My colleague Ilana Van Allen and I recently attended the MBA Tour Fair event in Downtown Los Angeles, just a ½ hour away from UCLA Anderson (or a bit more time in rush hour!). We were excited to have a full house (standing room only!) at our information session, and during the fair, Ilana and I (along with two current Anderson student volunteers) spoke with over 200 individuals interested in our program! As we chatted with many future UCLA Anderson applicants, we found that there were a few questions that kept coming up time and time again, so we wanted to share the top three Frequently Asked Questions from this event and their answers, as we hope they will be helpful to you as you start on your own MBA application.
FAQ #1: How important is having a quantitative background/skillsets in the context of my application evaluation?
We look to your application as an indicator to evaluate whether you will be able to handle the academic rigor of our program, especially for our quantitative core courses. One way we evaluate your quantitative skillset is by looking at your test scores (GMAT/GRE) and quantitative skills developed during your work experience and other non-work activities. While our MBA core classes do not have any prerequisites, prior undergraduate coursework/knowledge of statistics is recommended to prepare for MBA coursework. All students are expected to also have a working knowledge of how to use spreadsheets (e.g., Microsoft Excel). That said, our Anderson community is made up of both “quants” and “poets” so do not feel discouraged if you do not feel that you are true “quant” – we offer our incoming students the resources and optional prep courses in both Math and Excel to help!
FAQ #2: How much work experience is really recommended to be successful in my application?
Although a certain amount of work experience is not required for admission, our full-time MBA program’s average work experience is 5 years (with a majority having 3-6 years). That said, it is important for you to assess your own readiness when deciding to apply. Recent college graduates who have exceptional academic records and test scores, who have also demonstrated strong leadership in college, and who are ready in their career to pursue an MBA are encouraged to apply. Similarly, those with more work experience than our average will bring different, but much needed, perspectives into our classrooms. We seek to admit outstanding leaders at different points in their professional careers. We feel it is not the quantity of experience that counts but rather the quality, and how the experience translates into your goals.
FAQ #3: How can I make my application stronger?
Self-reflect and do your research. As an MBA applicant, the more research and preparation you do, the stronger your application will likely be. Typically applicants that have taken the time to reach out to current students (check out our UCLA Anderson Admissions Ambassador Corps of student ambassadors), visit the campus, and/or participate in information sessions/webinars will be better equipped as they work on their applications, as they have taken the time to think though their own reasons for applying, identify their strengths and areas for improvement, and explore the opportunities they want to experience as a part of an MBA program. All of these resources are at your disposal and will not only help you prepare to have a stronger application but will also help you confirm if a program is the right fit for you.
We hope you can meet us while we're on the road at other events -- check out our event schedule here!