What MBA Admissions Looks For In Work Experience

UCLA Anderson School of Management

Tips For UCLA Anderson’s 2022-2023 Mba Essays

UCLA Anderson School of Management just released their MBA application for the 2022-2023 admissions cycle. This year, the B-school’s application includes one required essay and an optional essay. Stacy Blackman, founder of Stacy Blackman Consulting, recently delve into both and offered insights into what exactly admissions officers are looking for.


Anderson’s diverse MBA community is one of the B-school’s most remarkable traits. Part of that has to do with the location and the various types of people and talent it attracts.

“The best thing about earning an MBA in Los Angeles is that it’s incredibly diverse, so no matter who you are, you can find your people,” Aliyah Lee, a first-year who studied engineering at Northwestern, tells P&Q. “Whether you’re into surfing or archery or glassblowing, you will be able to find people who are also interested in that same thing. No matter where you’re from, even the tiniest countries, you will come here and find a community of people from the same place. And Anderson really encourages you to make those connections, both with people like you and people unlike you.”

Blackman stresses the importance of speaking to Anderson’s diverse community in your application.

“Anderson’s MBA class is small and close-knit,” she says. “Accordingly, your personality and fit with the program should shine in your UCLA MBA application. Review Anderson’s values before starting this set of essays. These critical values are: Share Success, Think Fearlessly, and Drive Change.”


Anderson’s required essay prompt asks applicants the following:

Tell us about a recent personal or professional achievement and how it connects to your MBA goals. (250 words maximum)

Since the required essay can reference either professional or personal goals, Blackman suggests considering experiences from both your community and professional career.

“Remember, UCLA is looking to understand how you are different from other applicants. Therefore, stay away from generic stories,” Blackman says. “Think about examples that were pivotal in your life. For example, you may have recently had your first leadership experience, and it showed you the importance of management training. Or ignited a passion for a specific career or industry.”

Also, be sure to show how your personal values reflect the values at Anderson.

“This question is seeking to understand how you think, act, and feel,” Blackman says. “Using a clear and detailed example will bring your application alive. Make sure you explain why you chose this achievement.”


The optional essay prompt asks applicants the following:

Are there any extenuating circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions Committee should be aware? (250 words maximum)

There is no need to respond to the optional essay prompt if you don’t have any special circumstances, Blackman says. Typical reasons for including an optional essay include: gaps in work experience, poor grades, or no recommendation letter.

“Be clear and concise if you choose to write this essay for your UCLA MBA application,” Blackman says. “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.”

Sources: Stacy Blackman Consulting, P&Q, UCLA Anderson

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