Six top tips to make your MBA application stand out

26 June 2023

Executive MBA (London) participant Johnny Wolf shares his six top tips for applying for an MBA at WBS.

  1. Set your goal!

It is crucial to clearly know why you are interested in achieving an MBA. I suggest you write down what you hope to benefit from your MBA as it will become useful throughout the application. It sets the tone of your essays and helps you focus your writing direction on that goal.

  1. Research and ask questions

This is where the fun starts. I collected data about WBS and looked at rankings within the UK and worldwide. I chose WBS based on a combination of reputation, specialities, and format of the programme the school offers. The face-to-face programme was my aim. So, I registered my interest and booked the earliest open-day event. During the open day, I was able to meet alumni from WBS and ask them questions.

The virtual event involved a simulation case study with one of WBS’s professors. I found that brilliant because I was unsure how well my academic engagement was after being away from school for a while. The WBS recruitment team approached me, this was my opportunity to ask any questions I had. It was a pleasure of dealing with a Business Development Manager from WBS. He dedicated his time to answering my questions over the course of multiple phone calls and back-and-forth emails and texts. He invited me to visit the London campus at The Shard.

  1. Fees and time off work

A good MBA programme is not cheap, but not to worry; the team will guide you through approaching multiple funding sources. I was self-funding, and they offered me an instalments plan over the course of two years. With the help of the WBS team and a bit of financial planning, it became clear I could fund the programme. Timewise, with a full-time job, a family and other life activities, my schedule was full!

I had doubts about adding an EMBA to the mix. To my surprise, I found discussing with my manager easier than I thought, he supported my plan and offered compressed working hours to allow time for my studies. With good timekeeping, I found myself managing comfortably. WBS have an excellent team that will provide you with a full schedule for the year ahead. You will have assignment extension possibilities and flexibility via a responsive team that will work with you to fit study time around your schedule.

  1. Application essays

During the application I was requested to write three short essays about my Drive and Vision, Challenging the Norm and Seeing the Bigger Picture. That’s why identifying my goals early on had come in use. There was also a fourth essay to apply for a scholarship. Always apply for a scholarship. If you do not have academic writing experience, do some reading on how to write in an academic style. This is essential to the application. Use tools like Grammarly but do not use AI; it will be detected. Before submitting have a colleague read them, preferably an English native friend. If you don’t have one you can reach out to alumni over LinkedIn or other social media, they will be happy to help.

  1. Prepare for the interview

Once shortlisted for an interview, get prepared. Research online for example questions and practice your answers. Preferably have a mock interview with a colleague. The interview is an hour-long relaxed chat about where you are in your career, where you want to be, what you would like to achieve from your MBA, how you cope with group work, what is your leadership style and a few more relating to the programme.

Do not stress, it is not an exam, but preparation will be the key to success and will make you feel confident during the interview. I believe WBS is mainly interested in gauging how fit you are for the programme but also make sure you have thought about the journey you are about to take. It is another opportunity to ask questions if you need.

  1. Network and have fun!

When you manage to find your place in the MBA programme, do not forget to network, socialise with your cohort and other cohorts, and most importantly enjoy the journey!