How to crack UCLA’s Anderson School of Management?

Founded in 1935, the school received the name Anderson School of Management after John E. Anderson donated $15 million for the construction of a new complex. In 2015, his widow, Marion Anderson made another donation of $140 million.

Anderson’s Global MBA Ranking in the list by The Economist was #6 while it ranked #25 in the Financial Times ranking. However, it’s MBA Ranking in the US is more consistent with most publications ranking it as the top 15 MBA programs in the US.

Often recognized for its technology programs, Anderson also has entrepreneurship programs that provide hands-on experience to the students.

Situated in the cultural epicentre of Los Angeles, Anderson School of Management follows in the footsteps of the city. With events like Anderson’s Got Talent (hosted by Anderson Creative and Challenge for Charity), celebrating the LGBT week, an Anderson MBA student gets to experience the city of Los Angeles in its full glory.

Types of MBA Programs at Anderson

As one might have guessed, most top schools provide a list of MBA programs to applicants. This is mainly done to introduce flexibility in the types of things that an MBA grad needs depending on their current situation professionally.

Anderson is no different. They have an array of MBA programs to suit the needs of all MBA aspirants.

Full-time MBA

The full-time MBA Program at UCLA’s Anderson is a traditional two-year MBA program that provides a collaborative environment to its students.

It also includes an internship and is generally targeted by applicants that wish to change their job function or industry post-MBA

Fully-Employed MBA

The Fully-Employed variant of MBA at Anderson is targeted at the applicant group that doesn’t wish to leave the workforce while they get an MBA education. This program lasts from 2.5-3 years in general and is a part-time MBA program.

Executive MBA

As the name suggests, the Anderson Executive MBA program is meant for mid-career executives who wish to overtake higher management roles. This is also a part-time program with a duration of two years and allows the student to pursue their MBA while being actively present in the workforce.

UCLA-NUS Executive MBA

The UCLA-NUS Executive MBA program is a joint Asia Pacific program offered by Anderson in collaboration with the National University of Singapore. The program is 15 months long and convenes two-weeks at a time in three months.

The cities that the applicants convene in are Mumbai/Bangalore, Shanghai/Shenzhen, Los Angeles, and Singapore.

Application deadlines for Anderson Full-Time MBA Program 2021

Round Application Deadline Decision Date
Round 1 October 2, 2020 December 18, 2020
Round 2 January 8, 2021 March 26, 2021
Round 3 April 16, 2021 May 21, 2021

The application process for the Anderson MBA Program 2021

The application process of Anderson is a typical business school application process. The form can be saved and accessed multiple times before you finally decide to submit your online application.

To be eligible to apply to Anderson’s MBA program the applicant must have an undergraduate degree equivalent of a US four-year bachelor’s degree.

Transcript

Transcripts can be sent electronically or through mail to Anderson. For every school or University, you have studied at, you must produce a transcript in English that contains your name, each course you took and the grade you received, and the degree you received and the date conferred.

A transcript that is not in English must contain an attached translated copy as well.

The official transcripts need to be submitted only after being admitted to the MBA program. The official transcripts must be submitted no more than 30 days after enrollment into Anderson.

For the application, you must report the score on your transcript as it is.

GMAT/GRE

An applicant is supposed to self-report all their scores from either the GMAT or the GRE from the last five years at the time of submitting the application. The applicant also gets the opportunity to specify the scores they wish the admissions committee to consider, within the application. The final call on which scores to use would be of the school although they choose to consider the highest score instead of averages.

The official score reports need to be sent on the following school codes.

GMAT: 2NZ-2F-24

GRE: 0771

Letters of Recommendation

Recommenders are a crucial part of your application. They have very little to lose but a very big impact on your MBA application. Thus, choose your recommenders wisely. Make sure that the person you’re receiving a recommendation from is enthusiastic about helping you and can actually give valuable feedback about you in a professional capacity.

The school asks for two letters of recommendation. The recommender should be a current supervisor or someone who can talk about the applicant in a professional capacity. If your recommender is not your current supervisor, you must provide the reason for the same.

Your 2 recommenders will be given access to an online form once you enter their information in your MBA application.

However, a re-applicant is required to submit only one letter of recommendation.

Essays

Applicants are supposed to answer two short essay questions and one essay question for the application while, re-applicants have to answer a re-applicant essay question only.

Short essay question 1: Tell us about your MBA goals AND why you are applying to UCLA Anderson now:

  • Describe your short term and long-term goals (150 words maximum)
  • Why is UCLA Anderson a good school for you? (150 words maximum)

Short essay question 2: At Anderson, we believe our students are engaged, courageous, humble, and open. Describe a time when you demonstrated one of these traits in your personal life. (250 words maximum)

Optional essay question: Are there any extenuating circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions Committee should be aware. (250 words maximum)

Re-applicant question: Please describe your career progress since you last applied and how you have enhanced your candidacy. Include information on short-term and long-term career goals, as well as your continued interest in UCLA Anderson. (500 words maximum)

Re-applicant 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)

Resume

An MBA resume needs to be attached to your UCLA Anderson application. This resume must not exceed one page and should contain your education, volunteer work, internships, accomplishments in the workplace, and all job titles held.

Application Fee

Your Anderson MBA application is considered complete once an application fee of $200 is paid. The fee is only waived for US military personnel. To receive a fee waiver, one must put in a request with the school before submitting their application.

Cost of Attendance of the Anderson MBA Program

Even though it is part of a public research university, the cost of attendance at UCLA is quite close to the private schools it competes with.

To get a better idea, look at the cost for a freshman for the session 2020-21 below.

Expense Cost in USD
Estimated Student Charges  65,124
UC Student Health Insurance Plan 4,458
Room/Board 21,600
Computer Allowance (one-time) 1,137
Books/Supplies 627
Travel 5,868
Personal 4,680
Loan Fees 1,460
TOTAL $104,954

This is a comprehensive total for nine months only. Three months of internship from the first year will be an added cost that would vary depending on the opportunities a student comes across. In the second year, three more months of room and board will be added to the total cost, making it $110,354. If you remove the expenses that a student is expected to incur in the first year only, the total cost of attendance comes down to $109,217.

Anderson Scholarships

However, you don’t have to take the burden of this high fee all by yourself. You can avail some of the many financing options that Anderson provides. About 75% of students at the business school avail some form of financial support and about 50% of the students receive scholarships.

Here are a few that you should be on the lookout for.

  • Merit Fellowships
  • Donor Fellowships
  • Second-Year Donor Fellowships
  • Consortium Fellowships
  • Nozawa Fellowship
  • Forté Fellowships
  • ROMBA Fellowships

Starting compensation after Anderson’s MBA Program

Through a tried and tested set of career management tools, the Parker Career Management Center, at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, gives exceptional support to the students to find post-MBA jobs as well as summer internships.

Here is an extended view of compensation post-MBA at UCLA Anderson’s MBA Program.

Attracting various top recruiters every year, some recurring companies at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management are Amazon, Microsoft, Deloitte, Mattel, Bain & Company, Credit Suisse, Rothschild & Co, BCG, McKinsey & Company, Epson and The Walt Disney Company.

The median salary data of Anderson School of Management MBA graduates are as below.

Function Median Base Salary (in USD) Median sign-on Bonus (in USD)
Consulting $145,000 $27,500
Finance/Accounting $130,000 $50,000
General Management  $125,000 $25,000
Marketing/Sales $122,500 $25,000
Operations/Logistics $130,000 $20,000
Other $123,900 $10,000

What is the Anderson admissions committee looking for?

We all know the basics of getting into a top MBA Program. Get a high GMAT score, have around 3-5 years of work experience, a few extra-curricular, and a transcript filled with A grades. But that isn’t what really makes an impact on the admissions committee members. You could have a 700+ GMAT score and still get rejected from Anderson. You could have the most perfect MBA profile and Resume but still not even receive an interview call from the business school.

Why is that?

Why is that some perfect profiles are rejected for some other profiles that have evident flaws like a low GMAT score, no work experience, or a low GPA?

This is because top business schools like Anderson don’t look at an MBA profile only on the surface. Even if you have a low GPA, Anderson admissions committee members will look through your profile to find evidence of academic competency if you have other exceptional skills like leadership, innovation, problem-solving, etc.

How well you could fit into Anderson’s culture, will be an important deciding factor for your acceptance to the business school.

Let’s take a look at the few things that can sway an admissions committee member’s opinion of you positively.

Elaborate on skills that Anderson resonates with

While business schools do want to see your unique individual qualities and skills, there are certain skills that are woven in the DNA of MBAs. These are skills that almost every student at Anderson’s MBA program would have portrayed through their application essays.

Leadership, ethics, communication, problem-solving, and quick thinking are some of the skills that you will be able to find in the essays of every applicant that got admitted to Anderson MBA Program. But just mentioning you have these skills aren’t enough. You will have to prove it.

Mention instances that you portrayed these skills in. Use your application essay to show the admission committee members that you can be a good fit in the Anderson MBA Program as you possess the skills that the school preaches.

Show the potential to deal with academic rigour

As I told you at the beginning of this blog, Anderson is an action-driven, academically and professionally inclined business school. It allows its students to learn by performing. Although it might sound much easier than getting buried in MBA books and Presentations, it is not.

The experiential learning concept that Anderson works on leaves almost no space for a student to slack in. Such a course requires a student who can keep up with its rigour and won’t give away half-way through the year. Adding extra certifications or courses to your profile, that shows your capability to handle a demanding curriculum could go a long way in convincing the admissions committee members of your capability to handle and optimize the Anderson MBA program.

Do your research

Every business school wants to know exactly why you chose them, so does Anderson.

The only real way to answer this question is by doing some pre-MBA networking. This will also portray you as taking initiative in the eye of an admissions committee member. However, don’t let your research for the school be limited to networking only.

If possible, attend the school’s admissions events or even take a class visit. The better you know the school, the more authentic and real your answer will be to the question, ‘Why Anderson?’.

This is very crucial. When answering ‘Why Anderson?’, if your answer is along the lines of calling Anderson the Top MBA program, or the best business school, you can be sure your application is getting rejected.

Anderson Admissions Committee members know they are making selections for a top business school. they do not need you to remind them of that. What they really want to know is why you believe Anderson is the right MBA program for you. They are actually asking what makes you believe Anderson will help you gain the career trajectory that you wish for, other than the brand name the school offers.

If you limit your research to the school’s webpage or Google, all you would find is the basic knowledge of the community of Anderson. These will mostly be second-hand accounts answering broad questions. The best way to go about researching for Anderson would be to network with a current student or an alumnus.

Rather than answering ‘Why Anderson?’, try answering, ‘How does Anderson’s location benefit your career?’, or ‘How is the program structure at Anderson different from other top schools and how does that benefit you in particular?’.

Basically, answer questions on a personal level.

Professional Goals

Two-Years in an MBA program might seem like a long-time during applications, but it isn’t. With the rigorous curriculum set by the faculty at Anderson, you won’t even realize that the program is over when your graduation day arrives.

If you approached a world-renowned sculpture and asked them to help you sculpt a lady, the end result could be anything according to his own interpretation. But, if you went to him with the description of a lady wearing a saree with a pot on her head, he will be able to provide you with the exact result that you had in mind.

While the MBA program at Anderson will help you recognize your strengths and chisel out your career path, you will require a rough sculpture to start with. This is why your professional goals matter to the admissions committee. This also helps them analyze how much of a help Anderson can be in your career path, and better understand your reasons for choosing the school.

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