LBS: Five Things You Need to Know Before You Apply

When it comes to European bschools, London Business School is one of the best. Many people consider it to be the best MBA program in the world. Pretty intimidating, huh?

Don’t fret, folks. One way to improve your chances when you apply is to get the inside scoop about the program itself… and we’ve got just such an inside scooper. Our resident LBS guru and killer MBA consultant Sally Radwan has some great pointers to keep in mind when working up that LBS app.

  1. Personality Matters. At LBS, they pay at least equal (if not more) attention to the KINDS of people they admit to the program. Although GMAT and grades are important, they are by far not the sole or most important criterion. Primarily, they want smart, interesting people who will contribute to and enrich the classroom discussion. Unusual backgrounds always help, but in the absence of that, any extracurricular activities, personal endeavors, etc. should be highlighted. For example, I really emphasized that I was a woman from the Middle East who had to overcome lots of obstacles to successfully live and work on her own in Europe.
  2. International Outlook. LBS prides itself on the diversity of its students. Especially if you come from a country that tends to “export” lots of MBA students, you need to REALLY show that you are internationally oriented. Ideally, they expect you to have had work or study experience outside of your home country… but if that’s not available, you need to demonstrate a keen interest in other countries, travel, international affairs, etc.
  3. Commitment to the School. I have interviewed several candidates over the years and for many of them, the initial adcom screening highlighted doubts about “their commitment to the school.” At LBS, they want people whose first choice is LBS, not those who are considering it as a fall-back option if they don’t get into HBS or Stanford. So you need to state why EXACTLY you’ve chosen LBS. Are you willing to move to London? Do you understand what that entails? Have you done your homework about living conditions in London? If you have a partner or a family, do you understand the immigration situation for them (work, schools, etc.)? Are you capable of financing their stay and yours? Why LBS specifically and not any other European or US school? What will you do if you don’t get into LBS? All important questions… and you need to know the answers when you fill out that app.
  4. Career Vision. This is similar to other schools. Of course, they want people to find employment, ideally within three months of graduation. So, having a strong and realistic career vision helps, even if it changes later. Ideally, you need to know whether you’ll be staying in London or moving elsewhere and be aware of the opportunities available in your sector/field of choice. And, obviously, tie it back to the school and how attending LBS specifically will help you achieve your vision.
  5. Contribution to the School Community. It’s important to show that you have learned a lot about the school and understand how you can contribute to campus life. This is extremely important at LBS. Make sure you know what clubs are available. Would you start a new one? Which one? Why? How would you interact with your study group? What role do you think you’ll play? How about after you graduate?

The Tuesday Q&A: Figuring Out Your Safety Schools