Posted on July 30, 2019

Haas & Anderson Part -Time MBA Admit Shares His Application Experience and Advice


Dennis Lee, Assistant Vice president at East West Bank Private Banking, had partnered with MER (myEssayReview) for his application for the two top part-time MBA programs- Haas and UCLA Anderson. He was accepted by both. Dennis chose UCLA Anderson.

In this  interview with MER,  Dennis talks about:

  • His background
  • Career goals
  • Challenges faced during the application process
  • His preference for UCLA over Haas
  • His advice to prospective applicants

And now introducing Dennis…..

Poonam:  Can you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What do you do now?

Dennis: I am originally from Hong Kong, and I moved to the U.S. when I was 16. After graduating from UC Berkeley with a BA in Political Economy, I went on to work for Bank of America for several years, where I learned the ins and outs of consumer banking. I have recently transitioned into Private Banking with East West Bank, where I am a Private Client Service Manager, managing a team of Private Client Associates and serving as the operations lead in the department.

Poonam: When did you start thinking about an MBA? Why now?

Dennis: I started thinking about MBA when I got promoted to Financial Center Manager at Bank of America. That was what I had always wanted to do. I did some soul-searching and discovered that I want to be in a place where I can continuously challenge myself intellectually and, at the same time, keep learning new things from senior associates in the company. This made me look into an MBA. It was a great time for me to start my MBA program because if I had stayed in the job, I would have needed to work for at least 5-10 years for the next promotion, which wasn’t something I wanted to do.

Poonam: That is understandable. What are your career goals?

Dennis: My post-MBA goal is to become a consultant in a consulting firm that specializes in financial institutions, such as Bain or Deloitte, wherein I will provide my expertise in banking, be exposed to a variety of challenges across industries, and diversify my skills to become a more well-rounded leader. Then I want to return to consumer banking and lead a specific function and drive changes in the organization. Ultimately, I want to be the head of consumer banking in a major U.S. bank.

Poonam: Great. You were accepted into the EWMBA program of Haas and the FEMBA program of Anderson, and you chose UCLA Anderson. Why is UCLA Anderson the best school for you?

Dennis: I chose Anderson over Haas mainly because of the location. I currently work in Los Angeles, and considering that one of my major MBA goals is to expand my professional network, I value the ability to attend events. For me, it was a logical choice to pick Anderson.

Poonam: I understand. Can you share your application strategy, planning, and preparation with our readers?

Dennis: While I was studying for the GMAT, I also took some vacations and visited different MBA programs, and talked to current students to get to know more about MBA in general and the advice that they have. I would say that was probably the most important thing that I could have done, as I was able to compare myself with their situations and explore to see if I could be following their paths instead of making one for myself.

Poonam: Looking back, what was the most challenging aspect of the school admission process? How did you approach that challenge and overcome it?

Dennis: The most challenging part for me was to figure out how to articulate why I want an MBA, and what I want to do after MBA. I originally wanted to leverage the MBA to discover different fields and explore to see what I am interested in, so coming up with a specific career path to writing in essays was not an easy task. I spent a couple of days thinking about what I will most likely be doing after my MBA and jotted down a couple of notes to put together a plan for my career for the next 40 years.

Poonam: It was my pleasure to assist you with your applications. What would you advise other MBA applicants who are facing similar challenges? Would you like to give some pointers to the prospective applicants?

Dennis: I would say that many MBA applicants are trying to craft their applications so that they fit the specific profile that they think business schools are looking for, but often they forget to make themselves shine and show their individuality. When business schools are reviewing applications, besides the numbers, they are also looking to see if they like this person. Because if Ad Com likes you, then chances are the potential employers will like you, too. Poonam, you helped me in shaping my application and walking me through this important step. You brought out who I am and presented my uniqueness in the application. I am very thankful to have partnered with you in this process.

Poonam: It was my pleasure to assist you with your application. Dennis, would you please tell us about your interests/ hobbies?

Dennis: When I am free, I like to travel to different national parks to explore and relax. Also, I am learning to fly a small aircraft.

Poonam: I remember you shared your fascination for flying and your flight over Grand Canyon with your fiancée in your unique essay for Anderson. Thank you for sharing your story with us. It was a pleasure chatting with you. I wish you good luck with your time at Anderson and continued success in your career.

You can connect with Dennis via LinkedIn

Click here for Dennis’s testimonial of MER Services.

Click here for Dennis’s GMAT Club Review.

Related Post

UCLA Anderson part-time MBA Advice from a Current Student

For more interviews of successful MER students, click here.

Since 2011, MER (myEssayReview) has helped many applicants get accepted into the top 20 MBA programs. (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.