Application accepted for Interview!

I am very happy to report that my application on to the 2019 LBS Sloan MSc has up to this point been a success.  13 working days after I submitted my application, I received notification from LBS that they are inviting me in for an interview.

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Reading the acceptance email (shown below) immediately filled me with emotions of happiness and nervousness; Happiness because my journey continues, but nervousness as this now puts me in front of the final formal hurdle in my application process: The interview!

Accepted for interview

I am yet to agree a specific date and time for the interview, but I estimate that I have just over a week to collect up my thoughts into a manageable bundle that will allow me to effectively access them in my mental filing cupboard to be able to articulate them the way that I would like during the interview.

To help me through the interview preparation process, I will be using a specific entry on a fantastic blog that I recently discovered, written by a guy called Naren who also wrote a blog during his application process back in 2013.

Entry #19 specifically tackles the interview process, and how to approach it. For anyone going through a similar process, I highly recommend a read:

mylbssloanjourney.wordpress.com – how to prepare for Sloan interview

Further to this, I will be referencing two very useful entries to the LBS admissions blog. The first being a summary of what a successful Sloan candidate’s profile will look like:

LBS admissions blog: what differentiates a successful Sloan candidate?

The second being a list of interview tips:

LBS admissions blog: five tips for interview

Using these as a guide, I must be ready to discuss key examples to show my decision making competence, as well as being intimate with my career history. But perhaps most importantly I need to be open and comfortable being myself.

To this end, my next few blog entries will act as a tool to compound my thoughts on the above as well as any other topics that I think will be valuable…

It’s time for you, the reader, to wish me good luck and productivity!

 

 

Why LBS? Why the Sloan MSc?

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As with many people, my interest in the Sloan MSc started from wanting to immerse myself in an environment of full time education to help me enrich my skill set and ultimately enhance my career opportunities.

My first investigations were made into several high profile MBA programmes in the U.K and Europe, with particular interest in the offerings from Cambridge Judge, Cranfield and INSEAD. However, I quickly discovered that my experience and profile was not perfectly suited to such courses. Full time MBA programmes are increasingly tailored to those with significantly less experience than myself. I was hesitant to commit to such a level of time and resources when I was such an outlier in terms of age and experience. I am sure that any of the above mentioned courses would be a valuable experience, but with the courses targeting a much younger market, would these be the ideal option?

I discovered the Sloan MSc at one particular MBA fair in central London; where the LBS representative informed me of its existence. Since this point, I have been particularly taken by the time and support offered by the Sloan MSc admissions team, as well as the exciting course format and content:

I submitted my CV to the admissions team for review, and almost immediately had an email response from Arione McQueenie, the recruitment manager, confirming my likely suitability. She encouraged me not only to apply, but also to come onto the LBS site, meet the admissions team, receive a guided tour of the campus, and discuss any immediate questions that I had. Arione then put me in contact with one of LBS’ careers coaches who discussed my aspirations and those of other candidates that she had worked with. This immediately drew me to the course and LBS as a place to study.

Since this first encounter with the LBS staff I have visited the LBS campus for various open events, from informal meet and greets of existing and past students, to a  very enlightening example lecture held by the former dean. All of these experiences combined in forming my journey to where I am today; having just finished my application to join the January 2019 class.

Discussions with existing students confirmed my hopes that the majority of the class members were in the same position as myself in wanting to change role or industry, and that this is what the course specialises in. I was equally encouraged by the time that existing students and alumni took to get to know me, and discuss any particular areas that I sought more information. If my application is successful, I already have plans to meet some of the alumni prior to the course so to gain the inside track on useful information to help prepare me for the challenges ahead.

I would encourage anyone who is considering this course to make contact with the Recruitment team as I did back in Spring of 2017.

An ode to David..

  1. “The truth is of course is that there is no journey. We are arriving and departing all at the same time.”

[David Bowie]

This may seem a very tenuous link, but on visiting LBS in the summer of 2017 for a meeting with the Sloan recruitment manager, I was struck by the cover on the latest London Business School Review periodical that was on display in the reception area:

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I am sure I am not alone when I say that I feel a spiritual link to our David, and after he passed away on my birthday in 2016, this link became tangibly  more prominent in my thinking. While sat in the LBS reception, and asking myself if this journey was the right one for me, to look up and see his face looking down on me gave a perhaps irrational but very powerful and profound answer to my question; be brave, dare to do, be who you strive to be.

To that end, I feel it is only just that I attribute at least a little credit of my current journey to the great but humble man himself. Below are a few quotes by David and others on David that I feel are particularly poignant.

“As an adolescent, I was painfully shy, withdrawn. I didn’t really have the nerve to sing my songs onstage and nobody else was doing them. I decided to do them in disguise so that I didn’t have to actually go through the humiliation of going onstage and being myself. “

[David Bowie]

“I must say, the message he gave to my generation was very important … it was basically – be strong enough to be yourself. That is a very strong message and very important for my generation.”

[Arsene Wenger]

 

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“If you’re ever sad, just remember the world is 4.543 billion years old and you somehow managed to exist at the same time as David Bowie.”

[Dean Podesta (@JeSuisDean)]

I will end this post with a link to my favourite Bowie performance below, and by simply stating; If David can do it, then so can you!

 

Be strong, be bold, be yourself.

 

 

Navigating the GMAT..

Before I send you down a path that you may not necessarily need to travel, taking the GMAT exam is not mandatory for applicants to the LBS Sloan MSc.

I would advise anyone considering applying to join the programme to first contact the faculty: sloan@london.edu

However, as I did take the GMAT exam, I thought I’d share my experience with you.

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For most people applying to business school, the GMAT exam is one of the most daunting tasks, as it also was for me.

Many business schools use this as a strong indicator of a potential candidate’s aptitude for the course content, and thus it is important to get a strong score. To this end, there are many organisations that are set up to offer tutoring services. Many of these services carry significant costs. I was fortunate enough to achieve a more than satisfactory score of 710 without opting for any of these paid services. I however put a lot of time into my studies ahead of the exam, probably close to the 100 hours recommended by GMAC.

The most important and useful media to improve your score by a long margin are the Official GMAT study guides. You will be very lucky to find copies of these for free, however even new copies are not particularly expensive. In fact, I would recommend you purchase new copies as they offer you a software copy of the questions that you can access on mobile devices and laptops. This means you can answer questions anywhere you may be, and considering the amount of time needed to learn the content, this is a god send.

When you have obtained copies of the above, before you do anything else, take the short diagnostic tests at the beginning of the book, these will indicate your relative strength on each of the five key areas: Quantitative Problem Solving, Data sufficiency, Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, and Sentence Correction. I would strongly advise you then allocate your time accordingly to try and improve your skill set on the areas that you are less strong.

For me, the diagnostic test showed I was very strong in the verbal tests, but week in the quantitative and sentence correction tests.

For the quantitative questions, nothing that I found was as helpful for preparing you for the test than the official GMAT guide books. That said I did also work through several GCSE  (UK high school) level maths text books to reacquaint myself with the theories needed to solve many of the questions. The main problem that I found with these questions was that they are set up in a way to purposely catch you out. This is proven by the fact that I also worked through an unofficial guidebook by Kaplan titled: GMAT 800, that supposedly contains examples of the most difficult questions needed to achieve the maximum score. I found these questions relatively easy, simply because they weren’t set up in the same way the the official GMAT questions were in that they attempted to deceive you into choosing the wrong answer.

Away from the official guide books, an honourable mention should also go to the Veritas Prep smart phone app. This app is a very useful digest for each of the question types, and more importantly gives examples of some of the tactics that the GMAT test uses to try and lead you away from correct answers. This app is also free to download, and means that you can learn while on the move. I found a useful tactic was to take a screenshot of the frame shown on my phone to capture key points during the videos; This would act as a handy reminder in future study sessions.

I found that the Veritas Prep app was especially useful for improving my ability of answering the sentence correction questions, as was the Keplan GMAT800 textbook to a lesser extent. The Veritas Prep app was also exceptional at guiding me through the Analytical Writing part of the test, offering a very simple and bullet proof approach to passing this section without using up valuable brain power for the more challenging later sections.

I completed several mock tests as provided by the GMAC (you can get two tests for free and then further tests for a small fee), one every few weeks, to re-calibrate where I should allocate most of my study time. I was very happy to find that I achieved my best ever score on the real test. In the practice tests I registered two consecutive cores of 680, before hitting a low 650 a few days before my actual test. The main contributor for this low score was a woeful performance in the Sentence correction questions; being only in the 40th percentile. This in hindsight worked in my favour as any chance of complacency was quickly thrown out of the window, and the last days were spent mostly improving my approach to tackling the sentence correction questions – my approach was almost entirely taken from the Veritas Prep app.

My final grades included an exceptional verbal reasoning score – in the 98th percentile, even though I spent minimal time practicing these types of questions throughout my study. This verbal score also included a 94th percentile for Sentence correction, a massive improvement in just a few days! My quantitative score perhaps suffered due to spending so much time cramming Sentence Correction; I scored in the 84th percentile for Data Sufficiency questions, but only the 37th percentile for Problem Solving, coming in the 52nd percentile overall. I attribute the poor performance on the Problem Solving questions to simply not being able to be calm enough under pressure to avoid the ‘traps’ set by the GMAT team. I am sure I could have improved the Problem Solving score with more practice, but I may have had to clone myself to also have the time to cram the Sentence Correction problems.

I am aware that this is a very long post, and even so I have only covered a small detail of my experiences in studying for and taking this test. If you have any questions please contact me and I will be more than happy to help in any way that I can.

Good luck!

My journey: Business school, business in general, and visions of the future

Thanks for dropping by..

This blog started as a diary covering my journey in applying and joining London Business School’s Sloan Fellow MSc Program. It has since evolved into a more general blog covering thoughts and insights while applying and studying on the course.

Please enjoy, hopefully it will help future prospective students, and enlighten all readers.

For prospective students looking for help with their application process, or insights into life at London Business school, the link below gives articles that you should find particularly useful:

Rubick’s Journeys: application blog articles

Please feel free to contact me if you have any specific questions.

“Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter.”

[Izaak Walton]

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