My Kellogg Interview: An Engineer’s Account

Getting an interview invite from Kellogg (Northwestern) was a dream come true. I didn’t have a great GMAT, but somehow made it through to the end.

My Background: Indian male, 28 years old at the time of application. Worked as a software engineer for a renowned MNC for almost 5 years. Had 2 promotions. Class of 2018. GMAT just sub-700.

Pre-Interview Prep: Got in touch with an admissions consultant in India who was with me right from the initial application. Had several mock interviews, and attempted many generic questions. Practised answering the ‘why’ questions.

My Kellogg Interview Questions

On the day of the Interview: My interview was off-campus and hence conducted by an Alumnus. Met the alumnus at a well-known hangout. He gave me a sense of ease and seemed to be very friendly. We spoke at length about the software industry and how Indian developers, many of them are increasingly looking for a US MBA given the surge in opportunities abroad. He seemed to have a very thorough and knowledgeable perspective of IT industry in general – I was very impressed by the alumnus. Getting to the questions, while answering the questions I did feel less confident sometimes, wondering if the alumnus bought my story. But he did listen very carefully, and was very interested with whatever I had to say. I felt I had over-prepared a bit. Could have been a little more spontaneous in handling some of the fit questions. Here are the interview questions:

  1. Switching from an engineering background to a business background is an exciting switch. But in many cases after an MBA you may not have a chance to use some of your engineering skills. How do you feel about this?
  2. What was the biggest challenge you faced and why do you consider this to be your biggest challenge?
  3. There are other great MBA programs out there, both in India and abroad, what excites you about Kellogg?
  4. Why do you think this exact application cycle is the ripe time for you to getĀ an MBA? Why did you not consider an MBA earlier or later?
  5. I’ve seen your resume and am impressed with your achievements. But certainly there are non-quantitative and intangible aspects to theseĀ that are well beyond just what’s been portrayed on your resume. About which one of your achievements do you feel this way and why?
  6. What was your single largest failure and why?
  7. Then as we went through the resume, he probed deeper into certain aspects. Asked me to highlight leadership in those instances, and asked me how I could have done better.


Author: Homer

Homer has an MBA from a top-three US B-School. An Indian engineering graduate from a non-IIT (IITs are Indian equivalents of our tech schools such as Caltech and MIT), Homer is hope for all non-IITians looking to get into Harvard/Wharton/Stan. Homer has a BE degree in mechanical engineering from a college in the south Indian city of Bangalore. Homer says that he was never a great student in his earlier days or at engineering school. What then worked in his favor? Well he founded a mechanical engineering startup after working for a couple of years at a renowned German automobile company. Homer has the longest pre-MBA work experience in our family - 4 yrs at his first job in a no-name mechanical engineering firm + 2 yrs at the German automobile maker + 3 yrs at his startup. Homer sold his startup back to his former employer and is now a top consultant (MBB consulting). Watch out for posts by Homer (to avoid them, of course!).