Saturday, January 14, 2006

London Business School interview advice

So far I've written a lot about shopping and Spain and London and food, but not really given any useful advice. But R2 decisions are coming up in February so I want to start giving useful advice for R2 applicants. When R3 deadline approaches, I will dedicated some space here to GMAT, essay writing and CVs, but for now I want to share my interview experience.

R2 interview decision are scheduled to be sent out on February 10th but if they do the same they will actually be sent out on the evening of February 9th, perhaps to ensure that applicants from Asia get the decision on the 10th. A few days later, you will get the contact info of an LBS alumni in your location and can set up an interview.

Overall, I found the interviews very relaxed and informal. I heard it depends very much on your interviewer though. In my case, I talked to some LBS students and alumni I knew and asked them for advice, but everybody just said relax, be yourself and know why you want to do an MBA and why you want to go to LBS. Also they told me to read through my application essays again. I also checked the MBA interview advice on that I found very helpful. I didn't know back then (maybe the page didn't exist then) but clear admit's MBA admissions wiki is also extremely helpful.

They matched me with a very recent alumni (MBA2005) who worked in my city. Because I'm out of town during weekdays and he was traveling as well, we agreed to hold it on a Saturday. Saturday came and I had tonsilitis and my interviewer called that he actually had the flu, so we just agreed to do it the next day. So as I said, pretty flexible and informal.

The way it seems to work is that LBS sends out a list of dozens of questions to the interviewers separated into several categories. So each interviewer would get 10 questions on "motivation", 10 questions on "leadership", 10 questions on "team work" and so on. And then I think the interviewer picks the questions he wants to ask out of that list and also adds some of his own questions that he had while looking through your application (at least this is what I gathered from watching him during the interview).

Typical questions would be
  • "Have you ever lead a team?"
  • "Did you ever face a problem with a client? How did you handle it?"
  • "What do you want to do after the MBA?"
  • "Since you also applied to other schools, how will you decide which school to go to?"
I was surprised I wasn't asked anything about extracurricular activities, since this was stressed very much in the essays, but somehow he didn't ask about that. After all these questions, I had to do a little presentation. The interviewers again receive a list of about 15 topics and they can choose which one they give the interviewee. They are all topics that you probably have no information on, but you have to take one position or the other (classical debating stuff really), so you just have to choose one side and invent arguments. They give you five minutes to prepare and the 5-10min for the presentation. I assume what they look for is how clear your communication is, how well structured, how convincing and how compelling. I wouldn't take it too seriously though, just waffle on a little bit :-).

Then I asked some more questions about things I wanted to know more about, like shadowing and summer internships and the exchange. He was very helpful and in the end we talked for almost 3 hours. I don't know how you could fit all those questions in an hour, since the interview is supposed to take about an hour, but I think in general it is more likely to last two hours.

For those of you who are invited to interviews on February 10th, feel free to post more questions and good luck!


Wheels said...

Great advice. It's hard to believe that the whole application process is over! Now the hardest part---the waiting for classes to begin!

angie said...

Thank you! Yeah, it's terribly hard! How can I work 6 months more? I really hope the next 6 months fly by, at the moment it's not the case and it's really tough. I wish us good luck!

Vman said...

Any advice for waitlist candidates for LBS? I am in limbo, then why does it still feel like hell??

angie said...

Hi vman, unfortunately I don't know what the best approach is. I do know that quite a lot of waitlisted candidates do get into LBS in the end, I know some personally.

Benny said...

thanks for sharing you experience. Very helpful.
Do you know the % of people interviewed that are accepted?

angie said...

Hi Benny,

I think it differs very much by region. There is no official statistic. I think the fact that you got an invite is a very clear sign they are interested in you. Chances are very good. When I got the invite I was told by students that I was basically in already, I only found out later that it is not true. After the interview, those who don't get accepted usually get to the waiting list. On the Business Week forum at the time the decisions were sent out, I believe about 60-70% of the LBS interviewees in R1 were accepted and the rest ended up on the waiting list. But of course those who are rejected are always the least likely to share this. In any case I wouldn't worry too much, just be yourself and be honest, it's just a chat.

Faisal ... said...

Hello Angie

I have been invited for an interview (EMBA). Do you know how the competition to get in differs between mba and emba?

I think that your advice is pretty good.

angie said...

Faisal, I don't know if it is harder or easier for EMBA unfortunately. Probably the same, in the end everybody for EMBA is somewhat more experienced but you are, too. Wouldn't worry to much about it. Getting the interview is the hardest part.

Good luck!

Faisal ... said...

Thanks for your response (and thanks for visiting my blog :))

Ritabrata said...

Very useful post Angel ! And thanks a ton for the Clear Admit Wiki link.

Anonymous said...

Hi angie
I have been invited for an interview. Is it true that your chances are slimmer if you applied in R2 as compared to R1 especially for foreign applicants?
In other words is the ratio of seats on offer to applicants different from R1?

angie said...

Hi Abishek, don't worry too much, I don't think there are different criteria for different rounds. Focus on having a good interview, that's all that matters. Good luck!

Preethika said...

Hi Angie,

Do you have any idea about the interview process for MiF at LBS? Is it similar to MBA in any way?

Indroneel said...

Useful and interesting observations. Any inputs on the interview process for the Sloan Fellowship at LBS? Any on career options post Sloan in the UK?

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

hey angie! Goodluck to you. Where can you get a list of alumni for LBS MBA grads. Went to an infor session and thinking of signing up. I would like to see a list of people for last 5 years and see what happened to them.


Jon said...

Hi Angie

Hope you are well. I have applied for LBS class of 2010 and have had my interview for R1. The D day is December 19th. As you can imaginge the wait is painful... do you know if LBS sents out deceisions earlier or on only on the date mentioned on the website.

Thanks a lot for your help.