Vets First

This is our slogan. This means two things to us. First and foremost, your success as a vet is our TOP PRIORITY—regardless of the business school or career path you choose. We strive to give you fair and balanced advice and are available to help you decide if and where you should go to business school. "Vets First" also means that we offer considerable assistance with your application. So engage us for:

  1. Advice about business school and Kellogg. Please contact us no matter your stage in the application process. Dozens of vets contact us every week (US military & international) so don't hesitate to engage us early and often.
  2. Hosting you while you visit. We organize a Military Preview Day in April, which gives you the most bang-for-your-buck while visiting. However, we also meet visiting vets on a weekly and "stop-in" basis. You can join us for class, lunch, or just coffee or beer.
  3. Application Assistance. We advise vets on application essay topics, and read and edit essays and resumes for vets. So talk to us when considered essay topics, and email essays and resumes to us when you are done. We'll give feedback to strengthen your application.
  4. Interview Preparation. Before you interview, please contact us. We want to ensure you are prepared and confident going into your interview. Vets generally do well, but understanding the nuances of Kellogg's culture is important prior to speaking with admissions or alumni.

Overall, we want you to succeed no matter your future path. So engage us early and often, and we are eager to show you what makes Kellogg the RIGHT school (most important) for many vets. Read below for more information before you apply.

Application Fee Waiver

The Kellogg School will grant an application fee waiver for Active duty U.S. military applicants or U.S. military veterans who have been on active duty within three years of applying. Candidates who qualify for an application fee waiver must submit a formal request via e-mail and provide supporting evidence of their military status.

Send a formal request to before you submit your application.

  • Provide supporting evidence of your current employment or military status.
  • Military applicants should submit either a pay stub or letter from a commanding officer to verify active duty status.
  • Military veterans who have completed service within the last three years should submit a copy of their DD-214.

Application Tips


There's no standard approach to essays because the point is to be absolutely authentic. But all good essays have these key ingredients:


  • Reflect on your most defining experiences and articulate how they impacted you and what you learned about yourself. Great accomplishments are great (and should be mentioned), but they don't set you apart from the ten thousand other really accomplished applicants. Kellogg admissions really wants to hear more about you than your accomplishments. Elaborate on the journey and focus on how your experiences define who you are today. (By the way, this applies equally to failures--which often make for great stories as well).


  • Provide a compelling vision for the future. Don't be grandiose or use flowery language. Use your past experiences to lay the foundation for your vision. There should be a direct link between something in your past and your vision for your future, so the reader understands why you're motivated by this vision.


  • Be as candid as possible. Demonstrate your self-awareness and emotional intelligence through great "character-based" stories. "Character-based" stories don't just describe the circumstances, but they describe people's emotions, thoughts, motivations, passions, etc... and they show that you understand people (including yourself). This speaks volumes about your ability to work on a team, which is exactly what Kellogg admissions wants from us. This will require a lot of reflection, so start writing early.


We have posted some of our resume bullets for you to view. Use them as an example of how to translate military experience into resume bullets that are appropriate for a business school application.

Air Force Intelligence Officer

  • Directed sensitive intelligence operations during 24/7 operations; oversaw the training, schedule, and operations of eight mission directors and 100 analysts and technicians.
  • Designed training program to increase analyst proficiency and team morale. Increased proficiency allowed for 20% reduction in personnel without any mission degradation.

Air Force Acquisitions Officer

  • Managed $600k budget and identified software requirements, solicited proposals from aerospace corporations, and awarded contracts for software used to plan combat missions
  • Planned bi-annual conferences in Atlanta, GA, bringing together 285 military officials and design experts from aerospace corporations to collaborate on the future of the technology

Army Infantry Officer

  • Served as trusted advisor to an Iraqi Army officer four grades my senior and in command of 750 soldiers. Created training and logistics systems resulting in unit achieving highest possible rating
  • Mentored Iraqi businesses to address population's critical needs; resulted in rebuilding of water system for 25,000 people, construction of two schools, and city's representation in government

Army Armor Officer

  • Analyzed data from multiple intelligence sources and identified trends that enabled the capture of six insurgents
  • Led a five member multi-disciplinary team as the most junior officer to plan radio architecture conversion, which resulted in savings of over $4 million
  • Created a Basic Training Troop on a condensed timeline by empowering a high performance team of 25 instructors, which resulted in the best graduation rate (99%) out of six troops

Marine Corps Infantry Officer

  • Conducted over 50 meetings with and consulted prominent village leaders about their concerns leading to greater trust and improved relationships between the Afghans and Americans
  • Advised and mentored Afghan National Army chief operating officer leading 700 professionals during a seven month deployment. Efforts led to the group's first of several independently planned and executed operations

Marine Corps Artillery Officer

  • Planned and conducted 25 patrols and two major operations during the Iraq War "Surge" greatly reducing insurgent activity and improving security for the population while suffering no casualties
  • Developed and executed fire support plan for two joint exercises with Jordanian and Kuwaiti Armies during high visibility exercises involving over 400 personnel
  • Integrated new techniques to deliver fire support assets including a new digital system never before used in the operating forces enhancing the ability to coordinate and deliver fire support assets

Navy Fighter Pilot

  • Led $1.6B F/A-18 training program consisting of 40 fighter aircraft and 600 personnel
  • Successfully led 56 enlisted Marines and Sailors in the maintenance of $720M+ in aircraft and associated systems resulting in a 60% increase in work center productivity
  • Awarded Navy Achievement Medal for the development and execution of complex missile shoot, overseeing $1B in assets utilizing innovative missile firing scenarios to expand Naval tactical doctrine

Navy Surface Warfare Officer

  • Directly supervised three mid-level managers and 17 enlisted service members in the operation and maintenance of $750M in equipment, including the ship's air defense radar and missile-controlling combat system
  • Led team of 50 sailors to accomplish the ship's daily missions and solve emergent problems, and trusted to perform duties of the Captain in his absence; most junior officer onboard to earn this qualification


This is really important: DO NOT just get the highest ranking officer you know to write you a recommendation because it means nothing if it's impersonal and vague.

  • Your recommenders should have worked with you on a frequent basis
  • Direct supervisors and peers make great recommenders. Subordinates are usually inappropriate choices.
  • Consider using recommenders from different points in your career to show consistent personal growth over time (i.e., one from your first assignment and one from a more recent assignment).
  • Discuss your essays with them. They should understand the story that you're trying tell in your essays, so the recommendations and essays are complementary. Do provide anecodotal support as needed, but do not tell your recommender what to write.


This is an exercise in storytelling, so everything recommended above (in the essays section) applies here as well. Additionally, you should be aware of these points:

  • Have fun and be social: Kellogg interviews every candidate because we emphasize our ability to communicate effectively and be socially adept. The interviewer will evaluate you on whether they would like to go to school with you, be on a team with you, and work with you. Keep that in mind as you're interacting with your interviewer.
  • Story choice: Your interviewer will probably not have read your essays. So feel free to recycle those stories, BUT make sure you're answering the question that is asked. Do not recite a canned story that almost answers the question. Your interviewer is evaluating your ability to communicate in a personal setting just as much as the content of your story.
  • Focus on you: Your interviewer is unlikely to have been in the military and may ask a lot of questions about the military. Remember this interview is about you, not about the military. Avoid elaborating on military culture and always drive the story back to you as an individual.


GPA: Your undergrad is behind you, so let it go. If you have a sub-median GPA, that's okay. Half of us are in the same boat. But if you have specific weaknesses in quantitative subjects (e.g., calculus, statistics, finance), consider taking a community college or online course so you can demonstrate your ability to handle the coursework.

GMAT: Scoring at the median or above is great, but scoring below the median shouldn't discourage you. The bottom line is that you need to prove you're a smart person who can handle the quantitative rigor of business school. The admissions committee considers the GMAT along with your GPA to determine your academic preparedness. It's okay to take this exam more than once if you don't reach the median the first time, but consider taking a prep course before you take the GMAT for the second time. After you're satisfied with your score, don't continue taking the test. At this point, it's really much more important to focus on the qualitative portions of the application (essays and the interview). Think of the GMAT as a key to getting your foot in the door, but the essays and interview will get you on the dance floor. Fortunately, the qualitative portions are also where many veterans excel and the KVA can offer the most assistance with those.