UCLA’s Anderson School of Management has released its admissions essays and deadlines for the 2012-2013 admissions season. While Anderson has made fewer dramatic changes than some other prominent business schools have this year, the school did change one of its two required essays, and trimmed the word count for each by 50 words. The essay word count diet continues…
Let’s dig into Anderson’s essays, followed by our comments in italics:
UCLA Anderson Application Essays
- What is your proudest achievement outside the workplace, and how has it impacted you? (700 words)
This question is new this year, and it replaces a question that asked, “What events or people have had the greatest influence in shaping your character and why?” One thing hasn’t changed thought: this question’s emphasis on you, and the admissions committee’s desire for you to write about something other than what it can plainly read on your resume. Many applicants may read this question and immediately think, “Okay, they want something about my extracurricular activities and community involvement,” but that’s not necessarily the case. The real key is to tell a story about personal growth (note the “how has it impacted you?” part of the question). If you have a story that does that and also happens to demonstrate your ability to make a positive impact on those around you, then great, but here Anderson really means it when its asks about the impact the achievement had on you. How did you grow as a result? Did it change your outlook? Did it boost your confidecne in tackling later challenges? This is what Anderson wants to erad about here!
- What are your short-term and long-term career goals, and how will an MBA from UCLA Anderson specifically help you achieve these goals? (700 words)
This question carries over unchanged from last year, and so our advice mostly remains the same. You should approach this question the same as you would most other “Career Goals” / “Why an MBA?” essays. Note that the “Why an MBA?” component is very important, but you absolutely MUST demonstrate in this essay a knowledge of and a passion for UCLA Anderson. One way any school protects its admissions yield is by ferreting out those who don’t show enough enthusiasm for the program. Failing to answer the second part part of the question — how will UCLA Anderson help you to achieve your goals? — is a sure way to get ferreted out by the admissions committee.
- (Optional Essay) Are there any extenuating circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions Committee should be aware? (250 words)
As we always advise our clients when it comes to optional essays, only use this essay if you need to explain a low undergraduate GPA or other potential blemish in your background. No need to harp on a minor weakness and sound like you’re making excuses when you don’t need any. If you don’t have anything else you need to tell the admissions office, it is entirely okay to skip this essay!