Dang! This post was supposed to go up on Friday! And it didn’t! So sorry about that! We haven’t missed a post in like years! Here it is today; we hope it is worth the wait. 🙂
The general rule of thumb for applying to a top MBA program is, apply in the earlier rounds. For most schools, that means Round 1 (September/October) or Round 2 (right after New Year’s). London Business School is one of the few programs with four rounds. This means that their Round 3 is also viable — especially this year with all its uncertainty.
We touched on the European MBA last week in answering a question from an Indian engineer. We’ve heard that international applications to some British universities are down overall, and some colleges even reported no-shows in their entering class last August. This is of course due to fallout from the Brexit vote.
This uncertainty could translate into greater opportunity this year than most. If a school has suffered a dip in its application volumes, they’re going to be more open to seeing candidates later in the cycle, and they could be more flexible with who they would be willing to accept. This is all speculation; we don’t have any inside scoop on app volumes at LBS. From what we saw in Round 1, they were perhaps more open-minded in extending some interview invitations but in the end, when decisions came out, it was tough as always to get a win at this school. Not sure how Round 2 is shaping up so far.
However, the fact that they offer a third round, along with a fourth and final one, means that they do try to keep space open for applicants at this stage of the game. Frequently some very well-qualified candidates come up emptyhanded in Rounds 1 and 2 at other schools and it’s at this time of year that they start to look around for other programs to try for. LBS is by no means a safety school, but at the same time, you don’t have to be in the stratospheric heights in all aspects of your profile to get noticed here. It’s somewhere around the Booth/NYU/Duke tier: They need to see that you’re qualified and ready for their program, and they want to understand why you feel you’re a fit, but you don’t have to have a straight-A / 800 GMAT profile to have a real chance.
All of that lead-in is to say, LBS is a viable school to be trying for, even right now.
Which brings us to an essay that was submitted for a chance at our freebie review.
Here’s the essay question:
What are your post-MBA goals and how will your prior experience and the London Business School programme contribute towards these?
And here’s the very first sentence:
My post MBA goal is to become a global leader driving geospatial products that combine high end technology and affordability.
(Those crickets you hear are the background noise as we gather our thoughts.)
OK, let’s start over. Here’s the whole first paragraph, which we’ll post with fingers crossed that it’s going to proceed to a better place than where we began with that intro sentence:
My post MBA goal is to become a global leader driving geospatial products that combine high end technology and affordability. Right after my graduation, I want to work for a Geotech major to create and explore new ways of combining sustainability, technology and profitability. Through my goal, I aspire to touch the lives of common people living in the far-flung areas of developing countries like India, China, Thailand and Ethiopia where rural poor are deprived of basic facilities that the urban citizens get to enjoy. I want to create a paradigm where simple geospatial applications like navigation, disease mapping and water flow mapping for flood relief are all available in the hands of the under privileged.
Ohnoohnoohno [head in hands]
BSer, have you learned not nothing nowheres?
There is no goal here. This is just fancytalk.
This person really needs to study the blahg, and perhaps go for a service like the Career Goals App Accelerator.
An essay like this will simply not fly for a school like LBS.
They want to see AN ACTUAL PLAN from you. Not some grandiose language on how you’re going to cure the poverty and solve the cancer and feed the global warming. (Ahem.)
This person’s profile is maybe enough to get an interview at this school if everything else lines up — but this essay is not lining things up. This essay would be a problem for someone with a 750 GMAT score. Instead, this BSer has a 690, and the GPA is below our comfort zone. With weaknesses in the core stats like that, then it means the essays need to be powerhouse knock-you-out-they’re-so-great.
And unfortunately, this one just isn’t that.
If you’re new to the blahg, here’s some related posts to help you understand why we had such a negative reaction to that very first sentence and the opening paragraph:
This type of submission makes us sad – especially since this person had been coming around since like October, and had been part of our Countdown how-to series through the Fall, with full access to the blahg and all of our advice on how to do things… but they waited till Jan. 1 (which is kind of our busy time) to send us an essay asking for a free review in advance of their deadline on Jan. 4. And the essay was of the “oh no, you need to start over” variety. But we couldn’t even tell them that at the time because they waited too long and we didn’t have a chance to open it up and take a look.
BSer, if you’re still around, we’d love to get an update! Are we totally off our rocker and you have in fact been invited to interview at LBS? (We always secretly hope that’s the case, even though we can’t recall ever it happening.) If not, then the good news is you have plenty of time before Round 1 starts up again, to work on annoying things like career goals and essays. 🙂
For anyone else out there who’s thinking about LBS Round 3, we’ll tell you what our team told this BSer when this essay came in at the last minute: The Expedited Essay Decimator is available!! Or at minimum you might want to pick up the EssaySnark Guide to Applying to European Business Schools.
Good luck and godspeed to all of you!