Posts Tagged ‘applications’
First I will introduce myself as this is my first post here: my name is Bruna, I am Brazilian and guess what… I was assigned to Stream B at LBS! I got a triple B here but still don’t know if the Program Office did it on purpose.
Before starting the MBA, especially after looking at the Programme Content, I had some expectations about how my student life would be. Some were totally mistaken and I’ll tell you all about this now.
1.Workload and Homework
Expectation: I knew the MBA was going to be busy with many different activities, but somehow we can’t really believe when others advise us… You look at the school website, the core courses and the program structure and it all seems totally manageable, totally fine! After all, we all had to work more than 10 hours a day, weekends and holidays occasionally. Of course, it takes some time to adapt to a new routine, but once it is established, I was sure it was going to be smooth.
Reality: Actually, there is no such thing as routine here! When you think you understood your weekly schedule, they just change everything on the next week. Thought I would never have classes at 8:15 in the morning, now I am having it for the next… well, have to check my schedule again. By the way, during the MBA you are going to say and hear this a lot! You are going to learn all about scheduling apps and methods to set up meetings. Get ready and find some space to install many apps in your mobile!
2. Corporate Finance classes
Expectation: I do not have a Finance background and I knew a lot of my classmates would be aiming to intern in Finance positions. This meant high-level Finance courses since the beginning, no surprise! I thought it would be very, very, very hard to follow the classes.
Reality: I just loved the Corporate Finance classes! And I also think my whole class fell in love with our teacher Anna Pavlova, who read a Finance poem in our first class and proved we can have some fun in class (not as much as in a beach drinking piña coladas, but still…). Not that the content is easy, but it is taught in a way that everybody learns it smoothly.
3. Non-traditional post-MBA career opportunities
Expectation: My initial post-MBA goal is to continue working in Tech and Telecom and I thought it would be very hard to find opportunities for MBAs outside of the traditional Finance and Consulting industries.
Reality: Turns out that not only Finance and Consulting companies are talking about technology, but also the Tech & Media Club is one of the most active professional clubs at LBS. We seriously believe David Morris does not sleep! We get at least 2-3 career opportunities a week from him. And there are also jobs and networking opportunities coming from so many other Clubs: Industry, Net Impact, Energy, Infrastructure & Construction, Sports Business, and many regional Clubs.
So, after all my research (I did a lot, believe me! Or look at GMAT Club and you’ll see it) before the MBA, I still had some wrong expectations. But it turns out to be really amazing and much better than I imagined! I am sure I did the right choice when I decided for LBS. I recommend you do a profound research and analyse how prepared you are before you start this journey. Then, just open your mind and dive into a new adventure.
Please leave any questions or comments bellow. I’ll be very happy to read and reply!
John F. Kennedy — ‘Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.’
Having spoken and worked with admissions managers in recruitment, I learned that when they review applications, they often look for how applicants may bring value to the classroom and the wider LBS community.
The exact wordings of the essay questions on the application vary from year to year, but they are designed to help admissions managers to evaluate the following:
Are you bringing in experience, professional and academic, that is rare among members of the community (N.B. the community of current students, and not the application pool)?
When I was putting together my application for the MiM, I reached out to students in the programme via email and read their profiles (available online). I realized that what differentiated me from the pack was my experience in public service, combined with internships in varied fields (tech start-ups, government, and laws). Using that piece of insight, I started to develop a narrative for my personal statement.
Can you demonstrate that you have exemplified the core values (communal, courageous, engaged, ambitious and eclectic) of London Business School, and will continue to do so when you are here?
While LBS, just like all the other great institutions, celebrates diversity and uniqueness, it also appreciates recruiting prospects that can unify under some greater, esteemed values. They just wanted to know what drives your decisions and actions when under pressure. Over the course of my study at LBS, there had been moments that were stressful, and I was very fortunate to have colleagues that truly exemplified those core values. They made my life so much easier (and I hope I did theirs, too). I figured that’s why LBS is interested in the values that you uphold and embrace. Knowing why the School asks this question, I hope this gives you some ideas for which professional experience you’d like to share in your application.
Do you show, through your application, convincing motivation behind your application and your qualifications aligned to the requirements?
I personally find this to be the simplest and, yet at the same time, the toughest question to answer. Simplest because the answer could be as simple as “I want to be a consultant and studying at LBS would help me achieve this goal.” Toughest because it is very easy to see through it if you don’t have a strong case for it. My best advice is to take time and think through this most important question (I’ve briefly touched on this topic in my first post), then answer as honestly as you can (and should).
What do you add to the (London Business School) community?
Don’t overthink on this one. If you are an avid basketball player as I am, feel free tell them you’re interested in joining basketball club on campus and help organise events. If you have a knack of building connection with people and/or have an extensive network in a particular field, then the community might benefit from you when you bring in guest speakers in lectures or on-campus events. If you have spent the last five years studying a particular subject, the class certainly could benefit from your sharing of knowledge and in-class participation.
Write your application from the perspective of the admissions committee; include details that are relevant to them, and leave out things that would distract them from appreciating your uniqueness. The application should be succinct to a point that, when they are done with reading it, they should be able to identify you in your own category.
The ability to create and communicate your own brand is highly valued by the admissions committee, as well as prospective employers. It shows self-awareness, strong analytical and communication skills, and a healthy dose of self-confidence – skills that reflect problem-solving capability. Being able to communicate your brand in a way that emphasizes your value to the organization (e.g. London Business School) is even better.
Should I do my MBA at Harvard, London Business School, Wharton, or just carry on with my job and forget about this whole MBA business?
The 2015 Financial Times ranking came out today with the top three business Schools in the world being Harvard, London Business School and Wharton.
Before I answer the question “Do I need an MBA”, I have a question for you. Why do companies value MBA graduates from these business schools?
Do you think it is because they have a good education? Do you think it is because they are clever? Do you think it is because they have demonstrated some sort of social skills?
Of course these factors are important, but you can also have all of these things without an MBA.
I mean let’s take a step back and ask, what is the point of an MBA? You can pick up Josh Kauffman’s book ‘The Personal MBA’, do some online courses and get the material off a friend and you are pretty much learning the exact same thing right?
Well there are many arguments for an MBA, one of the main ones being the network you build, but the most interesting one I will focus on will be something I didn’t initially think of before having this conversation with one of the leading Strategy professors at London Business School.
Before I tell you what our discussion was about, I first need to explain the concept of a firm’s signalling policy. If a company like Facebook has a great project that they think they can make money out of, (e.g. the Occulus Rift), they can take on some debt to finance and invest in this project. When a company that size takes on the right amount of debt, the “markets” usually react positively. This is because people in the “market” are considered as “clever” and know that well established companies are only going to take on debt if they are sure they have a good project. In other words, they are putting their money where their mouth is, rather than being all talk and just make an announcement saying “we have a great project coming up that will make us a lot of money”.
In the same way an MBA student is kind of like a company. He/she takes on debt to pay his/her MBA tuition fees, which can take on numbers such as £60k+. Firms see this as a signal and place their trust in an MBA student’s abilities. They are thus willing to pay them six figure salaries as the signalling concept shows how strongly the MBA believes in his/her potential.
A lot of the world is based on beliefs and expectations of the future. This is just some food for thought for those who hear about how much it costs to do an MBA and think “Do I really need an MBA”.. “I mean Wow, that is a lot of dollar”.
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How can I start a company that is going to be the next Google? Is it even possible for a normal person like me to do such a thing?
For me personally, no. Well now it might be, but if I asked myself these questions 3 months ago I would have said definitely not. I mean, I wouldn’t even know where to start, where to get the money from or who I should work with. In fact, I just had a bunch of good business ideas and thought “I’m going to start a business” without having a clue what my strategy was, who my customers were or even how I planned on making money.
So what has changed in these last 3 months? The answer is Business School. Three months ago I accepted my offer to start my Masters at London Business School and it really has changed the way I think. I mean, I didn’t even know what the Time Value of Money was. I literally thought if I sold my car and put the £5000 in a bank without touching it, that £5000 is still going to be £5000 in two years’ time when I buy new one. This isn’t actually true. In fact, when I got home after learning this I was like:
For quite a while.
So I guess the question now is, should you go out and spend £28,000 per year (Masters) on business school fees to learn these important concepts? Well yes and no. If you can afford it, yes, I would highly recommend it – London Business School has been one of the best experiences of my life to date. If you can’t don’t worry. Over the next 6 months, I will be posting about every important concept I learn that I believe is essential in recognising how to become as successful as a Fortune 500 Business Leader. As long as you read all my blog posts, you will pretty much be learning everything I am, but saving yourself £28,000 per year . Stay tuned, follow me on social media and keep up to date with my blog.
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So I decided to pursue an MBA degree. It is a thought process that many go through at some point in their careers. I did too. I even blogged about it. I finally decided to apply to the EMBA programme at the London Business School. Why, you ask? There were three very concrete reasons.
First was the structure of the programme. The modular format gave me immense flexibility. I could continue working and earning while I learnt. The format also enabled me to immediately apply what I learnt. Second was the nature of the programme. I am already past the individual contributor stage in my organisation. A General Management focus was just what I needed. Third was the brand name. Responding to the question ‘Where are you doing your MBA from?’ with ‘London Business School’ usually results in raised eyebrows (wonder, not suspicion) and a hint of a sense of awe. In fact, this programme fitted my needs so perfectly that I did not apply to any other MBA programme.
So, I started my application process. I have applied for full time MBA programmes at various top-ranked universities in the past. There is very less interaction with the admissions team until one gets an interview. With the London Business School EMBA, I had someone reach out to me almost instantly. The first thing I noticed was how nice she and everyone else I interacted with was. She was very courteous, knew all the answers to my (often frivolous) questions, and was prompt in her replies. It felt like they really wanted me to have a good application experience.
I went through the cycle of writing essays, re-writing them and then re-writing some more. The single most important piece of advice I can give you here, is that you must write from your heart. You’re combining so many pieces of information in your application that any discrepancies are visible almost immediately. Sure, you want to portray yourself to be the best candidate that you can be. But I think authenticity and honesty are valued immensely at the London Business School. I chose to focus on what I could bring that no one else could, on my unique story and on how much I would really love to be part of this programme.
Lo and behold, I had an interview call. I visited the Dubai campus on a scorching June morning. The interview started on time and I had senior programme members interview me along with the admissions committee. I liked the fact that selecting candidates was considered a task important enough to have such senior people present. They covered an exhaustive range of topics through their questions, and it felt as though they wanted to understand me from a holistic perspective. Now I recruit for my company, and have interviewed over a thousand candidates during the course of my career. But this was a different experience. I thought I was really good at reading people, but I came out of the interview with absolutely no idea of what they thought of me. I thought to myself, ‘These guys are good. I have never seen such a poker face.’
In the end, I didn’t have to worry too much. I got my offer, and I accepted it without hesitation. The poker faces have been replaced with warm smiles. Now, with two modules completed, I am even more confident that my decision to apply to this programme was correct. But more on that later.
As a Student Ambassador, I often get questions from prospective students around the world. They always go like this:
“My name is xxx, and I came from x country, and have done xxx. Do you think I have a good chance of getting in London Business School?”
That’s a fair question, but not the right one to ask if they really want to attend London Business School. For those whose profiles meet the minimum requirements, I would ask them:
“What do you want, and how would London Business School help you achieve that?”
Life is a journey without a clear path, and business school is only one pit stop along the way. The last thing you want to do is to chance the course of your career without an idea of where you want to go. Therefore, the question to ask is “how can London Business School help me achieve my goals?”
Your past reflects what your goals might be, and your achievements indicates the likeliness that you would succeed, but what really matters is where you are going from there. At London Business School, students are diverse not only due to their backgrounds, but also their purpose of coming here. Some are here to secure a job in prestigious corporate or professional careers, some are here to meet future business partners, and a (very) rare few came here simply to have a memorable learning experience. London Business School is such an unique place, because most of these people would find what they have sought.
Just a month into my MiM year at London Business School, I completed a consulting project with a technology start-up, started one with a fellow MiM student, took on executive roles in student clubs and became a Student Ambassador. Opportunities are abundant at the School, and it is easy to loose yourself in these seemingly hard-to-pass-on chances. To get the most out of your time at the School, however, you must know exactly why are you here. For me, I understand that my passion is in strategy and problem solving. I worked with these start-ups, not because I wanted to build the next Uber or Instagram, but because I wanted real-life opportunities to practice my consulting and execution skills. I am therefore seeking ways to do exactly that.
Once you understand your goals, then you would really have a chance to not only get admitted, but also succeed at London Business School. While the school life is fun, it is also demanding and could become stressful to those without a clear action plan. These students tend to sign up for too many (irrelevant) company presentations, join way too many clubs, and try to attend social events every week while attempting to meet the assignment deadlines. They obviously do not know what they want and where they are going.
Before asking the question “would I get in,” ask yourself:
“How would London Business School help me in my journey?”
In my next post, I will talk about the questions that we (and the admissions officers) ask when we review applications.
As the current class of MiMs throw up their hats to celebrate graduation and pack their bags to move on to bigger and better futures in their chosen careers, its inevitable to look back and think about what we wish we might have known before we began this exhilarating experience.
So I bring to you a few things that the current class said when asked about the best advice they received when applying to business school and the advice they would pass on to future MiMs.
“Think about what value addition Business School is bringing to your education” “Go to the school with the best name for your CV” were some responses. I would agree and add that this is especially key for those who are still deciding what they should be doing for the next year of their life. LBS added a lot to my CV due to the clubs and activities I was able to be a part of and it helped give me a balanced education with my engineering background. How would it help you?
“Manage your time well and try meeting one new person everyday” while ambitious, is great advice because of the tremendous benefits a good network can lead to. “Enjoy your last year of university” - no doubt advice that has been born from the nostalgia of leaving, all MiMs would agree that in addition to studying and securing a job, the importance of making the journey a memorable one cannot be overstated.
As far as particularly applying to LBS, “Prepare your application and interview thoroughly and get advice from someone who has been accepted into a top school” “Be prepared, you will be surprised how many candidates enter the interview without doing their research”. I put these first since I have also had a fair share of experience with candidates who go through the admissions process only to be surprised mid way through the process when interview questions leave them unprepared. The first stage of essays is also very crucial “Take it serious and let your friends and family proofread your essay’s. If they recognize your personality in your writing, you’re on the right track.” “Make sure to tell your story through your essays”.
Once accepted, this year can be overwhelming with opportunities. “Be mature, know your objectives. Be sure you are clear about them, and MiM will help to achieve them.” “Enjoy every event and meet as many people as you can because thats where you will learn the most from” “If you have a business background, the MiM at LBS will be more beneficial if you are looking for a programme that gives you a network and personal development training”
Others say “Be certain about atleast three career choices and know that you have researched them well. It might sound clichéd, but “be yourself” is sound advice – be the best version of yourself.” “Don’t underestimate Marketing!” and “Make sure you don’t forget to have fun!”
More questions regarding the course can be directed to MiM student ambassadors or leave a comment below
Continuing on my previous post, here is a quick (personal) view on the right background / experience / timing to apply to LBS.
While every business school tends to build a community with students from extremely diverse backgrounds, LBS takes it to a whole new level. Pre-MBA experiences of LBS students broadly cover all major disciplines. The largest disciplines include financial services that forms c. 30% of the student population, consulting forms c. 25%, manufacturing is c. 8%, IT is c. 6%, and Retail/FMCG is c. 5%. Other disciplines include Not-for-profit, Energy, Media / Marketing, Defense, Legal services, Healthcare / Pharma — each of these forming c. 3% of the student population. There are minor representations from few others – e.g. travel / tourism, real estate, sports, music etc. Well, the key take-away is that there is no right or wrong background to apply to LBS. It’s highly likely that someone with the same experience as yours is (or was) a student at LBS. However, it is also important to note that if you are applying with one of the common backgrounds – for instance IT services or Real Estate – you need to have a very strong application across all key aspects to ensure that the application covers up for ‘common’ professional experience that you’ve had.
On an average, an LBS MBA student has 5 – 6 years of work experience. The whole range varies from 2 years to 15 years. Ofcourse, a candidate with 2 years of experience will typically have a very strong set of achievements. And a candidate with 15 years of experience will typically have a non-business background and is pursuing MBA at LBS to develop those all-rounded business skills. Please note that candidates who have recently finished their under-graduation and have no work experience should not apply to the MBA programme at LBS. These candidates should consider applying to the MiM programme (please read about MiM here). On the other hand, professionals with significantly longer experience should consider applying to executive programmes listed here.
Finally, the question remains that what round do you apply in. My personal experience tells me that the most important thing is to have a robust application, and not the round. One shouldn’t put in an application in an earlier round if one believes that there’s a potential to improve the application. So, the first step is to build a strong application. Now, there’s not much difference between the first and the second round — both rounds will have a significant number of available seats for a good application to get selected. It gets slightly tougher in the third and the fourth rounds. This is purely a factor of supply and demand. The demand continues to be high, but the supply (i.e. available seats) is low in these later rounds. So, one should consider applying to one of the first two rounds.
For those who need data and statistics for further understanding on professional background, years of experience, and what LBS programme to choose, there’s some very useful information available here
That’s it. It’s pretty simple – (a) You don’t require any particular background to get into LBS – you need an application that demonstrates well-rounded personality, (b) You can consider applying to LBS with more than 2 years of experience – ofcourse, it’s harder to get in with low years of experience than average (5 – 6 years), and (c) You should consider applying in the first or the second rounds.
As one of the ambassadors for my MiF PT 2013 course I participate in open-door events for the prospective students. I noticed that many of those who drop in to ask questions, grab a brochure and have some coffee + biscuits, exhibit high interest in the school without a firm awareness of which programme they would like to apply for.
So if you aspire to be a part of the LBS community and haven’t a clue which programme suits you most, the below test will help you quickly figure out your personal path of the least resistance in the school.
Which movies are you more likely to watch on a rainy Sunday afternoon ??
(a) “The Godfather”, “La Dolce Vita”, “Avengers Assemble”, “American Beauty”
(b) “Margin Call”, “Wall Street”, “I don’t know how she does it”, “American Psyco”
(c) “I am number 4”, “Horrible bosses”, “Thank you for smoking”, “Captain America”
(d) “Inception”, “Fast & Furious”, “Jeux d’Enfants”, “American Pie”
How do you get to work every morning ??
(a) “My chauffer Edward calls on me, but honestly, I would much rather cycle to save the environment”
(b) “I get a cab from my Chelsea flat to the City / Canary Wharf” or “I usually just walk – its not too far from Pimlico to Mayfair”
(c) “I am trying to use public transport to save up for an upcoming considerable investment into my further education”
(d) “I don’t have a job yet – still writing my thesis”
How would your friends describe you ??
(a) Mature and classy
(b) Adventurous and urbane
(c) Tenacious and suave
(d) Motivated and agile
- mostly (a): sharpen your strategic thinking with Sloan Masters in Leadership and Strategy designed for successful leaders with more than a dozen years of experience;
- mostly (b): dont wait any longer to apply for the world’s premier and ultimate qualification, turning you into a true Master of Finance;
- mostly (c): boost & accelerate your career by giving MBA / EMBA a bite;
- mostly (d): widen your horizons and get noticed with Masters in Management.