MBA Application Questions: Timings, Goals and Fit

Shall I apply in Round Two?

Are there any spaces left in Round Three, or should I wait for next year?

What should I write in the essay? How specific do my post-graduation goals need to be?
How do I show I am a good fit for London Business School?

These are just a few of the questions you are asking us at this time of year.

On timing…

Many of you are getting closer to clicking submit after months of preparation.

I’ll start by saying, it’s not too late! We wouldn’t have three admissions rounds if we didn’t use them all. LBS classes are carefully crafted over the course of the year, with great candidates applying on the first day applications open, right through to the last minute.  However, if you are ready, I would advise going for it in Round Two. Doing so will give you more time to plan your move – resigning from work, sourcing your finances and moving to London, (for the majority of you who are not based here already).

If you definitely need more time, be assured, we will offer places in Round Three. Whilst we don’t know how many spaces we will be filling and who we might be looking for in order to round out the class, you certainly don’t have to wait for Round One of next year.

On the post-MBA employment goals question in the essay…

Do not spend ages thinking about what you imagine we want to hear…tell us honestly what you think you want to do. But remember, it’s not a contract; if you say consulting and end up in private equity, we won’t be asking you to explain. An LBS degree is a great way to explore and test out different career paths. It will expose you to a range of professional possibilities that you maybe didn’t even know existed when you applied.

You don’t need to know with absolute certainty what comes next, or how the rest of your professional life will go. However, we do want you to consider where your initial plans fit on the realism-ambition scale. What’s realistic for someone from your background – how big are the changes you want to make? Are you being ambitious enough? Do you require a top school to get you there?

And you don’t need to cover everything in the essay. If you are selected for an interview, that meeting will give you another chance to expand on the things you talk about in your essay and application. We are interested in how you arrived at your goals, and how you are preparing and planning to achieve them. How many steps will you need to make along the way? You should be researching careers and role requirements nearly as much as you are researching schools. But don’t worry too much, you’ll learn a lot more about that early on in your studies from our amazing Career Centre team.

We hope you are not just looking at graduate management education to help you make your next career move. That’s too transactional.  The huge investment of time, energy and money in an MBA or other masters is designed to help you build and grow. Grow your skills, your experiences, your network and how you make decisions. Because life’s all about making decisions isn’t it – both professional and personal.

We hope you have read our website carefully, looked through plenty of these blogs and preferably spoken to some students or alumni. Research is so important, and it really shows in the quality of your application.

On ‘fit’…

You’ll have heard Admissions panels talking about ‘fit`’, but what does that mean? The idea of fit is quite subjective. I can’t answer if we’re a good fit for you without knowing a lot about you. Certainly don’t change who you say you are in order to match what you think we, or any other school, wants to hear. We don’t read an application and score candidates based on who will be the best “fit” at the school – it takes all kinds of individuals to make a truly diverse community. And I don’t just mean diversity of nationalities and professional background. You are unique, even if you think you might look like a lot of other candidates.

It shouldn’t be a hard job to ensure you are sounding authentic. If it is, then you are over-thinking it.

The application process works both ways – we are evaluating you and you are evaluating us. As you consider schools, you should be thinking of what’s most important to you — I would advise you to consider the schools’ location, programme flexibility and content, and whether you like the people and culture.  When it comes to making the final decision of where to attend, I urge you to be brave, aim high and apply to a school that will both challenge you and offer a welcoming and diverse community – which just happens to be a good way to describe London Business School!

If you would like to reach out to a member of the Recruitment and Admissions team, send an email to and

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