One of the most rewarding parts of being involved with LBS as an alumni is the ability to talk to excited (and equally nervous!) applicants to our MBA programme. Over the past few years, I’ve had the chance to speak to hundreds of applicants to the MBA at LBS. As we look towards building another fantastic class – I wanted to share some key tips that I wish I knew when I applied for the MBA!
- The GMAT is one data point. Don’t go crazy over it. Ah yes, the GMAT. I’ve seen so many applicants place an inordinate amount of effort into re-taking the GMAT multiple times in an effort to improve their score. Always remember that the GMAT is just one data point. It’s not the be all and end all – for both positive and negative ends of the scoring spectrum. We’re looking at applications holistically, and the GMAT is just one of many indicators. Focus on building a holistic profile and application to the MBA…and don’t obsess over just one data point.
- The essays are important – but so are the short answer questions. In the LBS application we ask applicants for an essay, but also several short answer question prompts. Take advantage of these. Maximise your answers to the short questions by bringing out key examples across your personal and professional life, and build a holistic story across your whole application. Manage your time between working on the essay and the short answer questions, they are all important!
- Be strategic in recommender choices. Forget about corporate titles and ‘seniority.’ Who knows you the best? Who is your best advocate of your personal skills and professional qualities? Who can make us excited about you as an applicant? Be strategic in who you choose as your recommenders, and pick people who truly have the time, will and energy to go the extra mile for you.
- It’s an MBA application. Not a job application. It sounds obvious but it’s interesting to me to see how people approach the essays. Remember that it’s not a job application – so don’t pin all your focus in the essay on one company and one role post-MBA. This isn’t a means to an end, but rather a platform for you to develop personally and professionally to inform your future career direction and elevate your perspective on business. Think about how you’re articulating these elements in your essays, and how the LBS MBA can help you achieve your goals.
- The Three Whys. Why LBS? Why MBA? Why now? Make sure you specifically answer these questions across your application. What excites you about LBS? Why an MBA? Crucially, what is it about your personal and professional life that means you want to do an MBA right now?
- Be introspective. Plan. Think. Discuss. For me, a lot of my MBA journey was about introspection. Truly think about what you want to get out of the LBS and MBA experience, be introspective in your answers – and truly articulate your natural personality.
- It’s a two way street. Think about impact at the classroom, cohort and school level. Across the application, think about what excites you most about LBS at the classroom, cohort and school level; and also what you feel you can bring to the table across these dimensions. LBS is exceptionally student-driven and student-led impact is the best element of our degree programme.
- Talk to students. Talk to alumni. Find out what it’s really like. Go beyond the website. Look at our Recruitment & Admissions blogs. Check out our current students. Engage with alumni. Get a diverse perspective on what life is really like at the school. Don’t network for the sake of networking, but truly engage with our student and alumni community. After all, they are the ones who have been in your shoes!
- Answer the question in each essay…and be careful with the optional essay. It sounds simple but do make sure you’re actually answering the question that is given to you across the application! The optional essay isn’t an ‘extension’ of the main essay prompt – use it wisely!
Above all, really think about your own personal and professional journey and be yourself in the application. Don’t try and be different just for the sake of being different. Think holistically about your experiences, what you hope to get out of the MBA experience and what you can bring to our lifelong community.
Good luck with GMATs & Applications in the run up to MBA2024 applications, and get in touch if you need any advice!