Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management – “Evaluation by Student Members” Essay

Assume you are evaluating your application from the perspective of a student member of the Kellogg Admissions Committee. Why would your peers select you? 

At the very onset, ABC’s application came across as very interesting.  On a detailed assessment, I find that this seasoned manager has important characteristics that qualify him: leadership, creativity, determination, teamwork, a global outlook and consistent career growth. Enlisted below are the qualifying highlights for his candidature.

Career Progress

A fundamentally sound career progression is evident from his resume. His responsibilities have progressed with promotions year-on-year and an increasing team size (from 30 members in his first tenure to leading a 1200-strong workforce). Also, he has changed his employer just once in a 7-year career. I like the fact that he has developed from the very basics – starting his career in underwriting, transitioning to client relations and then to product management. A strong depth and breadth in financial services industry is quite evident.

Career Focus

While his career goals may indicate a shift from financial services to Private Equity, I believe that his commitment, abilities and a previous track record of developing various financial products for Small to medium Enterprises (“SMEs”) make it a natural, rational extension. He understands various scaling (expansion) problems faced by such SMEs as also their potential. At the same time, he is candid in accepting that he requires skill enhancement in specific functional areas (such as private equity finance) and seeks to further enhance his leadership and team skills by collaborating on an international scale during the MBA. His goals (essay 1) indicate a planned, meticulous approach since he has covered various elements right from academics to specific student bodies where he can contribute optimally. Additionally, his 4-month participation in the exchange program with the BI Norwegian School of Management (Norway) indicates readiness for our globally diverse forum.


ABC’s recommenders (from both his employing organizations) have championed his case for admission. Their inputs pertaining to his strengths and weaknesses reflect growing managerial maturity and leadership acumen at various stages in his career.

Contribution to the Kellogg Campus

What impressed me the most was that his learning objectives correspond to various experiential learning projects (based on his in-depth research on best-fit programs); I foresee significant potential contributions through such platforms (essay 1). With rich experience in developing and commercializing innovative products, he will contribute significantly to class discussions and team projects.  He is also quite clear about his student group affiliations.

Leadership ability and teamwork

From Essay 2, it is evident that he leads successfully by using a combination of approaches – be it by example, mentoring or positive reinforcement. That fact that he has led a 1200-strong workforce without a direct reporting relationship indicates interpersonal, team and influencing skills of a higher order. His confidence, clarity of vision and intra-organizational skills are evident from essay 4a where he implemented with an unpopular change and brought it to applausive fruition.

Extra-curricular activities/Community Involvement

As a student, ABC’s leadership in co-curricular did have a very active involvement in co-curricular activities (essay 2). Post-employment, however, his involvement has been restricted to similar clubs/organizations at the workplace. Frequent changes in locations are an apparent reason for absence of long-term (more than 2 years) association with community activities in a given location.


As an alumnus from among the top 5 business schools in India (MDI, Gurgaon) and an engineer (awarded First Class) by undergraduate education, his analytical and managerial acumen was developed early-on. On collectively reviewing his GMAT score records (12/06/2007 and 12/06/2008), I find that his quantitative and verbal scores have been at the 87 percentile. He is thus capable of handling the rigors of the program.

MBA Admissions Interview

The interviewer’s notes indicate superior communication skills (well-structured articulation), professionalism and ability to strike a chord with the interviewer. The impression matches expectations arising from the paper application.

ABC’s overall approach thus resonates with our core values. I am sure that he will further grow to be a distinguished alumnus.

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