LBS MBA Application Essays 2019-20
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)
Optional Essay: Is there any other information you believe the Admissions Committee should know about you and your application to London Business School? (500 words)
LBS MBA 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.
What are your post-MBA goals and how will your prior experience and the London Business School programme contribute towards these?
I have more than eight years of experience in the data science domain. I have risen up to lead a team of 25 data scientists as the assistant vice president at loyalty rewards. Post-MBA, I would like to use my expertise in the data science domain coupled with a business degree to seek a leadership role in data science or Artificial Intelligence (AI) based product start-ups. In the long term, I aspire to start my own business in the same domain.
I started my career as a Business Analyst at Mu Sigma when Mu Sigma was a small data science startup. I witnessed Mu Sigma’s inspirational transformation from 200 to 2000 employees within 3 years. I learned important lessons about the type of work culture which makes an organization succeed. I collaborated with teams across 4 countries and worked for 4 Fortune 500 clients.
Working at an early stage start-up gave me leadership experience early in my career and later, I joined Loytly Rewardz as a Manager. As a manager here I learned about cross-functional dynamics and collaboration between functions like marketing, business, and technology and grew into a leadership role of assistant vice president reporting directly to the CEO. I took over this role when there was a management change in the organization and brought back stability to the 25-membered department while facing high employee attrition.
Now I am part of senior leadership at the company and I think apart from my technical skills my business acumen needs to be sharpened to grow further into leadership roles. Also, to fulfill my entrepreneurial aspirations, I need a stronger cross-functional understanding and business knowledge. I understand that an MBA will help bridge these gaps and hone my interpersonal skills to influence and negotiate.
Based on my research and interactions with alums and students, I believe that London Business School perfectly suits my aspirations. All the students I interacted with emphasized that LBS has an excellent focus on global business or entrepreneurship. I believe the Business Fundamentals core will strengthen my foundations in finance, marketing, and operations and programs like GLAM and the Leadership Launch sessions will give me an opportunity to fine-tune my leadership skills.
I really like the Entrepreneurship Summer School and the Enterprise 100 club which will provide an excellent opportunity to practically learn about entrepreneurship. Tailored courses can aid me in building relevant skills for entrepreneurship and a strong network with leading start-ups in the data science and AI domain.
Most importantly for me, London is the most suitable place to go for an education and relocate with my family because my husband works for a London Headquatered firm and can easily relocate to London.
Therefore, from a professional and personal perspective, LBS is a perfect fit for me to pursue my further education I am certain that an MBA at LBS will help me fulfill my aspirations while I add value to the LBS community through my leadership skills and domain/market knowledge.
1. Academic performance – 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?*
My GPA in my first four semesters was low due as it took time for me to adapt to staying away from family. It increased significantly in the last 2 years as I regained focus quickly. I graduated in the first division. My GMAT score of 760 is a fairer indication of my potential.
2.What’s your organization’s main area of activity?
Loylty Rewardz is India’s leading loyalty service provider with 200M consumers from 30 banks linked to 4K merchant store network through data-driven marketing partnerships on its unique loyalty platform which processes 2.5B transactions annually.
3. 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. (400 words max)*
Loylty Rewardz runs India’s largest bank loyalty programs and offers data-driven marketing partnerships to Indian retailers, including some of the largest retail chains in the country. I head the 25 membered Data Science unit at Loylty Rewardz and report to the CEO. My unit is responsible for:
- Driving consumer engagement for 200M customers on the loyalty platform worth ~$2.6M annual revenue.
- Delivering insights, strategy and data science solutions to 20+ banks with 73% debit transaction share in India and 4K store retail network in 60 Indian cities.
- Creating data science products and business development for data science solutions to increase the organization’s revenue potential by 3X.
I am responsible for project management, team building, stakeholder management and overseeing BAU work in the team. I collaborate with the rest of the leadership team, sales teams across 6 cities to devise campaign strategy as per business objectives, propose new solutions for increasing the business of Loyalty Rewardz, and deliver analytical insights for our banking and retail clients. I am also responsible for resource planning, hiring and overseeing induction at all levels in my team. I was appreciated by the CEO for creating a comprehensive onboarding plan for new joiners in my team to help them understand the business, data and various technical skills.
My daily responsibilities include guiding the team leads in my unit on projects and BAU, mentoring and positively engaging key team members, stepping in and nudging the team in the right direction for critical / problem-zone deliverables and engaging stakeholders with meaningful business inputs for their requirements. I also contribute to key strategic initiatives of the organization like formulating client engagement calendar or re-modelling the loyalty platform. I am responsible for ideation, capability building and innovation in my team and conduct different workshops for improving problem-solving / data science skills in the team.
During my five year tenure at Loytly Rewardz, I have grown from a Manager to the VP – Chief Data Scientist, reporting directly to the CEO. I made significant contributions by scaling analytics delivery by 10X through the implementation of high-performance database, increasing timely delivery rate & accuracy of deliverables by 2X and building new revenue pipeline to increase revenue potential by 3X through data science.
4. Additional Information – Please tell us your most significant international experiences to date. (100 words max)*
I love to travel and explore new places and cultures. I have visited 14 countries in Eurasia with uniquely special memories and learnings about each country’s heritage from each trip. I spent 10 days in the UK visiting various sites including the historic city of Edinburgh, my favourite author Jane Austen Museum at Bath and the British museum with ancient artefacts in London. I was also very fascinated with the rich history and culture of Czech Republic during my recent trip.
Professionally, I have worked with Indian, British, American, Argentinian and Omani clients.. I have visited Oman on a business trip.
5. Tell us about your main interests and activities in your free time. (400 words max)*
I have been interested in writing since childhood. I participated in many public speaking and writing events. I received a Merit certificate in district-level essay writing and elocution competition during my early schooling. I also won the essay writing competition conducted at my college during B.Tech. I have been blogging for 5 years now. During my free time, I express my ideas through my personal blog which has around 350 page-views in a month. I often write about women empowerment and other themes which inspire me.
I like to see life as a continuum of learning. I have been learning Carnatic music for the last 1.5 years. I take classes thrice a week and practice before and after work, or when I put my daughters to sleep. Carnatic music is devotional. Learning and practising it has been a healing and spiritual experience for me.
I like to try new things and started learning freestyle dance since the last 1.5 years. I take classes every alternate day. I progressed from being a total novice to being able to do complicated 3 – 5 minute sequences. Dance is a great stress-buster and is helping me keep fit post-pregnancy. Involvement in art helped me give exclusive time for myself and recover from post-partum depression.
During the last 4 years, I have been advising my sister on her fashion start-up Young Trendz. They are a low-cost commercial clothing brand targeting a young audience. I have been advising them on expanding into new product lines, launching new brands, tying up with different sales channels and other strategic decisions. Young Trendz has grown quickly with an annual taxable turnover of 1.4M USD currently.
I would love to continue pursuing my interests at LBS through new experiences and dance to the tunes at ‘Tattoo’. I would be glad to extend my involvement in start-ups to be an active member of ‘Entrepreneurship’ and ‘Women in Business’ clubs.
6. We encourage applicants to take into consideration the impact of study on family and friends. Who have you discussed your plans with and what was the response? (300 words max)*
I have discussed my plans with my husband, parents and in-laws who have all been extremely supportive and encouraging of my future aspirations. My parents are very supportive of higher education. My husband is a lead equity analyst at Investec. Investec’s presence in London makes it easier for us to relocate to the UK as a family. Our parents have offered to help us take care of our twin daughters, either in UK or in India.
7. If you know any London Business School Alumni or Students, please give their names, graduating class and tell us how you know them. (300 words max)*
I have interacted with quite a few alumni and students from London Business School to understand the career prospects for me. The interactions have been very insightful. I have reached out to Mr Sourabh Dutta from the 2015 graduating class, who is a family friend to understand career prospects in London. I gained a good perspective on the MBA advantage at LBS compared to a one year program and about the power of London as a location as well as the networking advantage at LBS from him.
To understand prospects specific to tech. entrepreneurship, I interacted with Mr. Moe Moeen from the graduating class of 2018 who comes from an entrepreneurial background. He emphasized on the LBS focus on entrepreneurship.
I reached out to Ms. Yulia Lamonova who is a current student and a mother of two regarding childcare options in London.
I also interacted with Ms. Anjori Pasricha & Ms. Nikki Gupta who are current students interested in Tech career to understanding recruitment options for tech. / AI space. I have complete conviction that this is the right programme for me to help fulfil my career aspirations and am happy to have interacted with some of the versatile students from LBS.
LBS MBA Winning Sample Essay – 2
What are your post-MBA goals and how will your prior experience and the London Business School programmes contribute towards these?
I am a design professional with 8 years of diverse experience in the fashion, luxury & crafts industry. Post-MBA, in the short term, I plan to continue growing my career within the fashion & luxury industry only but would like to transition from an operational role of a designer to a more strategic & business management role with the likes of Zara or John Lewis.
During my extensive working experiences from the grassroots levels (with artisans, NGOs, craft-clusters) to working with leading global fashion brands like Zara and Marks and Spencers, I have gained a comprehensive understanding of the fashion and luxury design industry.
My role and client exposure has allowed me to acquire and develop good skills in identifying client needs, country-specific distinct design aesthetics, and strong interpersonal skills while dealing with international clients. I also lead a design team of 20 members who have helped refine my leadership and team management skills.
However, at this stage of my career, I have limited exposure or knowledge of critical business areas like strategy, finance, brand management, etc. I believe the lack of business knowledge and hands-on working experience in business management or strategic roles can limit my professional aspirations. Hence, after a detailed discussion with my mentors, and senior leaders in the industry, I believe an MBA would be the perfect program for me to upskills myself and grow my career further.
In 2019, while visiting London for a client meeting, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit LBS campus and interact with LBS students like Francisco Milan (MBA’20), Claire Blumenthal (MBA’20), and Yurika Takahashi (MBA’21) to name a few. I was thoroughly impressed by the feedback I received and since then I have been aspiring to pursue my MBA at LBS.
I think LBS’s customizable curriculum where I can select my course (Term 2 onwards) & choose electives in the field of my skill-gap areas is a perfect structure for me enhance my learning and skills in the classroom. Outside of the classroom, I believe the activities organized by Retail and Luxury Goods Club or the unique offering of Walpole Luxury Management programme can really help me gain a deeper understanding of the fashion and luxury industry from a business management perspective. As part of the Walpole network, I can utilise its initiatives & events to seek guidance from Walpole mentors, and classroom learnings from electives like Luxury Strategy & Strategic Innovation to broaden my knowledge about the fashion and luxury industry.
At LBS, events like Retail & Luxury Conference 2022, Women in Business Conferences, Design & Innovation Club events, can give me the opportunities to engage and expand my network with prominent LBS alumni and industry experts. Which I can later leverage into internship or job opportunities.
Overall, I am confident that with my past experience in the fashion industry, and learnings from LBS MBA experience I will be able to achieve my career goals and contribute significantly to raise the bar for learning at LBS for my diverse cohort of fellow MBA peers.
Tell us about your main interests and activities in your free time. (400 words max)
Coming from an arts & craft background, I indulge in activities that enhance my creativity and enrich the experiences of life. I play an Indian classical music instrument, Sitar, which helps me stay stress-free and provides a pathway to express my feelings in a subtle but creative manner.
Another activity I have consistently pursued since college is theatre & street-plays. I have performed alongside a few famous Indian theatre celebrities like Shabana Azmi & Irfan Khan. This activity has enhanced my cognitive & expressive abilities. The experience of performing live on-stage in front of large audiences taught me the importance of being prepared, increased my self-confidence tremendously, and transformed me into a more collaborative person.
Apart from performing theatre myself, I also volunteer for an NGO, Robinhood Army, through which I conduct art & theatre workshops (1-2 workshops/month) for underprivileged kids. I teach them painting & origami techniques for better creative visualization. I also involve them in role-plays & mono-acting sessions to improve their self-confidence. I volunteer for this activity as I believe art is an expression of mind & heart, which helps these kids build a positive outlook towards life and to let-go of their real-life hardships & struggles. These sessions help me to stay grounded, build empathy & remain aware of real-world problems.
Also, I have extensively participated in various outdoor sports activities in the last 15+ years. I played hockey during school days, learned & practised horse-riding, participated in multiple 100m, 200m & 400m running events in school, & ran seven half marathons to support various social causes. Such outdoor activities have helped me build stamina & develop strong will power. Moreover, the physical nature of these activities taught me an essential life-lesson that no matter how difficult a task appears in the beginning, perseverance helps achieve the goal.
Lastly, to sharpen my concentration, manage anxiety, I regularly practice ancient Indian Meditation and Yoga techniques. I am extremely fascinated by the profound vibration kriyas (techniques) and Sanskrit shlokas (verses), which not only soothes & relaxes the mind and body in a short period but also opens whole new energy to improve mind’s focus, productivity, clarity of thought, cerebral strength, etc.
We encourage applicants to take into consideration the impact of study on family and friends. Who have you discussed your plans with and what was the response? (300 words max)
I come from an erudite Indian family where education is heavily valued and encouraged Everyone in my family is a graduate of esteemed colleges in their respective fields. So, when I decided to pursue an MBA from London Business School, I knew that it is a big decision from the perspective of its potential impact on my family & personal life. I was sure that everyone would encourage me, but still, I have discussed my plans with everyone.
My husband has a settled business in India, and we live in a close-knitted joint family of 6-members. He extended his full support. If I get selected at LBS, we both are planning to relocate together to London, and he has already started exploring potential business expansion opportunities in the UK for his business.
When I explained my dreams & aspirations to other members of the family, they all were equally convinced and supportive. Right from the time, I started preparing for GMAT; the entire family has extended their full support by freeing me from all daily household chores & allowing me to focus on GMAT. My mother-in-law was so encouraging that she even offered her savings to help me fund my MBA.
After getting my GMAT score, I discussed my MBA plans with my mentors and current boss. They all were pleasantly surprised, wholeheartedly extended their support to write any recommendation letters if needed and helped me get connected with other LBS alum in their network.
If you know any London Business School Alumni or Students, please give their names, graduating class and tell us how you know them. (300 words max)
In Aug’19, I had the privilege to visit the LBS campus personally, and I can confidently say that the interactions with few current students then & the diverse culture vibrancy experience at LBS really inspired me to pursue my MBA from LBS.
This year, I interacted with more than 10 current students & LBS alumni to get focused insights about specific elements of the MBA programme. Collectively, through these interactions, I have built an amazing clarity about my prospective journey at LBS.
Some of my interactions with LBS alumni are:
Francisco Milán (MBA’20) and Yurika Takahashi (MBA’21): I have quite similar career interests as Francisco and Yurika. When I spoke with Francisco, he generously guided me on how I can utilize the LBS network & RLG Club initiatives to make a career in the Retail & Luxury Goods industry. Yurika gave me detailed insights about post-MBA roles in the strategy/innovation domain of the luxury & fashion industry. She even shared details of her LondonCAP experience of working with John Lewis after knowing that I have worked with John Lewis in my current role. She also introduced me to relevant initiatives which are not yet available on the website like the collaboration with the Royal College of Arts for design innovation projects, etc.
I also connected with Mackie Kennihan and Claire Blumenthal from the class of 2020. Mackie was the first person I contacted and she gave me step-by-step guidance on how to conduct my research to find relevant information about different Retail & Luxury initiatives at LBS. Claire also shared her experiences with the Walpole Luxury Management programme and provided insights into future career prospects for luxury and fashion industry aspirants.
Apart from these, I also had similar insightful conversations with Arunesh Kumar, Maria Vitória Moura and Charul Pant from the class of 2021.
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 the budget for which you are directly responsible and the number of people in your team. (400 words max)
I am working as a Senior Designer at Orient Craft in Delhi. Orient Craft is the No.1 apparel manufacturing export house in India, which employs 25,000+ people.
As a senior designer, I report directly to the owner/CEO of my company and lead a 20-member design team for women & kids wear design. My principal responsibility is to generate business opportunities from existing & new clients via pitching the latest clothing collections for upcoming seasons.
I manage approx. $25Mn worth of business and some of my prominent clients are Zara, Marks &Spencer, John Lewis, and Ann Taylor. I work regularly with top brands from different countries and I travel extensively to US & UK client offices for design collections showcase. As a senior designer, I pitch ideas to new clients; take care of sample development as per client briefs and sales order closures.
In the last couple of years, my achievements have resulted in adding 4 new European buyers (an additional $5Mn business) to our client pool. I have also delivered a 10+% revenue increase from managed existing clients; and a 15% cost reduction in the monthly sampling budget.
Under strategic leadership initiatives, I officiated a first-of-its-kind 4-member team to introduce fresh design concepts, using under-explored craft techniques. The initiative resulted in $2Mn of additional business orders within 6 months itself. Another initiative, sampling unit reengineering, helped my team to achieve a best-in-industry collection turnaround time of 6 days from initial brief to final showcase (25% reduction than before).