UCLA Anderson has only two required essays for first-time applicants, which will allow you only 1500 words to communicate directly with the admissions committee and make your case for admission to UCLA Anderson. With a redesigned curriculum that focuses heavily on molding a class that is attractive to recruiters, career goals will need to be clear and actionable. Your personal qualities are still of utmost importance to the admissions committee. With a class limited to 360 students, and a desire to create a diverse and interesting atmosphere, your answer to essay one will help make your case just as much as your goals and accomplishments in essay two.
The two required essays for first-time applicants are:
What event or life experience has had the greatest influence in shaping your character and why? (750 words maximum)
Starting this set of essays with a personal question about your background establishes UCLA MBA’s interest in seeing the genuine person you are. When approaching this question, keep your overall application strategy in mind, and make sure you are presenting a holistic view of yourself. Much like Stanford’s “what matters most” essay, brainstorming an overall theme that can take you from the personal tone of Essay 1 to the career goals in Essay 2 could provide a thread to unite your application strategy.
Specific examples are always the best way to demonstrate your personal qualities without sounding generic. In this essay you are invited to tell a personal story. You are unique and a vivid personal memory can be an effective way to set the tone for your application holistically. If you choose effectively, your personal memory will support the overall theme of your essays and support what you say about your career, community and personal development.
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)
The UCLA MBA program is asking for a clear set of career goals that will demonstrate the need for an MBA from UCLA Anderson. Since you are not directly asked to explain your entire career path, focus on the high points that are most relevant to your career goals. When did you face a turning point or make a big decision about your career? What were some of your proudest accomplishments? If you are a management consultant now and want to become an entrepreneur, what have you learned and experienced that will help you with those plans?
Because you have effectively set the stage with question one, you have likely established your passions and personal interests, which will back up your career goals. Briefly explain what you plan to do immediately after graduation, and then what you want to accomplish over the long-term with your career. Keep in mind that UCLA recently rehabbed their curriculum to train MBA candidates more specifically for their chosen careers. While your education will still have some flexibility, you are more likely to be a strong fit with UCLA Anderson if you can see yourself benefiting from the new educational offerings. Along with citing specific classes, professors and programs that fit into your career goals, include the social and extracurricular aspects that attract you to the small and close knit experience at Anderson. Be specific as you discuss the clubs and conferences that are unique to the UCLA MBA.
Are there any extenuating circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions Committee should be aware? Please use your best judgment. (250 words maximum)
Focusing on explanations in this essay, rather than excuses, is very important. Potential extenuating circumstances may be a very low GPA, academic probation or using a recommender other than your current supervisor. Clearly explain the situation, and if it is a situation from the past, explain why you have changed. Providing evidence that you will not repeat the actions in question will be very important.
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)
The reapplication essay requires demonstrating significant strides since your last application. Keep in mind that the admissions committee will have access to your previous application. The UCLA MBA specifically asks for an update on your career progress since your last application. You may not have been promoted or taken a new job, so think about the areas in your career that have been improved since last year. Did you take on new responsibility? What about projects or leadership opportunities? While refining your goals is progress and can enhance your application, make sure your story is consistent with your last application and that you have thoroughly explained any changes in your thinking since the last time you applied.
Soul searching and feedback from others likely set you on the path to improve one or more areas that may have been weak in your last application. This essay is your opportunity to outline your better GMAT score, classes you took, additional extracurriculars, or a significant increase in responsibility at work.
The third part of this essay is to demonstrate how you will contribute to the UCLA MBA program. If you are a reapplicant you have likely had the time to learn even more about the school since your last application, and your research will pay off in this essay. Be specific about your skills and how you will contribute, along with the aspects of UCLA Anderson that will be of benefit to your goals.