You have been invited
to interview with LBS.
How to pass your
London Business School Interview
Since 2002, I have helped more than ten applicants get admitted to LBS
London conducts interviews in a different manner than US MBA programs
The biggest difference from schools like Columbia, Wharton, Chicago, and Stanford is that the London interview is not blind
That means your interviewers have a copy of your entire application package, which they should have read prior to the interview
Therefore, in addition to typical questions like, "Why MBA?", "Why now?", "Why LBS?", plus leadership and teamwork questions, your interview may also ask a few questions relating to your essays and experiences you have mentioned
Prepare by re-reading your entire application
Analyze potential areas that might interest or confuse alumni readers
You can also ask a mentor or admissions consultant for their review and insights
Past admitted clients have indicated that the London interview is conversational, so questions typically follow one another
Here again, the best preparation involves showing your file to a trusted friend or adviser
Have conversations about your essays and passion for London. Be prepared for anything
If you are prepared, you can feel confident. If you feel confident, your interview can feel your "fit" with London
Fit is usually the most crucial factor for an interviewer. Your interviewer has to be able to imagine you at the school
What are admissions officers looking for in the interview reports submitted by alumni interviewers?
Study these criteria to understand what your interviewers and LBS MBA admissions officers are looking for in candidates.
London Business School Interview Criteria (Modified by Vince)
1. Communication / English Language Skills
Overall, how articulate is this candidate?
Able to make their point clear?
Is their English proficiency adequate for the LBS MBA?
Training Required, (please comment below) YES / NO
2. Team Skills
(from alumni interviewers' interpretations of applicant's essays and interview)
Proactive contributor to teams/groups?
Thinks about how teams work together and succeed?
Understands contribution he/she makes to teams?
Has insight into his/her weaknesses as team member?
Able to resolve personal conflicts between self and others?
Helps to resolve personal conflicts between others?
3. Leadership Skills
Level of insight into their own leadership style?
Grasp of own leadership strengths / weaknesses?
Has identified some leadership development goal(s)?
Able to see themselves as future business leader?
4. Motivation/Drive & Energy
Estimated level of motivation / drive?
Has long-term career and personal goals?
Manages self to sustain energy levels?
5. Intellectual Skills
Evidence of strategic perspective?
Able to analyse/evaluate business situations?
Has own ideas?
Able to link ideas and communicate concepts?
Original approach to problems?
6. International Perspective
Exposure to cultural diversity?
Interest in people with different backgrounds / perspectives?
Aware of positive/negative impact of cultural diversity?
Active interest in LBS’s internationalism?
7. Expectations & Interest in LBS MBA
Convinced you of strong interest in taking an MBA?
Convinced you of strong interest in LBS MBA specifically?
8. LBS Contribution and ‘Fit’
In your view:
Did the candidate ask good/relevant questions?
Do you think this candidate will contribute to the LBS MBA?
Will the candidate work well with a group?
Will the candidate contribute to the Campus Community? (clubs etc)
Is LBS the right choice for this candidate?
9. Post MBA Career Objectives
What does the candidate wish to achieve by doing an MBA? (tick more than one if applicable)
Change career direction
Run own company
Move into consulting
Move into banking
Move into industry
In your (alumni interviewer's) view, are these aspirations realistic ?
- YES / NO (given past work experience and LBS MBA exposure)
OVERALL DECISION RATING
1. Excellent candidate, who LBS should pursue actively
2. Good candidate, who would contribute to the MBA
3. Weak candidate (see points below)
4. Unsuitable candidate, recommend LBS reject
If you choose 3 above, please list possible options to mention to the candidate, (if applicable):
1. Encourage them to re-apply in a year.
2. Consider other LBS programme – Sloan, MiF, EMBA
What questions do LBS MBA alumni interviewers typically ask?
My colleague Steve Green compiled and categorized the following list of question from various publically available London Business School interview reports:
London Business School Interview Questions
- Tell me about your work experience to date. / Walk me through your resume.
- What do you currently do?
- Why did you choose your undergraduate major?
- Why did you choose to work at your firm?
- Is your job really necessary? Does your firm actually achieve its mission?
- Expect questions based on resume content and essay content.
GOALS / WHY LBS
- Why do you wake up in the morning?
- What motivates you?
- What are you short-term career goals? Long term? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
- Why do you need an MBA? Why now?
- Imagine world without an MBA. What would you do? If you can achieve your goals without an MBA why do you want to get an MBA?
- What triggered you to start thinking about an MBA?
- What are your criteria for selecting b-schools? Where did you apply? Why is LBS your choice among these programs?
- Why LBS? What differentiates LBS from the other school you applied to?
- What are 3 adjectives you would use to describe LBS?
- Do you have any back up plan in case your goals are not achievable?
- Could you describe your extracurriculars?
CONTRIBUTIONS TO LBS / STUDY GROUP & TEAMS
- Tell me how you work as part of a team.
- Tell me about a time you had to overcome an obstacle while working in a group and what you would do differently if you had to do it again.
- How do you work with people from different cultures?
- Imagine someone in your study group does not do their assigned work. What would you do?
- Imagine you do not get along with someone in your study group. How will you handle the situation?
- How will you contribute to LBS?
- How would you contribute in a group that does not require your background and prior experience in the majority of its cases?
- How would you contribute to your study group at LBS from professional point of view?
- Outside of your professional experience, how will you add value to LBS?
- 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?
SELF-ASSESSMENT 1: Strengths & Weaknesses
- What are your greatest success and your greatest failure?
- What would your co-workers say is your greatest weaknesses? (Please tell me two others. –S.G.) (29.A) How have you overcome this weakness?
- How do you handle stress?
- Tell me 3 of your strengths.
- Tell me your 2 of your weaknesses.
- What kind of a person are you?
- How assertive are you?
- What part of your childhood has influenced your life?
- When was the last time you took a risk?
- What type of personality do you have?
- How would your colleagues describe you?
- What will be your personal development after arriving at LBS?
- What is the toughest decision you made in your life?
- What are your strong points?
- What is your most significant achievement?
- What are your weaknesses from the point of your friend? Do you agree with him/her? What other weaknesses do you have?
- What are the key things for success? Or what is success for you?
- Expect questions based on things written in your recommendation letters.
SELF-ASSESSMENT 2: INTERNATIONALISM
- Tell me about your culture, please. What part of your culture will help you at LBS? What part of your culture could hinder you at LBS?
- Tell me about your travels.
- What did you learn from your international experience?
- Please give me an example of a multi-cultural experience you had.
- What would your co-workers say is your leadership style?
- How do you show leadership at work?
- Tell me about a project where you have been the leader.
- Tell me about a time you failed as a leader? (50.A) What have you done since then to avoid repeating this mistake?
- Tell me your definition of leadership. What kind of leadership have you experienced?
- Are you a leader? Why so?
- What is the difference between a born leader and a manager? Who do you admire as a leader?
- What characteristics should a successful business leader have?
- Tell me about 2 examples of when you resolved conflicts as a leader.
- How do you manage your team?
- What would you do if you had $10 million?
- What would you do if you had unlimited money?
- What is going wrong in the world today? Why? What should be done about it?
- What did you learn in your international experience?
- What are you most proud of? Why?
- How did the financial crisis happen?
- What is the biggest threat to your firm? What’s your strategy? How would you change the strategy?
PRESENTATION TOPICS REPORTED FROM 2013 – 2014 R1 LBS MBA applicants
- Telco is a British retailer that is facing limited growth. The CEO has proposed creating a new tablet, the ‘Hudl’, that will be affordable and target the 75% market in England that does not have tablets. Do you think that this is an innovative idea? Should Telco pursue this venture?
- Assume you have taken over Nokia as CEO. Following the major sale to Microsoft, what steps would you take to ensure the companies profitability and future survival. I was given 5 minutes to prepare and about 5 minutes to present using a whiteboard. The interviewer said he had chosen the topic because it was out of my experience/comfort zone and to see how I would react.
How can Vince help me prepare for my LBS MBA interview?
If you have been invited to interview with London Business School, I would be happy to help you prepare
First, I want to clarify that I provide school-specific training for LBS interviews
After reading your application, I will prepare a custom list of questions to fit your case
I ask questions that test your ability to discuss issues that might be of concern to LBS alumni interviewers.
I also assess your communication skills.
I cannot predict what questions you will be asked, but I can help you boost your confidence by practicing with an expert who understands what LBS expects from admitted applicants.
In LBS mock interview sessions, I will check your logic and presentation style to find weak points that might be of concern to your interviewers.
If you are interested in my LBS mock interview training, please follow these five sign-up steps
I promise to do my best to help you pass your LBS MBA interview with style
STEP ONE: CONTACT VINCE
Please kindly complete my intake form http://www.vinceprep.com/servicesandprices/intake
In the notes / "questions for Vince" section, please tell me how many interview sessions you want, and when you want to have our session(s).
My fees are here http://www.vinceprep.com/servicesandprices#prices
and my schedule of availability is here http://www.vinceprep.com/servicesandprices#schedule
STEP TWO: ARRANGE PAYMENT
STEP THREE: SCHEDULE SESSIONS
I will give you access to my Google Calendar once payment clears.
All times are JST (Tokyo time)
If you do not find a convenient time, please email me several options
I will do my best to accommodate
Finally, please follow my cancellation policy
If necessary, requests to reschedule appointments should be made at least 24 hours in advance of the originally scheduled appointment time.
Rescheduling requests made less than 24 hours prior to an appointment will be granted at Vince’s discretion.
STEP FOUR: SEND VINCE YOUR LBS APPLICATION
- resume / CV
- application data form short answers
STEP FIVE: PRACTICE BEFORE OUR SESSION
Please practice before and after our session.
You might also want to watch a few sample interview videos found here.
Finally, remember to continue practicing on your own after the session.
Interviewing is a learned skill. You will improve with practice.
London Business School Interview Reports
Tokyo-based London Business School interviews are now the same as those conducted elsewhere. Japan-based applicants are no longer be required to take an English Test or participate in a small group discussion.
Interview with 1 alumnus
Time: About one hour
Informed, application-based, not-blind (interview has access to your essays)
Includes 5-minute impromptu presentation on a topic provided by your interviewer
VINCE'S SYNTHESIS OF JAPAN-BASED INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
Tell me about yourself.
Tell me about your family background.
Please describe a typical day at work.
What are your strengths and weaknesses as a leader?
Why do you want an MBA?
What are your future goals?
Why do you want to come to London?
Where else did you apply? What are your decision criteria if admitted to several schools on your list?
What do you feel is your greatest professional accomplishment?
Please give an example of a multi-cultural experience you had. Please tell me about a time when you had to persuade people from different backgrounds to support your idea. What challenges did you face, and how did you overcome them?
Please tell me about a time when you failed to reach your objective
What are the recent trends in your industry? What are your organization's relative strengths and weaknesses?
How can you contribute to London Business School?
How would you describe Japanese culture to your classmates?
Do you have any questions for us?
Questions ask you to express a judgment about the worth, value, or effectiveness of a performance, act, or outcome.
Questions are similar to those found on AWA issue analysis questions.
Topics usually ask how you would handle a specific corporate predicament.
Sample Impromptu Presentation Topics from Past Years
Select one of the following. Prepare for two minutes. Then, present for three-to-five minutes.
At the Davos conference, the plan to introduce minimum quota of women in senior management for every company was proposed. Some countries, such as Germany and Denmark, opposed the idea and insisted that support for working women is much more important than introducing minimum quota. What do you think about the plan? (2011)
Suppose you were a board member of LVMH conglomerate. LVMH has taken a majority of shares of a family company, Hermes. Hermes’s people were unhappy about this aquisition, because it was unfriendly and it could potentially damage the brand. How would you persuade Hermes’s people to progress further business?
A company fired an employee because he made a bad remark about the company on Facebook. Do you support the company's decision? Why?
What is your view of the ethical issue of balancing both profit and environmental considerations in private companies?
Before you begin, ask yourself
What might be the most important criteria for this kind of decision?
Does the question mention or imply any criteria?
HOW TO PREPARE
How should you spend your two minutes of preparation time?
I suggest you follow these 10 steps:
First, confirm and summarize the question.
Analyze the pros and cons of each perspective.
Make a decision.
What are the decision options?
Do any seem particularly strong or weak?
What might be the most important criteria for this kind of decision?
Think about the criteria you have already noted. Do they lead you one direction or another? (i.e. yes/no, hire/fire, etc.)
Review the decision options and think about which one sounds the best to you. (Criteria: reduce costs; increase sales; regain market share. Which decision gets us there fastest?)
Apply the criteria that seems to have the most evidence backing it up.
Look into the decision that works with your strongest criterion.
Organize your answer, and keep it simple.
Manage your time: your answer should be as linear as possible. Don’t get bogged down in the details. Answer from a macro–level and move the answer forward. Stay focused on the original question.
Briefly consider alternatives and counter-arguments, as needed. Consider logical holes, other ways to analyze the situation.
Often, someone arguing the others side is making different assumptions, or basing her answer on a different set of criteria, or definitions of ambiguous terms. Be ready to defend your idea.
Exude enthusiasm and a positive attitude.
Review your opinion, restate your criteria, and repeat your reasons.
Ask if there are any questions. Interviewers might not ask any in the interest of time or fairness to others who run over-time, but it is good to ask.
(modified from online sources found at http://casequestions.com/cp_commandments.cfm; accessed 2/2011)
This is the Q&A session. The interview is not a blind interview meaning that the interviewer has a copy of the entire application package and would have read the same prior to the interview.
Questions typically would include
Why MBA and why now? Why LBS?
Followed by leadership and teamwork based questions.
The interview is very conversational and hence the questions typically follow one another. Be prepared for few questions relating to your essays and experiences you have mentioned.
The LBS interview includes a 5 minute impromptu presentation on a topic given to you by your interviewer.
You have about 5 minutes to prepare.
The topics are quite general and this is something you shouldn't really worry about.
The school is really trying to see your thought process.
AUGUST 28, 2003
London Business School: The Interview
An excerpt from the Q&A: Q: Interviews are by invitation only at London.
Q: Is a long interview better than a short interview?
Q: And the ones that only last 20 minutes...
- The alumnus told me that LBS gave her a standard set of interview questions, so she did not have much choice in what was asked. The following were some of the questions:
- What is a typical day like at work for you?
- What are your biggest challenges at work?
- What is your leadership style?
- What are your leadership development goals?
- Why get an MBA now?
- What other long-term goals do you have?
- What do you think are the skills of a good manager?
- What should you take into consideration when working with people of different cultures?
- What will you bring to your study team?
- What was your biggest intellectual challenge?
- Tell me about a recent project you've worked on.
- Tell me something about yourself that is not on your application.
Comments from Student 3:
- Why MBA?
- Why LBS?
- Why your present profession?
- Leadership example
- Leadership style admired
- Failure example
- International Experiences
- Developmental Needs (Personal)
- What matters most to you?
Information is subject to change. Please verify all data with the schools.
- Updated by Vince on 11 Mar 2016
I have been a full-time international graduate admissions consultant since 2002
Based in Tokyo, Japan, I help clients around the world
In 2007, I launched VincePrep because I wanted to help the best candidates aiming for the top schools
To share my insights with a talented team, I rejoined Agos as Consulting Director in 2014
Now, I lead 10 professionals who deliver Japan’s best graduate admissions results
I also serve as president-elect of The Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants (AIGAC)
Given my ongoing professional and personal commitments, I accept very few clients
Usually, I refer prospects to one of my highly-experienced and successful colleagues
If interested, please complete this intake form
- Thank you for your interest, and best wishes for your success!
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