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How to Get In: University of California—Los Angeles Anderson School of Management

What can you do to set yourself apart in your application? Admissions officials have the answers.

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Too many applicants do not seize opportunities to distinguish themselves from the crowd. Half-hearted essays miss the mark, especially when they lack compelling details about the candidate's formative experiences, target career, and plans at our school. Applicants should first get excited about the opportunities ahead and then let that passion come through on paper.

The best candidates also address their weaknesses proactively, taking an additional math course for example, or finding a leadership role in a community organization. Small details count, too, as we use data points gathered from every interaction or even typos to gauge a candidate's self presentation and fit with our school. Polished professionals are what we produce, which requires the finest raw material coming in.

10. Can you describe the archetypal student for your school?

In each full-time M.B.A. class of 360 students, we want a whole panoply of backgrounds represented, on every metric from geography to industry to undergraduate major. What all UCLA Anderson students share is a friendly nature, showing confidence without arrogance as they push each other to achieve. Taking smart risks is encouraged here, cultivating an entrepreneurial spirit that empowers even intrapreneurs within large organizations going forward.

Serving others is part of the ethos, too, as community activism and productive teamwork yield widespread benefits. Our students understand that what you get out of any experience depends on what you put into it, and they put their all into their M.B.A. transformation together.

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