The Anderson EMBA‘s two questions together cover past, present, and future, in that order. Essay 1 addresses the past by asking for a particular story drawn from your experience, and essay 2 addresses the present and future by asking about why now is the right time for you to be pursuing this degree. The questions indicate that the adcom believes the personal informs the professional; who you are defines your career and your work. Consequently, who you are as a person matters.
It helps to see these essays as two phases of a continuum:
- In essay 1, portray qualities, skills, and experience(s) that support your goals.
- In essay 2, show that your future plans fulfill the mission and purpose of the character portrayed in essay 1.
UCLA Anderson EMBA application essays
UCLA EMBA essay #1
Legendary UCLA basketball Coach John Wooden once said that one’s leadership is derived from one’s character. Please provide an example of a time when your own leadership was at its best. (500 words max)
There are two key words in this question: leadership and character. The implication in the latter word is that UCLA seeks applicants who not only have the requisite track record of leadership and impact that is commonly sought by top EMBA programs, but also gravitas, depth as a human being. Your chosen example should include leadership/impact and gravitas/depth.
You can select a topic for this essay either from your work experience or outside it – but keep the phrase “at its best” on your radar. What does “your leadership at its best” mean to you? This point reflects your character. For most people, I suggest going with a professional example in order to give the adcom a glimpse of you in your work environment, handling important and high-stakes situations. Go with a non-work example if it has some specific strategic value for your application. Also, use a relatively recent experience if possible, to allow the adcom to see the person who will show up in the classroom.
Let the story itself carry most of the weight in the essay – depict not just the story of leadership but how you inspired others to follow due to your character, example, and leadership style. At the end of the essay, write a short concluding paragraph explicitly summarizing why this is you as a leader at your best.
UCLA EMBA essay #2
Why are you interested in pursuing an MBA at this time? Please share any goal(s) you may have that the MBA will help you achieve. (500 words max)
Starting the question prominently with “why now?” indicates that the factor of timing as you perceive it is as important as the goals themselves to the adcom. There is a practical dimension to this interest that should be reflected in your essay.
First I’ll discuss “why now” in both a micro and a macro view. The micro view looks at the particulars of your current situation – your current responsibilities and challenges and likely next step. This should position you at the right experience, responsibility, and decision-making level for a competitive EMBA like UCLA’s, and the next step should be a role for which the EMBA learning is either essential or at least a clear asset. The macro view looks at the longer-term career vision and the continuum of your career. Within that continuum, why is now the pivot point where you should make the investment of time, effort, and (most likely) money? How will pursuing the Executive MBA now prepare you not just for the next step but for the long term?
In describing your goals, indicate why you are planning that path. For shorter-term goals, detail specific positions, company, scope of responsibilities, and desired impact (i.e. what your desired “footprint” would be). Longer-term goals need less detail but should present a clear direction, building on the earlier roles.
The question does not ask you why you are choosing UCLA’s EMBA, but you can add a brief discussion of this point. If you do, be specific: describe how the program meets your key learning needs; refer to the features of the program that are most important to you.
UCLA EMBA essay #3 (for reapplicants)
Please describe your career progress since you last applied and how you have strengthened your candidacy. Include updates on your short-term and long-term career goals. (500 words max)
As a reapplicant, you should show growth from the previous application. Discuss professional developments such as promotions, awards, and new projects, as well as any significant community involvements and/or educational endeavors. Describe the activity/experience and note its positive impact if any, plus what you have gained or learned from it. Try to include an anecdote for at least 1-2 of the activities. Finally, be selective and present only those activities that are relevant and enhance your application and candidacy in some way.
If you have refined or revised your goals, explain it and make a strong case for why you are now pursuing this altered path.
UCLA EMBA essay #4 (Optional)
Are there any additional circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions Committee should be aware? (500 words maximum)
The phrase “should be aware” indicates that this essay should be used to explain any extenuating circumstances, as well as points that are important to fully understand your candidacy. It’s not the place to add enhancements.
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UCLA Anderson Executive MBA application deadlines 2022 – 2023
|Round 1||December 1, 2022|
|Round 2||February 1, 2023|
|Round 3||May 1, 2023|
Source: UCLA Anderson EMBA website