Are you ready to dig into your essays? Application essays are specifically and cleverly designed to get into your head. We like to turn the tables on the admissions committees and get inside their heads. Why are they asking these questions? What are they looking for? Read on as our experts break down application essay questions to help YOU plan the attack.
UCLA Anderson MBA Essay Question 1
FIRST-TIME APPLICANTS – ONE REQUIRED ESSAY:
UCLA Anderson is distinguished by three defining principles: Share Success, Think Fearlessly, Drive Change. What principles have defined your life and pre-MBA career? How do you believe that UCLA Anderson’s principles, and the environment they create, will help you attain your post-MBA career goals? (750 words maximum)
The UCLA Anderson essay question this year is… a bit muddled. In fact, it’s the typical b-school goals and fit question—in disguise. This question does have a few noteworthy twists worth reviewing. As we go through it, let’s simultaneously go over the “standard” stuff as well.
- The pre-MBA career. They wanna know about your background and what you’ve done. (The twist is that in addition to the what and how, they wanna know what “principles” shaped your APPROACH to these experiences. So keep that in mind.)
- What are your post-MBA goals? They wanna know what you’re gonna DO in life, career-wise. Standard for MBA admissions. But UCLA’s twist is, again, focused on “principles.” This time, they want you to stitch UCLA’s principles to your future goals, mapping what they’re hoping is a “match-made-in-heaven” relationship between you and them.
So, show us what you’ve done, what are you good at, what do you like to do and why. And then, where are you taking these time-tested skills? What’s the end goal? That’s the frame.
What they want you to do with the “principles” piece is suggest that there is purpose behind your actions beyond just making money, or getting a job, or worse, doing something for an unsavory reason. Let’s think about that for a second. Why would this be important? This is, after all, a TOP business school. Think practically, for a second. There must be a connection in their minds between principled leaders and likelihood of success. That the tether of some kind of moral or philosophical compass will ensure more likely outcomes compared to others who have great ideas, but LACK the guidelines, the inner drivers.
The best argument you can make here is one that shows not just WHAT your principles are, or WHY they speak to your personally and professionally, but to take it one step further and explain how this fuels your commitment to seeing your objectives through, how it improves your personal chances for success. Make that argument, and you will crush this prompt. Oh and it’s not just your own principles, but embracing UCLA’s as well.
Here’s a rough structure to help you stay on point:
- A good setup for an essay like this takes us straight into the middle of a significant event/experience in your past. Don’t give away or even HINT at the “principle” just yet, this is gonna be something you’re building UP to. Walk us through the way this episode challenged you, put your approach/tactics/assumptions to the test. This is all leading up to a REVEAL of what the principle was that either got you through it, or that was born in that moment (can be either–we just need to understand ultimately what YOUR version of “principles” is).
- Now, take a few moments and grapple with UCLA’s three principles, see if maybe you can draw some connections to your own life and career, showing how they resonate with you, are a LURE and reason why you’re particularly interested in UCLA.
- Finally, kick it forward to show precisely how immersing yourself in a program that embraces these ideas will help you achieve your goals. Think about this carefully. What does that actually mean? What if they had a DIFFERENT set of principles? How would that affect your course? Give it some serious thought to consider HOW a school’s principles make their way from words on a page to somehow influencing your ability to achieve your post-MBA goals. Don’t write a word until you’ve closed your eyes and seriously wrestled with that idea. Then start fashioning a clear argument, connecting those concepts, and the environment you expect to experience at UCLA because of it, to your future plans.
UCLA Anderson MBA Essay Question 1
The following essay is optional. No preference is given in the evaluation process to applicants who submit an optional essay. Please note that we only accept written essays.
Are there any extenuating circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions Committee should be aware? (250 words maximum)
Here’s everything you need to know about writing the Optional Essay… the right way.
RE-APPLICANTS - ONE REQUIRED ESSAY:
Reapplicants who applied for the class entering in fall 2013 or 2014 are required to complete the following essay:
Please describe your career progress since you last applied and ways in which you have enhanced your candidacy. Include updates on short-term and long-term career goals, as well as your continued interest in UCLA Anderson. (750 words maximum)
And for all you reapplicants out there… let’s show the adcom a better version of yourself this time around, eh?