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London Business School Essay Topic Analysis 2013-2014

While London Business School had previously employed a number of the same or slightly revised essay topics over the past few seasons, this year’s LBS essay set marks a notable change in the contents and number of essay topics.  From six questions in 2012-2013 admissions season to three this year, LBS has also shrunk the total word count available to applicants from 1,750 to 1,200.  The space in which applicants are directed outline their professional goals is now contained in one essay response only.  Still, 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 continue to 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.  The admissions team has provided further information on its changes to the essay set through the school’s blog, and applicants would do especially well to keep in mind the following quote as they revise: “The best essays we read show evidence that there has been a great deal of thought behind them and that it has been an enjoyable and exploratory process for the applicant.”

What will your future look like after completing your MBA? (500 words)

Although in previous years, LBS divided its question on applicants’ goals into two discrete prompts, this year’s first topic is a slightly more typical career goals essay, though candidates should be alert to the broad language of this prompt.  The wording of this essay implies that when outlining their “future,” applicants need not adhere to professional advancement only.  Beyond career goals alone, candidates should consider any other important details in their futures in order to demonstrate to the adcom that they have a highly developed sense of where they want to be upon graduation from LBS.  Applicants could structure their response to this essay by devoting just over half of their 500 words to their careers before deciding what other elements may need to be incorporated, such as, for example, any involvement they may have with LBS as alumni. Developing one’s professional future in terms of short- and long-term goals could be a great opportunity for applicants who must often cover one of these goals in just a sentence in their applications for other schools.

What value will you add to London Business School? (300 words)

Questions similar to this have appeared in one form or another on the LBS application for several years, and this latest prompt highlights the adcom’s continued interest in gauging candidates’ knowledge of London Business School and ability to reflect on their fit with its MBA programs.  Applicants should not only discuss the clubs and events in which they would like to participate, however, but also be certain to draw connections between these involvements and their potential for bringing concrete value or improvements to these school offerings.  This framing gives candidates a wide berth to discuss how their interests and experiences to date would translate to tangible contributions on several fronts.  As with any essay of this sort, it would be ideal to link the program elements to an applicant’s established interests or components of  their career goals, as these will help the admissions committee readily see how an applicant is 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.

What is the School’s responsibility to you and what is your responsibility to the School? (400 words)

The final prompt incorporates a somewhat unusual directive among leading business schools, as the question allows applicants the opportunity to present their expectations for London Business School.  Applicants thereby have the chance to showcase their personalized understanding of the LBS MBA and explore how the idea of mutual responsibility should figure into their LBA experience.  They can also highlight those abilities and experiences in their repertoires that will make them a good fit with the program and allow them to uphold certain responsibilities to the school in turn.  As with each essay in this set, both professionally and personally focused ideas are fair game here, and applicants should ensure that their ideas here complement the thoughts expressed in other essays while not directly overlapping with that content.  Applicants will want to use this essay to suggest how they envision themselves having an impact at LBS and making the best use of the school’s program in order to fulfill “[their] responsibility.”  With only 400 words allotted for this two-part question, we suggest candidates outline their thoughts on LBS’s responsibility to its students before more personalized commentary about how the responsibilities of both parties might align with the applicant’s projected engagement with the LBS MBA program.

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