There Is Only One Way to NOT Get Accepted Into a Top Business School

Are you hesitant about applying to a prestigious school? Do you doubt your eligibility to join a competitive program? Amy Duckworth, Director of Admissions at Imperial College London Business School, told us about the most popular master’s program at Imperial College Business School and one surefire way to not get accepted at Imperial.

In short

The Most Popular Master’s Programs at Imperial College Business School

Imperial College Business School is one of the leading business schools in Europe. Their varied range of master’s programs covers the entire business spectrum, allowing students to specialize in niche areas of study. To learn more about their offering, we spoke to Amy Duckworth, Director of Admissions at Imperial.

“At Imperial, we’ve got three suites of MSc programs: the management suite, the finance suite, and the specialized suite,” she says. “Within each of those suites, there are four to five programs that really give our students the opportunity to specialize and choose the area of study that interests them.” (00:19)

Despite having such a wide range of courses, competition is high for each one. Amy says that a couple of programs, in particular, are attracting more applications than ever. The popularity of these programs is a reflection of the changing demands of the job market.

“All of our programs are very competitive and we receive a high number of applications [for them],” Amy tells us. “A couple that are proving very popular at the moment are the MSc Business Analytics and the MSc Climate Change, Management and Finance.” (01:02)

The Holistic Approach to Admissions at Imperial College Business School

While academic achievements and test scores are essential components of an application, Imperial College Business School adopts a holistic approach to admissions. This means that they consider the entire profile of a candidate, including:

  • Leadership and Teamwork: Past experiences where you’ve demonstrated leadership or worked effectively within a team can significantly enhance your application. Whether it’s leading a project at work, captaining a sports team, or organizing an event in your community, these experiences showcase your ability to lead and collaborate.
  • Passion for the Field: Your genuine interest in the chosen field of study can make a difference. This can be reflected in your personal statement, where you discuss what drives you towards this particular field and how you envision your future in it. 
  • Diverse Perspectives: The school values diversity in all its forms. Coming from a unique background, having varied experiences, or bringing a different perspective can make your application stand out. It enriches classroom discussions and contributes to the overall learning experience of the cohort.

When Is the Best Time To Apply for a Master’s Degree?

We’ve heard from other admissions directors that it’s a good idea to apply early – and the advice is no different at Imperial. Amy says that applying early is likely to put you at an advantage, but it’s not only beneficial for your chances of being accepted.

She says, “It’s worth applying early, especially if you’re considering scholarship funding, if you need a visa to study in the UK…and there are lots of other benefits to applying early. For example, you’ll get more chances to start networking with your future classmates [and] you’ll get access to our careers and career services, so [applying early] is definitely worth doing.” (03:02)

Unlike many MBA programs, which tend to have so-called application rounds, applications for most master’s programs at Imperial work differently. You can apply at any point in the academic year, starting from August. It gives students more flexibility and a bigger window to apply.

“Not all of our programs have application rounds,” Amy elaborates. “For a lot of them, we actually have rolling admissions, so you can apply anytime. We’re already open for applications – we opened in August, so it’s possible to start applying [now].” (03:47)

How To Prepare for a Video Interview at Imperial

Before doing anything, Amy encourages you to get in touch with the school. She says there are now more and more chances to meet the admissions team in person, so you can ask them any questions you may have.

“I would recommend engaging with us before applying,” Amy advises. “We do a lot of information sessions. We’ve been doing a lot online, and we’re starting to see in-person events coming back on the scene now as well.” (05:21)

Although in-person events are slowly starting to return, virtual elements are likely to remain part of the admissions process at Imperial. This can cause problems for applicants who aren’t used to talking to a camera. To address that, Amy has some words of advice.

“A number of our programs require a video interview, so it’s worth practicing that beforehand,” she says. “If you’re not used to doing video interviews, then the format can be a little off-putting. So it’s worth just recording yourself answering some questions.” (05:54)

The Importance of Cultural Fit and Community Engagement

Being a part of Imperial College Business School is not just about academic learning. The school has a vibrant community, and being a cultural fit is crucial.

  • Community Engagement: Imperial College Business School has various clubs, events, and activities that cater to a wide range of interests. Engaging in these activities enhances your MBA experience and helps in networking and personal growth. When applying, showcasing your willingness to contribute to the school’s community can be a plus.
  • Cultural Fit: Every business school has its unique culture. At Imperial, there’s a blend of innovation, collaboration, and global perspective. Demonstrating that you align with these values and can contribute positively to the school’s culture can strengthen your application.
  • Feedback from Alumni and Current Students: Before applying, it’s beneficial to connect with current students or alumni. Their insights can give you a clearer picture of what the school values and expects from its students. It also shows your proactive approach and genuine interest in being a part of the Imperial community.

The One Surefire Way To Not Get Accepted Into a Top Business School

Imperial is a top business school, and top business schools are competitive. But that shouldn’t discourage you. Amy says that there is only one surefire way of not being accepted at a business school: not applying.

“Applying to anything competitive – whether it’s business school or a job – is never easy. That’s what makes it hard to get into – because a lot of people want to do it, and there’s only so many spots available,” she says. (04:31)

“But that shouldn’t put you off applying, and you shouldn’t self-select out of top institutions because maybe you think that other people are better or you’re not going to be good enough,” she adds. “Ultimately, the only thing that’s really going to make sure you don’t get in is if you don’t apply.” (04:50)

It can be easy to assume that business schools are only interested in exam results or GMAT scores. But in reality, what they’re really looking for are unique candidates who will apply themselves and contribute to the school. Instead of discarding a school because you don’t think you’ll get in, try engaging with them first to find out what they’re looking for. You never know; you might just be a perfect fit.

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