Hard Work and Humility: Reflections of a UCLA Anderson Student

Check out the rest of the our MBA Student Interviews. We’d like to introduce you to UCLA Anderson student, Jenn Hyman. Read our interview below to hear about Jenn’s MBA adventure – her favorite things about UCLA, the thing she’d like to change about the program, her travels, her new job, and more! Thank you Jenn for sharing your story with us!

This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with current MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. We hope to offer you a candid picture of student life, and what you should consider as you prepare your MBA application.

Accepted: Can you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What’s your favorite ice cream flavor? Favorite non-school book?

Jenn: I am a local girl, born and raised in Los Angeles. I went to UCLA for undergrad and double majored in Economics and Psychology.

Ice cream is not something to be taken lightly. I’d say my favorite flavor right now is anything with Heath Bar, but really when someone is going to give you fresh ice cream on a waffle cone, who am I to complain.

I am, and have always been, a total bookworm. Choosing my favorite book is a tough task, but I would have to say either Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut or The World According to Garp by John Irving.

Accepted: How did you choose UCLA Anderson? Why would you say you’re a good fit with the program?

Jenn: Having gone to UCLA for undergrad, I actually was not sure I would return for grad school. I was focused in on CPG brand management and was looking for programs that would align with this career goal. After some soul-searching, I realized that long term I wanted to settle on the West Coast. So when it came down to it, I was deciding between UCLA Anderson and Kellogg and realized that my opportunities for developing a network on the West Coast were simply greater going to Anderson.

Additionally, a huge factor for me was the people. I spent a lot of time getting to know students, staff and alumni at each school I was applying to, and those from UCLA Anderson just felt like my kind of people. I always say, go to a school where you believe that the person sitting next to you is going to be as successful as you want to be. That is what I felt from those at Anderson, driven individuals who I had faith would soar to great heights, but would excel in their lives the way I wanted to: through hard work and humility.

My fit with Anderson comes from this collaborative environment. I know it sounds unbelievable, but truly, my best friends at Anderson are those I recruited with. We would be competing for the same jobs but would spend hours the night before prepping each other to assure that we each put our best foot forward.

Brilliance comes in many forms, but at Anderson, brilliance is understated, it is a cost of admission and success is defined by collaboration, friendship, hard work and humility. I have never met colleagues who I respect more or who am more honored to call my friends.

Accepted: If you could change anything about the program, what would it be?

Jenn: One of the greatest challenges of coming to Anderson is the fact that it is a quarter system school which means we start later than other programs. This means that you need to hit the ground running in fall of your first year because in early October, recruiting is in full swing. My improvement to the program would be more prep work over the summer to assure preparedness for this recruiting effort once it commences.

Accepted: What have been some of your highlights so far during your 1+ years at Anderson?

Jenn: Oh I could talk about this for days! Where to start? I will try to highlight some of my favorite memories:

1) International Travel

Spring Break of my first year, I went on the UCLA Anderson Japan trip which was organized by our Japanese students. This annual trip is a cornerstone of our program where over 100 MBA will take over Japan. We arrived just as the Cherry Blossoms were blooming and spent our entire break immersing ourselves in Japanese culture through Sumo Tournaments, Japanese Baths, Temples, celebrating with locals, touring local companies including behind the scenes at Toyota, eating sushi at 4am at the fish market and many more such memories.

My second year, I traveled with a study course to Chile where we spent a week in country listening and learning from top Chilean leadership in every industry from mining to hospitality to investment banking. The goal was to understand the socio-economic conditions that have contributed to Chile’s stability and success in recent years. The access we were granted was unparalleled. The conversations were fascinating and provided a launchpad for our future international business operations. And don’t forget the opportunity to wine-taste on horseback in the Andes!

2) Classes

I have had some of the most incredible classes I could have imagined upon entering business school. Because we are located in Los Angeles, our access to CEOs and top leadership is unparalleled. It is simply quite easy for these individuals to teach courses or guest lecture in any number of classes in our curriculum.

I took a Crisis Management Course with Bob Eckert, the former CEO of both Kraft and Mattel, in which much of the course was him bringing in guest speakers, like the former CEO of Hershey, CMO of Proctor and Gamble, etc., to teach us how to handle the inevitable crisis that would hit our future career. Currently, I am taking an Entertainment Business Models course taught by CEO of MGM, Harry Sloan, with a similar cadre of high status and well-respected industry personal teaching us about the changing dynamic of Entertainment.

When your classes are taught by the literal experts in the field, your work is all the more relevant and impactful. Often, in many of my classes, our final project will be a real life business issue and our solution will be presented to the clients like the Dodgers, Fandango, Netflix, etc.

3) Social Events

UCLA Anderson has a rich history of social events that keep our students deeply woven into a community. From an annual bike ride from Santa Monica 14 miles south that attracts 200+ students and alumni who stop every few miles to party, to our Casino Night which raised thousands of dollars for charity, to Ander-Prom which is exactly what it sounds like, we have some of the best parties around that speak to everyone’s interest.

I am actually President of the Wine Club and we host bi-weekly events that range from learning about the business of wine, to exploring food pairings or new varietals, to social outings, to weekend trips to local wine regions.

There is nothing better than spending time outside the classroom with new friends. Plus, we have weekly happy hour sponsored by Anderson where every Thursday, we celebrate the end of our week (there is no class on Fridays) with food and a drink on an outdoor lawn. Not many places where outdoor happy hour can exist year round!

Accepted: You landed your dream job at Nestle – congrats! What is your position there? How did you go about securing that job? What role did UCLA play in that process?

Jenn: Thanks! I am super excited! I will be an Associate Brand Manager at Nestle USA. UCLA Anderson is truly the reason I was able to obtain this job. There are a couple reasons for this:

1) Career Center

We have an award-winning career center. From everything behind the scenes with us – getting our resumes ready, interview prep, counseling – to the front end where connections with companies are made, Parker Career Management Center is just incredible. We have relationships with the nation’s top companies that are secured and maintained by Parker to the benefit of our students. They bring so many companies to campus, it sometimes feel like you are able to take your pick.

2) Advising Career Teams (ACT)

Anderson has a unique program whereby second year students coach first year students about how to get their dream job in their various industries. These advising sessions are led by successful second year students in a given industry to help coach first years about what kinds of preparation to be doing, how to start thinking like a professional in a given industry, what companies are looking for, etc. These teams help make our students the most prepared possible walking into any recruiting environment.

3) Professional Clubs and Events

Our professional clubs take over where our career center leaves off and does training, interview preparation and countless recruiting events for students. They provide access to companies through on-campus events, days on the job (where students attend recruiting events at the host company) and treks to various cities to meet different companies.

Through all these three avenues, I was able to become the best marketer I could be. I also was able to meet Nestle and fall in love with the company. The preparation and access all I could have hoped for and secured my success in my future career.

Accepted: Looking back, what would you say was the hardest stage of the b-school application process for you? How did you go about overcoming that challenge?

Jenn: I found the whole thing quite challenging. However, the most challenging part was truly understanding why I wanted to get my MBA. I wanted to understand for myself why the investment was worth it for my career. What was I actually planning on doing? Was that the right career path for me?

To answer this question, it was really 1 part talking to a whole lot of people and 2 parts soul searching. I talked to anyone who I thought was tangentially related to what I wanted to do and peppered them with questions about their day-to-day, aspirations, etc. Then I spent a lot of time thinking about what about my last position fulfilled me and what more I was looking for. Was my dream job at the end of a b-school application? What did I want to do in 5 years? 10? In some ways, I am still answering that question and had to take a leap of faith to complete my application. However, in many ways, the soul-searching I did when completing my application made my essays more honest, passionate and heartfelt. Not to mention, it gave be focus and direction upon starting my MBA. So as hard as it was, it was truly all worth it in the end.

For one-on-one guidance on your b-school application, please see our MBA Application Packages. For specific advice on how to create the best application for UCLA see our UCLA Anderson 2014 MBA Application Questions, Tips.

Download our free special report: Best MBA Programs


Top MBA Programs for Entrepreneurs

B-schools are always touting their entrepreneurial offerings, programs, and placement, so when we examined the employment reports of U.S. News’ top 25 business schools to see which schools send the most graduates into entrepreneurship, we were surprised to find that only thirteen programs provide this information in their employment reports.

Below you’ll find the results – the U.S. News’ top 25 MBA programs that reveal the number and percentage of 2013 grads who immediately founded their own businesses after completing their MBA:


# of 2013 Grads

Starting Their Own Business

% of 2013 Grads

Starting Their Own Business

Standford GSB 70 18%
MIT Sloan 37 9.5%
Wharton 59 7.5%
Harvard Business School 63 7%
Yale SOM 10 4.5%
UCLA Anderson 14 4%
Kellogg* 3%
Chicago Booth 17 3%
Columbia 18 2.5%
NYU Stern 2%**
Michigan Ross 8 1.5%
Duke Fuqua 4 1%
CMU Tepper 2 1%

* Numbers include all Kellogg MBA programs
** % of reported placements

Clearly, Stanford is way out in front in this horse race. MIT Sloan with its program in Entrepreneurship and Innovation is a distant #2, followed by HBS and Wharton in a tie for third place. Stanford and Sloan have long been known for entrepreneurship, but HBS and Wharton are generally thought of as financial services and consulting breeding grounds. In reality, both programs – without taking away from their strength in consulting and financial services – have sharpened the entrepreneurial saw over the last decade.

This comparison is useful for those of you who want to start your own business ASAP after earning an MBA. It is an indication of an entrepreneurial culture and education. And if entrepreneurial spirit and ultimately an entrepreneurial alumni network is important to you, then you need to know which schools are strong in this area and how they compare.

While this listing is useful, it still doesn’t tell the entire story of MBA programs’ entrepreneurial strength. Many business school grads will work for a few years to pay back loans and then start their own businesses. Among those, there will be a few grads who immediately enter a startup, so essentially they will initially be entrepreneurs on someone else’s dime. There are other MBAs who will work in entrepreneurial areas of established companies. None of these MBAs are reflected in the chart above, but all still benefited from their MBA program’s entrepreneurial education and culture.

Additionally, either we couldn’t find the data or schools don’t all publish these numbers. Consequently, the chart above is incomplete. Don’t automatically assume that programs we haven’t listed aren’t good for entrepreneurship. For example Haas has a highly entrepreneurial culture and many courses relevant to entrepreneurship, but we couldn’t find the number of 2013 grads who started their own business immediately upon graduation. Don’t let that lack of info prevent you from considering Haas if founding a startup is your dream. Similarly, Georgetown has many entrepreneurship resources (See Jeff Reid on Entrepreneurship at Georgetown). Finally, programs outside US News’ top 25, may be excellent for entrepreneurship, deserving of consideration, and easier to get into (For example, Babson).

As with almost all stats in MBA admissions – especially anything related to (un)rankings and comparing programs – take this data as useful information not as the be all and end all of evaluating the entrepreneurial value of different MBA programs. It is simply a succinct compilation of data that you should incorporate into the additional research you should do before deciding where to earn your MBA. Also consider:

• Entrepreneurial curriculum. What classes are offered? Are there opportunities to develop and work on a business plan?

• Extracurricular groups and activities. Are there venture capital competitions, clubs, events, etc.?

• The student profiles at specific schools. Are they entrepreneurial? Would you like to be on a project with them?

Now it’s time for me to get back to drafting that business plan on the back of a napkin.

If any school in the US News’ top 25 includes that data in their employment report and we missed it, or they published the data after we visited their site, please email saraw@accepted.com and we’ll add it.

MBA Admissions A-Z: 26 Great Tips

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.

Looking for MBA Application Essay Tips?

B-school applicants: Are you looking for advice to help you answer specific essay questions on top MBA applications? Are you looking for a resource that offers up-to-date advice for the questions found on THIS YEAR’S apps?

We’d like to introduce you to our updated special report, Top MBA Program Essay Questions: How to Answer Them Right! In this report, you’ll receive school-by-school, question-by-question advice on how to answer the questions on this year’s MBA applications.

Download your copy of "Top MBA Program Essay Questions: How to Answer Them Right"

If you want the most detailed advice available for creating the best MBA application possible, then you’ll want to download Top MBA Program Essay Questions: How to Answer Them Right! now!

Download your free MBA application essay tips now!


2013 P&Q Top B-School Rankings

Get application essay tips for the top b-school applications!

Harvard Business School is the top MBA program for the fourth year in a row.

The top 8 schools in the 2013 Poets & Quants b-school rankings remain unchanged from last year, with slots 9 and 10 merely swapping positions (Duke Fuqua moved from 10th place to 9th place and UC Berkeley Haas moved from 9th to 10th).


About Harvard Business School, top MBA program for the fourth year in a row, John Byrne, P&Q editor, says:

Despite less-than-flattering publicity generated by a New York Times’ front page story on gender inequality at Harvard, an MBA from the school remains the quintessential credential in business. No rival beats Harvard in the formidable resources it brings to the game: the outsized number of superstar professors, the diversity of its course offerings, the stellar quality of its students, the size and scope of its campus, and the career achievements of its alumni spread all over the world.

He goes on to sing praises for this year’s HBS entering class – an average GMAT score of 720, a 3.9% increase in application volume, a record high of women (at 41% of the class), and an average undergrad GPA of 3.67.

Other Highlights…

• Chicago Booth ranked ahead of Wharton for the fourth year in a row, making the top three Harvard, Stanford, and Chicago (H/S/C) instead of the traditional Harvard, Stanford, and Wharton (H/S/W).

• Wharton was the only school in the top 10 to see a decrease in its application volume this year with a 5.8% decrease.

• Booth saw the highest boost in app volume with a 9.9% increase.

• For top b-schools outside of the U.S., London Business School again took the top slot.

• Two big jumpers in the top 50 include U. of Washington which jumped 9 places from 33rd place to 24th and Georgia Tech which also jumped 9 places from 40th to 31st place.

The Top 20

2013 P&Q Rank and School 2012 P&Q Rank BW FT
1. Harvard Business School 1 2 2
2. Stanford GSB 2 4 2
3. Chicago Booth 3 1 6
4. UPenn Wharton 4 3 3
5. Northwestern Kellogg 5 5 8
6. MIT Sloan 6 9 5
7. Columbia 7 13 4
8. Dartmouth Tuck 8 12 10
9. Duke Fuqua 10 6 11
10. UC Berkeley Haas 9 14 7
11. Cornell Johnson 11 7 14
12. Michigan Ross 13 8 15
13. UVA Darden 12 10 16
14. UCLA Anderson 17 18 13
15. NYU Stern 14 16 12
16. CMU Tepper 16 11 19
17. Yale SOM 15 21 9
18. UNC Kenan- Flagler 19 17 21
19. Texas McCombs 18 19 22
20. Indiana Kelley 21 15 26

Download our free special report: Best MBA Programs


The MBA Admissions Directors’ Recipe for Rejection

We asked 14 admissions directors, “What behavior or information would cause you to reject an MBA applicant who otherwise is a strong candidate?

For tips on how to get accepted to b-school, check out MBA Admissions 101While the recipe for instant rejection may vary slightly from school to school, the common ingredients are ethical lapses and poor behavior. These are broad categories that each admissions director elaborates on below, but one sentiment provides the dominant seasoning – dishonesty and rudeness are simply not tolerated. For example, Sara Neher, Assistant Dean of MBA Admissions at UVA Darden, writes, “Treating others with respect is something of paramount importance to Darden. Sometimes rudeness is an indicator of bad character and sometimes it means that the applicant is not really that interested in Darden. In either case, I do not want to admit that person, no matter the quality of their work experience or GMAT.”

A clear lack of fit or improper motivation for choosing a particular program frequently peppers the responses. For example, Sherry Wallace, Director of Admissions at UNC Kenan-Flagler explains: “Regardless of whether we are the top choice or the third choice, we want to see some passion and enthusiasm in the candidate.”

For the full recipe, read the admissions directors’ responses in full to the question: “What behavior or information would cause you to reject an MBA applicant who otherwise is a strong candidate?”


Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, Liz Riley Hargrove, Associate Dean for Admissions

Behavior: Off the bat, candidates who falsify or plagiarize any component of their application would be denied. We also deny candidates whom we feel would not represent the school well or would not be positive contributors in the classroom and Fuqua/Duke communities.

Information: We collect a lot of information on our applicants and this information is used to determine the academic ability as well as overall fit with our culture and community. If we determined that a candidate did not have the necessary background to be successful academically, we would not admit them to our programs.


Georgetown McDonough, Shari Hubert, Associate Dean of Admissions

• Rude or offensive behavior towards any staff member throughout the application process.

• Finding out that the applicant lied on their application (i.e., not being truthful about a position, title, transcript etc., or not disclosing a lay-off, being fired, etc.) or did not disclose a criminal conviction.

• Finding out that the applicant misrepresented him or herself in taking an exam (TOEFL, GMAT/GRE) or in an interview (i.e., sent someone else in their place to conduct the interview. We can usually guard against this since we ask for IDs from each interviewee, even those we conduct via Skype).


HEC Paris MBA, Philippe Oster, Communication, Development & Admissions Director

When discussing the characteristics and behaviours that turn us off a candidate, the same things always spring to mind: a lack of respect for both the admissions process and the interviewers, telling lies on the application, poor letters of recommendation….But there are few other habits that will put us off a seemingly strong candidate.

Whilst it is important to sell yourself on your application, it is important to remain true to yourself and your achievements. When a candidate goes overboard trying to sell themselves, it raises a few eyebrows. We double check our applications, and if we find out that a candidate has been less than honest about the scale of his or her achievements – even if it was all in the name of making themselves sound a more appealing candidate – we will not be best impressed. We are fully aware that the top MBA courses are competitive but we also know at the same time that the perfect candidate doesn’t exist; when a candidate seems almost too good to be true, they usually are!

Another key factor in a candidate’s application is coherence. We want to attract the best, most driven candidates, and so their motivation in applying for HEC Paris MBA has to be clear. It is completely normal for a candidate to apply for more than one business school, but when someone just blindly applies to the top 25 without thinking about whether that school offers the best experience for them and their professional aspirations, it doesn’t motivate us to accept them. Eclectic choices with little consideration are not an indicator of the strong-decision making and foresight that is so important when studying for an MBA.

Each business school is different, and so it is important for the candidate to carefully consider their choices and only apply for the ones that cater to both their professional goals and personality. We wouldn’t expect a candidate to find that more than four of the top MBAs complement them perfectly, and so their application should reflect this.


IE Business School, Jean Marie Winikates, Director of North America at IE Business School

1. Information that doesn’t add up on the application and is still unclear after the interview.

2. Behavior that exhibits poor judgment.

3. Someone who exhibits goals that do not align with the program outcomes.


IMD, Lisa Piguet, Associate Director MBA Admissions and Marketing

As far as behaviour goes – as you know, our interview process is the most unique in the industry so we get to witness all kinds of behaviours. For me, I do not tolerate people who do not give space to others in a discussion. IMD is 95% international so English is the second language to most of our class (if not the third, fourth or fifth language). Therefore it is really important to me that people give each other the respect and courtesy to express themselves in the best way they know how. If someone in a group discussion does not allow this, I do not tolerate it.

The second part to the question – rejecting someone. We reject people when we see that they have written their own letters of recommendation or if they’ve lied on their application. We also do background checks at IMD (only after someone has been accepted) so if anyone has lied in the application we will find it out here as well and this is automatic grounds for dismissal (obviously we give them a chance to explain or clear things up before dismissing them).


London Business School, Oliver Ashby, Senior Manager, Recruitment & Admissions, MBA Programme

Every communication and information point is a valuable addition to our assessment of a candidate. We have a set of values that define us as a learning community and we look for evidence that candidates are aligned with those when assessing their fit for our school. We do not seek out behaviour to exclude applicants but instead actively seek to champion evidence that a candidate has the right ‘cultural fit’ for LBS. That is to say they demonstrate they are communal, open and engaged. We also look for candidates who we feel are likely to play an enduring role in the schools future.


Michigan RossSoojin Kwon, Director of Admissions

Here are some things that would cause us to reject a seemingly strong MBA applicant:

• Evidence of plagiarism

• Falsification of background

• Poor judgment – could be demonstrated through an essay, a recommendation letter, an interview, a formal or informal interactions

• Lack of cultural awareness and openness to diversity

• Inability to work well with others


Notre Dame Mendoza, Debby Herczeg, Assistant Director, Graduate Business Programs Admissions

Our focus is in ethics and values, so something that may cause us to reject an otherwise strong candidate, would be behavior or information that has shown the candidate to be unethical. There are many situations where a person can fall into this category, so of course, we would review the entire case to see if there would be need for concern.

The additional consideration is values. Does the candidate have any example of not having similar values as the University? Ethics and values are an important part of our curriculum and we hope that all of our graduates represent the program and University based on what they learn here at Notre Dame.


Toronto Rotman, Niki da Silva, Director, Recruitment & Admissions, Full Time MBA

The behaviour that would cause our admissions committee to reject an otherwise strong candidate would be arrogance. The culture at Rotman is a program of equals where individuality is a core value at the School, so a candidate who comes across as arrogant simply won’t be a good fit with others in the program, despite having otherwise impressive qualifications.

We are looking for people who value the contribution and unique skills/experiences others can bring and admitting candidates who believe they are superior to others is far too damaging to the culture to be considered. This arrogance can come across in an admissions interview, sometimes in an essay, and also in reference letters.


The Lauder Institute, (Joint-Degree MA International Studies & Wharton MBA/Penn Law JD), Meghan Ellis, Associate Director of Lauder Admissions

As a program that focuses on international business and management issues, global and regional studies, and cross-cultural proficiency, the Lauder Institute has a strong emphasis on foreign language skills. A successful Lauder applicant must have at least an advanced level of proficiency in one of our non-native language programs (Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hindi, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish).

The only exceptions are that native-level Spanish, French, and Italian speakers can enter our Portuguese program without prior knowledge of the language, and for our new Global program we ask that applicants have strong proficiency in two languages other than English.

The above comments refer specifically to the Lauder Institute – not the Wharton MBA.


UVA Darden, Sara E. Neher, Assistant Dean of MBA Admissions

I’m continually amazed by how some applicants every year are rude, either directly to me, or to members of the Admissions team. Examples are things like signing up for events and not attending, short, terse emails, or canceling a class visit or interview at the last minute and expecting the admissions team to be able to accommodate you at your convenience (amazingly – expecting a class visit when there are not classes, like Fridays).

Treating others with respect is something of paramount importance to Darden. Sometimes rudeness is an indicator of bad character and sometimes it means that the applicant is not really that interested in Darden. In either case, I do not want to admit that person, no matter the quality of their work experience or GMAT.


UNC Kenan-FlaglerSherry Wallace, Director of Admissions

Some of the reasons we would avoid admitting applicants that might appear to be strong candidates, include:

• Candidate perceived to be a mismatch with our school. Maybe the candidate’s values (expressed or witnessed) don’t match Kenan-Flagler values. Maybe the candidate seeks a particular curriculum that we don’t offer or a career outcome that we don’t think we are best suited to help them achieve.

• Candidate has been excessive in contacting the admissions office and requesting individual attention. Too many inquiries, too many requests for one-on-one meetings or phone calls – beyond that which is appropriate. Note that we encourage candidates to engage with us. I’m referring here only to those people whose demands for individual attention are unreasonable.

• Candidate received negative feedback from staff or students. Perhaps the candidate came to campus and was rude or inappropriate with the staff or students they met.

• Candidate doesn’t display sincere interest in being a student at our school. We expect that most applicants will consider multiple schools. Regardless of whether we the top choice or the third choice, we want to see some passion and enthusiasm in the candidate.

• Candidate presented fraudulent information.


Vanderbilt Owen, Christie St. John, Director of Admissions

What are reasons we would deny an otherwise strong candidate? I can think of three main reasons.

First, if we hear from our students that a candidate has acted inappropriately in a social situation with the students, i.e., having said or done something highly offensive, we would not admit the person. It doesn’t happen a lot, but when our students report such an incident, we know that the person would not be a good fit in our community.

Second, if we feel that the person has career goals that are simply not feasible, whether because of their lack of essential work experience, their interpersonal skills, or maybe because they want something that we don’t feel our program can help them with. We talk very frankly and honestly with applicants whose goals don’t seem to align with their experience. We explain that we want them to get a job and that we will do everything we can to help, but they may need to be flexible and be willing to work very hard to get into something they just don’t have the background for. We feel this is the only ethical way to do business – to set people up for success.

Finally, we occasionally “google” some of the people we are interviewing, just to get an idea of what their interests are. Many times we discover fun facts that help us find the right students to connect with the applicant. But once, a colleague actually discovered some very serious criminal allegations against an applicant which led to his incarceration. No mention of this was made in the application, and had we not done some searching, we would not have known about this. Many schools use background checks for all admitted students to verify credentials and check for criminal offenses. We haven’t done that for a while at Vanderbilt but we are considering it now.

There are probably other things but these are at the top of the list.


UCLA Anderson, Jessica Chung, Associate Director, MBA Admissions

Blatant plagiarism in the application essay is something that can make an otherwise strong MBA candidate inadmissible. An applicant can have great academics, work experience and other qualities, but if he/she behaves unethically by copying passages from other sources and passing off as his/her own work, there’s a strong chance that this behavior can continue as a student in the program and that’s not someone we want as a part of our community.


Get clear, practical guidelines for answering the MBA goals essay question. Click here to download our free report.


Round 2 Applicants: Looking for Tips for Specific MBA Application Questions?

Round 2 (and 3) applicants: Are you looking for advice to help you answer specific essay questions on top MBA applications? Are you looking for a resource that offers up-to-date advice for the questions found on THIS YEAR’S apps?

We’d like to introduce you to our updated special report, Top MBA Program Essay Questions: How to Answer Them Right! In this report, you’ll receive school-by-school, question-by-question advice on how to answer the questions on this year’s MBA applications…and just in time to submit those R2 apps!

Download your copy of "Top MBA Program Essay Questions: How to Answer Them Right"

If you want the most detailed advice available for creating the best MBA application possible, then you’ll want to download Top MBA Program Essay Questions: How to Answer Them Right! now!


Top 20 MBA Programs in 2013

Here are the 20 best MBA programs in the U.S. for 2013 according to Forbes:

1. Stanford GSB $80,000 $221,000
2. Chicago Booth $76,000 $200,000
3. Harvard Business School $80,000 $205,000
4. UPenn Wharton $80,000 $205,000
5. Northwestern Kellogg $73,000 $176,000
6. Dartmouth Tuck $72,000 $189,000
7. Columbia Business School  
$74,000 $192,000
8. Duke Fuqua $63,000 $152,000
9. Cornell Johnson $59,000 $155,000
10. Michigan Ross $61,000 $153,000
11. UNC Kenan-Flagler $60,000 $141,000
12. MIT Sloan $70,000 $185,000
13. UCLA Anderson $65,000 $165,000
14. UC Berkeley Haas $71,000 $175,000
15. UVA Darden $67,000 $158,000
16. CMU Tepper $60,000 $135,000
17. Brigham Young Marriott $50,000 $109,000
18. Yale SOM $54,000 $144,000
19. Indiana Kelley $50,000 $120,000
20. Iowa Tippie $46,000 $118,000

For more info, please see Forbes’ lead article “Stanford Tops 2013 List Of America’s Best Business Schools.”

Why the Forbes Ranking Matters

The Forbes ranking is interesting for one simple reason: It focuses exclusively on ROI five years after graduation. This year Forbes looked at the graduates of 2008, the class that graduated into the Great Recession, the financial melt-down, and the collapse of Lehman Brothers and Bear Sterns. It was a tough time to launch a career.

Forbes heard from almost 5,000 grads from 100 schools and “compared their earnings in their first five years out of business school to their opportunity cost (two years of forgone compensation), tuition and required fees to arrive at a ‘5-year M.B.A. Gain.’” It ranks programs based on that pre-tax gain. (For the details of Forbes methodology, click here.) It does not include programs where less than 15% of alumni responded or where there was negative ROI. It also does assume reduced increase in salary without an MBA.

Potential Flaws:

• It relies on reporting from grads who have an interest in their alma mater being highly ranked. In other words, like all surveys, it can be gamed.

• While Forbes does attempt to reflect financial aid and differences in cost of living, it doesn’t reflect disparities in varied industries and functional roles. You are going to go into a specific field and industry. The averages in that industry are going to matter to you more than the average of the graduating class at your business school.

• In its methodology Forbes assumes that without an MBA, the candidates would have had half the increase in salary that they had with the MBA. I don’t know if there is any data supporting that assumption, or if it is generous or stingy.

Take-Aways from the Forbes Ranking

Despite the potential flaws, the Forbes ranking does have value. I noticed or took away the following:

1.  An MBA from a top MBA program pays, and pays well. It doesn’t, or didn’t, pay off as quickly as it did 10 years ago, but it pays. A 3-5 year payback with gravy for the rest of your career is an excellent investment. And if you are lucky enough not to graduate into the kind of almost unprecedented financial disaster the Class of 2008 faced, you should have a shorter payback period and higher gain. This is the clearest conclusion from the Forbes ranking. To me, it is far more important than any individual school’s actual rank or even movement of one school since 2011, when Forbes had its last ranking.

2.  The schools with the shortest payback period were NOT the highest ranked programs. They were BYU Marriott, Indiana Kelley, and Iowa Tippie. See “Busting Two MBA Myths.”

3.  There are some surprising winners (UC Davis, UCLA Anderson, CMU Tepper, Duke, Ross, and UNC Kenan-Flagler) and losers (Yale SOM, UVA Darden, and NYU Stern).

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Use rankings for the data they provide and as sources of insight into trends over time. Don’t view any individual ranking as an influential factor in choosing where to apply or where to attend. And for heaven’s sake, take the time to understand what is actually being ranked and evaluated.

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.

UCLA Anderson 2014 Essay Tips & Deadlines

Learn more about UCLA Anderson.

Los Angeles

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 c, 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.


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)

UCLA’s is a pretty straightforward MBA goals question. What are you professional goals? Define your short-term goal by function and industry. What do you want to do after you earn your MBA and in what industry. If location is an important factor, like emerging economies or Wall Street, include it. If it isn’t important, omit.

Make sure you answer the entire question. How will UCLA Anderson’s program and strengths help you realize your goals? As Anderson advises, reference specific aspects of the program: courses, programs, groups, opportunities, activities. Generalities and platitudes that apply to most top MBA programs will not work.

Optional Essay:

Are there any extenuating circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions Committee should be aware? Please use your best judgment. (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 2012 or 2013 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 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.  

UCLA 2014 Application Deadlines:

Application Deadline Decisions Released
Round 1 October 22, 2013 January 28, 2014
Round 2 January 7, 2014 April 2, 2014
Round 3 April 15, 2014 June 3, 2014

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.

UCLA Anderson Moves Towards Privatization

UCLA Anderson

Anderson to make the move to self-sufficiency.

UCLA announced this week that its MBA program (Anderson) will finally make the transition to a self-supporting program. In an email, Judy Olian, Dean of UCLA Anderson, writes about some of the benefits associated with this upcoming change:

The tuition setting process will become more predictable, faculty assignment to the MBA program more flexible, and the school will receive all MBA tuition. The university at large will retain all state support that had been allocated to Anderson, with the exception of a small amount of state support for the Anderson doctoral and undergraduate accounting minor programs. In every other respect, UCLA Anderson remains a part of UCLA exactly as before. We see this change benefiting both the university and UCLA Anderson, a creative strategy in response to declining funding from the state.

Many consider the decision of UCLA President Mark Yudof a surprise considering the fact that nine months ago the plan was suspended.

Anderson will be the sixth masters program at UCLA to make the move to self-sufficiency, following a Master’s in Financial Engineering, three executive MBAs, and a part-time MBA.

For more details, please see the UCLA Newsroom press release, “UC president approves UCLA Anderson’s proposal for self-supporting M.B.A. program” and the Businessweek article, “UCLA Wins Right to Take MBA Program Private.”

Looking for more info on UCLA Anderson? Check out our UCLA Anderson B-School Zone. 

MBA Admissions: UCLA Anderson & Media/Entertainment


UCLA Anderson

A quick glance at UCLA Anderson currently ranks in 15th place as one of the best business schools, according to US News & World Report (March 2012). It is known for having a particularly strong media and entertainment track.  

Anderson’s Class of 2014 Profile & Media/Entertainment

3335 people applied to UCLA Anderson in 2012; the target class size was 360. The age range of students is 23-39 (with an average of 28) with 5.8 years of work experience (average). The average GMAT score was 704 and the class has an average undergraduate GPA of 3.54.

27% of class of 2014 students have undergraduate degrees in business; 20% in engineering; 16% in economics; 20% in humanities; 11% in math/computer science/physical science/biological science; and 4% in other areas.

In terms of pre-MBA work experience, the largest group of students came from the financial services industry (at 26% of the class). This is followed by 21% in high tech industries and 17% in consulting. 5% of the class has industry experience in entertainment and media, and 4% of the class has experience in real estate.

Anderson Academics Related to Entertainment & Media

One of the trademarks of the Anderson curriculum is its flexibility. The program features nine core courses that students may sequence according to their own career goals. In the fall quarter of the first year, students choose between starting with a marketing course or a finance course (entertainment students would most likely take the marketing course to balance their quant workload). In the winter quarter, students may choose to take the core strategy course or an elective course. (If they choose an elective, then they’ll take the strategy course in the spring. Aspiring consultants will probably want to take the strategy course as early as possible since the material will be relevant in their internships.)

Second year course schedules are designed by each individual student based on his or her chosen academic track and/or specialization(s).

There are four tracks to choose from (consulting, finance, marketing, and a custom track – the combination of two specializations) and numerous specializations that will take students even deeper into their chosen field. Entertainment students will either want to take the marketing track with the entertainment specialization or perhaps design their own track using the custom track option. (See the complete list of specializations here.)

Sample courses in the entertainment specialization include:

  • Digital Business – Peter Guber, CEO Mandalay Entertainment/Richard Rosenblatt, CEO, Demand Media
  • Entertainment Business Models  - Harry Sloan, Chairman/CEO Global Eagle Acquisition Corporation/Andrew Ainsle
  • Entertainment Law – Steve Krone
  • Entertainment Marketing – Sanjay Sood
  • Intellectual Property for Managers – Douglas Lichtman
  • Online Marketing & Web Analytics – Arike Audenhart
  • Strategy Management in Entertainment Industries – Derek Alderton
  • Sports Marketing Management – Luis Goyanes
  • Content Creation in the Digital Age – John MacDonald, former COO/EVP Programming and Digital, OWN

Entertainment Research Centers at UCLA Anderson

UCLA Anderson Entertainment/Media-Related Clubs

Entertainment/Media Hiring Stats at UCLA Anderson

The charts below indicate the hiring stats for 2011 Entertainment students: 

Industry Percent Base Salary Range
Entertainment 7.0% $48,000 – $110,000
New Media 2.9% $70,000 – $160,000
Sports 0.8% Insufficient Data


For internships for the class of 2012, the stats are as follows:

Industry Percent Monthly Salary Range
Entertainment 7.3% $500 – $8,000
New Media 3.7% $1,600 – $8,000
Sports Management 0.9% Insufficient Data


See a list of 2012 UCLA Anderson full-time and internship hirers here.

Are you applying to UCLA’s Anderson School of Business? Please see our UCLA Anderson B-School Zone and Anderson Application Packages for more information on how Accepted.com can help you get accepted.

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