Tuesday Tips: UCLA MBA Application Essays and Tips 2019-2020

UCLA MBA application

UCLA Anderson School of Management is located in Los Angeles with an unmatched alumni network throughout the region. Entertainment and real estate are still dominant industries in Los Angeles, and technology and entrepreneurship have grown. As a result, Anderson is an even more desirable business school. Anderson’s faculty, alumni and students are thought leaders in business and promoting collaboration and innovation.

Anderson’s MBA class is small and tight knit, making the personal aspects of this UCLA MBA application crucial for admission. To make your case in your UCLA MBA application, be very clear about who you are, fit with the community, and what you will accomplish.

We have helped countless applicants achieve their MBA dreams. Contact us to learn how Stacy Blackman Consulting can help with your UCLA MBA application. To learn more about the UCLA MBA program, visit the school website.

New Applicants

a) Tell us about your MBA goals AND why you are applying to UCLA Anderson now:
• Describe your short term and long term goals (150 words maximum)
• Why is UCLA Anderson a good school for you? (150 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 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.

b) At Anderson, we believe our students are engaged, courageous, humble, and open. Describe a time when you demonstrated one of these traits in your personal life. (250 words maximum)

This UCLA MBA application essay focuses on the personal side of your candidacy. Anderson is looking for students that fit the mold of the school: engaged, courageous, humble and open. To answer this question, you will provide an example that shows you have these traits.

To answer this essay question effectively, take a brief story with plenty of detail, then explain why you think it is relevant to your UCLA MBA application. Though the essay focus on personal traits, using an example of teamwork or leadership at work would be relevant.

Alternatively, using an extracurricular story from an activity you are passionate about would show another angle of your candidacy. Either way, make sure that you are specific and clear in your writing.


(For applicants who applied for the MBA program in the previous two application years. If you applied three years or more prior, please answer the “New Applicant” questions.)

a) Please describe your career progress since you last applied and how you have enhanced your candidacy. Include information on short-term and long-term career goals, as well as your continued interest in UCLA Anderson. (500 words maximum)

If you are a 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.

In addition, 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.

Optional Question (same for both new applicants and re-applicants)

c) Optional: Are there any extenuating circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions committee should be aware. (250 words maximum)

Optional essays are truly optional, and there is no need to write one without extenuating circumstances. Reasons you may write this essay include gaps in work experience, a low grade, or lack of a current recommender.

If you would like to write this essay for your UCLA MBA application, clearly and concisely explain the situation. Then, explain why you have changed. When writing the essay, focus on explanations rather than excuses.

The best essays will provide evidence that you have improved and moved on from anything difficult in your past. Therefore, making a compelling case for admission in this UCLA MBA application.

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