Category Archives: UCLA Anderson Advice

UCLA MBA Program Busts Admissions Myths

To all applicants interested in the UCLA MBA program, take heed of admissions director Mae Jennifer Shores‘ newest post on The MBA Insider Blog: Top Ten MBA Applicant Myths. Below you’ll find clarity direct from Shores …

To all applicants interested in the UCLA MBA program, take heed of admissions director Mae Jennifer Shores‘ newest post on The MBA Insider Blog: Top Ten MBA Applicant Myths.

Below you’ll find clarity direct from Shores in the hopes of  demystifying 10 of the most common myths about the admissions process:

It is better to apply in Round 1 or 2 than Round 3. While this is true for some top MBA programs, it is not true for all, including the UCLA MBA. The chances of admission are comparable in all rounds. We welcome all Round 3 applicants.

The UCLA MBA program looks for a set profile of candidate. The UCLA MBA program seeks a diversity of academic, professional, geographic and personal backgrounds. We accept many students who have neither studied business nor worked in consulting or investment banking.

There are minimums or cut-off scores for the GPA and GMAT. Both measures are evaluated jointly, along with measures of ability to handle quantitative coursework. The distribution of GPA and GMAT scores among admitted students is broad.

Work experience is a pre-requisite for admission. Candidates are evaluated on both demonstrated and potential leadership and management skills.

Candidates are assessed on their number and/or type of extra-curricular activities and community service. We seek well-balanced students who possess a broad perspective on life. Candidates may have less formal commitments that exhibit this balance.

Applications are pre-screened. All applications are read in their entirety. Admissions decisions are made across multiple criteria; it is the rare candidate who is denied based on one area of an application.

Applicants are evaluated relative to others with the same professional or geographic background. Applicants are evaluated relative to the entire pool. There are simply too many ways to disaggregate and assess candidate profiles.

I have a better chance of being admitted if I visit or interview on-campus. We are committed to fairness and equity and recognize that there are applicants who are unable to visit us for monetary and/or personal reasons.

Foreign students are not eligible for fellowships. International and domestic students, alike, are considered for merit-based fellowships. International students are also considered for need-based grants.

The UCLA MBA program is primarily an entrepreneurial or media & entertainment school. The school is widely recognized for its breadth and depth of curriculum across disciplines, including finance, marketing, accounting, general management, etc.

To learn more about admissions evaluation at the UCLA MBA program, click here.

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8 Interview Tips From The UCLA MBA Program

If you’re still experiencing pre-interview jitters, take a look at this advice posted Wednesday by the UCLA MBA Program’s director of MBA admissions and financial aid, Mae Jennifer Shores, on The MBA Insider’s Blog. With Round …

If you’re still experiencing pre-interview jitters, take a look at this advice posted Wednesday by the UCLA MBA Program’s director of MBA admissions and financial aid, Mae Jennifer Shores, on The MBA Insider’s Blog.

With Round 2 interviews looming, this information is directed to prospective applicants wondering how best to prepare. The admissions committee has provided these answers based on the many inquiries they have received.

  • Interviews are blind in order to reduce bias. Your interviewer will not see your application in advance and will have no preconceived ideas or expectations of you, your talents, abilities, etc.
  • Interviews may include behavioral questions. Questions may center on how you’ve handled specific situations in the past and what you’ve learned from them. Behavioral interviewing holds that past performance predicts future behavior.
  • No advance preparation is required. Questions are straightforward and cover topics already addressed in your application. You will not be asked to analyze a case study or demonstrate your mastery of particular subjects.
  • All interviews carry equal weight. While interviewing on-campus allows you see the school up close, it doesn’t give you an advantage when it comes to your admissions decision. Arrange the type of interview that is most convenient for you.
  • Interviews are dialogues or exchange between two people. Steer away from pre-rehearsed speech and over-reliance on your résumé. The UCLA MBA program is interested in getting to know you as an individual, so follow the cues of the interviewer.
  • Interview length does not indicate how well it went. Although interviews are scheduled for 30 minutes, the actual length may vary a bit. Deviations from the schedule are random and unrelated to the candidate.
  • Do not expect feedback from the interviewer. Be careful to avoid any interpretation of verbal or non-verbal communication in the interview or afterward, as both may mislead you.
  • Interviews are not a popularity contest. The interviewer is assessing your fit and readiness for the UCLA MBA program – not whether or not the two of you would make good or best friends.

For more insight into life inside the MBA program at UCLA Anderson, check out The MBA Student Voice blog here.

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Tuesday Tips – UCLA MBA Anderson

The UCLA MBA admissions committee instructs candidates to “be introspective, genuine, and succinct,” which is great advice in approaching any set of MBA application essays. In a novel approach, the UCLA MBA program has a …

The UCLA MBA admissions committee instructs candidates to “be introspective, genuine, and succinct,” which is great advice in approaching any set of MBA application essays. In a novel approach, the UCLA MBA program has a video or audio option for essay 4. Like the creative essay option, this may be a blessing or a curse, depending on your material and how it fits with your application strategy. We recommend taking a look at these tips the UCLA MBA provides for the essay.

The close knit UCLA MBA class is diverse and international, though Anderson is often most attractive to Los Angeles based applicants. Anderson is probably the most prestigious local MBA program, and attracts many applicants interested in Entertainment and Real Estate, some of LA’s more popular industries. The UCLA MBA has a focus on innovation and entrepreneurship, and it will be important to be familiar with the many UCLA research center programs and electives when preparing your essays.

For applicants who prefer the part time option, UCLA FEMBA is an excellent executive MBA for anyone in the Los Angeles area.

The four required essays for first-time applicants are:

1. Describe the ways in which your family and/or community have helped shape your development. (750 words)

Starting this set of essays with a personal question about your background establishes Anderson’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. Brainstorming a theme that can take you from the personal tone of Essay 1 to the career goals in Essay 3 may be helpful.

This essay may be an opportunity for you to demonstrate diversity in your background or family circumstances, especially when your diversity is not entirely clear from other aspects of your application. Like other MBA programs, the UCLA MBA program is interested in a class that will enable each participant to learn from each other’s unique experiences.

Specific examples are always a smart 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 essay and support what you say about your family, community and personal development.

2. Describe the biggest risk you have ever taken, the outcome, and what you learned in the process. (500 words)

A behavioral question like this requires a specific example that describes how you operate on a very pragmatic level. It will be important to focus on how you work, think and act in any give situation. This requires being very specific about your thoughts and actions as you respond to this essay question.

Taking risks demonstrates courage and leadership. You should clearly describeyou’re your action was a risk, what was the possible negative outcome, and why you decided the positive implications were worth it. Overall this essay will demonstrate what drives you to accomplish above and beyond your job description or responsibilities.

A key element to this essay is the lesson learned. Whether your risk had a happy ending or not, if you learned crucial skills or life lessons from it that is a positive outcome. Briefly explain what this experience taught you, and preferably where you applied that lesson to a subsequent successful experience.

3. Describe your short-term and long-term career goals. What is your motivation for pursuing an MBA now and how will the UCLA MBA program help you to achieve your goals? (750 words)

A fairly typical career goals essay, the UCLA MBA program is asking for a clear set of career goals that will demonstrate the need for an MBA from UCLA Anderson. Drawing a thread between your past experiences, your MBA from Anderson, and the short- and long-term goals you plan to pursue will be most effective.

Because you have effectively set the stage with questions one and two, you will likely have answered the questions about the passion for your chosen career path and how you operate under pressure. That will allow you to spend more words demonstrating your fit with UCLA and why it is the right program to pursue your MBA.

4. Select and respond to one of the two following questions. We would like you to respond to the question by recording an audio or video response (up to 10Mb maximum) for upload in the online application. If you are unable to submit your response via audio or video, then please prepare a written response instead. (250 words)

In a continued effort to learn more about you as a person, the UCLA MBA program would like to hear you speak or watch you speak and gesture on video. If you do pursue the video or audio option, it will be most effective to write out what you plan to say ahead of time and have someone help you by providing feedback and recording for you.

The video response may require some editing expertise, though most PCs have basic video editing software you can use. Speaking with poise will be especially important for either the video or audio essay. If you choose video you also need to consider what you wear, and where you decide to record the file.

This essay may be a great opportunity to demonstrate your personality, or it could be risky, depending upon your choices. You may submit a written response if you think that will present your thoughts and personality more clearly to the admissions committee.

a. Entrepreneurship is a mindset that embraces innovation and risk-taking within both established and new organizations. Describe an instance in which you exhibited this mindset.

If you have entrepreneurial goals, a history of working on innovative projects, or simply take a creative approach to your work, this may be the right question to answer. As in a written essay, provide a clear example for your musings on the subject.

b. What is something people will find surprising about you?

If essay 1 did not provide an opportunity to differentiate yourself from others in the applicant pool, this may be the right question to answer. This question is entirely open ended, which could be a gift. Try to remain focused, consider your overall application strategy, along with your strengths and weaknesses when answering this question. Think of a specific example of what you will be discussing, and explain why others would find it surprising.

OPTIONAL: Are there any extenuating circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions Committee should be aware? (250 words)

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.

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Tuesday Tips – UCLA Anderson Essay Tips

The UCLA Anderson admissions committee instructs candidates to “be introspective, genuine, and succinct,” which is great advice in approaching any set of MBA application essays. In a novel approach, UCLA suggests that Essay 4 can …

The UCLA Anderson admissions committee instructs candidates to “be introspective, genuine, and succinct,” which is great advice in approaching any set of MBA application essays. In a novel approach, UCLA suggests that Essay 4 can be submitted as an audio file of up to 1 minute.

With a close knit community of just under 400 students, UCLA Anderson is a supportive environment. The class is diverse and international, though Anderson is often most attractive to applicants who live in Los Angeles already, or plan to work in the city after business school. Anderson has a focus on innovation and entrepreneurship, and it will be important to be familiar with the research center programs and electives when preparing your essays.

Four required essays:
1. How has your family and/or community helped shape your development? Please include information about where you grew up, and perhaps a highlight or special memory of your youth. (750 words)

Starting this set of essays with a personal question about your background establishes Anderson’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. Brainstorming a theme that can take you from the personal tone of Essay 1 to the career goals in Essay 3 may be helpful.

This essay may be an opportunity for you to demonstrate diversity in your background or family circumstances, especially when your diversity is not entirely clear from other aspects of your application. Demonstrating maturity and self awareness is another possible way to think about this essay.

Specific examples are always a smart way to demonstrate your personal qualities without sounding generic. In this essay you are invited to tell a personal story. If you choose effectively, your personal memory will support the overall theme of your essay and support what you say about your family, community and personal development.

2. What experience has had the greatest impact on who you are today and why? (500 words)

Describing a pivotal point in your personal development, career path or self discovery process will be effective here. The focus on one experience invites you to be brief, and you may want to focus on an experience that is relatively recent and allows you to provide some insight into your chosen career or community service activities.

Answering the “why” part of the question will be much more straightforward if you have chosen an experience that leads into an aspect of your overall application strategy. If the experience links to your professional, extracurricular or personal passions you can discuss these pursuits in the second half of the essay.

3. Discuss your short-term and long-term career goals. What is your motivation for pursuing an MBA now at UCLA Anderson? (750 words)

A fairly typical career goals essay similar to that of Columbia, UCLA is asking for a clear set of career goals that will demonstrate the need for an MBA from UCLA Anderson. Drawing a thread between your past experiences, your MBA from Anderson, and the short- and long-term goals you plan to pursue will be most effective.

Because you have effectively set the stage with questions one and two, you will likely have answered the questions about the passion for your chosen career path and what motivates you. That will allow you to spend more words demonstrating your fit with UCLA and why it is the right program to pursue your MBA.

4. Audio or text: Select and respond to ONE of the following questions. We would like you to respond to the question by recording an audio response (up to 1 minute). If you are unable to submit your response via audio, then please upload a written response (250 words) instead. The supported file types for audio files are: .avi, .wav, .mp3, .wmv, .midi, .wma, .aiff, .au, .mp4

In a continued effort to learn more about you as a person, UCLA would like to hear you speak on one of the three options. If you do pursue the audio option, it will be most effective to write out what you plan to say ahead of time and have someone help you by providing feedback and recording your file for you. Speaking with poise will be especially important for this audio essay. You may submit a written response if you think that will present your thoughts and personality more clearly to the admissions committee.

a. What does entrepreneurial spirit mean to you?

If you have entrepreneurial goals, a history of working on innovative projects, or simply take a creative approach to your work, this may be the right question to answer. As in a written essay, provide a clear example for your musings on the subject.

b. What global issue matters most to you and why?

If you are an international student, have international experience, or significant community service in your background this is a great question to highlight your awareness of global issues. With only a minute to communicate, a specific story that highlights why the issue matters to you will be effective. If you can also discuss some of the steps you have taken to be engaged with the global issue, that will be even stronger.

c. What is something people will find surprising about you?

If the other two questions do not seem appropriate, and you want to differentiate yourself from others in the applicant pool, this may be the right question to answer. This question is entirely open ended, which could be a gift. Try to remain focused and think of a specific example of the thing you will be discussing, and explain why others would find it surprising.

5. OPTIONAL: Are there any extenuating circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions Committee should be aware? (250 words)

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.

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UCLA Essay Tips

Essay Question 1 Please provide us with a summary of your personal and family background. Include information about your parents and siblings, where you grew up, and perhaps a special memory of your youth. (Please …

Essay Question 1
Please provide us with a summary of your personal and family background. Include information about your parents and siblings, where you grew up, and perhaps a special memory of your youth.
(Please limit to 2 pages, double-spaced)

This is a wonderful opportunity to show your personality and values. In the same way that you should provide colorful examples from your jobs when discussing your career history in an essay, try to show personal details about your family. How did your parents (and/or siblings) shape you? What is you relationship like with your family? How do you feel about where you grew up? Definitely include a special memory of your childhood, give them a sense of what is important to you and why.

Essay Question 2
Discuss a situtation, preferably work related, where you have taken a significant leadership role. How does this event demonstrate your managerial potential?
(Please limit to 1 page, double-spaced)

This question is similar to Wharton and Yale’s leadership questions, however UCLA would like you use an example from work if possible. First, quickly describe a situation in which you were a leader and focus on your actions in motivating a group. This is really just the set up for answering the question. The bulk of the essay should discuss the qualities you demonstrated in the leadership situation that show your management potential. Be specific and show your self-awareness.

Essay Question 3
Discuss your career goals. Why are you seeking an MBA degree at this particular point in your career? Specifically, why are you applying to UCLA Anderson?
(Please limit to 2 pages, double-spaced)

Note that there are three questions within this question and you must address all three.

Discuss your career goals
Your career goals should in some way reflect what is important to you (this does not mean they are one and the same, but that there is some correlation). Articulate a concrete plan to create a career that reflects your values, and explain why your goals are meaningful to you. Remember this is forward focused; they are not asking you to list your career history. You may need to address it briefly to explain your goals, but you should focus on your future plans.

Why are you seeking an MBA degre at this particular point in your career?
Similar to Wharton and Chicago, UCLA is asking why now. Explain what is motivating you to apply to school – move up in current career, change careers, etc. If necessary you can refer to your career background, but only to provide a deeper explanation of what is motivating you to make the move now. Maybe you’ve gained the skills you wanted post-college. Maybe you recently discovered your dream. Remember, it could also be a personal experience that has inspired you to change your life. Just be sure to articulate your reasoning.

Specifically, why are you applying to UCLA Anderson?
Similar to Stanford and Chicago‘s career essays, you must be specific about how UCLA will help you achieve your goals – be specific about their academic programs, classes, clubs, etc. Show that you have done your homework on UCLA and that you will take advantage of their offerings and make a difference in their community.

Essay Question 4
Is there any other information that you believe would be helpful to the Admissions Committee in considering your application? (optional)

If you have issues around your undergraduate GPA (explanations, not excuses) or need to explain recommender choices (eg, started a new job recently so you needed to ask a former supervisor for a rec), then you can succinctly address those here.

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