Tuesday Tips: UCLA Anderson Fall 2019 MBA Essay Tips
UCLA Anderson School of Management is located in a central location in Los Angeles with an unmatched alumni network throughout the region. While entertainment and real estate are still dominant industries in Los Angeles, technology and entrepreneurship have become more and more important in Southern California, making Anderson an even more desirable business school. Anderson’s faculty, alumni and students are thought leaders in business and promoting collaboration and innovation.
Anderson’s class is small and tight knit, making the personal aspects of this application crucial for admission. To make your case it will be important to be very clear about who you are, how you will fit with the community, and what you will accomplish with the help of Anderson.
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Essay Question: Describe your short-term and long-term career goals. How can the UCLA Anderson experience add value to your professional development? (500 words maximum)
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.
The UCLA Anderson admissions committee suggests that “Essays are more compelling if they include specific courses, programs, groups, opportunities and activities from which you would benefit if admitted to UCLA Anderson. These references are best found through online research, personal discussions and a campus visit (if possible).”
When structuring this essay consider telling one or two pivotal stories about your career that will illuminate why you have chosen the career path you are on. UCLA is looking to understand how you are different from other applicants and how you have determined your goals. 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?
Another important aspect of this essay is showing that you can plan coherently and both realistically and aspirationally. When describing 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. Your career path should be a logical extension of your past experiences and what you hope to experience at UCLA Anderson.
Short Answer Question: What are you passionate about and why? (300 words maximum)
This short answer question is new this year, and focuses more on the personal side of your candidacy. Anderson is looking for students who “are fearless in thinking about opportunity and innovation — in experimenting and discovering, in being a little nonconformist.”
Use the space here to describe your passions in life and how they will fit with the character of UCLA Anderson. Note also that teamwork (“share success”) is another core value at Anderson, and it would be illuminating to show how others have impacted your passions and how your passions may have created impact in your community and the world. The limited word count invites you to be clear and concise. Along with explaining your passion and answering the question, a short story about your passion – either the origin or a key moment – would help bring your essay to life.
The following question is optional and can be submitted by either first time applicants or reapplicants.
Are there any extenuating circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions Committee should be aware? Please use your best judgment. (250 words maximum)
No preference is given in the evaluation process to applicants who submit a response to the optional question.
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 or short answer. 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.
In discussing anything that is lacking from your candidacy, clearly and concisely explain the situation, and explain why you have changed. Providing evidence that you have improved and moved on from anything difficult in your past will help to make a compelling case.
(For applicants who applied for the MBA program in the previous two years)
Reapplicant Question: Please describe your career progress since you last applied and how 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 enhanced 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.