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London Business School MBA Essay—Tips & Advice

Here’s how to answer the latest MBA essay questions at LBS

Thu Sep 12 2019

If you’re considering a well-renowned MBA program in the UK, you may just have come across London Business School (LBS).

To get accepted, you’ll need to complete an MBA admissions essay first. Here are the London Business School essays for 2019-2020 and how to answer them:

1. What are your post-MBA goals and how will your prior experience and the London Business School program contribute towards these? (500 words)

2. Is there any other information you believe the Admissions Committee should know about you and your application to London Business School? (Optional) (500 words)

Question 1

The first London Business School application essay cuts straight to the chase. Why are you pursuing an MBA? Why at LBS? And what is the thread that runs through your current career, the LBS MBA and your post MBA goals?

The essay asks you to address these directly. 

Most application essays want you to touch on these issues, but many other schools’ essay prompts ask you to do so in a more roundabout way.

Here are five tips:

1. There is not enough time to go over your CV in this essay

Rather focus on pulling out the pertinent points – the moments that helped you focus on your career goals, or your leadership moments.  Make sure you stress the connections between your past and your future plans. 

2. Make sure your post-MBA plans are well-researched and realistic

Particularly if you plan to change industries, role or location. LBS has a stellar employment record so insubstantial plans will be a huge red flag for the admissions committee. 

3. Make sure to show why LBS specifically will help you achieve your goals

General platitudes like ‘I want to grow my network’ could be applied to any MBA application essay. It’s not a compelling enough reason to justify your seat in the LBS classroom. LBS prizes independent thinking, global mindsets, and challenging the status quo. Make sure you can explain how LBS is the right fit for you. 

4. Make sure you speak to Alumni to get a sense of the LBS values

You can find testimonials and student ambassador contact details on the LBS website. Student ambassadors are searchable by program nationality, and industry so this is a great resource. 

5. Your career goals and strategy should shape your journey through LBS

LBS boasts ‘the world’s most flexible MBA’ and offers you the chance to customize your program. You’ll want to elaborate on the specifics of how you are getting from A (your current career) to B (your post-MBA career) via the springboard of LBS.


©LBS Facebook

Question 2

Optional essays are a great way to address any gaps or shortcomings in your application. Doing so shows a sense of self awareness and can provide the LBS admissions committee with context. 

The optional essay, however, should not come across as a set of excuses. It should demonstrate self-awareness and that you have taken steps to address any weak points in your application.

At LBS the average GMAT score for the Class of MBA2020 was 707, with a class range of 600 to 800. 600 is the minimum score LBS will accept. If your score falls in the lower ranges you may have to address this, by demonstrating your academic abilities, or quantitative skills elsewhere. You may also have to speak directly with the admissions team about retaking the test. 

If any part of your application seems weak relative to the LBS class profile, you can consider providing support to show why your situation is exceptional. If your work experience seems flimsy in comparison to other applicants, you can strengthen your your case by demonstrating the quality of your experience and/or your unique perspectives. 

You may find for example that your undergrad marks were low, but this can be mitigated by the fact that you were launching your own business, or still near the top of your class in a difficult course.

The optional essay also particularly important for international applicants who may need to give some context to their application. Don’t assume that the admissions team knows about the company you work for, or the particular context of your country. 

LBS recommends you spend a ‘significant amount of time’ on these essays, a ‘vital part of your application’. So start brainstorming, and good luck!