UCLA Anderson Application Essay Tips, 2022-2023
What makes UCLA Anderson stand out among MBA programs is its location in a large 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.
Essay: For the 2022–2023 application year, we have one essay question that is required for first-time applicants and optional for re-applicants:
Tell us about a recent personal or professional achievement and how it connects to your MBA goals. (250 words maximum)
Strong essays describe the impact of your achievement and clarify its connection to your future MBA plans in the short- and long-term. We look forward to learning about the specific ways your achievement helped set you up for future success.
While this is a new essay prompt, Anderson holds on to the concept of impact. Different from last year’s future-looking query, this year’s essay question asks you to talk about something you have already achieved and how it ties specifically to your MBA goals. With only 250 words, you will need to be concise yet show introspection.
While we like to recommend the STAR method to tell stories in essays, 250 words makes for a quick STAR! Consider using 150–200 words to talk about your recent achievement and then 50–100 to tie in how this achievement has informed your goals. Think about combining your Situation and Task, and then focus on your result and impact. Next, clarify the connection to your goals. Reflect on whether the experience informed your short- or long-term goal and start there. Be sure to talk about both, given that the prompt specifically asks about both. Anderson will be looking to see the link between your short- and long-term plans.
If you are making a career change or pivot, this would be a great opportunity to share a story about what inspired you to make that change or pivot. If you are looking to advance in your current career, think about a story that helps explain why you need an MBA for your future plans.
Remember Anderson’s three pillars: We Share Success, We Think Fearlessly, and We Drive Change. Highlight how your experience will help you share success within Anderson’s community while following your career dreams and thinking fearlessly to innovate and drive change!
Optional Essay: No preference is given in the evaluation process to those who choose to respond to this optional essay, so please use your best judgment:
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.