UCLA Anderson MBA Application Insider: Why Pursue an MBA Degree?

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - UCLA Anderson MBA Application Insider: Why Pursue an MBA Degree? by UCLA Anderson

Manhattan Prep and UCLA Anderson will be co-hosting upcoming MBA information events. We hope you’ll sign up to learn about the Anderson MBA program’s admissions process, student life, career options, and curriculum, directly from their admissions staff and esteemed alumni:

Why pursue an MBA?

MBA applicants come from a variety of industries and backgrounds, so it should not come as a surprise that applicants also have myriad motivations for pursuing an MBA degree. Understanding what is driving YOU individually to pursue an MBA and learning how to communicate this will be a key component of your success in the competitive application process. Many times, the drivers are quite personal and nuanced; but the more you can understand your own goals, the better you will be able to make your case in your application through more compelling essays, stronger interviews and more supportive recommendations.

After reading thousands of applications, we have been able to group applicant motivations into the following three overarching categories: Career Boosters, Knowledge Enhancers, and Network Builders. As you’re trying to decide whether an MBA is right for you, read through the below to see if you can identify with any of these groups and motivations:

(1) CAREER BOOSTERS

One of the main reasons that applicants pursue an MBA is to transform their careers. For some that means enhancing their knowledge (read more in the next section) to advance in their current field by gaining the credentials of the MBA degree to open up new doors. However, many applicants begin an MBA as a way to change industries or functions, and in some cases both. From our experience at UCLA Anderson, over 90% of our students are contemplating a change of industry or function and over two-thirds are looking to do a double pivot—a change in both at the same time.

Keep in mind that an MBA can also help you boost your career in a diverse range of fields. While the traditional business staples of finance, consulting, and marketing are still big draws for MBA candidates, we are seeing more and more MBAs pursuing new areas in technology and product management-related fields, as well as new paths in real estate, entertainment, energy, healthcare and social impact.

Some popular career-boosting reasons to pursue an MBA: switch industry and/or function, change company/roles, explore new business disciplines, get a higher salary, start your own business, increase job security

(2) KNOWLEDGE ENHANCERS

For some applicants, one of the main motivations for business school is the prospect of acquiring knowledge in areas that are fundamental to their professional growth. Knowledge enhancers are seeking to augment their current skill set with a broader business understanding. This includes the development of hard technical skills, but also soft skills (for example: leadership, negotiation and team management, etc.). 

Business school is the perfect setting for students to test themselves in a highly supportive and collaborative environment. At UCLA Anderson, we often talk about the value of being in a place where you will fit well but where you will also be stretched. You will be able to learn from renowned faculty and successful practitioners. You will also learn from your collaboration with extremely talented and diverse classmates as you work on your cases and group assignments. Furthermore, you will also have the opportunity to interact with students from other programs and schools on case competitions, through conferences, and through social events.

In addition to in-classroom learning, there is a heavy emphasis on practical, hands-on learning. Our MBA Capstone Project is the premier example of our hands-on learning focus. Through the Capstone experience, students have the opportunity to undertake a consulting project for an outside corporate client or work on launching their own business (or a classmate’s business) with the support of the school and faculty advisors. Our Global Immersion Program, which includes a one-week immersion in another country, offers another practical experience option. You will be encouraged to take risks and challenge yourself during an MBA program.

Some popular knowledge-enhancing reasons to pursue an MBA: advance career progression, formal training in management, acquire leadership skills, learn a new specific business discipline, grow communication skills, gain hands-on experience in a safe learning environment

(3) NETWORK BUILDERS

A large part of your growth often results from the relationships that you build and the support from the network you gain through business school. Our UCLA Anderson full-time incoming MBA class is comprised of over 360 students from over 40 countries and from every professional background imaginable. As a student in our program, you will be intimately connected to the people in your section and in your year. You will also benefit from the mentorship of the upper class and ultimately you will become a member of a community 38,000 strong of alumni that have a vested interest in your success.

Your classmates will contribute to your growth through the diversity of their professional experiences, global perspectives, and personal objectives. Here at UCLA Anderson our students are values-driven, authentic and purposeful leaders who approach the world with an intention to make it better for the collective benefit.

Some popular growth-seeking reasons to pursue an MBA: expand network, take the time to self-reflect on career path, gain access to industry leaders, get exposed to new experiences and opportunities.

Knowing “what you want to do and why” is often the first step before you can accomplish it. And even if your path is not a straight line, we know that all starts with developing a vision and gaining internal clarity so you can communicate your passion to those around that can support it. This is the best time to engage in some soul-searching and prepare yourself to “think in your next move”.

Interacting with our Anderson community through events is a wonderful opportunity to learn about why individuals pursue an MBA degree and why going to business school may be a logical next step for you. Throughout this Summer and Fall, UCLA Anderson will be attending and hosting events all across the world to provide information and insights into our full-time MBA program, including opportunities to meet with admissions team members, current students, and alumni.  

We thank Manhattan Prep for hosting upcoming information evening events for UCLA Anderson in New York City on August 23 and Boston on September 12. At these events, you will have the opportunity to meet local alumni, as well as our Associate Dean of the full-time MBA program, Rob Weiler (New York), and Assistant Dean of MBA Admissions, Alex Lawrence (Boston). We look forward to seeing you there! 


Make sure to also read the UCLA Anderson MBA Insider Blog for more Application Insider blog posts that cover information and tips on the many aspects of applying to the UCLA Anderson MBA program!

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