Making the Cut at Kellogg

Admissions Director Beth Flye explains the process, including the interview and essays, and says, the competition is high

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B-school applications are down this fall, but that might not make it any easier for MBA hopefuls to get into their top-choice school, at least at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, ranked No. 1 in BusinessWeek's latest rankings. Here, Admissions Director Beth Flye says it depends on the quality -- not quantity -- of applications they receive each year. Kellogg gave the nod to only 16% of the school's 5,000 applicants in 2003, and the competition to get in remains tough.

Flye fielded admissions questions from a live audience during a Jan. 7 BusinessWeek Online chat hosted by reporter Mica Schneider. She was joined by Eric Jagher, a current second year at Kellogg who also works in the MBA admissions office. Here's an edited transcript of that event:

Q: All of us are eager to know about the quantity and quality of the applicant pool this year. Any insights?


I'm happy to report that the quality of the pool is exceptional. In terms for the volume, we're in line with industry trends right now. We've seen a decline in numbers, but again, the good news is that the quality is outstanding. And it's still early in terms of where we are in the cycle.

Q: By what percentage have applications dipped?


Compared to the past couple of years, we've seen a decline in the range of 20% to 30%, which is in line with our peer schools. The majority of applications have yet to come into the pipeline, but right now we're a bit more in line with where we were prior to the spike in applications in 2001 and 2002.

[Editor's note: Kellogg received 5,802 applications for its full-time MBA program in 2000.]

Q: It's not difficult to infer that fewer applications mean a less selective admissions process this year. Isn't it safe to say that if you're a current MBA applicant, you've got a better chance in 2004 of getting a nod than in previous years?


Though the volume may be down, the competition is still going to be high. I would say two things: not necessarily, and it depends on the mix of the applicant pool. And again, we're still waiting for the majority of the applications to come in.

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