UCLA Anderson’s New FEMBA Flex Program: Introduction and Essay Tips

UCLA Anderson

UCLA Anderson


UCLA Anderson’s MBA program has expanded its part-time Fully Employed MBA (FEMBA) to include a new option – the FEMBA Flex – and it’s not too late to apply for fall 2012!  This option also expands FEMBA’s accessibility to people beyond the LA area, as it requires on-campus participation only about four times a quarter on weekends, with the remainder of the program delivered online.  The application is the same as for the regular FEMBA, but there is a later deadline.

The essay questions reveal an interest in the whole person – they touch on key aspects of the applicants’ life beyond just business.  The questions also show an interest not just in “the facts” but in your self-concept and self-awareness.


1. My family is unique because… (Maximum 1 page, double-spaced, 12 point font)

Don’t be unnerved by the word “unique.”  First identify what’s telling about your family and important to you.  You might say that the pivotal family experience is both of your parents immigrating to US from Soviet Russia.  It’s not unique; many people did that – but no one has exactly their experience, so focus on what is special and distinctive about their experience and how it shaped the family.  This essay is relatively short, so zero in on a specific point or two.   Present the unique quality or experience(s) succinctly, and then discuss how it has shaped and influenced you. 

2. Why UCLA Anderson FEMBA for these next three years? Do you plan to enhance your current career or shift into a new career? If your interests are entrepreneurial, are you already an entrepreneur or do you plan to be an entrepreneur, and if so, when and how? (Maximum 1 page, double-spaced, 12 point font)

I suggest discussing your goals first and following with “why UCLA Anderson FEMBA.”  The reason is that your MBA plans should flow out of your goals – your goals create learning needs, which are met by the program.  If you plan to enhance your current career, explain how you’d like to advance over the next several years and why.  If you’re shifting into a new career, explain what and why.  Also show that it’s an informed decision and that your experience prepares you directly or indirectly. The question itself guides entrepreneurs clearly.  In all cases indicate your vision for your goals – what you’d like to accomplish. Finally, discuss how this specific program (including the flex aspect) will meet your learning needs and other needs, e.g., scheduling.

3. Part One: Describe to the Faculty Committee what you will bring to the learning in the classroom in your 30 second “elevator pitch.” (100 words or less)

Part Two: List your top three accomplishments (Professional, Educational or Personal) (35 word maximum per accomplishment) (Maximum 1 page, double-spaced, 12 point font for both parts)

This essay is about how you present yourself as much as the content you present.  Part One requires tough decisions: what few things are you going to focus on? They should be qualities or experiences that reflect your distinctive experience and perspective; ideally it will include some distinctive fact or concrete aspect of your life or work.  Part Two is essentially bullet points without the bullets.  At least one accomplishment should be professional, and at least two of the three categories should be included.  Specify the impact of the accomplishment.

4. Are there any additional circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions Committee should be aware? (Maximum 1 page, double-spaced, 12 point font) 

If any of these scenarios apply to you, please address specifically:

  • If commuting by plane, please detail your commute plans.
  • If you are not currently employed full time, please explain your employment situation right now and your career search plan to be employed by the beginning of the program.
  • If you are currently enrolled in another MBA program, please clarify your status in that program (standing, % complete, etc.), and explain your reason for wanting to begin UCLA Anderson.
  • If you were on academic probation or had failing grades, please address.
  • If you have a criminal history, please address.

This question doesn’t explicitly limit the essay to extenuating circumstances or application-specific issues, but the bullet points reflect such issues.  Moreover the phrase “about which the admissions committee should be aware” doesn’t warmly invite you to continue marketing yourself to enhance your application.  I therefore suggest addressing the types of issues the question presents, or other information that has a direct bearing on the adcom’s ability to understand your candidacy. 

Deadline for the Anderson FEMBA Flex program: July 15, 2012 (Regular FEMBA Round 4 deadline is June 4, 2012)

Cindy Tokumitsu By Cindy Tokumitsu, author of numerous ebooks, articles, and special reports. Cindy has advised hundreds of successful applicants in her last thirteen years with Accepted. She can help you assess your strengths and weaknesses and develop a winning admissions strategy.

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