London Business School
Hometown: London, UK
Undergraduate School and Major (Include Graduate School if Relevant): Jurisprudence (with law studies in Germany), University College, Oxford University
Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:
Feb 2009 – Jan 2014, Solicitor (Associate), Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, London
Jan 2014 – Aug 2015, Solicitor (Senior Associate), Clifford Chance Europe LLP, Paris
Recalling your own experience, what advice do you have for applicants who are preparing for either the GMAT or the GRE? Practice – a lot – under timed examination conditions.
I sat the GMAT three times before achieving my target score. I have always been good at taking exams at school and university, so the first time I sat the GMAT I didn’t look at a single practice question. I just turned up and thought that I would do well. I was wrong. The second time, I did quite a lot of practice, but was trying to fit in little revision slots between work and other commitments and I didn’t take any real-time practice papers – focusing more on the course content. It was only after this second (mediocre) performance that I realized my fundamental error. I could answer the questions; I just couldn’t answer them quickly enough. I resolved to sit down to complete two practice papers under timed conditions each day for two weeks. By the time of my third exam, my strategy and approach had improved radically and I scored 700+.
Based on your own selection process, what advice do you have for applicants who are trying to draw up a list of target schools to which to apply? I think this is a really personal decision.
Most people have partners/families/jobs to accommodate as well as their MBA ambition.
I would also say that, regarding the top schools, each application is different. The forms and questions take a lot of time and they cost money. I had a Plan A and a Plan B and was planning to work through my few target schools depending on rejections. I didn’t want to cast the net too widely because I knew what I wanted. It wasn’t about an MBA at any cost, but about the right MBA.
What advice do you have for applicants in actually applying to a school, writing essays, doing admission interviews, and getting recommenders to write letters on your behalf? Be honest.
From my experience, interviewers want to hear about your honest and genuine experiences. Particularly with the essays, there isn’t necessarily a right or wrong answer. I think that the schools are simply trying to get an idea of who you are and whether you would be a good fit. A simple tip would be to write clearly and concisely wherever possible – I think it always helps to use plain, direct English. Maybe ask a friend whose opinion you value to read your essays and listen to their feedback.
Asking recommenders to write letters on your behalf can feel awkward (particularly when you are asking a current employer and your request is tantamount to handing in your notice!). That said, potential referees seem to appreciate an honest and direct approach and, in turn, are likely to give honest, and (hopefully) positive feedback.
What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? Essentially I chose this programme because London Business School is a leading MBA programme offered by a leading school. More specifically London Business School appealed to me because of its focus on finance.
In addition, London Business School’s geographic location provides a great set for business study. I chose London Business School because it will provide me with fantastic opportunities to build upon my existing contacts within London and to develop further relationships with the financial institutions and businesses located there.
Beyond business, though intrinsically linked, London’s cultural opportunities remain attractive for obvious reasons. A London based MBA was also the right choice for my family.
What would you ultimately like to achieve before you graduate? Fundamentally, I want to develop a comprehensive skill-set that will enable me to build a long-term career in banking or private equity. My legal training developed critical thinking and transaction management skills, but I lack formal experience of quantitative analysis. A London Business School MBA will teach me quantitative skills in a pure academic sense, but also through practical application to real and relevant scenarios that, I hope, will provide a platform to a future career in finance.
In addition, I also hope: (i) to develop a network of great contacts from my fellow students and the people we will meet through association with London Business School; (ii) to gain relevant commercial experience through placements and internships; and (iii) generally, to have a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that will challenge me, both personally and professionally.