Dec 21, 2011

Inside London Business School's Admissions Office

This post is one in a series of posts trying to decipher what happens once you click that "submit" button in the application portal of the top business schools. As told by the admissions directors themselves! Follow us on twitter and facebook to keep yourself updated with the next set of schools.

What happens once applications are submitted?

David Simpson, LBS associate director of marketing and admissions - Similar to many other business schools, we also follows a staged admissions application process, however, our process runs over a fairly long season. Our Round One deadline is in the month of October, and we made offers in December. Our final round deadline is towards the end of April, and these offers are made in July. Although we do expect applicants to do a lot of research about the school, which takes time  as well as effort (and often included a campus visit at some stage of this process), we also recognize that candidates' professional and personal circumstances can change quickly, thus affecting their application submission time. 

Once the applications are submitted through our online platform, they are downloaded after the admission deadline, printed out and additional documentations are added. They will go to admissions team members who will then read the application and decide if the applicant should be invited for an interview or not. Nobody joins the LBS MBA program without having been interviewed, face-to-face, with an alumnus. These alumni interviews offer us a consistently high standard of detailed feedback from the perspective of someone who has gone through the program themselves.  The admissions interviews also offer applicants we considered to be “borderline” for one or the other reason an opportunity to shine. After all, even from the perspective of attaining post-MBA employment, it is an applicant's all-round package of knowledge, experience, intellect, personality and charisma that will get them a job in this market. Because these admissions interviews are carried out in locations all over the world, usually wherever the candidates are based, these interviews add the benefit of local market/cultural knowledge.

After the initial interview, it may happen that a senior admissions staff may follow up with a secondary interview in cases where we need further information about the applicant in order to make a final decision.

Once the alum interview results are added to an application file, our admissions  committee sit down and makes its final decision. The admissions committee makes decisions on these applications for each of the four admissions stages, managing the waitlist process throughout. This process enables us to select the highest caliber applicants to create the best possible culturally and professionally diverse class. This process is a very long and involved one and we make use of all the stages of the admissions schedule to add individuals from various backgrounds and craft the best all-round “perfect class.”

In terms of any movements or shifts in the application process over the past one year, I will say that we are spending more time in having to pick between some  top class applicants. We received roughly the same number of applications last year as the previous year, reflecting a leveling off from an upward trend that had characterized the past several years. But even as the volumes have leveled off, the quality of the applications has continued to increase, and it is getting harder and harder to choose between people.

We keep focusing a lot on the alumni interview process and have carefully honed the guidance we give our alumni in terms of what we are looking for, and have also continued to set in place measures and systems so that we can pick the very best applicants for our MBA program. We have also changed the essays in the application slightly to make sure that the essays really reflect the values we want in our school. There could be some great applicants who would be great for another world class MBA program but might not be quite right for us or vice versa, and so by trying to  put more of our values into the new essays we are looking for an even better fit from our candidates. We are also trying to get more information about individual applicants by giving them more opportunities to tell us more about what they stand for.

BizSchoolPrep Comments:

  • Every application is read seriously. No cutoffs. Seriously, even if you have a 200 GMAT and 0.4 GPA!
  • Interviews are done by alums . They are usually extremely loyal to their school and hence, it is always to keep this fact in perspective while interviewing. Weak reasons for joining LBS or      showing not much of homework on the school, may not really work.
  • The application reading process may be a little random so do not try too hard to find a coorelation between the submitted date to the interview invite date with that of your friend.
  • Do not submit an incomplete application. Period.

Source: Collected from internet/clearadmit/Poets&Quants

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