London Business School by Matthew Black licensed under CC BY 2.0
Located in Europe’s defacto “center of business,” albeit too staid to turn their location into an essay prompt a la Columbia, London Business School’s first two essay questions provide a sufficient helping of bangers and mash while leaving plenty of room for dessert—namely the 300-word Essay 3.
Essay 1 is a straightforward goals essay that affords sufficient room (500 words) for MBA candidates to connect the dots between their past experiences and their future career initiatives that will become even more realistic through an LBS MBA. As with all business school admission essays, focusing on specifics is critical to writing essays that get noticed by admissions committees and earn interviews. Therefore a thorough knowledge of LBS’s offerings and resources beyond what can be found on a website or blog is prerequisite. Additionally, their mention of “post-MBA plans” should be addressed within the context of the applicant’s full career trajectory. Increased focus can be placed on immediate post-MBA plans, but long-term goals also need to be addressed.
Essay 2 is the applicant’s second opportunity to blatantly illustrate their fit with LBS, (the first being the lines that connect the dots in Essay 1) this time in 300 words. Again, being specific is critical: How will the applicant add to the LBS community through their perspectives, values, knowledge, background, and career experiences, and how does this all tie together with their future plans (read: alum community)?
As with most memorable meals, dessert, in this case LBS’s Essay 3, depends on what the applicant has already served up. What do you want the admission committee to know about you that wasn’t covered in the first two essays? This could be one particular experience, or a range of experiences that provide additional insights into who you are, what you have, and hope to achieve throughout your life. Approach this essay as a shorter version of Stanford’s WMM, and you’ll put yourself on the right track. And yes, this is also where candidates can briefly explain away less than stellar test scores or undergraduate performance, but this is not an optional essay. Like any good dessert, London Business School’s Essay 3 should be refreshing and satisfying, but most important—compliment everything that came before.