The changing face of MBA Admissions

by David Simpson, Admissions Director, MBA & MiF

Over the past few years, very little time goes by without a new article mentioning the different changes business schools are making to their admissions processes. With many collective years selection experience in the London Business School MBA Admissions  Committee, we have seen a lot of changes and trends come and go. However, the recent trend of schools reducing their application essay requirement looks here to stay and we have also dropped an essay,  now requiring just one.

I have quite firm views on what I want us to learn from an application and therefore what questions we should ask candidates. We carefully consider how all the different elements fit together in to our overall admissions process.

A top MBA is a career and indeed life-changing experience. So for us, a question about aspirations is key – even if, by the transformative nature of an MBA, those aspirations will change during your studies.

If I am honest, I am less keen on the quirkier questions I have seen some schools use.

The application form and essays are a great introduction to you, offering information on your life and career so far and a little on your hopes and dreams. But the real story-telling opportunity in the LBS process comes with the alumni interview. Every successful applicant has an alumni interview, but not all applicants are selected for interview and not all interviewees are successful. We gain a HUGE amount from the interview process and love having our alumni conduct them, so that you can learn a huge amount about life at LBS too!

We don’t stand still – we are a business school and innovation is vital. It’s in our DNA. This is why we now also include a video submission element for all candidates who reach the interview stage, this helps us learn a lot more about you. We recognise that we need to consider cultural differences, as we do with everything, because we have such an international community. Some people will feel a lot more comfortable than others filming  themselves answering questions and some professional backgrounds train you to carry out such activities. We are NOT looking to use this as a tool to disqualify candidates or ‘catch you out’. Quite the opposite – it is another opportunity to shine and help us get to know you. Don’t even worry (too much) if you don’t time your answers perfectly – we won’t deduct points. We just want to see how you perform on both the prepared question and the unprepared section. We love meeting candidates at events, but it’s not possible to meet you all, so this helps us see you in action.

Alongside the application, GMAT / GRE and alumni interview, we have a lot of data points to consider. We believe that we are very well equipped to make the big admissions decisions and honestly think we have one of the most thorough admissions processes in the MBA world. And hopefully one of the most challenging but enjoyable for applicants!

The LBS MBA is a highly collaborative programme, requiring huge levels of contribution from all students. Everyone has to add something. So every admit decision we make is huge for us. We care passionately about who makes it through to the final class.  We want to recruit the 430 candidates who best fit our amazing, collaborative, global community.

We are excited about getting to know you better – and through the supporting materials included with the video software, you can learn more about us too.

If you have just completed the video submission, well done. If you are about to record it, good luck. And if you have yet to apply yet…what’s stopping you?

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