UPDATE: The tips for the 2012 MBA UCLA Anderson application are now available online. Please post questions or comments to the new post.
This UCLA Anderson 2011 MBA Application tip post is one of a series of posts providing MBA application and essay advice for applicants to top MBA programs around the world. You can access the entire series at https://blog.accepted.com/acceptedcom_blog/tag/2011-mba-application-tips. My tips for answering UCLA Anderson’s essay questions are in red below.
GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS: 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.
First-time applicants — 2 required essays:
1. What event or life experience has had the greatest influence in shaping your character and why? (750 words)
Although this is new question and new approach, it continues the Anderson tradition of starting with a non-professional question. This lead-off reveals the importance Anderson places on learning about you as a person. What motivates you? What has touched you?
Choose your greatest “Ah-ha!” moment. What happened? How has it shaped you? Why was it so influential? FYI, the answers to these least three questions in this order could be a great structure for your essay.
Please note that this question is not asking about your professional goals or your educational aspirations. It is asking about you and your character.
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)
UCLA’s is a pretty straightforward MBA goals question. What are you professional goals? Why do you want an MBA now? How will UCLA Anderson’s program and strengths help you realize your goals? As always be specific and make sure you answer all elements of the question.
3. OPTIONAL: You may respond to the following question via written essay, audio or video clip: What is something people will find surprising about you?
Anderson is one of the first top MBA programs to encourage audio/video responses in an MBA application. If you are comfortable with these media, take advantage of your creative talents. If not, use the good ol’ written word.
Although this question is optional, responding to it means you have one more chance to present a different facet of your qualifications and experience to the Anderson’s admissions committee. I strongly encourage you to write it, speak it, or film it. Whatever you prefer.
You may want to listen to a few audio clips that caught the adcom’s fancy in the past. Click on “Audio Animations” at http://www.anderson.ucla.edu/x24219.xml . For these clips, the video was produced by UCLA film students, but the audio was the work of Anderson applicants.
4. OPTIONAL: Are there any extenuating circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions Committee should be aware? (250 words)
If there are extenuating circumstances that would add perspective or “explain” a weakness, you can discuss them here.
Three 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.
- Essays that Stick, a webinar recording.
- Video in Applications, a series of blog posts.
- MBA 5 Fatal Flaws, an email course.