London Business School (LBS) this fall has introduced a new video submission element to its MBA application. In a blog post last week David Simpson, admissions director for the MBA and Masters in Finance programs, shared his team’s thinking behind this newest addition to the LBS application process.
“This was not a decision we took lightly,” Simpson writes, adding that they’ve been giving it some thought for a couple of years. In fact, the team piloted the process last year with a handful of candidates, primarily those whose English-language skills warranted assessment. “But this year we are going all-out and using the videos to help us learn a lot more about you,” Simpson says.
Earlier in his post and in past interviews with Clear Admit, Simpson has stressed the importance of the LBS alumni interview. “We gain a HUGE amount from the interview process and love having our alumni conduct them, so that you can learn a huge amount about life at LBS, too!” he writes.
Like many other top business schools, LBS recently reduced the number of written essays it requires of its applicants, keeping just one, about candidate’s aspirations. “A top MBA is a career and indeed life-changing experience,” he writes. LBS’s remaining question on future goals is key, he continues, even though, given the transformative nature of an MBA, those aspirations will change during your studies.
LBS Adds New Video Element for All Invited to Interview
But as it drops a written essay, the London school has decided to add a video submission for all applicants who are invited to advance to the alumni interview portion of the application process. Round 1 LBS applicants who made it to the interview stage all received an invitation to participate in the new video element.
But have no fear, reassures Simpson. “We are being very thoughtful about how we use this exciting new addition to our process,” he says. A video component has its limitations, and he and his team have set their expectations accordingly.
LBS recognizes that factors ranging from cultural differences, diverse professional backgrounds and differing personal comfort levels with being in front of the camera mean that not all applicants will approach the video submission feeling on equal ground. “Some people will feel a lot more comfortable than others filming themselves answering questions,” Simpson recognizes. But even those who are apprehensive should rest assured, he says. “We are NOT looking to use this as a tool to disqualify candidates or ‘catch you out’.” (For those unfamiliar with the term “catch you out,” is just means to expose error or shortcoming in someone.)
In fact, you don’t even need to worry too much about timing your answers just right, Simpson says, adding that they won’t deduct points. “We just want to see how you perform on both the prepared question and the unprepared section,” he says. “We love meeting candidates at events, but it’s not possible to meet you all, so this helps us see you in action.”
LBS partnered with Kira Talent, an online platform that allows higher education institutions to interactive video and written components into their application processes. Kira Talent’s other customers include Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, INSEAD and the Foster School of Business, among others.
“First round applicants have all now submitted, and we can’t wait to watch all the videos!” says Simpson.
Round 1 LBS applicants who have taken part in the new video component, don’t forget to share your experience with others in the Clear Admit Interview Archive!