Hello, and thanks for your interest in UCLA Anderson! My name is Adam, and I've answered a number of e-mail and telephone questions during this season. Throughout this process, I've learned much about what it takes to be noticed by our admissions committee. Without further ado, I present to you my top tips for a successful application:
Envision and plan your detailed path to success through Anderson
Before you can even consider applying to Anderson, you should be able to concisely answer the following questions:
- Why is an MBA the right choice for you right now?
- Why is Anderson the school that makes the most sense for you? Do our strengths match yours?
- What specific programs interest you, and how can you and these programs mutually benefit each other?
Apply when your application is its strongest
Although many students are very concerned with meeting the round 1 deadline (October 9!), the truth is that there isn't any competitive advantage to applying for round 1 over round 2; they're viewed the same by our admissions committee. Accordingly then, rushing to meet the round 1 deadline (and therefore having a lower-quality application) simply doesn't make sense: apply when your application is its strongest!
Study hard for the GMAT (and the TOEFL)
A high GMAT score is like grease for your application: it simply helps your application to ease on through the admissions process!
But seriously, folks, our admissions committee takes great care to ensure that the students who are admitted are equipped to be successful here at Anderson, and so they typically look for demonstrated mathematics ability from each applicant. Although such a demonstration can take many forms, one of the easiest and most up-to-date ways to show off your math skills is by acing the Quant section of the GMAT. Additionally, if you're taking the TOEFL, be sure to practice beforehand. You might even consider downloading Skype and trying out your English with a friendly native-speaker who's in "Skype me" mode!
Choose recommenders who will take the time to evaluate you well
Many applicants get too hung up on the title of their recommenders, thinking that our committee will value their CEO's opinion more than that of their direct supervisor, and while it's true that some CEOs might write great letters, mostly they don't. Whenever possible, ask your direct supervisors to write letters for you: they're the ones who have the detailed, day-to-day knowledge that we're looking for. Consider giving your recommenders a current resume to let them know how you've been active in ways that they might not know about.
To get an idea of the questions that your recommenders will be asked, check our online application.
Put a particular emphasis on leadership in your application
Being an MBA is all about managing and leading other people, so be certain to spend time detailing how you have been a leader in whatever it was that you were doing (work, clubs, and other groups). Cite and detail specific examples in your essays, and make sure that your recommenders will be able to speak up on your behalf.
Minimize the possible irritation to the committee caused by your application
Finally, be certain that everything that you submit is easy to read and error-free (including your self-scanned transcripts--consider e-mailing them to a friend or associate to ensure that everything is legible)! Try to put polish all of your materials to the extent that the committee will breeze through them without being able to find fault. Also, give serious consideration to encoding your audio essay submission as a .mp3--it's the format that's mostly like to come across loud and clear.
Good luck with your application!