Tuesday Tips: UCLA Anderson Fall 2018 MBA Essay Tips

UCLA Anderson essayUCLA Anderson School of Management is located in a desirable location in Los Angeles with alumni highly represented in the region. While entertainment and real estate are still dominant industries in Los Angeles, technology and entrepreneurship have become more and more important to the region. Anderson’s faculty, alumni and students are thought leaders in business and promoting collaboration and innovation.

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FIRST-TIME APPLICANTS (REQUIRED ESSAY):

We believe that the best results are achieved when you share success, think fearlessly and drive change. With this in mind, what are your goals at UCLA Anderson and in your short-term and long-term career? (750 words maximum)

The UCLA Anderson MBA required essay remains unchanged this year. Last year the Admissions Committee provided an excellent guide on the UCLA Anderson admissions blog, which is worth reviewing.

One important note is that “At UCLA Anderson, we are a community defined by three core qualities — we share success, think fearlessly and drive change — so the Admissions Committee is looking for these same qualities in prospective applicants.  While there may be evidence of these qualities throughout your application, this essay question is an excellent opportunity to communicate how you fit into our Anderson community.”

To learn how you fit into Anderson, the school recommends connecting with current students and visiting campus. UCLA suggests citing specific classes, professors and programs in this essay. On your personal engagement with Anderson, it will be helpful to include the social and extracurricular aspects that attract you to the close-knit experience. Be specific as you discuss the clubs and conferences that are unique to the UCLA MBA.

As you evaluate your career goals, consider your career thus far and how you would like to develop it. When you think about any long-term goals you have for your career, why is an MBA the right next step? And why would Anderson be the right place to gain the education and network you need? Your career goals should be examined through the filter of Anderson’s values and how you plan to use those values in your post-Anderson life.

When structuring this essay consider telling one or two pivotal stories to illuminate who you are. UCLA is looking for personal expression in this essay, and to understand how you are different from other applicants. Consider the turning points or moments that triggered reflection for you.

Have you experienced a significant personal setback? What is your family background? Have you lived outside your home country? When did you face a turning point or make a big decision about your career? What were some of your proudest accomplishments? What moments have called upon your need to collaborate, lead or innovate?

For the second part of the essay briefly explain what you plan to do immediately after graduation, and then what you want to accomplish over the long-term with your career. A career path that focuses on demonstrated passions and interests throughout your life is going to be most compelling as you write this essay and each section should bridge seamlessly into the next.

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? Please use your best judgment. (250 words maximum)

Note that Anderson specifically asks you not to write this essay unless you need it. Do not use it as a place to continue making the case from the required essay. If you do need to use this essay to explain gaps in work experience, a low grade, or lack of a current recommender, focus on explanations rather than excuses.

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 help to solidify your answer.

RE-APPLICANT ESSAY:
Re-applicants who applied for the MBA program starting in 2016 or 2017 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. (750 words maximum)

If you are a recent re-applicant to Anderson this essay gives you the opportunity to highlight improvements since your last application. This essay focuses on updates to your career progress and any updates to your career goals since your last application, but you have room to add other “ways in which you have improved your candidacy.” If you have an improved GMAT score, academic updates or extracurricular activities since your last application it would be useful to update the admissions committee.

What if you didn’t start a new job, earn a promotion, or advance in a linear way along your career path since your last application? If your resume remains basically the same, consider any new projects or accomplishments at work you can highlight. Demonstrating significant thought about your career path and increased introspection can also be progress, so updating your career goals thoughtfully is equally important to this application.

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