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Be sure to read my Key Posts on the admissions process. Topics include essay analysis, resumes, recommendations, rankings, and more.

July 23, 2013

UCLA Anderson MBA Essay(s) for Fall 2014 Admission

In what follows, I will analyze the UCLA Anderson School of Management’s MBA Essay(s) for Fall 2014 Admission. If you want to enter the Class of 2016, you will encounter only one required essay and it is most basic of all questions.


Assuming you are working on other schools, this one should not take particularly long. A few years ago, UCLA had a video/audio presentation as part of the application, but they have now dropped it. So much for innovative approaches to the MBA admissions process! Instead we have the most basic of all graduate school essay questions.  I guess the folks at Anderson must desperate to increase applications, have just become so lazy that they have no particular criteria that they want to emphasize through their essays other the desire to attend UCLA Anderson’s MBA program.

You can find testimonials from my some of clients admitted to UCLA Anderson here.

I have taken the questions and instructions from UCLA’s website:

FIRST-TIME APPLICANTS - ONE REQUIRED ESSAY: What are your short-term and long-term career goals, and how will an MBA from UCLA Anderson specifically help you achieve these goals? (750 words maximum)
Rather than repeat much of what I have previously written about other versions of this question, I would suggest that you look at my analysis of Berkeley Haas Essay 4 and Stanford Essay 2.  Chances are pretty good that if you are applying to UCLA, you might considering the two top dogs in my home state of California.  By the way, after Stanford GSB’s new campus, Anderson’s campus is surely the second best in the state.

If you are writing a goals essay for any other MBA program, chances are, all you have to is add a bit more about why you really fit at Anderson (give them a few personal anecdotes/examples) and you do your research on the school and why it is right for your goals, this essay should write itself.

UCLA Anderson specifically: UCLA puts great emphasis on applicants demonstrating that they have become informed about The Anderson School, so I strongly suggest that you visit if you can, but at least attend one of their admissions events. Getting in contact with UCLA alumni would also be helpful. At a minimum, learn as much as you can from their web page. You really need to convince adcom that you know what you need from UCLA for your future goals. If you have the word count do so, you may also want to address what you can contribute. The Anderson School is also very focused on entrepreneurship. If you are at all interested in entrepreneurship, pay special attention to  the Harold and Pauline Price Center for Entrepreneurial Studies web page. Japanese applicants should most certainly take a look at The Japan America Business Association (JABA) page. In addition, please see LA State of Mind ~UCLA MBA留学記 2009-2011~. You can find my Q&As with UCLA students on my Key Posts page.

The following essay is optional. No preference is given in the evaluation process to applicants who submit an optional essay. Please note that we only accept written essays.
Are there any extenuating circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions Committee should be aware? (250 words)
This is a nice open-ended version of the standard “anything negative” optional essay. If everything is good, you don’t need to write this one. If it is not, I suggest doing so. As with other school’s optional questions, do not put an obvious essay for another school here, but you can certainly write on something positive here if you think its omission will be negative for you, but before you do, ask yourself these questions:
1. If they did not ask it, do they really need to know it?
2. Will the topic I want to discuss significantly improve my overall essay set?
3. Is the topic one that would not be covered from looking at other parts of my application?
4. Is the essay likely to be read as being a specific answer for UCLA and not an obvious essay for another school?
If you can answer “Yes!” to all four questions, it might be a good topic to write about.

Reapplicants who applied for the class entering in fall 2012 or 2013 are required to complete the following essay:
  • Please describe your career progress since you last applied and ways in which you have enhanced your candidacy. Include updates on short-term and long-term career goals, as well as your continued interest in UCLA Anderson. (700 words maximum)
If you are a reapplicant to UCLA,  I hope that you have taken the time to learn more about it and can really explain why you fit there.  In my analysis of Essays 1 and 2 above, please review the Anderson-specific comments I made.  The whole point of reapplication is to give Anderson another chance to love you. Reapplicants should see my reapplication guide. Use this space to specifically explain what has improved about you since you last applied. You can certainly mention improved test scores, but I would not use very much of your word count for that. Typical topics include: development of a new skill, promotions that demonstrate your potential for future success, involvement in an extracurricular activity, learning significantly more about Haas, and why your goals now are better than the ones you presented last time. They want to see career growth or at least pers onal growth. Help them want to give you a chance.

-Adam Markus
I am a graduate admissions consultant who works with clients worldwide. If you would like to arrange an initial consultation, please complete my intake form. Please don't email me any essays, other admissions consultant's intake forms, your life story, or any long email asking for a written profile assessment. The only profiles I assess are those with people who I offer initial consultations to. Please note that initial consultations are not offered when I have reached full capacity or when I determine that I am not a good fit with an applicant.
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