Contact Vince

See for information about Vince's services.

I provide the most intensive, effective MBA interview preparation service in the world. My interview coaching clients get results because I help them figure out what to say (logical content), and how to say it (impressive delivery).

I teach some of the world's top engineers and scientists at The University of Tokyo how to present their ideas on paper and in person.

I am a professional stage actor who has performed with The American Shakespeare Center.
At Stanford, I studied improv theatre with Patricia Ryan Madson, who has taught everyone from college students to Silicon Valley executives from companies like Google how to tell believable stories.

I provide one-hour mock interview sessions with feedback. I also provide extended multi-hour training. We begin with an initial diagnostic mock interview, which helps me determine your strengths and weaknesses. In subsequent sessions, we can work on strategy, answer modeling, and mock interviewing.

For Vince's latest tips, plus service details, please go here. Then, please contact Vince when you are ready to start your preparation.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Kellogg Interview

General notes on Kellogg interviews
  • R1 w/ Tokyo-based alumni usually held one first or second weekend of November 
  • R2 w/ Tokyo-based alumni usually held at Eisai in late January or early February
  • Your interviewer will ask you to evaluate yourself
  • Kellogg asks each alumni interviewer to fill out quantitative (rankings comparing your others interviewed by that same alumni member) and qualitative (short answers following criteria found here)
  • Do not panic if your interviewer is writing extensive notes. Similarly, do not worry if they do not seem to be taking any notes at all. Each interviewer has his or her own style of note-taking. Ignore their notes and focus on the conversation. Build rapport, show passion, empathy, and genuine interest in your interviewer's Kellogg experience.  
  • If interviewing on campus - schedule on a weekday to increase the likelihood that you will be interviewed by (full-time) adcom staff (as opposed to a student adcom member)
  • Students do their best, but adcom members usually have more experience and are therefore more likely to be able to focus their full attention on you rather than taking too many notes while you speak

Northwestern / Kellogg Interview Reports

Past clients who interviewed on campus were typically asked the following range of questions

Evanston April 17, 2009
3rd Round On-Campus Interview 17Apr. 2009 (Fri)
Interviewer: Ms. E M (Assistant Director of Admissions)
Non-Alum, 2nd month with Kellogg, no experience working at other Business Schools, Very Friendly
  1. Tell me about your undergrad experiences (both Academic and Non-academic)
  2. How/Why did you choose your 1st job?
  3. How did you end up in your current job? (Transition from 1st job to 2nd job)
  4. Post MBA goal and Why
  5. Long Term Goal
  6. Why MBA?
  7. Why Kellogg?
  8. How do you function in a team?
  9. Do you usually (routinely) work in a team setting?
  10. Tell me about your leadership style with an example.
  11. What kind of impact can you make on Kellogg?
  12. Any clubs you’re interested in?
  13. Activities you’re involved in outside of work.
  14. How do you see yourself relative to your peers?
  15. Have you experienced any setbacks being the youngest person in your organization?
  16. Anything else you would like to highlight?
  17. Any questions? (twice)

R2 applicant on campus Feb. 2009
I was interviewed by an admissions officer and most interviews on week-days seemed to be done by admission staff.
Date; February 6th
Interviewer; Ms. V L

Here are the questions.
  1. - When did you arrive at Evanston? Have you met anyone from Kellogg before your interview?
  2. - Tell me about your academic background and the reasons for your choices.
  3. - Walk me through your resume and your career progress to date.
  4. - What do you think is the biggest impact you have made in your organization?
  5. - What do you think is your type of leadership and tell me about your leadership experience?
  6. - Tell me about your accomplishment through teamwork.
  7. - How do you resolve a conflict in a team?
  8. - What do you think your colleagues appreciate about you?
  9. - If your colleagues can change one thing about you, what do you think it would be?
  10. - What is your short term/ long term goals?
  11. - How can Kellogg help you achieve your goals?
  12. - If admitted, what do want to do outside the classrooms in Kellogg?
  13. - What do you currently enjoy besides work?
  14. - Any questions?

R2 applicant on campus Feb. 9, 2009
Date: February 9, 2009
Place: Kellogg On-campus
Interviewer: Mrs. J O (Admissions Officer)
30 minutes
I was instructed to fill in the form with following information
Name, STG and LTG

  1. When did you arrive?
  2. Did you come to US only for interview purpose?
  3. Career Progress
  4. What is the greatest undergrad experience?
  5. What do your colleagues describe about you?
  6. Why MBA?
  7. STG, LTG
  8. Why Kellogg?
  9. Teamwork Question
  10. How did your colleague change you?
  11. One thing you want to change about yourself
  12. Leadership Question
  13. What is your leadership style?
  14. Where else did you apply?
  15. Adjective describe you
  16. Where in US did you live?
  17. What do you do for fun?
  18. Do you do any charity work?
  19. What club do you intend to join?
  20. Any thing you want to say? (One time)
  21. Any question? (Two times)

R2 applicant on campus Jan. 30, 2009 #1
Date: January 30, 2009
Place: Kellogg On-campus
Interviewer: Ms. A S (Admissions Officer and a Kellogg alumna)
  1. When did you arrive in Kellogg? When do you go back? Jet lag?
  2. Tell me about your undergrad major experience. Why did you choose that major?
  3. Tell me about your work history. Why did you choose that company?
  4. Describe your team. How do you perform in that team?
  5. Why MBA?
  6. Why Kellogg?
  7. Post MBA goal
  8. What is your leadership style like?
  9. How would you manage a conflict between people?
  10. How do you convince people?
  11. How do you manage yourself in an international environment?
  12. What can you contribute to Kellogg? (Besides work experience)
  13. What clubs do you intend to join? Any others?
  14. Anything else you have not mentioned that you want me to know about you?
  15. Any questions? Any others?

R2 applicant on campus Jan. 30, 2009 #2
Date: January 30, 2009
Place: Kellogg On-campus
Interviewer: Ms. A S (Admissions Officer and a Kellogg alumna)
NOTE: It seems that admission officers are in charge of weekday interviews while students take care of weekend interviews.
  1. University experiences (academic, extracurricular)
  2. Career progress
  3. why MBA, why Kellogg
  4. Leadership experience, leadership style
  5. How are you going to develop leadership at Kellogg?
  6. Conflict-solving experience, how?
  7. Strategic experience in a project, how did you plan a strategy to achieve a difficult thing?
  8. Short-term goal (STG) after Kellogg / My thought of key success factors in attain my STG
  9. Impact I have made on my clients or my company
  10. Contributions at Kellogg
  11. Anything else? (twice)
  12. Any questions? (three times)
  13. What are you going to do after this interview?

R2 applicant on campus Jan. 19, 2009

1. Who: Admission officer: Ms. A S (alumni)
2. Place: Admission office (her room/ no table/ just two chair)
3. Condition: Friendly/ Blind/ 50 minutes/ the admission checked my resume before we started (I gave her my resume before we started, and she asked me to wait for 5-10 minutes)
4. Questions:
  • When did I arrive
  • What have you done since your arrival?
  • Tell me about your university experience
  • Tell me about your extracurricular activity during university
  • Don't you want to be a politician (after I talked about my experience in campaign office)?
  • Tell me your career progress
  • Why do you think that you could be awarded for top sales person (what makes you win this award)?
  • How to solve the problems caused by the cultural difference.
  • Why MBA?
  • Why Kellogg?
  • What do you do outside of your work?
  • What extracurricular activity do you want to do at Kellogg?
  • What is your goal (short/ long)?
  • What kind of your quality that you have developed do you think will help you to work as a consultant in future?
  • How is your analytical skill?
  • What extra information you want to tell me?
  • What extra information you want to tell me? (again)
  • Do you have any questions?

2009 R1 admit on campus
(Kellogg: 55 minutes w/ adcom, blind, friendly)
  1. When did you arrive? 
  2. What have you done since you arrived?
  3. Walk me through your resume.
  4. Why MBA and why now?
  5. What do you intend to gain at Kellogg.
  6. (Building on previous question) You are corporate-sponsored. How would you give back to your organization after Kellogg.
  7. Describe your leadership style.
  8. What role would you play in team activities at Kellogg.
  9. What clubs or activities at Kellogg are you most interested in?
  10. How would you enrich classroom experiences of other Kellogg students?
  11. Describe ONE thing about Kellogg that you think sets it apart from other programs. (Why Kellogg)
  12. Anything you would like to add that you think relates to your candidacy?
  13. Q and A

2008 R2 on campus
As for Kellogg, things were a little bit unexpected because my interviewer was a 1st year student. She was nice and friendly, but it was difficult for me to control the overall interview. She was writing down EVERYTHING while I was talking, and she told me to stop and wait before I finish. So after the first two questions, I waited for her so she could finish writing, but then when I did that, she just jumped to the next question. Also, although she told me it was going to be conversational, she did not ask me any further questions to my answers. She did not let me add anything at the end either. Also it was challenging because she had me talk about three accomplishments in the beginning.

In case there are applicant who are applying for R3 and planning to do on-campus interview, I recommend making reservation on weekdays so that you will have higher probability to be interviewed by admission directors.(it seems Admission directors are off on weekends) But for me, having interview with a student was another chance to know more about Kellogg community and was a truly great experience which lasted about 45 minutes. (including warm up and cool down chat)

We started off with warm up (ice breaking) chat, such as weather and flight, and she told me her background. She was a 1st year student with finance background. She told me it was a blind interview (she had not seen my application) and that interview goes in chronological order

She asked:
  1. Why did you become interested in your undergraduate study? Please explain in detail about your major.
  2. Please talk about your extra curricular activity (in my case it was my golf club activity
  3. Why do you think you were chosen as the captain of golf club at your High School and University?
  4. Do you play golf a lot recently?
  5. Have you ever done hole-in-one?
  6. What do you recommend me to fix my slice?
  7. Please tell me about your recruiting process?
  8. I talked why IT industry why current company why my function
  9. Please talk about your division and how you have progress your career.
  10. What was the reason you got your promotion?
  11. How did your responsibility change?
  12. Please clarify, in specific, your responsibility.
  13. Are you responsible to negotiate with client?
  14. How do you compare your client (big Japanese company) and US companies?
  15. Please tell me the situation where you took leadership and why it was effective?
  16. What were difficult factors and how you have dealt with it?
  17. What were factors became conflict and why?
  18. Please be more specific about how you resolve the conflict?
  19. Why MBA? STG? LTG?
  20. Do you have specific firm you want to work for?
  21. LTG: At this point do you have specific company you want to help? (my LTG is to be CEO and help company revitalize)
  22. Why Kellogg?
  23. What are specific classes and organization you are planning to join and why?
  24. What do you do outside work? (aside from golf) Why do you like it?
  25. Anything else you want to add? (She told her experience in GIM India and I told my business trip experience to India) What was your impression of the Indian city you have visited?
  26. Is there any thing I can answer for you?
  27. What was your impression of your visit to classes?
  28. Cool down chat: What are you planning to do this afternoon?

Past clients who interviewed with Tokyo-based alumni were asked the following range of questions

Tokyo-based alumni #1
April 3, 2009
interviewer's brief introduction in Japanese
  1. Walk me through your resume.
  2. Why did you move to private sector? Why did you choose Company X?
  3. What is the biggest learning while you were engaged in public sector?
  4. Goals
  5. Under the current economic situation, you will run a risk of getting no job. How do you treat with that?
  6. As to your long goal, which area/category has the most promise from the perspective of your professional experience?
  7. Why MBA? Why Kellogg?
  8. What is the greatest accomplishment?
  9. How do you contribute to Kellogg?
  10. Other sales-point.
There are many laughs.
Then I asked my interviewer the following questions:
  1. How did your Kellogg experience affect you?
  2. Could you give me an advice for my partner to prepare for Evanston life? (He told me that he accompanied his wife and a baby)
  3. What is the impressive class, faculty, student?

As to 1,2,4,5,7, he told the content is clear.
For 5, good idea! Your lesson is useful.

Tokyo-based alumni #2
R2 applicant in Tokyo Jan. 31, 2009
At Eisai

Friendly / Blind / 30 minutes / He had skimmed my resume before comming to the interview room

Basically we talked interactively. He seemed to have some agenda or direction as to what to ask in the interview.

Conducted in English.

I had a good rapport with interviewer. We enjoyed discussion and laughed a lot.
In the middle and the end of the meeting, he said he would grade me as very good.

  1. Warm up chats: He introduced his career briefly.
  2. Walk me through your resume.
  3. Why did you join current employer? Why did you major in law at university?
  4. Short term goal, long term goal?
  5. What is your major accomplishment?
  6. Why Kellogg?
  7. How can you contribute to Kellogg?

Tokyo-based alumni #3
R2 applicant in Tokyo Jan. 26, 2008
Questions were mostly about my business:

  1. Explain the business model of your current job.
  2. Briefly explain your recent accomplishment.
  3. How did you learn about Kellogg? Web site or people?
  4. Why do you pursue MBA?
  5. What do you think your expertise.
  6. In what occasion do you feel most exciting?
  7. What was the greatest obstacle in your project?
  8. What was the key to solve the project.
  9. Any questions?"

Tokyo-based alumni #4
R2 applicant in Tokyo Jan. 26, 2008

  1. Just tell me about your self in 3 min (he added my hobby and outside activity)
  2. Walk through your resume (he said my resume looks great and I did so many things!)
  3. Tell me about your big achievement in your job (I added my strong leadership about my achievement)
  4. Tell me abuot your leadership outside work
  5. Why MBA
  6. Why Kellogg 
  7. Any questions?

Tokyo-based alumni #5
R2 applicant in Tokyo Jan. 26, 2008
Kellogg- Alumni interview

  1. Please introduce yourself to me.
  2. Could you walk me through your resume?
  3. Please tell me your experience in which you took initiatives?
  4. Please tell me your teamwork experience?
  5. Could you tell me your significant business decisions in career?
  6. Anything else?
  7. Q and A

Tokyo-based alumni #6
R2 applicant in Tokyo Jan. 26, 2008
Interview Questions
  1. Run through your resume.
  2. Why MBA? (Following my answer: finance) 
  3. Why do you want to study finance at Kellogg?
  4. What are your career goals?
  5. What is your significant achievement at work?
  6. If other four people disagree with you but your opinion is right at group study of Kellogg, What would you do?
  7. How you learned English?
  8. Any questions?

Tokyo-based alumni #7
R2 applicant in Tokyo
Time: 18:00-19:20
Venue: Palace Hotel (Lounge), Otemachi, Tokyo

Ice breaking was in Japanese. The alumnus (turned out to be 42 years old, class of 2001) created a very comfortable atmosphere for me. He made very basic confirmations in Japanese, and then, we slid into English interview. As a whole, his questions were based on my resume. His typical "Japanese-English" made me so relieved.

  1. Briefly summarize your career
  2. Tell me about your career in the Indonesia Project (my first 3 year career)
  3. ST and LT goal?
  4. Why MBA?
  5. Why Kellogg?
  6. Tell me about your teamwork experience.
  7. Tell me about your leadership experience.
  8. What was the biggest difficulty in your career?
  9. What was the most challenging part in your HR career?
  10. What experience in your first project helps you with your current project? Any similarity?
  11. How do you intend to change your company? What do you think the next generation energy is? (As I am in the energy sector.)
  12. Tell me about your baseball story.
  13. Anything to add?
  14. Any questions? (again in Japanese, about 20 min.)

I really enjoyed my interview (a kind of chat!) with him in a very relaxing atmosphere. It was simply interesting to talk with him.

Sample Kellogg interviews here (video recreations w/ an admitted client; I asked the same questions he was asked by student adcoms on campus; he repeated most of the same content that got him admitted)

-Updated by Vince on 14 March 2012

  • I am a graduate admissions consultant who works with clients worldwide
  • If you want my help preparing for your interview, please email
  • Let me know when you plan to interview and when you want to practice with me
  • I will confirm if I have the capacity to help you
  • My interview service details and fees are here
  • Please note that initial consultations are not offered for interview training