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London Business School 2009-2010 Essay Topic Analysis

London Business School’s are unchanged from last year. This is a solid indication that the school’s emphasis on international experience, as well as its interest in a candidate’s past and proposed leadership experience, remains unchanged. More than most programs, LBS asks applicants to share specific details of their future involvement on campus and contribution to the community. From this, one can extrapolate and assume that they’re interested in candidates who’ve spoken to students and learned a good deal about the program to really understand how and where they might fit.

Question 1 (600 words):
In what role do you see yourself working immediately after graduation? Why? How will your past and present experiences help you achieve this? How will the London Business School MBA Programme contribute to this goal? Why is this the right time for you to pursue an MBA?

Question 2 (200 words):
Where do you see your career progressing five years after graduation and what is your longer term career vision?

Here, the typical career goals essay is broken down into two discrete inquiries. This format clearly underlines the importance of having both a short- and long-term career plan in the MBA admissions process. Though the compartmentalization of the short and long term discussions might make it a bit more difficult to adapt content written for applications to other schools, it does signal the extent to which the adcom wants to hear about each of the topics raised. Developing one’s long-term goal discussion over 200 words, with a stopping point at the five-year mark, could be a great opportunity for applicants who often cover this topic in a single sentence to meet the word limit in their essays for other schools. The question also incorporates a “why now?” query, prompting candidates to explicitly justify the timing of their applications given the current stage of their careers.

Question 3 (500 words):
Please describe your experience of working in and leading teams, either in your professional or personal life. Include any specific challenges you have faced. Given this experience, what role do you think you will play in your first year study group?

While this question seems to invite a broad commentary on the history of the applicant’s leadership and teamwork experiences at or outside of the workplace, keep in mind that the most effective essays are those that provide specific details and vivid anecdotes. A general comment about the various leadership roles you’ve held is certainly in order, but it would be wise to use this as an introduction to an example that exemplifies your leadership/teamwork skills and style. Because LBS specifically asks applicants to address specific challenges that they’ve faced in their interpersonal interactions, it would be beneficial for candidates to reflect on strategies they’ve developed to overcome and navigate any obstacles. You should also include information about how you can apply these processes to future work at LBS. Note that the question about LBS study groups offers applicants a great chance to showcase their familiarity with the program and prove that they’ve done their homework, as well as demonstrate that they’ve thought through the contribution they would make and the strengths they could bring to the program.

Question 4 (400 words):
Student involvement is an extremely important part of the London MBA experience and this is reflected in the character of students on campus. What type of student club or campus community events will you be involved with and why? How will you contribute?

This question asks candidates to broadly discuss the clubs and events in which they would like to participate. Because it’s easier to be an active member in multiple clubs than it would be to lead more than one organization, this framing gives candidates a wide berth to discuss how their interests and experiences to date would translate to contributions on several fronts. As with any essay of this sort, it would be ideal to link the clubs and events you cite to established interests or elements of your career goals, as these will help the admissions committee readily see how you are poised to make a contribution. Taking the time to learn about the school’s special programs and extracurricular activities – whether through a visit to campus, conversation with alumni or reading the Clear Admit School Guide to London Business School – will pay dividends here.

Question 5 (150 words):
Describe any significant experiences outside of your home country. What did you gain from these?

This question allows applicants the opportunity to showcase their international experience, both professionally and personally, and is designed to gauge the applicant’s ability to navigate unfamiliar terrain and resolve cross-cultural issues. The word limit does not afford much room for detail, especially for applicants with extensive experiences abroad to recount, so a sound strategy might be to focus on providing detail about the lessons and skills gained from these situations.

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