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You can find a better version of my blog at http://www.adammarkus.com/blog/.

Be sure to read my Key Posts on the admissions process. Topics include essay analysis, resumes, recommendations, rankings, and more.

February 07, 2014

London Business School MBA Admissions Interviews

I have gone for years without writing a post on London Business School MBA Admissions Interviews. I don’t have a specific excuse for this since I have helped many applicants prepare for this interview and have no lack of information about it.

My post on LBS application essays for the Class of 2016 can be found here

Beyond my 16 comprehensive service clients admitted since Fall 2008 entry (I began my own consulting service in September 2007) , I have worked with additional clients only on interviews. and more still from 2001-2007 when I was working for a top test prep company's consulting service.  The advice below is thus based on working with clients on LBS interviews for over ten years.

It is important to remember that your interviewer, an alumnus, will have read your application file.  London Business School relies on its alumni to do a thorough job vetting applicants.  Based on numerous reports I have read from my own clients, this interview, while it can often be very friendly, is not to be taken lightly.  A bad interview (as reported by the applicant soon after the interview)  is, at least from what I can observe, a really good indicator of rejection.  While good interviews (again as reported by the applicant immediately after the interview) can surely result in waitlisting, at least amongst my own clients, such interviews typically result in admission.

It is especially important that applicants be prepared to explain why LBS is their top choice and to demonstrate some knowledge about the program.   As should have been clear from preparing your essays, LBS expects applicants to be very well informed about the program.  If you have not visited and/or talked with current students, and/or alumni I would highly recommend doing so. By the way, talking with MiF (Masters in Finance) and/or LBS Sloan Fellows is not an ideal substitute for talking with MBAs, though it is better than nothing.  Beyond classes and clubs, know what some of the key activities on campus are.  Reading my Q&A with a Member of the LBS MBA Class of 2012 can give you some could insights into the MBA program. 

For my  detailed suggestions on overall interview preparation, please see:
-MBA Application Interview Strategy
-Interview Practice is ABOUT SPEAKING!
-Further Comments on MBA Admissions Interviews 
-General Characteristics of Admissions Officers, Students, and Alumni Interviewers
-Recovering from a bad answer during an MBA admissions interview
-10 Ways to Blow an MBA Admissions Interview

The above posts are my general perspective on MBA admissions interview strategy and apply here.

Typical Questions
My colleague, H. Steven Green, has put the following together by reviewing interview reports of London Business School interviews found at accepted.com and clearadmit.com. These questions are completely consistent with the kind that my clients have been asked.
  1. Can you walk me through your resume?
  2. What do you currently do?
  3. Why did you choose to work at your firm?
  4. Is your job really necessary?  Does your firm actually achieve its mission?
  5. Expect questions based on resume content and essay content.
  1. Why do you wake up in the morning?
  2. What are you short-term career goals?  Long term? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
  3. You already have great finance experience to achieve your goals. Why do you need an MBA?
  4. Imagine world without an MBA. What would you do? (I understood as what I would do to achieve my professional goals?) If you can achieve your goals without an MBA why do you want to get an MBA?
  5. What triggered you to start thinking about an MBA?
  6. What are your criteria for selecting b-schools? Where did you apply? Why is LBS your choice among these programs?
  7. Why LBS? How LBS differentiates from the other school you applied to?
  8. Do you have any back up plan in case your goals are not achievable?
  9. Could you describe your extracurriculars?
  10. How will you contribute to the school?
  1. Expect questions about your family.
  2. What part of your childhood has influenced your life?
  3. When was the last time you took a risk?
  4. What type of personality do you have?
  5. How would your colleagues describe you?
  6. What will be your personal development after arriving at LBS?
  7. What is the toughest decision you made in your life?
  8. What are your strong points?
  9. What is your most significant achievement?
  10. What are your weaknesses from the point of your friend? Do you agree with him/her? What other weaknesses do you have?
  11. What are the key things for success? Or what is success for you?
  12. Expect questions based on things written in your recommendation letters.
  1. Tell me about your culture, please.  What part of your culture will help you at LBS? What part of your culture could hinder you at LBS?
  2. What did you learn from your international experience?
  3. Please give me an example of a multi-cultural experience you had.
  1. Tell me your definition of leadership. What kind of leadership have you experienced?
  2. Are you a leader? Why so?
  3. What is the difference between a born leader and a manager? Who do you admire as a leader?
  4. What characteristics should a successful business leader have?
  5. Tell me about 2 examples of when you resolved conflicts as a leader.
  6. How do you manage your team?
  1. How will you contribute to LBS?
  2. How would you contribute in a group that does not require your background and prior experience in the majority of its cases?
  1. How would you contribute to your study group at LBS from professional point of view?
  2. Imagine that some people in your study group are not contributing enough and your talk to them didn’t help.  What would you do next?  How would you handle it?  How would you feel?
  1. What would you do if you had $10 million?
  2. What would you do if you had unlimited money?
  3. What is going wrong in the world today? Why? What should be done about it?
  4. What did you learn in your international experience?
  5. What are you most proud of? Why?
  1. How did the financial crisis happen?
  2. What is the biggest threat to your firm? What's your strategy? How would you change the strategy?

One unique part of the LBS interview is the need to make short presentation on a random topic. The point is simply to be coherent. The content matters less than your ability to simply sound intelligent.  Whatever the question, take a clear position. You will not likely be quizzed about it. The point is simply to show your ability to think quickly and communicate effectively, just like you will need to do at LBS.

See here for information about my interview preparation services.

-Adam Markus
I am a graduate admissions consultant who works with clients worldwide. If you would like to arrange an initial consultation, please complete my intake form. Please don't email me any essays, other admissions consultant's intake forms, your life story, or any long email asking for a written profile assessment. The only profiles I assess are those with people who I offer initial consultations to. Please note that initial consultations are not offered when I have reached full capacity or when I determine that I am not a good fit with an applicant.
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