Adam Markus: Graduate Admissions Guru: 7 1 09 - 8 1 09

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In the post, I analyze Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Business 2010 Application Essay Questions for the MBA and MMM programs. I have taken the questions from Kellogg's website. Some thoughts on Kellogg's location: A highly biased commentary on why location matters. Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Business has the good fortune to be located in one of the prettiest parts of Chicago. Unlike its neighbor to the south, the University of Chicago, Northwestern is located in the pleasant and safe suburban town of Evanston. If ever there was proof that location impacts an institution, the placement of both of these schools certainly is that. I first became aware of this contrast 23 years ago when my parents moved from LA to Chicago. Since that time, I lived in downtown Chicago for over a year, in Hyde Park for about six months, and have otherwise frequently visited Chicago. The University of Chicago is an academic powerhouse located in a not so nice neighborhood with little to do in the way of fun except for buying books (Hyde Park has great bookstores!).

Students at the University of Chicago either live around the campus protected by a large private police force or decide to move North. Many of the GSB students live in downtown Chicago. I lived in Hyde Park and I can say that while I did go out at night, there was not much to do, especially once the bookstores closed. Chicago has many fine restaurants, but Hyde Park does not have them. Also, unlike the rest of a city well know for sports, the University of Chicago is not. As to bars, it has one good bar (there were two, but the other one, Cyril's House of Tiki, closed). The University of Chicago is an intellectually serious place and ideal for those who are looking for such an atmosphere. Personally, I like the atmosphere there and always enjoy visiting. One can find some social life at Booth. On my visits to Booth, I found it to be a friendly environment. Like the rest of the University of Chicago, Booth is a great place to study.

Northwestern University is located in an affluent community with a large number of bars, a wide variety of restaurants, nice shopping (but not for books!), and, just for the record, a great dog beach (Evanston residents can use it for free, but my brother, a resident of the City of Chicago pays $100 a year for his dog's permit). Evanston is quite a pleasant place, but I never felt like it had the kind of serious academic atmosphere that one could find in Hyde Park, Berkeley, or Cambridge MA. It is too suburban for that. With more to do, one can imagine it is harder to stay in the library at Northwestern than it is at the University of Chicago. If you go to Kellogg, chances are extremely high that you will live in Evanston. Social life in Evanston is not limited to campus., but nothing can compare to the intensity of social life at Kellogg. The place simply is filled with people who are great communicators, friendly, outgoing, and able to thrive in a socially intense environment.

If you are not that kind of person, don't apply there. If you are, it will be heaven. It should come as no surprise that Kellogg's essay questions reflect its focus on community. For the first time, Kellogg has provided word rather than page and/or paragraph limits for its essays. Frankly, I am rather happy about that as word count is simply a more objective and fair way to measure essay length. In addition to imposing word limits, Kellogg has also reduced the total number of essays from five to four. The total word count for the set is 2200 words (2200 or 2600 for re-applicants), which is 400 more than HBS or Stanford gives. As you will see three out of the four leadership essays for college in this set make the applicant provide explicit (Essays 1 and 3) or implicit (Essay 2) connections between themselves and the school. It is thus critical to be well informed about Kellogg before trying to write these essays. This content was written by Essay Writers!

This school really focuses on fit, so you had better show it in your essays and in your interview. I pity the fool who applies to this school without taking the time to really learn about it. The admissions committee needs to see "Ƅig love" here, so make them feel it. Reflect enough on what they have to offer you so that your essay content related to Kellogg does not sound like a bad of their website or brochure (who bothers with paper anymore?) content. The better informed you are about the school and the more you think about how it will help you grow professionally and personally, the more likely you are to make Kellogg love you back. MBA Program applicants - Briefly assess your career progress to date. Elaborate on your future career plans and your motivation for pursuing a graduate degree at Kellogg. MMM Program applicants - Briefly assess your career progress to date.