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London Business School Essay Topic Analysis 2012-2013

With the exception of a few minor wording changes, four of London Business School’s essay topics for the 2012-2013 admissions season have remained essentially the same as last year’s prompts.  Meanwhile, the school has reintroduced a career goals essay that was last seen on the 2009-2010 application, in addition to completely revamping their sixth essay question.  Overall, LBS has maintained its trend of placing a marked emphasis on learning about the specific details of an applicant’s future involvement on campus and contribution to the school community.  From this, one can extrapolate that LBS may be interested in candidates who have spoken to students and learned a good deal about the program to better understand how and where they might fit.

Question 1: In what role or sector 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? (500 words)

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

As in previous years, LBS has divided the typical career goals essay into two discrete questions.  Though the first question more closely resembles Question 1 from the 2009-2010 application than to that of last year’s, the school’s two-part approach to learning about applicants’ career goals still underlines the importance of having both a short- and long-term career plan in the MBA admissions process.  While 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 starting 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.  Although the first question no longer specifically asks applicants why now is the best time for them to attend business school, a brief discussion of the timing of your application could still be useful in proving to the adcom that you are making a well-informed decision.

Question 3: Give a specific example of when you have had to test your leadership and / or team working skills either professionally, or outside of work. What role will you play in your first year study group? (300 words)

For another year in a row, LBS is asking applicants to discuss an experience in which they faced challenges to their leadership and teamwork skills.  Given that the adcom has stated that this topic does not have to come from one’s professional experience, applicants should feel free to use this essay as an opportunity to showcase their involvement in an outside activity.  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 discussing 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 4: 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? (300 words)

This question, which has appeared in similar forms on the LBS application for several years, 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 Guide to London Business School—will pay dividends here.

Question 5: 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 the School? (150 words)

Another carryover 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 applicants 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.  Considering that the adcom has shortened this essay to just 150 words, applicants will need to be direct and concise to ensure that they can cover each aspect of the essay question.

Question 6: Give an example of a person who, in your opinion, has made a profound impact on the way the world does business. How will this person influence your contribution to your MBA Programme at London Business School? (300 words)

This question is a new addition to the LBS application, and gives applicants a chance to showcase their understanding of the business world and the types of people who create change.  When selecting someone to write about, applicants should think about a variety of options—while popular figures might jump most readily to mind, you might consider slightly less well known individuals to help distinguish your application.  Regardless of the person you choose, the key to this essay is to keep the focus on you and your candidacy by explaining how you think the person has influenced the business world and the lessons you have drawn from the person’s actions.  Of course, applicants will also want to use this essay to illustrate how they envision themselves fitting into the LBS community and the positive impact they would have while in school.

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