Headed to Kellogg AMA

wanna b mbb's picture
Rank: Gorilla | 716

WSO has been invaluable to me as I have pursued a career in consulting and applied to b-school and I want to give back during this boring but glorious time at work where my job performance no longer matters!

My profile

Top 15 US News University, 3.95 GPA, major in Econ
2 years at Deloitte S&O, 2 years at a F500 retailer doing Corporate Strategy
750 GMAT
Good but not extraordinary extracurriculars (lets call them a B+)
Excellent recommendations from two current supervisors
Not URM, not international

I applied to 6 schools in Round 1. Dinged at HBS/Wharton and admitted to Kellogg, Booth, Columbia and Berkeley. Headed to Kellogg this fall, with plans to pursue Banking or MBB, with a focus on retail.

Happy to answer questions about essays, interviews, recommendations, admissions consultants (I used one sparingly), school decision or really anything else folks are interested in.

Comments (50)

Feb 11, 2016

with plans to pursue Banking or MBB

Why would you do that to yourself

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Best Response
Feb 12, 2016
Hashish Vapoor:

with plans to pursue Banking or MBB

Why would you do that to yourself

My view is at that the most important thing at this time in my life/career is to be on a steep learning curve and developing a skillset that will be valuable and in-demand for the balance of my career. I think that MBB/Banking both offer these, probably more so that almost any other post-mba options. Having experienced a common MBB "exit option" in my current role (>50% of my group is ex MBB), it is definitely something I would consider down the road but I am simply not learning as much as quickly as I was back in consulting.

Some might say that startups offer what I want a larger extent, but I am relatively risk averse and the tradeoff between equity vs. salary does not seem worth it to me.

Finally, MBB/Banking offer the optionality that allows me to change my mind at almost any rung of the ladder and land at a hot startup or a more cushy corp strategy or corp finance gig.

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Feb 11, 2016

Congrats on your acceptances! Mind if I shoot you a PM to ask some questions? (I think I could be in a similar boat in a couple years).

Feb 12, 2016
itsalwayssunnyinflorida:

Congrats on your acceptances! Mind if I shoot you a PM to ask some questions? (I think I could be in a similar boat in a couple years).

Sure thing, shoot me a PM.

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Feb 12, 2016

Hey OP, thanks for doing this. My first question is, why did you choose Kellogg over Columbia and Booth? Next, how did you make a move from strategy consulting to corporate strategy?

Feb 12, 2016
keyboardb:

Hey OP, thanks for doing this. My first question is, why did you choose Kellogg over Columbia and Booth? Next, how did you make a move from strategy consulting to corporate strategy?

A scholarship that Kellogg offered made the decision pretty easy, but I think I probably would have made the same decision in the absence of the scholarship. First of all, you would have an almost equal shot at 80+% of the post-MBA options from any of the three schools you mention. This includes MBB and Banking, so for me, the career options are not a big differentiator. Sure, if you want to do Asset Management, CBS or Booth trump Kellogg and if you want to do Brand Management, the opposite may be true. The key differentiators beyond that are the culture, people and location. Living in NYC now, I did not want to stick around for b-school (too expensive, too many distractions). As to Booth vs. Kellogg, I just found the people I met from Kellogg to be a bit more social/fun and I would rather live in the Evanston bubble instead of downtown. I know plenty of other folks who made the exact opposite decision though and I am sure they will be just as happy with it.

Did a similar AMA regarding my shift to corp. strategy, suggest you read through that. If you still have questions, happy to answer them as well.

http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/leaving-delo...

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Feb 12, 2016

Thanks for doing the AMA - i added to the frontpage now and will add again on Monday and late next week

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

Feb 12, 2016

OP, what would you consider to be B+ extracurriculars? Specifics appreciated, but anonymity is obviously understood. Thanks.

Feb 12, 2016
Crazy Lloyd Braun:

OP, what would you consider to be B+ extracurriculars? Specifics appreciated, but anonymity is obviously understood. Thanks.

I was pretty active in college, being an officer in my fraternity, co-president of the consulting club and a freshman orientation leader, among a few other things. But I was NOT student body president, founder of my own campus business (which I would consider A or A+)

Since college, I have done SAT tutoring for underprivileged students, free tax preparation for low-income families and helped lead outdoor education excursions for at-risk youths. I think I got credit for being dedicated and willing to invest significant time in these activities alongside a busy job. At the same time, I didn't start my own non-profit or serve as a board member or senior leader in the organizations I supported (again, would consider that type of thing an A/A+).

Feb 12, 2016

Going off the ECs, I'll be starting in consulting full-time this summer. What types of ECs or volunteer work are doable when you're traveling Mon-Thurs? Are a lot of these activities during the weekend?

Feb 12, 2016
Manks:

Going off the ECs, I'll be starting in consulting full-time this summer. What types of ECs or volunteer work are doable when you're traveling Mon-Thurs? Are a lot of these activities during the weekend?

When I was in consulting, I did focus on weekend activities. The tax prep and outdoor education activities I did were exclusively on weekends. Once I moved over into industry, things opened up a bit and that is when I was able to take on the volunteer SAT prep (although you could probably even do that on weekends as well). Bottom line is that if you are offering your time/skills up for free, people will generally be happy to schedule around you!

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Feb 12, 2016

Congrats and thanks a lot for doing this. Do you mind if i shoot you a PM? I'm also planning to apply for bschools soon.

Feb 12, 2016
unlimited:

Congrats and thanks a lot for doing this. Do you mind if i shoot you a PM? I'm also planning to apply for bschools soon.

Sure, although unless they are very sensitive questions, would prefer to answer on the forum for the benefit of others....

Feb 12, 2016

Got a few questions via PM that I would rather answer here so others can see:

(1) Why Kellogg over Booth and Columbia? What about it makes it a superior choice for your personal goals over the other two schools? With your background, it seems like you get MBB from any of those 3 schools.

(2) What are the pros and cons of doing time outside of consulting (particularly in corporate America) before getting an MBA and returning to consulting?

(3) With the relative rise of Deloitte S&O, what about MBB would strengthen your career? (Especially Bain, which might be vulnerable in the coming years). What project experiences did you get in your F500 that you did not at Deloitte S&O?

(4) What do you think made you stand out to business schools? What would you do over, if you had the opportunity?

1) Answered this a bit above. Ultimately it didn't really come down to my goals, as you are right that I can accomplish my career goals from any of the schools. It was more about what kind of MBA experience I wanted to have (people, location, culture). For me, Kellogg stood out on those dimensions, but that based purely pn personal preference.

2) Got two main things out of it. First, I think it put me in a slightly different bucket for b-school applications. I just gave me a different/unique background compared to all the other consultants applying. I was able to talk (in essays and interviews) about the well-rounded perspective I would bring to the classroom as someone with BOTH consulting and industry experience. Of course I'll never know if I might have gotten into the same places without this differentiator, but I will say that my b-school results are on the upper end of what I have heard from my former S&O colleagues (exception being the few all stars who land H/S/W). Second, my industry experience has given me an extra datapoint that I can use when making future career decisions. Having already experienced one of the main consulting exit options (F500 Corp. Strategy), I am in a much better place to decide if that is the right fit for me long term. Ultimately, I have decided that I want a bit more of a challenge in the near term than what my current role/company offers, but it would be a great option after a few more years of consulting when I place more value on work/life balance.

3) Deloitte has come a long way, but I still think the mix of projects at MBB is a lot more interesting ON AVERAGE. I emphasize the word average because anecdotally you will always hear stories about amazing projects at Deloitte and terrible ones at MBB. And those are true anecdotes! But I think on the whole, you are more likely to find yourself on an interesting strategy project at MBB and a boring Project Management or Implementation project at Deloitte (even in S&O). At my F500, it is not so much different project experiences (we work with consulting firms a lot), but I have gotten some pretty awesome exposure to senior execs that I did not get much of at Deloitte. As an example, I attend a lot of meetings as a Sr. Analyst the consultants only bring Sr. Managers and partners to.

4) I think my application did fairly well because it was well-rounded. No one part stood out, but I also had virtually no gaps or red flags. As I mentioned above, I suspect my industry experience was a differentiator, but don't have any way of knowing for sure.

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Feb 14, 2016

@wanna b MBB"

Couple of questions on Kellogg admissions:

  1. How generous is Kellogg w/ Fin Aid/Scholarships? What seems to be the criteria - and are they reserved for URMs?
  2. How important is the interview for Kellogg admissions?
  3. I'm 1.5 years out of college, and haven't done any ECs post college. Does it look "fake" to start ECs 2 years out of college. I'm planning to go in with 4 years of WE.

Thank you,

Feb 14, 2016
snakeoil:

@wanna b MBB"

Couple of questions on Kellogg admissions:

1. How generous is Kellogg w/ Fin Aid/Scholarships? What seems to be the criteria - and are they reserved for URMs?

2. How important is the interview for Kellogg admissions?

3. I'm 1.5 years out of college, and haven't done any ECs post college. Does it look "fake" to start ECs 2 years out of college. I'm planning to go in with 4 years of WE.

Thank you,

In regards to financial aid, I can give some color here. Kellogg doubled their financial aid last year, as they found out that the primary reason they were losing Booth vs Kellogg cross-offers was superior aid Booth was giving out. After a lot of internal politics, they got Northwestern university to agree to massively increase financial aid. Kellogg's goal is to become the Number 3 school after H/S, and is putting a lot of money into this goal.

Feb 15, 2016
snakeoil:

@wanna b MBB"

Couple of questions on Kellogg admissions:

1. How generous is Kellogg w/ Fin Aid/Scholarships? What seems to be the criteria - and are they reserved for URMs?

2. How important is the interview for Kellogg admissions?

3. I'm 1.5 years out of college, and haven't done any ECs post college. Does it look "fake" to start ECs 2 years out of college. I'm planning to go in with 4 years of WE.

Thank you,

1) Opsdude provided good information on this one (more than I was aware of). Will say that I am not an URM and I got a generous scholarship.

2) Its a filter just like most of the other application components. A great interview is not going to get you in alone and a terrible one will mean a ding. Anywhere above that bar and its anyone's guess what impact it has. Will say that Kellogg does low-stress conversational interviews in my experience (and that of friends who have applied), and the focus seemed to be on whether I would be a good fit rather than grilling me about prior experience or career goals.

3) . I would try to do something that ties to a longstanding interest (maybe something you did in undergrad?) That way you can spin it as continuing to stay engaged with something you have always been passionate about. Even if thats not possible, you could start now and spend 1.5 years working with/for an organization before you apply , which is not trivial.

Feb 14, 2016

congrats on making the correct choice! You'll love Kellogg.

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Feb 15, 2016

You mention Banking and MBB in the same breath, while they are in fact two completely different career paths. Do you intend to recruit for both?

Feb 15, 2016
LiamNeeson:

You mention Banking and MBB in the same breath, while they are in fact two completely different career paths. Do you intend to recruit for both?

Probably not, moreso that I am planning to use a banking internship as a trial run to see if it is the right fit for me. If I hate the internship, I may change course and recruit for consulting full time. My understanding is that this path is a lot more doable than the other way around. I do plan to do some informational interviews with bankers this summer before I go this route though.

Feb 15, 2016

That was my plan of attach as well. Just a bit hesitant since MBB / consulting is recruiting more and more from their interns.

Furthermore, I am wondering how long you have until you can accept / turn down your banking offer, specifically whether there is enough time to recruit for MBB FT before you have to accept your banking offer.

Feb 15, 2016
LiamNeeson:

That was my plan of attach as well. Just a bit hesitant since MBB / consulting is recruiting more and more from their interns.

Furthermore, I am wondering how long you have until you can accept / turn down your banking offer, specifically whether there is enough time to recruit for MBB FT before you have to accept your banking offer.

If you know you want MBB, recruiting for an internship definitely increases your chances because MBB does fill a large % of their classes with interns. But, unlike banking they do not fill 100% of their classes with interns. As an example, MBB took on 88 people full time from the class of 2015 and took 67 interns from that same class the year before. Assuming nearly all interns got offers and took them, that means MBB saved about 25% of slots for FT recruiting. What I don't know is how competitive the recruiting for those slots are vs. internship recruiting. Yes, it is less slots, but also suspect the pool of competitive applicants is correspondingly smaller. Where things net out however, I do not know (and now that I think about it, that is a question I will pose to WSO).

Regardless, I THINK I am willing to take the risk of skipping MBB internship recruiting, but that is what I plan to spend some time figuring out before I hit campus.

In terms of timing of offers, I most MBA career centers mandate that firms give you enough time to re-recruit full time before accepting internship offers. I know this is the case at Kellogg (see below link).

http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/career_employe...

Feb 15, 2016

Why didn't you choose Booth instead since it's a little better than Kellogg academic and recruitment(especially buy-side recruitment) wise? I think it's also a little more quantitative, was that the reason behind your choice? Congrats anyway. Kellogg is a great school.

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Feb 15, 2016
ChloeJ90:

Why didn't you choose Booth instead since it's a little better than Kellogg academic and recruitment(especially buy-side recruitment) wise? I think it's also a little more quantitative, was that the reason behind your choice? Congrats anyway. Kellogg is a great school.

As I have described above, I preferred the fit/culture/location of Kellogg over Booth. That, in addition to a scholarship from Kellogg, made my decision easy. Not planning to recruit for buy side and otherwise believe the recruiting is basically equivalent, so that did not factor in for me (although it might for others).

Feb 15, 2016

Would you care to explain specifically what about Kellogg's fit and culture you preferred? I'm a masters student in real estate who in the future may be interested in a one year MBA, of which Kellogg's is certainly the best.

Likewise, in the application and interview process, what do you think Kellogg focused most on in recruiting applicants? Are there certain hard and/or soft skills they emphasize or deemphasize over other MBA programs?

Feb 15, 2016
CRE:

Would you care to explain specifically what about Kellogg's fit and culture you preferred? I'm a masters student in real estate who in the future may be interested in a one year MBA, of which Kellogg's is certainly the best.

Likewise, in the application and interview process, what do you think Kellogg focused most on in recruiting applicants? Are there certain hard and/or soft skills they emphasize or deemphasize over other MBA programs?

This is unlikely to be a satisfying answer, but it is really kind of a "feel" thing that I got in talking to quite a few current students and alums at the various schools I got into. Kellogg people just had a sort of excitement about their MBA experience that I didn't sense as much from some others and were generally incredibly humble, down-to-earth and well-rounded (while still being very smart/accomplished). Kellogg (seems to me) to do a great job of creating a close-knit and supportive community that likes to have a lot of fun together. They also do a great job of incorporating partners, which they call "joint ventures", far more so than at any other school I've seen.

The one soft skill I hear a lot about at Kellogg is teamwork. It almost seems like the school's faculty/administration thinks they invented the idea. I actually found this to be a bit over-the-top, but probably worth emphasizing when applying.

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Feb 15, 2016

I actually appreciated both of the answers. Thank you.

Feb 15, 2016

Thanks for doing this AMA. What do you think (if anything) could you have done differently in the few years after graduating undergrad to have made you more competitive for HSW?

I am on track to having a similar profile, and it's a bit frustrating to hear you got dinged from Harvard and Wharton. Did you get interviews? Is it just that you didn't have A to A+ extracurriculars / a 770+ GMAT / a more unique story (something with a change-the-world emphasis) or did it come down to factors outside of your control once you accepted that first job out of undergrad (URM, parent's who are alum, non MBB consulting experience, etc.)

Feb 15, 2016
VodkaRedBull:

Thanks for doing this AMA. What do you think (if anything) could you have done differently in the few years after graduating undergrad to have made you more competitive for HSW?

I am on track to having a similar profile, and it's a bit frustrating to hear you got dinged from Harvard and Wharton. Did you get interviews? Is it just that you didn't have A to A+ extracurriculars / a 770+ GMAT / a more unique story (something with a change-the-world emphasis) or did it come down to factors outside of your control once you accepted that first job out of undergrad (URM, parent's who are alum, non MBB consulting experience, etc.)

Did not get interviews at either. Was not surprised by the HBS ding, but did expect to at least get a Wharton interview. S&O does send a number of people to both of those schools every year, but they typically have something unique about them (national leadership positions, started their own business, truly extraordinary project experience). If I had really stretched myself in one (or several) of those ways, perhaps it would have made a difference, but it would have probably taken some luck as well.

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Feb 15, 2016

Pardon the silly question, but what exactly do "national leadership positions" and "truly extraordinary project experience" entail? Could you give some examples of each?

Feb 18, 2016
wanna b:

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Did not get interviews at either. Was not surprised by the HBS ding, but did expect to at least get a Wharton interview. S&O does send a number of people to both of those schools every year, but they typically have something unique about them (national leadership positions, started their own business, truly extraordinary project experience). If I had really stretched myself in one (or several) of those ways, perhaps it would have made a difference, but it would have probably taken some luck as well.

FWIW I have a similar profile as you, except I stayed in S&O (3.94 GPA at top 25 state school, 770 GMAT, B/B+ extracurriculars, solid project experiences and recommendations, white male). I also got dinged from Wharton in R2 without an interview. Apparently this year is extra competitive, especially for those applying from traditional backgrounds like consulting.

I have interviews at Kellogg and Booth coming up and am still waiting to hear back from Sloan and Stanford (lol). Cheers.

Feb 15, 2016

It's going to be very tough for any non URM male to get into H/S from non MBB consulting

Feb 16, 2016

I'm shocked that you got dinged from Harvard/Wharton with those stats. Really shows how competitive those MBA programs are. Don't really have any questions to asked, but congrats on Kellogg!

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Feb 16, 2016

Thanks for answering all the questions - very helpful.

Regarding admissions consultants - what did you find was their biggest value-add to the process? Do you have any recommendations for who to use / factors that should be considered in selection?

Feb 16, 2016

Hey, congratulations and thanks for doing this.

  1. What led you to want to attend Kellogg?
  2. How much does prestige of undergrad matter in MBA admissions?
  3. If one were to achieve a GPA of 3.7ish in finance at a Canadian university while all else being equal to your profile, would they have a chance at Kellogg/Columbia/Booth?
  4. Your profile seems top notch, any idea why you were dinged at HBS/Wharton?
Feb 18, 2016
ProspectiveMonkey1800:

Hey, congratulations and thanks for doing this.

1. What led you to want to attend Kellogg?2. How much does prestige of undergrad matter in MBA admissions?3. If one were to achieve a GPA of 3.7ish in finance at a Canadian university while all else being equal to your profile, would they have a chance at Kellogg/Columbia/Booth?4. Your profile seems top notch, any idea why you were dinged at HBS/Wharton?

Regarding Q2 and Q3 - The fact that someone got accepted into an M7 program does not make that person an expert on admissions. As an M7 admit as well (3 actually), I can honestly tell you that I have no idea how much they weighted my undergrad 'prestige' or whether I would have gotten in with a slightly lower GPA. Simply because (i) adcoms do not disclose their considerations, (ii) it is dependent on a combination of factors and (iii) your acceptance decision is not representative for the entire class.

Feb 18, 2016
LiamNeeson:

ProspectiveMonkey1800:Hey, congratulations and thanks for doing this.1. What led you to want to attend Kellogg?2. How much does prestige of undergrad matter in MBA admissions?3. If one were to achieve a GPA of 3.7ish in finance at a Canadian university while all else being equal to your profile, would they have a chance at Kellogg/Columbia/Booth?4. Your profile seems top notch, any idea why you were dinged at HBS/Wharton?

Regarding Q2 and Q3 - The fact that someone got accepted into an M7 program does not make that person an expert on admissions. As an M7 admit as well (3 actually), I can honestly tell you that I have no idea how much they weighted my undergrad 'prestige' or whether I would have gotten in with a slightly lower GPA. Simply because (i) adcoms do not disclose their considerations, (ii) it is dependent on a combination of factors and (iii) your acceptance decision is not representative for the entire class.

Could not agree more - I am no expert, I can only share my anecdotal experience and my suspicions. Theres a reason I did not tackle this question, I don't have good answers!

Feb 16, 2016

Congrats on your admits! Do you know how extracurriculars a reviewed that aren't impact related? What I mean is an activity that is purely for your own entertainment/enjoyment/benefit like MMA, skiing, etc. compared to mentoring underprivileged kids.

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there" - Will Rogers

Feb 17, 2016
OttoReadmore:

Congrats on your admits! Do you know how extracurriculars a reviewed that aren't impact related? What I mean is an activity that is purely for your own entertainment/enjoyment/benefit like MMA, skiing, etc. compared to mentoring underprivileged kids.

When you say "impact", I am assuming you mean "social impact". I don't think it's essential that your extracurriculars have social impact, however I do think that it is important to demonstrate that you are ACCOMPLISHING something, as opposed to just participating. By this logic, just skiing because you enjoy it does not really move the needle. Now if you organized a large ski trip for your college classmates or colleagues, that would be a different story. It does just so happen that social impact activities are a good way to demonstrate accomplishments outside of work (I helped X group achieve Y goal), but don't think they are the only way.

Feb 17, 2016

Just to add to usernotfound, can you describe your process in how you picked an admissions consultant?

Feb 17, 2016
amach3:

Just to add to usernotfound, can you describe your process in how you picked an admissions consultant?

I worked with Paul Bodine. He wrote a good book on b-school essays, and reading that led me to want to work with him. He's not one of the big consulting companies (e.g., Accepted, Stacy Blackman), but I liked the fact that I was always able to work directly with him. Probably the downside to going with a smaller shop is that they have less datapoints to base their guidance on. This didn't worry me because I was a pretty mainstream applicant, but if you have a unique background I would advise inquiring about whether the consultant has worked with people like you before.

I didn't do one of the pricey multi-school packages, I paid by the hour and used about 10 hours of services throughout the process. 70% of that was on brainstorming essay topics and getting essay feedback. I used him for the schools I worked on first, and did the rest on my own (although still incorporating his suggestions). The rest of the time was for interview prep, just a mock interview before each of my actual interviews. This approach worked for me because I didn't really have any big gaps in my application and was mostly just looking for targeted help polishing my essays and preparing interviews.

Overall, was happy I used a consultant, but will never know if it really made any difference. I did it mostly for peace of mind, knowing that if things had gone differently, I would hate myself for not spending a few thousand to have a better shot. Would also say that I had a fair amount of help on applications from friends and former colleagues who are in MBA programs. It was useful to get multiple viewpoints, and this also allowed me to reduce the amount I used the consultant. If I didn't have this support, may have use Paul more.

Feb 17, 2016

Congrats on your acceptances! I have a question about extracurriculars, which you have partly touched on, but I still want to ask. When schools look at your extracurriculars, do they only consider those to be activities such as volunteering, mentoring, etc. that you do outside of work? Or do your activities within Deloitte such as analyst leadership positions, mentoring new analysts, contributing to publications as an editor/lead also count? So basically do those Deloitte extras help as much as the out of work extras or do schools put less weight on them because they are part of your job and already played a role in your performance and promotion reviews at work which are considered separately in the admissions process when evaluating your work profile?

Feb 17, 2016
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Feb 17, 2016