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Where it all begins

Posted by: Ella
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This entry shall be dedicated to the aspiring Masters students who are racking their brains on which b-school to apply for, which specific programme, how to write a great personal statement and what is the expected process after you click on the submit button.

I will be sharing based on my own personal experience, which happened to be just a year back. The exhilarating moment of getting a great GMAT score wore off when I was faced with the next challenge of getting my personal statements ready. Fortunately for me, I was able to get a lot of quality feedback from my manager and other senior colleagues who have gone through b-school. It also helped that they were the people whom I was targeting to write my recommendation letters since they would get a better idea of what my “marketing points” are and to have a congruent view in their letters. The biggest tip I got is that the key to a great personal statement would be to come up with something that makes you stand out from the crowd – i.e. you need to have a great theme / slogan about your future career goals that will be memorable to the b-school admission team. Of course, you would also require congruency throughout your essay to ensure that the dots are well-connected and how getting this specific Masters from this school would help you towards that goal.

Being the practical me, I only applied to b-schools in Europe because of the attractive 1-year MBA programme offered – this means a lower opportunity cost and it is what I could afford. The schools that I were considering at that time were LBS MiF, Oxford Said and Cambridge Judge MBA. To be really honest, Oxford and Cambridge were my backup plans because my dream was always about living in London and I was very attracted to the in-depth specialisation of the MiF programme.

My timelines were as follows:

22-Dec-12: Obtained my GMAT score07-Jan-13: Submitted online application in time for Stage 3
24-Jan-13: Notified by Admissions Team that I was selected for interview with a LBS alumni
25-Jan-13: Interviewer’s details were shared with me (extremely fast turnaround!)
06-Feb-13: Interview date set (which implied 2 weeks for my preparation)
08-Feb-13: Notified by Admissions Team that interview report has been received from interviewer
14-Feb-13: Received the good news of acceptance into LBS MiF Programme (got both a congratulatory call and a follow-up email)

As you can tell, the entire process has been like a whirlwind to me. I was so certain that LBS MiF programme was the one for me that I dropped Oxford an email on 20th Feb to cancel my upcoming interview that was scheduled for 10th March. I guess you would be very keen to hear more about how my interview experience has been like. The interview was held in an informal setting at Starbucks in Hitachi Tower. I went earlier to ensure that I secure a good table in a corner – didn’t want to lower my chances just because of a disruptive session. That will be my top tip number one for you. On top of that, you should be prepared to answer why you would want to do a specialised Masters in Finance programme (as opposed to a MBA), why London, discuss your career goals and be clear on what you have previously wrote in your personal statement so that you do not say anything that contradicts the interviewer’s understanding of you. It will also be good to start looking at what are the possible electives you will be keen to take up and whether you will want to do the 10-month or 16-month programme. The best advice that my interviewer gave me is “to hit the ground and start running as soon as I arrive into London”.

I guess this practically sums up my top tips for you in your applications! Happy holidays to all and may 2014 be an exciting year for you (as I am sure it will be for me). I will share more about my impression on London and my first term experience in the upcoming post!





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