- "But what if you don't get into London Business School?"
- "But why don't you apply to Harvard?"
- "Why don't you go to INSEAD?"
For me, there are many reasons to pick London Business School over any other school. Even now, it breaks my heart that my best friends are spread out over all continents from Sydney to Miami to Pnomh Penh to Zurich. I'm sure Harvard and Berkeley have excellent people and a great alumni network, but I want to live in London after my MBA, and what's the point of having great friends if all of them are located in Silicon Valley or Toronto and I see them only every 5 years?
Then of course, there is London! Frankly, I miss London very much. Last year, my boyfriend lived there and I went to visit him almost every weekend. He lived in St John's Wood and we would often pass by LBS on our strolls through Regent's Park. We would eat aromatic crispy duck in Soho, biryani rice in Brick Lane and chill out in Caffè Nero :-). It was always clear to me that I had to go and live in London.
I think what made my application successful was that I had a very clear goal in mind and imagined being at LBS already while writing the application. I would dream about where to live, which electives to choose, which clubs to join etc.. Once I applied to a scholarship to the Philippines and I did the same. Though I hadn't even sent the application, I would read the Manila Times on the internet, check out the best places to eat in Manila and the best surf spots in Luzon :-). And it worked.
I do have some advice to current applicants though: let them know you're eager, but make sure you show you have other options ;-). I used a few tricks actually because I was also hoping for a scholarship. I did say in my application that I was applying to several other schools (which wasn't true at that point but could have been true at a later stage) and I did have my GMAT scores sent to Harvard, Chicago, Haas and INSEAD to show I was also looking at other top schools. In my conversations with alumni, I would say that LBS was definitely my top choice, but that without a scholarship I might have to go to another school because I couldn't fund LBS (which was definitely true). I don't know if that's why I received a scholarship in the end, but I'm sure it didn't do any harm :-).