Alyssa Jackson – Associate Director of Admissions at Kellogg School of Management


An M7 MBA program

Kellogg School of Management is one of the “M7 business schools,” a group of renowned institutions that also includes Columbia, Harvard, Sloan, Stanford, Booth, and Wharton. It is a collection of schools that only came about after the respective Deans of each institution decided to create an informal network to share ideas, knowledge, and experience.

Those connections have strengthened over time and now the M7 business schools meet regularly throughout the year. They are not necessarily the seven best schools in the world, yet together they have a global influence on the world of business education. As you might expect, an M7 MBA program is subsequently highly prestigious and highly competitive to get into. 

Tips for your résumé

When it comes to writing your application for their MBA program, Kellogg School of Management does not require a specific format for your résumé, but there are some things to consider: “Keep it to one to two pages in length” advises Alyssa Jackson. “Demonstrate your accomplishments and impact, including measurable results from your work experience. Show us you’ve taken on increased responsibility over time, and give us an indication of your teamwork and leadership abilities.” (00:58)

Alyssa also recommends that you avoid using too many technical terms in your application. “You want to make sure your résumé is understandable to someone who does not work in your field or industry,” she says (01:17). That means no jargon or industry-specific language unless absolutely necessary.

Letters of recommendation

Given that you’re applying for an M7 MBA, you are expected to have already accrued some years of work experience and a network of contacts. The letters of recommendation in your application are a chance to back up your résumé with references from your professional network. Kellogg indicates that your first letter of recommendation should always be from your current manager – unless you haven’t worked together for very long.

So who should your second letter come from? “Consider previous supervisors from your current or former companies and indirect managers who are more senior than you,” says Alyssa. “If you’ve served in a client-facing role, do consider long-standing clients who can speak to your relationship and work product.” (02:07)

Given that recommendation questions are related to the world of work, try to avoid a letter of recommendation from a former teacher, extracurricular contact, or a peer.

Test scores: GMAT or GRE?

Exam results are an integral part of any college, university, or business school application, and Kellogg’s admissions process is no different. The first point to note is that the GMAT and GRE tests, the industry-standard exams for business school applications, are both accepted at Kellogg. “We encourage candidates to do their research on both exams and take whichever one is best suited to their strengths,” according to Alyssa. (04:06)

It may also be useful to know that if you decide to retake your GMAT or GRE test, only your highest score will be counted in your application – and there’s no need to worry about how it looks if you retake your exam: “We see it as a sign that you’re dedicated to the admissions process and that you’d like to do your best.” (04:21)

Essays: The importance of authenticity

Essays are often an integral part of the business school application process as they’re the only chance you get to communicate who you are, why you want to study there, and where you think the MBA can take you in your career. Kellogg asks for two essays of around 450 words each and expects you to highlight how you can contribute to Kellogg’s culture, in areas such as teamwork, leadership, and values.

More than anything, Alyssa outlines the importance of authenticity: “The essays should be authentic and sound like you. Who you are as an individual will inspire how you shape your time at Kellogg.” (05:12)