MBA Admissions Q&A: Copenhagen Business School |

MBA Admissions Q&A: Copenhagen Business School

By Mike Grill

Updated April 1, 2015 Updated April 1, 2015

Copenhagen Business School is one of Europe’s best business schools, according to actively hiring MBA employers and academics in the field of business and management. Based, as its name suggests, in the Danish capital, the school was founded as a private institution during the years of the First World War, finally being integrated into the Danish education system in the mid-1960s.

It offers a roster of programs, with the one-year Copenhagen MBA standing out as the flagship.  We spoke to Thuli Skosana, admissions manager at the school, to get her tips on how to get into the selective program – which admits fewer than 50 applicants annually.

What is the typical ratio of domestic to international students accepted into the program?

The Copenhagen MBA is a one-year international program and the majority of our students come from outside of Denmark. In this year’s class, 90% of students come from outside of Denmark. This figure varies of course, but by and large international candidates account for at least 70% of the MBA cohort.

What are the most important aspects of the CBS MBA application process besides GMAT score, prior GPA, and current job position?

We look at the applicant holistically, therefore from our perspective, everything counts, from recommendations to communication skills and how one presents themselves when making contact with us. What we also want to see is the candidate’s personality – what is it that sets them apart from their peers and what will they potentially contribute to the cohort. That means the candidate’s essays need to be sharp and draw on their own professional experiences when addressing the given essay topics. We also want to see the applicant’s potential as a future leader and that implies discernment when choosing referees. It is important to convey their motivation to study in Copenhagen as opposed to another city and the relevance of the Copenhagen MBA to their professional profile and post-MBA goals.

What is a common mistake you see applicants make?

Submitting an application without making some contact with the school that they are applying to. Each school offers several opportunities to get in touch with them – from MBA fairs to open days to contact with alumni and current students. Applicants should take advantage of these opportunities so that they are prepared for going through the application process – which can be time-consuming – and more importantly, so that they can get useful tips on how to write a winning application and assess their own fit with the school before applying.  

What is something you would like to see applicants do more often?

There is no one thing as such, but there are several qualities that resonate with admissions staff for a program like Copenhagen’s, given its focus on responsible management and leadership. The most successful candidates are always the ones with good self-awareness, maturity and a demonstrated desire to grow, learn and make an impact. The application process is a good opportunity to let these qualities shine through. 

What does the CBS application process look like?

The process starts with an online application and from there it is a period of six weeks maximum from the date of submission to acceptance or rejection. Candidates are assessed on their online application first, which includes essays, academic transcripts, a GMAT score and recommendations. They are then either invited to an interview, or their process will stop should the admissions committee deem their application not strong enough. Those who make it to the interview stage can expect to get feedback within two weeks after the interview.

What are some of the tests, official documents, and other hurdles that international students must deal with?

The biggest official hurdle that international students have to deal with is the visa application. This is a process that can take up to eight weeks and for this reason we advise our non-EU applicants to try and secure admission before June 1st – ahead of the start of the program in September.

How can a candidate overcome a lower GMAT score?

As previously mentioned, we assess our students holistically; therefore other aspects of their application have to be strong. This includes motivation to study particularly at the Copenhagen MBA. Strong career performance and recommendations also go a long way in offsetting an average GMAT performance.

Admissions tips

Essay: Write complete sentences and avoid grammatical errors. Essays are a communication check, demonstrate that you can indeed convey a message clearly in written format.

Interview: Prepare for the interview. Contact alumni, current students and the admissions office for support. Revisit your application and do any further research you can about the school and the curriculum. Show commitment and motivation.

Letter of recommendation: Pick the right people to recommend you. That means people who know you well in a professional context.

CV/résumé: Remember that this is a narrative of where you are in your professional life and how you got there. Make sure that the essential things like responsibilities and achievements are highlighted, so that the person assessing your profile understands why you would be thinking of doing an MBA at this particular point in your professional life.

School visit: Speak to as many people as possible to get as broad a picture of the type of people who attend the school and their experiences. Participate in the class. Have fun!


This article was originally published in March 2015 . It was last updated in April 2015

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