MBA Admissions Q&A: Royal Holloway |

MBA Admissions Q&A: Royal Holloway

By Mike Grill

Updated July 25, 2019 Updated July 25, 2019

Situated in the town of Egham to the west of London within what’s often referred to as the capital’s commuter belt lies Royal Holloway School of Management, part of the University of London and provider of an MBA program since 1995 and one which received AMBA accreditation in 2005.

Although Royal Holloway traces its origins back to the nineteenth century, its School of Management is a relatively recent establishment, celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2015. However, that’s time enough for the Royal Holloway MBA to make its mark in the QS Global 200 Business Schools Report 2014/15 where it stands just outside of Europe’s top 50.   

In this interview Royal Holloway’s MBA director, Justin O’Brien, outlines why he encourages those interested in applying to make sure they’ve considered all their options and to really understand what the Royal Holloway MBA is all about. O’Brien goes on to explain why the school doesn’t necessarily require candidates to submit a GMAT score as part of their application. Read on to learn more...

MBA director at Royal Holloway; Justin O’Brien
What are the most important aspects of the Royal Holloway MBA application process besides GMAT score, prior GPA, and current job position?

Speaking as the MBA director, the most important aspect of the application process is to demonstrate the right motivation to study for a challenging year-long MBA program. 

Applicants are encouraged to ensure that they fully understand what the Royal Holloway MBA program offers, and to have taken the time to seriously consider a range of alternative options. After all, selection should be a deep two-way exchange that ensures there is a good fit between student needs/expectations and the MBA delivery promise. If I do not think ours is the right program for a particular candidate, I will say so! 

What is a common mistake you see applicants make?

Personal statements that fail to update ‘Royal Holloway’ as the preferred MBA provider make me smile. Often applicants could make their 3+ years of work experience more obvious. 

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

Be authentic. Applications are often presented in a formal language that seeks to present a very ‘professional’ persona. I warm to a communications style that is more real and projects a unique and interesting candidate.

What does the Royal Holloway University School of Management application process look like?

Step 1: Informally discuss credentials with the MBA director over email, telephone or in person. 

Step 2: Submit a complete formal application.

Step 3: Formal response. An accepted offer will then trigger procedures relating to visa, accommodation and deposit.

How can a candidate overcome a lower GMAT score?

We understand that working professionals are hard pressed to make the time to pay for GMAT (re)testing. The key criteria for admission to the Royal Holloway MBA are therefore motivation and relevant work experience – we do not require a GMAT score.

MBA admissions tips

Essay(s): Make sure your use of grammar is flawless.

Interview: Take this opportunity to interview the university – is this MBA right for you?

Letter(s) of recommendation: Ask recommenders early as this part of the application will usually take the longest time…

CV/résumé: Two pages maximum and ensure your prior work experience is clear and makes for easy-reading.

School visit: Important; if you can, ask for an individual appointment.

This article was originally published in December 2015 . It was last updated in July 2019

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Mike's remit covers content, SEO and blogger outreach. Outside of his work for, he is an assistant coach for MLU outfit, the Portland Stags.


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