Kellogg's Culture of Choices

BW's top-ranked B-school seeks applicants from a variety of backgrounds looking for academic rigor and a lively social scene

Beth Flye is director of MBA admissions at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, BusinessWeek's No. 1 full-time MBA program for 2004. On Oct. 13, Flye and second-year MBA Kellyn Smith, co-chairperson of the school's student-interview committee, fielded questions from audience members and BW Online's Mica Schneider and Jack Dierdorff. Here's an edited transcript:

Q: Why is Kellogg No. 1, and where will you go from here?

Flye:

It's a collage of many factors. To highlight a couple: Kellogg continues to focus on general management as being core to the professional development of future leaders. We have a holistic approach to that, and it serves students regardless of what's happening in the economy or in their careers.

A second item would be [our] collaborative and inclusive culture. Kellogg is a place that's constantly seeking feedback: "What do we need to be doing differently to be better?" Because of this, we're an adaptive institution, and we produce adaptive future business leaders.

Q: What are Kellogg's weaknesses?

Flye:

I really don't see a glaring weakness. One of the best attributes about Kellogg is that it's opposite of the word "complacent." We're always seeking ways to improve as a school and to better serve our students.

Q: What are the most common weaknesses among applicants who aren't accepted to Kellogg?

Flye:

A common trap is [when they] present themselves in a manner in which they think we want to see them, vs. being their true selves. I cannot stress enough: What's most important to us...is to know who you truly are.

Q: Would a visit to Kellogg increase the possibility of an acceptance?

Flye:

A campus visit doesn't have an impact on our evaluation. We strongly encourage people to visit because it's a great opportunity to get a sense of the Kellogg culture, a hallmark of our program.

Q: If an applicant turns in an application a little after the nearest deadline of Oct. 22, will he receive his decision with the second round, or earlier?

Flye:

Good question. There's a good chance that the application will be bumped to the next round. We have [three] deadlines -- Oct. 22, Jan. 7, and Mar. 11 -- and we're admitting throughout the year. We give priority to those who make the deadline.

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