I recently interviewed on campus at UCLA Anderson with a friendly second year student. We used an empty conference room in the admissions office. The interview was quick (about 30 minutes), congenial and to-the-point, which I could appreciate. Some of the questions I received were:
- Why do you want an MBA and why now?
- Why Anderson?
- What is a significant leadership experience you’ve had?
- What is a past failure you’ve experienced?
- What clubs are you interested in at Anderson?
- What is a past conflict you’ve had with a supervisor, and how did you solve it?
Once again, nothing unexpected. We talked for about 20 minutes before it came time for me to ask questions. I asked what he thought of the quarter system at Anderson, and he surprised me by saying that he doesn’t even notice it and hadn’t ever really thought about it. Following an academic quarter system sounds potentially challenging to me, but maybe it’s just because I’ve never followed one before (and having more midterms and finals doesn’t sound too fun). His reasoning was that business school is always crazy busy no matter what, so the quarter system doesn’t really stand out. On the flipside, for me, it’s a great opportunity to try out even more classes and explore other areas of business. I didn’t take any business-related courses in high school or college (no economics, statistics, etc.; nada), so I’ve got a lot of ground to cover.
We also talked a bit about tracks and specializations at Anderson. I got the impression from their website that tracks and specializations were something like the core foundation of their curriculum, but my interviewer was relatively adamant about playing that aspect of Anderson down. He basically said the tracks/specializations don’t mean anything. When I expressed my surprise, he further clarified that pursuing a track or specialization was completely optional. Students can take whatever courses they’d like from any area, and you do not need to complete any track or specialization to graduate. That was definitely news to me, and I thought that was pretty interesting. I like how Anderson’s curriculum is set up because it would allow me to complete a traditional (read: corporate) marketing track while also completing the Leaders in Sustainability specialization, which would give me the chance to take nonprofit management courses and other classes at the UCLA School of Public Affairs and such. But it’s good to know that you don’t have to necessarily be locked into a single path.
Altogether, it was a positive experience. I didn’t walk away from this interview (or Kellogg’s) with a slam-dunk feeling or anything like that, but I thought both were pleasant and I got to know much more about the schools than I did before.