Essay 2: Values are what guide you in your life and work. What values are important to you and how have they influenced you? (450 words)
Value is a broad topic. Without decoding what Kellogg stands for, you might quote values that might seem noble for the general population but look misplaced in an MBA Application essay.
We follow a simple three-step strategy – what Kellogg has stated, how Kellogg positions through their regular communication (twitter, blogs, email) and the recruitment trends based on incoming class profile & post-MBA placement.
What Kellogg has Stated
There is no better place to find what a brand/school stands for than reading their mission/vision/purpose.
Kellogg’s purpose is
To educate, equip and inspire brave leaders who build strong organizations and wisely leverage the power of markets to create lasting value.
Building a strong organization requires
a) Fearless leadership with a long-term view
b) Maturity to recognize competitive threats
c) Allocating and utilizing resources to address short-term and long-term strategic goals
To meet the three objectives, the leader should have
a) Courage to set ambitious goals and make tough decisions
b) The empathy that contributes towards active listening and problem solving
c) Emotional intelligence to motivate the team
d) An impact-oriented mindset that gives long-term value
Value: Courage, Empathy, Impact-Oriented
What Kellogg Communication/Blog states?
Kellogg clearly positions itself as a school that has championed the cause of women leaders and applicants. ‘Inclusivity’ as a value is essential to reverse an earlier stagnant 30-35% women representation in top MBA program to close to 50% in 2019-20.
Value: Inclusivity, Integrity
What do the incoming class and post-MBA job function states about the values that have attracted top Employers?
The 26% from humanities and 50% from Economics/Business – a combined total that is 76% from backgrounds that value cross-functional thinking and extraversion, clearly highlights Kellogg’s history of accepting students who can develop systemized thinking in a complex, uncertain environment instead of finding a template for a repeatable problem that Technologists/Engineers are capable of developing on a whim.
The real-world market requires such cross-functional understanding and open-mindedness to accept variables that could jeopardize initial plans.
Value: Open Mindedness, Humility
To summarize, the values that resonate most with the Kellogg culture are:
Inclusivity has been the buzzword for top MBA programs. The percentage of women candidates and the US minority representation are the truths that separate the virtue signalers from the doers. Kellogg leads when it comes to representing women candidates at 46%. The school expects candidates with an ‘inclusive’ mindset.
Since a large percentage of applicants are from Sales/Marketing & consulting background, the risk of attracting the ‘talkers’ with no moral compass is high. The leadership and values essays are designed to weed out such applicants. Kellogg also becomes the only school with no option to directly quote the school’s curriculum. The focus is exclusively on the integrity of your character – as a leader and an individual contributor.
The value is extremely useful in solving complex functional and industry problems. Candidates with a ‘set’ mindset will not question their assumptions. An open-mindedness to question the client’s assumptions on their product/service, competitors, and market dynamics become the tool to find consulting solution or design products/marketing message that connects with potential customers.
A team player has the humility to recognize their team in the essays and pass on credits wherever it is deserved. The unnecessary persistence in a failed path also results from a lack of humility to recognize one’s folly.
In a class environment, open-mindedness and humility act as the lubricant for learning complex concepts.
Humblebragging, a tested and surprisingly effective tool in MBA admissions, is not humility.
Humility requires casually slipping in impressive achievements without any unnecessary adjectives. The scale of your achievement should be obvious and force the admission team to re-read the sentences several times.
Courage cannot be taught. Most of you are courageous in some contexts.
Some of you can easily stand in front of a 1000-member audience and speak about income inequality or the pressure a woman faces to balance their professional career and personal life.
Some of you have a high threshold for pain and take on adventure sports as if it is a stroll in the park.
Your brain has been uniquely wired.
Reflect and find an event where you took an action that most of the applicants might never have taken. That is courage.
Empathy is not the tilting of your head in sympathy with someone who is suffering. That leads to social media posts and virtue signaling all for the benefit of ‘you’ not the ‘victim.’
To empathize, you must let go of your ego for a moment and wear the shoes of the person with whom you are communicating. The value is highly effective in defining the problem in consulting, developing solutions in technology, and capturing the essence of the brand in marketing.
Not all of you are impact oriented. That is fine. If you work with a Fortune 500 company, you have been conditioned to focus on immediate problems and not to sneak outside your function. Within the role, find instances where you focused on maximizing the impact. It is not just about cross-functional or company-wide impact.
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