Friday, April 15, 2005

London Ding Feedback

[file under: It's You, Not Me]

I received a letter in the mail today titled 'Feedback to Unsuccessful MBA 2007 Candidates'. Turns out it was a generic letter, throwing no light on my application. I think, though, that it is quite instructive to future candidates with regard to how LBS reviews applications and interviews, and the basis on which they make their decisions. Of special, and I must say somewhat surprising, mention is their take on GMAT scores - given that I've been told over and over again by schools that the 80% GMAT *range* is what one should be looking at to decide if they will be competitive at a school.

Here are the relevant paragraphs.
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Due to the high volume of applications we receive, we regret we cannot give individual feedback. However, we hope that these general comments will be helpful to you.

Why are people not short-listed for interview?
Our initial review process of each application checks that candidates have met our basic admissions criteria. We are also looking for appropriate experience, well written essays, evidence of a lively, enquiring, reflective mind, leadership potential, team working skills, and supportive references. An international outlook and language abilities are very important factors. GMAT scores below the average score of the last class, 685, can make an application less competitive.

Why are applications unsuccessful after interview?
Interviews are an opportunity for us to understand you better. We use them to further understand the qualities described above and of course to also access your impact and verbal communication and presentation skills. We also look for evidence of an appropriate 'fit' with London Business School.

In order to reach their decisions, members of the MBA Admissions Committee carefully review the information from the application and interview.
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I am indeed grateful to the good people at LBS for sending me this note so I can try to better post-mortem my ding. But, it has left me with more questions than answers. I was invited to interview, which means that I've met all their basic criteria and possibly shown promise in one or more of the additional attributes they are looking for. I had a great conversation for my interview, but was not asked anything regarding goals, my career, and interestingly, was not asked to make a presentation which is de rigeur for all applicants. I don't understand how my interviewer could have made a recommendation that covered so many required bases from a 20-minute mostly general conversation.

Ah well, what's done is done. I guess the Adcom anticipated such reactions to their feedback and prefaced the above with "no appeals can be considered, and we are unable to enter into individual feedback'.
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