UPDATE: The tips for the 2010 MBA UCLA Anderson application are now available online. Please post questions or comments to the new post.
Application Deadline: Decision Released By:
Round 1 Oct 9, 2008 Jan 8, 2009
Round 2 Jan 8, 2009 Mar 26, 2009
Round 3 Apr 2, 2009 Jun 4, 2009
My comments are in red.
This year, UCLA has modified its application and added a required fourth question. However, in an original twist, it limits that question to 250 words or a one-minute audio. I believe Anderson is the first MBA program to encourage a non-visual response to an essay question. Separately, it is giving you more opportunity to introduce the non-professional side of you in this year’s application, specifically question #2.
The UCLA Anderson Admissions Committee is interested in getting to know you on both a professional and personal level. We encourage you to be introspective, genuine, and succinct. We are more concerned with the content of your essays than their form or style.
All responses to essays must be on double-spaced pages that are uploaded in document form, except for Essay 4 for first-time applicants and Essay 3 for reapplicants, which may be submitted as an audio file instead. (Please note the word limits in parentheses.)
Four required essays:
1. How has your family and/or community helped shape your development? Please include information about where you grew up, and perhaps a highlight or special memory of your youth. (750 words)
For years similar questions have been UCLA’s first and one of its longer essays. That status reveals the importance UCLA places on getting to know you as a human being.
Choose 1-3 important elements of your background and youth to discuss in this essay. You can focus on your community, family life, vacations, mealtime, seminal experiences or events that were formative. The key is to highlight particular topics and not write the sweeping (and superficial) bio. Avoid “I was born in Timbuktu and when I was 4 we moved to Outer Mongolia and then when I was …” or the equivalent.
One of the differences between this year’s #1 and last year’s is the introduction of community to the question. Community is an important value at Anderson. If it has been important to you, you may want to focus on its role in your development.
2. What experience has had the greatest impact on who you are today and why? (500 words)
New question. Minimize or eliminate overlap between your responses to #1 and #2. They should complement each other.
The experience is important, but more important is how you answer the second part of the question. In order to answer this question, you will need to reveal how you are different, how you behave differently as a result of this transformational experience.
3. Discuss your short-term and long-term career goals. What is your motivation for pursuing an MBA now at UCLA Anderson? (750 words)
UCLA’s is a pretty straightforward goals question. What are you goals? Why now? How will UCLA Anderson help you achieve your goals. As always be specific and make sure you answer all elements of the question.
4. Audio or text: Select and respond to ONE of the following questions. We would like you to respond to the question by recording an audio response (up to 1 minute). If you are unable to submit your response via audio, then please upload a written response (250 words) instead. The supported file types for audio files are: .avi, .wav, .mp3, .wmv, .midi, .wma, .aiff, .au, .mp4
a. What does entrepreneurial spirit mean to you?
b. What global issue matters most to you and why?
c. What is something people will find surprising about you?
New question. As with all questions that give you a choice, choose the option that allows you to present a different and impressive experience — one not discussed in a previous essay. If you ever ran your own business or worked in a start-up, “A” may be the one for you. If you have been involved in global business, have participated in community service activities addressing global issues, or want to have impact on a particular global issue, perhaps “B” is the question you should answer. And “C” could be perfect for someone from a seemingly common background with a distinctive hobby, interest, or twist to his or her experience.
5. OPTIONAL: Are there any extenuating circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions Committee should be aware? (250 words)
Last year, 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.