This blog post is part of our weekly "Application Insider" blog post series that provides insider information, tips, and advice about applying to the UCLA Anderson MBA program.
APPLICATION INSIDER TOPIC:
KEYS FOR APPLICATION SUCCESS
This Application Insider blog post series has offered peeks inside the black box of admissions regarding specific elements of our Full-Time MBA application. This post, however, will pull back a bit so you can see more of an overall view of what's inside the box. Those whom we admit have individual strengths -- but no two admits are alike -- and the magic of MBA Admissions is that we manage to create a balanced class of 360 people here each year to represent the whole wide world with individuals of varying backgrounds, interests, and potential contributions to the class.
Looking for your strengths is what the admissions committee primarily does when evaluating your application. Nobody is perfect, so we compare and contrast elements of your profile to see what balances out. Maybe your GMAT score is not the greatest but your strong undergraduate grades show your academic potential better. Perhaps academics are not your strong suit but you have shown skill leading others in your workplace or community. For everybody, the past is just a prelude to the future, and we especially like people who show that they have done their research on UCLA Anderson and now have a great plan to share success, think fearlessly and drive change for themselves and others -- both at school and in the years beyond graduation.
Applicants can help themselves most by making it easy for the admissions committee to see their potential in the following areas:
- Academic Horsepower: UCLA Anderson is a rigorous school, and applicants must show that they could handle our fast learning process. Test scores (GMAT, GRE, TOEFL, IELTS) are one measure, undergrad grades are another, and better yet you'd have strength in both. We also take into account the rigor of your undergraduate school and your major there, as well as other academic achievements, as we always look for the context of your accomplishments.
- Student Contribution: To a great degree, our school's energy is student-driven, and we need activists who will create opportunities and changes that benefit all. So prior leadership on-campus during your undergraduate studies and/or in the workplace is a good sign, as is community involvement. All students need to add something special to the class, so we look for those who will bolster the diversity of voices here from different backgrounds, regions, and interest areas.
- Employability: Getting a big career boost is, of course, one of the top reasons to do an MBA, so how prepared are you to achieve your goals? Transferable job skills to carry from past to future roles are key, and so are personal skills such as communication, coachability, interpersonal chemistry, and perseverance in the face of challenges. Your career progression to date is one indicator, as we like to see people taking on greater responsibility over time. But as always, we evaluate progress in the context of the time you had and in terms of a bridge to the future.
- Focus: Developing a compelling future plan is the hardest part of an MBA application, yet it is an element you can still change now (as distinct from the past). It all starts with doing your homework -- on yourself and on the school. Do you understand how the MBA is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform yourself into a new professional? Why is UCLA Anderson in particular a great place for YOU to thrive personally, e.g., sharing success in a collaborative culture? How would you turn specific classes and activities here into fuel for your future achievements? And what is that bright future vision that inspires you for life right after graduation, then 5 or 10 years later? You may well refine your trajectory once you get to business school, but we have to thoroughly understand your initial flight plan before you can take off.
In short, your MBA application may start off inside our black box of admissions here, but then we want to see where you will go and how high you will fly. Show us the fuel for success that you have already, and we will give you the high-power boost you need!
Make sure to check back next week for the next "Application Insider" blog post about INTERVIEW TIPS!