Autumn is a busy time for us in the admissions office, as we participate in a variety of recruitment events to meet and speak with candidates from around the world. This year one question that many of you have been asking is whether you should retake the GMAT to make your application more competitive.
Firstly, I think it is important to highlight that this is an entirely personal decision that an applicant needs to explore and decide for themselves. But I think it would be useful if I arm you with some information about the purpose of the GMAT in the admissions process and its influence when accessing eligibility for the programme.
Briefly, the GMAT is a universal exam that measures an applicant’s verbal, mathematical, and analytical skills they have gained throughout their entire academic career. During the admissions process a candidate’s results are used in combination with their previous academic performance, application essays, references and language tests if applicable. These materials are carefully reviewed along with interview results during the application review process. For a visual example, imagine a large puzzle and consider each of the components mentioned above as individual pieces, that when combined form a snap shot of you as a candidate and are a potential indicator of your success as a MiM student. Therefore, all of the components are of equal importance to your application and profile.
In addition, the minimum score requirement for entry into the MiM programme at London Business School is 600. The MiM2014 class average is 689, students scored in the ranges of 600-800. It is important to remember that we put a great amount of effort in ensuring that the class is diverse, which includes having a variety of GMAT scores. For applicants interested in pursuing careers in consulting many top consulting firms usually look for candidates who achieve scores of 700 and above.
Is it a negative thing to take the test more than once?
No, the Admissions Team does not frown upon taking the exam more than once. We accept the highest score an applicant has achieved and submitted with their application. I think it is important that if you decide to take the test more than once that you really evaluate and think carefully about what you are hoping to achieve by retaking the exam. In many cases you may want to take the exam more than once to achieve a higher score, which is understandable, but it is important to carefully assess how many points you want your score to improve and also consider other options if you are unsuccessful in achieving this score.
I hope this information has been helpful. If you have any further questions about your eligibility, please do not hesitate to contact us. Good luck with your applications and on the GMAT if you haven’t taken it or will be retaking it.
Winter is coming…actually, in London it’s already here. For MBA Admissions, this means we are organising Stage 1 interviews all over the world, and I do mean everywhere, from Athens to Jamaica. This is the perfect time to talk about interviews, and more specifically things candidates have done really well. This post is titled ‘how to impress at a business school interview’ as much of what I’ll say is going to be relevant for whichever school you are applying for. Some will be specific to the LBS MBA Programme. I should also point out here that at LBS, all MBA interviews are conducted by alumni from the programme.
Right… so you get the email shortlisting you to interview. Congratulations! To get shortlisted to a top business school certainly isn’t easy. After all the work you have done so far you want to make sure you nail it! Here are a few tips to help which, incidentally, are all things I have seen or heard successful candidates do:
Do your research. If you are meeting an alumnus, see if you can find out more about them. Linked In is the obvious way to do this. Make sure your understanding of the school and the programme extends well beyond what you have read on the website. The most common failing in MBA interviews is a candidate being unable to demonstrate ‘why LBS?’ and also that they are truly passionate about the school. Remember the alumnus will be volunteering their time, mainly because they have a passion for their school. They will want to see that passion on display during the interview.
Make sure you have ‘your story’ ready and it is coherent and compelling. Your interviewer will want to understand where you have come from, both personally and professionally, and where you might want to head in the future. This doesn’t mean you have to have a defined business background or a very specific post MBA goal.
Read the latest business press. Make sure you are well versed on current trends and topical issues. Equip yourself with some solid examples of experience working in teams and leading. This doesn’t have necessarily have to be line management. Think about what you are going to bring to LBS. How will you fit into your study group? Which clubs will you join?
Finally, the alumnus will make time and be willing to answer any questions you have about LBS and the programme. This is a great opportunity to get candid first-hand answers and raise any concerns or worries you might have.
I appreciate this may all sound rather obvious but these interviews are ultimately quite straight forward. The alumnus will be thinking ‘would I have wanted to study with this person?’ Believe me, they will be wanting you to do well!
Oh and I’m afraid I can’t give you much information about the impromptu presentation, otherwise it wouldn’t be very…well…impromptu!
Good luck to anyone interviewing this month!
In last week’s post, my colleague Nicoleta provided an insight into the types of candidates we look for on the Masters in Management. So now that you have identified yourself as a good fit, you may think that you should apply straight away. While this is one option, deciding whether you intend to pursue your postgraduate studies is a big decision and a big commitment. As such, you’ll want to take time to carry out a proper ‘RDRP’ –that is Research, Discussion, Reflection, and Preparation. What does this mean? Let me walk you through each stage step by step.
By following our Admissions Blog and reviewing the advice given by our Admissions Teams you have already made a great first step in your London Business School and MiM research. But by no means should you start and end your research here.
Now I am going to say something which may surprise you but do ensure that you research other schools and programmes. You need to be able to compare curriculums, campuses, faculty, student bodies, and so much more in order to understand whether you may be a good fit for them and them a good fit for you. A few things to think about:
Visit each campus – is it an environment that will allow you to learn and thrive in? If you can’t travel to visit campus, does the school or programme offer online information sessions or virtual tours?
Reach out to students and alumni – what did they value most from their experience? Was their experience similar to what you’re looking for?
Examine the programme structure – does the curriculum focus on theoretical, practical or applied tuition, or a combination? Do the faculty have experience in academia and the external business environment? Is that important to you?
Consider the network – do you want to have an international career and do you need a community that can reach different markets and industries?
Speak with admissions teams – how would they assess your profile and would they encourage you to apply?
What do you want to achieve – are you looking for professional development, personal development, or both? Will the programme help you get that?
These are just a few of the many questions you should be asking yourself and those connected to the schools you are interested in. Now is the time to be asking questions so don’t be afraid to do so.
Once you have asked yourself these important questions and determined which schools and programmes you feel will give you what you’re looking for, discuss your findings with those around you. If you will be receiving financial support from family, do discuss tuition fees and living expenses early in the decision-making process. Pursuing your postgraduate studies can be a big financial commitment and if you are planning to receive support from family you’ll need to decide what this support will look like.
And for those of you who may be moving away from home, possibly for the first time, you will want to discuss how the distance may affect your relationships with family and friends. Will they be able to visit you? Will you be able to return home during school breaks? Do discuss the challenges the distance may cause and how you will cope with these challenges.
You may also want to speak with friends or peers who are also planning to pursue postgraduate studies. How have they been conducting their research and what have they found? While it can be helpful to speak with those who are going through the same process, do remember that this is an individual one and that each person you speak with may have a different rationale for pursuing their studies or applying to a particular programme.
After discussing your plans with those around you, reflect. Reflect on your discussions, reflect on your research. As I mentioned earlier, this is a big decision and one not to be taken lightly. You may find that after conducting your research and carrying out discussions that you have discovered a different path to pursue, one that you may not have considered early on. If this is the case, you may then need to then go back to step one to conduct further research into entry requirements and application processes, for example.
Ensure that you reflect as well on the challenges – personal, academic, and professional – that you may face during your postgraduate studies and what you will do overcome them.
Once you have decided your target schools and programmes, the next step will be to prepare your applications. Do remember that each application can be very different – some programmes require GMAT, others GRE. Some require a personal statement, others multiple essays. Some require an interview, others may not. Make sure you check entry requirements and application timelines, whether they are rolling or staged admissions. If you have to prepare for entrance exams, you may need to begin preparing your application months earlier than for programmes that don’t require these exams. Make yourself a timeline for each programme you are applying to and before you know it, your applications will be submitted.
I hope that you will find this information helpful in your postgraduate study research and, as always, please do not hesitate to post any questions. In the meantime, I’d like to wish you all the best with your application journey!
I have been travelling recently to take part in our renowned International Information Sessions and World Alumni Celebrations (WAC) in Latin America, and it has been the most extraordinary trip of my life! Why? Well, I certainly enjoyed visiting new countries and exploring delicious gastronomic paths trying out my now favourites ceviche, feijoada and spicy tacos of all sorts, but most of all I was thrilled to get to know our successful Masters in Finance (MiF) alumni and hear about their amazing career experiences, and to meet in person enthusiastic prospective candidates. Some of them even flew from Uruguay to São Paulo and from Panama to Lima just for the LBS event! It’s an honour and a privilege to meet intelligent and visionary individuals with diverse cultural backgrounds who at the same time express the enthusiasm and motivation to study the MiF at LBS. Open-minded and ambitious, each prospective MiF candidate is unique; either looking into bringing change in Mexico’s financial industry, starting up their own investment fund in Brazil, or planning to come all the way from Peru to London with their partner to study together at LBS. The atmosphere created by the MiF alumni and the prospective LBS candidates is just mind blowing. I came to realize that the power of the LBS community and the world class programme and peer group of the Masters in Finance is a fact; the MiF at LBS attracts extraordinary people from all over the world who are passionate about finance.
And what a better example to showcase this than to introduce you to our current MiF students of 2013 intake:
It’s difficult to capture the diversity of these classes with 209 unique profiles, but I will try to give you a representative overview. Our current MiF students represent over 50 nationalities, with experiences ranging from analyst and associate level role to managing director, CFO and CEO, in a huge range of financial areas: structured finance, economics, derivatives trading, research, financial, credit, risk, quantitative or equities analysis, portfolio management, product control, financial systems consultancy, strategy management, taxation, investment banking, account management, corporate treasury, energy finance, fixed income sales, auditing, risk management, hedge fund sales, business analysis, relationship management, emerging markets, commercial banking and a lot more! This might already sound like a very demanding lifestyle, but our MiFs have been very active in their extracurricular activities too; running a theatre group in London, and ascending Everest Base Camp, belonging to a motorcycle club in Chile! Now, as MiF students they are organizing plenty of social and networking events like the Halloween party and the Korean dinner, or getting dressed up in costumes in a medieval style restaurant in London to have fun with their classmates. Of course they are also actively participating in weekly social activities including the notorious ‘Sundowners’ (every Thursday on campus), and meeting up at the legendary school’s pub the ‘Windsor Castle’, either for business, or to celebrate birthdays and career successes (yes, already!).
Do you find this interesting and challenging and see yourself as a future member of this network? Let’s hear what Dr Suleyman Basak, who is the favourite faculty of MiF students over the past 10 years, has to say about making such a decision: ‘The good news is that choosing the MiF means that you are investing in intellectual capital – the only kind of capital you need in order to be successful in today’s world. The bad news is that we have surrounded you with other students who are extremely bright, and this can be intimidating. Advice: Do not let this discourage you. Remember, you are competing only with the rest of the world’.
I hope that you now have a clearer view of what it’s like to be a MiF student at LBS and you want to discover more about the programme, the students and our community. You can get in touch with us for an initial profile review and if your profile is a good fit we will contact you to connect you with one of our current students who would be more than happy to share their own MiF experience at LBS. Click here to find out more:
I am looking forward to reviewing your CV and reading your comments on this post, as well as reading your application in due course!
Till the next time,
Recruitment & Admissions Manager – MiF
Now that all that Masters in Management Team have published a blog post, maybe it is time to identify what each of us does and who you need to contact for different information. To give you a brief overview of the core Admissions Team, we have Jamie Lynne Wright – Senior Recruitment and Admissions Manager, Alexandra Salter – Recruitment and Admissions Manager, Lisa Mortini – Recruitment and Admissions Manager, Ivan Anderson – Client Services Manager and Nicoleta Chiriac the Recruitment and Admissions Administrator.
I will start with myself, as Alexandra comes first alphabetically and I am writing this blog! I am one of the Recruitment and Admissions Managers within the Masters in Management Team. I joined the team last November having previously working in the MBA Team for 15 months. I manage regions that include China, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. This means if you come from one of these regions, I will be coordinating your interview with an Alumnus/a (except Europe where you will be expected to come to Campus). I will also be in contact with you if you become an Alumnus and can interview for us in those regions – but that is a little way off! As part of the team I also manage Waitlisted candidates (you can visit my previous blog on this here) and I coordinate follow-up interviews and send decisions to candidates in this group. I also manage other exciting elements such as Scholarships, the CAS/Visa process and the University of London Housing. Lots of these elements are things that I work on once applicants become ‘Admits’ but if you do have any questions about any of the above listed topics at any point during your application process then please do leave me a comment below and I will get back to you.
Next up, the other half of the R&A Management Team is Lisa Mortini. Lisa manages the Americas, India and Asia Pacific and she coordinates interviews within these regions. Lisa has particular responsibility for the Admits Newsletter and Portal content, ensuring that if you are made an ‘Offer’ you have the relevant information available to you. Like me, Lisa also leads on interviews so if you are invited to interview on campus it is most likely you will meet one of us. Lisa has been with the Masters in Management Programme since its inception five years ago and has travelled extensively – presenting at fairs, information sessions and conducting interviews abroad. Before this Lisa also worked for the MBA Team managing the North American region. Lisa also coordinates this Admissions Blog on behalf of the team!
Nicoleta Chiriac is the glue that keeps us in a steady supply of applications. Joining us in February 2012 as Recruitment and Admissions Administrator, she is responsible for ensuring the smooth administration of student data and the application process. Nicoleta is the first point of contact for applicants if there are any issues with their application. She also sends decisions to candidates and coordinates interviews here on Campus. Nicoleta is actively involved all the way through and will send you your ‘Offer Packs’ and Portal logins. She is also responsible for the verification of your transcripts and Terms & Conditions. Furthermore, Nicoleta also hosts drop-in sessions, so you might get the chance to meet with her on Campus, she can be contacted at email@example.com .
Leading our Client Services activities is Ivan Anderson, responsible for liaising with prospective students to provide support in the lead-up to applying. Ivan also works closely with our Student Ambassadors in ensuring that they are they are active on our social media channels and answering your queries in a timely manner. Ivan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and is the first point of contact for all candidate enquiries and CV reviews.
Last but by no means least, we have Senior Recruitment and Admissions Manager, Jamie Lynne Wright. Jamie heads up the Recruitment and Admissions Team and has been with the MiM team since the programme launched, where she previously managed Client Services. Jamie provides management to the R&A/Client Services Team and also provides strategic oversight of the Masters in Management Programme. If you attend an Information Session on-campus or one further afield you may have the opportunity to meet with Jamie. She also conducts on-campus interviews.
Now that you know the team, why not introduce yourself to us? Please feel free to leave a comment below, where a member of the team can get back to you. Alternatively, if you would like your eligibility for the programme to be assessed, please send your CV to email@example.com .
We look forward to hearing from you!
My name is David Simpson and I’m Admissions Director for the London Business School MBA and Masters in Finance programmes. This is my first blog posting of the year.
As I sit in the spectacular atrium café at the World Bank in Washington DC, I am excited to hear the huge variety of languages and accents and see the energy and vibrancy of discussion. And I know why – it reminds me of home. ‘Home’ being London Business School.
I’m on the road for London Business School, as are all my colleagues over the next few weeks. There will be no single day when the whole admissions team are all together until late November. We’re a well-travelled bunch! We all love meeting candidates from every walk of life, in so many far flung locations.
We like to be challenged with good questions and there were plenty in New York and D.C. Questions such as: “How easy is it for non-EU nationals to get a job in London after graduation?” “What is the one most important characteristic of a good London Business School candidate?”
The answer to the first is ‘It depends’. (It’s the same answer to most questions about London Business School actually!). It depends on what you’ve achieved so far and how hard you work whilst at the School. Many of our students wish to stay and work in London after graduating – in 2012, more than 50% of non-EU MBA and MIF students chose post-study work in the UK. Although the immigration rules changed in 2011, they altered to favour highly skilled employees above non-skilled employees – so in many ways, the 2011 changes were actually favourable for our graduates. UK employment for LBS graduates remains strong. The bottom line is that if they want you, they will make you an offer.
I also read so many applications from candidates who are excited about returning to their home country to take advantage of emerging opportunities; or from those who plan to use London Business School’s global education to help them transition to a new location. But we are also still seeing lots of you who are interested in living and working in London…that’s why many of you are applying to London Business School and that’s great – we love our London location and we’re glad you do too!
As for ‘the most important characteristic of a good applicant’, well, it’s just too hard to only be allowed one choice. Our decision making is based on a huge range of criteria. A strong resume showing great work experience and academic track-record won’t guarantee admission. The essential personal characteristics of self-awareness, empathy and an enquiring mind won’t be enough either. But put all that together and we will be very interested!
I guess we’re lucky at London Business School in that we really enjoy meeting all our students. Colleagues have written about ‘Introduction Weeks’ and ‘Orientation’…they really are the most exciting time in our year!
The reason why I love admissions is that it’s such a pleasure to play a role in gathering together such an outstanding and interesting group of people to build our classes. Not every high achiever you meet in life is someone you would enjoy having a coffee (or beer) with – but those we meet at London Business School are. Having the time to get to know everyone is the only challenge. Flexibility of study time is a key differentiator on the London Business School MBA and Masters in Finance. We build in the flexibility so you can spend longer on your programme if you want to. Or if you have an opportunity that’s just too good to delay on, then you can fast-track your studies.
As I pack up the laptop and drink up my tea, listening to a heated debate about Ethiopia from one table; a conversation in Spanish about Colombia and in French about investing in Africa, I reflect on another exhausting but enjoyable trip meeting, potentially, the next generation of London Business School students. Back in London the nights are drawing in and an unusually hot summer is very much over.
The first round of MBA and MiF application deadlines are approaching fast. I can’t wait to get reading. So if you are applying in this round, good luck – and if not, get working on your application for the next round!
Admissions Director, MBA & Masters in Finance
….Is a question which has been hotly debated by business schools and candidates for some time, and will likely continue to stimulate discussion long into the future.
I’ll be honest, I am unashamedly pro-rankings. Frankly, I think they are hugely important and I’m happy to defend this perspective. That said, its fair to say that rankings are highly subjective, often focussing on often quite different attributes. However, putting myself in the shoes of someone who is looking at applying for an MBA programme, my first piece of research would probably be examine the major business school rankings. Why?
Firstly, a top MBA programme is a brand for life, if you are making the commitment and financial sacrifice to attend a world class business school you want to open up the Financial Times 20 years in to the future and see your school at the top of the rankings. They are a tangible reflection of your business school’s brand.
Recruiters care about rankings. I used to work in business development at LBS, where I travelled to a number of countries to encourage companies to sponsor their staff at LBS. Usually the firm will have a list of approved schools that fulfil their requirements for sponsorship and recruitment. Guess what the list is usually based on?!
Most candidates I speak to will have a number of general questions about MBA’s and LBS and a few more specific concerns. Rankings are a great way for candidates to quantify and benchmark certain criteria. For example, if return on investment is your single biggest concern, you can find out the comparable average graduate salaries between schools. At LBS we are particularly proud that in the Financial Times rankings this year, the MBA Programme was ranked #1 globally for ‘aims achieved’. The FT states ‘aims achieved’ as ‘the extent to which alumni fulfilled their stated goals or reasons for doing an MBA.’ Our MBA graduates also averaged a 124% salary increase from joining the programme to their first job on graduation.
But finally and perhaps most importantly, business school candidates, i.e. you, care about them. Perhaps the single most important factor in choosing a business school is the quality of your peers. Stellar MBA candidates appply to top ranked schools and, if you want to study alongside them, so should you.
Now, I would add a caveat that once you get to the point of application, rankings will not be sufficient information for your more in depth research to discover why a particular school might be the right ‘fit’ for you. However, in terms of starting your MBA journey, I can’t think of a better first step…
Postgraduate programmes research… we understand there is so much information to review about entry requirements, work experience, GMAT scores, and further to that no shortage of tips on how to make your application more competitive. Whilst these things are all very important to consider before you even get to the application stage, I would like to offer an insight into what our Admissions Committee is looking for in Masters in Management candidates.
Let’s start from the beginning. You are in your final year of university or have graduated recently and you decide that a postgraduate course would be the next appropriate step in your career. You conduct research on several business schools and discover the Masters in Management programme at London Business School. You check entry requirements and you tick all the boxes! Is that enough? Below you will find a few points that you should have a think about when crafting your application and essay questions, and deciding whether you are a good fit for the MiM.
The majority of students will want to pursue postgraduate business studies in order to achieve their career goals. As such we want to see individuals who have the motivation to achieve their career goals and whether they have already taken any steps towards them. We will be looking at whether there has been a clear focus in your work experience thus far, and that you understand how this programme is going to help you fast track your career. If there hasn’t been a clear focus, have you been working to obtain a transferable skill set that can be utilised in your job/industry of choice?
We are looking for high-performing individuals coming from good universities around the world who have pushed themselves to excel in an academic environment, and who have achieved success in doing so. The programme accepts candidates with no work experience at all and, in this case, the Admissions Team will be looking at other aspects that you have excelled in during your undergraduate career (such as music, arts, sports, volunteer work, etc). The Committee will also be assessing grades, awards and scholarships, exchange programmes, summer schools and studying abroad. All of these activities or projects are important as they may give you transferrable skills for your desired industry such as teamwork, leadership, ambition for success and interpersonal skills. These transferable skills are important not just for your career, but also for the classroom here, which is why we put so much emphasis on them. However, please be aware that most students will have had at least one internship prior to starting the programme, and thus having solid internships in top-tier firms, or a solid family business or entrepreneurial experience, can help to boost your candidacy. If there are any gaps in your CV, it is recommended that you discuss this in your application.
International awareness is also an important aspect of our programme. Students come from more than 40 countries and speak 46 languages so having a multicultural outlook is essential. A multicultural mindset will also be valuable for your future career as, nowadays, recruiters are looking for candidates who also have the ability to work harmoniously with other cultures. Regardless of whether you have had the opportunity to travel or study abroad we want to see that you have an interest to be a part of the multicultural environment at London Business School. Do ask yourself: will you enjoy being challenged by different points of view?
We are looking for leaders in the making who are also great team players. Why is it so important to have excellent team working skills? Study groups make working in teams and collaboration a vital aspect of the learning process at LBS so we are looking for individuals who work well in this team-based environment. You should be comfortable with sharing ideas and taking a step back when needed. You also need to be ready to step-up and take charge when appropriate. Showing leadership potential and the ability to build a network are both equally important.
Is there a certain, exact profile that you have to perfectly match? No.
We are not recruiting the same people over and over again – that is the fun of the MiM!
Our students are very different in terms of nationality, degree subject, university and work experience. Having peers that come from such diverse backgrounds makes the learning experience more interesting and exciting.What your classmates will share however are a certain drive, energy, collaboration and ambition which make them a good London Business School ‘fit’.
If you have any questions about your eligibility for the Masters in Management programme, please feel free to submit a post below or submit your CV for review to firstname.lastname@example.org.