Posted on December 20, 2020

UCLA Anderson Essay Tips and Deadlines: 2020-21

UCLA ANDERSONLocated in Los Angeles, the UCLA Anderson School of Management stands out for its flexible curriculum and wide array of specializations. From Anderson's website, "UCLA Anderson prepares the brightest aspiring MBAs to become leaders in the business world — which is why recruiters from some of the country's top companies, including BCG, Google, and Goldman Sachs, work with us year after year. Here, you'll gain an advanced tool kit and an alumni network of 39,000 to start your career and the life you've always wanted."

Application Deadlines:

Round Application Due 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


With more and more students worldwide wanting to pursue careers in management and take advantage of the school's location in Silicon Beach, getting admitted to Anderson is more challenging than ever. Anderson looks beyond the numbers. Famous for its 3 pillars (share success, think fearlessly, and drive change), Anderson looks for applicants who will deliver value to the community, as well as to the classroom.


Anderson has gone on a strict diet this year. Instead of two required questions (300 words and 250 words each), Anderson now asks first-time applicants only one essay of 250 words about applicants' response to this year's events.  Applicants can also submit an optional essay.

From Anderson Website: We look forward to learning about your perspectives and plans via your essay responses. Essays complement the answers you provide throughout the application to show us your whole profile. The best applications are introspective, genuine, and succinct in directly answering our questions and showing clear plans for the future.

Here is MER's analysis of Anderson's essay:

A) Essay: How have events of the past year influenced the impact you would like to make in your community, career, or both? (250 words maximum)

We welcome reflection on any events that influenced you in your personal or professional lives, or in society in general and look forward to learning about specific ways you want to leave your mark.

This year has been a year of unprecedented changes and uncertainty, and it is still not over.  The global pandemic and shutdown have turned lives upside down worldwide. In what ways the year 2020 has impacted you? How have you responded to these events? Have your family or friend, or neighbors been impacted by it? How did you deal with it? Has it affected you? Thousands of people have lost jobs. Are you one of them? How did you handle it? Many people have sprung to action in this pandemic, helping underprivileged people and migrant workers with food and transportation, etc. Are you one of them? If yes, how did you help them? Has your perspective towards family and friends, or life in general changed during this period? What are your plans? In what ways you want to make a difference in your community and /or your job?

Write this essay with your heart; let your emotions about the events in the past come through. Express your feelings about what you have felt about what happened during the global pandemic. You can describe multiple events. This essay requires you to do deep introspection even before you sit down to write. When brainstorming your ideas, don't worry about the word count. Your goal should be to put down on paper your thoughts and experiences during this time, the impact of your actions on others, and the plans to drive change in society and job, all within the context of this year's happenings.

Anderson expects you to answer this question in 250 words, so you need to make every word count towards sharing your thoughts, actions, and plans instead of providing generic details of the past year's events.

Lastly, and most importantly, keep Anderson's motto in mind "share success, think fearlessly, and drive change." Make sure that your response reveals these traits or at least two of them.

B) Optional Essay:

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

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

As directed in the essay prompt, you should use this essay to address a weakness in your profile. For example, if you have a lower-than-average GMAT score, any grades below a C on your transcript, academic probation, or a significant employment/education gap, you can explain that in this essay. Also, if you cannot get your recommendation letter from your current supervisor, you should explain that in the optional essay.

Your response should be positive, straightforward, brief, and fact-focused and should not sound like you are making excuses for a weakness in your profile. To provide a context for a weakness in your profile, make sure your reason is genuine to convince the Ad Com that your low grades or employment gap occurred due to unforeseen circumstances beyond your control. First, explain the facts, then show how you have addressed the issue, and finally,  spell out why this will not impact your ability to handle the program's academic rigor.

Your weakness may also bring out a positive aspect of your personality. For example, if you are discussing your employment gap, you may explain that you did something productive during that period, such as traveling, volunteering, or handling a family medical emergency.

Please note that the admission committee asks you to submit this essay only if you need to.


Reapplicants are those who applied to the MBA program within the last two application years, so those who applied three or more years ago are considered new applicants.

Reapplicants may answer one or both of the essay questions above as options, and they must provide additional updates within text boxes given in the application for any new test scores, career developments, or other changes since their last application.

Through this question, the Ad Com would like to know that your need for the UCLA Anderson MBA is as strong as it was last time. Hence you should demonstrate your continued interest in UCLA by explaining how you have enhanced your application since you applied last time. You may answer this by focusing on the areas you have improved upon since you applied last. Whether you have taken extra classes, boosted your GMAT score, received a promotion, led a new and exciting project, increased your community involvement, or taken on a personal challenge, the key here is to demonstrate that you are now a stronger candidate since your last application. Your conscious efforts to strengthen your profile and to work on your weak areas will prove how determined you are about your UCLA MBA.

The school also asks reapplicants to comment on how they have refined their career goals and highlight the additional research they have done into the UCLA MBA program over the past year. You may mention any meetings you have had with alumni/ professors/ad com or any information session you have attended. You can update on the enhancements in your resume and additional steps you have taken to learn more about the school and your 'fit' with the school's culture.

Reapplicants should submit only one new recommendation, and it can be from the same recommender as the previous application.

Lastly, and most importantly, you should use the feedback you received from the school on your previous application and focus specifically on those areas, e.g., clarity of goals and improved essays with clarity of message.

Interviews of successful Anderson applicants who worked with MER:

  1. Eduardo- UCLA, Yale, and Haas Kellogg admit
  2. Dennis- UCLA and Haas admit
  3. Saurav- UCLA, and Kellogg admit

Free Resources:

10 Key Essay Tips with Examples

Essay Analysis of Other Top Programs-2020-21

MER Students Share their success Stories

Case Studies

Since 2011, MER (myEssayReview) has helped many applicants get accepted into the top 20 MBA programs, including UCLA. (Poonam is one of the top 5 most reviewed consultants on the GMAT Club.)

Do you have questions about your application? E-mail Poonam at or sign up here for a free consultation.