“Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” — Samuel Johnson
The London Business School MBA is one of the top MBA programs globally; The Financial Times has ranked LBS’s two-year MBA program as the second-best globally, while Forbes has ranked it as the number one international program for the seventh consecutive time.
Founded in 1964, London Business School (LBS) is a truly global university and is home to one of the most extensive exchange programs in the world. Situated within the ancient streets of Old Blighty, LBS offers its students unprecedented access to London’s diverse and cosmopolitan culture. This article will provide you with all of the information you need to apply to LBS, tips and tricks for your application, and answers to some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding the school.
About London Business School’s MBA Program
LBS states that “being global is in... [its] DNA,” which is reflected in its teaching, culture, and values. Since its inception in 1964, LBS has “set out to help individuals thrive as well as advance a shared purpose: to have a profound impact on the way the world does business and the way business impacts the world.”
LBS is truly a global school. LBS has two campuses at opposite ends of the globe; its main campus is located in Sussex Place, London, and the sister campus is located in downtown Dubai.
LBS offers a range of master’s programs “to suit your transition needs, at every stage of your career.” The available programs are as follows:
Masters in Management
Global Masters in Management
Masters in Financial Analysis
Executive MBA London
Masters in Finance Part-time
“An MBA with a difference. You.”
The London Business School MBA provides you with an opportunity to pursue a “customisable” course with a global focus. Ninety percent of incoming students come from outside the UK, which means you’ll learn alongside students with a diverse set of experiences, values, and backgrounds.
Despite being a full-time course, the LBS MBA provides you “with all the advantages of a two-year programme plus the benefit of flexible exit points after 15, 18 or 21 months of study.” The tuition fees for the full program are £92,735 and, to participate in LBS’s vibrant community, you will have to pay the Student Association fee of £270.
The MBA curriculum is divided into several core courses and electives. Before you start, you’re required to complete the ‘pre-term core’ courses in finance, accounting, and quantitative methods to ensure you hit the ground running when you start your classes. Once you’ve started the program, you’ll take the ‘Business Fundamentals Core’ course, designed to “combine a solid business toolkit with the skills and cultural sensitivities [you need] to succeed anywhere in the world.” From the second term, you will take the ‘Tailored Core’ courses, allowing you to tailor your core courses to your personal and professional goals.
Experiential learning and global exposure are core aspects of LBS’s curriculum. Giri Kesavan, an MBA student, states that “this degree is all about transforming knowledge into different contexts, in a global basis – not simply just about transmission of knowledge from faculty to students.” The LondonCAP (London Core Application Practicum) and Global Business Experiences (GBE) core courses epitomize this mentality.
LondonCAP allows you to work on projects with leading London-based organizations, and the GBE provides an immersive week-long experience where you can undertake “hands-on project work, fill a knowledge gap, or understand business practices in a particular country.” Giri states that “the GBE allows us to consolidate our MBA learnings from classroom to industry across a whole variety of international destinations.”
After completing the core courses, you must complete between 10 and 12 electives across a variety of subject areas that will “target areas of special interest, widen your business lens or prepare for your next career move.” LBS offers over 80 electives, ranging from Digital Investing and Emerging Markets to Inter-Personal Dynamics and Brand Management. Although you are not required to take any elective courses in your first year, you will have the option to take up to five electives if you’d like.
LBS also offers one of the world’s largest international exchange programs; last year, 30% of second-year students spent a term abroad with LBS’ partner schools. These partner schools are located globally in Europe, Asia and Australia, the USA and Canada, Latin America, and Africa.
Level of Competition
The LBS MBA is world-renowned and, as such, attracts a high caliber of successful and well-qualified individuals, which is illustrated by the quality of the 532 students who made up last year’s class profile:
Complete Requirements and How to Apply
LBS stipulates that prospective MBA candidates must meet the following requirements:
Hold an undergraduate degree or equivalent qualification
Have at least two years of work experience
Have “the ability to work in multicultural teams and demonstrate an international outlook.”
If you meet these requirements, your first move should be to begin the online application form. Make sure that you check out LBS’s application calendar so you can get your application in as early as possible!
The online application form is where you will submit the following information:
Proof of English language ability - submit your Cambridge CPE, CAE, ELTS, TOEFL, or PTE Academic score
GMAT/ GRE score
Name and details of two referees
As noted in the class profile, the average GMAT score achieved by LBS’s last cohort was 700, with a class range of 600 to 800. It is important to note that LBS states that while a below-average score “does not always eliminate a candidate,” 600 is the minimum score that they will accept. If you are struggling with the GMAT, LBS offers a GMAT simulator you can use to help you assess your ability, or you can consult an admissions expert for advice and tutoring.
LBS recommends that you spend a “significant amount of time” on your application essays as they are a vital component of the admissions process that can strengthen your application immensely. You will be asked to answer two prompts:
“What are your post-MBA goals and how will your prior experience and the London Business School programme contribute towards these?” (500 words)
“Is there any other information you believe the Admissions Committee should know about you and your application to London Business School?” (Optional) (500 words)
Letters of Recommendation
LBS asks you to input the details of your two referees onto the online application form to allow the school to contact them. It is recommended that you ask your current employer or “someone else who knows you well in a work context,” like a long-standing client or a former employer.
Additionally, they will have to answer the following questions:
How do you know the applicant? How long have you known them?
What would you say are the applicant’s key strengths and talents?
What would you say are the applicant’s key weaknesses or areas for improvement?
How do the applicant’s performance, potential and personal qualities compare to those of other individuals in similar roles?
What do you think this person might be doing in ten years' time? Why?
Interviews are conducted by senior admissions staff or alumni of the program and will be held in your own region. LBS states that “based on interviewer availability, you may be asked to travel in order to complete your interview.” The Recruitment and Admissions Teams state that the interview can take anywhere from one to two hours.
Illustrating how you are more than just your grades is a great way to show you are a well-rounded applicant, as well as making a more personal connection with the interviewer. David Simpson, MBA and MiF Admissions Director at LBS, notes that your MBA interview should be more than just discussing your resume; “A good interview adds colour,” whereas “a poor interview is one that just restates facts that could have come from the application form.”
If you are not from the European Economic Area or Switzerland and have been made an offer, you will need to apply for a Tier 4 student visa at least three months before starting the program. For the full-time MBA, you will need either a Student route visa or pre-existing immigration permission from the UK that permits study.
Top Tips on How to Get Into London Business School MBA Program
Research the School
Simpson states that “researching the school and programmes is absolutely key, it’s vital for us that we see that you’ve put the time in to research what makes us unique and what’s different.” Indeed, US News notes that one mistake international students make when choosing a university abroad is not adequately researching locations.
As Caela Provost, North American officer and U.S. representative for study abroad and postgraduate programs at University College Cork in Ireland, states, “London is more than Big Ben.”
Simpson contends that “the strongest applicants are clear that they want to take a long-term view on how to build on their skills and experience, in order to advance in a sector they love or change direction or location.” So, do your research and show how LBS will be the ideal stepping stone to help you achieve your personal and professional goals in your admissions essays and interview.
A great way to show that you have thoroughly researched the school and understand how you will fit into it is to look at the program’s curriculum and pick out a few key courses which you find most interesting. Simpson notes that LBS has “high expectations of classroom participation levels” as students are expected to “contribute to the education of others.” So, find a course that interests you and explain how you will engage with the content and further your own understanding of the topic.
Additionally, if you can show how your experiences could help your fellow students, you will be placing yourself in the best possible position to succeed.
Illustrate your Collaborative and Global Outlook
On the ‘Who Attends’ section of LBS’s website, LBS states it wants “ambitious and driven... [individuals] with a global outlook.” While Simpson notes that “not every student will join us with extensive international experience,” having a “global mindset” and “the desire to learn how things work in different regions and cultures” is essential. LBS’s highly international program values diversity, and they want a diverse set of students, perspectives, and experiences.
Simpson also states that “we look for evidence of a collaborative attitude as well, it’s really important that you want to learn from others.” Your admissions essays are a great place to explain how your experiences, values, and ambitions align with LBS’s values. Writing a strong MBA essay will undoubtedly improve your MBA profile and make your application stand out.
Make sure that these essays reflect who you are and what you have experienced. If you haven’t had international experiences, explain how being exposed to different cultures and regions would benefit you. LBS values the power of diversity, and you should too.
Connect with a Student Ambassador
LBS’s website contains an extensive list of its student and alumni ambassadors, who you can contact via email. Networking is a great way to ask current students and alumni about their experiences and how they approached the application process. You can also ask them for any hints, tips, or tricks they picked up along the way.
1. Does it Matter Who My Referees are?
Yes. Ideally, one of your referees will be your current employer or colleague, and the other will be someone who “knows you well in a work context.” LBS does stipulate that “whoever you choose should know you in a professional capacity.” So, make sure that you select the appropriate people to write your letters of recommendation.
2. Do I Need Work Experience to Apply?
As noted above, the average work experience accrued by successful students last year was five years. However, LBS states that they may grant you admission if you have less than three years of work experience if you can “demonstrate superior academic credentials and truly outstanding evidence of leadership through professional and personal experiences.”
3. Does it Matter What Undergraduate Degree I Have Completed?
Yes and no. LBS states that they “have no particular preference.” However, the MBA has several quantitative-heavy components, so make sure you have brushed up on your mathematics!
4. Does LBS Accept Non-graduates?
Yes. Although having academic qualifications will undoubtedly strengthen your application, LBS is “happy to consider non-graduates who have an excellent career record.”
5. How Can I Take Advantage of LBS’s Flexible Completion Date?
To complete the MBA program in either 15, 18, or 21 months, you will need to meet all of the program requirements. These include passing your Tailored Core and Business Fundamentals courses, as well as completing at least 10 elective courses and their experiential elements.
6. Do you have any Tips for International Students Moving to London?
Litao Deng, a MiM student, advises that using “agencies and websites to find a really good apartment” was “really helpful.” She also advises that, if possible, you should “live close to the school.”
Nguissaly Gueye, MFA, explains that, where possible, “use any connections you might have in London” as they will know the “nice/closest neighbourhoods.” However, if you don’t have any connections, she advises that you should start your research early. Additionally, you can always reach out to LBS’s student ambassadors, who will be happy to answer any questions you have.
The London Business School MBA is one of the world’s finest MBA programs. It offers you the opportunity to learn in an environment brimming with diverse people, experiences, and values. LBS prides itself on its global connections and commitment to experiential learning.
While gaining admission may be a challenge, using the advice noted above will make your application stand out. So, be sure to illustrate your global and collaborative outlook in your application, acquire impactful work experiences, and articulate how LBS will be the ideal stepping stone on your path to your personal and professional goals. May your MBA journey be successful!
About Inspira Futures
At Inspira Futures, our sole focus is to get you accepted at your dream business school. Our team of experts consists of former admission committee members and alums from Harvard Business School, Stanford GSB, and other M7 schools. Our goal is to help you write great essays, ace interviews, and win scholarships. Without any stress or hassle. Our clients have gone on to secure admits at the world's top business schools while also being winners of some of the most prestigious scholarships like Stanford Knight Hennessy, HBS Baker Scholars, and many others.