Ucla Anderson Essay Analysis

UCLA Anderson MBA Essay Topic Analysis 2017-2018

With the release of the 2017-2018 UCLA Anderson MBA essays, we wanted to offer some guidance for applicants targeting the University of California, Los Angeles for their business school studies.

Anderson MBA essay section is identical to last season’s: first-time applicants are required to respond to one 750-word response and are posed a fairly narrow 250-word optional essay question; meanwhile re-applicants are required to address a separate question detailing improvements in their candidacies.

2017-2018 UCLA Anderson MBA Essay Analysis

Let’s take a closer look at each of this season’s UCLA Anderson essay prompts:

Required Essay

We believe that the best results are achieved when you share success, think fearlessly and drive change. With this in mind, what are your goals at UCLA Anderson and in your short-term and long-term career? (750 words maximum)
At its heart, this is a fairly straightforward career goals essay. Applicants are asked to provide information about their immediate post-graduation and longer-range career plans, and to comment on what they’ll aim to accomplish at Anderson in the course of moving toward these goals. Of course, candidates would do well to highlight the ways these objectives are aligned with the values of supportive collaboration, bold and analytical thinking, and innovation and improvement reflected in Anderson’s principles. Taking the time to explicitly draw these connections will help to tailor your response to UCLA’s prompt and underscore your serious interest in the Anderson MBA.

With respect to structure, it will probably make the most narrative sense to open this response by introducing one’s career goals, as well as a few sentences about the professional experiences that have informed (and helped prepare one for) these objectives. Candidates can cover this content in either order: chronologically outlining their short- and long-term plans, or opening with the long-term and then explaining how their target short-term position is a logical first step along that trajectory. Either way, applicants should identify the specific position they hope to obtain after graduating from an MBA program, and may even want to identify 1-2 target organizations for which they would particularly like to work. In describing their long-term goals, meanwhile, candidates should aim to comment on what draws them to this role as well as the larger impact they hope to make on an organization, category, sector, or region. This long-term impact element of the response seems a particularly logical place to address fit with Anderson’s guiding principles.

This opening section about one’s career goals will then provide some context for a discussion of the applicant’s goals at UCLA Anderson. This should include comments about how specific courses and student clubs will help the applicant to bridge the gap between their current skill set and the demands of their post-MBA roles, as well as ways the applicant would enhance the experience of other students and contribute to the MBA community. While some of these comments should be career-focused (after all, this is presumably one’s primary reason for pursuing a business education), applicants would also do well to introduce additional interests and planned involvements related to established hobbies, athletic pursuits, and broader community involvement. This will help to round out one’s candidacy in the eyes of the adcom and provide a fuller picture of your interests and potential contributions.

Again, applicants should attend to the prompt’s description of the Anderson culture as they develop this discussion, drawing out ways they would support their peers in shared success, drive positive change, and think outside the box in the course of their engagement with the UCLA MBA program. We recommend that applicants devote at least 400 words to this detailed discussion of their plans for their time at Anderson. To develop an effective response, applicants will need to demonstrate knowledge of the Anderson MBA program, as well as thoughtfulness about how their potential leadership roles and community contributions align with UCLA’s values. Speaking with students and alumni, visiting the campus or attending information sessions, and reading the Clear Admit School Guide to UCLA Anderson will all prove helpful on this front.

Optional Essay

Are there any extenuating circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions Committee should be aware? Please use your best judgment. (250 words maximum)
The narrow framing of this prompt — along with the additional suggestion that applicants exercise judgment in responding — suggests that this response will be best reserved to address glaring weaknesses or liabilities in one’s application (as opposed to offering “bonus information” about one’s candidacy). Applicants should keep their responses brief and to-the-point, offering explanations without making excuses and humbly bringing mitigating factors to the reader’s attention.

Re-Applicant Essay

Please describe your career progress since you last applied and ways in which you have enhanced your candidacy. Include updates on short-term and long-term career goals, as well as your continued interest in UCLA Anderson. (750 words maximum)
A fairly straightforward and improvement-oriented essay, this prompt asks applicants to focus on their professional progress as they discuss improvements in their candidacy since the time they last applied to Anderson. It will still make sense to touch on accomplishments and new involvements outside of the office, though this discussion should likely be secondary to comments about work-related developments. The school also asks candidates to comment on ways they’ve adjusted or refined their career goals, and to highlight the additional research they’ve done into the UCLA MBA program over the past months or year. Given the fairly roomy word limit for this prompt, re-applicants should aim to provide a fairly exhaustive account of their professional growth, as well as a detailed discussion of the steps they’ve taken to learn more about the Anderson MBA program and their fit with its student culture.


Clear Admit Resources
Thanks for reading our analysis of this year’s UCLA / Anderson MBA essay topics. As you work on your UCLA / Anderson MBA essays and application, we encourage you to consider all of Clear Admit’s UCLA / Anderson offerings:

Posted in: Admissions Tips, Application Tips, Essay Topic Analysis, Essay Topics, Essays

Schools: UCLA Anderson



The UCLA Anderson Round 2 deadline is 2 months,1 week,2 days,0 hours ago. As always, CAREER GOALS matter a lot at this school!


The Anderson essay guide is here to help you out with everything about your MBA app to UCLA!


2017 UCLA Full-Time MBA Essay Question – Class of 2020

Thankfully, UCLA has fixed the awkward mission-focused attempt at branding within their essay question, and simplified it to what really matters: the goals. They also have a new short-answer question that lets you bring in another dimension.

Main Essay:

Describe your short-term and long-term career goals. How can the UCLA Anderson experience add value to your professional development? (500 words)

Short-Answer Question
Describe how you would contribute to the UCLA Anderson community. (250 words)

For the short-answer question especially, it wouldn’t hurt to check out this video that they released in a prior session, so that you get a sense for what they mean by their culture and how they value those who “share success, think fearlessly and drive change”:

You can also refer to past essays and other discussion towards the bottom of this page.

Anderson is one of the most reapplicant-friendly schools out there, and this is reflected by their very generous 750-word essay for those who are trying again:

Reapplicant Essay Question: Please describe your career progress since you last applied and ways in which you have enhanced your candidacy. Include updates on short-term and long-term career goals, as well as your continued interest in UCLA Anderson.

There’s also a standard optional essay (250 words) so plenty of opportunity to talk to the adcom about things that matter in your app!

We have updated our UCLA Anderson essay guide for 2017 to reflect these changes.

Average GMAT for the Class of 2018 decreased from 718 to 716, and the upper end of the 80% range of scores ticked down from 680 to 760, to 680 to 750. We don’t know about app volumes at this school but it appears that either they’ve been getting fewer candidates applying — which is opposite to every other program — and/or they had trouble getting them to convert that year.

UCLA MBA Application Deadlines

Anderson Full-Time MBA Application Deadlines :

  • Rd 1: – one of the later ones, which means you’ll get to take your breath after a crazy run in September with other schools’ deadlines hitting first. It also means that (hopefully) you’ll be able to do a better job on your UCLA app because you’ll be well experienced by then! Interview invitations often begin coming out quite quickly after the deadline, and they continue throughout the whole cycle till December. There’s nothing to be interpreted from whether you receive one earlier or later in the sequence.
  • Rd 2: January 5, 2018 – another “ouch” Round 2 deadline (sigh nobody listens to the ‘Snark)


UCLA MBA Recommendations

1 In 2017 Anderson is joining the standardized recommendation requirements club, so they’re recommender questions are now the same as schools like Yale, Stanford and NYU ask.
  • Two recommendations, as is common for most schools. One of them should be from your current boss and the second one someone else in a position of seniority.
  • Three standardized questions for them to answer and one optional (See their questions here )

Lots of resources for choosing your recommenders available here on the blahg; if you want more help on who to choose, our Letters of Recommendation App Accelerator walks through the specifics and lets you submit your recommenders’ strategy for feedback from EssaySnark.



UCLA Anderson General Info

from the school

from EssaySnark


We don’t have many Anderson essays reviewed on the blahg, however they look for the same strong career goals as Columbia, Ross, and other schools do, so try these out for some guidance:

For Reference: Anderson’s Past-Season Questions

Included in case anyone wants to see what UCLA asked before.

Click to view 2016 questions

2016 Essays – EssaySnark’s Analysis

Here’s what we said when last year’s questions came out… remember this analysis is from *last year*.
They’ve kept the question from 2015, which is:

We believe that the best results are achieved when you share success, think fearlessly and drive change. With this in mind, what are your goals at UCLA Anderson and in your short-term and long-term career?

This references their “Think in the Next” values of Share Success, Think Fearlessly, and Drive Change.

Here’s the video that they produced when they first came out with this particular essay:

And here’s a post on their blog from September 2016 which gives you some insights into what’s important and how to approach it .

[end discussion of 2016 questions.]

Click to view 2015 questions

2015 Essays – EssaySnark’s Analysis

UCLA thankfully improved their application this year: The difficulties in phrasing of the essay question that they introduced last year have been fixed, and they’ve also reverted to two recommendations, from just one that they had required. These are good news for all you BSers. Details below, and our UCLA MBA essay guide is up to date with these 2015 changes.


Our predictions were accurate! Still one essay, and they’ve kept the ‘goals’ portion of the question while maintaining the ‘culture’ angle – but with a much betterly-worded prompt.

Cool! With this question, and the change in their Round 1 schedule, EssaySnark is pleased to see UCLA Anderson, like other schools this season, redeeming themselves from past mistakes and applicant-unfriendly policies. UCLA joins the trend of improving apps! Like MIT, Anderson simplified their one essay question – it’s still a little unwieldy but it’s much much better than they had before.

Here it is for the Class of 2018:

We believe that the best results are achieved when you share success, think fearlessly and drive change. With this in mind, what are your goals at UCLA Anderson and in your short-term and long-term career? (750 words)

They’ve posted this video as a way to convey the ‘culture’ themes – those phrases “share success, think fearlessly and drive change” are all part of their school principles:

Here’s their blog post introducing the question on July 27th .

They also pulled in their Round 1 deadline, to October 6th. That’s still one of the later first-round deadlines for the top schools but it’s now three weeks earlier than last year (it was way out on October 22nd then). This standardization actually may not help you all that much, since you’ll likely be feeling pretty burned out by essay writing in the first week of October, having already managed submissions for about a month. The advantage is that you’ll be in the swing of things with your essay writing projects and you will have plenty of experience writing essays for other schools by that time – but the temptation may be very great to re-use one of those other essays for Anderson. And that would be a mistake. When they had a three-weeks-later deadline then at least people could take a break and regroup after the flurry of craziness in September. So not sure this new standardized date is that helpful.

What will help is – hopefully! – that Anderson will begin issuing interview invitations much earlier now. That’s to everyone’s benefit.

The 2015 UCLA Anderson application guide will walk you through what’s important in your pitch – including some critical policies that are rather unusual at UCLA compared to other schools. Be equipped for success with this detailed guide for UCLA!

UCLA MBA recommendation 2015

Anderson is using semi-standardized recommender questions for 2015 but actually they’re more different than similar – the first question is an atypical variation from other schools and they have a third question which is totally unique.
  • 7/29/15 update: YES! ANDERSON SWITCHED BACK TO TWO RECOMMENDATIONS AGAIN! We had hoped that they would do this, and they have. (Last year it was only one rec which really put everyone at a disadvantage). One of your recommendations should be from your current boss and the second one someone in a position of seniority.
  • Three questions for that person to answer (review them here )

[end discussion of 2015 questions.]

Click to view 2014 questions

2014 Essays – EssaySnark’s Analysis

8/1/14 The UCLA essay prompt has been updated; it’s still just one question about goals, but it’s been expanded to conform with the trend of so many other schools talking about “mission” and “principles”. You shouldn’t be using the optional essay for UCLA any more than you should for most other schools (in other words, don’t submit it unless you need it for something specific to explain about a weakness in your profile).

2014 UCLA full-time MBA question – Class of 2017

  • UCLA Anderson is distinguished by three defining principles: Share Success, Think Fearlessly, Drive Change. What principles have defined your life and pre-MBA career? How do you believe that UCLA Anderson’s principles, and the environment they create, will help you attain your post-MBA career goals? (750 words maximum)

There’s also a reapplicant essay, and an optional essay of up to 250 words (remember that should be used only to explain stuff, not just to talk about new things that you want to talk about). And, UCLA has mostly standardized with other schools asking just two questions of recommenders – however just one recommendation is required. That’s gonna be tough.

This year’s essay question sounds remarkably similar to Haas and their “defining principles”; hate to call Anderson a copycat but this is far from original. Instead of Kellogg’s “Think Bravely” we now have “Think Fearlessly.” We had actually applauded Kellogg’s decision to drop language around their brand tagline from their essays this year, and now here is Anderson falling into that same trap – or more precisely, forcing all of you BSers into it. At least “Share Success” is easy to understand, though on first blush it’s pretty one-dimensional, too.

These types of essays are NOT easy to write. You need to spend time ferreting out what in heck the school means by these “principles” and then you need to come up with stories from your past that illustrate how you’re someone who shares them – and THEN you need to communicate your plan for your future. All of that in 750 words. Sheesh. Not doing anyone any favors, UCLA.
[End 2014 questions section.]

Click to view 2013 questions

Anderson now has just one question, focused on the essentials:

What are your short-term and long-term career goals, and how will an MBA from UCLA Anderson specifically help you achieve these goals? (750 words)

The beauty with UCLA is they give you enough room to actually write something. This July 2013 post from Anderson Admissions explains their changes.
[end discussion of 2013 questions.]

Click to view 2012 questions

Two essays:
  • What is your proudest achievement outside the workplace, and how has it impacted you?
  • What are your short-term and long-term career goals, and how will an MBA from UCLA Anderson specifically help you achieve these goals?

[end discussion of 2012 questions.]


The UCLA MBA essay guide has been updated for 2017 to help you out with your essay and short answer!

[Index of essay questions by business school]

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