What exactly UCLA Anderson is trying to achieve with its incredibly straightforward approach to application essays is hard to figure out. The school wants to know that you have purpose in pursuing your MBA—and in applying to Anderson in particular—and to understand any pitfalls in your candidacy (via the optional essay), but other than that…? Anderson does not seem to want to get to know its applicants’ personalities or give them an opportunity to differentiate themselves via their essays. So, to stand out to the school, you will have to showcase your personality in your resume and interview and encourage your recommenders to highlight your personal characteristics where appropriate. Anderson may be fighting it out with Darden to have the admissions committee that wants to learn the least about its candidates through their essays and, just like Darden, may be inadvertently causing committed applicants a great deal of anxiety, because such applicants want to offer more. The bottom line is that this is what the school gives you to work with, so make the most of it…
Because personal statements are similar from one application to the next, we have produced the mbaMission Personal Statement Guide, which helps applicants write this style of essay for any school. We offer this guide to candidates free of charge, via our online store. Please feel free to download your copy today.
Do not use up precious word count here detailing your professional career and accomplishments to date, but do include some general reference to your past work experience to frame why you need an MBA education to attain your stated goals. Then clearly explain what Anderson offers in particular that will help you. Avoid telling the school what it already knows about itself, and instead strive to demonstrate links between specific offerings at the school and your aspirations. You will need to do your research to best identify direct ties between what Anderson offers and your professional goals, personal beliefs, study style, etc. The deeper your knowledge of the school, the easier pinpointing specific resources will be in the context of your future success, and thus, the more effective your essay will be. Take time to go beyond the school’s view book and Web site and contact students and alumni—and, ideally, visit the school and attend a class.
For a thorough exploration of UCLA Anderson’s academic program/merits, defining characteristics, crucial statistics, social life, academic environment and more, please check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guide to the UCLA Anderson School of Management.
OPTIONAL ESSAY: The following essay is optional. No preference is given in the evaluation process to applicants who submit an optional essay. Please note that we only accept written essays.
Are there any extenuating circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions Committee should be aware? (250 words maximum)
However tempted you might be, this is not the place to paste in a strong essay from another school or to offer a few anecdotes that you were unable to use in any of your other essays. Instead, this is your opportunity—if needed—to address any lingering questions that an admissions officer might have about your candidacy, such as a poor grade or overall GPA, a low GMAT score, a gap in your work experience, etc. In our mbaMission Optional Statement Guide, available through our online store, we offer detailed advice on when and how to take advantage of the optional essay (including multiple sample essays) to help you mitigate any problem areas in your profile.
RE-APPLICANTS – ONE REQUIRED ESSAY: Reapplicants who applied for the class entering in fall 2012 or 2013 are required to complete the following essay: Please describe your career progress since you last applied and ways in which you have enhanced your candidacy. Include updates on short-term and long-term career goals, as well as your continued interest in UCLA Anderson. (700 words maximum)
Whether you have improved your academic record, received a promotion, begun a new and exciting project, increased your community involvement or taken on a personal challenge of sorts, the key to success with this essay is conveying a very deliberate path of achievement. Anderson wants to know that you have been actively striving to improve yourself and your profile, and that you have seized opportunities during the previous year to do so, because an Anderson MBA is vital to you. The responses to this essay question will vary greatly from one candidate to the next, because each person’s needs and experiences differ. We are more than happy to provide one-on-one assistance with this highly personal essay to ensure that your efforts over the past year are presented in the best light possible.