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 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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