2017-2018 London Business School Essay Topic Analysis

by on July 25th, 2017

Following up on the recent release of the 2017-2018 London Business School essay topics, we wanted to offer some guidance to applicants targeting London Business School this admissions season. Continuing last year’s format, the LBS adcom has chosen to stick to the same single required essay as well as an optional essay.

Let’s take a closer look at each of this year’s LBS MBA essays:

Required Essay 

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

This is a fairly standard career goals/why MBA essay, asking applicants to specify their post-MBA plans and to discuss the ways their work experience to date prepared them, as well as the ways they see an MBA from LBS fitting into this picture. Given the amount of ground that needs to be covered in this response, highlighting one or two majors accomplishments should be appropriate, but it will be important to be prudent with the details. As this is the only required essay for LBS this year, it will be crucial to include some sense of impact, possibly as part of a discussion of how one’s work to date has prepared him or her for elements of the target post-MBA position.

Effective essays will provide all of the requested information in a straightforward manner, naming a job they wish to hold immediately after an MBA and perhaps alluding to the larger plan in which this position is a first step. In our interview, Admissions Director Simpson commented that the adcom looks for applicants who have taken the time to learn about the program and who are genuinely excited about programmatic offerings that are unique to LBS, as well as the school’s highly diverse student community (in terms of nationality as well as professional background), and its location in a global financial capital. Applicants should therefore aim to demonstrate a high degree of thoughtfulness in discussing the ways their previous experience have provided skills and knowledge that will transfer to this new role and, of course, detailing specific elements of the LBS MBA program that will facilitate this transition.

As for the allocation of space in this 500-word response, we recommend providing a thorough but direct treatment of one’s goals, spending 100-200 words on this topic. We then recommend moving through one’s past work experience and past preparation fairly quickly (in another 100 or so words) in order to reserve ample space for a detailed discussion of the appeal of the LBS MBA. Applicants should aim to devote at least 200 words of their essay to the ways an LBS MBA would uniquely prepare them for future success. Rather than writing in generalities about the program, diving right into specific courses and clubs of interest will enable applicants to get as much mileage as possible out of their comments. Going beyond the program’s website and taking the time to learn about the program via campus visits or information sessions, conversations with students and alumni, or through the Clear Admit School Guide to London Business School, will therefore pay dividends here.

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)

When LBS released their essay topics for this year, we caught up with Admissions Director David Simpson about the noticeable reduction in topics. Simpson said, “Along with all the questions we ask in the application form, we believe that the [single required] essay gives us the information we need to make our initial admissions decision.” Hence, applicants should weigh the information they are tempted to share in the optional essay in line with the school’s view that the one required essay should be sufficient.

As applicants are provided fields in the online application to address any academic weaknesses, e.g. academic probation, class withdrawal, etc., this place may be used to address other weaknesses in their applications or anomalies in the professional backgrounds that may raise questions for the admissions committee. While it may also be possible to share more general information about accomplishments or interests, applicants should pay attention to the “should” signifier in the question—a more closed wording than that of schools asking if there’s anything the applicant “would like” the adcom to know. Any information shared here should therefore be of material importance to one’s candidacy (as opposed to details falling in the “nice but not necessary to know” category).

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