2015 London Business School MiM Essay Questions & Tips

Learn more about the LBS Masters in Management programThe LBS MiM adcom seeks two key factors that are essential for MiM students – recent college grads – to make productive use of the program.  They are: (a) self-understanding and (b) a realistic and informed view of the business world and their future role in it, even though they don’t yet have much actual experience.  

The London Business School MiM essay questions are designed to elicit this information. They also reflect the program’s requirements for strong communication skills, specifically concision. The word limits are tight; you have to pack a lot of substance into your responses to distinguish yourself.

Question 1 (500 words)
In what company and role will you be working in after completing your Masters in Management and how will your academic, professional, and personal achievements allow you to succeed in this position? What challenges do you foresee in pursuing this goal?

Wait, how can you know what company you’ll be working at after graduating?  Figuring that out was partly why you want to attend the program….

Pretend you know.  Identify the company and role that interests you most now, and build the essay on them.  (Feel free to add that if you don’t end up there, you’ll welcome a similar position at a similar company.)  What the adcom is looking for here is assurance that you have sufficient practical understanding of post-MiM options to make an informed decision about attending the program and using LBS’ extensive career resources.

Discuss the target company and role, including why you want them, what you hope to accomplish, and how your achievements will help you succeed in this role.  While elaborating on the role, also address 2-3 challenges you anticipate in pursuing it.  It would not hurt here to explain how the LBS MiM will prepare you to address those challenges.

Question 2 (300 words)
The MiM study groups will challenge students by testing their ability to work with academically and culturally diverse people and to play different roles within these teams. What strengths will you bring to your team and what qualities will you need to improve in order to be a valued team member? Feel free to use a real example to illustrate your thoughts.

Select 2-3 strengths and illustrate them with brief examples – these examples needn’t be of equal length (given the tight word limit, even a 1-sentence example is okay), but don’t just explain this-and-that is your strength.  Actual examples will make these strengths vivid and credible.  Use different strengths, not things that overlap a lot (as “communication skills” and “interpersonal skills” do).  Briefly note after each strength how it will enable you to contribute to the team.

In discussing qualities (yes, plural) that you need to improve, use an example for at least one – and be sure to present points that are relevant to the team process.

Another straightforward and effective approach is to identify a team work success, describe your role, and then  relate how that success reflects specific strengths as well as what qualities need to be improved upon. Or the weakness part can be a separate paragraph.

Whichever structure you use, with only 300 words, select content that doesn’t require a lot of background explanation.

Question 3 (200 words)
The core values of London Business School challenge individuals to be communal, courageous, ambitious, eclectic, and engaged. Please tell us about a time when you demonstrated one of these values in your personal or professional life.

This essay is essentially a story, so the structure is simple: narrate the story.  Succinctly.  

The challenge comes in selecting the story.  Choose something ideally fairly recent, and that either presents a different dimension that the points you mention in the preceding essay, or elaborates on one of the strengths.  Select something truly meaningful and pivotal in your life.  You can use either professional or personal stories for this essay. And do explicitly state in one sentence why you view the experience as communal, courageous, ambitious, eclectic, or engaged.

Question 4 (400 words)

Please answer this question ONLY if you are applying to the Global Masters in Management.

An exposure to the Western and Eastern way of doing business is a fast-track to succeed in today’s global world. Boeing CEO Jim McNerney has said, “The people who will lead our company in the future have to have personal experience in China.” If you were to interview with Mr. McNerney for a position in his company, how would you demonstrate that you’re the right person for the role?

IF you’ve had personal experience in China, it might seem that you have the easier job – but don’t expect brownie points for that.  You must express something meaningful, insightful, and relevant about your time there.  Use examples and anecdotes as the main content, and draw conclusions in brief reflections.

IF you haven’t had personal experience in China, you must be a bit creative.  DO NOT fall into the trap of explaining why such experience really isn’t necessary.  Remember, the point of the essay is to let the adcom learn more about you, not experience in China.  Therefore, give reasons – backed up by examples – why you are right for the job in spite of lacking the stated experience. And it won’t hurt to explain you intend to get the experience soon, and how.

The recommended deadlines for the 2015 intake (MiM2016 class) are:

Learn more about the London Business School MiM program

Cindy Tokumitsu By , author and co-author of numerous ebooks, articles, and special reports, including Why MBA and Best MBA Programs: A Guide to Selecting the Right One. Cindy has advised hundreds of successful applicants in her fifteen years with Accepted.com.

Related Resources:

• From Example to Exemplary
• The Scoop on the London Business School Masters in Management Program
• MBA/MMM Interview with Kellogg Student: Using Empathy to Succeed

Jumpstart Your Business Career with a Masters in Management Program

Applying for a Masters in Management? Learn more here.

Most MiM programs expect – indeed want – you to have little actual business experience

You’ve seen the light (or maybe just the real world): a career in business is the right path for you.

BUT – you’ve just graduated with a degree in materials science.  Or sociology.  Or comparative literature.  Yup – chances of finding a serious management track job are slim for new graduates, even ones with impressive academic records.

And that is exactly why there is the Masters in Management.

What: Masters in Management programs usually are one year. Their purpose is twofold. First and foremost, they provide a basic business education.  Second, they provide career development, guidance, and recruiting.  (At LBS for example, recruiters in 2013 included Google, GE Capital, and Goldman Sachs – that’s just from the “G’s”!)  Business education + extensive corporate connections = smooth, direct path to business career.

Who:  Masters in Management programs target recent or upcoming graduates in the humanities/liberal arts, engineering, and sciences.   Most MiM programs expect – indeed want – you to have little actual business experience (if you have more experience, it puts you in MBA range).  The exact parameters for the target applicant vary a bit program to program (e.g. unlike many MiM programs, LBS’ program will consider applicants with undergrad business degrees).

Where: University business schools that offer MBA and other business programs typically house MiM programs.  However, not all business schools offer MiM programs, e.g., NYU Stern does not; University of Michigan Ross School of Business does.

Is a MiM program right for you?  To make the most of a MiM program, and to be an appealing applicant, you need to:

• Know why you want to pursue a management career.

• Have an idea of how that career will start and take shape over about 5 years.

• Be able to demonstrate the leadership, teamwork, communication, and quantitative ability necessary to succeed in the program.

• Be able to express these points in an essay or statement of purpose.

The goals you discuss needn’t be set in stone – MiM adcoms expect that you will further explore opportunities during the program.  And they understand that your goals may well change as you evolve professionally.  However, they do want to see focus. And they do want some assurance that you are making an informed decision to pursue a management education and career path.

Why not MBA?  MBA is the more famous cousin to MiM.  MBA programs are for people with more developed careers and goals. If you earn a MiM and later want to pursue an MBA, you can.

The Quick Guide to Admissions Resumes: Get your free copy!

Cindy Tokumitsu By , author and co-author of numerous ebooks, articles, and special reports, including Why MBA and Best MBA Programs: A Guide to Selecting the Right One. Right One. Cindy has advised hundreds applicants to a variety of graduate programs in management since joining Accepted in 1998. She is happy to guide you through the Masters in Management application process.

Related Resources:

Get Your Game On: Preparing for Your Grad School Application
The Scoop on the London Business School Masters in Management Program
MBA/MMM Interview with Kellogg Student: Using Empathy to Succeed

2015 Duke MBA—Cross-Continent Essays Tips

Read more school specific essays tips.The Duke Cross Continent MBA program is unique in its format and mission, and it targets a special segment of the MBA applicant pool: those who intend to continue working during the MBA and whose work and goals have a global focus.  The average age of Cross-Continent students is a couple of years older than that of traditional MBA students.  

Given the above, it’s not surprising to see the essay questions both addressing, directly and indirectly, fit with this one-of-a-kind program.  And that’s exactly what you should keep your eye on as you develop your essays.  While creating essays that answer the questions and also showcase your strengths, spotlight those experiences and elements that demonstrate both your understanding of the program’s specialness and how you align with and will enhance it.  

Required Short Answer Question:

What are your career goalsRespond in a maximum of 100 words.

Give the basic facts – position, company example, industry (if not apparent from the company) and a word about responsibilities and desired impacts. Don’t repeat the question (it wastes space).

Required Essays:

1. How will your skills, training and background enhance your cohort’s experience? Please include both personal and professional insight that may not be apparent through your resume and other application materials. Your response should be a maximum of 250 words.

This question is asking you to look behind your accomplishments and identify what “drives” or enables your success.  The quality of your insight in this regard is the key point.  With only 250 words, focus on 2-4 things; probably 3 would be ideal.   Draw from at least 2 of the 3 categories (skills, training, background) as each category has a different type of influence.

Use examples and anecdotes to make the actual points – it they will make the essay more vivid, memorable, and credible. Obviously you won’t have room for lengthy stories, but you can sometimes convey an anecdote in one sentence, e.g., “When confronted with ABC, I drew on my [specific background/skill/training] and did DEF, resulting in XYZ.”

2. Duke University is embedded in the world’s most important economic regions. As a result, our students experience a unique learning environment in which programs are delivered on 4 different continents, by our world-renowned faculty. Our diverse student cohorts represent a vast array of professional backgrounds, nationalities, interests, and experiences. Serving students who are also working professionals, The Duke MBA—Cross Continent program allows student to apply new skills immediately in the workplace and reap the benefits from their first-hand global experiences.  Explain how you and your organization will benefit from the global education offered at Duke. Your response should be a maximum of 500 words.

There’s a lot of preamble before the actual question, “Explain…”  Don’t gloss over it – this intro encapsulates Duke’s vision for this program, and it can help you focus your goals essay accordingly.

Start with the immediate and short-term – discuss what you want to accomplish while in the program, and how applying the MBA learning “in real time” including its global aspect will enable you to do so.  Be concrete, be specific.  Discuss benefits to you (how you’ll be able to achieve more, grow, strengthen your impact) and to your company – they will connect with your impacts.  Being specific in this discussion will also convey what you’ll bring to the table in terms of issues you’re addressing and working on, your industry and functional perspective, etc. so select points that will be interesting to the adcom and future classmates.

Finally, add a similar discussion for longer term goals, but make it shorter and less detailed.  

Optional Essay: If you feel there are extenuating circumstances of which the admissions committee should be aware, please explain them here (e.g. unexplained gaps in work, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, significant weakness in your application). Do NOT upload additional essays nor additional recommendations in this area. The Optional Essay is intended to provide the admissions committee with insight into your extenuating circumstances only.

This optional essay should focus on matters that require explanation; it does not invite you to further market yourself. Only write it if you do indeed have extenuating circumstances to discuss for a full and clear presentation of your candidacy.

 Re-applicant Essay:

An additional essay is required for re-applicants. It is not uncommon for it to take more than one try to achieve a goal. Please share with us the self-reflection process that you underwent after last year’s application and how you have grown as a result. How did it shape your commitment to Fuqua and inspire your decision to reapply?

The reapplicant essay focuses on “how” you approached growth and change as much as “what” that growth was.  They are not just looking for updates on new achievements – they want to know that you have deliberately pursued a path of growth and development, what they results were, and, finally, how it spurs your reapplication to Fuqua.  To avoid the potential pitfall of a lot of explanation in this essay, make the main part of the essay – the self-reflection and the growth – into a story, and conclude with how it incorporates Fuqua.

The deadlines are:
Make sure your applications are ready with a final check!





The Quick Guide to Admissions Resumes: Get your free copy!

Cindy Tokumitsu 

By , author and co-author of numerous ebooks, articles, and special reports, including Why MBA and Best MBA Programs: A Guide to Selecting the Right One. Cindy has advised hundreds of successful applicants in her fifteen years with Accepted.com.

Related Resources:

 Top MBA Program Essay Questions: How to Answer Them Right
• 4 Goals of an MBA Application
• 7 Signs an Experience Belongs in Your Application Essays 

Indiana Kelley 2015 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines

Read more school specific essays tips. These questions are a straightforward mix of professional and personal.  The adcom wants assurance that you have a clear professional focus and a solid plan for using the Kelley MBA resources.  Beyond that, they’re looking for engaging applicants who are willing to share their life experiences and understand what they have to contribute.  Strive for balance and coherence among the essays overall: use them to show different facets of your character, while avoiding contradictory qualities (i.e., you can be a vigorous risk-taker in one and a tender-hearted soul in another, but not a vigorous risk-taker in one and tentative or overly cautious person in another).


Your essays will give us an idea of your personality, perspectives, and opinions and will let us know how closely your professional objectives match the objectives of the MBA program. We encourage you to be honest, informative, creative, and concise.


1.  Please discuss your immediate post-MBA professional goals. How will your professional experience, when combined with a Kelley MBA degree, allow you to achieve these goals? Should the short-term goals you have identified not materialize, what alternate career paths might you consider? (500 words)

This question encourages you to present your goals in the context of your experience and to integrate your MBA plans with both.  With only 500 words, be selective and thoughtful about what points from your career to use to contextualize your goals.  Also, the question specifies short-term goals.  While it would be fine to add a sentence or a phrase about longer- term goals or overall career vision, keep your goals discussion focused on the same time frame the question focuses on: immediately post-MBA.  This question is asking for linkages among your experience, your short-term goals, and your anticipated MBA experience, so think about how you will form an integrated message out of these elements.

In answering the last point, continue the linkage approach: the alternatives you identify should build on your experience in some way and be consistent with your expressed career interests.  Show that you are adaptable and strategic, informed about the options, and resourceful in your thinking.

2.  Please respond to one of the following short essay prompts. (300 words)
a) My greatest memory is…
b)  I’m most afraid of…
c)  My greatest challenge has been…
d)  I’m most proud of…

Consider which question will give you the best avenue to both (a) round out your profile and (b) showcase an interesting and relevant aspect of your life and/or experience.  

Once you decide on a topic and question, write this short essay in mini-story format.  Sometimes the story itself will convey the message and/or insight, sometimes you may want to add a concluding sentence with this information.  And be sensitive to the tone and presentation of the question – it really is asking for something engaging, meaningful, and lively.

3. Please share with the admissions committee an interesting or surprising fact about you. (25 words)

Your topic selection here should balance the topic in essay 2 and reflect another aspect of you.  Also, if you choose an older story above, make this one more recent.  (It’s fine to have them both be recent, but not so great to have them both be far in the past.)

4.  Optional: Is there anything else that you think we should know as we evaluate your application? If you believe your credentials and essays represent you fairly, you shouldn’t feel obligated to answer this question. (300 words)

This question first and foremost invites you to explain anything that needs explaining (e.g., gap in employment, choice of recommender if not using a direct supervisor, etc.). As far as non-necessary points, that last phrase is polite warning that anything extra must be pretty darn important.  

Make sure your application is ready for prime time!

Read more school-specific MBA essay tips!

Cindy Tokumitsu By , author and co-author of numerous ebooks, articles, and special reports, including Why MBA and Best MBA Programs: A Guide to Selecting the Right One. Cindy has advised hundreds of successful applicants in her fifteen years with Accepted.com.

Related Resources:

Maximize Your MBA Application: 5 Tips for Succinct Essays
Are MBA Rankings Really Important?
Showing the Adcom That You Can Accept Criticism

USC Marshall 2015 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines

All you need to know about USC Marshall

USC Marshall School of Business

On one hand, the new USC Marshall MBA essay question is very focused: goals, why Marshall.  There is a little twist, however, which gives the question an intriguing complexity: personal and/or professional goals…  What does this twist say about Marshall?  That the adcom trusts you to frame your goals in the most meaningful way, and to reveal or not reveal personal considerations and plans as you see fit. Knowing yourself – what you want and need and why, and knowing how to present and share what’s important about you will be keys to contributing to Marshall’s collaborative community and making productive use of Marshall’s flexible program. In this one essay, convey that knowledge.

Required Essay: What are your short-term and long-term personal and/or professional goals following graduation from USC Marshall? How will USC Marshall enable you to develop or improve your skills in order to reach your goals? (500-700 words)

Most people will want to address professional goals in this essay, and I suggest doing so.  As far as personal goals, there is no one formula that works for everyone; some may address this point extensively, and some not at all – and both approaches may be exactly right for those particular applicants.  That said, there is not necessarily a solid line between personal and professional goals, and so if you address (a) how you intend your career to develop and (b) how you want to grow through the MBA experience, that will likely be just fine, and you needn’t worry about personal versus professional.  

The key is to be specific about whatever goals you do discuss.  Clarify why the goal is important to you, and give some concrete and practical expression of what achieving it will look like.  Don’t forget to discuss both short- and long-term goals, and for the former, for professional goals be specific about industry, function, type of company, perhaps geography.

In explaining how USC Marshall will facilitate these goals, cite particular qualities and aspects of the program that address your learning and growth needs, and/or your academic or professional interests.  Rather than citing 10 things you like about the program, focus on the top 2-4 in some depth, with thoughtful insight about their applicability to you.

Optional essay: Please provide any additional information that you believe is important and/or will address any areas of concern that will be beneficial to the Admissions Committee in considering your application. (250 words)

This question invites you to both discuss points that will enhance your application and explain anything that needs explaining (e.g., gap in employment, choice of recommender, etc.). For the former, if you ask the adcom to read additional material, make sure that it truly illuminates and is germane to your candidacy.  It should not be something that is just nice for the adcom to know.  

Re-application Essay: Please describe any significant professional, personal, or academic growth since your last application to the USC Marshall School of Business. Discuss your specific professional goals and how the USC Marshall Full-Time Program will help you achieve these goals. (500 words)

The key to a successful reapplication is to show growth and that’s the job of this essay. At least one of the growth points you present should be professional – there are the obvious things like a promotion or a new project to lead, and less obvious things like new industry or functional exposure, informal leadership, a challenge or problem that “stretched” your skills and perspective. In describing goals, if they’ve changed from the previous application, note why.

USC Marshall Deadine





Want more school specific MBA application essay tips? Click here!

 Cindy TokumitsuCindy Tokumitsu is the author and co-author of numerous ebooks, articles, and admissions guides, including Why MBA and Best MBA Programs: A Guide to Selecting the Right One. Cindy has advised hundreds of successful applicants in her fifteen years with Accepted.com.

Related Resources:

How to Get Accepted to Top B-Schools with Low Stats
4 Goals of an MBA Application
Why Do YOU Need an MBA?