My Kellogg Interview Debrief

This is a long overdue post! A lot of Indian applicants, having scheduled interviews in March, reached out to me asking about my interview experience with Kellogg.

I¬†had a Skype interview with a member of the admissions committee. Since it was my first business school interview, I was jumpy and nervous. As with most business school interviews, it was friendly and conversational, and within a few minutes of starting the interview, I was in the zone and calmer than I was when the interview started. ūüôā

The questions I was asked were fairly standard and there were no surprises there (thank goodness!). I made a note of all the questions I was asked during the interview immediately after it was done (you guys have no idea how long it took me to locate this piece of hastily-scribbled-on paper from months ago). These are the questions I was asked:

Give me a high level overview of your career till date – especially focusing on why you made the career choices that you did. Take your time.

Are you an individual contributor or do you work in a team? (If you work in a team, do people report to you?) 

Do you prefer working in a team or as an individual contributor? Explain your reasons.

What would your team say is your greatest strength at work? What would your team say was the one thing they’d change about you¬†at work?

(Same questions as above for “What would your manager say…?”)

Talk about a challenging professional experience that you had. What was your thought process? How did you handle the situation?

What are your short term and long term career goals? How will Kellogg help you achieve these goals?

Why did you apply to Kellogg?

How will you contribute to Kellogg?

What are your interests outside of work? (and a few follow-up questions about this)

Is there anything you’d like to add? If there’s anything that you think has not been mentioned in your application or that has not been discussed during the interview – you can talk about it now. (She did mention this was not a question to throw the candidate off-balance, but just an opportunity for us to address anything that we think they might’ve missed. I felt that I had¬†not adequately addressed how smitten I was¬†with Kellogg, so I spent a few minutes talking about MMM and my fit with Kellogg based on all my research. She seemed impressed with all the research I did on Kellogg, and commented on the fact that I was able to get so much information despite living halfway across the world.)

Then it was time for questions. I asked just 1-2 questions, and then we signed off. The entire interview lasted about 40 minutes.

These are my takeaways from the interview, and some important pointers:

– While the interviewer was friendly, it was not what I’d call an informal interview. You have to treat it like any job interview – be courteous, and be friendly, but retain some formality.

– Look at the interviewer and the camera. This is especially important in a Skype interview. You have to try and make eye contact to make it feel like a conversation. Don’t keep looking at yourself in the camera and adjusting your position accordingly (they can tell if you’re constantly checking¬†yourself out on screen).

– I think it’s very important to showcase your passion for the school and focus on your fit with the school’s culture. In your answers, focus on team work and collaboration. Talk about all the things that (in your opinion) make Kellogg the¬†best place for you to spend the next 2 years of your life. Admissions want to make sure that they take people who really want to join. Make sure they know that if you get in, you will attend Kellogg.

– Speak clearly and concisely. This is not really specific to Kellogg and you should do this in any interview, but Kellogg grads have a reputation for being good communicators – reinforce this image in your interview by enunciating clearly, not stammering and being as grammatically correct as you can be. It’s okay to take a few moments to collect your thoughts before answering a question. Don’t just rush into an answer without knowing what you want to talk about, or you’ll end up rambling!

Good luck to all the R2 applicants interviewing with Kellogg! Reach out to me if you have any further questions – I’d be happy to chat.


Interview Preparation

So I have 3 interviews coming up and preparation is in full swing. Rather Рit was in full swing. Until I decided to take a break, went and got a haircut (the worst thing one can do the day before an important interview! Ugh.), had a glass of wine and a nice, long conversation with my husband and planned a quick trip to Hong Kong this December(yay! :)).

[Edit: We ended up going to Singapore instead. All ye interested travelers can drop me an email.]

Since I’m taking a break from preparation, I thought I’d list out some standard interview questions I’m preparing for.

1. Walk me through your resume.

2. Tell me about yourself

3. What are your short term/ long term goals?

4. Why MBA? Why now?

5. Why and how does it fit in with your career plans?

6. How do you plan to get involved/ How will you contribute to ?

Professional Experiences

7.What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

8. Tell me about a time you led a team.

9. Tell me about a time you failed.

10. Tell me about a time your manager disagreed with you. What happened? How did you handle it? (or any question about conflict resolution)

11. What is your leadership style? (haven’t quite figured out how to articulate this one yet)


12. What do you consider to be your biggest strength?

13. Tell me about a weakness.

14. What makes you unique from other business school applicants? (another question I really need to spend time on)

15. How do you motivate your team?

That’s about all the¬†questions I’m preparing for. Some people apparently got asked¬†questions like “If you were to pick a dream team for your start up company, which 3 people would you want in your team and why?” Wow. I don’t know how I would have handled that one if it was thrown at me out of the blue in an interview. Then again, it’s impossible to try and prepare for¬†every question that¬†you’re asked. So these 15 questions are the ones I’m thinking through and preparing for and will hope that I don’t get stumped and speechless¬†when thrown a curveball. A big problem I’m trying to work on is my tendency to ramble.¬†Do let me know if there are any other FAQs I should be prepared for that you think I’m missing, and any interview tips would be welcome! Also, what sorts of questions are acceptable to ask the interviewer at the end of the interview, especially if it’s an adcom that’s interviewing you. I’d love to hear what you guys think. Wish me luck! ūüėÄ