In our recent post about GMAT scores being lower at LBS, we mentioned in an offhand way how London Business School is unique. This prompted a BSer to ask:
What are the advantages that you mention lbs offers that schools like Hbs or Stanford cannot?
First off is the point you know we’ll make: School fit is individual. What may be significant advantages to one person may be inconsequential or even negatives to another. That’s why personal research into the programs is very important (way more important than rankings).
The next point is also at least semi-obvious: The LBS MBA is just one year (or thereabouts [EDITED: PLEASE SEE COMMENTS FOR CLARIFICATION. -EssaySnark]). This can be a real benefit to many, particularly when the opportunity cost of not pulling a paycheck for an extended period is factored in.
Now, some people may feel this is a DIS-advantage, given how they are eager for a maximum break from the working world and are looking forward to taking a full two years off from the hamster wheel. Not that bschool isn’t “work”; it’s just also a helluva lotta “party” and “goofing off” thrown in too.
Next is the truly international environment, and the (presumably) more mature student body. These are factors of geography, and of school selection preference. There’s no bschool in the States where you can easily jet away to Milan, or Kosovo, or Copenhagen for the weekend — and where you’re likely to be able to find a traveling partner who speaks that country’s language to go with you from among your student peers. If you want to fill up your passport with stamps and your life with experiences, LBS is a great home base to start from.
Since the selection patterns of the LBS adcom have shown us that they are often reluctant to admit students without a certain floor of work (or life) experience, then you’re assured a particular level of maturity (hopefully) among your cohort.
This is not to knock Stanford and Harvard for admitting slightly younger kids, it’s just pointing to a slightly different flavor to the culture at these respective places.
Similarly, some may opine that going to school with a largely American student body – typically 60% of the class at any U.S. school – is going to give you a very different experience than when those numbers are flipped. It’s up to the individual which they feel is “better.”
Finally, we’ll leave you with a completely subjective measure: Over the years, we’ve seen a distinct pattern in how candidates target schools. There are those who start out with LBS at the top of their list, and those who add LBS on later, either in a later round or only after a process of trying to expand their options (i.e., thinking it’s a safety school).
The ones in the first category who get into LBS jump at the chance.
The ones in the second category who get into LBS often go somewhere else – either because they got in at another program, or they simply decide to ditch bschool altogether and pursue other goals (yes, sometimes this happens even after people get in somewhere good).
What does this say?
That the people at LBS really **want** to be there. They’re not ending up there as an also-ran or a backup plan. They are seeking out the LBS experience on purpose.
Our sample size is small and there’s a range of everyone at every school, but we’ve observed this play out often enough that we believe the LBS class may have a slightly different quality than some other places.
So that’s just a little snarkism that carries little weight. Anyone who’s at LBS or an alum and wants to offer their own observations or commentary is invited to do so, either in the comments or via Twitter or even by email to the email “gethelpnow” at this website.
Here's what others have said about this:
I thought the LBS MBA was 15, 18 or 21 months, not 1 year?
Yes you’re right AW – that’s why we said “one year (or thereabouts)”. Many people are interested in LBS and other European schools precisely because they’re shorter. Obviously 21 months is much closer to two years but we rarely see people who start of their application to LBS planning to do the longer stint; usually it’s the opposite.
Of course if you want to get technical, all the so-called “two-year” full-time MBA programs are actually more like 21 months!! We’re guilty of using some shorthand with these things.
Your comment though is much appreciated, since the whole flexible format of LBS should’ve been mentioned in this post. It’s the only school we know of that does it that way – you can graduate in 15, 18, or 21 months, just like you said, and the beauty of it is you don’t have to decide upfront. You can figure it out as you go. Thank you for calling us on the lack of precision, since it relates to this very important feature!
Last year, LBS was my dream school. Sadly, my poor interview experience with an alum (the one you helped me with) left a sour taste in my mouth of the school.