MiF Application Essays: Hints and tips

MiF application essays

by Peter Johnson, Senior Recruitment and Admissions Manager, MiF

The application form for the Masters in Finance for entry in mid-August 2019 is now live! You can find recommended deadlines and apply online here.

The essays are one of the most important elements of the application and can be the point where otherwise strong applicants weaken their application, so I thought this was a good time to share some hints and tips.

The essays for the full-time MiF are:

Q1) What are your career objectives and what steps are you taking to achieve them? What alternatives are you considering? What geographical region do you hope to work in? (maximum 500 words)
Q2) What specific areas of London Business School life are you most excited about getting involved in and where do you believe you will add value to the School Community?  (maximum 300 words)

And for the part-time MiF the questions are:

Q1) What is your motivation for applying to the LBS MiF? If career related, please outline your aims and strategy for achieving your career goals. (maximum 400 words)
Q2) What specific areas of London Business School life are you most excited about getting involved in and where do you believe you will add value to the School Community?  (maximum 300 words)

Our advice to you:

    • Allow yourself plenty of time to think about the essays before you put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard). The essays are your opportunity to sell yourself – and tell your own unique story.
    • Think about your goals – not just on graduation, but in 5, 10, 20+ years’ time. And not just career goals – reflect on your wider life goals. Is the MiF a good fit for your goals? You need to convince yourself that the MiF is right for you; once you have, then convincing an interviewer and AdCom is much easier.
    • Use this opportunity to speak to friends, family and colleagues – test your aspirations with them and ask them for their frank feedback. If you have a business mentor, involve them. Make sure you involve your referees – if they know why you think the MiF is a good choice for you, they will find it much easier to write insightful references.
    • Be totally honest with yourself about your weaknesses and challenges – and ask your friends/family/colleagues to do the same. Self-awareness is a quality we value highly in the admissions process.
    • For Q1, don’t just repeat your CV – we already have this as part of your application. Your answers should be forward looking rather than backward looking. It’s fine to reference past work experience but only to illustrate a point about your future plans – for example, what in your past experience prepares you for your next steps.
    • This may sound obvious, but check your essays for spelling and grammar! If English is not your first language, ask a native English speaker to read through your essays. But don’t ask anyone else to re-write the essays for you. The essays are your story, not anyone else’s. Remember that if we call you for interview, your interviewer will have your essays and they form an important starting point for a large part of the discussion. If the essays are not truly yours, this will be obvious to the interviewer – and you will lack authenticity as a result.
    • Another obvious point – get the name of the programme and the School right – you will be amazed how many people cut and paste answers from one application to another and get this wrong.
    • Do your research – know the programme in detail before you submit the essays. What excites you most about it? Why is it a better choice for you than e.g. studying for an MBA?
    • Q1 is largely about how you benefit; Q2 is about what you contribute inside and outside the classroom. Try to talk to current students and alumni to get a sense of what the LBS experience is like – I am sure they will tell you that we have a very diverse, very collaborative and highly engaged student body. What do you have to offer back to your classmates and the wider School community?

I look forward to reading some top-class essays over the coming months!

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