style. It taught me the importance of resilience, empathy, and standing up for what is right, even in the face of adversity. These values have become integral to my approach to leadership, guiding my interactions with colleagues and my decision-making processes.

At Bank of America, I have carried these values forward, actively participating in initiatives like the Women in Technology (WIT) and Employee Engagement clubs. In these roles, I have worked to create a more inclusive and supportive work environment. For instance, I mentored a recent graduate who faced similar challenges and helped her navigate the situation with confidence and dignity. This experience reinforced my belief in the power of mentorship and the importance of fostering a workplace where everyone feels valued and respected.

One specific professional experience that stands out involved leading a team through a major organizational restructuring at BofA. The project required difficult decisions, including significant budget cuts and resource reallocations. Throughout this process, my values of transparency, empathy, and fairness guided my decision-making. I ensured open communication with my team, addressing their concerns and maintaining morale. As a result, we achieved a 25% cost reduction while meeting all core objectives and retaining 95% of the staff.

This experience further solidified my leadership style, emphasizing the importance of staying true to one’s values, even when faced with difficult decisions. It also highlighted the impact of empathetic leadership on team performance and cohesion.

In conclusion, my journey has been shaped by a commitment to integrity, respect, and empathy. These values have guided me through challenging experiences and have become the foundation of my leadership style. At Kellogg, I look forward to further developing these values and contributing to a community that prioritizes ethical leadership and inclusivity.

Kellogg Executive MBA Letter of Recommendation Questions 2023-24

Two Letters of Recommendation from peers and/or supervisors who know you well — preferably one from your current organization and one from a customer, supplier or previous employer.

Recommenders should submit their letters via email directly to our EMBA office via Mail: emba(at)whu.edu

Kellogg asks for two letters of recommendation. We’ve found that this gives us greater insight into who you are as an employee and a leader. One letter should come from your current supervisor or manager. The second letter should come from someone who can evaluate your professional performance and your managerial/leadership potential (e.g., former supervisor, previous employer, client). Additional letters of support are neither required nor encouraged.

All letters should be submitted via the online application. They must address the following questions:

1) Kellogg has a diverse student body and values students who are inclusive and encouraging of others with differing perspectives and backgrounds. Please tell us about a time when you witnessed the candidate living these values. (300 words)

2) How does the candidate’s performance compare to those of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? Please provide specific examples. (300 words)

3) Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the candidate. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response. (250 words)

4) Is there anything else you would like us to know?

Please note: As long as your online application is submitted by the posted deadline, recommenders may submit their letters up to two weeks after the application deadline. Keep in mind that formal application review cannot begin until all required materials have been received.

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