This year we have reduced the number of essays for our MBA application from three to just one required essay. We anticipate that some of you may be feeling relieved that the application just got shorter, but we also know that some of you will be feeling a bit more anxious. After all, you will have fewer words to tell us about yourself and your post MBA plans. This post is intended to share with you our rationale for this change and give you some useful pointers to get you off to a great start.
We reduced the number of essays to only one because we want you to concentrate your energy (and ours) on what matters most. The selected essay serves as an excellent proxy for a face-to-face interview before we have an opportunity to meet you in person, thus rounding off our assessment of the information your are providing on the rest of the application.
This year’s essay question is: What are your short-term and long-term career goals, and how will an MBA from UCLA Anderson specifically help you achieve these goals?
At first glance this question may seem overly simplistic but, if used correctly, the answer can provide the admission committee with lots of valuable information about you and enhance your application. Your essay will help us understand your plans (short and long-term). It also tells us about your self-assessment/awareness and your professional maturity. A good essay should address the path you intend to follow in our program and beyond; connect it to your passions and show some insights into areas you wish to develop. Thoughtful applicants will also look to identify any resources and tools the program may offer to help you achieve your goals. Examples may include classes, activities, clubs and other extra curricular opportunities. The goal is to communicate that you are ready for an MBA and that you have a solid understanding of what is needed to make the most of your experience. And lastly, that you have a clear plan for your post MBA life.
Now that we have laid out the foundation for a good application essay, you may be thinking about how you will be able to stand out from the several hundreds or even thousands of essays that we will be assessing this season. The secret ingredient is “YOU.” Letting a little of your personality, style and passion show through while you speak candidly about your plans will help make your essay distinct and interesting. While we know that most people are not professional writers or even native English speakers, a little personality and specific details can make it more compelling. We suggest that you have friends or family read your drafts to confirm that others understand what you want to convey and that you are adequately answering the questions. It also goes without saying that you should proofread it carefully. A good admissions essay should not have grammatically or typographical errors. We also check your essays for plagiarism, so make sure you always submit your own work.
For those of you that may have additional situations to address such as an unexplained leave off absence from work, or a suboptimal academic performance during a particular time in college, you might consider using our optional essay to address those situations.
For more information on our essays (including optional and reapplicant essays) please visit the application requirements section of our website.
Good luck and happy writing!
UCLA Anderson MBA Admissions and Financial Aid