Your Guide To Applying For The LBS EMBA Programme: Anna Hyclak Part 2
Anna has followed in the footsteps of some of the world’s best and brightest in becoming an LBS alumna. As a former Googler, Anna faced the difficult challenge of juggling her EMBA and tech role during the pandemic. Lendwise is proud to have supported Anna in her life-changing journey and achieved a dream milestone.
In the second of a five-part series, Anna will tell us how she prepared for applying to the LBS EMBA programme.
When you’re considering applying for the EMBA programme at London Business School (or any part-time MBA programme), the application process can seem daunting. It can be especially hard to prioritise entrance exams, essays, and interviews when you’re also juggling work and other obligations. Here are a few things I learned that might make your application process easier.
1. Reach out to alumni for advice
One of the things that helped me the most during my application process was talking to people who had done it before. Not only did they give me lots of great advice on what to include in my essays and how to navigate the interview process, but they also gave me their own unique perspectives on the programme and what I should expect from the experience. Talking to them made e feel even more certain that I was taking the right ‘next’ step for my life and career, especially in the moments when I questioned whether I really had the time and energy for this programme.
The London Business School alumni network is full of incredible people from all different industries and parts of the world – you may even be surprised to find a few alumni in your workplace. I’d recommend using Linkedin to find alumni within the industry you’d like to enter after the programme; that way, you can get an industry-specific view of the programme and make sure it aligns with your career goals. The LBS EMBA programme office can also help you connect with people with similar backgrounds and interests to to help you make your decision.
2. Take the Executive Assessment instead of the GMAT
If it’s been a while since you last took an exam, I’d highly recommend taking the Executive Assessment instead of the GMAT. Both are acceptable entrance exams for the EMBA programme at LBS, however, the EA is a shorter, more accessible version of the GMAT.
The GMAT was designed specifically for senior executives. The EA is only 90 minutes long (compared to the 180-minute GMAT) and focuses more on the practical application of analytical thinking and critical reading. The questions are designed to test skills you are likely to apply on a day-to-day role, making it a lot easier to study for than a GMAT.
In order to prepare for the EA, I used the official GMAC prep materials and set aside dedicated time every morning and evening for three weeks to practice the questions and look over flash cards. Consistency is key – you don’t need to spend hours studying every day, but taking a few minutes to review topics and test your knowledge can make all the difference in feeling prepared for exam day.
3. Get clear on what you want to get out of the programme – and what can you bring to it
Both the essay questions and the interview are primarily focused on why you’re interested in doing an LBS EMBA and what you’ll bring to the programme – you should have a good answer to both questions.
Spend some time thinking about your motivations. Do you want to advance in your current job? Switch careers? Start your own business? Expand your network? Once you have a good idea of why you want to do the programme, you should make sure that you have a strong answer for how LBS can help you get there. Get to know the classes offered, the professors who teach here, and the types of students who will be taking the programme with you. This will help you answer authentically when you’re asked “Why LBS vs a different school?”
Similarly, you should also spend some time thinking about what you would bring to the table as an LBS student. Do you want to get involved with extracurricular clubs and activities, or take on a student leadership role? What is your working style in group projects? Are you someone who likes to share a lot during class, or quietly absorb the lesson? There’s no right answer to the question of “How will you contribute to the LBS community?” – expect to answer honestly. This will help the school figure out how well you’ll fit in with the mix of students in your cohort.
4. Make sure you have a plan for how you’re going to balance work, life, and school
Doing an EMBA programme while also working full-time means constantly juggling different priorities. You will need to make time for classes, exams, and assignments, which often directly clash with work. And you need to put money aside that you would have previously spent on nights out and holidays to pay for the programme. Before you apply, you should make sure you have a solid plan in place for how you’re going to handle all of that. Talk to your manager about making time for school and how this investment will benefit your company. See if there are any options for your company to help partially fund your EMBA programme.
If not, look into *Lendwise as I did. Taking out a loan meant I didn’t need to deplete my savings, and I could worry less about money during my programme. I like the fact that I can pay it back on my own terms, over time, with reasonable interest rates. When you have so many other things to worry about – work, classes, getting that assignment in on time – it’s nice to know that the financial aspect, at least, is covered.
*Credit is subject to status and loan approval is not guaranteed. Over 18’s only. T&Cs apply.