London Business School MBA Interview

LBS does the interview slightly differently to most other schools. Everyone at LBS is interviewed by an Alumni – secondly those alumni are ‘paired’ to you, meaning they will try to find one that has a similar background or interests or work experience, and is potentially working in your target exit industry.

This therefore takes a bit of time as they need to ‘profile’ you – then identify an alumni that meets some of your profile – before reaching out to them to confirm they can undertake the interview within the next couple of weeks.

This obviously gives you the best possible opportunity to make an impression as you don’t get landed with someone who doesn’t understand where you came from or where you want to go. It also gives you a great opportunity to really get under the skin of what the school is like from someone in your shoes potentially only a few years before.

So it can seem quite slow but i thoroughly enjoyed my interview – even the dreaded presentation which my interview decided to try and grill me on (but in a nice way)!

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.

Frequently Asked Interview Questions

  1. Why MBA, why now?
  2. Why LBS over other B-schools listed in the application?
  3. What will you do if you are on waiting list in LBS? What happen if LBS tells you to apply next year?
  4. Given examples of incidents when you formed your own teams. How did you go about forming those teams?
  5. What do your subordinates think about you?
  6. What are three adjectives you would use to describe LBS and why?
  7. How will you manage expenses/finances? (Particularly relevant if you choose to be an entrepreneur after B-school)
  8. Growth among EU countries. Which ones are growing faster and slower vs. average, and why?
  9. Wikileaks. What is it? Do you support it?
  10. Explain a typical day in your job.
  11. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
  12. What would you do if you had $10 million?
  13. Professional failure/setback?
  14. What will you bring to your first year group study?
  15. What will you bring culturally as well as techinically?
  16. Any issues when working with diverse international teammates?
  17. Presentation- A topic is given with 5 minutes to prepare.
  18. What do you think are the development areas in your communication skills? How do you plan to improve them? (This normally comes after a 5-minute presentation)
  19. Why have you made the career choices you have?
  20. What other schools you are applying to? Where does LBS stand?
  21. What would you change about your company’s strategy for the future?
  22. What distinguishes you from all other MBA applicants?
  23. Example of when somebody on your team frustrated you and how you dealt with it
  24. What is the difference between a born leader and a manager? Who do you admire as a leader?
  25. What characteristics should a successful business leader have?
  26. 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?

Interview Transcript - 1

My interview was scheduled with an LBS alumnus.

I was expected to fly to another city as LBS couldn’t find a rep in my current city, fortunately the interviewer managed to get his friend (also LBS alum) do to it in my city, which saved me the 5hrs flight.

The interviewer was pretty high up at a M/B/B. The interview was short as it was scheduled for only 1 hour, had 3 parts:

Questions for me (based on resume, work experience, also behavioral) were:

  • Have I led a team
  • What is the profiles of the people in the team
  • Have I failed in a project?
  • Describe my international experience and cultural sensitivity, etc.

Also typical ones like:

  • Why MBA?
  • Why LBS?
  • Is LBS my first choice?

There was an oddball question to test my ability to handle ambiguity:

  • “How many bathtubs in this country?” I didn’t prepare for this kind of question and kinda bombed this part.

The five-minute presentation (with 5 minutes to prepare): convince a CEO that he should hire a data-analysis consultant to help with all major decision making.

Questions for alum, about 15 minutes:

I asked him about his LBS experience and if there was any advice for me. He was surprised that I knew in depth about his CV, so I told him I looked him up on LinkedIn before.

In summary, it was a fairly pleasant interview, I did OK.

So far I’ve been waitlisted at LBS. The interviewer was surprised to know that, as he expected me to be admitted.

Interview Transcript - 2

LBS is my second interview this year. The interviewer is an asset manager at Beijing.

  • One minute self-introduction.
  • About my first start-up experience. Asked in detail how I managed to convince people to join our start-up.
  • About my second start-up experience. Asked about my roles and responsibilities.
  • About my current job: The company’s business and my roles.
  • The three Whys: Why MBA/ Why now/ Why LBS
  • Questioned closely about how my current work experience relates to my investor relationship management goals.
  • Extracurricular activities that I plan to attend in LBS.
  • 5-minute presentation: I found the presentation part a bit challenging but I know someone working in consulting would find it very straightforward.

I guess LBS interview isn’t blind because the moment we sat down, interviewer commented that he liked my application. In all, the conversation was smooth and delightful.

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Interview Transcript - 3

Well, just had my interview. In the end I couldn’t really gauge how well it went but I think more on the positive side.

All-in-all it was very conversational. First question was the classic “tell me about yourself?” which I probably spent too long on but at least tried to stick some motivations in there in terms of wanting an international career and wanting to go into consulting.

Other questions:

  1. What words would your friends/ colleagues use to describe you
  2. It doesn’t look like you’re really changing industries in the end, why do you need an mba?
  3. Where do you want to work when you finish, why? (commented about how it’s more difficult to find a spot in London and should be open to other cities)
  4. What things would you contribute to your study group and what would you hope to get out of it?
  5. Tell me about a time you failed?
  6. How is your team structured?
  7. Tell me about the average day in your job ?
  8. Tell me about the biggest threats and opportunities you see to the industry?
  9. Do you have any management experience?
  10. Tell me about your experience with different cultures approaching things differently?
  11. What are some of these things you need to develop / you think you would struggle with during the MBA?
  12. Tell me about a weakness of yours?

In the middle we had the case/presentation which was quite easy – I think they just want to check how you think when approached with an ambiguous problem.

She offered a lot of information about financing, the culture of LBS, the career center and moving into the consulting industry. She also offered advice on which school to chose (if not LBS) from the other ones I applied for, that kind of concerned me.

She didn’t really ask “Why LBS” so I had to fit it into my answers. I then had about 10 minutes to ask questions. The whole interview took a little over 90 minutes. Now all I can do is wait till November to see the results! Good luck to everyone.

Interview Transcript - 4

Interview went well (I think). Was a positive experience, the almunus was professional and asked some difficult questions about my experience and related goals.

The major questions were the general ones that you would expect with some pre-discussion about resume and background:

1)Filled gaps about resume/essays and extensively went through experience and achievements (this was fairly difficult and I recommend that you know your achievements inside and out and be prepared to explain thoroughly).

2)Why MBA

3)Why now

4)Why LBS – Be prepared to have a very solid understanding and reasoning to behind why LBS and how it differentiates from other MBA programs. I found myself defending my reasoning quite a lot, and doing extensive research prior to the interview helped with this tremendously. Link the reasoning to your goals and your prior experience and how it directly correlates.

5)I’m concentraing on entrepreneurship and there was frequent discussion/questioning about why I’d want a MBA and why not go down the path without one if I could seek VC now.

There weren’t any other formal questions directly asked in any sequence following these above, however there were more ‘soft’ questions throughout our conversation in between those major questions above.

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Frequently asked Situational and Behavioural interview questions

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Interview Transcript - 5

Had my interview this past Sunday with a class of ’11 alum currently working in PE. Below is a debrief:

– Interview was held at his office and lasted about 1.5 hrs
– Started with his background, career progression and his reasons for starting an MBA
– He was very honest about what he liked and disliked about his experience which I appreciated. He did very a good job of selling the school
– Standard questions were asked (why MBA, LBS and now etc.). He did drill down on a few of my answers which I enjoyed discussing
– Presentation was on incentivizing employees of a start up (aligned with my career and post MBA plans)
– Ended with my questions about his time at LBS, his career and hobbies
– There were a couple others working in the office and he went out of his way to introduce me to his boss who was also an LBS alum, which I appreciated

Overall I thought it went quite well. No real hiccups or really tough questions. Probably wasn’t as polished on the presentation as I could have been but no huge red flags. Fingers crossed. Good luck everyone on their interviews!

Interview Transcript - 6

Hi I had my interview yesterday.. The interview was very conversational. Most of the questions were based on my resume.

  1. Why MBA
  2. Why LBS
  3. Why not Insead
  4. Why Not US B schools
  5. Leadership experience
  6. how would your friend describe you
  7. Strength
  8. International experience
  9. Questions about my work – like how does the organization work – what exactly they do etc

Pretty peaceful. Only bad thing was that I was not prepared for it.. In hindsight, I could have done better.

Interview Transcript - 7

Had my interview some few days ago.

It was definitely the most exhaustive MBA interview I’ve had by far. My interviewer had all of my information, specific things that LBS had requested he should find out, and he even knew to which schools I had applied!! (I guess they get this information from the GMAT report)

Overall it was a very complete and exhaustive conversation, where I felt I was permanently pushed to see whether I’d fit at LBS (I definitely think I do). The case was simple, nothing to worry about (Can’t share the contents of it)

I would recommend for everyone to be really prepared for this interview. Have a clear story, career path, electives you want to do, LBS activities on which you want to participate, etc

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