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How to get into a business school for an MBA in the UK in two months – Anna’s story

How to get into a business school for an MBA in the UK in two months – Anna’s story. In 2019, Anna Dmitrieva decided to get an MBA at the University of Gloucestershire in the UK. This became her fifth education. She only had two and a half months to submit documents and obtain a British visa, which almost jeopardized her entire studies. But Anna coped with force majeure and even received a scholarship that covered half the cost of studying for an MBA – this is a rarity in the UK. 

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In this article, Anna shares her story of entering and studying at a British business school, and also tells how she organized a student society and became its president. Read to the end and you will receive a promo code for a discount on your consultation.

How I decided to pursue fifth grade education

I was born and raised in Nizhny Novgorod. After 9th grade, she entered the Nizhny Novgorod Music College named after Balakirev and studied there for four years, receiving the specialty of teacher and orchestra conductor. After graduating from college in 2002, she entered the Academy of Water Transport at the Faculty of Law and graduated with honors in 2007.

Five years ago I moved from Nizhny Novgorod to Moscow. Since I was always interested in international law, in 2017 I entered the master’s program at the Higher School of Social and Economic Sciences (Shaninka) with a specialty in “Private International Law”. This is a double degree program, which was implemented in partnership with the British The University of Manchester (University of Manchester). I was a student of two master’s programs at once – Russian and British – and studied the subjects of my specialty at double the rate.

In May 2019, at my university, I won an internship at Maastricht and Leiden Universities in the Netherlands. I was in a group with other Russian students, and we attended lectures on corporate and family law. The university paid for housing and tuition. At the same time, we were not passive listeners, but actively participated in the seminars.

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After this internship, I realized that I wanted to live in Europe and definitely study at a foreign university. This bothered me and I came up with a plan. I decided immediately after completing my master’s degree to go abroad to get an MBA (master’s degree in business administration).

I was inspired to get an MBA by thinking about my future career. I headed the legal department at the First Investment Bank of Moscow, and it seemed to me that I had long outgrown this position. I saw myself more in business than in law. I wanted to manage the entire business process, and not just the legal structure. 

How and where I learned English

Since I studied music in depth at school, and after 9th grade I went to a music school, English was not my priority. When I entered law school, my knowledge was very superficial.

Then I studied the language at the university. But I received deep knowledge in Shaninka, since it was a double-degree program. Some subjects were in English, and I had to read a lot of cases from American and English law in English.

But no matter how much I tried to learn English, it seemed to me that I had a weak foundation, and my knowledge was not enough to study for an MBA. Therefore, after finishing my master’s degree, I decided to improve my business English and in September 2019 I went to language courses at Kaplan International English in London. LinguaTrip staff selected this school for me during a free consultation , and they also helped me obtain a British visa .

English school Kaplan International English in London

Before the course, my level of English was Intermediate (average), after which it became Upper-Intermediate (above average). I had an intensive English course, we studied for about eight hours a day, and after classes we went with our classmates to pubs and improved our spoken English there. I also interacted a lot with my host family and attended all sorts of events for lawyers. I even attended a closed presentation of the autobiography of a judge from the Supreme Court, whom I was not afraid to meet.

The levels of English can be found in our article “English language levels according to the CEFR: from Beginner to Proficiency” . And you will find out your level when you pass our express test . 

How I found out about LinguaTrip

I’m a fan of Marina Mogilko and I think I’ve watched all the videos on her YouTube channel . That’s how I found out about LinguaTrip. I completed their online marathon “From Intermediate to Advanced” , where, in addition to Marina, the host was Venya Pak. There was a lot of useful information about the English language, and I structured my knowledge.

Then I read Marina’s book “ How to Enter a US University in 2 Months” , and it inspired me to apply for an MBA.

Why did you decide to enroll in the UK?

I planned to apply for an MBA in the USA. I was drawn to internship opportunities at Google and Walmart, as well as the American spirit of freedom and entrepreneurship. But America was too far from my family, and during two weeks of language courses at Kaplan in London, I fell in love with this multinational city and with Great Britain itself. The thought even crossed my mind that I wanted to move there. So I thought it over again and decided that I would go to a British university.

England, with its incredible nature and ancient architecture, was more to my liking.

But when I made this decision, it was mid-October 2019. I didn’t want to delay my admission and planned to start studying in England in January 2020. That is, I only had a couple of months to submit and collect documents. But not a single agency for education abroad wanted to take on my case. It was important for me to leave as soon as possible. For some reason, I intuitively felt that it was either January or never. And now with COVID-19, I understand what that premonition was about.

It seemed like the mission was impossible. I called all Moscow companies, went to an exhibition of international education, but absolutely everyone looked at me like I was crazy and said: “Girl, our people have been preparing for years!” And then, at the end of October, I received an email from LinguaTrip about a webinar about higher education in the UK. I registered, but did not expect anything serious, since at that time I associated the company exclusively with language courses abroad and online education. But I was wrong.

At the webinar, speaker Alexey, a higher education consultant in the UK, spoke so glibly about universities in England and gave examples of cases of students whom he sent to study that I immediately wrote him a letter in which I told him about my situation. He responded the next day and offered four British universities at once, where you can enroll in January. He spoke about each of them in detail and added specific prices for training. My attention was drawn to a one-year MBA program at the new business school at the University of Gloucestershire . It is included in the TOP 3 best universities in Britain; tuition costs £14,800 (RUB 1,480,000). But you can receive a scholarship for outstanding academic achievements, which covers 50% of the tuition fee.

“That’s what I need!” — I thought, because I had a diploma with honors and could apply for a scholarship. Before that, I studied information about many business schools in the world, and the most I could find for an MBA program was a discount of £2,000 (204,000 RUR).

I informed Alexey about my choice, and we began to prepare for admission.

How I prepared documents for admission

I started collecting documents at the end of October. To apply, you had to provide a motivation letter , two letters of recommendation and a short CV.

I prepared three letters of recommendation – from a lawyer from the Supreme Court of India, the Honored Auditor of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the manager of the bank that I opened in my hometown. Friends who themselves enrolled in an MBA at foreign universities helped me write a motivation letter.

How to write motivational and recommendation letters, personal references and essays for admission to a foreign college or university, we tell you in our guide “Write – Apply” .

On November 19, a little before the closing of applications, Alexey and I sent a complete set of documents to the University of Gloucestershire, with the exception of a diploma from the University of Manchester. I received it on December 9 and straight from the presentation ceremony I sent a photo of the diploma and transcript of grades to Alexey, who immediately sent them to England.

As for the English language, a diploma from the University of Manchester opened all doors for me and allowed me not to take the international IELTS exam to confirm my level of English.

You can prepare for the IELTS exam at our online intensive “IELTS 6.5 and above” or at individual Skype lessons with Nastya Ivbule or Ksenia Almog . 

Tips from the articles “ Typical mistakes in IELTS and ways to avoid them ” and “ How to pass IELTS with a 9 out of 9 ” will also help you pass IELTS with a high score .

What difficulties did you encounter during admission?

As soon as we sent my diploma, something strange happened. The University of Gloucestershire has stopped communicating. I started to worry. Classes at the business school began on January 20, 2020. To go to study, I had to write a letter of resignation from work at least two weeks in advance. And still have time to get a visa! But Alexey and I did not receive either a positive or negative response from the university in December.

I was very worried that I was not accepted. On January 1, 2020, I sounded the alarm: I wrote to the university chatbot and to all possible email addresses. But, of course, the university was closed on holidays, and they only answered me on January 3rd. They said they couldn’t find my application documents.

I continued to blow all the trumpets, and Christina, a LinguaTrip employee, helped me with this. In the end, we went to the Immigration Compliance service (the University service responsible for all immigration issues), where my situation was quickly sorted out. My documents were simply lost. On January 14, I received a long-awaited invitation from the university and CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies), on the basis of which I can apply for a Tier 4 student visa.

The most difficult part of admission turned out to be to stir up the sleeping university in the first days of January to find out whether I got in or not. The wait was agonizing, these couple of weeks seemed like a year to me.

How I received a scholarship to study

The University of Gloucestershire provides a scholarship for academic excellence that covers half the cost of tuition. It is necessary that the diploma be first class honor, that is, with only A’s. You indicate this in your application for admission. There is no need to provide anything additional. The scholarship is given automatically if the university’s scholarship limit is not exhausted.

I received a scholarship because I graduated with honors from my bachelor’s degree. As a result, I paid £7,400 (RUB 740,000) for training.

Me in front of one of the buildings of the University of Gloucestershire

How to get a student visa to the UK

I am a regular client of visa support from LinguaTrip , because they have a very high level and extensive experience. When I went to language courses in London, I applied for a visa myself. I spent a lot of time and nerves on this matter. That’s why I entrusted my Tier 4 student visa to LinguaTrip professionals.

How I collected the documents

For documents, I needed a higher education diploma and bank statements showing the flow of funds for the last month. The account should have had enough to cover tuition fees and an additional minimum of £9,180 (RUB 918,000) for living expenses. The funds must have been in the account for more than a month.

I paid for the trip myself; documents from the sponsor were not needed. Also, this type of visa did not require a certificate from work, but it was necessary to undergo a medical examination and a test for tuberculosis. This must be done in advance at an accredited clinic and a medical examination certificate must be submitted along with visa documents. I took the test in Moscow on January 13, 2020, and on the same day I was given a certificate. It cost about 7,000 rubles.

It was also necessary to obtain mandatory IHS student insurance. This is something like the Russian compulsory medical insurance. It is calculated based on the number of years of study. It cost me $616.50 (45,600 rubles) for one year.

How to speed up getting a visa

Due to problems with a visa invitation to the university, I submitted documents several days before the official start of classes. I filled out the online form only on January 15, and classes started already on January 20. However, the university allowed me to be late: I had to start classes before February 3. I explained this point in an additional letter, which I attached to the package of documents for the visa.

I applied for a visa in Moscow. Since the standard waiting period for a visa is three weeks, I paid for expedited processing of documents by the embassy. At that time this service was still available. Along with the consular fee, I paid 778 $ (57,600 rubles). I submitted the documents on January 16, and a week later my visa was approved, and on January 30 I flew away.

Later, LinguaTrip helped me when I needed to get an American visa to travel with a business school to New York. With them, I quickly completed all the documents through the London embassy.

We talk about the pitfalls and life hacks of obtaining this visa in our article “How to get a British student visa Tier 4 General” . 

Please note that visa requirements are constantly changing. Check the current conditions and list of documents on the British Embassy website . Or sign up for a consultation with LinguaTrip visa specialists , who are aware of all changes. 

What difficulties did you encounter when moving to the UK?

How I looked for housing

The most difficult thing was finding housing. When I first arrived in England, I lived with a host family to improve my language and get acquainted with the way of life of real English people. I found the family on the university website. I paid £380 (38,000 rubles) a month for a room in their house in Gloucester.

I’m lucky with my family. When everyone was locked down during the pandemic, my owner’s six-year-old son and I swam in the pool and played with water pistols, and with my grandmother we baked cupcakes and cooked English, Chinese and Greek cuisine.

I lived with a host family for nine months and then moved to Bristol, an hour’s drive from Gloucester.

Local architecture and nature

Bristol is a larger city and has more opportunities. Here I wanted to live in a shared house (a house shared by several people) among professionals and my peers. I was looking for housing through the Spareroom service .

I live with an Indian and English couple, as well as a Malaysian-born British woman who speaks Chinese all the time. It’s a blast: we throw parties, sing songs with a guitar, have dinner together and watch Netflix. And recently my neighbors gave me a lesson in English slang and taught me new words. 

Renting a tiny room in a shared house for eight people in Bristol costs £420. This is perhaps the lowest price for the city. The average cost of a room is 600–700 £ (60,000–70,000 rubles). In Gloucester itself the prices are lower, a room there costs £380 (38,000 rubles), but you can find it cheaper.

Gloucester Cathedral, where Harry Potter was filmed

How I got used to the English weather

At first it was difficult to get used to the weather. As soon as I arrived, Hurricane Katrina hit England: roofs were blown off houses, trees were uprooted, and the rain did not stop. At the same time, no one canceled classes, and I, with a large backpack containing a laptop and books, went to the university. The journey took only 15 minutes, but it was impossible to walk, as the rain was pouring like a wall. It was impossible to use an umbrella, the wind would twist it and tear it out of my hands, and my family gave me a special raincoat. I am a positive person, but then I cried because it was terribly cold and damp. At the same time, in my house, both in winter and in summer, it was only 10 degrees Celsius at night, and I was always very cold.

How does studying for an MBA work?

The workload for an MBA is high, because in a year you need to cover all sectors involved in the business process: Leadership, Project, Innovation, Consumer Behavior, Financial Tools, etc. d.

My business school is about 90% English and only 10% foreign. There were many guys from Malaysia and Indonesia, since the university has its own representative office there, as well as students from India, Nigeria, Vietnam, China, and Nigeria. There were only about five Russians in the entire university.

My classmates

So that we, foreigners, would not feel left out, I organized the International Society (international community) and created a WhatsApp group where we could communicate and exchange experiences.

Studying at a British university is different from a Russian one, since most of the time you study on your own. You have a minimum of classroom studies and a maximum of sitting in the library. Here we also make a lot of Power Point presentations and then show them in front of the whole class. The first presentation took me a week, but then I got the hang of it and the process sped up.

Second Campus and Business School Inside

A typical school day before the lockdown looked like this: we had two lectures for three hours each in the evening, and in the morning I sat in the library and prepared for classes. I read a lot and did presentations.

For the first three months, I sat in the library from 10 am to 10 pm, and during the lockdown I read professional literature at home around the clock. 

All teachers are professionals in their field. They gave us not dry theory, but practical cases. It took my breath away when we looked at how work is structured at Tesla, Virgin and other innovative companies.

The British are passive in class. Despite my average level of English, I felt very confident in the lessons and was always the leader in the class. 

I threw a party for my classmates

How the pandemic affected learning

Studying at a foreign university is 70% networking and student life with different societies (student societies), where you meet new people and gain connections. Here they prefer to do business with their own people, for example, with those with whom they played golf. So when the pandemic started, that came to an end.

We went into lockdown three times, and the quality of education decreased compared to lectures in the classroom. Sometimes during Zoom lectures I only saw circles with the initials of my classmates, professors had dogs barking in the background, and some had children screaming. I remember at the very beginning of the Zoom classes, I decided to have lunch during the seminar and forgot to turn off the sound, so the whole class listened to me eat, and the professor wished me bon appetit. It was a little embarrassing.

And one day it was raining heavily, which is quite common in England :-), and I just fell asleep. I only woke up from the professor’s question: “Anna, how are you doing with this in Russia?” I hope I didn’t snore.

How I became the President of the MBA Society

When all the lectures and seminars for the program ended and we left to write our dissertations, I found myself surrounded by ordinary people who were talking about food, the new Netflix series and the weather. There was another lockdown, and I began to miss communicating with like-minded people on business and innovation topics. The idea came to my mind to create my own society.

At every English university, the Student Union (student council) supports similar initiatives. At our university we already had such societies as the Religious Society, the Dancing Society, and the Computer Games Society. I had experience in a leadership position and managing a team, so I invited my friend from Russia, who also studied at my university, to create a society together.

I created society profiles on social networks and began inviting speakers from different fields for interviews who could inspire students at my university. Our guest was investment banker and TV presenter Elena McCaffrey and Everest Assets Group CEO Stephen Windmill.

While everyone was sitting at home and bored in quarantine, our project captivated us. It was a unique experience: I learned how to work in Canva and make beautiful banners and posters, and my friend, who was in charge of the video, developed this talent. 

Our project was noticed by the director of our business school: he commented on my posts on LinkedIn, and then suggested we work together. We are currently thinking about the format of cooperation.

After a couple of months of working with my society, I was invited to be a speaker at the International Online Conference in Nigeria. I talked about intercultural communication in international negotiations. It was great to share my knowledge.

How much do I spend per month

Life in the UK is quite expensive, but money is not going away as quickly due to the lockdown, since all entertainment venues are closed. I signed up for all the sports clubs at the university – golf, tennis, equestrian, rock climbing – but due to the pandemic, everything is still closed.

Travel is terribly expensive. With a student card, one bus trip in Bristol costs £1.6 (160 RUR). You can buy an all-day pass for £3.2 (320 RUR). A train ticket to neighboring Gloucester, which is 50 minutes away, costs £10 (1,000 rubles). Let’s say I need to go to the university library. I will spend £20 (2,000 rubles) on this, plus bus fare to the station and from the station to the library. I’m glad that the textbooks in the library are free.

From March to October I travel around the city by bicycle. Taxis are expensive here. For a 10-minute trip you need to pay 15–20 £ (1500–2000 rubles).

The products are relatively inexpensive, but of good quality. For 10–12 £ (1000–1200 ₽) you can buy everything you need in a supermarket for a week, including fruits, vegetables, milk, cheese, meat, bread and sweets. There is a Polish shop near my home in Bristol where I buy buckwheat, dumplings and other Russian products when I get homesick.

What are your plans after studying?

I have many plans, but I don’t want to voice them yet. Due to the pandemic, we are living in a period of uncertainty and it is difficult to plan for the long term. It’s a pity that my university only offers jobs to undergraduate students. I am already a postgraduate (master’s degree and above). For people like me, the university conducts career consultations, where it gives advice on finding a job. I probably go to such events more than others and do not miss a single master class on this topic. I even won a Bronze Employment Award. This award is given to those who attend all master classes and training sessions from Career Zone (career department).

I want to thank all the LinguaTrip employees who helped me with my difficult case, because I am incredibly happy to be here! My advice to anyone dreaming of studying abroad: take action, be persistent and hardworking. Even if you are not confident in your English, try to improve your level every day, and also constantly increase your networking, and everything will definitely work out!

If you also want to study in the UK or any other country, but don’t know where to start, our experts will help you choose the right direction. Sign up for consultations on higher education in England or master’s programs in Europe – when paying for the consultation, enter the promo code ANNAMBA and you will receive a $10 discount

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