In this episode of the Help with my visa! Podcast we speak with Tony Whiteman-Reynolds, MBA Recruitment Manager at the Business School at City, University of London. Tony talks us through the admissions process for international students joining the MBA programme and also gives excellent guidance for prospective international students thinking about studying in the UK more generally.
Tony Whiteman-Reynolds, MBA Recruitment Manager at the Business School
After a successful career in travel and tourism, Tony joined City, University of London in an administrative role and over the last few years has worked closely with the Business School’s full-time MBA cohorts.
He’s helped hundreds of international students to settle into life in the UK, and in this podcast episode he gives us the rundown of what the MBA admissions process looks like, and more generally, what you should consider when thinking about coming to the UK to study as an international student.
At the time of recording, the Business School at City, University of London is undergoing a re-brand and name change. Formerly known as Cass Business School, it is currently known by the temporary name of the ‘Business School’ until a new name has been selected.
The Business School offers one of the UK’s top ranking one-year MBA programmes, based in the City of London. The Business School has strong ratings in entrepreneurship (second only to Harvard Business School globally), strategy and finance, and attracts talented students from around the world.
Tony is responsible for student recruitment on the full-time MBA programme, but the Business School also offers an evening Executive MBA, a Modular MBA aimed at working professionals from around the world, and a recently launched Global MBA, a fully online course.
Studying in the UK
It’s a massive decision to come and study in the UK, and Tony talks us through the thought process many of the students he’s worked with go through.
Of course the university’s reputation is important, as are its specialisms, but Tony also recommends that prospective international students seriously consider what sort of experience they want to have while in the UK.
There are a number of great universities in and around London, like the Business School, that can offer a fully immersed city-life experience while in the UK. This may appeal to many people, particularly if they’re looking to network and find a job after graduating, but it’s not always the kind of lifestyle everyone wants.
Oxford and Cambridge offer very different student lifestyles in smaller, historic cities, while MBAs at renowned northern universities such as Manchester and institutions in Scotland have their own unique attractions.
Tony recommends doing your research on what the surrounding environments are like when selecting a UK university, as there are many different types of experience on offer.
The Business School is starting its busiest period for MBA recruitment right now (January/ February) for people looking to start studying in the UK in the autumn. Tony’s currently recruiting for the full-time MBA, as well as the Executive MBA programme.
Tony recommends reaching out to universities early and speaking to their admissions team. You should do your best to get a feel for what the university is like, its culture, as you’re going to be connected to it for the rest of your life as an alumnus if you decide to study there.
Many universities are running online recruitment events, which Tony strongly recommends you attend. The Business School runs a mixture of online presentations, Q&A sessions (including sessions with alumni) and even guest lectures from a Business School professor so you can get a strong idea of what it’s like to study there.
Tony and his team are extremely approachable, and if you’re thinking about applying for an MBA at the Business School he’s happy for you to email him for more information at [email protected] or you can email the general MBA recruitment team at [email protected]
The admissions process typically starts with you sharing your CV, followed by a conversation with a recruitment manager to answer any questions you may have.
When you’re ready to proceed, you’ll need to start preparing your course application and preparing for the GMAT. The Business School requires full-time MBA students to score at least 600 in the GMAT – other business schools will have different requirements – and especially with COVID-19 this is something Tony recommends you start early.
Your MBA application includes answering several essay questions, including what value you think you’d bring to the Business School. Tony stressed that you need to put in the time answering these questions and that you should be genuine. There’s no ‘typical’ MBA candidate at the Business School – everyone is there because of their own strengths – so showing who you really are in the best way to apply.
Once your application has been received and you’ve passed your GMAT, you’ll be invited to a personal interview. This isn’t some way of tricking you into making a mistake or to put you under pressure answering difficult maths questions, it’s very much a conversation with a senior academic who’ll explore your motivations for applying and try to understand how you’d fit in.
If you pass the interview, you’ll be offered a place on the Business School’s MBA programme.
Making your Student visa application
The Business School has a team that can help you with making your Student visa application. They’ll issue you with a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS), which is a mandatory document you need to make your Student visa application.
Tony notes that recent changes to the UK Student visa regime now make it possible to apply up to six months in advance of your course start date, so there’s a lot less pressure on prospective students to get everything organised at the last minute.
Post Study Work Visa
Tony mentions the new Post Study Work visa that’ll become available from Summer 2021 to international students graduating from a degree course in the UK. It’ll allow graduates to apply to live and work in the UK for up to two years post graduation, after which time they can switch to another type of work visa.