2016 IMD Essay Tips

Click here to read other school specific essay tips.IMD, the International Institute for Management Development, in Lausanne, Switzerland, offers a 1-year MBA program focused on general management and leadership. While there are only 90 students in each class, the diversity among that class is wide: students hail from 45 countries: 43% from throughout Europe, 26% from Asia, 11% from the Middle East and Africa, 9% from North America, 8% from South America, and 3% from Oceania (Australia/New Zealand and the surrounding islands). Unlike programs in the US, which tend to build the bulk of their classes from students aged 26-28, IMD’s average student age is 31.

Graduates of IMD tend do very well in their careers after the program: the 3-year average graduate salary is $131,800. 75% of the class join industry (including Consumer Products, Industrial Products, Technology, Healthcare, and Energy) when they graduate, 20% enter Consulting, and 5% pursue Financial Services careers. IMD enjoys a global reputation that affords its graduates some flexibility in their career destinations: while 63% of the class remains in Europe after graduating, 22% find employment in Asia, 6% in the Africa or the Middle East, and 9% in North or South America. IMD is consistently ranked among the top programs in the world: BusinessWeek ranks it #9 among international programs, the Financial Times ranks it #12, and Forbes named it the best 1-year international MBA program.

IMD scaled way back this year, trimming their application from 7 essays to just 3, but there are other areas in the application form that will require additional short answers as well.

IMD was recently buffeted by major changes in administrative personnel and direction. For details, please see “5 Key IMD Officials Resign.” Now, to the IMD essay tips for 2016:

Essay 1:

Describe yourself in two hundred words or less [200 words]

I recommend covering just one or two major attributes in this short essay, sharing two separate anecdotes or one example that demonstrates both traits. Some of the qualities that IMD values in its students are an international outlook, desire to make a difference, commitment to learning from others, a broad understanding and appreciation of moral issues, and effective leadership. While you do not need to use these terms specifically, essays that reveal these qualities will appeal to the admissions committee.

Essay 2:

Give an example of a time when you were confronted with an unrecoverable event. How did it affect you and what were your greatest learnings? [300 words]

“Unrecoverable event” is a euphemism for failure. You need to choose an event in which you could have done better. I often see applicants implicitly or explicitly blame others in their essays for what went wrong. Unfortunately, not accepting responsibility for the failure will indicate to the admissions committee that you are emotionally immature and incapable of owning your role in the failure. Focus instead on what personal and professional insights would have been helpful to you and how you have worked to gain and apply those since this event.

Essay 3:

On your 75th birthday someone close to you presents your laudatio (tribute). It can be a friend, colleague, family member etc. Please describe in detail what this person would say about you and your life. [300 words]

This is your chance to share some of the accomplishments you have achieved in your life so far and others that you aspire to achieve before you turn 75. Instead of dreaming of enormous accomplishments in the future that have no grounding in what you have been doing so far, go ahead and talk about some of your achievements to date and how they set you on the path to the accomplishments you intend to talk about on your 75th birthday. Applicants may also use this essay to describe their long-term career and life goals – describing those goals as if they have come to fruition.

Short answer questions from throughout the application:

What is your career goal post IMD? [200 characters]

200 characters is typically just a bit more than 2 lines of text, so you don’t have much room here to explain the role you would like to secure after graduating from IMD. While one-third of the class changes their function, industry, and geography after graduating from IMD, 93% change only one of these areas and 74% change only two: your short-term goal needs to connect in some way to what you’ve been doing until now to be a credible transition. It should include the function you want to perform, the industry in which you want to perform it, and geographic location if relevant.

What are the skills you need to develop in order to achieve your goal? [200 characters]

Again, this allows only a short response. Successful applicants will research their intended short-term goal to understand the business skills and knowledge they need to succeed and discuss those that the IMD MBA education focuses on.

Is there any additional information that is critical for the Admissions Committee to know which has not been covered elsewhere in this application? If you would like to comment on career gaps, education, GMAT/GRE, a disability or illness, please use this space. (Optional) [300 words]

Now that the IMD application is so short, it seems inevitable that critical experiences have been left out. Even if you have to write about a career/education gap or test score issue, I recommend doing so briefly to allow you to cover another success story in this essay. The goal of using this space is to share another facet of your background and convince the admissions team that you have a wealth of interesting experiences to share with the class.   

Administrative questions:

Your responses to these questions will not be taken into consideration in the admissions process. 

1.  How do you intend to finance your MBA at IMD? What would your budget be?  [300 words]

Funding the MBA is expensive, and IMD wants to know that you have considered this before you embark. 300 words is ample space to elaborate on your financial resources.

2.  Why are you applying to IMD? What other programs have you considered / are you considering? [300 words]

While the header for this section informs applicants that their responses will not be taken into consideration in the admissions process, I highly recommend going into detail about what makes IMD an ideal program for you. Go ahead and share the insight that you have gained from current students and alumni about what makes IMD special. The second element of the question is useful for IMD to know who their peers are, which helps them tweak their own marketing and recruiting efforts.

Application deadlines are at 23:59 pm CET (Switzerland) time in the following order:

Within a maximum of 6 weeks, you will be informed whether you have been selected to be interviewed for further evaluation or if your application has been unsuccessful.

February 1
April 1
June 1
August 1
September 1

If you would like professional guidance with your IMD MBA application, please consider Accepted’s MBA essay editing and consulting  or our application package which include advising, editing, interview coaching, and a resume edit for the IMD MBA application.

Click here for Must-Know info & Advice for Students Abroad

Jennifer Bloom By Jennifer Bloom who has been helping applicants to the top MBA programs draft their resumes, application forms, letters of recommendation, and essays for 15 years. She is happy to serve as your personal coach and hand-holder throughout the entire process. There’s no time like the present to begin!

Related Resources:

The Quick Guide to Admissions Resumes
Maximizing Your MBA Application: 5 Tips for Succinct Essays
• Business and Science Meet: Insights of an IMD Grad and Former Medical Doctor 

Michigan Ross Receives $20M Gift to Launch Leadership Center

Visit our Michigan Ross zone page for all things Michigan Ross!Last week, Michigan Ross received a $20 million gift from former General Mills CEO Stephen W. Sanger and his wife, Karen Sanger. The money will go towards the construction of the Sanger Leadership Center. According to the Ross press release, “The Sanger Leadership Center will incorporate and expand on the current activities of the Ross Leadership Initiative – including the annual Impact Challenge and Crisis Challenge, Legacy Lab, Story Lab, skills-based workshops, and a variety of learning communities — as well as the Leaders Academy, where students create, launch and lead actual businesses.”

Stephen W. Sanger received his MBA from Michigan in 1970, joined General Mills in 1974, and then later became CEO of the giant food company. During his tenure, GM sales more than doubled; earnings and market capitalization tripled.

Ross associate dean and faculty director of the Sanger Leadership Center, Scott DeRue, says of the gift: “It will help us create even more high-impact, high-touch leadership development experiences that students can’t get anywhere else but Ross. I envision a future where 50,000 Michigan Ross students – past, present, and future – lead positive change in themselves and around the world. The creation of the Sanger Leadership Center and the generous gift from the Sangers mark a major leap forward in achieving this important vision. It’s an incredible addition to our leadership initiatives, and I am proud to be a part of this school and university at such an exciting time.”

Should you apply Round 3 or wait till next year?

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Related Resources:

Leadership in Admissions
Michigan Ross MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines
An Interview with Anne Perigo of University of Michigan’s Master of Entrepreneurship Program

Which Round Should I Apply to Business School?

When speaking with business school adcom members, most will advice that submitting a great application in the second round is far better than submitting a mediocre application in the first round. But what happens when you didn’t manage to submit in either round 1 or round 2. Business school applicants in this category are wondering, “Which round should I apply to business school? Should I apply round 3 or just wait till next year?”

Watch my latest Youtube video for the answer on when you should apply to business school.

That was my short answer. For a more in-depth analysis of the round 3 vs. next year application debate, join our live, free webinar where I address the differences between round 3 and earlier rounds, the pros and cons of applying R3, and help you solve your question, “Which round should I apply to business school?”

Which round should you apply to busines school?

Linda AbrahamBy Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.


What MBA Applicants Should Do After Submitting Their Application

Conduct more research on your intended goal in anticipation of an interview invitation

Within twelve hours I heard the same question from three clients, so I suppose this question may be on the minds of more than three, “now that I’ve submitted my applications, what should I do?”  The following are a list of suggestions:

  1. Continue to learn about each school by speaking with faculty, alumni and students.  The more information you have the better.  Be conscious of their limited time, so be thoughtful with the questions you ask. In addition, you may wind up with an unsolicited endorsement of your candidacy.
  2. Conduct more research on your intended goal in anticipation of an MBA interview invitation.  If instance, your intended goal is consulting, read The McKinsey Way or BCG on Strategy.  If you are an up and coming entrepreneur, Back of the Napkin or anything by Peter Drucker or Guy Kawasaki.  If you are transitioning into marketing, check out Communities Dominate Brands or Marketing Strategy: A decision-focused approach.
  3. Attend any events the school may be having (including virtual events).  Stay involved.  Show your interest.
  4. Make up for any gaps you may have in your application (quantitative skills, volunteer work).
  5. Create new opportunities to add revenue, decrease costs, increase efficiency, increase market share, increase shareholder value, increase safety, increase satisfaction (customer or employee) at work.
  6. Use your leadership skills with any opportunity you can imagine.
  7. If you haven’t been doing so yet, begin reading business press.  You need to understand the jargon, the acumen, and what drives business today.
  8. Now sit back and relax.  Schools receive the largest number of apps in the second round and if they use student readers, the students are on vacation until sometime in January leaving a big bottleneck in the review process.  Learn to be patient.  A must-have in this process.

If you have additional questions or concerns about applications, please contact Accepted.com.  My colleagues and I are available to consult with you.

Do you know the 10 commandments of MBA interviews?

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein By , an accomplished Accepted.com consultant/editor (since 2008) and entrepreneur. Natalie is a former MBA Admissions Dean and Director at Ross, Johnson, and Carey.


Related Resources:

How to Ace Your Interviews – Download the free guide!
• Help! I’ve Been Waitlisted!
MBA Student Interviews

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