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Updated: Nov 23, 2022

October 16 2020

In 2020, the number of applications for the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management in Evanston, Illinois (just outside Chicago) jumped up 54% from the prior year! 2020 saw 5,813 applications come into Kellogg, while 2019 saw 3,799. This is pretty staggering for 2020 given that this is the year of the worst pandemic in modern history. The Class Of 2022 now has an incoming 539 total students versus 474 students in the prior year! This uptick from the prior year, +54%, now reverses a 2 year minor decline in applications to the prestigious business school.

The Kellogg School ranks #3 in Top Business Schools as per US NEWS RANKINGS and is part of the M7 (along with Stanford GSB, the Wharton School, Harvard Business, Chicago Booth, MIT Sloan, and Columbia GSB).

Kellogg University for MBA Students

How did Kellogg do this? 2 things:

  1. Kellogg waived GMAT/GRE/TOEFL/IELTS score submissions during the pandemic (March 2020 onward) - this clearly shows that candidates around the world are more likely and keen to apply if standardized testing is NOT a factor for business school applications. Pretty awesome stuff!

  2. Kellogg made a public announcement that they would revisit rejected candidates in earlier rounds (Round 1 and Round 2) and give them the chance for another consideration in say Round 3. Again, pretty awesome stuff!

Kate Smith, the Assistant Dean of Admissions at Kellogg, says:

Kate Smith Assistant Dean of Kellogg for MBA

"We know this was a bold move. We had a lot of conversations about this internally at Kellogg. We recognized that the world has completely changed in a matter of weeks. This is a moment to have empathy for what the world is facing. Many people around the world don’t have access to tests and not every applicant will be able to take advantage of the virtual solutions rolling out. That gave us a lot of pause. We have always cared deeply about giving access to people who want an MBA. If you look at the spirit of being open and inclusive, this lack of access was very concerning to us. We are responding to the frustration and panic of students who wanted to apply in this cycle and are facing barriers to do so. With the test waiver, we are being agile and responsive in enabling us to build the most diverse class of Kellogg students we possibly can and to mitigate the factors that are out of control of the applicant. We want to be on the cutting edge to build the best possible class. We are not going to relax any standards of admission. A test score has always been one of many factors we use to evaluate candidates along with their work experience, their leadership potential, and their passion to be part of the Kellogg community. We have always cared about the holistic individual. People are not just a test score, and Kellogg has always placed a high priority on people who have all the tenets we hold dear.”

I believe this is incredible that Kellogg has managed to find a way around a potential reduction in application numbers for 2020!


by Val Misra, MR. MBA® Harvard Business School . Northwestern Kellogg School . London Business School . NYU Stern Business School . NYU School of Professional Studies . MR. MBA® , Founder & Managing Consultant USA 501c3 Non-Profit Org. Dedicated To Education Admissions & Career Management MBA . Masters . College . Careers In Sponsorship with Harvard University's The Harvard Crimson® Newspaper Click Here for latest Harvard-MR. MBA® Article: "The MBA Experience"

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