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Top Business School Application Tips For 2021

Applying to business school in 2021? Admissions directors from Europe's leading business schools share their top application tips

Tue Dec 1 2020


If you’re looking to navigate the economic recession and job uncertainty caused by COVID-19, applying to business school could be a good option. 

By pursuing a business masters program in 2021, you can upskill, broaden your network, and gain valuable work experience before re-entering the jobs market. When the jobs market recovers, you'll be in a better position than many of your peers.

Yet, due to the pandemic, applying to business school will be a little different next year, with video interviews, virtual admissions events, and changing admissions requirements. 

With this in mind, BusinessBecause spoke to admissions directors and representatives from some of Europe’s top business schools, who gave us their top business school application tips for 2021.

Top Business School Application Tips

1. Engage with target schools in advance

Amy Duckworth, Director of Admissions at Imperial College Business School

“My top tip for applying to business school in 2021 is to engage with your target schools prior to applying. 

“Now you’ll need to approach this in a different way compared to previous years. Attending open days and meeting current students at in-person events isn’t really an option given the current situation, but nevertheless, this pre-application research and engagement is still a really important part of making sure the school and the program you’re applying for is the right fit for you.”

2. Preparation, preparation, preparation

Amy Janssen-Brennan, Assistant Director of Recruitment & Admission at Rotterdam School of Management

“My top tip for students who are applying for admission to a business school is preparation, preparation, preparation. You can never be too prepared.”

“So make sure you look at the website, because business schools always put a lot of time and effort into the information that they’ve put there. Familiarise yourself with the admissions process, the requirements, and the deadlines.”

3. Articulate your own path in on-going uncertainty

Virginie Fougea, Global Director of Admissions & Financial Aid at INSEAD

“Use the essays to share with us how the current situation we all live in now might influence you. The world is always evolving, now more than ever and probably more rapidly. Hence in your application, you may want to explain the role you want to have in this evolution.“

4. Be honest and true to yourself

Leon Laulusa, Dean for Academic Affairs & International Relations at ESCP Business School

“My tips are to be honest, sincere, and true to yourself. This can help you be prepared for unexpected questions during interviews.” 

“At ESCP Business School, we are looking for high potential and open minded candidates from all backgrounds and all nationalities.”

5. Give yourself the right preparation for a video interview

Tomofumi Nishida, Associate Director of MBA & MiM Admissions at IESE Business School

“Due to COVID-19, every admissions process is now online. For interviews, do a technology test run, choose a location very carefully, and keep your body language open and professional.”

6. Be frank about what makes you different

Anne-Flore Maman Larraufie, Academic Director at ESSEC Business School

“You have to be frank, you have to acknowledge your weaknesses, you have to be very honest with yourself and with the interviewer. 

“We are looking out for diversity at the school, especially we are seeking people with different types of profiles, different types of expertise and different types of attitudes towards business environments, from charity, to social entrepreneurship, and including finance or project management in industry.”