CONNECTING EARLY ON
Online classes at LBS are slated to open September 7th, moving to a hybrid model two weeks later. However, the class is way ahead of itself in terms of building relationships. With COVID-19 restricting movement, the class proactively reached out to each other months ahead of their start date. Lucía Donnangelo notes that it started with small virtual meetings to swap stories and discuss their career paths. From there, community was built through small group Zoom sessions, covering every angle imaginable.
“As the uniquely quarantined batch,” writes Akhil Pawar, “my classmates have come together to host some amazing Zoom events that have helped us bond – across time zones and cultures – even before we step foot in London. For example, we have had “QuaranTEA” networking sessions, “QuaranBiz” to share sector-specific work experiences, “QuaranTUNES” for the musically inclined, and (of course) “QuaranFIT” for those working out at home during the lockdown.”
The Class of 2022 even created a social network called Socius.com, according to Tsepo Serakalala. It included student profiles, a shared social calendar with events highlighted, messaging capabilities, and interest-based groups. Alex Parker was even asked to host a British slang workshop.
“Apparently other cultures don’t understand the UK’s obsession with the word ‘sorry’,” he cracks.
Such connectedness makes Serakalala bullish about being around her classmates in London. “I haven’t met most of them in person yet, but every Zoom call, Telegram message and “FYI” email has been characterised by kindness and a willingness to help. From the team that created an exclusive online platform for the class from scratch (Socius.MBA), to the team that’s been organising the QuaranTEA and other related networking and peer-learning sessions, everyone has been acting from a place of kindness and generosity.”
SURGE IN APPLICATIONS
The MBA market, as a whole, is equally enthusiastic about the London Business School’s prospects. During the 2019-2020 cycle, LBS received 2,879 applications, up 15.7% from last year’s total of 2,489. The acceptance rate remained a near-identical 34.7% from the previous year. One big difference: the school continues to grow. The incoming class, for example, features 532 MBAs, up from last year’s 497 students. Just three years ago, that total was 432 students.
Like past classes, the LBS student body is slightly older and more experienced than American peers, with an average age of 29 years and 5.5 years of work experience. The class also boasts 700 average and median GMAT scores, again almost identical to the previous class (with the GMAT range being 590-780). 36% of the class is comprised of women, down two points. The percentage of international students also fell three points to 89%.
Despite this, LBS remains one of the most globally-diverse full-time MBA programs. “With over 60+ nationalities, LBS is known as one of the most diverse MBA programmes,” writes Joy Yang, a 2020 grad and P&Q Best & Brightest MBA. “The school also intentionally makes sure you are in a diverse team. My study group consisted of people from Australia, Brazil, India, Israel, Spain, and the USA/Taiwan (me!).”
Employers themselves rank the London Business School as the 3rd-most diverse MBA program in the world according to the 2019 Bloomberg Businessweek recruiter survey. The same survey pegs LBS at #7 among the most prestigious MBA programs. When it comes to post-graduate pay, LBS tops all non-American two-year programs with a $93,100 increase over five years according to Forbes. Not surprisingly, the program ranks as the 2nd-best MBA program outside the United States in P&Q’s latest international ranking.
AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH LBS’ ADMISSIONS DIRECTOR
What can MBAs expect from LBS in the coming years? This summer, P&Q reached out to David Simpson, the school’s recruitment and admissions director for both the MBA and MiF programs. Along with new program developments, Simpson also shares how COVID-19 has impacted school programming and why diversity and flexibility are bedrock of the LBS philosophy. Here are Simpson’s thoughts…
P&Q: What are the most exciting new developments at your program?
DS: “The London Business School MBA is under continual evolution, as we add to and amend our programme in line with student and employer demand and faculty expertise.
The addition of an MBA Concentration in Tech & Analytics is also exciting. Whilst in principle it is a continuation of the School’s growth in a popular area, I am particularly proud of this addition, as it has been a wonderful collaboration between the whole LBS community, showcasing the values of the School.
The LBS Technology Sector Steering Committee was formed by the school to drive us forward in this space. Chaired by a MBA2021 student, Giri Kesavan, the group includes faculty, MBA programme staff, industry recruiters, alumni, and the LBS Careers Centre.
We know that recruiters increasingly expect robust, hands-on, analytics skills from employees who can leverage data fluency and interpret data for business insight. That’s why we have built on our existing strong offering to formalise this area.
Electives include Fintech; Ideation to Prototyping; Machine Learning for Business; Data Mining for Business Intelligence; and The Data-Driven Customer-Centric Enterprise.
P&Q: What is the two most unique or differentiating features of your full-time program? How do they enrich the MBA experience?
DS:” If I have to pick just two differentiating features, it will have to be our global diversity and our London location. And it’s how the two go together that counts. London is a truly global capital city, offering employment in every sector. Our students come from all over the world to learn from professors with similarly diverse backgrounds. They leverage the London location for business and employment, as a transport hub…and for fun!”
P&Q: How has COVID-19 impacted your business school?
DS: Our aim has always been to provide our students with an excellent learning experience and the COVID-19 crisis has further galvanised these efforts. We carried out in-depth research on how we could keep improving our learning practices, and the current environment has accelerated the School’s long-term adoption of digital technologies.
Over the last few months, the school has delivered hundreds of virtual classes to thousands of students. We have worked with our current student body to understand their needs and to leverage new technologies. The feedback to new online learning delivery has been overwhelmingly positive. In fact, a survey of students to understand their virtual learning experience showed more than 78% of respondents felt their overall virtual classroom experience was either ‘Good’ or ‘Excellent’. We are excited about some of the new learning opportunities our incoming 2020/21 students will have access to.
Our students have also described how they’ve continued to maintain active networks and, in some cases, connected with classmates they may have never interacted with in the physical world. The students have been incredibly active during lockdown, bringing in new guest speakers and running extra events. Our students have contributed to the local and global COVID-19 effort in many ways.
On the admissions side we saw a huge increase in demand in the final round and into our extended deadline period. It was great to see, but quite overwhelming. We had to turn down even more great applicants than usual. All our admissions events quickly switched online, with professors queuing up to deliver insightful online sessions to admits, including Professors Costas Markides and Rajesh Chandy; and Jane Khedair, Director of the LBS Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Our Student Association hosted a successful online Admits Weekend for candidates across all programmes – a measure of the togetherness of the School community.”
Our Meet the Class of 2022 Series
* For in-depth profiles of 11 members of the Class of 2022, go to Page 3.