Updated on 20/12/2016 for 2017 entry
Writing your personal statement can be difficult as there is so much contrasting information available. The key thing to remember is that it needs to be specific to the programme and university that you are applying for – please don’t write one general statement and send it to all of your universities!
Remember: what is expected at one institution may be greatly different to the requirements at another university. We all have different requirements and focus on different aspects of an application.
What makes a good personal statement for Imperial College Business School?
- Tells us why you wants to study the programme and specifically at Imperial College Business School.
- Includes information about any previous studies that you have found enjoyable and would like to build on whilst studying at Imperial.
- Includes further details of any relevant experiences (eg: internships, volunteering or hobbies) which have developed your interest in your chosen programme and developed your career ambitions.
- Gives an insight into what you are like as a person and how you would be in class. All of our programmes include a strong group work element. In some modules you will be assessed as a team including via peer assessments where the others students will grade your contributions. This means we want students on the programme who will work towards the success of the team, share their ideas and who will make an impact during the year.
Your personal statement will also be:
- Spell checked, in a standard font with paragraphs and without grammatical errors.
- Around 500 words in length.
What should I not write about in my personal statement?
- Paragraphs about how Imperial College London and/or our programmes perform in world rankings – we know how we’re doing, so you don’t need to tell us!
- The name of another university, a different programme title, or make a spelling error when writing Imperial.
- A copy of your career answers – if you’ve already written about something as part of your career answers then there’s no point putting it in your personal statement. This is the place to write about anything else that you feel is relevant but have not yet had the chance to include.
What should be included in my reference letters?
In addition to writing your personal statement you will need to decide who you would like to write your two reference letters. At least one of your referees must be academic, although you are free to decide whether the other one is professional or academic.
You also need to ensure you provide the academic or professional email address of your referees. We are unable to accept reference letters from personal email addresses (gmail, hotmail, 126, sina, qq, yahoo etc) in any circumstances. The Imperial College Business School policy for reference letters may differ from other universities or departments that you are applying to, so you need to ensure that the referee details that you are submitting meet our requirements. If they do not we will not be able to process your application until we receive a suitable reference letter, and with the upcoming deadlines for the finance suite this could mean that we are unable to consider you within the first round.
We pay close attention to these letters as they add context to a student’s application and exam results. Successful students at Imperial usually have excellent academic records, often performing at the top of their class. When deciding who to add as a referee, be sure to:
- Speak to your referee and let them know about your application before you apply.
- Let the referee know about any application deadlines and submit your request early. Some academics are very busy so it might take some time for them to submit your reference, especially when they have lots of students to support.
- Provide them with key details about you choices so that they know exactly which programme you want to do.
- Ask them to place your achievements in the context of the class and other students – if you’ve achieved the best results in your cohort then we want to know!
- Tell them about your non-academic achievements such as internships, volunteering or other hobbies if you would like this to be included in your reference.
- If you have extenuating circumstances that have affected your studies you need to choose a referee who is able to discuss how your studies were impacted.
When I got the email from Imperial College London inviting me for an admission interview, my first thought was: “Jesus Christ, I will get lost in the building!” Before that visit, I’d only seen Imperial from the outside, and it looked really scary with all that glass and metal at the main entrance. So I was really scared… But at the same time I was really proud. Imperial College London is a world-class university and getting an interview there means you are among the very best students of your age. So I booked a flight ticket and arrived in London on 11 November.
Of course I could not sleep the night before the interview, I guess nobody can… When I got up early in the morning, I drank a coffee and took some vitamin pills. After that, I checked the tube service on the internet. I’d heard that it is advisable to get there early, since it takes extra time to find the Chemical Engineering Department inside the labyrinth of the South Kensington Campus. The latest update said “good service”, but I still left half an hour earlier, just in case…
Arrival and introduction to the department
When I arrived at around 10am, with the map of the campus on my phone, it actually took less than five minutes to find the department. This meant I was the first to arrive, which was a little awkward. I was sitting there alone for almost 20 minutes, which was a little more awkward, and the program only started at midday.
I was quite nervous at the end of all this sitting-and-doing-nothing, because I just wanted the interview to be over. But the first session was an introduction from the “Admission Someone”, who told us everything about the department and the course and the lectures and the exams and the four years. Basically everything we could possibly need to know. After that, we had a chance to meet some of the current students, who told us that Imperial College London is a fantastic place, though even they were still impressed by the fact that it ranked joint second in the world.
The admission interview and after-shock
At around 2pm I was finally called for my one-to-one admission interview. The interviewer was a really nice professor who talked about his research and subject. He asked a few chemistry-related questions too, but at the end of the 20 minutes I felt like he talked more than me. I asked others about their admission interviews and it seemed like mine was one of the lightest. The others were asked about calculus and trigonometric functions, while I was only asked about the Haber-Bosch process.
After all the admission interviews, we had a tour around the campus. This made me sad, because I thought I would never have a chance to study there after my interview (now I know this is only the normal after-shock feeling). The campus is beautiful, especially the tall clock-tower in the middle.
At the end of the day, I felt exhausted and nervous, though I knew I would only get an answer in a few weeks’ time. And just when I almost started to feel a bit better, I got an email from the University of Cambridge inviting me for an admission interview there, too…
What is the end of the story? I got a conditional offer from Imperial College London on 5 December, just at the very minute when I switched on my phone after my interview at Cambridge. And I’m now preparing to travel back to the UK to start my chemical engineering degree at Imperial later this year.