The advice that UCLA Anderson provides below is excellent, not just for Anderson's essays, but for most MBA essays. Read it carefully.
UCLA Anderson 2013 MBA Essay Questions
Essays are the primary way for you to share your perspectives and plans. The best essays are introspective, genuine and succinct in directly answering our questions and responding to our topics.
- Essay questions are listed below for both first-time applicants and re-applicants.
- You should try to distinguish yourself by showing what makes you different from others who share similar profiles.
- Personal expression is what we are looking for, not platitudes.
- Making a strong case for your future plans requires you to first do research on career paths and find one that resonates. Even if this target will change during business school, your application essays should lay out a clear trajectory for short-term and long-term goals. Do this by demonstrating how you expect to build on skills from your past, and those you expect to gain from the MBA.
- Essays are more compelling if they include specific courses, programs, groups, opportunities, activities, etc. from which you would benefit, if admitted to UCLA Anderson. These references are best found through website research, personal discussions and a campus visit (if possible).
- Content and clarity are key elements, as we seek superior communication skills.
- Style is a consideration too, although we understand that those who speak other languages may have different manners of expression in English.
- We do check your essays for plagiarism, so make sure you always submit your own work.
- Length does not equal strength. A well-written short essay can have even more impact than a longer essay. Please try to respect the word limits indicated below.
- All responses to essays must be on double-spaced pages that are uploaded as a document. We do not accept essays in any other media but written form.
FIRST-TIME APPLICANTS - TWO REQUIRED ESSAYS:
1. What is your proudest achievement outside the workplace, and how has it impacted you? (700 words maximum)
What are you most proud of -- off the job. It can be a sports achievement, a community service achievement, or a personal achievement. It could also be academic, but you are better off focusing on something that is more likely to distinguish you from other candidates. Many will have academic achievement. Ideally your achievement will show you in a leadership role or interacting with others.
You could start this essay with whatever challenge you faced and then contribution to overcoming it. State the results of the achievement both to others and for yourself. Part of the question is how this achievement influenced you.
Alternatively, you could start your essay with a later moment in the story, either a moment of struggle, near failure, or triumph. Then fill in the missing information and move the story forward to results and again the impact on you.
Remember all human beings like stories. This question is asking for the story of your proudest achievement, the story where you are the hero. And UCLA is giving you the room to really tell that story. Use it well.
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? (700 words maximum)
UCLA’s is a pretty straightforward MBA goals question. What are you professional goals? Why do you want an MBA now? How will UCLA Anderson’s program and strengths help you realize your goals? As always be specific and make sure you answer all elements of the question.
OPTIONAL ESSAY: 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)
If there are extenuating circumstances that would add perspective on or “explain” a weakness, you can discuss them here. A few years ago, UCLA added the following: “Please do not submit redundant information in the Optional Essay.” Good advice for all optional questions. For more suggestions, please see The Optional Question: To Be or not To Be.
RE-APPLICANTS - ONE REQUIRED ESSAY: Reapplicants who applied for the class entering in fall 2011 or 2012 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. (700 words maximum)
This the key question in every MBA reapplication: How have you enhanced your candidacy? Career progress is an obvious place to start and something you must address, but if academics were a weakness, then what have you done since you last applied to show you can excel at Anderson?
If you would like professional guidance with your UCLA Anderson MBA application, please consider Accepted’s MBA essay editing and MBA admissions consulting or our UCLA Anderson Essay Packages, which include advising, editing, interview coaching, and a resume edit for the Anderson MBA application.
Round Due Date Decision Released
Round 1 October 24, 2012 January 23, 2013
Round 2 January 9, 2013 April 3, 2013
Round 3 April 17, 2013 June 5, 2013
By Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.
Accepted.com's experienced admissions consultants can help you create the most impressive application possible with comprehensive packages, or provide targeted assistance from picking perfect programs to designing a dazzling resume, constructing engaging essays, or preparing for intense interviews…and more! Accepted.com has guided thousands of applicants to acceptances at top MBA programs since 1994 – we know what works and what doesn't, so contact us to get started now!
This article originally appeared on the Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog, the official blog of Accepted.com.