Kellogg – An Insider’s Guide (2024)

To continue our ‘Insider’s Guide’ series, this week we’ll turn our attention to Kellogg. You may have heard of Kellogg’s reputation as a marketing school. Yes, it has a very strong marketing department with renowned faculty members and a strong recruiting pipeline into marketing roles. However, most students at Kellogg actually aren’t focused on marketing. The faculty and alumni support are strong across all disciplines and students’ interests are very diverse.

Read on for more insights about Kellogg that you won’t readily find on the website.

The Basics

Kellogg is located 30 minutes north of downtown Chicago in Evanston. The school opened a newly constructed building in Spring 2017 that was designed to be ‘excessively public’ and foster additional collaboration. The ‘Global Hub’ hosts nearly all full time MBA classes (as well as a gym and marketplace).

In addition to the traditional two-year MBA, Kellogg offers several specialized and joint degree programs:

  • MMM – M.S. in Design Innovation + MBA
  • MBAi – New five-quarter tech MBA for students with a STEM undergrad and technical work experience
  • JD/MBA – JD + MBA in three years
  • 1Y MBA – accelerated program that runs June-June targeted at those with a business undergrad

One notable difference in Kellogg’s approach to admissions is that the school interviews nearly every applicant. Interviews are conducted mainly by its vast alumni network around the world.


Kellogg’s curriculum is one of the more flexible of its peer set. The 2Y MBA includes nine core courses, but students with suitable undergrad coursework can waive select core classes and/or take an accelerated version of finance (‘Turbo Finance’). Most students begin taking electives during winter quarter of their first year. Popular electives include:

  • Negotiations – lectures on negotiation tactics and strategy as well as multiple negotiation simulations
  • Marketing Strategy – students work in teams on a course-long simulation accompanied by lectures with top professors
  • Public Economics for Business Leaders – teaches the economic principles of public policy
  • Launching and Leading Startups – survey of the entire process of launching a business, from discovery to scaling to the role of CEO
  • New Venture Class Series – experiential series of three classes (Discovery, Development, Launch) that guides students though launching their own business

There are three ‘types’ of classes at Kellogg in terms of teaching method: case-based classes, lecture-based classes, and experiential classes. In reality, there is some of each type of learning in pretty much all classes. There is also a team component in virtually every class. Group members’ rating of each other often factors into the participation grade. The value of participation on a grade varies class to class from 0% – 50%. Many professors will cold call.

Kellogg does disclose grades upon employer request (i.e., banking and consulting) but does not rank students. Approximately 90%-95% of students receive either an A or B in each class. Up to three classes (excluding core classes) can be taken ‘pass/no credit’.

Culture & Student Experience

Kellogg students are friendly, positive, and humble. You often aren’t aware of classmates’ accomplishments until you’ve known them for a bit. Kellogg students are remarkably supportive of each other – you always feellike they ‘have your back’.

Kellogg’s culture is very student driven in terms of running clubs and conferences, influencing course offerings, etc. It is also very social, with lots of intramural sports and club-related events as well as small group dinners to get to know classmates in a more intimate setting.

Kellogg places students in 60–70 person, extremely diverse sections that serve as an additional network throughout the two years. There is no class on Wednesday, and this is when many club events and group meetings occur.

The vast majority of students live in Evanston, mostly in off-campus apartments. As such, a lot of socializing occurs in Evanston first year, especially during the week. People explore the city on Saturdays and generally more second year. Public transportation to the city is available 24/7 from campus.


Kellogg has the largest number of student clubs of any program, all 100% student-run. There are three types of clubs at Kellogg – Professional (ex. Consulting Club), Affinity (ex. Black Management Association), and Fun (ex. Wine Club).

Kellogg has an open club policy, meaning that any student can attend any club’s events. Being “in” a club essentially means signing up in the campus system and receiving their club email updates. It is common to be involved in 1-2 clubs in a leadership capacity. The time commitment for a leadership role varies, but ranges between 1-4 hours per week.

Popular events include:

  • KWEST – weeklong trips for first years before pre-term that about 80% – 90% of incoming students participate in and are led by second years
  • Ski Trip – one of the largest MBA trips with 800-900 students attending; if you aren’t a skier there are daytime activities such as poker tournaments, curling, movies and brunches
  • Career Treks – a great way to learn more about an industry and get to see a variety of companies; past treks include Marketing and Private Equity in New York, Clean Energy and Fin Tech in San Francisco, and Media/Entertainment in Los Angeles
  • Bollywood Bash – event organized by the India Business Club that includes a live dance performance followed by a celebration and Indian food dinner; students from all backgrounds participate
  • Special K – student run musical and comedy performance that makes fun of the quirks of business school and Kellogg
  • Charity Auction Ball – formal event where students and faculty donate creative items for auction (dinner at professors’ houses, cooking lessons from students, themed parties hosted by students)

Kellogg alumni are very engaged with the student body and the culture of paying it forward extends well beyond the two years on campus. Students often share that an email to a Kellogg alum has a 100% response rate.

Closing Thoughts

We hope this article provided insight into aspects of the Kellogg experience you won’t easily find on the school’s website or in the forums. Having a nuanced understanding of what makes each program unique will not only help you decide where to apply (or attend), it will also help you put your best foot forward during the admissions process. Best of luck on your journey. If we can be of assistance, reach out to request an initial consultation.

Katie McQuarrie( Senior Consultant & Director of Marketing )

Katie is a passionate mentor and coach, helping her clients craft a unique, compelling story by leveraging her experience as a corporate executive, alumni interviewer, and campus recruiter. Before completing her MBA at Kellogg, Katie spent five years in banking where she learned practical finance skills as well as how to operate in a demanding, high pressure environment. She pursued an MBA in order to transition to an industry role where she could utilize her finance knowledge to drive change within an organization. Post-MBA, she worked in finance and strategy for a leading CPG firm, progressing to an executive role leading the finance function for a $2B business segment. Her experience managing diverse teams led to a passion for developing others. In addition to her day-to-day responsibilities, she led her firm’s MBA recruiting efforts and served as an alumni admissions interviewer for Kellogg.

April 13, 2023

Katie McQuarrie

MBA Admissions

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Kellogg – An Insider’s Guide (2024)
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