MBA2016 essays

Written by LBS Archive

Hello and welcome to the first LBS MBA admissions blog. Before we get started, I wanted to introduce myself and provide an insight about what you can expect to read in the blog and why we are doing it. My name is Oliver Ashby and I have been at LBS for 5 years. In that time, I have worked in a number of roles, including financial aid and business development. I manage the MBA Recruitment & Admissions Team and have been doing so for around 18 months. I am passionate about London Business School and love meeting applicants all over the world who are interested in the programme. Our class of MBA2013 graduated last week and it was a truly special moment to see students we met several years ago when they were initially thinking about applying, on the stage in Royal Festival Hall shaking the Dean’s hand.

So what is the purpose of this blog? The main objective is to provide transparent and useful information about our admissions process that will help prospective students submit successful applications.

While every candidate is different, (one of the reasons we in admissions enjoy reading your applications!) we believe there are a few key things you can do to really help your application stand out, and a few common pitfalls to avoid. In this blog, as well as keeping you up to date with admissions cycle activities, we’ll try to provide helpful tips and advice on the entire application process, including what to expect from the interview, should your application be selected for the next round.

To get started, we wanted to share the new essay questions for the class of MBA2016. The application will be live on the website in from 19th August. However, we wanted to give you the chance to have a sneak peak at the new questions in advance so you can get started well in time for our first deadline in early October.

Why have we changed the essay questions?
In essence we want to allow you more freedom in the way you go about constructing your essays. The crucial message we want to get across is that we in admissions want your essays to be authentic and representative of your personalities. We want to understand what your goals are and why you think an MBA at London Business School might be able to help you achieve them. We also want to know what your expectations are from us as a school. We pride ourselves on our strong relationships with our students and our students remain close to LBS many years after graduation. So we are looking for applicants who will be part of the LBS family for life.

Under each essay there are some guidelines relating to what we are looking for in each essay. Please note this is not exhaustive, you should approach these essays in the way you feel best fits you and your aspirations.  So (drum roll, please) here they are:

What will your future look like after completing your MBA? (500 words)
We are extremely focussed on helping our students to achieve their goals and ambitions. This essay gives you the opportunity to share your future aspirations with us. They don’t have to be ultra-specific but if your goals are particularly ambitious, you may want to think about some steps as to how you will achieve them and think about having a coherent back -up plan if they don’t immediately work out. Also remember that your future can include other aspects of life, not just your career. Think about how your relationship with LBS will evolve in the years following your graduation.

What value will you add to London Business School? (300 words)
This essay is deliberately straightforward. At LBS, one of our core values is collaboration. We are looking for students who will be highly active members of the community. This might be membership of one of the many student clubs, helping fellow students in their jobs searches or myriad other contributions. You should think carefully about what you intend to bring to London Business School and your future classmates.

One of the most common failings we see in applications is an inability to differentiate between top business schools. Many applicants will apply to more than one school and that is absolutely fine. However, when you apply to different schools you should know exactly why you are applying to each specific school and how it is unique from other world-class institutions. If you can’t tell the difference, you probably need to do some more research, think about visiting the school and speak to the admissions team.

What is the School’s responsibility to you and what is your responsibility to the School? (400 words)
At London Business School we take our relationships with students very seriously. We firmly believe that the relationship between the school and our students should be a two way process. We believe that the LBS MBA is a well-rounded, transformative experience, but it is vital that from day one our students understand what they can expect from us in terms of support, and what we expect from our students in terms of contribution to the LBS community.  Our community is vibrant, fun and extremely diverse. Though, when it comes to academic performance all LBS MBA students understand that the degree is a solemn undertaking and as a result, take their studies seriously. When answering this essay think about how you will approach your MBA studies and how you will manage the competing demands on your time. Feel free to be open about what you expect from us and what you believe the school should deliver both during your studies and after.

I hope the above provides some level of guidance on the new essays that you enjoy writing them. The best essays we read show evidence that there has been a great deal of thought behind them and that it has been an enjoyable and exploratory process for the applicant.

The single best piece of advice I have heard in relation to writing business school essays is something one of my colleagues often says: ‘Once you feel you have completed your essays, get a friend or someone who really knows you to read them. If they don’t think they reflect ‘you’ or your personality, go back to the drawing board!’

Best of luck!

  • Kerry Akwetey

    Oliver, the new essay topics are very interesting. But the question that needs clarification is, will the new essay topics be applicable in 2016? Does it mean that if one applies within the August-October admission period, the candidate will be admitted in 2016?

    Best regards

  • Amber Zheng

    Wow new essay questions! This blog really helps, thanks Oliver!

  • Kazi Shams

    This blog is a great initiative. Thank you so much for releasing the questions prior to the application release date, and for the helpful tips. Although I very much liked the old questions (especially question 6), I agree that the new ones are more open-ended. The old one questions will serve as a very helpful draft for the new application. Looking forward to applying!

  • Oliver Ashby

    Hi Kerry,

    Apologies for the conclusion.

    The new essay topics will be applicable for this coming admissions year. We name our MBA classes according to the year in which they graduate. I.e. the class commencing August 2014 will be called the class of MBA2016.

    Hope that clears things up?


  • Aastha Gupta

    Hi Oliver,

    Is this the exhaustive list of application essays/questions? Seems they have gone down in number from the previous application. Not complaining, just confirming! :)

    Dr Aastha G

    • Oliver Ashby

      Dear Dr. Astha,

      Absolutely! We are very keen to make the admissions process more personal to candidates and we felt that a smaller number of more open esssays allows more freedom for creativity and innovation, whilst giving you the opportunity to focus on aspects of the MBA that are most important for you.

      I will be at this evening’s information session and I look forward to meeting :-)

      Best wishes,


  • Chen Ben Attar

    Great topics, especially liked the third one.
    When is the first round application deadline?


  • Anshul Agrawal

    Hi Oliver,

    Thanks for the essay insights. I have been preparing for the LBS essays from last 15-20 days but I somehow had the gut feeling that something is going to change and hence optimized my efforts. However for the current essays I have 2 confusions. The 2nd essay which ask for the value addition in the school and the 2nd part of 3rd essay which says how you are responsible for the School looks like to overlap to me. As having done research about the LBs program I know how I can add value to the school may be in class discussion, study group, student clubs and lastly post my school experience which is being an alumni. But as far as the responsibility is concerned again I think on the same lines. It would be great if you can highlight a bit on this as I come across 5-6 colleages of mine who also have the same thought floating around.
    Second I am based out in Mumbai and eagerly waiting for the MBA event to happen any timelines in the near future for the same.


  • Pablo

    Thank you for the recommendation, however I have a question about the requirements for applying. LBS has a toefl minimum score requirement?, I know some MBA programs had it.

  • Michael Polishchuk

    Dear Oliver,
    I have prepared these three essays and now I am puzzled a bit. I did not find anything about so-called reapplicant’s essay, although simple googling gives this one:
    How has your candidacy for the London Business School MBA improved since your last application? Have your views of London Business School or the MBA programme changed since you last applied? (300 words)

    I have also prepared it, but I did not find a place where to upload it, since it is not on a template. Please advise whether it is required or not?

    Respectfully yours,

    • Oliver Ashby

      Dear Michael,

      Thank you for your very good question. We actually aren’t asking for a ‘re-application essay’ this year. Instead, I would advise you think about both demonstrating any improvements in your application by including new references and any other updated credentials (such as a new GMAT score perhaps). You can also think about including any thoughts you have, into the new essays.

      You certainly aren’t at a disadvantage as a re-applicant. Every year a number of previously unsuccessful candidates secure places on the programme. The key element of their success is they demonstarte that they have thought carefully about how to enhance their applications and then demonstrated this throughout the new application.

      Best of luck!


  • Parth Mehta

    Hello Oliver,

    Thanks for the blog initiative. It indeed is very helpful.
    Is it fair to assume that essay questions will be somewhat different for MBA2017 application?

    Thanks & Regards,
    Parth Mehta

  • Brian Ceceli

    Hi oliver, thak you for posting such useful article. I am applying for the first time and my application is for third round of lbs. i wonder if getting accepted is much harder in third round. Is the chance for getting into lbs is less? Do you think that i should wait for the next year?

  • Pytha GURUS

    Your post is going to be very handy for the MBA applicants of Top B Schools. Application and MBA essays plays a big role in finalization of any candidate so a good creative essay can make the student be selected in some colleges.
    One can also look at http://www.pythagurus.com/essay_analysis_of_b-schools.php for great MBA essay examples.

  • Raj

    Dear Sir, can you please post your 2017 Class MBA essays? I have been waiting for last 3 weeks for the new essay post.. LBS is my top choice B-School so I want to start working early on this application..

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