How to Approach UCLA Anderson’s MBA Essay
The University of California Los Angeles’ Anderson School of Management, which ranked number 16 in P&Q’s Top Business Schools ranking, places heavy emphasis on its values.
Its three core values – Share Success, Think Fearlessly, Drive Change – are central to how the program defines its character. Stacy Blackman, founder of Stacy Blackman Consulting, recently discussed how applicants should approach the Anderson MBA essays with these values in mind.
Anderson asks applicants to respond to the following required essay:
How have recent events influenced the impact you would like to make in your community, career, or both? (250 words maximum)
This question is incredibly important this year as the past few years have seen major societal events – from social justice movements to a global health pandemic.
“As you structure this essay, think about telling one or two pivotal stories about you,” Blackman writes. “Examples will bring your application alive. Remember, UCLA is looking to understand how you are different from other applicants. Also, Anderson wants to understand your values. Consider moments in the past year that have triggered reflection for you.”
Blackman also suggests that applicants think about the Anderson values in context to their own character and goals.
“How do you plan to use those values in your post-Anderson life?” Blackman writes. “This UCLA MBA application essay covers both the professional and personal sides of your candidacy. Consider both your community and career. Also, Anderson is looking for students that are engaged, humble, and open.”
The optional essay at Anderson asks applicants the following:
Are there any extenuating circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions Committee should be aware? (250 words maximum)
Blackman recommends that applicants utilize the optional essay to add context to areas such as a gap in employment or low grades.
“If you choose to write this essay for your UCLA MBA application, be clear and concise,” she writes. “First, explain the situation briefly. Then, tell what has changed and improved. Finally, focus on explanations rather than excuses. The best UCLA MBA application essays will show you have moved on from your challenges. Therefore, improvements in your life make a great case for admission.”
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