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!