The UCLA Anderson MBA essay has been improved this year!
2017 UCLA Full-Time MBA Essay Question – Class of 2020
Thankfully, UCLA has fixed the awkward mission-focused attempt at branding within their essay question, and simplified it to what really matters: the goals. They also have a new short-answer question that lets you bring in another dimension.
Describe your short-term and long-term career goals. How can the UCLA Anderson experience add value to your professional development? (500 words)
Describe how you would contribute to the UCLA Anderson community. (250 words)
For the short-answer question especially, it wouldn’t hurt to check out this video that they released in a prior session, so that you get a sense for what they mean by their culture and how they value those who “share success, think fearlessly and drive change”:
You can also refer to past essays and other discussion towards the bottom of this page.
Anderson is one of the most reapplicant-friendly schools out there, and this is reflected by their very generous 750-word essay for those who are trying again:
Reapplicant Essay Question: 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.
There’s also a standard optional essay (250 words) so plenty of opportunity to talk to the adcom about things that matter in your app!
We will be updating our UCLA Anderson essay guide as soon as we can to reflect these changes.
Average GMAT for the Class of 2018 decreased from 718 to 716, and the upper end of the 80% range of scores ticked down from 680 to 760, to 680 to 750. We don’t know about app volumes at this school but it appears that either they’ve been getting fewer candidates applying — which is opposite to every other program — and/or they had trouble getting them to convert that year.
UCLA MBA Application Deadlines
- Rd 1: October 6, 2017 – one of the later ones, which means you’ll get to take your breath after a crazy run in September with other schools’ deadlines hitting first. It also means that (hopefully) you’ll be able to do a better job on your UCLA app because you’ll be well experienced by then! Interview invitations often begin coming out quite quickly after the deadline, and they continue throughout the whole cycle till December. There’s nothing to be interpreted from whether you receive one earlier or later in the sequence.
- Rd 2: January 5, 2018 – another “ouch” Round 2 deadline (sigh nobody listens to the ‘Snark)
UCLA MBA Recommendations1 In 2017 Anderson is joining the standardized recommendation requirements club, so they’re recommender questions are now the same as schools like Yale, Stanford and NYU ask.
- Two recommendations, as is common for most schools. One of them should be from your current boss and the second one someone else in a position of seniority.
- Three standardized questions for them to answer and one optional (See their questions here )
Lots of resources for choosing your recommenders available here on the blahg; if you want more help on who to choose, our Letters of Recommendation App Accelerator walks through the specifics and lets you submit your recommenders’ strategy for feedback from EssaySnark.
UCLA Anderson General Info
from the school
- Anderson Admissions Blog
- Anderson Admissions explained its single application essay when they first came out with it (September 2013)
- UCLA international applicant page which links to the UCLA Graduate Requirements page which says that the TOEFL is required for international applicants educated abroad even if your college education was conducted in English (this is the same as how UC Berkeley does it)
- It is ALL more competitive now – discussing the increase in average GMAT score (and popularity) at UCLA (September 2014)
- essay critique! UCLA Career Goals from a social entrepreneur (December 2013)
- Those media-crazed Californians (February 2013)
- The best waitlist advice ever (February 2012)
We don’t have many Anderson essays reviewed on the blahg, however they look for the same strong career goals as Columbia, Ross, and other schools do, so try these out for some guidance:
- essay critique: Michigan Ross career goals (2011)
- essay critique: another Columbia essay 1: “immediate and long-term post-MBA goals” (2012)
For Reference: Anderson’s Past-Season Questions
Included in case anyone wants to see what UCLA asked before.
Click to view 2016 questions
2016 Essays – EssaySnark’s Analysis
Here’s what we said when last year’s questions came out… remember this analysis is from *last year*.
They’ve kept the question from 2015, which is:
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?
This references their “Think in the Next” values of Share Success, Think Fearlessly, and Drive Change.
Here’s the video that they produced when they first came out with this particular essay:
And here’s a post on their blog from September 2016 which gives you some insights into what’s important and how to approach it .
[end discussion of 2016 questions.]
2015 Essays – EssaySnark’s Analysis
UCLA thankfully improved their application this year: The difficulties in phrasing of the essay question that they introduced last year have been fixed, and they’ve also reverted to two recommendations, from just one that they had required. These are good news for all you BSers. Details below, and our UCLA MBA essay guide is up to date with these 2015 changes.
Our predictions were accurate! Still one essay, and they’ve kept the ‘goals’ portion of the question while maintaining the ‘culture’ angle – but with a much betterly-worded prompt.
Cool! With this question, and the change in their Round 1 schedule, EssaySnark is pleased to see UCLA Anderson, like other schools this season, redeeming themselves from past mistakes and applicant-unfriendly policies. UCLA joins the trend of improving apps! Like MIT, Anderson simplified their one essay question – it’s still a little unwieldy but it’s much much better than they had before.
Here it is for the Class of 2018:
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)
They’ve posted this video as a way to convey the ‘culture’ themes – those phrases “share success, think fearlessly and drive change” are all part of their school principles:
They also pulled in their Round 1 deadline, to October 6th. That’s still one of the later first-round deadlines for the top schools but it’s now three weeks earlier than last year (it was way out on October 22nd then). This standardization actually may not help you all that much, since you’ll likely be feeling pretty burned out by essay writing in the first week of October, having already managed submissions for about a month. The advantage is that you’ll be in the swing of things with your essay writing projects and you will have plenty of experience writing essays for other schools by that time – but the temptation may be very great to re-use one of those other essays for Anderson. And that would be a mistake. When they had a three-weeks-later deadline then at least people could take a break and regroup after the flurry of craziness in September. So not sure this new standardized date is that helpful.
What will help is – hopefully! – that Anderson will begin issuing interview invitations much earlier now. That’s to everyone’s benefit.
The 2015 UCLA Anderson application guide will walk you through what’s important in your pitch – including some critical policies that are rather unusual at UCLA compared to other schools. Be equipped for success with this detailed guide for UCLA!
UCLA MBA recommendation 2015Anderson is using semi-standardized recommender questions for 2015 but actually they’re more different than similar – the first question is an atypical variation from other schools and they have a third question which is totally unique.
- 7/29/15 update: YES! ANDERSON SWITCHED BACK TO TWO RECOMMENDATIONS AGAIN! We had hoped that they would do this, and they have. (Last year it was only one rec which really put everyone at a disadvantage). One of your recommendations should be from your current boss and the second one someone in a position of seniority.
- Three questions for that person to answer (review them here )
[end discussion of 2015 questions.]
Click to view 2014 questions
2014 Essays – EssaySnark’s Analysis
8/1/14 The UCLA essay prompt has been updated; it’s still just one question about goals, but it’s been expanded to conform with the trend of so many other schools talking about “mission” and “principles”. You shouldn’t be using the optional essay for UCLA any more than you should for most other schools (in other words, don’t submit it unless you need it for something specific to explain about a weakness in your profile).
2014 UCLA full-time MBA question – Class of 2017
- UCLA Anderson is distinguished by three defining principles: Share Success, Think Fearlessly, Drive Change. What principles have defined your life and pre-MBA career? How do you believe that UCLA Anderson’s principles, and the environment they create, will help you attain your post-MBA career goals? (750 words maximum)
There’s also a reapplicant essay, and an optional essay of up to 250 words (remember that should be used only to explain stuff, not just to talk about new things that you want to talk about). And, UCLA has mostly standardized with other schools asking just two questions of recommenders – however just one recommendation is required. That’s gonna be tough.
This year’s essay question sounds remarkably similar to Haas and their “defining principles”; hate to call Anderson a copycat but this is far from original. Instead of Kellogg’s “Think Bravely” we now have “Think Fearlessly.” We had actually applauded Kellogg’s decision to drop language around their brand tagline from their essays this year, and now here is Anderson falling into that same trap – or more precisely, forcing all of you BSers into it. At least “Share Success” is easy to understand, though on first blush it’s pretty one-dimensional, too.
These types of essays are NOT easy to write. You need to spend time ferreting out what in heck the school means by these “principles” and then you need to come up with stories from your past that illustrate how you’re someone who shares them – and THEN you need to communicate your plan for your future. All of that in 750 words. Sheesh. Not doing anyone any favors, UCLA.
[End 2014 questions section.]
Click to view 2013 questions
Anderson now has just one question, focused on the essentials:
What are your short-term and long-term career goals, and how will an MBA from UCLA Anderson specifically help you achieve these goals? (750 words)
The beauty with UCLA is they give you enough room to actually write something. This July 2013 post from Anderson Admissions explains their changes.
[end discussion of 2013 questions.]
Click to view 2012 questions
- What is your proudest achievement outside the workplace, and how has it impacted you?
- What are your short-term and long-term career goals, and how will an MBA from UCLA Anderson specifically help you achieve these goals?
[end discussion of 2012 questions.]
The UCLA MBA essay guide is the 2016 version. It will be updated when we know more about the UCLA application requirements for 2017.