If you’re considering applying to UCLA Anderson MBA Program this year, writing a winning admission essay is one of the most important steps in creating a successful application. It’s your chance to introduce yourself and make a strong impression on the admissions committee – so it has to be great! We’ve put together some UCLA MBA essay examples for 2023-2024 applicants that will help you stand out from the crowd. Drawing on years of experience reading dozens of applications each year, which provide insight into both successful target schools and what sets some apart from other candidates, we’ll show you exactly how to craft powerful essays that get results. From crafting unique angles and delving deeper into impactful stories to editing thoroughly and presenting minutiae with confidence —these UCLA MBA essay examples will provide inspiratio for developing persuasive arguments.

What are the key elements of a successful UCLA MBA application essay

The key elements of a successful UCLA MBA application essay hinge on authenticity, self-awareness, and showcasing a clear career vision.

Authenticity is crucial – the admissions committee wants to see your true self and understand your unique qualities, experiences, and perspectives. This includes sharing your personal and professional goals, passions, and values.

Self-awareness, demonstrated through reflection on your strengths, weaknesses, and areas for growth, is another important element.

Finally, a clear career vision implies not only defining your short and long-term goals but also illustrating how UCLA Anderson’s MBA program will help you achieve these.

Remember, coherence and solid writing skills can greatly enhance the clarity and impact of your message.

Tips for Writing a Compelling UCLA MBA Application Essay

  1. Understand and Address the Question: Begin by grasping the essay prompt thoroughly and make sure your essay directly addresses the question. While it’s important to weave in your personal and professional experiences, they should always connect back to the question. Straying too far from the topic can create confusion and reduce the impact of your essay.
  2. Tell a Story: Use your UCLA MBA application essay as a platform to narrate your life story, your ambitions, and what has shaped you as a person. Personal narratives are powerful tools for demonstrating dimensions of your character and motivations that aren’t evident from other parts of the application. Be genuine and avoid exaggerating.
  3. Highlight Your Unique Qualities: What makes you different? Show the admissions committee why you’re unique and how your distinct qualities will add value to the UCLA Anderson community. Be true to yourself – don’t try to mold your essay to fit what you think the admissions committee wants to hear.
  4. Explain Why UCLA Anderson: Show that you have done your research about the school. Convey your enthusiasm for UCLA Anderson by explaining how specific resources, or faculty align with your career goals.
  5. Proofread: Finally, never underestimate the importance of proofreading. A well-polished essay leaves a good impression and reflects your attention to detail. Have someone else review your essay for grammar, punctuation, and clarity to make sure your ideas are effectively communicated.

Strategies to answer the UCLA MBA essay questions

Before moving forward with our UCLA MBA essay examples, let’s break down each question to help you get to its essence.

 Essay 1

UCLA Anderson seeks to develop transformative leaders who think fearlessly, drive change, and share success. We believe the ability to persevere is an essential component of effective leadership. Please share an example from your personal or professional life where you demonstrated perseverance to accomplish a significant goal or milestone. (250 words maximum)

This essay prompt from UCLA Anderson is designed to assess your leadership abilities, your courage in the face of challenges, and your resilience. When you approach this question, it’s important to select a situation that truly tested your mettle and demonstrated your ability to persevere. This could be a professional challenge, a personal obstacle, or even a significant academic project.

Be specific about the situation, clearly outlining the problem, your approach, the actions you took, and the outcome. Remember to underline the lessons learned and how the experience has shaped you as a leader.

Avoid generic language and be honest about the difficulties you faced and how you overcame them. Furthermore, ensure that your response aligns with UCLA Anderson’s values of transformative and fearless leadership, driving change, and sharing success. Your narrative should be concise and compelling, as you only have 250 words to make an impact. It’s not just about explaining your resilience but showing how this trait can contribute to your performance in the MBA program and your future career.

To effectively portray your impact, focus on selecting one story that truly leaves a lasting impression. Avoid providing generic descriptions of your accomplishments and instead concentrate on a single experience that demonstrates a significant impact. It is crucial to consider what you want Anderson to learn about you. Since Anderson’s application is concise, every word counts and you must showcase the best you have to offer.

When brainstorming your stories, ensure that you choose one with a clear and meaningful outcome. This could be overcoming personal hardship, successfully delivering a crucial project, or helping a mentee achieve their goals. Once you have compiled a list, narrow it down to examples where you displayed perseverance. Stories that encompass conflict or specific challenges tend to work best in this context.

Finally, consider what you believe the admissions committee needs to learn about you and select your winning story accordingly.

Once you have shared your story, if there is space, consider including a sentence or two that highlights how your experience aligns with UCLA Anderson’s culture. You can specifically mention one or more of the characteristics listed in the essay prompt.

Short Application Questions

Describe your short-term and long-term post-MBA career goals (600 characters, including spaces)

When responding to this question, it’s crucial to start by identifying your career aspirations and how an MBA will help you achieve them. In your short-term goals (roughly 0-5 years post-MBA), be specific about the role and industry you aim to be in, underlining how the MBA program will bridge your current profile with this immediate goal. For your long-term goals, think about where you want to be in around ten years, focusing on the impact you wish to make in your chosen field. While long-term goals are inherently less specific, they should still be realistic and aligned with your short-term goals and the trajectory an MBA can provide. Remember, you only have 600 characters – including spaces – so be concise and clearly state how the MBA fits into your career plan.

How can UCLA Anderson help you achieve your career and/or personal goals? (1000 characters, including spaces) 

This question seeks to understand how well you align with the university’s program and values. It’s important to provide a response that ties your goals to specific resources available at UCLA Anderson.

Begin by outlining your personal or career goals that you have already mentioned in the previous question. Then delve into how UCLA Anderson’s specific curriculum, unique programs, clubs, or faculty can contribute to achieving those goals.

For instance, if your goal is to work in technology consulting, you might discuss how Anderson’s Easton Technology Management Center and its specific courses could provide you with invaluable insights into the industry. If you wish to improve your leadership skills, the school’s Leadership@Anderson initiative could be highlighted.

Remember to go beyond the generic aspects of an MBA program and point out specific offerings of UCLA Anderson that align with your goals. This demonstrates that you have researched the program thoroughly and understand how it can shape your career or personal growth.

Above all, be authentic and clear about your ambitions and how UCLA Anderson fits into that picture. This will help you craft a strong, convincing response within the 1000-character limit. Remember this is not just about what Anderson can offer you, but also what you can bring to the Anderson community.

Optional Essay Tips

Optional Essay: No preference is given in the evaluation process to those who choose to respond to this optional essay, so please use your best judgment:

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

When addressing this question, it’s crucial to understand that the Admissions Committee is looking for context that might explain certain aspects of your profile. This could be low grades during a certain period, gaps in your employment, or even a career change.

Firstly, honesty is key. If there were indeed circumstances that impacted your academic or professional performance, outline these sincerely. However, remember to avoid sounding defensive or making excuses. Instead, focus on how these experiences have shaped you, the lessons you’ve learned, and the steps you’ve taken to overcome these challenges. This will demonstrate resilience and maturity, traits that are appreciated in a business school environment.

Secondly, keep it concise. With a maximum limit of 250 words, be clear and direct in your explanation.

Finally, remember that this essay is optional. If there are no significant issues to address, it’s perfectly acceptable not to write this essay. Use this space only if you feel that it will provide critical context to understand your journey better.

Bear in mind, the aim of this essay is not to elicit sympathy, but to provide clarity. Your ability to reflect on these experiences and learn from them will demonstrate your potential for personal growth at UCLA Anderson.

3 Best UCLA MBA Essay Examples 2023-2024

Here are three UCLA MBA essay examples that we hope will provide you with different strategies to write an outstanding essay.

Example 1:

During my tenure as a project manager at XYZ Tech, I was tasked with delivering a major software update within a challenging three-month timeline. (Description of personnel changes and technical roadblocks.) Despite unexpected personnel changes and technical roadblocks, my unwavering dedication and relentless problem-solving (describe the steps you took to overcome challenges) led to the successful implementation of the software update. (Describe and quantify the impact of this work on the organization). This experience not only honed my leadership skills but also instilled in me the importance of perseverance and resilience in the face of adversity.

Example 2:

In my personal life, I set a goal to run a marathon despite having no previous long-distance running experience. The journey was arduous, filled with physical exhaustion and moments of self-doubt. (Describe difficulties and what you did to surmount them.) Nevertheless, my relentless pursuit of the goal, disciplined training, and mental toughness allowed me to cross the finish line. This accomplishment has since fueled my belief in the power of perseverance, and I apply this principle in all my pursuits.

Example 3:

As a junior analyst at ABC Corp, I was given an ambitious goal to identify strategic merger opportunities, a responsibility typically reserved for senior associates. The task was intimidating, and I faced several obstacles, including a steep learning curve and tight deadlines. (Describe in details what the learning curve involved, how tight were the deadlines, and what you did to overcome these obstacles) However, my tenacity and dedication to personal growth drove me to reach this milestone. I developed a comprehensive report that led to a successful merger, demonstrating my ability to persevere and achieve significant results.


Crafting your MBA application can be overwhelming, but our UCLA MBA essay examples for 2023-2024 applicants are here to help. From creating meaningful angles and impactful stories to highlighting the nuances of persuasive arguments, these tips will give you strong insight for developing MBA essays that turn heads. All you need now is thorough editing — and we have just the thing: check out our MBA editing services! No matter what path you take, with significant effort and dedication, you can create an unforgettable impression on the admissions committee. Let us help you make your dreams come true! Good luck!

With a Master’s from McGill University and a Ph.D. from New York University, Dr. Philippe Barr is the founder of The Admit Lab. As a tenure-track professor, Dr. Barr spent a decade teaching and serving on several graduate admission committees at UNC-Chapel Hill before turning to full-time consulting. With more than seven years of experience as a graduate school admissions consultant, Dr. Barr has stewarded the candidate journey across multiple master’s and Ph.D. programs and helped hundreds of students get admitted to top-tier graduate programs all over the world.

Subscribe to Dr. Philippe Barr’s YouTube channel for tips and tricks on navigating the grad school application process and get the maximum out of your graduate school experience.

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