How Kellogg applicants are assessed – Part 1

When Kellogg admissions officers review an application, they evaluate potential students based on six categories. Here, Beth Tidmarsh, director of admissions for Kellogg’s full-time MBA programs, demystifies what happens once you submit your materials and helps you think about how to formulate the story that will help the admissions team learn more about you.


Our goal is to be sure you can handle the rigor in the Kellogg classroom. Your undergraduate GPA, course selection and GMAT score help us assess your readiness. But we’re also invested in finding creative thinkers who can solve problems. Qualitative evidence of intellectual ability is going to come out in your essays, your interview and your recommendations. We truly take a holistic look at our applicants rather than relying only on a number.

Marathon runners and CEOs | MBA Learnings

A Google search for “CEO Marathon study” reveals a slew of articles talking about how marathon running CEO’s lead successful companies.

The study has been quoted in numerous blogs and articles since it was published. Now, let’s take a closer look at the abstract of the study (the first line will do).

This study finds a positive relation between CEO fitness and firm value. For each of the years 2001 to 2011, we define CEOs of S&P 1500 companies as being fit if they finish a marathon. The literature suggests that fitness moderates stress and positively affects cognitive functions and performance. Accordingly, we find the strongest effects on firm value in subsamples where fitness is most important, i.e., for CEOs with high workload, above median age, and above median tenure. Fit CEOs are further associated with significantly higher abnormal announcement returns in M&A bids for large, public, and cross-border targets, concomitant with high stress. Our findings can explain the importance of CEO fitness in the managerial labor market and the trend among CEOs to stay fit.

This is a classic example of the identification error – mixing correlation with causality. Here is an example of the kind of issues that this study might have:

Kellogg gives back to the community

This year I had the great opportunity to organize Kellogg Cares Day, a one-day community service event for Kellogg students, faculty and staff. This was the 10th year the Kellogg community came together to help out the surrounding Evanston and Chicago area, and it proved to be a truly valuable experience.

The secret to changing team culture | MBA Learnings

My favorite learning from my course on Leadership in Organizations was the link between reward systems and culture.

I have struggled with questions around culture for a long time. In the teams I’ve built over the years, I have found that I have succeeded and failed in equal measure on culture. Leadership definitely influences culture. But, I was always left with the feeling that it isn’t just about leadership.