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London Business School Essay Topic Analysis 2010-2011

Although London Business School’s first four essay topics are relatively unchanged from the prompts on last year’s application, the school has introduced two new potential essay topics for the fifth question.  The new essay questions continue to indicate the school’s emphasis on international experience, as well as its interest in a candidate’s past and proposed leadership experience.  In addition, 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 LBS is interested in candidates who’ve spoken to students and learned a good deal about the program to better understand how and where they might fit.

Question 1 (750 words)
Give us a brief assessment of your career progress to date.
In what role do you see yourself working in immediately after graduation and what is your longer term career vision?
How will your past and present experiences help you to 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?

While last year’s LBS application had the career goals essay broken down into two separate questions, this year’s prompt maintains the compartmentalization format by including individual questions within this one essay topic.  At its heart this is a standard career goals essay, although applicants will need to make sure that they respond to all of the questions posed in this prompt.  In responding to the fourth question, applicants will benefit from learning about the school’s academic offerings and other curricular and extracurricular programs, whether through a campus visit, conversation with alumni or reading the Clear Admit School Guide to London Business School.

Question 2 (300 words)
Give a specific example of when you have had to test your leadership and team working skills. Given this experience what role will you play in a first year study group?

Based on this prompt, applicants should discuss an experience in which they faced challenges to their leadership and teamwork skills, such as a time when a team member refused to get on board with a group plan.  After clearly outlining the situation, it’s crucial that applicants explain how they persevered through the challenge, as doing so shows one’s maturity and ability to overcome obstacles.  It would therefore make sense to end this essay by explaining the strategies you’ve subsequently developed to navigate difficult situations, and explain 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.  With only 300 words allotted for this essay, applicants will need to be highly efficient with their writing to ensure that they can respond to each component of the prompt.

Question 3 (300 words)
Student involvement is an extremely important part of the London Business School MBA experience and this is reflected in the character of students on campus. Please describe how you will contribute to student clubs and the community and why?

This question asks candidates to broadly discuss the clubs and events in which they would like to participate. 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 4 (300 words)
London Business School offers a truly global and diverse experience. Describe any significant experiences outside of your home country or culture. What did you gain and how will your experience contribute to London Business School?

With the prompt expanded from last year’s application, 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.  In order to answer both components of this question, we suggest that applications quickly outline important experience abroad, and then focus on providing detail about the lessons and skills gained from these situations, as well as how the experiences would help the applicant benefit from and contribute to LBS.  Based on the first sentence of this prompt, it will be important for applicants to show that not only can they contribute to the diversity at LBS, but also that they will thrive as a member of the diverse student body.

Please choose ONE of the following options.

Question 5a (150 words)
You have decided to stand for the role of Student Association President. Announcing your campaign to the London Business School community for the first time, please describe your manifesto.
New to the LBS application, this essay question offers applicants the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of LBS’s Student Association program, highlight the past experiences that make them suited to take on this significant leadership role, and showcase a passion for contributing to the school.  Due to the 150 word limit, focusing on two or three action items will allow applicants to provide a focused and effective answer to this question.  In describing your vision – by clearly explaining your plans as well as their intended impact – it’s important that you do not inadvertently suggest that the program needs “fixing” and thus potentially offend members of the LBS adcom and damage your chances of admission.  To select effective topics of discussion, we encourage applicants to conduct in-depth research on the history and current role of the Student Association.

Question 5b (150 words)
What is your most substantial achievement to date and why?
This is a fairly tall order for a 150 word essay, so brevity will be key here.  This question leaves the door open for a wide range of examples; an applicant might discuss a major professional accomplishment or a more personal triumph.  The “why?” element of the question is a reminder that the adcom is not just interested in what was done, but the reason it is a source of ongoing pride for the candidate, so when selecting a subject for this essay, its significance will be a key element to keep in mind.  An example from the workplace could be a great topic if there was some important lesson learned, skill gained or impact made.  Meanwhile, a more personal anecdote could be quite beneficial if a candidate has some meaningful experience that could help him or her stand out from others and demonstrate distinguishing qualities that might not be evident elsewhere in the application.  One’s choice of topic here will likely depend on what has been covered elsewhere in the application up to this point.

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Posted in: Essay Topic Analysis

2 Comments

  1. HI,
    My query is regarding the question number 5 which requires the applicant to discuss about his/her experiences outside home country”. I would like to know is it mandatory that a candidate should have traveled abroad ?Wat about candidates who have not traveled outside their home country. In this case is it enough to discuss about the experience of having interacted with clients who are from countries other than the candidate’s home country?

  2. hi Balaji,

    I assume that international travel is not a must, as I know people who’ve got into LBS w/o foreign work experience. It’s just that you need to show some exposure to cultures other than your own.

    rgrds

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