2010 UCLA Anderson MBA Admissions Q&A with Mae Jennifer Shores

2010 UCLA Anderson MBA Admissions Q&A with Mae Jennifer Shores

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Linda Abraham (Nov 16, 2009 11:58:53 AM)
Hello. My name is Linda Abraham. I am the founder of Accepted.com and the moderator of today’s chat.

First I want to welcome all applicants to the UCLA Anderson chat today, and I want to congratulate you for taking the time to learn more about the Anderson MBA program. Whether you are working hard on your application to prepare for UCLA ’s next deadline on January 6th or you are doing research with the intention of submitting later, you need to know as much as you can to make a sound application decision and gain acceptance to the school of your choice. Being here today allows you to ask the UCLA experts about this outstanding business school.

I also want to welcome Mae Shores, UCLA Anderson's Assistant Dean & Director of MBA Admissions & Financial Aid and Andy Promsiri, Associate Director of Financial Aid.

Welcome. Thanks to everyone for joining.

US MBA (Nov 16, 2009 12:00:35 PM)
Hi Mae, since I am from China, the biggest concern I have is whether UCLA has any financial programs to help finance the MBA study.

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:01:32 PM)
Hi US, we offered loans this year to our international students without a US cosigner. International students are eligible for both need and merit-based grants and fellowships.

Steve G (Nov 16, 2009 12:01:46 PM)
Mae, is this specifically related to the Full-time MBA or also FEMBA?

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:02:08 PM)
This is full-time, although we can help with a few FEMBA questions if you like.

Allie (Nov 16, 2009 12:02:23 PM)
Mae, I have applied in Round 1 and am waiting for the interview invitation. I am planning a trip to LA early December -- is there any way I can find out about my interview status so that I can schedule my interview while I am in LA?

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:02:48 PM)
Allie, we are busy reading Round 1 applications and hope to have all invites out by early December.

Linda Abraham (Nov 16, 2009 12:03:17 PM)
Mae, UCLA added an international requirement to its curriculum. What motivated the change?

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:04:46 PM)
Linda, Dean Judy Olian's strategic plan is to expand our global footprint. This is an addition to AMR projects with global companies & exchange programs, etc.

Allie (Nov 16, 2009 12:04:59 PM)
Mae, is there any specific date after which you won't be sending any interview invites?

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:06:50 PM)
Allie, I can't give an exact date. Much depends upon how the reading goes. We want to devote as much time as necessary to evaluating files. Will post updates on our blog and twitter

US MBA (Nov 16, 2009 12:06:53 PM)
Thanks Mae, that's really good news. So if my application is just for loan rather than grants and fellowships, my application will be 100% approved?

Kahanu (Nov 16, 2009 12:07:43 PM)
What can an applicant between jobs do to increase their chances of admission?

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:08:05 PM)
US MBA: We will do everything we can to help you finance your MBA. No worries.

Drew (Nov 16, 2009 12:08:12 PM)
I'm specifically looking at your Real Estate concentration in the hopes of moving into that field. However, I would prefer to move back to the East Coast after completing my MBA. Do you typically have people who do this, or do most people stay within the Southern California area?

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:08:36 PM)
Kahanu: Invest your time in community service or areas related to your career interests. It's not good to be idle.

Drew (Nov 16, 2009 12:09:09 PM)
Following on Kahanu's question, at what point is a person's unemployment detrimental to their application?

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:09:21 PM)
Drew: Our 2d largest alumni network is in NY. We have alumni throughout the US. The founder of Ziman Real Estate Center has strong financial and other ties to NY.

Linda Abraham (Nov 16, 2009 12:09:42 PM)
Andy, what loan options are available for international students?

US MBA (Nov 16, 2009 12:09:54 PM)
Mae, what do you think of the full-time MBA vs. the part-time MBA?  I heard UCLA has the best part-time MBA program in US and am just considering whether I should apply to the part-time or full time program.

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:10:09 PM)
Drew, hard to say how much unemployment is too much, especially in this economy. We give people the benefit of the doubt.

CamilaS (Nov 16, 2009 12:10:41 PM)
I am a reapplicant and had waited until the second round to apply in order to have a much more compelling application. Does it affect my application?

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:11:32 PM)
Drew, part-time is good if you want to keep your current career and accelerate your growth. Full-time is good for career switchers, internships, & opportunities for leadership development. Faculty in PT and FT programs are the same, which is terrific.

Allie (Nov 16, 2009 12:11:36 PM)
Mae: Is the volume of applications in the first round greater than the volume last year?

AndyPromsiriUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:12:11 PM)
Linda- at this time, there are no lenders in the U.S. that will loan funds to international students without a co-signer.

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:12:37 PM)
Allie, schools generally don't disclose volume trends until the end of cycle. Basing any assumptions on the 1st round can be misleading.

CamilaS (Nov 16, 2009 12:12:59 PM)
I live in Colombia and would like to meet a UCLA alumnus in order to have further insight on the MBA program. Is it possible to contact one?

CamilaS (Nov 16, 2009 12:13:47 PM)
Andy: Do international students need a cosigner for the loans?

Linda Abraham (Nov 16, 2009 12:14:02 PM)
Does UCLA have such a program?

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:15:15 PM)
We offered loans to international students this year through the UCLA Foundation and are exploring options for this coming year. Need-based grants for internationals will be new this year.

US MBA (Nov 16, 2009 12:15:41 PM)
Thanks Mae. How about the employment of international student? What percentage of students gets jobs in US and what is the percentage that go back to their motherlands?

Linda Abraham (Nov 16, 2009 12:15:52 PM)
Thanks for clarifying Mae.

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:16:32 PM)
CamilaS, we can connect you with Alumni in Colombia. Send us an email. We just traveled to Colombia. Sorry if we missed you in Colombia.

Linda Abraham (Nov 16, 2009 12:16:38 PM)
Andy, do applicants apply for merit scholarships or are all applicants considered for them?

Allie (Nov 16, 2009 12:16:55 PM)
I heard you have already started giving interview invites -- is that done on a rolling basis? I submitted my application on the deadline date, so will applicants who submitted before me receive the interview invites first?

AndyPromsiriUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:17:31 PM)
Linda- all applicants will be considered for a fellowship.

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:17:31 PM)
USMBA: Most international students return to their home country. Some companies are willing to sponsor students in the US. This is true for all US MBA programs.

Ben (Nov 16, 2009 12:17:44 PM)
Hi! I have a question about the audio/video presentation; if I cannot make the Video file, can I upload the PowerPoint presentation instead?

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:18:42 PM)
Ben, the question asks for an audio, video, or written text. We would prefer you submit one of these formats.

Ben (Nov 16, 2009 12:19:14 PM)
Mae: Noted and thanks!

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:19:26 PM)
Allie, there is no order to the release of interviews. People are traveling and reading, so the flow varies. Someone who submitted the last application could receive an interview invite before the first submitter. So try not to read anything into the release order.

Drew (Nov 16, 2009 12:19:45 PM)
Mae, because of my education path, I've only had to take up to calculus I, I haven't taken any economics and/or finance/accounting classes. Does this weaken my application? How do I go about improving this? I would have no problem taking a class prior to enrollment, but would prefer to do that after I hear of my decision.

Linda Abraham (Nov 16, 2009 12:20:02 PM)
Andy, what are the criteria for the merit based awards?

Linda Abraham (Nov 16, 2009 12:20:33 PM)
Mae: What makes an application stand out in a positive way as you go through piles of them?

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:20:36 PM)
Drew: If you did well in calculus and ok on the GMAT, then your application is not weakened.

AndyPromsiriUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:21:03 PM)
Linda- merit based award is based on the holistic criteria such as GPA, GMAT score, work experience, and the strength on the recommendations.

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:21:04 PM)
Linda, an application that is authentic and genuine stands out!  While we have admits who have worked on nuclear submarines, been Olympic athletes and already achieved things common of MBAs, they are the exception.

Drew (Nov 16, 2009 12:21:49 PM)
Is there a GMAT percentile I would need to hit?

US MBA (Nov 16, 2009 12:21:54 PM)
Hi Andy, further to Linda's question, what will be the percentage of international student for merit-based awards?

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:23:20 PM)
Drew, there is no percentile to hit. The GMAT is evaluated in tandem with the GPA or other measure of baccalaureate performance.

US MBA (Nov 16, 2009 12:23:52 PM)
Thanks Mae. What do you think of the employment situation of international students if they want to get jobs in US after graduation?

AndyPromsiriUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:24:03 PM)
US MBA- I don't have the percentage at this time, but this year we have allocated over $400,000 to our international students in grant funds.

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:24:13 PM)
US MBA, we do not set a limit for numbers of students who receive merit-based awards. Merit is based on strength of entire application. Merit fellowships are for the strongest applicants in the pool, regardless of citizenship or nationality.

Ben (Nov 16, 2009 12:24:21 PM)
Andy: what is the range of the GMAT or GPA that the admissions will take into account for granting the scholarship?

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:25:26 PM)
USMBA, the employment situation for international students varies depending upon your career interest. Multinational companies or more global companies are your best bet.

bruinwannabe (Nov 16, 2009 12:25:37 PM)
Mae, What percentage of your MBA class comes directly from college?

AndyPromsiriUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:26:01 PM)
Ben- this year, students with GMAT of 712 or higher and GPA of 3.5 or higher received grants and scholarships.

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:26:11 PM)
Ben, there is no range of GPA or GMAT for consideration of the fellowships. It is based on the entire application, including work experience, leadership, management, and contributions, etc. The numbers Andy gave you are an average and could change depending upon the applicant pool.

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:27:49 PM)
Bruinwannabe (lol): Currently, the amount of students in the program coming directly from undergraduate school is less than 1%. We are open to more. We are an early-career friendly program.

CamilaS (Nov 16, 2009 12:27:58 PM)
Mae: What is the average GMAT score of the students in UCLA?

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:28:47 PM)
Camila, our average GMAT is 712. 80% of scores fall between 670 and 760. We do admit candidates with lower GMATs AND have denied perfect 800 scores! We like applicants who play well in the sandbox, hence denied some applicants with high GMATs.

US MBA (Nov 16, 2009 12:29:04 PM)
Thanks Andy. How much funds are individually allocated to the student?

RZA (Nov 16, 2009 12:29:23 PM)
Mae, do you have any tips for those invited to interview at UCLA?

US MBA (Nov 16, 2009 12:29:27 PM)
Mae, Thanks for explaining employment situation.

Drew (Nov 16, 2009 12:30:12 PM)
I would argue that my GPA had an upward trend as I moved on through school. However, the overall GPA wasn't "terrible" (3.2) and was wondering if this is something I should note in my application.

AndyPromsiriUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:30:18 PM)
US MBA- we can offer financial aid up to the cost of education which around $52K for domestic students and $60K for international students.

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:30:28 PM)
RZA: Interview tips include: It is a dialogue (2-way exchange), follow the queues of the interviewer, there are no case questions & it is not putting you on the spot. Enjoy.

bruinwannabe (Nov 16, 2009 12:30:47 PM)
Mae, what would an applicant straight from undergraduate school have to show to the UCLA adcom in light of no full-time work experience?

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:30:52 PM)
Drew, we would note the upward trend (good for you). And 3.2 is not horrible. :-)

US MBA (Nov 16, 2009 12:31:09 PM)
Hi Mae, I earned my bachelor degree in 2004, and after 3-years of working, I received my Master's in 2007. Do you think it is okay for me to apply for the MBA program now or should I have more years of work experience?

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:31:54 PM)
Bruinwannabe: Applicants directly from undergraduate school need to show some assets they will bring instead of work experience. It could be contributions, internships, leadership, great essays & recommendations etc.

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:32:51 PM)
US MBA: Years of work is not as important as quality, i.e. skills and progression acquired. If you feel ready, then by all means, apply.

Ben (Nov 16, 2009 12:32:51 PM)
Andy: What is the range of the merit scholarship?

CamilaS (Nov 16, 2009 12:33:10 PM)
How would you describe UCLA students and community?

AndyPromsiriUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:33:16 PM)
Ben- from $5000 to $20,000 per year.

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:33:26 PM)
Allie: The average number of years of work experience at UCLA Anderson is 5.1. The range is from  0-19. So the number of years is not the key consideration.

US MBA (Nov 16, 2009 12:34:00 PM)
Thanks Mae, your reply is really refreshing.

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:34:33 PM)
CamilaS: Having been in the industry for 10 years, I can tell you that we are one of the very most collaborative & entrepreneurial (in spirit) around.

Linda Abraham (Nov 16, 2009 12:34:34 PM)
Andy, what do you look for in deciding who should receive merit aid?

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:34:42 PM)
You are welcome, US MBA.

RZA (Nov 16, 2009 12:34:48 PM)
Thanks Mae. What percentage of applicants do you interview?

Linda Abraham (Nov 16, 2009 12:35:01 PM)
Mae: How is recruiting going this year?

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:35:27 PM)
RZA, the percent that we interview is not cast in stone. We interview all we consider viable in a given year. It could range from 25% to upwards of 50%.

AndyPromsiriUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:35:48 PM)
Linda:  We consider the overall strength of the admission application, including GPA, GMAT, work experience, outside activities, and recommendations.

bruinwannabe (Nov 16, 2009 12:36:15 PM)
Mae, considering that less than 1% of your students are straight from undergraduate school, does that mean that the number applying is at a similar percentage, or are they accepted at a much lower rate?

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:36:18 PM)
Linda: Recruiting is going very well. We continue to see strong applicants from around the world.

Linda Abraham (Nov 16, 2009 12:36:53 PM)
Great. Mae, how about recruiting of 2010 Anderson grads?

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:37:03 PM)
Bruinwannabe: To be honest, I am not sure how many applicants apply directly from undergraduate school. We really don't track this.

Linda Abraham (Nov 16, 2009 12:37:35 PM)
Also, what role does "employability" play in admissions? Does someone from career services assist in application evaluation?

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:37:46 PM)
Linda, 2010 grads were off to a slow start (true for all MBA programs this year), but there has been a nice uptick in company interest in recent months. Internships went very well this past year!

Linda Abraham (Nov 16, 2009 12:38:16 PM)
Good to know.

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:38:29 PM)
Linda, employability in admissions can be a factor if an individual has wildly unrealistic goals. We consult with career management as needed. The one problem with employability is that there is a very spurious correlation between what individuals cite as their career goals coming into the program & what they actually do!

CamilaS (Nov 16, 2009 12:39:35 PM)
What percentage of the reapplicants are accepted? What do you look in reapplications? What do you expect?

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:40:21 PM)
CamilaS: the number of reapplicants admitted varies from year to year. We set no quotas. It all depends upon what individuals have done to enhance their candidacy. Reapplicants are evaluated relative to the new pool of applicants. If one's work experience was weak, GMAT low, essays unfocussed the 1st time, we hope they have improved.

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:40:52 PM)
I hope you all see from my answer that our process is not numbers-driven. We are focused on you as an individual and on your own merits.

RZA (Nov 16, 2009 12:41:13 PM)
Mae: What makes the Anderson MBA different?

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:42:22 PM)
RZA: What makes UCLA Anderson different cannot be answered in 2 lines! Part of the UCLA difference is intellectual talent of faculty, diversity of student body (no herd mentality!), LA (most diverse population & employment base) in US.

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:45:01 PM)
A below average GPA & GMAT do not necessarily make acceptance difficult, particularly if one has other strengths (e.g., professional experience, personal qualities, & communication skills).

Linda Abraham (Nov 16, 2009 12:45:29 PM)
Mae, wouldn't it also depend on how much below average the GMAT and GPA are?

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:45:40 PM)
Linda, yes it would. Thank you!

Steve G (Nov 16, 2009 12:45:44 PM)
What surprises students the most when they first begin the program and what would you recommend that prospective students do in advance to prepare for the beginning of classes?

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:46:29 PM)
One big surprise that is eventually appreciated by students is how rigorous our core is. You walk away with exceptionally strong analytical skills. Students are also surprised that we are as collegial as we claim to be when we recruit!

Drew (Nov 16, 2009 12:46:41 PM)
Great question!

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:48:07 PM)
If you are curious about the audio clip essay, visit our website, where we have animated audio clips submitted by new admits.

Linda Abraham (Nov 16, 2009 12:48:41 PM)
Those clips are worth seeing.

CamilaS (Nov 16, 2009 12:48:54 PM)
Mae: What types of enhancement do you expect from reapplicants in terms of what the reapplicant has done during the last months?

Steve G (Nov 16, 2009 12:49:07 PM)
My FEMBA interviewer said the same thing!

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:49:48 PM)
CamilaS, we do not really expect anything in particular. We look at the reapplication & see how you fare against this year's pool.

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:50:04 PM)
Thanks, Steve G!

RZA (Nov 16, 2009 12:50:19 PM)
Mae, what are the most common applicant mistakes?

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:52:01 PM)
RZA: common applicant mistakes include use of cliches & "business speak" in essays & interview, being too general in essays, and over-exaggerating accomplishments - for starters. :-) One big mistake applicants make is listening to well-intentioned advice from alumni and friends & not admissions officers!

Linda Abraham (Nov 16, 2009 12:52:41 PM)
Have the events in the financial markets and the recession affected UCLA’s coursework? How have they entered the classroom?

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:53:47 PM)
Events in financial markets & recession are topics in many classes. We have held town halls with Federal Reserve & Wall Street experts, as well.

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:54:39 PM)
One interesting bit of information is that application volumes & MBA hiring trends are cyclical. We do not expect recent economic events to be anything more than temporary.

Linda Abraham (Nov 16, 2009 12:55:13 PM)
That last point is valid and under-emphasized. We tend to only see what is directly in front of or behind us.

Linda Abraham (Nov 16, 2009 12:55:26 PM)
Thank you again all for participating today. Special thanks to Mae and Andy for taking the time to answer all these questions. 

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MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:55:38 PM)
Thanks, Everyone!

RZA (Nov 16, 2009 12:55:47 PM)
Thanks Mae and Andy!

Ben (Nov 16, 2009 12:55:50 PM)
Thank you, UCLA admissions and Linda!

Linda Abraham (Nov 16, 2009 12:55:55 PM)
You're very welcome.

MaeJenniferShoresUCLA (Nov 16, 2009 12:56:08 PM)
You are most welcome, RZA and Ben - and others! Our pleasure!

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