UCLA Anderson MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines
Although UCLA Anderson’s application has changed slightly this year, Anderson's big news has nothing to do with its application this year and everything to do with change at the top: The school is one of several top MBA programs – including its neighbor to the north, UC Berkeley Haas – that is looking for a new dean. Dean Judy Olian, who has served as dean of UCLA Anderson since 2006, is leaving UCLA Anderson at the end of June to become the president of Quinnipiac University in Connecticut.
Accepted’s B-School Selectivity Index shows that UCLA Anderson is 13th in selectivity and 16th in U.S. News’ ranking. Its average GMAT is 715, the same as last year. However, the acceptance rate at Anderson has climbed a bit from 20.7% for the class that entered in 2016 to 22.3% for the class that entered in 2017.
Now on to tips for the application itself, which requires a 500-word goals essay and a 250-word short answer.
In essence, the longer question is about how you intend to benefit professionally from an Anderson MBA and the short question asks how you will benefit the Anderson community: What will you get from and what will you give to Anderson (and I don’t mean donations as an alum)?
The essay advice that UCLA Anderson provides is excellent, not just for Anderson’s essays, but for most MBA essays. We’ve provided it here in the black font. Read it carefully. Our advice is in blue beneath it.
UCLA Anderson 2018 - 2019 MBA Application
Your essays are the primary way for you to share your perspectives and plans with the Admissions Committee. The best essays are introspective, genuine and succinct in directly answering our questions and responding to our topics.
• 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 and activities from which you would benefit if admitted to UCLA Anderson. These references are best found through online 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 above.
• All essays and short answer responses are to be submitted in written form only.
• All essays and short answer responses are to be entered directly in the text box provided in your application.
UCLA Anderson MBA Essay Question:
Describe your short-term and long-term career goals. How can the UCLA Anderson experience add value to your professional development? (500 words maximum)
Anderson gives you enough room to write a revealing response. Make sure this essay shows that you’re already a member of the Anderson community by virtue of your values and experience. You just haven’t yet paid tuition.
First think about Anderson’s motto: Share success. Think fearlessly. Drive change. Watch the videos that Anderson provides on each of those values. Think about the ways you can show that those values are your values while answering the question.
To respond to the question itself, what are you looking to gain from the Anderson MBA? How do you hope to grow? How will that growth prepare you to realize your professional goals? Focus on the elements of the Anderson program that are distinctive, if not unique, and most supportive of your dreams.
A great way to approach this essay would be to discuss an experience or anecdote that reveals you acting according to UCLA’s principles. Then connect that story to your goals and to UCLA Anderson’s program and your reasons for choosing its MBA program. Conclude by connecting relevant aspects of the Anderson MBA experience and program to the achievement of your short- and long-term goals.
Your particular story may benefit from a different order, and that’s fine. Just make sure that the reader can follow it and that you include the requested elements.
UCLA Anderson MBA Short Answer Question:
What are you passionate about and why? (300 words maximum)
I once had a client who was asked a similar question for an application. He responded "I feel passionately about child abuse. When I hear about incidents of child abuse my blood boils."
I said "OK. Have you volunteered to help victims of child abuse in any way? Have you raised money to help them or to prosecute abusers or perhaps get abusers help?"
"No," he replied, " I haven't done anything like that, but when I hear about it on the news, it really makes me angry."
Bad answer. Your passion must translate into commitment and action or it seems shallow. And so do you.
If you love music, presumably you will either spend hours writing, playing or listening to it. If you are passionate about sports, that passion will be reflected in how you spend your time. If you are passionate about a cause or group, you will commit time to it.
Given the 300-word limit, don't choose more than 1-3 things you are passionate about. I'd prefer 1-2. Describe your passions and how you came to feel so strongly about this activity or cause. If you choose to focus on more than one "area of passion," see if you can tie the different commitments together with a common theme so that the essay is a coherent whole. Don't force it if that doesn't work.
UCLA Anderson MBA Reapplicant Question:
(For applicants who applied for the MBA program in the previous two years)
Please describe your career progress since you last applied and how 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)
This is 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? Finally, if your career goals have evolved since you last applied, discuss that evolution.
UCLA Anderson Optional Question:
Are there any extenuating circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions Committee should be aware? Please use your best judgment. (250 words maximum)
No preference is given in the evaluation process to applicants who submit a response to the optional question.
If there are extenuating circumstances that would add perspective or context for 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 Optional Essays: When and How to Write Them.
For expert guidance with your UCLA Anderson MBA application, check out Accepted’s MBA Application Packages, which include comprehensive guidance from an experienced admissions consultant. We’ve helped hundreds of applicants get accepted to UCLA Anderson’s MBA program and look forward to helping you too!
***Disclaimer: Information is subject to change. Please check with individual programs to verify the essay questions, instructions and deadlines.***
By Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted and co-author of the definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.
• 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in your MBA Application Essay, a free guide
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