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 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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