UCLA Anderson 2015 Essay Tips & Deadlines

Check out the rest of our school-specific application essay tips!

UCLA Anderson

The advice that UCLA Anderson provides below is excellent, not just for Anderson’s essays, but for most MBA essays. Read it carefully. 

My tips are in blue below.

Your essays are the primary way for you to share your perspectives and plans with the admissions committee. The best essays are introspective, genuine and succinct in directly answering our questions and responding to our topics.

• Essay questions are listed below for both first-time applicants and re-applicants.
• You should try to distinguish yourself by showing what makes you different from others who share similar profiles.
• Personal expression is what we are looking for, not platitudes.
• Making a strong case for your future plans requires you to first do research on career paths and find one that resonates. Even if this target will change during business school, your application essays should lay out a clear trajectory for short-term and long-term goals. Do this by demonstrating how you expect to build on skills from your past, and those you expect to gain from the MBA.
• Essays are more compelling if they include specific courses, programs, groups, opportunities, activities, etc. from which you would benefit, if admitted to UCLA Anderson. These references are best found through website research, personal discussions and a campus visit (if possible).
• Content and clarity are key elements, as we seek superior communication skills.
• Style is a consideration too, although we understand that those who speak other languages may have different manners of expression in English.
• We do check your essays for plagiarism, so make sure you always submit your own work.
• Length does not equal strength. A well-written short essay can have even more impact than a longer essay. Please try to respect the word limits indicated below.
• All responses to essays must be on double-spaced pages that are uploaded as a document. We do not accept essays in any other media but written form.


UCLA Anderson is distinguished by three defining principles: Share Success, Think Fearlessly, Drive Change. What principles have defined your life and pre-MBA career? How do you believe that UCLA Anderson’s principles, and the environment they create, will help you attain your post-MBA career goals?  (750 words maximum)

Anderson has simplified it’s essay requirements but gives you enough room to write a revealing response. Make sure that essay shows that can answer the question articulately and belong at Anderson.

First think about what’s important to you. What guides and drives your behavior? If you can summarize those principles in two words as Anderson does, that’s great. If not, don’t sweat it, but do be succinct. If you come up with more than three principles, choose the three that are most important to you, but I advise against going with more than three. If you want to use fewer than three, that’s OK too. And, for Heaven’s sake don’t be tempted to say that your guiding principles are verbatim identical to Anderson’s.

A great way to approach this essay would be to discuss an experience or anecdote that represents your guiding principles and then connect that story and your values to UCLA’s critical principles and the Anderson culture.  Then conclude by addressing the last part of the question: How Anderson’s principles and “environment” will help you realize your post-MBA career goals.

Optional Essay:

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

If there are extenuating circumstances that would add perspective on or “explain” a weakness, you can discuss them here. A few years ago, UCLA added the following: “Please do not submit redundant information in the Optional Essay.” Good advice for all optional questions. For more suggestions, please see The Optional Question: To Be or not To Be

Required Re-applicant Essay:

Reapplicants who applied for the class entering Fall 2013 or 2014 are required to complete the following essay. Please be introspective and authentic in your response. We value the opportunity to learn about your aspirations and goals.

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. (750 words maximum)

This is the key question in every MBA reapplication: How have you enhanced your candidacy? Career progress is an obvious place to start and something you must address, but if academics were a weakness, then what have you done since you last applied to show you can excel at Anderson? 

If you would like professional guidance with your UCLA Anderson application, please consider Accepted’s MBA essay editing and MBA admissions consulting or our  MBA Application Packages, which include advising, editing, interview coaching, and a resume edit for the UCLA application.  

Want more school specific MBA application essay tips? Click here!

UCLA 2015 Application Deadlines:

UCLA Anderson Application Deadlines

Linda Abraham By , president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.


Related Resources:

UCLA Anderson B-School Zone
• Student Body, Recruitment, Location: Future UCLA Anderson MBA Interview
• Hard Work and Humility: Reflections of a UCLA Anderson Student

MBA Admission: The Great Round 1/Round 2 Fight

Check out MBA Admissions 101 for more b-school admissions advice!

“On my right, now entering the ring is Round 1. A perennial favorite with those who have stratospheric GMATs, patents, Nobel Prizes, and the like. And on my left, waving to the crowd is Round 2. He is favored by those with more average, but still respectable scores, grades, and experience.”

So goes the fight about when to submit an application. I am not impressed by attempts to win the admissions game through timing, at least using these arguments, which are specious and weigh less significant or non-existent factors as opposed to those that really count.

What counts above all else  is the quality of your application. You want to submit when it is at its best.

The argument that Round 1 is for superstars simply isn’t true. Many superstars apply round 2 (and even later, but I am going to limit this discussion to Rounds 1 and 2). But when you wait to apply Round 2, many seats have already been given to round 1 applicants.

At the same time, some applicants are absolutely determined to submit Round 1 because they want the “early advantage.” They will even foolishly rush their applications, submit something less than their best in this mad dash to a R1 deadline.

Let’s call this match a draw. The boxers can take off their gloves and pull up a chair. Listen to Linda’s rule:

“Apply as early as possible PROVIDED you don’t compromise the quality of your application.”

Just today I received an email from an applicant who has been struggling with her GMAT and wants to attend a top 15 program. She is unlikely to be admitted with her current score and she wants to apply Round 1. She is better off raising her GMAT and postponing her application to Round 2.

Someone else writes to a mailing list that he has good scores, grades, and work experience, but is in a common applicant sub-group and wants to apply round 2 because he believes competition will be less intense.

Big mistake. Competition is intense both rounds. Instead of focusing on this timing question, he should be working to improve his profile, differentiate himself, learn about the schools, and start on his essays so that he can submit round 1 when there are more spots available.

Is there an advantage to applying early in a round, especially round 1?

I don’t think so. More importantly, there is an advantage to holding onto a completed first application and submitting it closer to the deadline (Any school, CBS for example, on rolling admissions could be exceptions to this part of this post.) As you work on subsequent applications, you will improve your essays and see (and relate) experiences and goals with greater clarity. If you just put that first completed application away while you work on applications 2, 3, & N, then you can go back to Application 1 before that school’s R1 deadline and tweak it before you submit. That first application will then benefit from your recent writing experience and greater clarity.

Don’t, however, wait until the 11th hour to  upload your app and press SUBMIT. Many times servers are overloaded on deadline day. You don’t want to miss a deadline on an application that was completed weeks earlier because you waited too long.

Navigating the MBA Maze

Linda Abraham By , president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.


Related Resources:

• How Many B-Schools Should You Apply To?
• How to Write and Edit MBA Essays
• Top MBA Program Zones

Tips for Video MBA Essay Questions

Get more MBA video essay tips!

The Kellogg School of Management

Rotman led the charge with a video essay question and last year Yale and Kellogg followed.

Worried about being literally on stage? Here are my tips if you need to respond to a question in a short 1-2-minute video.

First, realize that these video essays, like the written ones, are attempts to get to know you. Unlike the written word, however, the schools are seeking to see how you present yourself visually and with little time to prepare or polish answers. They are testing articulation and presence in a way that essays can’t and at much less expense than interviews. In that sense, these videos are a pre-interview screening device in addition to a way to learn more about your likes and dislikes, achievements, dreams, goals, and challenges.

And while you may not be able to prepare for a specific question, you definitely can and should prepare.

Learn how video essays came about, how they work, & how to ace them!

You need to practice for the experience of talking to a video camera with no responses from another human being. No body language. No facial expressions. No audience energy. Zero feedback. It’s just a dumb machine. Having created videos for Accepted, I found the experience very unnatural, but I think/hope I’ve gotten better with practice. You can too.

Until the questions become known, practice answering different essay questions in the announced time limit and then view the video. Here are a few sample questions to get you started, but I may update this list as we get more information from the schools:

• What do you do for fun?
• What are your passions, interests, and hobbies?
• If you could travel across the United States in a car with anyone, whom would you choose to travel with and why?
• What would you do on a rainy Sunday afternoon?
• How have you handled a difficult interaction? What did you learn from it?
• Describe a difficult professional decision you had to make.  What were the consequences, and what, if anything, did you learn?

If you are really nervous about the video exercise or about speaking in public, consider joining Toastmasters and forcing yourself to speak publicly. You will improve your “presence” and gain confidence. Both will help you with your video interview, any admissions interview, job interviews, and required public speaking.

So beyond preparing and simply getting comfortable with the format or anticipated questions, when it comes time for the real thing, do the following:

1. Dress neatly. Follow any dress guidelines the school provides. Women, put on make-up and jewelry lightly. If you wonder if your attire is too revealing, it is.  Men, have a hair-cut and shave. Make sure beard or mustache, if you have, are trimmed and neat.

2. It should go without saying, but keep your language clean — no profanity.

3. Think for a few seconds before you reply and then minimize pauses that we tend to fill with “ums” and “uhs.” They don’t contribute to “presence.”

4. If you tend to perspire, put on the air conditioning so the room is cool.

5. Sit up straight and lean a little bit forward.

6. Remember to smile. I put a smiley face next to the camera.

And two final points:

1. Schools want to accept students who reflect well on them.
2. You’ll do great!

If you would like help with your video essay, Accepted’s experienced MBA admissions experts, who have been prepping and critiquing MBA applicants for almost twenty years, are more than happy to help you.

Learn how video essays came about, how they work, & how to ace them!

Linda Abraham By , president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.

Related Resources:

Chicago Booth 2015 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines

Get more MBA essay tips here!Chicago Booth has always prided itself on valuing applicants who can handle ambiguity and lack of structure. And it’s application reflects that principle. In spades. This year’s Booth also application mirrors the “streamlining” that has taken place throughout the b-school world as well as Chicago’s distinctive culture and love of ambiguity. This essay/presentation question, which is new for this year, is about as open-ended as it gets.

My tips are in blue below.


Chicago Booth values adventurous inquiry, diverse perspectives, and a collaborative exchange of ideas.  This is us.  Who are you?

This is a really difficult question.

What do you want to tell Booth that reflects your adventurous and curious nature, your distinctive perspective and experience, which will contribute to the class’ diversity, and your ability to contribute to a vigorous but still collaborative exchange of ideas?  And yes it should be genuinely you.

To start make a list of the experiences and achievements that you are most proud of and that best reflect who you are.   Then review the presentation/essay guidelines below as well as the Booth admissions criteria. Next to each item on your list, add the qualities from Booth’s criteria that this experience or achievement reveals.

Also look at the other information you are providing in the application including your resume and those boxes. What about you is absent from these other parts of the application? Write those experiences and attributes down too in a separate list.  Which items on your “absentee” list introduce the qualities Booth seeks?  Are any of them on your first list of achievements?

Focus on the items that are on both lists and that are most important to you and distinctive about you.  As Booth itself instructs “We’ve learned a lot about you throughout the application, but what more should we know?” The answer to that question is a critical part of a effective response to Booth’s essay question.

Presentation/Essay Guidelines

• Be reflective. We’ve learned a lot about you throughout the application, but what more should we know?
• Interpret broadly.  “Who are you?” can be interpreted in many different ways.  We encourage you to think critically and broadly about who you are, and how your values, passions and experiences have influenced you.
• Determine your own length.  There is no prescribed minimum or maximum length.  We trust that you will use your best judgment in determining how long your submission should be, but we recommend that you think strategically about how to best allocate the space.

Don’t give in to temptation. Lack of a word limit or guideline is not a license for verbosity or permission to write the great American novel (or autobiography). Concision is valued in the business world. Show good judgment and consideration for the reader’s time. Keep it short, but tell your story.

• Choose the format that works for you.  You can design your presentation or compose your essay in the format that you feel best captures your response. However, please consider the specific technical restrictions noted below.
• Think about you, not us.  Rather than focusing on what you think we want to hear, focus on what is essential for us to know about you. Simply put, be genuine.

Technical Guidelines

• File Size: Maximum file size is 16 MB.
• Accepted Upload Formats:  Acceptable formats are PDF, Word and Powerpoint.
• Multimedia Restrictions: We will be viewing your submission electronically and in full color, but all submissions will be converted to PDF files, so animation, video, music, etc. will not translate over.
• Preserve Your Formatting: We strongly recommend converting your piece to a PDF file prior to submitting to ensure that everything you see matches what we see.

A few thoughts:

Should you write an essay or use a visual presentation? That depends on you. If you are talented visually and love graphics and powerpoint, use a visual medium as long as it will translate to PDF. If you are a “words person” comfortable expressing your thoughts in writing, write the essay. Do what will make it easiest for you to express your essence.  

Optional Essay: If there is any important information that you were unable to address elsewhere in the application, please share that information here. (300 word maximum)

The instructions are pretty clear. Is there something you want the admissions committee to know about that is not included elsewhere, here’s the spot for it. A gap in employment? A dip in grades caused by illness or family problems? This is the spot.

Reapplicant Essay: Upon reflection, how has your perspective regarding your future, Chicago Booth, and/or getting an MBA changed since the time of your last application? (300 words maximum)

This is a critical essay for MBA reapplicants. Remember, Chicago (and any school you are reapplying to) wants to see growth. Same ol’, same ‘ol got you a ding last time and probably will again this time. Let this brief essay show a maturation and evolution of your goals and reasons for wanting to attend Chicago Booth.  Chicago loves to see critical thinking.

If you would like professional guidance with your Chicago Booth MBA application, please consider Accepted’s MBA essay editing and MBA admissions consulting or our  MBA Application Packages, which include advising, editing, interview coaching, and a resume edit for the Booth application. 

Chicago Booth 2015 MBA Application Deadlines:

Submission Deadline Final Decision Notification
Round 1 September 25, 2014 December 18, 2014
Round 2 January 6, 2015 March 26, 2015
Round 3 April 7, 2015 May 21, 2015

Are You Misusing the B-School Rankings?

Linda Abraham By , president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.


Related Resources: 

• School-Specific MBA Application Essay Tips 
Chicago Booth B-School Zone
Audio & Video in Admissions, a free guide

5 Effective Techniques to Improve Your Writing

Learn how to creating a winning AMCAS essay! Click here to download your complete copy of Ace the AMCAS!

“I think out of the box” isn’t the most creative way of saying I’m creative.

“5 Effective Techniques to Improve Your Writing” is excerpted from the Accepted.com special report, Ace the AMCAS Essay. To download the entire free special report, click here.

So far in this series we’ve talked about the WHO, WHY, WHAT, and HOW of creating an exemplary AMCAS essay. Now we’re going to offer some bonus tips that will help elevate your essay so it’s not just covering the right material in the correct order, but it’s actually written WELL.

1. Use active, lively, vivid verbs. You can “go” somewhere, or you can “meander,” “wander,” “race,” “rush,” etc. Variety enhances your verbiage!

2. Use metaphors and images to enliven your writing. This will help your reader jump into your experience.

3. Avoid clichés. Saying that you “think out of the box” isn’t really the most creative way of stating that you are creative. It’s just too overused.

4. Use suspense and irony. These elements show depth to your writing and to your personality.

5. Be succinct.

Download this special report that will help you ace the AMCAS essay.

Linda Abraham By , president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.