If London Business School (LBS) isn’t yet on your radar, it should be.
LBS offers a flexible and rigorous applied MBA program with an immensely diverse study body – the most recent class is 89% international representing 60 nationalities. Its unveiling of the state-of-the-art Sammy Ofer Centre in 2017 increased academic space by 70% (and enrollment by 14%); even more impressive, in 2019, Forbes crowned LBS #1 for the seventh consecutive year in its ranking of two-year international MBA programs. The same year, LBS was ranked #2 among European Schools by the Financial Times.
Seemingly undaunted by Brexit anxiety, London’s dynamic culture and economy are at the core of the LBS experience. For candidates looking to accelerate their professional progression in finance, LBS measures up to US programs like Wharton, CBS, HBS and Booth. The school competes with INSEAD to offer career opportunities in areas like consulting, media and technology. It’s evident the growing focus on technology is beginning to pay off – 23% of the 2018 graduating class moved into technology roles with companies like Amazon, the same percentage that moved into roles in finance.
One institutional growth path for LBS is an ongoing investment in Early Career programs. The school has historically offered a comparatively broad portfolio of leadership degree programs, but since the highly successful introduction of its pre-experience Masters in Management (MiM), LBS has moved on to launch a Global Masters in Management (in conjunction with Fudan University, Shanghai) in 2015, and a Masters in Financial Analysis in 2016. In August 2019, the School welcomed yet another Early Career cohort, this time to its inaugural Masters in Analytics and Management.
With my experience as a former London Business School senior manager of MBA admissions and a director at Fortuna Admissions, I am seasoned at advising applicants on how to most impactfully convey their candidacy. I’ve distilled my advice into the following tips – useful for the MBA, and also for other leadership programs like the MiM, GMiM, MFA and MAM.
FIVE TOP TIPS ON POSITIONING YOUR APPLICATION TO LONDON BUSINESS SCHOOL:
Tip #1 – Articulate your passion for LBS.
In the highly competitive MBA landscape, the admissions office wants to see salient evidence around your commitment to the school. If it’s feasible, try to visit LBS prior to submitting your application. The admissions team offers a variety of options for prospective applicants like monthly information sessions, weekly ‘drop-in’ sessions and opportunities to take part in a class. All of these events provide informative interactions with current students and staff, helping you ascertain your fit for the school. If it isn’t practical for you to visit campus, look into the many information sessions LBS hosts around the world annually or log in to one of their frequent webinars.
Tip #2 – Understand the school’s reach beyond finance.
Bolstered by its geographic position in London, renowned finance faculty and exceptional global recruiting relationships, LBS has long enjoyed a strong tradition in finance. That said, ongoing rankings success indicates that both the admissions pipeline and subsequent career choices are diverse. LBS has a solid pipeline from top consulting firms like BCG and McKinsey and technology juggernauts like Google and Amazon now regularly employ a large cohort of graduates. Don’t be afraid to realistically explore and be open to different career paths, connecting the applicable skills from your previous experiences and connecting to your longer term goals.
Tip #3 – Demonstrate collegiality.
Not unlike other top-tier business schools populated with high-caliber students, the LBS MBA program has a competitive element. However, it also boasts a collegial campus atmosphere and an extremely lively and diverse student and alumni community. A great way for applicants to express their appreciation for this facet of LBS life is via the second optional essay. Contemplate how you can add value on a more profound experiential level and consider skills you can share with future fellow classmates.
Tip #4 – Outline your contribution to the program and alumni network.
LBS students are actively involved in community-oriented activities and the admissions team is seeking candidates excited to participate in and lead such engagements while on campus and beyond. Providing concrete examples of how you have consistently dedicated similar effort to activities beyond the scope of your professional role will help the admissions team better understand the contributions you might make once you arrive at LBS. The more specific and authentic you can be, the better.
Tip #5 – Remember that ‘global’ isn’t just a word, it’s a culture.
LBS is a truly international business school. Its backyard is a multicultural and cosmopolitan city, and only about 10% of the MBA class is British. But at LBS, global is more than just an adjective – it’s a mindset that is deeply woven through the fabric of the entire institution. The school is constantly reinventing the curriculum to best reflect this focus and showcases applied aspects like the Global Business Experience immersion weeks into its customizable program. The admissions readers will be scrutinizing your application to see exactly what global elements you’ll bring to the incoming class.
Remember internationalism can come in many shapes and sizes. Have you worked on cross-cultural projects or liaised often with global clients and diverse teams? Are there relevant secondment opportunities abroad to participate in with your company? Have you spent time learning new languages? Any of these components can add heft to your application. Serious LBS applicants will have worked, lived and traveled on multiple continents, so ensure you sell that aspect of your candidacy, particularly if the global focus of the LBS experience is what drew you to the school in the first place. Conveying your passion for exploration, curiosity around immersing yourself in other cultures and working in a global capacity post-MBA is crucial.
For more insights and stats, check out our business school profile of LBS. For more insights from me and the Fortuna Admissions team on positioning your application to programs like LBS, INSEAD or IE, view our video strategy session: Decoding the Essays to the Top European Schools.
Emma Bond is a Fortuna Admissions Director and was previously responsible for MBA admissions at London Business School. For a personal, candid assessment of your chances, you can sign up now for a free consultation.