What makes UCLA Anderson stand out among MBA programs is its unique location in a city with many different industries, its collaborative culture, and the flexibility to customize your business school experience. Keep these characteristics in mind when completing your one required application essay for the school, and perhaps the optional essay as well.
How have recent events influenced the impact you would like to make in your community, career, or both? (250 words maximum)
Over the past year and half, we have seen new norms established, then changed, and then changed again. The pace of change has been simultaneously breathtaking and scary. As a center for innovation, Anderson wants you to reflect on and explain how these events have influenced your personal future. This personalization is key to making your essay stand out. With only 250 words, your essay will need to be concise yet show introspection.
The impact you want to make ties to your aspirations. Think about the opportunities you see in your future industry—the innovation or change you want to drive. This is more than just your goals, it includes the future you hope to create in a broader sense. Be sure to speak about your impact and not just your career plans. These things can make a difference and show that you wrote your essay specifically for Anderson.
A lot has happened recently. Your event could involve how COVID-19 has directly affected you or your community, it could be how George Floyd’s death has created greater momentum for social change against racism, or it could be something that has personally happened to you, your family, your community, or your career. Being personal here will demonstrate that you understand the opportunities for innovation in your future.
Community is an important part of Anderson’s culture. The admissions committee wants to see how you think of yourself as a part of your current community. Showing that you are an active member of your current community will indicate that you will be an active member of the Anderson community. You might consider your geographical community, your professional community, or a community related to one of your extracurricular pursuits. If you are a career changer, this might be about a personal event that has influenced your new future career plans. If you are progressing in your current industry, it allows you to show how you want to continue to innovate in your area. Explain clearly how and why the community or industry involved will benefit.
Remember Anderson’s three pillars: We Share Success, We Think Fearlessly, and We Drive Change. Highlight how you will share success within your community or career while thinking fearlessly to innovate and drive change!
Optional Essay: Are there any extenuating circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions committee should be aware? (250 words maximum)
The optional essay is truly that—optional. This is a place where you can address any questions that the admissions team might have when looking over your application. Usually, these questions center on your academic readiness, your career potential, or your choice of recommender. This essay is an opportunity to explain to admissions what was happening “behind the scenes” that they couldn’t glean from the other parts of your application. Were you working a full-time job to support your family while in undergrad, which might have affected your grades? Have you chosen someone other than your direct supervisor as a recommender? Is there a gap on your resume? Use this essay to provide the bigger picture. But if you don’t have any extenuating circumstances, best to leave this one unanswered.