Reflections away from home

Written by David Simpson


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!

Best regards
David Simpson
Admissions Director, MBA & Masters in Finance

  • Greg Ambrose

    My name is Greg Ambrose and I am a relatively new member of the admissions team so, like many prospective students, I was keen to find out more about how our graduates from outside the EU go about getting a job in the UK. So I joined a session, aimed at new students, to find out more about the visa process. It was good see so many students attend who are keen to remain in the UK after graduation and the session gave me a lot of information about visa sponsoring organisations, transitioning visas, when to apply and how to go about it.

  • Kantima Sawatwarakul

    Dear Mr. David,

    Please kindly allow me to introduce myself. My name is Kantima Sawatwarakul. I am currently working as a marketing & planning chief at Sumisho Global Logistics (Thailand) Co.,Ltd.(a subsidiary of Sumitomo Corporation (Japan). I have read your posted above here, and felt the urge to work harder and more motivated to apply for the upcoming MBA 2014 application dates. Thus, i would like to write a reply to you, that i am thankful and appreciated your time in writing. I hope i’ll be admitted to the LBS :D

    Again, Thank you very much and i shall focus more on the GMAT and other application documents :D

  • David Simpson

    Thank you Kantima,
    Best of luck with your application.

  • Parth Mehta

    Hello David,

    Interesting article, and thanks for the tips.
    Admission formalities is hard work but it brings a lot of excitement. I am feeling same butterflies in my tummy as I did during my UCAS application many years ago.
    Looking forward to reading more posts.

    Parth Mehta

  • Amol Kane

    David.. it is very refreshing to see the Admissions Director take part in an interactive forum like this. I’ve been following the blog and will be applying in R2 for MBA2016. I think the diversity and ‘globalness’ of LBS makes it quite unique and being in London definitely helps. As an applicant who’s been away from the academic world for 10 years, I probably won’t be on par with the average applicant GMAT score, hence wanted to know if you look at applicants (like me who have been working for the last 10 years) differently? Will appreciate your feedback.

  • Winnie

    Hi David,it is so touching to read your article.I would like to know how i can apply for admission to study MBA at LBS.Best regards!