By UCLA Anderson October 25, 2011 Leave a Comment

Work experience and extracurricular activities are evaluated for numerous qualities, among them leadership/managerial potential, readiness and fit for an MBA, and ways an applicant can enhance the overall learning environment for their peers. 

Now when some applicants look at our class profile and see that students average 5 years of pre-MBA work experience, they automatically assume since they have less than this amount they are not competitive.  This is absolutely NOT true.  A closer look at the numbers show that 58% have 3-6 years of experience, 21% have 0-3 years, and 21% have over 6 years of experience.  So a sizeable number of students have LESS than the average (and some have more, which is great too).  What does this mean?  Quality, not quantity, is what matters when the admissions committee scrutinizes your professional accomplishments.  What makes an applicant's experience stand out includes outstanding progression and examples of strong problem-solving abilities, impact on your organization, being proactive, ability to work well in teams, and managerial capabilities, among others. 

Also important to note is that UCLA Anderson values diverse perspectives in the classroom, so we welcome applicants from both traditional and non-traditional backgrounds.  Bankers and consultants are important to have in the classroom, but frankly you won't learn much from your peers if they comprise your ENTIRE class.  So long as you articulate compelling reasons for an MBA and focused career plans (more details on essays will come in another post), those with unique backgrounds can add a distinct point-of-view that can prove to be quite valuable in classroom discussions.

Extracurricular activities (XCs), especially those in which you held significant leadership roles, can help supplement your work experience, especially for those who we call "early career" candidates with less than 2 years of FT work experience.  In addition, prior XC involvement helps us assess how you'll contribute in our network of clubs and other organizations, which is a very important part of the overall UCLA Anderson MBA experience.  XCs during and after college, both inside and outside the workplace, are all taken into consideration.

For more on work experience and XCs, please see the Application Requirements section of our website.

 -Jessica

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