UCLA has decreased its essay requirement to just 1 essay this year – which is the regular career goals essay. Applicants who have a lot to tell about their achievements and extra-curricular involvements are bound to get a tad disappointed.
Advice given by UCLA: Making a strong case for your future plans requires you to first do research on career paths and find one that resonates. Even if this target will change during business school, your application essays should lay out a clear trajectory for short-term and long-term goals. Do this by demonstrating how you expect to build on skills from your past, and those you expect to gain from the MBA.
First-time applicants – one required essay:
• 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 maximum)
This is a straightforward question. To talk about your future career goals in a relevant manner, you will need to throw some light on how your career has panned out so far. So give a little background on your career up till now, with some focus on key achievements and milestones.
Thereafter, present your career goals – what do you plan to do in the short term (up to 3-5 years after completing the MBA) and what do you plan to do beyond that (long term)? To add more depth to your answer, you can mention the roles and responsibilities that mean to take up, as well as the type of companies you hope to work with.
As most MBA aspirants are seeking a career change of some sort- either a change in industry or function (or both), it will be wise to explain the key strengths you have developed so far, that will make you successful in your future career. Business schools evaluate candidates for self awareness, and talking about your strengths and weaknesses in the careers goals essay is an effective way to demonstrate this. What skills or knowledge do you presently lack and you intend to fulfill them through the MBA? Reworded, what gaps do you need to fulfill through the MBA, that will help you reach your career objective?
The next part is specific to UCLA- and this is where you can impress the admissions team with your knowledge about their MBA. In the absence of any other essay which enables you to demonstrate your fit with UCLA, this section of your essay gives you the only chance to tell the adcom that you have done your research on the UCLA program very well, and that, you are sure it will aid you in getting what you set out to achieve. This has also been told by the admissions team- “Essays are more compelling if they include specific courses, programs, groups, opportunities, activities, etc. from which you would benefit”. Therefore go ahead and talk to current students/ recent and older alumni, attend online/offline sessions by the admissions team, or read up student blogs to understand how specific features of the UCLA MBA will be important to you. Incorporate the key elements that draw you to the program into your essay. We write the “key elements (only)” – so that you do not produce a meaningless list of courses and activities on the essay, without explaining the impact these would have upon you, while you are in school. Your reasons do not have to be related just to academics, that is the courses and the curriculum, you can also talk about those aspects of the program that will benefit you in your personal or career development.
Business school is a two way process- you learn and you teach. As there are no other essays to mention how you will contribute, it will be alright to touch upon that in this essay.
The following essay is optional. No preference is given in the evaluation process to applicants who submit an optional essay. Please note that we only accept written essays.
• Are there any extenuating circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions Committee should be aware? (250 words maximum)
Re-applicants – one required essay:
(Reapplicants are those people who applied for the class entering in fall 2012 or 2013):
• 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. (700 words maximum)