Interview Prep Tips

LBS MBA application essay review

So you’ve decided to apply to an MBA, congratulations!  This is a great first step towards taking part in a transformative experience that will be with you for the rest of your life.

No matter what program you’ve decided to apply to, the application process usually follows the same steps:

  1. Prep for the GMAT or GRE and get a competitive score
  2. Write one or more compelling essays
  3. Collect and submit letters of recommendation, transcripts and an updated CV
  4. If the above three items paint an interesting picture, you’ll get invited to an interview

Today, we’ll talk about how you should think about your essays.

LBS asks for only two essays but at 500 words, their recommended length is slightly higher than most other MBA programs.

What should I write about in the LBS essay?

The answer to that question seems extraordinarily simple – just use the prompt that was given to you by the LBS admissions department.  This year LBS requires all applicants to write one essay.  As most other MBA programs do, there is the option to write a second essay.

  1. First essay
What are your post-MBA goals and how will your prior experience and the London Business School program contribute towards these?

2. Second essay (optional)

Is there any other information you believe the Admissions Committee should know about you and your application to London Business School?

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So I just answer those questions?

Yes, but do so in a way that you avoid the number 1 mistake we see applicants make over and over – repeating information already available somewhere else.

As part of your application, you’ve updated your CV – there is a lot of information on that document.  To name a few that you’d typically find on a CV, names of companies you’ve worked at, highlights of the results you managed to accomplish, your job titles, etc.

Does it make sense to repeat all of that on the essays?  Nope.

Do lots of applicants fall into that trap and repeat information already documented on their CVs?  Yep.

Do you think admissions likes to read essays that talk about things already discussed somewhere else in your application?  I’ll let you answer that one…

Answering the first essay on your LBS application

Notice how the prompt talks about “post-MBA goals” and “previous experience”.  That is a great clue that will help you write a truly impactful essay.  Nothing on that prompt talks about job specific issues.

CVs are normally broken down into tightly timeboxed periods, mostly linked to job titles.  This makes telling stories about how you created value in ways that crossed departments, job titles, years, etc very hard in a CV.  So the first essay should focus on that.  

LBS MBA essay review. Don’t miss this important step.


You could talk about how you mentored someone over several years and how they grew.  Or how a project you started as an analyst at a company was built upon by others even as you moved to another department.

On that first question, you want to tell admissions about things that the rest of your application cannot answer.

Answering the second essay on your LBS application

Most MBA programs will have a section within their application that allow you to write about extenuating circumstances that might explain a low GPA, GMAT/GRE score, large gap in your employment history, etc.

LBS however, elevates this to “essay” category, rather than a simple textbox somewhere in your application.

Some might be tempted to use this opportunity to talk about some achievement of theirs that isn’t very prominent in the rest of the application – resist that temptation.

Admissions expects to read about extenuating circumstances that explain something unexpected in your application.  They do not want to hear about how you increased sales at ACME Corp. by 20%.

So only write that essay if there truly is something that needs to be brought to light.

Conclusion and special offer – free LBS essay review

The LBS admissions department gives you the opportunity to branch out from your CV and work experience – take those opportunities.  It helps to make admissions life a lot easier and reading your essays more interesting – ultimately, improving your odds!

At Voomer, we are offering free LBS MBA essay reviews for a limited time.  

Just use our MBA interview prep platform (also free!) and we’ll review one of your essays.

Questions on Voomer match what you’ll get on the LBS video interview and after going through a set of questions, you’ll get an artificial intelligence powered report on your results with specific, actionable steps you can take to improve your performance.

Your response is broken down into multiple components and analyzed individually and then as a whole.  From delivery to content to body language and camera position.

By David Anderton-Yang

David Anderton-Yang is the CEO and co-founder of Voomer where AI as a force for good, helping people be more confident on video.

He is a former researcher at the MIT Media Lab, Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree.

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