As a reminder, here’s the question:
Pursuing an MBA is a catalyst for personal and professional growth. How have you grown in the past? How do you intend to grow at Kellogg?
So first of all… This is 450-word essay. The draft we got was 572 words. That’s well over 100 words over (which is over what you ever should be over, in case we haven’t overstated this already. Roger? Over.) Ummmm…. Not a good place to begin. We assume that this BSer isn’t going to be submitting a final draft with the Kellogg app that’s that much overlimit (at least, we HOPE that’s not the plan, as that would be a very bad idea indeed!). Sending it in to EssaySnark when it’s that long is just as bad. You’re trying to curry favor with someone who is doing you a favor, so a good place to begin is keeping things in the realm of the reasonable. Wading through an overlimit draft is nobody’s idea of a good time.
Here’s what we got:
I initially started my career in the digital marketing department. I knew I wanted to be at the intersection of marketing and finance, hoping to throw a bit of tech into the mix. As time went on however, I realized that what I enjoyed working on most was ways to optimize user experience. This interest led me to my current role in Product Management. By leading projects like [fancyfirm]’s first A/B testing strategy, and consistently using data to drive decision making, I knew I was helping the customer. It wasn’t easy- I had to work in a highly regulated industry, manage the expectations of senior leadership, and extensively collaborate between various cross functional, international teams. While challenging, this experience taught me how to negotiate, tell stories with data, and above all, build experiences around customer needs. These experiences solidified my passion for technology, and confirmed to me that I work best in team oriented and collaborative environments.
Can somebody please tell us where this essay is addressing the essay question?
There is literally nothing here that does that.
And why is that sentence in bold???
BSer, hate to say it, but this is a do-over, throw it out and start from the beginning, thumbs-down, it’s not gonna make it. There is nothing here that works for this question, at all.
Sorry Charlie. Bzzzzz thanks for playing.
This is the note that this BSer-sender-inner sent in with the essay:
I’ve been getting so much conflicting info about essay #2 for Kellogg! I bought the guide and saw that we should technically talk about a challenge we grew from, but I took it more to mean how my previous decisions have driven what I want to do. Need some help!
Ummm, OK, so it’s great that you bought the Kellogg guide and all, but… What are you talking about? We never said that you should “technically” talk about anything. Not sure what that even means.
Yes we do advise presenting how you grew because that is kind of what they’re asking with the question. Right?? 😕 Isn’t it?
And the very best way to show “growth” is through a challenge. Generally speaking, that’s how us human types work: We are presented with some type of difficult situation — aka a challenge — and then we have to deal. We respond to that by changing, aka growing.
There is nothing in this essay, anywhere, that shows us “how I grew.” All this is at the moment seems to be a recap of the early career. Which is not what the question has asked for. We’re not going to post any more of this essay since it’s just another paragraph of randomness that does not answer the question, so pasting it in here won’t help any other BSers reading the blahg; it’s just a bunch of stuff. There is no story. There is no change. There is no challenge or growth. It’s just a blob of spaghetti. 🙁
The “why Kellogg” content in the last part of the draft (which we’re also not posting) names some resources that are worthwhile but there’s still no concrete discussion of “growth” — we’re seeing more there that’s salvageable, potentially, but it’s not enough to offset the mess that the first half of the essay is.
(And did we mention that it’s really too long?)
Yeah, sorry, not able to be more positive about the state that this draft is in. It’s perhaps no worse than other first drafts we’ve seen for Kellogg but it’s certainly going to need a major back-to-the-drawing-board approach for this earnest BSer.
But first, BSer, you need to learn how to tell a story with WORDS (not data) and find a story that actually answers the question. This essay question is not asking for a recap of your career or big statements about how challenging things were. You need to SHOW the reader what happened in a SPECIFIC SITUATION. That’s how you demonstrate the change that you experienced. That’s where you show growth. (We really do break all of this down in that Kellogg guide; it may happen that new lightbulbs go on for you now, if you go back and read it again.)
Not sure who you’re getting this conflicting advice from but this question is very straightforward. It does not require interpretation. It just needs to be answered directly.
Does that mean it’s an easy essay? Oh gosh no. But it does not appear that the question itself has been understood yet, so that’s the first place to begin.
Have you checked out our posts on Kellogg essays? Like this one?
Here’s another, from a long-ago season’s Kellogg app but still relevant to what you’re struggling with this year.
How have you grown in the past?
If you catch yourself writing, “It wasn’t easy” then you’re almost guaranteed to be not answering the question. When we see that kind of sentence, it’s an instant tip-off that the writer is summarizing instead of going in-depth.
Give the reader the actual situation that you dealt with, then how you dealt with it, then how you are new and different as a result.
Beginning, middle, end.
Then talk about how you will grow at Kellogg — by integrating the things you have learned about what they offer into an actual discussion of why those are important to you.
Yup, we know you can get there.
UPDATE: This BSer sent in a note saying that they’d ditched that and were starting over. Yay! Often the way to get where you need to go is through tossing out the stuff that you started with. It hurts, but it’s frequently the best way to move forward.