UCLA certainly has a unique value proposition to candidates – and as they say in real estate, it’s all about location, location, location. As the only top MBA program located in southern California, UCLA offers a unique culture of warmth and beach life, which makes for a more fun, exciting experience than most programs can offer.

How to Demonstrate Your 'Fit' for

UCLA (Anderson Graduate School of Management)

UCLA certainly has a unique value proposition to candidates – and as they say in real estate, it’s all about location, location, location.  As the only top MBA program located in southern California, UCLA offers a unique culture of warmth and beach life, which makes for a more fun, exciting experience than most programs can offer. 

Of course, Anderson’s location in SoCal brings more than just sunshine.  Given its proximity to Hollywood, it has what is considered to be the top “entertainment management” program in the MBA world.  It’s Center for Management of Enterprise in Media, Entertainment and Sports is world-renowned.  It also has one of the strongest real estate MBA concentrations of any top school, attracting many real estate business professionals to its Richard S. Ziman Center for Real Estate. Expressing an interest in one of these programs, and discussing how they set UCLA apart in your mind, is a strategy that’s worked for many past candidates (if they align to your career goals, of course).

But these are just a couple of the 6 prestigious academic programs that Anderson offers its students, the others being The UCLA Anderson Forecast (for Economics study), its Laurence and Lori Fink Center for Finance and Investments, The Center for International Business Education and Research, and its famous Price Center, the hallmark of its well-known entrepreneurship studies program.

Anderson, in fact, is considered a pioneer in entrepreneurship studies, with its unique blend of coursework, entrepreneurial resources, and hands on experience opportunities.  Annually, Anderson holds its Knapp Venture Competition, where students complete business plans for the chance to win venture capital funding.  It also offers students the opportunity to apply for their Student Investment Fund and Venture Fellows Programs, which provide students immersive training in investment management and venture capital.  Highlighting your entrepreneurial passions is a great way for you to display enthusiasm for Anderson.

Like many top programs, Anderson pays heavy attention to leadership, but Anderson defines leadership in specific ways.  First, Anderson believes that leaders are people who apply both their communication and analytical skills to solve difficult or ambiguous problems.  Second, they believe that effective leaders are strong in their ability to convey a vision to those their leading with enthusiasm and rally people behind a common goal.  Third, they believe that the best leaders can cultivate these previous two skills (solve problems, convey a vision) in other people.  In other words, in Anderson’s view, leaders build other leaders.  In your essays, be sure to capitalize how you’ve demonstrated leadership according their three-part definition.

Another offering that sets Anderson apart is its Applied Management Research Project, a six-month required research project consisting of a strategic consulting assignment in teams of 3-5 students.  It’s the personification of “hands on” and, in Anderson’s view, is the ultimate opportunity to build your teamwork skills and take advantage of the Anderson’s “applied learning” approach.  Demonstrating an excitement for this project -in your application or interview – is another great way to demonstrate your fit for the program.

Surprisingly perhaps, Anderson has traditionally struggled with its yield percentage (the percentage of students who accept their admissions officers).  As such, much like other programs who have struggled to maintain a strong yield percentage, their alarm is up – they want to make absolutely sure that the students they accept have a strong interest in the program, and taking steps to show interest (visiting campus, talking to students via phone, going to campus for your interview, etc.) mean a lot.  Anderson makes sure to give applicants the ability to articulate their “Why Anderson?” case every year in their essay questions, and this essay is hugely important to nail.  In this essay, be sure to talk specifics!

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