Swamped With New Apps, London Business School Delays MBA Interview Decisions

London Business School

The rich are getting richer, but the choices aren’t getting easier. Having just seated an MBA class chosen from a school-record trove of applications, the UK’s premier business school now is looking at an even bigger admissions cycle for next fall’s Class of 2023. But with next fall’s instruction more likely to be in-person, that means the time for discernment — and rejection of top-tier talent — is nigh at hand.

London Business School received such an “unprecedented volume” of applications in the round that ended September 11 that it was forced to push back by more than a week its initial decision on who would receive interviews, from October 8 to October 16, according to an email to round-one applicants obtained by Poets&Quants. The interviews themselves will be conducted from mid-October to mid-November; LBS also moved back its Admissions Committee’s decision on round-one admits to December 1. It is yet another indication of just how competitive this admissions cycle will be at highly selective MBA programs.

The news of a wave of new applications comes hard on the heels of this month’s start of MBA classes for a cohort drawn from the richest talent pool in school history. LBS’ Class of 2022, also the school’s largest-ever at 533 students, was chosen from a record 2,879 applications, a nearly 16% jump in apps from the previous cycle and more than 5% higher than the previous record set in 2016-2017. The huge number of MBA apps — and the reality of largely remote or hybrid instruction — allowed the school to admit 135 more applicants than it did for the Class of 2021, a 15.6% jump, while seating 36 more students, a 7.2% increase. Put together, these numbers helped the school actually tick its acceptance rate downward a notch, to 34.7% from 34.8%, after it had grown significantly since 2017.

RECORD INTEREST CONTINUES, BUT SCHOOL PLANS TO PARE ENROLLMENT

Between 2018 and 2019, apps to London Business School’s two-year MBA grew only marginally, by just 37 total, or 1.5%. But as coronavirus disrupted the later rounds of the 2019-2020 cycle for most schools in the U.S. and Europe, LBS decided to extend its fourth and final round from April 22 to June 4, a 44-day expansion. That contributed to a massive increase in overall apps from the previous year.

Now comes evidence that the surge is not a short-term phenomenon. According to LBS’ message to new applicants, so many have already applied to the two-year MBA that they couldn’t be sorted in time to meet the original October 8 deadline for round-one interview decisions. The school adds, however, that it plans to seat only around 500 MBA students next fall, representing a 6.2% reduction from this year’s intake — which means that LBS’ Admissions Committee, comprised of senior admissions staff — has some hard choices ahead.

“We have to make some incredibly tough decisions in order to build our internationally and professionally diverse class of around 500 students,” the message reads. “It is this diversity and quality that attracts candidates to apply to LBS, so we work hard to build our classes.”

THE WAIT FOR LBS APPLICANTS CONTINUES

Applicants to LBS’ MBA program have been waiting at least since the second week of September to learn their fate; now they must wait a bit longer. In some cases, applicants are advised, they could use the interregnum to improve their chances by striving for a better exam score. Under the heading “What can I do now?” the school’s message continues:

“You’ve done the hard work of putting your application together and taking a GMAT/GRE test. So now you have the challenging wait for the admissions decision. We appreciate that this can be a nervous time for you. If your test score is a long way below our average of 700, you could consider retaking it to make your application more competitive at final Admissions Committee consideration in November. But only you know what your likely maximum score is.”

LBS’ second-round application deadline for admission to the Class of 2023 is January 5, 2021, with interview decisions made by February 9 and admission decisions by March 31. The school’s third-round deadline is March 4, with interview notices promised by April 14 and offers by May 25; and its fourth and final round app deadline is April 27, with interview offers by May 18 and admission offers by June 22.

See the full message from LBS to round-one applicants below. 

DON’T MISS: MEET LONDON BUSINESS SCHOOL’S MBA CLASS OF 2022 or AFTER A MASSIVE 58% JUMP IN APPLICATIONS, INSEAD ENROLLED ONE OF ITS SMALLEST MBA CLASSES IN YEARS. HERE’S WHY

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