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Real Humans of the London Business School MBA Class of 2024

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london mba class of 2024Kirsty Clafton, London Business School’s MBA Class of 2024

Age: 33
Hometown: Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Mathematics, University of Edinburgh, UK and Geospatial Intelligence MSc, Cranfield University, UK.
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 10 years, Defence.

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
After having my second child I didn’t want to return to serving in the military but didn’t know what to do next. I knew I had plenty of transferable skills and leadership experience but lacked business knowledge and a network outside of the military. The MBA made sense to me to launch myself into the next chapter of my career rather than taking a backward step in terms of pay and responsibility. 

Why did you choose London Business School? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
Why look anywhere else?

LBS offered everything I needed and more: a diverse cohort to learn from, experiential learning in a risk-free environment and it’s located in a fantastic city. And of course, it’s one of the world’s best business schools.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2024?
I’m an army veteran with a STEM background and a mum of two so I hope to bring a novel approach to a problem.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that didn’t get included on your application:
I have been trained in demolitions, so if you need advice on how to blow up a bridge, then ask away!

Post-MBA career interests:
Tech or maybe consulting. I’m currently enjoying looking into all the different sectors and am looking forward to the internships to see which sectors I like. 

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Be completely open and honest about my strengths, weaknesses, and struggles. You’re only human so letting the admissions board see this shows that you’re self-aware and open to working on things that might need improving. 

What is one thing you would change or do differently?
I’d apply earlier! I didn’t consider an MBA until mid-March, two weeks before the final admissions deadline, and I hadn’t even heard of the GMAT or GRE. LBS was very kind and gave me an extension to sit the GRE, but this still didn’t leave me with much time. I only had the evenings to study as I looked after my 6-month-old baby and 2-year-old son full-time during the day.

What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
Sitting the GRE. I didn’t even know what the GRE was when I applied in mid-March and so I didn’t realise what an undertaking it was. I tried my best but did not do as well as I would have liked, and I was worried my score would jeopardise my application.

What is your initial impression of the London Business School students/culture/community?
The culture is inclusive, the students are respectful of each other’s opinions and the community is supportive and helpful. I am extremely impressed.

What is one thing you have learned about London Business School that has surprised you?
I knew LBS would teach me the academic side of business and give me the opportunity to network, but what has really surprised me is the extent to which the school challenges you to self-reflect and redefine your goals to be as big as possible.

What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
The accountancy and finance modules. I don’t have a background in these and found the pre-course work tough! I’ll be pulling some late nights in the library before the exams.

What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
Having adult conversations with my diverse cohort – I’ve been talking to toddlers and babies for too long!

Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your personal application or admissions process in any way? If so, how? My children and I caught COVID during the time I was revising for the GRE which impacted the already extremely limited time I had to study. I was very tired and had to look after my poor children day and night!

Christina Griffith
Christina Griffith is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. She specializes in covering education, science, and history, and has experience in research and interviews, magazine content, and web content writing.