Category Archives: UCLA

UCLA Anderson Admissions Essays for 2012-2013

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

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. (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!

To stay on top on all of the latest news from UCLA Anderson and other top-ranked business schools, be sure to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

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Get to Know: UCLA Anderson

Are you thinking about applying to UCLA Anderson? If so, why? How do you know if it’s really is a good fit for you? More importantly, how do you know the Anderson admissions team will think you’re a good fit for the school? Today we present a few reasons why Anderson might be a good fit for you:
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UCLA Anderson Admissions Essays for 2011-2012

The UCLA Anderson School of Management recently released its admissions essays and deadlines for the Class of 2012. At first glance, there are not a lot of changes this, but what’s most interesting is something that Anderson dropped from its application this year! Let’s dig in:

UCLA Anderson Application Deadlines
Round 1: October 26, 2011
Round 2: January 11, 2012
Round 3: April 18, 2012

All three of Anderson’s admissions rounds have been pushed back by close to a week. Keep in mind that, if you apply to Anderson in Round 1, you may not receive your final decision until late January, meaning that you won’t know where you stand with Anderson before most other top business schools’ Round 2 deadlines come and go.

Also, note how late UCLA Anderson’s Round 3 deadline is compared to most other top MBA programs final deadlines. Anderson previously expressed that it does not want to miss out on strong applicants who may choose an international program such as LBS simply because that school still accepts applications as late as April. This is a smart move for Anderson. For you, it means that Round 3 is certainly still an option for you if you come into the MBA admissions process relatively late in the game.

UCLA Anderson Application Essays

  1. What events or people have had the greatest influence in shaping your character and why? (750 words)

    This question has been slightly reworded from last year. With this essay, the admissions committee is trying to dig deep into who you are and what makes you tick. We prefer this new wording, since last year’s version seemed to put extra emphasis on a single event, which may have created some pressure in applicants’ minds to come up with a dramatic single incident. In reality, in may be multiple events or people that together shaped you the most, and this this question reflects that. Try to answer this question with your personal development in mind. You may want to tie it right back to your career and why you’re pursuing an MBA, but consider this input from the admissions office: “Please be introspective and authentic in your responses. Content is more important than style of delivery. We value the opportunity to learn about your life experiences, aspirations, and goals.”
  2. Describe your short-term and long-term career goals. What is your motivation for pursuing an MBA now and how will UCLA Anderson help you to achieve your goals? (750 words)

    This question carries over unchanged from last year, and should be approached the same as 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.
  3. (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!

Finally, we should note that UCLA Anderson has apparently dropped the audio/video question that had been a part of its application for the past there years. When a school drops an essay question, that normally means that it’s not doing its job — i.e., it doesn’t help the admissions committee get to know applicants better and separate out the great applicants from the rest of the pack. Perhaps that was what happened here. Could the school have been concerned that this unusual essay was actually discouraging potential applicants from applying? Or, could someone have raised questions about how admissions can be race- or gender-blind when applicants submit video responses? We don’t know for sure, but it’s an interesting development given that one of the chief complaints we hear from MBA admissions officers these days is that the essays they read tend to sound too similar to one another. We thought the audio/video question was a novel way to try to overcome this problem.

To learn more about Anderson and other top-ranked MBA programs, be sure to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Five Things You Should Know About UCLA Anderson

UCLA’s Anderson School of Management is one of the top-ranked business school in the world, and we get inquiries about it from prospective applicants all the time. If you’re reading this, odds are that you’re interested in Anderson, too. But, how well do you really know the school? How do you know if you and Anderson are a good fit? More to the point, how do you know if the Anderson admissions committee will decide that you’re a good fit for the school?

Today we look at five things you should know before applying to UCLA Anderson:

The UCLA Anderson Culture
The emphasis on teamwork inside and outside of the classroom is the hallmark of the UCLA Anderson experience and the foundation for the rest of the school’s approach. Student collaboration and leadership within teams is the attribute that ties everything together at UCLA Anderson. Many business schools have great student cultures, but Anderson’s culture is virtually unmatched, save perhaps for Kellogg. In fact, Anderson and Kellogg can often seem very similar in this one area of true collaboration and a spirit of teamwork that runs through the entire program.

A Commitment to Diversity
Not only does UCLA Anderson have a wide mix of students across every spectrum — age, racial background, country of origin, gender — but it also attracts a very diverse mix of students by profession, both in terms of what career Anderson students pursued before getting their MBAs, and what new direction they are taking themselves upon graduation. Unlike most schools which have a high concentration of sending graduates to just one or two separate industries, Anderson graduates disperse all across the workforce in a vast array of industries and jobs. There is not one predominant career focus at Anderson, which fosters a vibrant community and eliminates some of the cliques that can develop at other schools.

Real Social Venture Initiatives
Social enterprise programs have sprouted at most top business schools and “doing good” is a theme on a lot of campuses, however the wealth of on-campus activities and resources at Anderson and the number of opportunities to get involved is more extensive than at many other top MBA programs. From the standards like the NetImpact club, to Challenge for Charity, to the very unique Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Disabled Veterans and a wide range of others, Anderson students have the ability to participate in important efforts to make the most of their time at business school.

Sustainable Business
Anderson was the first major business school to create a special certificate in sustainability for its MBA program, and now the Leaders for Sustainability has grown to over 100 students every year. Anderson is also seeking LEED certification for its building, and students participate in the 1000 Homes competition and the California Clean Innovation Conference, among other events, every year.

Entrepreneurship
Other schools offer entrepreneurship, but few have innovation and new thinking ingrained into the culture the same way that UCLA Anderson does. From the Business Creation Option of its Applied Management Research requirement, in which students literally start a new venture, to the multiple business plan competitions and Entrepreneurship Week, Anderson students are immersed in the entrepreneurial mindset on campus.

To learn more about Anderson and other top-ranked MBA programs, be sure to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

UCLA Anderson Application Essays for 2010-2011

Here are UCLA Anderson’s MBA admissions essays for the 2010-2011 admissions season. Note that Anderson has changed its essays pretty extensively this year. And, the school’s famous “video essay,” which is optional, returns for 2010-2011. Pay special attention to our advice regarding the video response, below.

Here are the school’s essay topics (for new applicants) for the coming season, followed by our comments in italics:

UCLA Anderson Admissions Essays

Required Essays

  1. What event or life experience has had the greatest influence in shaping your character and why? (750 words)

    This question is new, although it’s only subtly different from last year’s first essay prompt. Here, the UCLA admissions committee is trying to dig deep into who you are and what makes you tick. We actually prefer last year’s wording, since this year’s version seems to put extra emphasis on a single event, which may create some pressure in applicants’ minds to come up with a dramatic single incident. In reality, the “or life experience” part of this year’s question still leaves it open-ended enough that you shouldn’t feel the need to focus on one single point in time. Try to answer this question with your personal development in mind. Your tendency will be to tie it right back to your career and why you’re pursuing an MBA, but consider this input from the admissions office: “Please be introspective and authentic in your responses. Content is more important than style of delivery. We value the opportunity to learn about your life experiences, aspirations, and goals.”

  2. Describe your short-term and long-term career goals. What is your motivation for pursuing an MBA now and how will UCLA Anderson help you to achieve your goals? (750 words)

    This question carries over unchanged from last year, and should be approached the same as 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 “how will UCLA Anderson help you achieve you goals” part of the question is a sure way to get ferreted out by the admissions committee.

Optional Essays

  1. You may respond to the following question via written essay, audio or video clip: What is something people will find surprising about you?
    It’s easy to get too worked up over this video response, but we do recommend that our clients take advantage of it, despite the point that Anderson makes about not giving preference to those who submit one. Why? It’s simply easier for an admissions officer to envision you at the school if he or she can see your face and feel at least some connection with the real you. We think you should prepare well and make sure you deliver your answer smoothly, but a more impromptu-sounding response will sound warmer and more authentic than an overly scripted response. Lastly, have fun with this! Your response doesn’t need to be funny or wacky, but brightening the admissions committee’s day always helps.

  2. Are there any extenuating circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions Committee should be aware? (250 words)

    Only use this question as necessary. No need to harp on a minor weakness and sound like you’re making excuses when you don’t need any.

For more news and advice on getting into Anderson and other top MBA programs, be sure to subscribe to this blog and to follow us on Twitter!

UCLA Anderson Application Deadlines for 2010-2011

UCLA’s Anderson School of Management recently released its application deadlines for the coming admissions season. Here they are, followed by our comments, in italics:

UCLA Anderson MBA Admissions Deadlines
Round 1: October 20, 2010
Round 2: January 5, 2011
Round 3: April 13, 2011

While other top MBA programs have moved their Round 1 deadlines forward, Anderson actually moved its deadline back by six days this year. Note that, unlike other business school, Anderson won’t give you our Round 1 decision until the second week of January, so you may need to submit your Round 2 applications to other programs before receiving your Round decision from Anderson.

UCLA’s Round 2 deadline is virtually unchanged since last year, but its Round 3 deadline is actually almost a month LATER than it was in 2009-2010. Anderson has said that it doesn’t want to miss out on strong applicants who may choose an international program such as LBS simply because that school still accepts applications as late as April. This is a smart move, in our opinion.

Applying to Anderson or other top business schools this year? Don’t forget to subscribe to this blog and to follow us on Twitter for more advice on the business school application process!

Additional Things to Think About in Round 3

Last week we wrote about some important things to consider when deciding whether or not to apply to business school in Round Three, today we look at a couple of other factors to consider when planning your Round Three admissions strategy.

Another key consideration is that not all MBA programs are the same. Schools vary greatly in how they approach Round Three. While some are upfront about the fact that seats go fast and there aren’t many left in Round Three, others (such as UCLA Anderson) make a point of holding seats for the last round, knowing that there will still be many great applicants applying then.

Consider what the UCLA Anderson admissions committee recently wrote on their MBA Insider’s Blog:

Contrary to the belief that the 3rd round of the application process is so vast and competitive that your chances of being admitted are significantly reduced, you should know that each round is evaluated independently. You only compete with other people in your round. If your application is reasonably strong your chances of being admitted to the UCLA Anderson full-time MBA program are as good as any other previous round.

When many schools seem to get their fill in the first two admissions rounds, why would a school like Anderson make a point of keeping the door open longer? One key reason: Schools like Anderson compete with many top international schools to attract great candidates, and many of these schools have deadlines that run much later than American schools’ deadlines. LBS, for example, will accept applications as late as April 21 this year. Anderson doesn’t want this simple fact to be why a strong candidate chooses LBS over its own program. MBA admissions officers know that a great application can come in any time, and they want to be ready to accept such candidates when they come along.

In this case, why wait until next year? Ultimately, how successful you will be depends on you more than anything else. If you can’t pull together a very strong application between now and the Round Three deadline — and this includes everything, from your GMAT score to your essays to your letters of recommendation — then waiting will always be your best strategy. Additionally, if waiting will allow you to significantly improve part of your application — this most often applies to your GMAT score or your academic record, which can be bolstered through additional college coursework — then it also normally makes sense to wait.

What if you say “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” and apply, anyway? Will that dramatically hurt your chances if you don’t get in and want to re-apply in the fall? At most schools, no, it won’t, but keep in mind that you can’t submit the same application next year — something will need to be new, or better, or more interesting, compared to what you submit now. So, applying now is not a completely risk-free proposition, although, if you don’t apply now, then you definitely won’t get in, of course. So, weigh your upsides and downsides, but please keep in mind that pulling together a winning application is a long, arduous task. Do not underestimate it.

If you’re just starting to plan your MBA candidacy, be sure to subscribe to this blog and to follow us on Twitter for more advice on the business school application process!