So you’re applying to Imperial’s Executive MBA, but aren’t quite sure where to begin? This guide will run through what you need to prepare for your application, how the interview process works, and why you should consider making a start as soon as possible to maximise your chances of success.
What are the advantages of applying early to the Executive MBA?
There’s a lot to think about when putting together your application, so it’s best to prepare everything as early as possible. There are regular admissions deadlines for you to meet in order to get your application in on time, with the first one in June 2021. There are several benefits which come from submitting early, such as:
Meeting the deadline for scholarships
There are a number of significant scholarship options on offer to Imperial Executive MBA candidates, which can be incredibly helpful to self-funded applicants wishing to pursue this programme of study.
By applying early, you give yourself extra time to evaluate the eligibility criteria, decide which scholarship best suits your circumstances, and ensure you get your application in on time.
Access to exclusive admit events
Applying earlier means you’ll also get your offer sooner, giving you access to a number of exclusive events open only to admitted students. From webinars to virtual guest lectures, these events run throughout the year and give you an advanced opportunity to join the Imperial College Business School community. By attending, you’ll be able to build relationships not only with your fellow classmates, but also existing students and prestigious Imperial alumni.
Find out more about our upcoming Executive MBA events.
Early access to careers support
Career advancement is one of the most common motivations for studying the Executive MBA, and applying sooner gives you an even greater opportunity to accelerate this process.
As an admitted student, you will have early access to the personalised support of our Career service and Consultants, up to six months prior to the start of your programme. They will work with you to create a plan for the upcoming academic year that is tailored to your specific career goals. You'll also have a wealth of access to our professional development webinars and pre-study programme materials, helping you to further prepare for life at Imperial.
Given that many candidates for the Executive MBA may have spent a significant amount of time in work and away from study, completing the application process early allows them the space and freedom to prepare for academic study and refresh any skills as necessary. It also opens up many more funding options, not only in terms of scholarship availability, but also the opportunity to approach their company ahead of time to potentially secure corporate sponsorship.
What to prepare for your application
Your personal statement
An opportunity to tell the admissions team about your suitability for the programme beyond what’s on your CV, the personal statement is a chance for you to put your stamp on the application and show us why you want to study at Imperial.
It should include your primary motivations, as well as any other supporting information that may not be immediately obvious elsewhere but could enhance your application.
The personal statement is also an opportunity to make a first impression and show the Admissions team how you personally connect to the values and ethos of Imperial. If you find writing about yourself difficult, try drafting your personal statement with the help of someone who knows you well, in either a personal or professional setting, and see if they agree that your statements are an authentic representation of your skills, strengths and personal attributes.
Career planning questions
Another key part of the application designed to demonstrate that you have considered the path you would like your career to continue on. To answer these questions effectively, you will need to show you have thought about the direction of your career after you complete the programme.
In addition, you’ll be required to demonstrate that you have (or will develop during the course of the programme) the skills necessary to succeed in your future career, and how you plan to fill any remaining gaps in your skillset. If you plan to set up a business, you will need to outline what expertise or product your business will deliver and that you have researched the relevant market.
When putting together your application, you should present well-researched and achievable career plans, using the careers questions to tell us how you plan to align themselves with their chosen career path. Ways of doing this include looking at people specifications of desirable roles and engaging with your network to gain insight into what they may already be doing well and what more you need to do.
The personal statement and careers questions should be used by candidates to sell themselves by showcasing key achievements as well as the theme and trajectory of their career path and personal motivations. Finally, candidates should demonstrate research into Imperial’s offering and how they believe it will positively impact their career plans.
Preparing for the interview
Once you’ve successfully submitted all of the above, your application will be reviewed, and you may be shortlisted for the online interview stage. It is important to remember that by reaching this stage you’ve already been successful over many other applicants and the admissions team are simply looking to learn more about you as a person, and whether you’ll be the right fit for the programme/School.
The type of question you could expect to be asked might be “Who is your favourite business leader and why?” or “Tell me about a time someone in your group was failing, and what you did to rectify the situation?”. While you can’t (and shouldn’t) expect to pre-empt every question that may come your way, you can ensure you are prepared by reflecting on your past experiences, strengths and weaknesses so that you’re able to generate thoughtful and insightful responses.
You can also practice basic interview technique by undertaking mock interviews with friends and family to help build confidence.
The interview will explore your academic and professional background as well as motivations for studying an MBA. You will also be assessed on your current business knowledge, so ensure you are up to date on recent developments.
The interview itself takes place over Skype or Zoom, and will generally last for about an hour. If you are unfamiliar with either of these platforms, ensure you take the time to try them out, so that the process is as smooth as possible. There will always be opportunity to ask questions at the end - so be sure to think about what areas you would most like to gain further clarification or insight on, to ensure you make the most of this face-to-face time.