University of California Los Angeles (Anderson) Essay Analysis

Note: The following essay questions pertain to the previous academic year. This section will be updated when the new question are released in early to mid-July of 2008. 

1. Please provide us with a summary of your personal and family background.  Include information about your parents and siblings, where you grew up, and perhaps a special memory of your youth.  (Please limit to 2 pages, double-spaced)

The power in this essay comes not from stating facts, but from being reflective and thinking about the events, experiences and people that have shaped your life. While this can be a brief whimsical memoir, it is important that you identify the factors that have made you who you are today. This does not need to be a chronological story, but the reader needs to gain an understanding of a set of values that are imbued in you – whether overtly or implicitly — via your experiences. Not all of this essay needs to be “sunshine”, but if you are going to approach difficult topics it is essential that you do so without bitterness or resentment. This is the committees first and only truly personal introduction to you and you want to implicitly give them a sense of the type of personality and contributor you will be on campus.

2. Discuss a situation, preferably work related, where you have taken a significant leadership role.  How does this event demonstrate your managerial potential?  (Please limit to 1 page, double-spaced)

With one page, it can certainly be a challenge to keep this essay within its limits. If you are like most candidates, you probably have one obvious choice from your work experience; still, if there is something absolutely remarkable that you achieved elsewhere, via your community experience for example, then it could be worth discussing. As you write your leadership essay, consider whether there is direct cause and effect between your intentions and actions. The reader needs to understand that you were decisive and led with a clear sense of purpose. After you have established how you led effectively, it is important to remember that there is a reflective piece; you need to analyze your skills and offer insight into how you will rely on them again going forward. Note: Many people attempt to write about how the experience gave them more confidence as a leader and that they will be more inclined to seek leadership in the future; this is the most obvious conclusion and thus is terribly clichéd; it does not even directly address your managerial potential.

3. Discuss your career goals. Why are you are seeking an MBA degree at this particular point in your career? Specifically, why are you applying to UCLA Anderson? (Please limit to 2 pages, double-spaced)

Because of significant overlap from one MBA application to the next, we have produced the “MBA Mission Personal Statement Guide.” We offer our guide to candidates free of charge, via our online store.  Please feel free to download your copy today.

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