Tuesday Tips: UCLA MBA Application Essays, Tips for 2023-2024

UCLA MBA application

UCLA Anderson School of Management has released the UCLA MBA application for the 2023-2024 cycle. Located in Los Angeles, UCLA has a large alumni network focused on the entire Southern California region. California has a diverse economy across industries like real estate, health care, and technology—and, of course, media and entertainment.

Anderson’s MBA class is small and close-knit. Accordingly, your personality and fit with the program should shine in your UCLA MBA application. Review Anderson’s critical values —Share Success, Think Fearlessly, Drive Change—before starting this set of essays.

At Stacy Blackman Consulting, we have helped countless applicants achieve their MBA dreams and have consultants who attended every top MBA program, including Anderson.  Contact us to learn how Stacy Blackman Consulting can help with your UCLA MBA application.

UCLA MBA Application Essays

Required Essay: For the 2023-2024 application year, we have one essay question that is required for first-time applicants and optional for re-applicants:

UCLA Anderson seeks to develop transformative leaders who think fearlessly, drive change, and share success. We believe the ability to persevere is an essential component of effective leadership. Please share an example from your personal or professional life where you demonstrated perseverance to accomplish a significant goal or milestone. (250 words maximum)

This UCLA MBA application essay can be either professional or personal. Also, consider stories from your community and career. Demonstrated perseverance is a key marker of success in business and life. Often referred to as “grit,” the ability to keep going despite challenges sets successful people apart.

Remember, UCLA is looking to understand how you are different from other applicants. Therefore, stay away from generic stories. Think about examples that were pivotal in your life. For example, you may have recently had your first leadership experience, and you needed to keep going despite an early failure. Or, you needed to work with a challenging person and persevere in improving the relationship.

In responding to this essay, use the filter of Anderson’s values: Share Success, Think Fearlessly, and Drive Change. If you have an achievement using perseverance that demonstrates these values, it could be a good example. Finally, Anderson is looking for students that are engaged, humble, and open.

Behavioral essays like this seek to understand how you think, act, and feel. Be specific! Using a clear and detailed example will bring your application to life. Make sure you explain why you chose this achievement. Also, Anderson wants to understand the decision to pursue an MBA.

UCLA MBA application

Optional Essay: No preference is given in the evaluation process to those who choose to respond to this optional essay, so please use your best judgment.

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

Optional essays are truly optional. There is no need to respond if you don’t have any extenuating circumstances. For example, reasons to write this essay include gaps in work experience. Other topics may be poor grades or no recommendation from a current manager.

Be clear and concise if you choose to write this essay for your UCLA MBA application. First, explain the situation briefly. Then, tell what has changed and improved. Finally, focus on explanations rather than excuses.

The best UCLA MBA application essays will show you have moved on from your challenges. Therefore, improvements in your life make a great case for admission.

For Reapplicants

Reapplicants: Reapplicants are those who applied to the MBA program within the last two application years, so those who applied three or more years ago are considered new applicants.

Reapplicants may answer one or both of the essay questions above as options, and they must provide additional updates within text boxes given in the application for any new test scores, career developments, or other changes since their last application.

UCLA Anderson reapplicants may answer one or both of the essay questions. However, reapplicants are required to provide updates. Also, these updates can be enhancements to your application. Therefore, keep in mind what may have changed for you since your last application.

Consider how you want to communicate these changes to Anderson. Using the essay to describe a change in your goals and mindset may be helpful. On the other hand, if your changes are more quantitative, the application will be sufficient.

For more information on applying, please visit the admissions page at UCLA Anderson School of Management.


Stacy Blackman Consulting offers multiple services to meet your MBA application needs, from our All-In Partnership to hourly help reviewing your MBA resume.  Contact us today for a free 15-minute advising session to talk strategy with a Principal SBC consultant. Meanwhile, here’s a snapshot of the caliber of expertise on our SBC team.

With deadlines around the corner, you may be interested in the world-famous SBC Flight Test. Once a full set of application materials for your initial school have been drafted, but not finalized, the application will be sent to a former admissions committee member for a one-time review, adcomm style. You’ll have the benefit of a true admissions committee review while still having the ability to tinker and change.  You will receive written feedback within two business days after submitting.

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