Thursday, August 14, 2008

UCLA Anderson Application Essays & Deadlines for 2008-2009

UCLA's Anderson School of Management has released its online application and announced its application deadlines and admissions essays for the 2008-2009 season. Here they are, with our comments in italics:

UCLA Anderson Application Deadlines
Round 1: October 9, 2008
Round 2: January 8, 2009
Round 3: April 2, 2009

UCLA Anderson Admissions Essays

  1. How has your family and/or community helped shape your development? Please include information about where you grew up, and perhaps a highlight or special memory of your youth. (750 words)

    (This question is a rework of last year's more unusual "Tell us about your parents and siblings" essay, although the "highlight or special memory" part remains. Our guess is that they've reworded the question to make sure your response is more focused on you, rather than on your family. This is a good rule of thumb with all of your essays -- keep the focus on YOU as much as possible.)

  2. What experience has had the greatest impact on who you are today and why? (500 words)

    (Interestingly, this question replaces last year's "Tell us about a time when you took a leadership role" essay. Given the overall movement of MBA programs towards putting more emphasis on leadership, we're a little surprised to see that question replaced. But this is another question where they really want to know more about the real you. Don't feel the need to impress them with your example. If you have a great leadership story to tell here, then great. Otherwise, answer the question honestly -- what experience really changed you, and why?)

  3. Discuss your short-term and long-term career goals. What is your motivation for pursuing an MBA now at UCLA Anderson? (750 words)

    (While reworded from last year, this question pretty much remains the same, and should be approached the same as most other "Career Goals" / "Why an MBA?" essays.)

  4. Audio or text: Select and respond to ONE of the following questions. We would like you to respond to the question by recording an audio response (up to 1 minute). If you are unable to submit your response via audio, then please upload a written response (250 words) instead. The supported file types for audio files are: .avi, .wav, .mp3, .wmv, .midi, .wma, .aiff, .au, .mp4

    a. What does entrepreneurial spirit mean to you?
    b. What global issue matters most to you and why?
    c. What is something people will find surprising about you?

    (Whoa! Now that's thinking outside the box. While Chicago GSB generated much hoopla when they added a PowerPoint question, we think this is an even more interesting departure from the standard MBA essay topic. We suspect that the Anderson admissions committee is interested in hearing how you communicate as much as they want to hear your specific answer. Have a little fun with it this one. Prepare well and make sure you deliver your answer smoothly, but we suspect that a more impromptu-sounding response will sound warmer and more authentic than something read from a script.)

  5. OPTIONAL: Are there any extenuating circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions Committee should be aware? (250 words)

    (Our advice for this type of question is always the same: Only use this question as necessary. No need to harp on a minor weakness and sound like you're making excuses when you don't need any.)

For more advice on applying to Anderson, visit the Veritas Prep UCLA Anderson information page.