The John E. Anderson Graduate School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles—more commonly known as simply UCLA Anderson—typically ranks solidly among the top 20 U.S. business schools in what are generally considered the most prestigious MBA rankings. Located in one of the largest cities in the United States, UCLA Anderson offers its business school students access to a fairly wide variety of industries, with 31.8% of the Class of 2020 taking jobs in technology, 25.4% going into consulting, and 14.4% entering the financial services industry. Access to “Silicon Beach,” which is home to more than 500 technology companies and start-ups, including Snapchat, Google, Apple, and Netflix, means that UCLA Anderson is in one of the most prominent technology hubs in the world. Therefore, MBA students interested in this field are well positioned for jobs at tech companies and start-ups, as well as for tech entrepreneurship.
As a relatively small program, with a target class size of approximately 360 students, UCLA Anderson fosters camaraderie and a positive environment. But if you want to enjoy the school’s warm, sunny weather and close proximity to the beach, all while expanding your skill set and knowledge, you will have to stand out among many strong MBA applicants. UCLA Anderson’s credentials, including its average GMAT score, have skyrocketed in the past few years, and it has become a much more competitive business school to get into. Fortunately, mbaMission can help you on your MBA application journey.
Media and Entertainment at UCLA Anderson
Anderson, unlike most other top business schools, has invested in the development of a research center specifically dedicated to media and entertainment—the Center for Management of Enterprise in Media, Entertainment, and Sports. This is quite fitting, given that Los Angeles is at the epicenter of the U.S. entertainment industry. In addition to being known for media and entertainment, Los Angeles also boasts a vibrant arts scene that includes the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the LA Philharmonic. It is also home to numerous major professional sports teams, including the Lakers, Clippers, Dodgers, Kings, and Galaxy.
A Note on UCLA Anderson’s Academics
With regard to its current MBA curriculum, Anderson falls somewhere in the middle of the spectrum between flexible and rigid. Anderson’s professors employ a variety of teaching methods and select the format that best fits the subject matter being conveyed. UCLA Anderson courses can involve lectures, the case method, group work, interactive games, and applied projects, including the 20-week Applied Management Research (AMR) project.
The UCLA MBA program appears to pride itself on integrating academics and teamwork into involvement with the business community. The AMR project is an example of this integration of academics and practical work experience and is one option UCLA Anderson students can select for their capstone project. A unique aspect of the Anderson curriculum, Applied Management Research has been incorporated into the MBA program for more than 50 years, and during that time, students have completed projects for more than 5,000 organizations within the United States and internationally, including Cisco, Microsoft, Jamba Juice, Black & Decker, Cartoon Network, Johnson & Johnson, Xerox, Starbucks, and Mars. Working in teams of five, students partner with organizations on projects such as making business plans, developing pricing strategies, and creating marketing campaigns. Projects might also involve risk assessment, new product development, and management assessments.
The UCLA Anderson School of Management Insider’s Guide
We have updated our Insider’s Guide to the UCLA Anderson School of Management after consulting with the school’s MBA students, program representatives, and alumni about their Anderson experiences. We take a deep dive into life as a UCLA Anderson MBA student, highlighting how the business school’s location, class size, curriculum, specializations, teaching methods, facilities, and alumni involvement all affect its culture and MBA experience. We also delve into Anderson’s unique research center, standout faculty, student clubs, and capstone project, identifying how they accelerate the professional growth of Anderson MBA students. Through our guide, you will learn more about the Applied Management Research program (also known as the “field study”), which many students choose to participate in to complete their capstone project. We also cover the Business Creation Option, which allows budding entrepreneurs to launch a company while at Anderson. Other options for fulfilling the capstone project include taking part in the Student Investment Fund, the Anderson Strategy Group, or the NAIOP Real Estate Challenge. Our Insider’s Guide also discusses the variety of teaching methods that UCLA Anderson employs.
The UCLA Anderson School of Management Interview Guide
UCLA Anderson MBA admissions interviews—most often conducted by Anderson second-year students—are “blind,” meaning the interviewer will have reviewed only your resume, not your entire application. In preparation for the invitation-only interview, candidates should think about their reasons for pursuing an MBA, why they are a good fit for Anderson, their career goals, and their interests. Interviews might include behavioral questions, in which candidates are asked about specific projects or experiences and must detail what they accomplished or learned from them. This interview is not one-sided. Be prepared to talk about yourself, engage in the conversation, and ask thoughtful questions. The interview is also an opportunity to learn more about UCLA Anderson from your interviewer. For sample interview questions and commentary from past students, check out our UCLA Anderson School of Management Interview Guide.
The UCLA Anderson School of Management MBA Essay Analysis, 2021–2022
Stanford’s assistant dean of MBA admissions and financial aid, Kirsten Moss, has maintained the traditional Stanford GSB essay questions “Why Stanford?” and “What matters most to you, and why?” and gives applicants a total of 1,050 words with which to respond. Because the “What matters?” prompt is so challenging, we—as noted earlier—wrote a book in which we critique successful Stanford GSB essays. The key to this essay is authenticity and sincerity, meaning that you must represent yourself as best you can, rather than trying to represent the completely unachievable. The Stanford MBA admissions committee is not expecting the superhuman but is anticipating that applicants will have a values-based approach to outperformance. Further, it will want to be sure that your response to “Why Stanford?” shows that you deeply understand the GSB’s culture and your fit therein. You don’t need a list of GSB resources to prove that point; rather, you need to have thoughtfully considered your professional needs and how they can be met by the Stanford GSB.
We are living in complex, interesting times, and the UCLA Anderson School of Management’s MBA application essay questions reflect that. Anderson requires candidates to provide just one essay, asking them to discuss how the events of the past year or so have affected them and their plans for the future. Given the 250-word limit, applicants need to be concise and direct in their responses; such a short essay does not allow for extended philosophical expositions or analysis. Some candidates might be tempted to use the optional essay to squeeze in more information about themselves, but anyone considering doing so must be prudent, because Anderson very clearly states that the optional essay is for “extenuating circumstances” only.
The Anderson MBA admissions committee states that the best applications are introspective, genuine, and succinct; directly answer the committee’s questions; and show clear plans for the future. To help candidates craft such applications, our essay analysis provides in-depth guidance on each of UCLA Anderson’s essay questions:
- Essay: How have recent events influenced the impact you would like to make in your community, career, or both? (250 words maximum)
- Optional Essay: Are there any extenuating circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions committee should be aware? (250 words maximum)
According to UCLA Anderson’s application requirements page, “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.”
Click here to read our analysis
UCLA Anderson MBA Class Profile (Class of 2023)
|Number of Applications Received
|GPA Range (Middle 80%)
|GMAT Range (Middle 80%)
|Average Years of Work Experience
UCLA Anderson MBA Rankings
UCLA Anderson typically ranks solidly among the top 20 U.S. business schools in what are generally considered the most prestigious MBA surveys. Anderson rose slightly in The Economist’s 2019 survey, ranking fifth within the United States and sixth internationally after ranking seventh and eighth, respectively, the previous year. The school fell one spot, from 14th to 15th domestically, in the 2020 Financial Times survey but rose one spot, from 26th to 25th, internationally. Anderson jumped from 17th to 12th in Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2019 domestic rankings yet slipped to 16th in the 2021 survey (Bloomberg Businessweek suspended its MBA rankings in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic). UCLA Anderson was ranked 16th by Poets&Quants in 2020, down one spot from 2019. In U.S. News & World Report’s 2022 survey, the school was ranked 18th (in a tie with the University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs School of Business), down two spots from the previous year.
UCLA Anderson MBA Application Deadlines (2021–2022 Application Season)
Round 1 Application Deadline
October 5, 2021
Round 1 Decision Release Date
December 14, 2021
Round 2 Application Deadline
January 4, 2022
Round 2 Decision Release Date
March 22, 2022
Round 3 Application Deadline
April 12, 2022
Round 3 Decision Release Date
May 17, 2022