Thursday, June 13, 2013

Interview on London Business School Sloan Masters in Leadership and Strategy with Linden Selby, Senior Admissions Manager

Linden Selby is a Senior Admissions Manager at London Business School and was kind enough to answer my questions about the London Business School Sloan Masters in Leadership and Strategy Program. For further questions please email:


1. Some schools place a stronger emphasis than others on establishing relationships with applicants during the application stage. Where does LBS Sloan fit in here? Do you encourage people considering applying to reach out to your admissions staff and introduce themselves?

We encourage this early research, and offer CV reviews at an early stage. People whose career achievements and objectives are a good fit with Sloan and London Business School have the confidence to kickstart the application process. We take each candidate’s experience and objectives very seriously.  If we are not sure about this, we provide detailed feedback on alternative options, or how to plan for Sloan in the future. 

Many people find out about Sloan through their personal network – including alumni of 5, 10 and 20 years back, so it’s a good chance for us to make sure that each candidate is updated on the programme. And we love the engagement. 

2. How important is it to visit campus during the application process?

Not everyone can visit campus, so we are happy to have calls – and make sure candidates know about events in their region so they can get a taster of the LBS spirit without leaving home.  But, if you can get to London, the best time to do this is between January and July when you can integrate a class visit, meet the current Sloan Fellows and – if you apply in the January or May deadlines have your interview! 

3. Do you differentiate in any way between sponsored and non-sponsored applicants?

Our sponsor companies have robust selection processes, and select talented high performing managers who are at exactly the right point in their careers to contribute to the class, and return to add continued value in their organisations. We see them going on to senior strategic and often international roles – and celebrate their success.  Sponsored students complete the same application requirements. As they are chosen sometimes more than a year before the programme starts, we often have the chance to meet them.  

4. Your admissions website notes that "students generally have more than 12 years postgraduate work experience".  Is there a cut-off in terms of the number of years of experience? If not, what do students with less work experience need to show? 

We will review all applications, and the average experience is around 18 years. Typical Sloan Fellows will have achieved a position where they have depth and breadth of knowledge and be in a senior role with decision making responsibilities and often responsible for P&L. We do make exceptions – sometimes for people in Government roles, or professional roles where they will add unusual insights that would add value to the class experience. This is where the CV review can help as Sloan may be a good fit in 2-3 years’ time. 

The Experience

5. Is there anything in particular you recommend all admitted students study or learn prior to enrolling in the program? 

If you have time before the programme starts then Speed-reading is a useful skill! 

Seriously, sit down with your family and identify all the things you want to achieve in London, and share your vision of how the Sloan experience will be the first step towards achieving your future goals. If you are planning a change, start to refresh your networks, start early.  Read the business press more attentively, start to discuss some of the big issues, inspire yourself with great biographies.  All the pre-programme material you need will be provided before you start – and don’t read textbooks. Play golf, cook dinner with your kids, go on a road trip, do a weekend painting class, train for a marathon – enjoy all the things that you are passionate about, as your time will not be your own once the programme starts.

6. How do LBS Sloan Fellows interact with the larger LBS community?

The programme is designed to give Sloan Fellows real breadth of connection across the school learning community. Electives are taught across programmes, and Sloans are part of numerous clubs and societies from Acting to Private Equity. Some activities are designed specifically for our mid to senior career students, such as Career Panels and Executive Search company events. 

Sloan Fellows engage across the community, some will continue to support faculty research and continue the relationship after they have left LBS, some will return to lecture or provide practitioner insights at panels and in classes; others mentor and support less experienced students – such as the Masters in Management students who are new graduates. 

7. Could you identify and extrapolate on 1 or 2 key strengths of the curriculum of LBS Sloan?

Sloan prepares senior executives for global leadership positions, to effectively lead change and to set strategic direction that drives organisational performance. 
The Sloan curriculum is unified by three broad themes essential to leadership: 
1. Strategy – provides students with the tools to set the future direction of their organisation and lead organisational change. 
2. Leadership and change – inspires students to become effective leaders and influence others to help achieve goals. 
3. Global economy – students are provided with skills to analyse and understand major changes in the business world and benefit from global business opportunities. 
Prospective students also need to know that this is one of the most flexible programmes. You can do a full year and use the time for reflection and planning, or you can fast track and start to re-integrate with the workplace, using your new knowledge and skills in 6-7 months. 

8. There are some applicants who need to make the choice between LBS Sloan and a typical 1-year MBA in Europe. What to you would be a factor they should consider in order to help them differentiate between your program and a typical MBA?

Some potential applicants can only fund a one year MBA, but would like to do it at London Business School.  They should remember that our full time MBA can be completed in 15 months, and offers a fantastic additional value in internships, summer consulting projects and an unsurpassed choice of electives and international opportunities.  

Any applicant who requires an MBA qualification, or is anticipating a typical MBA career path should do an MBA. Sloan Fellows have additional experience, and will often have earned their MBA at an earlier career point. Sloan offers a focus on leadership, strategy and understanding the global economic environment. Courses such as Biography are designed for individuals with extensive career experience and achievement. For Sloan Fellows, this is about learning as much as the degree.

After Graduation

9. Given that you have a relatively senior group of students, can you tell us what percentage of your graduates change function after completing the program?

Sloans change function, and many change location. Some change industry, though that is often dependent on the economic situation. The % of Sloans in general management rises, and we see more in C-level roles. Most Sloan Fellows see significant change 2-3 years after graduation, or in their 2nd post graduation role.  And we are seeing our alumni at the 10 year point now taking up Board and Non-Executive Director level positions. Here's a link to the Sloan Masters Employment Report 2012

10. What kind of alumni activities or events occur that help students maintain connections? 

Alumni reunion events, at 3 and 5 year intervals keep connections vibrant, and many stay on for London Business School’s flagship conference – the Global Leadership Summit which is scheduled around it.  The World Alumni Celebration Day (WAC) has 90+ alumni clubs around the world holding events and parties; in Tokyo every November the Beaujolais Nouveau party, started by a 2001 Sloan, has passed into a well-loved tradition of more than 10 years vintage!  

Alumni in London can drop into their own dedicated centre and the Alumni Relations teams organise lectures and events with Faculty whenever they are traveling to different regions. LBS has a global reach, with programmes in Dubai, Hong Kong and New York. 

LBS Sloan vs the EMBA-Global Asia Program

11. Lastly, could you tell us a bit about the EMBA-Global Asia program and how it differs from Sloan?

Some people really want their study experience to be immersive, and take them out of the day to day challenges. Others relish the opportunity to “earn and learn” and use their new knowledge, skills and networks to accelerate their career path. It takes a particular sort of courage to step out of the workplace to do a programme like Sloan, and courage to take on an Executive MBA that blends teaching and attendance across three continents. It runs over 20 months with teaching one week a month in Terms 1-3 and then elective courses, projects and trips in Terms 4 and 5.   

In practical terms EMBA-Global Asia students attend in Hong Kong, with blocks in London and Columbia Business Schools, and are taught by many of our strongest LBS and CBS faculty. They can choose electives across the schools, and have alumni status as well.  It’s a fantastic opportunity for anyone who is already building business in Asia, Europe and the US and provides a powerful network. The program runs for 20 months. 

In terms of experience, Sloan Fellows tend to be on the upper end of the scale.  Executive MBAs will have around 10-11 years of experience, and will be achieving in their business functional role, or may be in an early General Management role. They come from all different sectors, some family businesses and some  entrepreneurs. Most Sloans and EMBA students will have families to consider – so if you are thinking about an EMBA, and negotiating with your boss, remember that you need sign off and support from your family and friends. 

Thanks Linden for your time!

John Couke