After several years of progressive changes to its application essay questions (and their maximum lengths), London Business School (LBS) has remained constant with its prompts this season. The school is once again stipulating just one required essay with a 500-word limit. Any candidates who believe this single brief essay is not enough opportunity to fully present themselves and their candidacy to the admissions committee can also submit a short optional essay. We offer here our guidance on making the most of LBS’s minimal essay options for 2017–2018.
Essays are a vital part of your application and we recommend that you spend a significant amount of time in their preparation.
Essay 1: What are your post-MBA goals and how will your prior experience and the London Business School programme contribute towards these? (500 words)
LBS’s primary essay prompt essentially requests several elements of a traditional personal statement. You will need to show that you have a long-term vision for yourself and your career and that you have a clear plan for how to get there with the help of an LBS MBA. The basic assumptions, of course, are that business school is the next logical and necessary step in your progress and that you need the LBS program in particular, because it offers specific experience, knowledge, skills, exposure, and/or other elements that are necessary for you to attain your long-term aspirations and chosen career. Ideally, you have already researched the school thoroughly to discover these important resources and areas of fit, but if not, do not skip this important step and/or refer only to basic offerings most business schools have. Your essay must be LBS specific. Demonstrating your authentic interest in the program by offering concrete examples and drawing clear connections between what it offers, what you need, and who you are is key to crafting a compelling essay response here.
Because 500 words is not a lot, avoid going into excessive detail about your past, though you will need to offer enough information to provide context and support for your stated goals. As we have observed, this essay largely encompasses a standard personal statement, so we encourage you to download your free copy of the mbaMission Personal Statement Guide. In this complimentary guide, we present a much more detailed discussion of how to approach and craft this kind of essay, along with multiple illustrative examples.
Optional Essay: Is there any other information you believe the Admissions Committee should know about you and your application to London Business School? (500 words)
Applicants often use the optional essay to explain confusing or problematic elements of their candidacy—a poor grade or GPA, a low GMAT or GRE score, a gap in work experience, etc.—and LBS’s can certainly be used in this way. If you feel you need to clarify an aspect of your profile, first check the other parts of the school’s application, which already includes several opportunities to address certain issues (such as academic performance and disciplinary instances). If you can discuss your concern there instead, do so, and avoid using this essay to simply repeat any information provided via that avenue. If you have a problem to address that is not mentioned in the LBS application, we suggest downloading a copy of the mbaMission Optional Essays Guide, which is also available for free, and in which we offer detailed advice on deciding whether to take advantage of the optional essay and, if so, how best to do so to mitigate any concerning elements of your application.
However, if you do not feel your candidacy includes any elements in need of further clarification, you might use this essay instead to offer a more rounded, positive representation of yourself—but be thoughtful about this opportunity. Do not just copy and paste an existing essay you wrote for a different school here and hope for the best. Take a step back and carefully consider what the admissions committee already knows about you from the other parts of your application, including, of course, your other essay. Then, do your utmost to develop and convey a narrative that is truly crucial to understanding your character. Because this question is so open-ended, your options are somewhat limitless. You will need to honestly check your instincts and ask yourself whether you are simply tacking something extra onto your application with this essay or whether you are presenting an authentic representation of who you are as an individual. Be mindful and respectful of the admissions committee’s time, and remember that each additional file you submit requires more resources on behalf of the admissions office, so whatever you write must be truly worthwhile and clearly reveal that you made good use of this opportunity to provide further insight into your candidacy.
Business schools outside the United States are increasingly popular among MBA hopefuls, and we at mbaMission are proud to offer our latest publications: Program Primers for international b-schools. In these snapshots we discuss core curriculums, elective courses, locations, school facilities, rankings, and more. Click here to download your freecopy of the London Business School Program Primer.
The Next Step—Mastering Your LBS Interview: Many MBA candidates find admissions interviews stressful and intimidating, but mastering this important element of the application process is definitely possible—the key is informed preparation. And, on your way to this high level of preparation, we offer our free Interview Primers to spur you along! Download your free copy of the London Business School Interview Primer today.
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