2011 London Business School MiM Admissions Q&A with Lisa Mortini, Jamie Wright, Daniel Lay and Saira Ansari

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2011 London Business School MiM Admissions Q&A with Lisa Mortini, Jamie Wright, Daniel Lay and Saira Ansari

Audio for Q&A (Click to listen now, or right click and choose “Save As” to download and listen later.)

Linda Abraham: Hello. My name is Linda Abraham. I am the founder of Accepted.com and the moderator of today’s Q&A. First I want to welcome all applicants to the Q&A today, and I want to congratulate you for taking the time to learn more about London Business School’s Masters in Management Programme. It is critical to your decision making process and your admission chances that you know as much as you can about the schools you are applying to. Being here today allows you to ask experts about this top business school.

I also want to give a special welcome to the following Masters in Management Representatives:

  • Lisa Mortini, Recruitment & Admissions Manager
  • Jamie Wright, Client Services Manager
  • Daniel Lay, Manager - Career Services
Additionally, for the student perspective we have participating from the MiM Class of 2011, Student Ambassador Saira Ansari. Saira will graduate from the Masters in Management programme in 2011. She has interned at Citibank and Pfizer and plans to join Management Consulting. While in college, she hosted a live national television show and loves to debate. Saira is also a Masters in Management Student Ambassador and Social Representative for her class. Thanks to everyone for joining.

I’m going to take advantage of my position as moderator and ask the first question. What’s new at London Business School’s MiM programme?

Lisa Mortini: There is a lot that is new, so we’ll have to narrow it down and think about what is happening for our students and within our community. Definitely something that the students took part in was Tattoo. Tattoo is a very big cultural celebration here at the school. We had 1,200 students involved representing about 100 nationalities or cultures. There was a talent show, dancing, music, ethnic food; it was just sensational. It happened on a Saturday and lasted for a few hours. The MiM students were very involved in the organization and also in their different cultural clubs, which involved their own country or background. So that was quite exciting for the students.

Jamie Wright: In terms of what is going on with us in the Recruitment and Admissions Office, we are very busy at the moment. We are currently recruiting for our next intake which will begin this September, so we are right in the middle of our Stage 3 admissions cycle. And our Stage 4 application deadline is actually just right around the corner. It is on Tuesday, the 12th of April, so there is still plenty of time to apply. We look forward to speaking with all of you and hopefully a few of you are thinking about applying in April or June.

Daniel Lay: One of the things that we are doing right at the moment which is brand new is called “Spring into Action.” It is a careers initiative where we are working with all students yet to have secured an offer for employment upon graduation. We’re really working with them very much one-to-one; we are dealing with people very much on what they personally require, as opposed to speaking to the whole class. So that is running at the moment and it kicked off with a series of one-to-ones and information gatherings. And then over the next few weeks and months, and really until they secure the offers that they are looking for, we’ll be working with them on a real career plan based around their individual needs -- where they want to work and what they really require. It might be more introductions to companies or more help perhaps with interview skills, the softer skills, and the learning development side of things. So that is where we are at the moment and that is a new initiative for this year, and if anyone is going to be joining us next year, we’ll be doing exactly the same.

Saira Ansari: Basically students here are equally busy with activities like Tattoo, and other events on campus, as we are with our academic studies. Currently we are working on Markstrat, a computer simulated programme which is in conjunction with our marketing courses. It’s very interesting because we are competing with other students. We have our own small industries and products, so it’s a creative way to apply what we’re learning in our classes in a practical environment, and we are really enjoying that. Apart from that, spring break is about to come up because we are almost done with our term. We have final exams toward the end of the month.

I’m also one of the Social Representatives and we are busy trying to organize activities for the class. It is such a culturally diverse class -- people are here from all around the world -- and a lot of people want to go back home, so we are trying to organize some free trips, or something like that.

Linda Abraham: There is a lot happening at LBS and in the MiM programme specifically. I have a question for the applicants. How many of you have applied already to LBS? Only 9% have applied already. How many of you are planning to apply by the April deadline? 17% are planning to apply in April. And how many of you are just doing general research and are considering applying next fall /winter or the following academic cycle? 34%. Let’s turn to the applicants questions. Angeline asks, “What level of success have you had with American students? Is it possible to go to LBS and come back to the States? What has recruiting been like?”

Daniel Lay: It’s been pretty good. Regarding the number of US students that we’ve had, it’s obviously a hugely diverse class, so we’re dealing probably in the 10-12 sort of number, not huge amounts of US students. We’ve had a real mixed bag in terms of where they’ve gone with their careers. I think most of them are looking at opportunities here in London which they’ve managed to secure. In terms of going back to the States, I would be honest in saying that the LBS brand in the US is probably not as competitive as the US schools. So we are still working on a lot of inroads there, especially with this programme; our MBA programme is a little stronger there. But with the MiM, it’s still a bit of a work in progress given that we are only into our second year. We have a couple of successes, but I think the typical US student profile is to come from the States to come and work in London or Europe, at least for the first couple of years or so. That has been the more successful route.

Linda Abraham: Anoop asks, “Does having another post-graduate degree make an added advantage for the admissions, or does it provide extra credit? Or is having a post-graduate degree a disadvantage in admissions?” I assume this is one of the Indian post-graduate diplomas. And he also says that he only has two years of IT experience. “My understanding was that the MiM is for people with less work experience?”

Jamie Wright: With regards to the first question regarding the post-graduate diploma, what we will be looking at is the connection between the undergraduate degree, the post-graduate degree, and also how it fits in with their motivations for pursuing this programme. If someone has done an undergraduate degree and a post-graduate degree in management or a business related subject, we would definitely push the candidate on their motivation for pursing this course when they might have already taken quite a few of the subjects in their other studies. We would want to know how this programme would be beneficial to them when they have already participated in business or management courses.

However, if someone studied a degree maybe not in the realm of business, let’s say in the arts or sciences, and have decided that they enjoy the arts but they are looking to make a switch into business, then I think this course can be very beneficial. Because we do cover the fundamentals of business and management, and of course we have a heavy emphasis on career support as well as personal development, and on really honing those soft skills like presentation skills, networking, and leadership.

With regards to the two years of work experience, it really depends on the work experience. We will be looking if it has been in a corporate environment, if it is related to business. It would be difficult to say for this specific individual without seeing his/her resume and exactly what he/she has been doing in the IT sector. So I would definitely encourage the applicant to submit his/her resume via our website http://www.london.edu/mim because then we would be able to take a closer look at the eligibility and assess whether or not we would consider their work in the IT sector to be relevant. So it really depends on the particular type of work experience.

Linda Abraham: So it’s not just that applicants have to have no more than one year. You look at it qualitatively as well as quantitatively.

Jamie Wright: Yes, definitely. If someone for example has been working as a research assistant in Academia for the past year or so or even longer than that, we would of course be looking to see how this programme ties in with their past experience and also with their future business career aspirations. We would look very closely at the actual role in what they have been doing. So if it isn’t necessarily in a business related role, then maybe we have a little leeway to explore the individual’s candidacy for the programme.

Linda Abraham: Richard asks, “What makes LBS’s MiM programme different than other programmes around the world? In other words, what course functional area do you specialize in?”

Lisa Mortini: Obviously when you are looking to apply to a programme like this, it’s a big decision. It’s a big investment of your time and your money and you want to make sure you are choosing the right programme. And there are quite a few really good Masters in Management programmes around the world, especially in Europe because that is where they originated. What we have that might be a little different from other programmes is that we are a one-year programme so it is quite an intense experience, and we are very much focused on the practical aspects of the programme. There are lectures obviously, but it’s a lot of work around the topics that you are learning. It’s not just receiving information; it’s putting it into practice. And we very much focus on careers as well, so it’s really a great programme if you want to get your first corporate job at the end of year. We are probably less tailored if you would like to do a PhD at the end of year because it is not a research-based programme. There is a very practical focus. It is very focused on career services and developing our students’ softer skills as well as their knowledge of general management.

Saira Ansari: I look at this question in the perspective of why I chose this programme in this school, and there are a number of reasons for that. First of all, I thought it’s quite a healthy mix of academics and practicality. And second of all, this is a core business school and there are MBAs and executive MBAs, etc. on campus. It provides great networking opportunities, not just on-campus and off-campus; it makes you very comfortable in a corporate environment, especially when you are going in for interviews. You can get advice from these people -- just have a chat with them over coffee. They are very helpful and you learn a lot. Thirdly, I think the location is a big plus. Being in London, it’s the core financial commercial area. You have access to a lot of opportunities, not just from a professional perspective but also from a personal perspective. And lastly, for me it was the fact that it is one-year long programme because I wanted to get into the work environment after a maximum of one year. Those are my reasons for choosing LBS and it’s been a great decision.

Lisa Mortini: I’d like to go back to another aspect of the question. The students here all take core courses together so there is no specialization at the moment. We are introducing a new course in entrepreneurship next year, but apart from that the students cannot specialize and they are all doing core courses together. What happens though is that we realize that the students tailor their experience at the MiM depending on their interests by joining the clubs. The student clubs on campus are extremely active. You learn a lot from them. You have the opportunity to network, to organize guest speakers, events, conferences, and forums. Our students have been able to look at areas of interest such as energy or pharmaceuticals or consulting, and really devote a lot of their energy through the clubs.

Linda Abraham: The clubs are open to all. So the MiM students would be with the MBA students and the E-MBA students?

Lisa Mortini: That is absolutely correct. Masters in Finance, Sloan, Executive MBA and MBA students all participate together. And the MiM students can also be reps on clubs, so they can be representatives of their class within the clubs, and they get very involved in the organization of the clubs.

Linda Abraham: So there they also have exposure to people with more levels of experience and a little bit of a greater perspective on the business and working world.

Saira Ansari: For example, I am on the Women in Business Club committee and we just had the recent Women in Business Club Conference, which is an annual flagship event. It was attended by over 200 people. And we were on the committee with the MBAs, their partners who can join in, the Executive MBAs, and the Masters in Finance students, and it was a really rich learning experience because when you are working with people that advanced in their careers and their fields, it provides you with a lot of perspective.

Linda Abraham: Kendal asks, “How is the UK immigration reform going to affect job prospects for non-EU students in the UK post-graduation?”

Daniel Lay: It’s still a little bit up in the air, but there is basically going to be a cap. They are going to cap the number of visas that companies are able to give out to graduates, so basically that is all non-EU workers. But students should not have a problem if they come here to LBS on a Tier 4 student visa and then whilst they are here transfer, and they get their job offer from a company that is on this approved sponsorship list. Looking at last year’s stats, it’s really all of the companies that students went to last year. So it’s pretty safe to say that most of the companies or all of the companies that our students go into should be on this list. As long as the students got that offer from one of those companies, and they apply and get that job whilst they are still in the country, they then won’t come under the cap, so they will be exempt from that.

So that is going to give LBS a real advantage, especially in the London job market because it would mean that for example for a company like Goldman Sachs, it would be easier for them; it wouldn’t affect the amount of visas. They’ve got to hire someone from a London Business School as opposed to hiring someone from an overseas business school. So whilst there are caps coming in, and it looks to people on the outside quite negative, we are actually seeing some sort of positive news coming out. The details on that still need to be ironed out, but from what we’ve heard, and we’ve got some really great links with the UK Border Agency and the Home Office, the news is actually not as bad as we had feared. There has been a lot of lobbying from the top universities and business schools in the UK about this, and it seems to have been listened to. So hopefully it’s not going to be as bad as what we first thought.

Linda Abraham: I have a question about the MiM degree in general. In your minds, is this degree instead of the MBA? Is it a terminal degree, or is it a degree for applicants who don’t have the business background, graduated usually in liberal arts, and may need an MBA 4-5 years down the road? So is it an introduction to business that could be supplemented later on by the MBA, or is it an early MBA replacement?

Lisa Mortini: That’s a really good question and a lot of our candidates ask themselves that question. Should I apply now for the MiM, do this and then start my career, or should I wait for a few more years and then do an MBA instead? It’s a very valid question. I think these are two very different offerings. The MiM is really something to give anyone from any background the opportunity to learn more about business and management and really start their career. The MBA, at least at LBS, is more about people who already established the first part of their career and either want to jump faster within the same career, want to switch their careers completely, or might want to start their own venture. So you are applying for the programmes at different times of your life.

And of course because the MiM is quite recent, we don’t have the experience of having seen any of our MiMs doing MBAs later on. But I don’t think that is an issue at all. I think that maybe in a few years, some of our MiMs will do an MBA if that’s what you do in their field of interest. Depending on where you work, you will sometimes be required to do an MBA. I think they can definitely go hand in hand, but they are two very different offerings. So when you apply for the programme you need to think about that. Are you ready to go into a job straight away and then start a career that might not work out for you because you haven’t tested all the opportunities out there or maybe you are not mature enough to make the right decisions? Or do you want to maybe learn more about yourself and more about what is out there for you, and then make the right choices straight away?

Daniel Lay: When I speak to recruiters, what they really like about the programme is the fact that the students are learning a lot about leadership and as much about their professional development and their personal development as the academic side of things. That is of real interest to a lot of recruiters I speak to. And obviously with the graduate market being so competitive, I think the MiM programme is really giving students an advantage and really differentiating them to some of their peers when it comes to the rigorous selection process that we know the graduate recruitment is.

And we are getting very good feedback. It is a relatively new programme, but the employment stats from our first year really back it up. And it’s looking very positive this year in terms of the firms that the graduates are going into and the roles and the level of salaries that they are commanding. It seems to have really added value to the first job that they are looking for. So there is some immediate payback in terms of differentiating them, and also the firms that they are getting into and the salaries that they are commanding.

Linda Abraham: I’m sure this is on your website, but can you briefly tell us some of the firms that have hired several of the MiM graduates?

Daniel Lay: McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group, Parthenon, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays Capital, Shell, KPMG, so really the big banks, the top tier in consulting firms, and big FMCG and industry firms. We have been really pleased. We’re not surprised because we know our students are excellent and the programme is really good, but the fact that companies have really engaged with the programme from such an early point has been really encouraging.

Linda Abraham: Raqib asks, “As a penultimate-year student, if I apply for the September 2012 session at the end of this year, then I will only have my penultimate-year result which is not a complete degree result. In this case, how will you judge my academic result whether I achieved a First or a 2.1 degree?”

Jamie Wright: That is absolutely fine. You can absolutely apply to the programme without having yet completed the degree. As the programme is aimed at undergraduates, actually the majority of students who apply for the programme when they apply are still completing their undergraduate degree. At the time of application we only require copies of the transcript that are current when the applicant applies. We will be looking to receive the marks from the past 2-3 years, or however long they’ve been studying for their undergraduate degree. And for anyone who is admitted to the programme, we will require that they supply us with an official hard-copy of the transcripts before they begin the programme to see that they did in fact get the marks that they said they would get at the time of applying.

Aside from the grades, the GMAT is also a very important tool for us because it’s a way for us to assess all applicants from all over the worlds using one standardized tool. But it’s a way for us to also assess an applicant’s aptitude to study management at this graduate level. So we absolutely use the GMAT in conjunction with the academics in order to assess whether the applicant will be able to handle the level of academics better on the Masters in Management programme.

Linda Abraham: Tarun asks, “What are the main points that you look for in an applicant, especially someone coming from an Information Technology background as there are many thousands coming from that background?”

Jamie Wright: It’s very difficult to say what we look for because we look at the whole application. I know that sounds really vague but it is actually true. Basically we expect everyone to meet the minimum entry requirements which are a 600-800 GMAT score, academic marks that are equivalent to UK’s 2.1 or First. This is a GPA of 3.5 or above on a 4.0 scale. For the English proficiency test score, we accept a number of scores that you can see on our website if that is applicable. And then of course there is the requirement of having less than one year of relevant business work experience.

So we expect everyone to meet those basic entry requirements, and then from there we want to see what the applicants have to offer regardless of whether or not they come from an IT background, business, history, music, etc. We want to see people who have excelled outside of the classroom as well as inside the classroom. So maybe you’ve had internships or work experience, maybe you’ve spent time traveling around the world or around the continent that you are from, maybe you have been involved in community service or volunteer work, or perhaps you’ve been involved in university societies or even created your own society while doing your undergraduate degree.

So we very much look for well-rounded people and people who will be able to contribute something to the programme as well as gain something from the programme. It’s a very active community and we want to see people who will be able to contribute to the clubs and to the classroom. Obviously the levels of contribution vary. We don’t expect everyone to be going out for MiM Rep on the Student Association, but we want to see people who will be able to offer a mix of talent and diversity. Diversity is definitely key on the MiM programme, and even if you look at the nationalities of the study disciplines, I think the diversity that we look for is definitely represented in those statistics.

Linda Abraham: S.M. asks, “Being from India, I want to know if you get Indian multi-national companies on campus recruiting because I want to work back home after the MiM.”

Daniel Lay: Being totally honest and upfront, we don’t get them in great numbers. It is something that we are working on. Predominantly the students are really looking for opportunities in London and in Europe, so that is typically a lot of our business development in terms of introducing the programme to companies and companies coming on campus. It is very much around opportunities in those areas. As I said, we are doing things such as “Spring into Action” at the moment, which is very much a bespoke initiative. So there is definitely an opportunity to indicate that that is what they would like, and then it is obviously up to us to work on that and bring companies in.

I actually have a conversation tomorrow planned with a large Indian company about hiring from the programme. So things do happen. A lot of it is driven by student interest. But the interest tends to be that students want to remain in London and in Europe. We are getting a bit more word of people wanting to look at perhaps going back home, but typically, it’s about studying and then working in London. If there is the student interest, we would definitely look at it. We have a huge alumni network that we can always tap into, as well as the brand being global which we can again leverage when talking to companies. So being totally honest, companies coming on campus from India at the moment – not really. Something that we can work on – definitely.

Saira Ansari: I can add the student perspective to that. I have a couple of friends from India who are in our class, and you can do a couple of things. First of all, there is a huge India Club on campus. It is absolutely enormous. You have lots of connections through that and networking opportunities and you can apply directly through that. Secondly, a lot of the big companies – consulting firms, etc. -- give you country choices. You can choose your country. If for example, you are from India and you want to apply to a McKinsey in India, you will be given an advantage because you can speak the language and you understand the culture. So there are a lot of indirect ways to apply. If the firm is not coming on campus from India to recruit, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not going to happen.

Daniel Lay: Excellent point. For a lot of the big firms that have global operations, you can choose to apply to those offices. So they may come as London representatives on campus, but you have the option to apply to more regional offices.

Linda Abraham: Justin asks, “Is the MiM internship available for Round 3 applicants?” And Ling asks, “How many students get the pre-session internship opportunity? Is there any chance to do internships during the MiM programme?”

Jamie Wright: Unfortunately internships are not available to applicants at Stage 3. The internships that we currently have available are only available to individuals who have been offered a place at the Stage 1 or Stage 2 application deadlines. The Stage 2 deadline was actually the 10th of January. So if you apply for the Round 3 application deadline, you will not be able to apply for the internships that are currently available on the website. We absolutely hope to add to the internship scheme as soon as possible, but at the moment the internships that are noted on the website are not available to Stage 3, 4, or 5 admits.

Daniel Lay: I’ll just pick up on that. For the internships that we are currently advertising, unfortunately the deadlines that the companies have set for those will have passed by the Stage 3 deadline; one has already passed, and the other two that we are working with will be at the end of this month. But it is a work-in-progress. It is a very much a first stab at it. The ultimate aim is for us to be able to get some of our incoming students onto an internship before they even start with us; it’s the ideal scenario. It’s really just getting the timings right.

But at the moment, we are talking about internships that are going to be starting July time, so the companies kindly reopened the application process for us. These internship opportunities closed in December, so they actually reopened it. The companies want to get a headcount and everything done and dusted as early into the new year as possible. So actually to get them to extend it into March time has been really welcome news, and hopefully some of the first and second stage people have applied for those.

But if there are some people out there thinking about applying to the programme for next year, it’s obviously on our radar in terms of timings, etc. We’re trying to make it accessible to all regardless of what stage you apply. So it’s something that we will work on to try and see if we can extend some of those deadlines. But a lot of the time, we are driven by the company. There is a lot of administration at their end that they need to get done, and as I said, they are typically extending this application process for us by two or three months which is a big favor from those firms; it’s not something they usually do. So we hope to extend it going forward, but that is the reasoning behind why the internships are only applicable to people who are applying and are being admitted early on.

Linda Abraham: Are there any other opportunities to do internships during the MiM programme? And approximately how many students participate in the internships, or is this the first year they are being offered?

Daniel Lay: Yes, this is the first year they are being offered so we have no stats as of yet. It is a competitive sort of process as well. The people applying should meet all of the minimum requirements, etc. because obviously they have been admitted here, but it is still a competitive process in terms of them being offered an internship. I think for anyone listening that is thinking about applying to the programme, I had a lot of conversations with prospective students and I just want to stress that this is not the only option for internships. People should be doing their own applications and so on because there is a wealth of internship opportunities out there.

Linda Abraham: Are there internship opportunities as part of the MiM programme?

Daniel Lay: No. Because the programme is so short, there is nothing that is of a formal nature. Students do go on to do internships once they finish their studies here, perhaps to try out a sector and get some experience if they are not 100% certain about what they want to do. But in terms of doing something over the summer and then coming back to do the end of the courses, the timetable just doesn’t allow for that.

Linda Abraham: Neha asks, “Do you accept students with a business undergrad degree?”

Lisa Mortini: We do. Originally, the programme was really designed for students who have no knowledge of business or business related topics at all. But what we’ve noticed is that a lot of the students who have studied maybe finance or accounting or economics or just pure management or international business at the undergraduate level actually have had a very formal, very lecture based, very theoretical experience. And a lot of them really want to add to their undergrad degree with a master’s degree but also want to stay within the same field because they want more of a practical approach. So they’ve been applying a lot to the programme and their reasoning behind that is because they want a more hands-on approach, they want more case studies, and they want to create more opportunities for themselves. And we are quite conscious of that and we accept that.

We do try to maintain a good balance in the class so it’s not 90% of business students and 10% of other students. If you look at the breakdown of the class, it is quite varied. And we have students that have studied law, music, fashion, tourism, languages, engineering, IT, mathematics, etc., so it’s a very broad scope of different topics. So yes, we do have students with a business background.

If you are a student with a business background and you are thinking about doing the programme, you should really look at the classes that we offer in detail. Is there going to be a lot of overlap? Are you going to be repeating some of the same things? Do we have a similar approach to your former school or not? And really start thinking about the reasons you are applying to the programme.

Saira Ansari: I actually have a business undergraduate degree, and I’m case in point so I can talk about this. For me this was pretty much a natural extension in the sense that I think your education is a combination of who is teaching you, what you are doing, and how you are doing it. For example, I’ve done macroeconomics before, but here you are being taught by Professor Helene Rey, who is one of the leading economic authorities in the world. And I think that learning from her in the classroom is very different from what I’ve done in my undergraduate.

Secondly, the way the course is conducted, we study in study groups and we work in teams. If you have done a business undergraduate degree, just do a little bit of research, but don’t think that you are going to be studying the same thing because I did a business undergraduate degree and I’m not studying the same thing. Also when you come to LBS, you are not only in the classroom; you have access to all the clubs, the events, the networks etc., so it’s not just about the classroom. And even in the classroom, for me personally, it has been different. Of course every case has to be assessed differently.

Linda Abraham: Vishnu asks, “I have not given my GMAT as I was unaware of the LBS MiM programme. Being an Indian student, can I still apply by the June deadline?”

Jamie Wright: You can absolutely apply by the June deadline. However, you would need to first take the GMAT before submitting your application. The GMAT is a mandatory requirement for all applicants. As I briefly mentioned a bit earlier, it is a very important tool for us because it is a way for us to assess your ability to study management on this programme and it tests the specific skills set that we are looking for in applicants. So you do need to take it prior to submitting your application.

With that said, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the GMAT exam, there is what is called the “test-taker copy” of your score report which you receive immediately upon completion of the test. The official score takes about twenty days to post. However, the nice thing about the test-taker copy is that you can apply with this preliminary score report. For example, if you take the GMAT on the 11th of April, you can still apply for the 12th of April, which is our Stage 4 deadline, because we will accept temporarily this preliminary score report. However, you would still need to include the date that you are taking the test in the application; there is a section which asks for the date that you’ve taken the GMAT exam.

If you have not taken the GMAT and you are thinking about applying this year, I would definitely advise beginning the preparation process as soon as possible. It is an investment of both and time and money, so I would absolutely advise doing some practice tests. Go onto the GMAT website which does offer preparation advice and just get a sense of how you will do in the actual test. There are even classes which provide preparation and advice. I think you can even buy previous tests at book stores and online. So do take the time to prepare for the test.

One more thing I would mention is that we look for scores in the range of 600-800. If you take the test the first time and don’t have a score you are happy with, you can absolutely retake it because we will accept the highest score achieved; we don’t average the scores, we will take the highest score that you get. I think sometimes people worry that we’ll see that they’ve taken it two or three times. To us, that is not a bad thing if you have improved each time that you’ve taken the test. It shows us that you’ve taken the time to revise and take a look at what areas you need to work on, and you’ve actually improved upon that. And then of course if you do have any questions about the timeline and the application, please do feel free to contact us.

Linda Abraham: Zaffar asks about the new entrepreneurship course that Lisa mentioned at the beginning of the Q&A. Lisa, could you perhaps provide a little more information on that?

Lisa Mortini: I really cannot, I’m afraid. This is very new so this is going to happen for next year students. I think our colleagues in the Programme Management Team and our Executive Director are sitting down with the faculty members at the moment to look at the course outline and what is going to happen. The idea of this course is for it to happen at the end of the year and to tie all the different things that they’ve learned about so far into what could become a real case study. So it could be a real venture or creating something from the knowledge they already have, as opposed to just continuing with regular lectures. So the idea is to tie up all these different topics, but I’m afraid that is pretty much all we know at the moment.

Linda Abraham: Okay, thank you for sharing that. Loana asks, “I would like to know how many applications you received last year.”

Jamie Wright: I can respond but only to a certain extent because unfortunately we are unable to provide that information; it is actually a school policy. Unfortunately we are not able to accept everyone who does apply to the programme. However, if you do meet the minimum entry requirements and you are interested in the programme, you should absolutely apply. And of course if you do have concerns about your eligibility or whether or not this is a good programme fit for you at this point in your career, do not hesitate to send us your CV, and the admissions committee will be more than happy to review your eligibility. But unfortunately, we are not able to provide details for the actual number of applications that we receive.

Linda Abraham: Jonathan asks, “Is it possible to visit the school and attend some lectures or classes?”

Lisa Mortini: It is possible to visit the school because we do have on-campus events. We offer drop-in sessions every Wednesday at 4:00. You can just come up to the school and you’ll have a discussion with one of our Admissions Team members and also with a Student Ambassador like Saira, and maybe you’ll have a little tour of campus as well. So that happens every week. Twice a term we also have what we call “Information Sessions”, and these are a bit more elaborate events. So they happen in the evening, there is a formal presentation, a panel of current students, and when they can get off work early enough -- some of our past students from last year, and there is also a networking reception where we actually just chat on a one-to-one basis with any of the prospective students there. So that happens twice a term and all the dates are on our website. There is one coming up on the 30th of March.

As far as class visits are concerned, you can apply for class visits but they are very restrictive in numbers. So what you can do is send us your CV for an eligibility check and then request a class visit. We will try to accommodate you, but we cannot permit everyone who is asking for that to be able to come and visit the class.

Linda Abraham: This is a question for Saira. Why did you choose to apply to the MiM programme and has it met your expectations?

Saira Ansari: I spoke about why I chose to apply to the MiM programme before, but I’ll give a quick review again. It was a combination of reasons for me. First of all, I wanted to get a job in London. I’m very interested in consulting and I wanted to do consulting here. And I wanted a natural extension to my undergraduate degree. I like business and I still wanted to do that, and this programme seemed to tie in well. It is a one-year long programme, it has a great brand name, it’s in a great location, and it is a very well connected school for fitting with my career goals. That is in terms of professional development.

In terms of personal development, being around people who are much senior in their careers and in their fields has been such a great learning experience. It has made me more confident in interviews. I have an alumni mentor, an MBA mentor; I learn a great deal from them. It’s possible to grab a coffee and chat with them about what is happening and get any advice they have.

Aside from that, the school is massively busy all the time with all sorts of events. As Lisa mentioned, there was Tattoo which was a giant event of 1,200 people. It was a cultural event. That was amazing. Apart from that, we have professional conferences. I am part of the Women in Business club so we are pretty active there in terms of events. There are a lot of cultural club activities. So has the programme met my expectations? I wasn’t expecting to be this busy to be very honest with you. So it definitely has been great. I’ve learned so much from coming here and I think it was a great decision on my part.

Linda Abraham: My husband and I visited LBS in December, and one of the things that really struck me is the sheer energy in the place. All business schools give off a certain amount of that, but that is really an impression that stayed after we left – the sheer energy and the buzz in the halls.

There are a couple of questions here asking about the CEMS programme that I was not familiar with. Richard is asking, “I’m applying from Canada and I’ve heard some good things about the CEMS programme. Are you guys a member? If not, can you mention pros and cons of this programme?” I asked what CEMS stands for because I wasn’t familiar with it, and Richard responded, “The Global Alliance in Management Education.”

Lisa Mortini: We are familiar with it. It is another Masters in Management programme. It is actually not an existing school; it’s an alliance of about 16 or 17 schools.

Linda Abraham: Richard said that it’s a group of schools around the world that all offer the MiM programme.

Lisa Mortini: That is correct. We are not part of that programme. LBS is part of the University of London but we do operate as our own entity. We are only a graduate school, so there are no undergraduate students on campus, but we are not part of the CEMS network I’m afraid, and that’s really pretty much what I know about it.

Linda Abraham: Ling asks, “How competitive will it be to apply in Stage 4/April? Will the admissions criteria be any different from the previous ones? If I don’t get in this year, can I apply next year? And how do you judge re-applicants?”

Jamie Wright: That is a very good question, and I’m sure many of the people here are in the same situation, especially that 17% who are looking to apply by April. It does get more competitive as the year goes on. We run a stage admissions process, which means that we do offer places in the class at each application deadline. Essentially, we have been offering places in the class since December. So if you think about it that way, by the time we reach the final deadline which is Monday, the 6th of June, our Stage 5 deadline, the majority of the class will be filled at that point. With that said, we do not operate on a quota system and we absolutely review each application as it comes in equally.

Linda Abraham: But you don’t have a last round just to torment applicants?

Jamie Wright: Well, we do have a last round, but it is not at all there to torment applicants. We would never do that to our applicants. In fact, we have a large number of students in this year’s programme and in last year’s programme as well who did apply in the final application deadline. Something I would note is that for any student who would require a visa to study in the UK, we normally advise avoiding the final deadline, only because of the visa process. It does take time for the student to apply for the visa and all they will need to go through in terms of their visa application, and students do need to be in class for Orientation at the beginning of September. So we advise avoiding the final Stage 5 deadline if possible. Of course, that doesn’t mean that if you need a visa to study in the UK, you can’t apply at the final deadline, and we do have people who were in that situation last year.

The second part of the question was about reapplying for next year. We do ask a certain number of candidates to reapply if we feel that perhaps they need a bit more experience, whether it’s experience outside of their university or if it’s work experience; we feel they just need a little bit of growth. We might ask them to reapply for next year. Just because we asked them once to reapply for next year doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be accepted to the programme. We do tell anyone who is not accepted to the programme that they can reapply, but we only advise really doing so if they can demonstrate some sort of growth personally and professionally.

Lisa Mortini: Re-applicants need to think about the one-year work experience requirement. So basically if someone has applied and is already within one year, if they reapply they probably won’t be eligible to be selected into the programme because they’ll have too much work experience. It’s something for them to think about as well.

Linda Abraham: I want to thank you all again for participating today. Special thanks to Lisa, Jamie, Daniel and Saira for joining us today. If you have additional questions for our London Business School panelists, please email them to mim@london.edu. We look forward to seeing you at future Q&A and Events. As you can see, we have several upcoming Q&As, including:

Visit our event schedule page for our full list of upcoming events and details, or to register. You can also subscribe to our events list by clicking reminders on our event schedule page.

Good luck with your applications!

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