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Sideshow Bob: Madam, your children are no more . . . than a pair of ill-bred troublemakers.
Homer: Lisa too?
Sideshow Bob: Especially Lisa . . . but especially Bart.
–The Simpsons, Season 8, Episode 169
We want to thank the UCLA Anderson School of Management for giving us the rare opportunity to quote from an episode of The Simpsons. Sideshow Bob’s amusing misuse of “especially” is somehow applicable to Anderson’s paltry essay question offerings this season. Because the school requires only one essay, you will need to be especially careful to pay attention to all the other parts of your application as well—though you should always be especially attentive to them anyway. With just the one essay, which is largely professional, you will need to make the most of your interview, short-answer responses, recommendations, and resume to ensure that the Anderson admissions committee gets a full and well-rounded picture of you as a candidate.
Essay 1: We believe that the best results are achieved when you share success, think fearlessly and drive change. With this in mind, what are your goals at UCLA Anderson and in your short-term and long-term career? (750 words maximum)
The first sentence of this essay prompt—which presents Anderson’s defining principles of “share success, think fearlessly, drive change”—should be seen as instructive, but you do not need to write specifically about sharing success, thinking fearlessly, and/or driving change. These themes can be implied within the stories you share, and you can choose to speak to just one of the three qualities or to two of three; you do not necessarily have speak to all three directly.
As you write this essay, start by offering some personal or professional context—possibly some background information that connects in some way with the principles Anderson holds dear. Then, relate the values you have highlighted to your well-thought-out short- and long-term goals. Ideally, these goals will be ambitious but still realistic. Anderson does not need you to propose a new job that no one has ever imagined possible before—the admissions committee simply needs to understand that you have clearly envisioned your exciting path and that you own it. With your goals firmly stated and supported by the context you have offered, you can then delve into your goals for your time as an Anderson MBA student. For this part of the essay, you will certainly need to do your homework. For your argument to be effective and convincing, you must have a nuanced understanding of the school’s offerings. Further, you cannot merely list those offerings but must explain how they are integral to your growth and your experience. You want to show not just what you will gain from your Anderson MBA experience, but also how you will be an active participant at the school, all within the context (implicitly or explicitly) of the values it espouses.
Optional essay: Are there any extenuating circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions Committee should be aware? Please use your best judgment. (250 words maximum)
However tempted you might be, this is not the place to use a strong essay you wrote for another school or to offer a few anecdotes that you were unable to incorporate into 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.
For a thorough exploration of Anderson’s academic program/merits, defining characteristics, crucial statistics, social life, academic environment and more, please check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guide to UCLA Anderson School of Management.
The Next Step—Mastering Your UCLA Anderson Interview: Many MBA candidates find admissions interviews stressful and intimidating, but mastering this important element of the application process is definitely possible—the key is informed preparation. And, on your way to this high level of preparation, we offer our free Interview Primers to spur you along! Download your free copy of the UCLA Anderson Interview Primer today.