London Business School Essays: Tips & Strategy

August 14, 2020 | by Emma Bond

London Business School opened its application, and there are no changes to its MBA essays. As former LBS Senior Manager of MBA Admissions, I believe that very best London Business School essays give the Admissions Committee insight into what has motivated your post-MBA career goals and how the LBS program will help you achieve them.

First, context matters: At London Business School, global is more than just an adjective – it’s a mindset that’s deeply woven through the fabric of the entire institution. Not only are the culture and economy of London at the heart of the LBS experience, the student body reflects over 65 nationalities in the MBA classroom.

Earlier this year I sat down for a virtual conversation with LBS Admissions Director David Simpson. When I inquired about the qualities he’s looking for in an MBA candidate, Simpson said:

“Above all for me is the idea of an inquiring mind – someone who’s fascinated by other views gathered from around the world, somebody who is open for personal growth… In addition: ambition, collaborative nature, curious / questioning, global outlook and desire, reflective and self-aware – with some humility. These are factors that everybody needs in business and in society.”

With this in mind, your essays are the place to convey a high level of self-awareness and ambition, while conveying your uniqueness to the admissions committee.   


ESSAY 1. What are your post-MBA plans and how will your prior experience and the London Business School programme contribute towards these? (500 words)

This question pulls no punches — it asks exactly what it’s looking for, and doesn’t make you read between the lines – but its seeming simplicity is actually what makes it so tricky. At a minimum, you need to make a compelling case for needing an MBA to achieve your professional goals and demonstrate how London Business School is uniquely positioned to help get you there. The very best answers to this question go a little deeper, giving the Admissions Committee context into what has motivated your post-MBA career goals; showing an advanced level of self-awareness that includes identifying any skills gaps and a clear understanding of how LBS can help you overcome them.

Like all schools, LBS wants to see you’ve done your homework, and they’ll want you to showcase more in-depth knowledge of the program and community than you can glean from a quick review of their website. This is your opportunity to showcase your school research and show your LBS love. So, think about what specific classes, professors, clubs or other on and off campus initiatives will factor into your success.

ESSAY 2. (Optional) Is there any other information you believe the Admissions Committee should know about you and your application to London Business School? (500 words)

In many business school applications, the optional essay needs to be used to explain poor academic performance, like less than stellar undergraduate performance or a low GMAT. However, London Business School asks you about your prior academic performance specifically in their application form. If you have another weakness you’re concerned about — perhaps you were let go from a job or took an extended career break — you should use this section to explain.

Otherwise, use this section to further make the case for your candidacy by highlighting another aspect of your profile that makes you a great fit for LBS. Perhaps you have another passion, not directly related to your career goals. This is your chance to tell the committee what you’ve done with that passion, and what you’ll do to share it with the community, showcasing your leadership, team skills and/or international outlook along the way.

Great examples have included a candidate who had overcome learning disabilities and wanted to help connect learning disabled students at LBS with the resources to help them succeed in the program, an amateur photographer who had organized exhibitions who wanted to revive the LBS photography club, and an LGBTQ+ rights advocate who had been a senior organizer of his city’s Pride parade who wanted to take a leadership role within the OiB club on campus.

Want more advice and a chance to get your LBS essay questions answered?

View our MBA Admissions Essay Masterclass featuring London Business School, INSEAD & HEC Paris, below.


Previous sessions from our MBA Admissions Essay Masterclass series are available on Fortuna’s YouTube channel.

For more insights and advice on LBS, view:

Fortuna’s Emma Bond is an expert MBA admissions coach and former LBS Senior Manager of MBA Admissions. For a candid assessment of your chances of admission success at a top MBA program, sign up for a free consultation.

Sign up for a