London Business School: Successful Sample Essays

By Arvind Kumar

Main Essays

Q1. What are your career objectives and what steps are you taking to achieve them? What alternatives are you considering?  What geographical region do you hope to work in? (maximum 500 words)

Through my experiences in financial markets across asset classes at JPMorgan (JPM) and Edelweiss Securities, I have developed a strong understanding and appreciation of the various facets of the Asset Management (AM) industry. Upon reflection, I have come to realize that my passion lies towards investment analysis, portfolio management and product development. 

Post the London Business School (LBS) MiF program, I wish to work in the investment team of a leading AM firm such as BlackRock or Vanguard in the UK region. In this role, I intend to further develop my expertise in portfolio construction, portfolio implementation and investment analysis by working alongside leading portfolio managers. Additionally, working in a global financial powerhouse like London would help me stay updated with the latest investing themes and technologies in the AM industry, whilst discussing investment ideas with the brightest minds in the business.

Alternatively, if I am unable to find a suitable opportunity with an AM firm, I would join the research team of a financial services firm like JPM, in the UK or Asia region. As a research analyst, I would still be in rhythm with the markets whilst furthering my technical skills in the international context.

Over the long run, I aspire to become the Chief Investment Officer of an AM firm in India and transform the investing experience by making it accessible and easy for all. By leveraging my global experience and network, I would collaborate with leading AM firms to provide Indian investors with a vast suite of innovative and international investment products. 

As I evolved in my role at JPM, I created a succinct one-pager for a US Value fund that helped put it on ‘spotlight’, thereby generating additional AUM (~$2bn). This paved my way to work closely on thematic assignments for Joshua F (leading Global Equity Strategist), whereby I honed my analytical and inferential skills by analyzing historical macroeconomic trends. Furthermore, due to my unique storytelling approach to product presentations, I participated in several product review calls for internal JPM Private Banking clients (AUM: ~$150mm). While these experiences helped me develop analytical, product management and presentation skills, I realized I needed to go back to school to advance my technical skills (financial modeling, security analysis, portfolio construction) and broaden my knowledge in topics like economics, fixed income, and investment management. 

The LBS MiF program offers several advanced courses and electives, which would both enhance my business acumen and encourage peer-based learning. I am particularly intrigued by courses taught by Prof. Ray, Prof. Jenkins and Prof. Hardy in economics, asset management and organizational behavior respectively. Beyond the curriculum, the industry events (AQR’s Insights Summit), speaker series (TedXLondonBusinessSchool), and Global Immersion Elective focused on Asset Management would ensure I gain practical exposure. 

In short, an application based curriculum, a fantastic peer learning experience, a strong brand name, and well-connected network in the AM industry will set me on the path to achieving my long-term goals.

Q2. What specific areas of London business school life are you most excited about getting involved in and where do you believe you will add value to the school community? (maximum 300 words)

In addition to being a global financial center, London to me means open green spaces, varied cuisine palettes, pop culture, Broadway musicals, historical monuments and much more. The opportunity to explore this energetic city with a set of multicultural peers adds to my excitement.

At LBS, I am excited to learn, through discussions and debates, from my peers with varied backgrounds. By leveraging my practical and academic experiences from the CFA, I also look forward to helping my peers in topics such as equities, corporate finance and portfolio analysis. These diverse experiences will help me develop unconventional and multi-faceted ways of thinking, which I believe are critical to thrive in the Asset Management industry. 

After watching Prof. Edman’s Ted talk, I am eager to learn more about ESG in finance. I would love to collaborate with other ESG enthusiasts and launch an ESG investing club that would help us learn more about ESG and stay updated with the latest trends. To make the club successful, I would seek guidance from Prof. Edman and organize events similar to AQR’s 2021 Insights Summit on ESG Investing. 

Furthermore, I am excited to join the LBS Investment Management Club (IMC) and gain practical experience through the Student Investment Fund. To enrich the IMC experience, I would love to invite Clare Hart, Value Portfolio Manager at JPMorgan, for a speaker series at LBS. 

On the personal front, I really enjoy cooking and hosting intimate dinners for family and friends. As part of the Foodie Club, I look forward to hosting cooking nights for my peers and their partners to share my cuisine and culture, and learn about theirs.  I am excited about all that LBS has to offer and look forward to immersing in its dynamic and high-energy culture.

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Additional Essays

Have you attended an event on or off campus, or online where you met with representatives from the school? If yes, please tell us when, where and who you met. (Max 100 characters)*

Yes, I attended the virtual LBS MiF introductory session hosted by CT in October. Additionally, I had a one-on-one consultation with JW in October and CD in September. Both J and C made me feel at ease and answered all my questions with great detail. Post our call, I reached out to Jing with additional questions about the application form and I am grateful for her quick and insightful responses. I would like to thank everyone from the admissions team for their unconditional support through the application process.

Please tell us your most significant international experiences to date: (100 words max)*

At JPMorgan, I work and interact with global team-members across New York, London, Germany, and Hong Kong. The virtual pandemic world, with remote work and no physical barriers, allowed me to attend various meetings with clients across the US, Europe and Asia regions. These experiences have helped me hone my communication and presentation skills, whilst working with a diverse group of people and appreciating different viewpoints.

While I was personally invited to visit the US offices by the US Equity head, I was unable to obtain the necessary permits due to Covid-19. 

Tell us about your main interests and activities in your free time (300 words max)*

As a 21 year old, I woke up to the news of a young Pakistani girl, Malala Yousafzai, shot in the head for refusing to give up her right to education. I immediately enrolled to volunteer for ‘Teach for India’, where I experienced the ground reality as a volunteer at an underfunded government school. This propelled my passion towards ‘Education for all’. Since then, I have helped raise funds and distribute resources amounting to $1400. I am glad to share that Deepa, whom I met on my first visit to the school, has now completed her undergraduate degree and is working as a cashier in a bank.

I have always enjoyed the art of storytelling. As a young girl, I loved the stage and participated in  extracurriculars such as elocution and extempore. Several years later, approaching presentations at work with a creative storytelling angle has helped me gain recognition from senior stakeholders and make a lasting impression. I am excited about extending this to the LBS journey, where learning is beyond the textbook and education is a holistic experience.

It is my strong belief that food is an emotion and helps break social barriers. I find cooking therapeutic and regularly host friends and family for ‘dinner and game nights’. I have also successfully carried this enthusiasm for cooking virtually: my colleagues from the New York office and I often exchange food recipes on WhatsApp and have become friends outside of work. I look forward to keeping this tradition alive by hosting my LBS peers for dinner and enjoying London’s rich food culture. 

From what you know of the programme so far, what do you think will be the key challenges for you?*

With so much that LBS has to offer amongst courses, electives, clubs and events, and with time being of essence, I am afraid I will not be able to explore everything to the fullest. However, having completed the CFA program and developed basic finance knowledge, I would prioritize and focus on the more advanced courses, while making time for clubs and networking events that are inline with my career goals.

Additionally, while I am excited about moving to a new country, I am also a little nervous as I don’t have family or friends there. However, I draw comfort from my international work experience and ability to connect with people, which I believe will help me smoothly transition to the new environment.

We encourage applicants to take into consideration the impact of study on family and friends. Who have you discussed your plans with and what was the response? (300 words max)*

My family has always been my bedrock and an important consideration while making life decisions. Inspired by my father, who was a banker, I chose to pursue finance in undergrad school. After under-graduation, as I was looking to upskill myself, it was my father who introduced me to the CFA program. When I cleared the CFA program, he was the happiest person. 

Recently, when I discussed my plans to pursue the LBS MiF program, my family was elated and really proud that I was taking the right next step to advance my professional journey. I feel grateful to be blessed with their support. My father has already promised to make his first trip to London to attend my LBS MiF convocation. 

Coming from a middle-class household, my family was a little concerned about financing the program. However, I shared the discussions I had with current LBS students and alumni from India who share similar backgrounds as mine, along with a detailed layout of my current financial assets in place and plans to finance the program through a combination of my accumulated savings, loans and potential scholarship grants. Knowing that I had done my due-diligence, their concerns were alleviated. 

Finally, I convinced my 5 year-old niece’s hard no to a resounding ‘Yes!’ after I promised to take her to Peppa Pig World in London!

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