London Business School Master In Finance 2015 Essay Tips

Click here for more information on LBSThe relatively short LBS MFin essay questions, together, convey the adcom’s interest in both who you are and how you envision and plan your career.  Given that your classmates will be experienced finance professionals (the average work experience is six years), it’s important to deliver throughout and “across” the essays mature, informed insights and perspectives derived from your experience in your particular area of finance.

The essay questions are: 

1. What is it about Finance that interests and inspires you? (300 word limit) 

Be yourself.  No need to wear a halo; while some people are inspired by the belief that finance can change the world for the better, others feel equally inspired by the high stakes and fast pace, or a technical or intellectual dimension.  

This essay work best as a story – simply tell the story of how you “fell in love” with finance (whether industry or function or both—what finance means and looks like to you).  This approach will allow the reader to see through your eyes what interests and inspires you about the field.  And it will inherently lead you to provide the detail and anecdote to make the essay memorable and vivid.

2. What role do you see yourself in immediately after the programme? How will the MiF build on your current skills and experience to help you achieve this? In what geographical region do you see yourself working in immediately after the programme? If you are not successful in your first choice of role, is there another role you would consider? (500 word limit) 

This is really four questions. You needn’t answer them in order, and I suggest combining the “geographical region” answer with the answer to the first question about where you see yourself immediately post-program.  That discussion should include details such as company or type of company, specific positions and titles, and what you want to achieve in that role and why – your “vision” for this step in your career. Should you mention long-term goals?  Sure, if you wish, but briefly.  Sometimes they are important for understanding your short-term goals.  The immediate goal should be consistent with the message in the first essay, and should be a realistic target that’s also appropriately ambitious.

The final question asks for your “Plan B.” In describing it, give a brief rationale as well for why it’s a suitable and appealing path.

3. What value will you add to London Business School? (200 word limit)

Feel free to discuss relevant factors beyond finance here (note the question asks not what you’ll bring to the MFin program, but to London Business School).  Some possible topic areas include unusual work experience or industry/functional exposure, personal interests (though please don’t say traveling), formative academic or social experiences, distinctive or unusual aspects of your background, etc. Think about what will round out your profile in an appealing and relevant way to prospective classmates.  With only 200 words, don’t discuss more than 3 things; you’ll still need example and detail to make the topics credible and interesting.   

Deadlines:
Want more info on LBS? Click here

If you would like professional guidance with your LBS MFin application, please consider Accepted’s essay editing and admissions consulting or our Masters in Finance Application Package.

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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:

MBA in Sight: Focus on Finance
Master in Finance: What You Need to Know
• Princeton University Master in Finance: Is It Right for You, and Are You Right for Princeton?

LBS Executive MBA 2015 Essay Tips

Click here to learn more about LBSIn the LBS EMBA website landing page, a short introduction to the program includes the words “transform,” “transition,” and “catalyst.”  Also, “accelerate” and “propel.”  This is a clear message from the adcom: the program goes beyond conveying necessary skills for senior managers; it is for people who have a dynamic sense of their future and a willingness to change and grow, as well as to study and learn.  Your essays should mirror and convey this dynamic sense, this energy, this vigor.

Question 1: How has the scope of your management experience affected your career objectives? (500 word max)

This is a goals question, albeit rather indirect.  And the question itself reflects the dynamic perspective: rather than “what” your career goals are, it asks you to present them as a part of an ongoing process.  

It’s an essay for which the most work might come before you write it – in the preliminary thinking process.  Make it an exercise: FIRST, define your career objectives (short and longer term).  SECOND, identify what factors influenced the development of those objectives.  THIRD, of those factors, single out those related (directly and/or indirectly) to your management experience.  Now, you’ve got the raw material for your essay.

In the actual essay, you could start with career objectives and work back to portray the related management experience – or vice versa.  Either way, be specific in all aspects – make your goals concrete, and use anecdote and detail in describing the influential management experience.

Question 2: What was your response to a piece of feedback that you have received regarding an area of weakness?  (500 words max)

The adcom wants to see how frankly you portray the feedback and your own shortcoming, and how insightfully you contextualize your experience.  Secondarily, it’s about change –did you grow and change as a result of the feedback?

This essay will be most compelling and engaging if written as a story.  Start right in with the story’s setting – where, who, when (ideally make it a fairly recent experience, and one that holds some meaningful stakes).  Then progress through the story, highlighting not just what you and the other party said and did, but also your thinking as the story progresses.  Finally, give a short example of how you have applied this feedback (or your learning from this feedback experience) subsequently – in other words, how you grew.

Question 3 (500 words max):  Please choose ONE essay from the following two options:

If you could choose any three people who have ever lived to join you for dinner, who would you invite and why?

OR

If you were on the cover of any publication in 10 years, what would the headline and the content of the article be?

If the first two questions are rooted in real-world, concrete experience, this question urges you to “play” a little and use your imagination, wit, creativity, and possibly broader passions in answering.

Which should you answer?  Both are equally good; it depends on which serves your needs and interest best.

There are various viable and effective approaches to this essay. One is “gut instinct” and personal appeal.  I.e., if one of these questions strikes a chord with you, engages you, and you have an idea that you like, probably it will be an effective essay.   Go with it!  BUT, do apply some objective, focused analysis as well.  Ensure that your content truly illuminates you in some new and fresh way relevant to the application, and do use detail and example to make your essay credible and vivid.  

Another approach is strategic.  If your imagination isn’t tickled by these questions, instead analyze and plan.  What relevant and interesting aspects of your profile aren’t yet portrayed (or portrayed adequately) in the application?  Identify one or two such points, and work back from that to find suitable topics for one of the two questions.  BUT: don’t be too heavy handed with the essay, which wouldn’t align with the question’s tone.

Random pitfalls:

• If you choose the first question, please don’t use very obvious or overly angelic people (I’ve seen this essay answered with Gandhi and Mother Teresa more often than I can believe over 15 years.)  Rather, discuss people who show your creative thinking and/or are personally meaning to you.

• If you choose the second question, don’t turn the essay into a second goals essay.  Ensure that it extends the portrayal of you in some way.

 Deadlines:

For September 2015 and January 2016 start:  Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis within 2 weeks of receipt.  A final decision will come 6 to 8 weeks after submission.

Get clear, practical guidelines for answering the MBA goals essay question. Click here to download our free report.

Cindy Tokumitsu By , co-author of The EMBA Edge, and author of the free special report, Ace the EMBA. Cindy has helped MBA applicants get accepted to top EMBA programs around the world. She is delighted to help you too!

Related Resources:

Ace the EMBA
• School-Specific EMBA Application Essay Tips
• The GMAT and EMBA Programs

Global EMBA 2015 Essay Tips

Click here to learn more EMBA essay tips

You need to know what “global leader” means to you.

The Global EMBA has 2 program options: EMBA-Global Americas & Europe which combines the strengths of Columbia University and London Business School; and EMBA-Global Asia, with Columbia University, London Business School, and Hong Kong University Business School.  

Of course all MBA and EMBA applications are about “fit.”  The Global EMBA is too – just more so.  This adcom really focuses on fit, because the program is so unique and intense.  And the concept of “global leader” is a critical part of that fit.  How it’s embodied will be unique to each applicant; ensure that your essays reflect your own mindset and vision of global leadership.  

The adcom also looks for applicants who truly understand and will make productive use of this distinctive educational opportunity, which comprises multiple campuses and schools each with its own particular focus, opportunities, and areas of excellence.  

The three essay questions vary in approach, thus requiring you to present yourself effectively from different angles.  There’s a fairly classic goals essay, a “story” (behavioral) essay, and an open “statement.”  The challenge is to employ a consistent individual voice while also adapting it to the various essay types.

EMBA GLOBAL ESSAY QUESTIONS

Essay 1 (maximum 500 words)

Why do you wish to participate in the EMBA-Global programme? What do you hope to experience and how will participation in this programme help you to achieve your objectives?

Here’s that goals question.  First a note about the nuance of the question: notice the words wish, hope, experience, and participate/participation.  These words imply an immersive, personal, community, collaborative orientation.  In the essay (and indeed throughout the application) show how you fit with this holistic approach.

Structure: I’ve found that it’s intuitive and logical to start the essay by discussing your goals – the objectives at the very end of the question.  (And add a word about what motivates them.)  You will then naturally move into what you hope to experience from the program, because your professional goals create your learning needs.  This part can (indeed should) include a personal component as well.  To address participation, discuss elements beyond the classroom where you will learn and contribute, such as clubs, social interactions, etc.

Essay 2 (maximum 500 words)

Please describe a situation either work or personal where you faced a particular challenge. What was the outcome and what did you learn from the experience about your own strengths and personal development needs?

This is the story.  I suggest selecting a topic that’s relatively recent.  Make it a situation with some significant stakes, and one that yielded meaningful insight, growth, and change.  

Structure: Jump right into the story.  Avoid preambles that give away the ending!  This straightforward approach grips the reader and frees up space for detail and narrative, which is the way to grip the reader.  As you walk through what happened, highlight your actions and add in snippets of what you were thinking (and even feeling).  Conclude with a paragraph reflecting on what you learned about your strengths and development needs.

Personal statement (maximum 500 words)

Please tell us about yourself and your background. How do you embody the characteristics of a future global leader? The objective of this statement is to get a sense of who you are, rather than what you have achieved professionally.

First, think.  Selecting content is not so easy when faced with an open question such as this.  There is no one formula that will work for everyone.  Some people might best focus on aspects of their cultural milieu and its formative influence on their values and perspective.  Others might focus on pivotal experiences during university, others yet on influential role model(s) or relationships.  Many people will appropriately discuss more than one of these things.

The adcom knows that the term “global leader” is abstract and that it will be manifested uniquely in each “real” global leader.  So rather than trying to fit your experiences to the concept of global leader, work from the other direction: start with your experiences and background and elucidate how they will help make you a unique, individual global leader.  

Last but not least, you need to know what “global leader” means to you and what kind of global leader you aspire to be.  You can’t just use the phrase without defining it for the adcom.   You have to create the picture.

Remaining deadlines:

EMBA Global Americas & Europe:  02 March 2015

EMBA-Global Asia:  20 March 2015
Download your free copy of Ace the EMBA!
Cindy Tokumitsu

By , co-author of The EMBA Edge, and author of the free special report, Ace the EMBA. Cindy has helped MBA applicants get accepted to top EMBA programs around the world. She is delighted to help you too!

Related Resources:

• School-Specific Executive MBA Essay Tips
• The GMAT and EMBA Programs
• Tips for Executive MBA Reapplicants

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.

Deadlines:
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