[/b]Essay Question # 1
What events or people have had the greatest influence in shaping your character and why? (750 words maximum)
UCLA has slightly reworded this question from last year. The term ‘life experience ‘ has been replaced by ‘people’ which only means that while choosing your story, you can also focus on the people who have influenced you. The goal of this essay is to get a sense of who you are rather than what you have achieved professionally. This essay prompt focuses on a particular event or people that have played a major role in shaping your personality/character. Remember, they are asking you to reflect on an event and this event may occur outside of your personal life as well, so you may look for external factors ( any other event that has occurred outside of your personal life (e.g. a political event, riots, or a natural disaster earth quake etc.) This provides you a wider scope for brainstorming ideas for your story. Mostly, applicants choose personal stories that happened only to them, but sometimes deeply personal stuff can also occur during external upheavals. So UCLA provides you the opportunity to explore that option as well.
So you may decide to share an event from personal life or from external world, and also talk about the people who have influenced. In either case, you must ensure that you tell your complete story, so the reader has a complete sense of what you were before the event and what you became after the event, or what was your perception of life before and after your interaction with certain people. That is, your story should demonstrate how the experience has influenced / impacted you in terms of changing your view of life and/or your behavior toward others. Since it is about an event or people, your best bet is to hook the AD Com with an engaging beginning in the form of a dialogue or a description to create their interest. Never begin your story with an announcement like, “The most influential experience in my life occurred when….” You don’t want to kill the reader’s interest by telling the whole story in the first sentence. Rather you want to grab and then hold their interest. Consider the following example:
Example of a Good Lead:
“‘Priya, I am back!’ I heard my father exclaim. I was surprised to see him standing at the door. Even though I was glad at the thought of spending rest of the week with him, I was not expecting my father at home on Wednesday.”
A beginning like this grabs the readers’ attention and makes them continue reading to know ‘What would have happened? ‘ ‘Why did he not want Dad to return home on a week day?’ The writer gradually unfolds the rest of the story of his father’s lay off (the only earning member of the family), resulting in the tribulations he went through during his entire college years, and the important life -skills he learned during that period which serve him until today.
Your story should have the following four components:
a. the situation (the event or life experience)
b. the action (the struggles you went through or the action you took to deal with the situation)
c. the result/ outcome( what happened at the end of the story?
d. the significance ( what lessons you learned?)
Example of a Good Conclusion:
“This life event has taught me another valuable lesson-no matter what trials and tribulations an honest person has to face, eventually, he emerges a winner”.
Essay Question # 2:
What are your short-term and long-term career goals, and how will an MBA from UCLA Anderson specifically help you achieve these goals? (750 words maximum)
This is a typical ‘goals’ question in two parts. The first part expects you to clearly define your short term and long term goals/objectives while the second part requires you to articulate why you need UCLA to fulfill your goals? Since you are allowed to use 750 words, I would recommend devoting roughly 400 words to the ” goals/Why MBA?” part and about 350 words to “Why UCLA” part.
A Goals essay requires you to make realistic connection between your past (past experience and skills), present (your need of an MBA), and future (your future plans leading to your goals). In other words, you need to demonstrate how your professional accomplishments have enabled you to set your goals and how an MBA is the logical next step towards realization of those goals/ objectives. Please do not go into details of your professional accomplishments; just provide a general reference to them to show why you need an MBA to attain your goals. Remember, earning an MBA is just one piece of your career puzzle, and you want to prove it to the admissions committee that you understand where it fits in the grand scheme of things. Be specific about why you feel now is the right time for you to learn the required skills with an MBA to move ahead on your career path. Also, make sure there is convincing connection between your short term and long term goals.
2. The second part of the question focuses on the ways UCLA’s MBA program will help you achieve your objectives. In order to tailor your response to Anderson’s offerings, you will need to identify certain programs and courses that match your goals and interests. For this you should take time to do some research so you can identify ties between the school’s curriculum, special programs and extracurricular activities and your goals and study style. If possible, make a visit to the campus, talk to students, professors and alumni and attend a class.
“Beyond Anderson’s broad academic offerings, Management Consulting Association, Strategic and Management Operations Association and High Tech Business Association will help me strengthen my network and align me with the professionals with similar career interests. Thus with its academic resources, emphasis on team-work and practical approach to learning, UCLA Anderson will provide me the critical tools and network that I need to realize my career aspirations.”
Lastly, even though they have not asked, it is always advisable to throw in one last sentence about your contribution to UCLA.
“I am confident that with my academic potential, team-working abilities, innovative spirit, and leadership skills, I will add significant value to UCLA community.”
The two required essays reflect two aspects of your personality- personal and professional. Therefore, you need to ensure that they should complement each other in such a way that your personality that comes through in your first essay should correspond to your’ goals’ essay.
Are there any extenuating circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions Committee should be aware? (250 words maximum)
Since most B-schools ask their candidates to write optional essay, you may be tempted to copy paste the optional essay you had composed for another school. Please DO NOT do that because all schools word their optional essays differently, so you need to approach them differently. Most schools ask their candidates to provide information that they could not give in other essays or other parts of the application. Therefore, in addition to addressing a weakness in their profile this also gives them an opportunity to shine a spotlight on an experience or side of their personality that they could not reveal in the other parts of application: essays, recommendation letters and resume
Since UCLA is specifically asking you to share “ any extenuating circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions Committee should be aware?, you should use this essay to address a weakness in your profile, like low GPA or GMAT , a gap in your job history, or your inability to get a recommendation from your current supervisor. Instead of making excuses, clearly explain the situation, and. provide evidence how it has brought about a positive change in you.
“The private tutoring job required me to spend 30 hours/ week. Continuing this strenuous routine for four years, I ended up pulling down my grades to 70%. The tutoring experience, however, reinforced my passion for teaching , and I still find 10 hours/ week to teach my home maid’s children.”
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