How to make a good application to one of our Master’s programmes

Our application guidance tells you about the process for submitting an application to our Master’s programmes, but how can you really make a standout application?

We asked Crystal Grant and Steve Togneri, our MSc Recruitment Managers, to give us some extra insight into what the admissions team are looking for.
Here are their top tips:

Choose the right programme for you

There’s a huge range of Master’s programmes out there, each with different programme content, focus and approach to teaching so do some research to make sure you’re choosing a programme that meets your needs.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How well does your background match the selection criteria?
  • Are you looking for a programme that focuses more on theory or practical application?
  • Will the core and elective courses prepare you for success in your future career? And will you enjoy studying them?
  • How will the careers service support you in securing your ideal job?
  • Where is the university based, and how will that affect your learning experience and access to potential employers?

You’ll find a lot of information on university websites and brochures, but make sure you also take the opportunity to talk with the recruitment staff at information sessions, fairs or individual consultations. Talking to or reading profiles of current students and alumni is a great way to find out what day-to-day life on a programme is like.

Get your application right

Everything on the application form is there for a reason, so upload all of the required documents and answer any questions… If you’re not sure what to do, ask!

– Crystal Grant

Make sure you’ve read and understood the application deadlines, process and requirements before applying and allow yourself enough time to put together a strong application, to maximise your chances of receiving an offer. Everything on the application form is there for a reason, so upload all of the required documents and answer any questions in the format specified. If you’re not sure what to do, ask the recruitment team as submitting incorrect or incomplete information will delay your application. Admissions to our Master’s programmes is very competitive, so applying early is strongly recommended.

Prepare for your interview

For some of our programmes, such as MSc Management, we interview suitable candidates.

The interview is an opportunity for you to show your passion for your chosen subject… Give the interviewer an insight into who you are as a person, a student and a future leader.

– Steve Togneri

Try to be well informed about business news before the interview and prepare some questions to ask. Research the sector and roles you want to work in and think about how the MSc programme you are applying to will help you achieve your career aspirations.

The interview is an opportunity for you to show your passion for your chosen subject, think about how you can draw on your experiences and knowledge to show this and to give the interviewer an insight into who you are as a person, a student and a future leader.

Most interviews are held via Skype so prepare the area that will be seen by your interviewer. Formal dress is not required, but remember that the visual impression you make is also important.

What makes the ideal candidate?

We’re often asked what the most important thing that we’re looking for in a candidate is – but there’s no single element of your application that will ensure you’re offered a place.

– Crystal Grant

For our programmes the ideal candidate has a balance between strong academic grades, a relevant degree background and employability.

The first two criteria are pretty clear – you should have consistent grades at 2.1 or First level throughout your degree studies, and your degree subject should be suitable for the programme you are applying for. For example, for our Finance programmes, your undergraduate degree should be sufficiently quantitative – so programmes in maths, engineering, finance, economics or science are preferred.

Employability isn’t just about work experience – though relevant internships will definitely support your application. Our application form includes a set of career planning questions, and we expect your answers to demonstrate strong corporate awareness and understanding of the industry, research into the type of sector and role you’re aiming to work in, a plan for how to position yourself in the market, and short and long term strategies for career progression.

The bottom line: Don’t just rely on having a good CV or some work experience, use the career planning questions to articulate your personal strengths and your career goals – and most importantly, how you plan to achieve them.

 

Got a question for our admissions team? Drop them an email on business.school@imperial.ac.uk