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LBS Winning Sample Essays – 1
LBS Essay 1: What are your post-MBA goals and how will your prior experience and the London Business School programme contribute towards these? (500 words)
Post-MBA, I want to continue working in the Consulting space, but expand my horizon towards strategic mandates with a broader geographic/industry scope. I will start as a generalist consultant and develop expertise outside of the financial sector. Having almost entirely worked in finance-centric roles, I want to now grow beyond just a financial context—understand the cross-functional nature of decision making and strengthen my holistic business problem-solving ability. Long-term, after garnering commensurate exposure across industries, verticals and geographies, I aspire to move up the ladder to a C-suite executive at a top-tier strategy consulting firm. Having spoken to Anshul Gupta, CFA (MBA’16), I understand that the LBS MBA’s strong strategy curriculum, experiential learning and active alumni network will ensure an accelerated transition from a finance-centric to a strategic/management consulting role. Having spent 4.5 years in financial research and M&A advisory, I have worked with large PE funds, top-50 financial services firms and Fortune-500 companies to craft and recommend financial and strategic decisions. I have gained exposure to several industries (including retail, consumer goods, hospitality and real estate) and developed an understanding of global business through my interaction with CXOs, strategists and investment managers from more than eight countries. Working in large teams, I learnt to lead as well as follow. This experience, coupled with my CFA knowledge, has sharpened my research and analytical skills, on-the-feet thinking, and problem-solving ability — relevant skills that will position me to succeed higher up the value-chain. However, to seamlessly actualize my goals, I need to gain a deeper understanding of consulting frameworks, fine-tune my leadership skills and tap on resources that will help build a deep/rooted global network. The LBS MBA will instil strong business fundamentals, enable me to establish a strong network and operate in a city where one is in proximity to all top-tier consulting firms. At LBS, I intend to take electives such as “Thinking Strategically”, “Advanced Competitive Strategy”, “Managing Corporate Turnarounds” and “Strategy Lab” to build a strong strategy foundation. As suggested by XYZ (MBA’19), I also want to be a part of LBS’ increasing emphasis on impact investing through initiatives such as “MBA Impact Investing Network & Training” and “Business for Development Institute” to understand how business interfaces with society and keep abreast the growing trend towards social investing. I believe that professional-growth entails growing as a leader, a deft team-player and a person with a global outlook. As recommended by ABC (MBA’19) and PQR(MBA’19), I will look to participate in “Global Leadership Assessment for Managers (GLAM)” and polish my leadership skills through “Leadership Launch”. Finally, I plan to leverage “Global Business Experience” and “LondonCAP” to immerse in experiential-learning and gain unique real-world perspectives that will equip me to manage complex/ambiguous challenges seamlessly, thereby better preparing me for a strategy/management consulting role. As emphasised by all LBS MBA students and alumni I have interacted with, the sheer diversity, collaborative environment and continued focus on excellence will provide commensurate impetus towards my overarching ambitions.
LBS Essay 2: Is there any other information you believe the Admissions Committee should know about you and your application to London Business School? (500 words)
I want to take this opportunity to highlight how I will immerse myself in the LBS community:
Consulting and Finance Club
With a continued passion for consulting, I will look to contribute actively to the Consulting Club. Leveraging my learnings at KPMG, I will help in training & development of students interested in entering the consulting field. Additionally, I will help organise the Strategy summit by utilising my industry contacts and drawing on my event management experience of similar events at college level. I will also like to continue my love for finance at LBS. Clearing all levels in the first attempt and holding the CFA charter, I am well-equipped to mentor and guide peers who are looking to make a switch to the finance sector.
Volunteers Club / Net Impact Club / Impact Consulting Club
Blessed with ample resources, I have always felt a strong need to give back to our community. In the last seven years, I have worked with five different organisations/set-ups in the areas of education, women empowerment and community development. Additionally, I took a sabbatical of 1.5 months to work full-time with an India-based NGO, Goonj, to make meaningful and impactful contributions. As part of the LBS Volunteers club, I would like to spread this infectious passion for social impact, join the Ghana Service trek and strive to bring in more local volunteering opportunities for students. Further, I would pursue my interests in social development at the Net Impact Club and Impact Consulting Club by solving challenges faced by social enterprises and sourcing future projects.
Women in Business Club
Having experienced gender bias as a woman professional in a patriarchal society, I firmly believe in the need to promote gender diversity. At a personal level, I have used my own experiences to help other women by leading important women-focused initiatives on menstrual hygiene and education. At the professional level, I drive KPMG’s Corporate Finance women community initiative to discuss and address any work-related issue. Through the LBS Women in Business club, I will like to continue to help other women grow to their full potential.
I have always been passionate about event management—both cultural and professional. During undergraduate studies, I led several events including annual management convention, college fest, NGO fest and several management competitions. I continued my passion at my workplace wherein I was instrumental in organising Diwali parties, quarter parties, team huddles, and off-sites. Leveraging the experience gained through these positions of responsibility and my deep connection with India and its culture, I would contribute to the India club by sharing sui-generis perspectives about the country, organising cultural events, and utilising personal and professional contacts to invite guest speakers and help prepare for the India trek. Finally, having led diverse student organizations in the capacity of an elected representative during undergraduate studies and being an active alumnus of alma-mater, I aim to become a Student Ambassador for LBS, efficiently linking the school, future aspirants, research and industry.
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LBS Winning Sample Essay – 2
LBS MBA Essay 1: What are your post-MBA goals and how will your prior experience and the London Business School programme contribute towards these? (500 words)
As a project manager at a multinational bank in Hong Kong, overseeing credit lending operations, I noticed that often the small-scale, digital businesses were turned down by the bank. Based on the latest KPMG report, Hong Kong, despite being the leading global financial hub, ranks outside top 10 in “innovation hubs and leading visionaries”. In my view, the traditional banking model is to be blamed. Seeing how other industries are benefiting from the digital disruption, I have taken additional responsibilities in digitalization through training colleagues on digital awareness. However, I believe there is much more I can do. By applying the right technology-enabled solutions, I believe the banking sector can refine the traditional lending model and supply chain operations to support Hong Kong’s entrepreneurs. Post MBA, in short term; I want to work in product management in a fintech firm focused on lending such as Lending Club or Alibaba to understand how to solve financial problems using technology. In the long term, I envision to lead a digital strategy team in an international bank to push business transformation in the existing Hong Kong banking model. At the bank, I was fortunate to expose to both frontline and middle management roles in credit lending and project management, leading a team of 24 of diverse backgrounds. The engagements I lead, such as implementing a more robust anti-money laundering system, require in-depth strategic planning and flawless execution as it impacts over 10,000 customers. In one of my recent projects, I designed a framework to analyze public companies that was adopted by senior management to successfully defend the Bank’s position on 100 firms that were on its loan books, despite the stock prices of some of these companies have dropped over 90% in May 2017. “Global is the new local” especially for digital business. Steering a digital business transformation demands an entrepreneurial spirit and global thinking, something I need to improve upon. I witness how constructive feedback and constant learning are crucial to refine business ideas; at LBS, a student body with over 70 nationalities, gives rise to many well established regional clubs and brings the famous international celebration “Tattoo” to life. I will diversify my social circle and learn from diverse viewpoints to accelerate my business acumen to a global scale. Complementing my lack of experiences in digital management, LBS’s tailored core courses in “Digital Strategy” will gear me with relevant tools to revamp the existing lending model. Looking forward, I wish to use my bid points to take the strategy lab class taught by Prof ABC, a professor whom many current students spoke highly of, to work on real business problems on disruptive innovation. I will also take full advantage of the unique offer LBS provides on the highly flexible curriculum and block week electives, as I am well-positioned in London to work 2 internships or part time with a fintech firm to understand how to solve financial problems using technology. Combining my experience from working at the bank, skills and knowledge gained from LBS and the product management experience gained at a fintech firm, I will be well positioned to achieve my long-term vision of transforming business lending in Hong Kong banking sector and contribute to its growth story in the digital economy.
Why do you wish to participate in the EMBA-Global Americas and Europe programme? What do you hope to experience and how will participation in this programme help you to achieve your objectives? Word Limit 500
I am currently working as Senior Engineer with Suncor Production Planning and Logistics. Along with my full-time job, I am following my passion and running my own business at Maharajah Restaurant. Also, I recently partnered with TriPharma, a pharmaceutical startup, focused on ayurvedic and herbal medicine. After having a successful corporate career, I am planning to make a career shift and join my ventures full time. My vision is to take both my ventures into the international market, and for the expansion, we are targeting the USA and Europe. But over the past years, while setting up the businesses, I have realised the need for a business education to make my businesses successful. I need to fill the knowledge gaps in corporate finance, marketing, and strategy. That’s why I believe an MBA at this stage would be a perfect fit for me to learn and simultaneously apply those learning to help grow my business. During my MBA, I plan to continue working on my ventures, and that’s why I am considering executive MBA programmes only. Executive MBA programme can provide me with the flexibility to learn while working. Being situated in two major economic regions, the collaboration of LBS and CBS would give me a perfect opportunity to understand the micro and macro aspects of both the markets. One of the most distinctive approaches EMBA Global programme has is the access to a variety of elective that are available not only in the US and Europe but also in Asia. Thus, giving me an edge to internationalise the ventures. In the programme, courses are taught with the intention to develop a global perspective by the faculty of world-renowned scholars and practitioners. I am confident that when worldwide career support is blended with latest academic theory along with research and real-world experience, it will groom me with the required skills to take my businesses global. I am inexperienced in making a career transition, therefore being part of the programme I will be looking to close the gaps and find peers or a mentor who had been through this journey. From this programme, I am hoping to get framework and knowledge to close the gaps and have opportunities to revisit the values and re-evaluate my baseline with strong, diverse and dynamic peers. With the exposure to faculty, courses and peer groups, I would like to be part of the wider business world; it will also be a perfect platform from which I will learn what corporations and startups go through in terms of life-cycles. Thus, I will be able to synergize the knowledge, skills, and network to achieve the desired results.
Essay (maximum 500 words) Please describe a situation either work or personal where you faced a particular challenge. What was the outcome and what did you learn from the experience about your own strengths and personal development needs?
In 2014, I noticed the growing demand Indian cuisine fine dining experiences but the lack of options available in the city of Calgary. After noticing this gap, my friend and I started our own Indian cuisine restaurant offering authentic Indian food and ambiance. In November of 2014, we were excited to open doors for our new downtown location. We saw a strong response from Calgarians and as per the business plan and sales forecast, we were headed in the right direction. Calgary is a small city in southwest Canada. Its economy is centered around oil and gas industry. Unfortunately, in the tail end of November 2016 oil prices started to crash and took a free fall from $115 per barrel to $28 per barrel. The impact of oil price crash was devastating for the economy and it had a direct impact on our business too, revenue dropped by 50% – 60% within weeks. We realized the tough times ahead and decided to cut down on variable cost for which we would have to let go off some of the staff. In my career, this was one of the most challenging situation. We decided who would stay and who would go, and were supposed to pass this news to the employees. I clearly remember the night before as I was up all night thinking, how my employees would feel and react. I had no choice but to move forward and pass the news to them. I still remember the faces of my employees when I gave them the news. This exposure took an emotional toll on me, but it taught me the human aspect of leadership As the going got tougher and tougher, we stepped in to share every responsibility not just managing. After two years of grinding hard work, we are still surviving and making profits. Moreover, this experience acquainted me with my strengths and weakness. This situation made me aware of my three core strengths. Firstly, the importance of being “focused”, as it has a direct impact on implementing your vision and momentum to progress. Secondly, maintaining your Integrity, for me it means being true to yourself, business and be fair with your employees and thirdly, believe in yourself and don’t let that passion fade away when a situation is not in your favor. Along with my strengths, the situation also made me aware of the qualities I need to improve upon. Such as, sometimes it is hard to convince people who resist change, therefore as a business owner I need to learn how to work effectively and have them onboard. Also, I need to learn and understand the thin line between coaching and micro-managing. This experience has made me well versed with the importance of patience and hard work to persevere through difficult times.
Personal statement: (maximum 500 words)
Please tell us about yourself and your background. How do you embody the characteristics of a future global leader? The objective of this statement is to get a sense who you are, rather than what you have achieved professionally.
I am a chemical engineer by profession and an entrepreneur by passion. Currently, I am working for Suncor Energy as a senior engineer in production planning and logistics. Along with my full-time professional career, I followed my passion and ventured into business partnerships at Maharajah Restaurant, an Indian Cuisine restaurant, and TriPharma, a pharmaceutical start-up focused on ayurvedic and herbal medicine. My family immigrated to Canada in 2005, after few months of the arrival my family decided to move back to India, but I decided to stay in Canada and pursue my education. My decision put forward many challenges: adapting to a new culture, weather conditions, lack of support network and financial support. Once the reality of my decision, dawned upon me, I braced myself up and started to put my new life together. I found my first job in a burger joint on minimum wage. I worked hard to achieve my dream of a quality education. I enrolled myself in engineering at the University of Calgary. I took an education loan and worked nights as a security guard to manage my living expenses. This phase of my life was the pinnacle of my struggle, I learned to overcome these challenges with my persistence, perseverance and hard work. These challenges taught me the true meaning and value of hard work and helped me develop skills like time and resource management. My hard work laid the foundation of my career, in 2010, I got my first professional job at Suncor, Canada’s largest oil and gas company. I have been with Suncor for past 7 years in various roles. Suncor provided the opportunity to work with peers from approximately 74 nationalities. These opportunities strengthened my human resource and management skills. With my hard work and management skills, I have been promoted to many responsible and critical positions within the organization. In addition to my work at Suncor, I followed my passion for setting up my own business. In Last 3 years, I have ventured in 2 partnership. First with, Maharajah restaurant, where I am a managing partner. At the restaurant, I manage the operation and develop business strategies. Second, with Tripharma which is currently in an early phase of federal approval. On my personal front, I make time to volunteer at Immigrant Services Calgary. I work closely with new immigrants and help them in exploring their passion and career, and facilitate them to integrate into Canadian society. At a very basic level, I guide and motivate them. It is just my way of giving back to my community. After 7 years of professional career and business development, I have learned key skills of how to set-up a business and lead a team to make it successful. The struggle in my life has left an edible mark on my personality. This struggle coupled with the corporate and business experiences has embodied in me the qualities of a leader which I look forward to enhancing further at London and Columbia business school.
Tell us about your responsibilities. Describe your day to day role, details of any clients you work with/for, the level/title of the person you report to, the size of budget for which you are directly responsible and the number of people in your team.
I am currently working as Production Analyst and Reporting Engineer with Suncor Energy. During my 7 years at Suncor, I have worked in multiple roles from process design, vendor selection, operations, technical support and as a production analyst. In my current role, I am responsible to account Suncor’s production and product sales from Oil sands and In-Situ projects. It is a crucial role within Suncor, as I work closely with the regulatory bodies. Thus, any mistake has a serious impact on Suncor’s operation and operating license. Moreover, if there is an mistake in production calculations and press release, it impacts the company’s share and reputation thus the valuation of the company. Due to the criticality of this role I work a lot with vice president, general managers, and directors. On a monthly basis, we deal with 10.5 million gigajoules per month of natural gas (NG) and approximately 450 million kilo barrel per day of oil production. I am part of 6 members team, and I lead Natural gas accounting and Carbon levy reporting from my team. Along with this I am responsible for bitumen accounting and reconciling extraction production mass balance. My team and I recently have awarded multiple recognitions awards for saving Suncor approximately $50 million dollars from audits, NG and Oil production accounting discrepancies. I got a letter of appreciation from our general manager when we save Suncor $20 million dollars fine from Department of Energy.
Do you feel that your academic performance so far gives an accurate indication of your potential for success on the programme? If so, why? If not, why not?
I have never been academically stringed but more of a hands-on person. During school year, I was supporting myself financially and had to balance my time and studies with working full time night shift. This phase of my life taught the true meaning and gave me a live example of time and stress management, and most importantly how to manage resources. During the school year, I was also involved in student clubs supporting student union presidential election, as well as organized events for 300+ members for Bollywood club. As reflected in my transcript, i have done well in the courses that had more or blend of practical aspect to it as compared to theoretical. This has holistically developed me, and since the graduation I have further improved my time and people management skills by effectively managing my job at Suncor, Maharajah restaurant and TriPharma along with community service. I believe that MBA is more about learning from experience and applying it to see results. Therefore, i am confident that the lesson and skills learnt over period of time will help me to be successful in this programme.
Tell us about your main interests and activities in your free time
My main interests is in Community services, especially career coaching for my mentees. I coach my mentees on resume building, interview preparation, confidence boosting and career building. I have coached more than ten mentees and supported approximately seven newly immigrated families to transition into Canadian system. This experience has helped me to polish my communication and interpersonal skills. In my free time, i meet up with friends for a volleyball or table tennis game or head out to mountains with my family and friends for a hike or camping.
What are your immediate and ultimate career objectives? How will the Sloan MSc in Leadership and Strategy and London Business School help you to meet your objectives? (500 words max)
As the youngest finance controller in East-Asia region, I started my job in Seoul with a demoralized team and skeptical sales/marketing colleagues. Yet I succeeded to rebuild a strong team in one year by understanding the concerns of my team members, reallocating job functions and building a detailed career development plan for every member. The result was credibility won by leading operation procedure formalization with colleagues representing 7 countries. After 14 month, I was promoted again based upon my proven performance in 2011. My experience in the past seven years has given me a more mature understanding about the responsibility of leadership as well as more confidence in my ability to become a future global business leader. I attribute these successes to my passion for pushing the boundaries beyond my own safety zone. Moreover, as a professional woman, my nature to be considerate and solve conflicts in a humanistic way has been an asset in various challenges throughout my career. Beyond daily responsibilities, I also push my frontiers to think the best of business solutions. Some of the questions that keep me up at night include: How can we maintain sustainable growth in today’s ever-changing and highly competitive market? Professor John Mullins’s “A Business Plan? Or a Journey to Plan B?” was enlightening to my puzzles. By breaking