University of California Los Angeles (Anderson) Essay Analysis, 2008-2009

1. How has your family and/or community helped shape your development? Please include information about where you grew up, and perhaps a highlight or special memory of your youth. (750 words)

The power in this essay comes not from stating facts, but from being reflective and thinking about the events, experiences and people who 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 youwhether 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 Admission Committee’s truly personal introduction to you, and you want to give them a sense of the type of personality and contributor you will be on campus.

2. What experience has had the greatest impact on who you are today and why? (500 words)

This question is personal in nature, though you can draw your experience from any realm—personal, professional, community, external political, etc. In answering this question, you would be best to identify an experience that allows you to discuss a “before and after” scenario—to illustrate tangible change in your behavior, thinking, values, etc. Although the experience itself is quite important and should be presented in such a way that the reader “feels” the impact, the change and the reflections on it will show the magnitude of the event and thus reveal its true gravity.

3.  Discuss your short-term and long-term career goals. What is your motivation for pursuing an MBA now at UCLA Anderson? (750 words)

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

4.  Audio or text:  Select and respond to ONE of the following questions. We would like you to respond to the question by recording an audio response (up to 1 minute).  If you are unable to submit your response via audio, then please upload a written response (250 words) instead.  The supported file types for audio files are: .avi, .wav, .mp3, .wmv, .midi, .wma, .aiff, .au, .mp4

We welcome UCLA to the “unorthodox ‘essay’ club,” along with Chicago and NYU, which both have creative essays that essentially extend the writer blank pages. In approaching this statement, it is best not to be distracted by the audio element to start. You should contemplate your answer in a vacuum and then, once you have settled on your approach, consider how you want to present it via audio.
Of course the audio extends you some liberties that text does not. You may want to incorporate audio effects, present your “essay” in an experimental style, etc. All bets are off, and any approach should be fine. Just remember, your message is more important than the effects.

A)  What does entrepreneurial spirit mean to you?

If you are choosing this “essay,” you might connect the meaning of entrepreneurship to something that you have already accomplished or to a dream that has long been with you. By illustrating vision, a vision emphasized through your audio recording, you should be able to establish credibility and make believers out of the Admissions Committee. Clearly, you will need to convey that you are passionate about this spirit in order to successfully do this.

B) What global issue matters most to you and why?

Remember, this is not the place to voice your political views or air grievances. In this essay, you have the opportunity to show that you are keenly aware of the world—not preachy—and that you take personal ownership of issues that are affecting your conscience, community and beyond. So, you should not just attack a political or social issue, but must consider your personal connection with it. An excellent “essay” will show an unusually strong “relationship” with the matter and prove that you are deeply affected by its implications.

C) What is something people will find surprising about you? 

Generally, this option can be used to add “spice” to your profile and enable you to quickly differentiate yourself from others. For this essay to be effective, you need to draw a stark contrast between the “surprising” aspect and what is expected of you. Further, it would be best to show accomplishment in this “surprising field.” So, if you are a banker who loves karaoke, it probably won’t do that much for you. However, if you are a banker and perform in the opera, you will likely catch the attention of the MBA Admissions Committee as a singular individual.

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