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icon-case-study Jeff
Degree 3.5 from Berklee School of Music/Boston University, Music Production
Initial GMAT Score 640
Profile 28-year old white male career enhancer needs MBA to enrich network and catapult to senior product management
Target Schools Berkeley Haas (Reach)
UCLA Anderson (Competitive)
Texas McCombs (Competitive)
USC Marshall (Backup)

Application Branding Strategy

Jeff came to us knowing little other than that he wanted an MBA. After a 630 on his first GMAT attempt, we advised some private tutoring and he reached a 730, 10 points shy of his goal score, but still very competitive at the schools he was applying to: Haas, Anderson, McCombs and Marshall. Jeff’ biggest challenge was that he lacked a clear post-MBA career vision. Worse still, his essays felt generic and uninspired, filled with tired B-School clichés about wanting to make a difference and being stuck in his current role, blah, blah, Zzzzz... So we took a deep dive into his personal life, career accomplishments, and what, exactly, made him tick. His final submissions reflected a deeply thoughtful, highly motivated aspiring product manager and entrepreneur. Jeff is now at Anderson—his first choice!

Result

In Jeff’s first essay, we focused on sharpening his post-MBA vision, and demonstrating how his years of experience in product marketing combined with an Anderson MBA would help to make that career a reality. We pressed Jeff for specifics! He had to really do his homework on Anderson so that his applications reflected his knowledge of the program and why he was such a good fit. We never let our clients rely on a good GMAT score as their ticket in. With applications reviewed so holistically these days, and so many competitive submissions, the essays are where our clients shine. In his second essay, we encourage a deeper reflection of Jeff’ personal side. Though naturally introverted, we encourage him, through brainstorming guides and one-on-one sessions, to open up about his personal story. His second essay to Anderson really showed him to be the budding future leader they are looking for.

Outcome

Everyone has elements of their story that they don’t consider important, relevant or impressive; it’s just the nature of having lived an experience which makes it seem less significant than to those who hear about your lived experience. (The entire reality TV industry is built on that premise). We don’t let any of our clients get away with a superficial account of their lives—we force you to dig deep, and like Jeff’ application, the outcome always reflects that.

Bottom Line

Final GMAT Score

730

Accepted

UCLA Anderson
USC Marshall

Waitlisted

Texas McCombs

Rejected

Berkeley Haas


We help you capture the vital elements that top MBA and graduate schools looks for in your personal statement. Below is a side-by-side comparison of Jeff’s initial draft to UCLA Anderson and the final version that led to his acceptance.

Before


Describe your short-term and long-term career goals. How can the UCLA Anderson experience add value to your professional development? (500 words maximum)

I want an MBA in order to combine my digital marketing, sales, online retail, and product management experience with a formal business/management education. I want to realize my short-term goal of leading product management for organizations such as Apple, Spotify, or Airbnb circa 2011. Ultimately, I want to make the transition from product manager to a Director/VP Product.

My cousin Mike Brown’s (‘09) experience at Anderson and ensuing career is a huge inspiration to me. Seeing him lead the Real Estate club and win the Real Estate competition against Marshall, showed me the true value of the Anderson experience. Had he not done that competition, he would not have gotten to work side by side with his future business partner and thus create their extremely successful business post-graduation. I am most excited about taking on a leadership role in AnderTech and collaborating with fellow students across disciplines at the Price Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. Perhaps if the Anderson Accelerator had existed when my cousin was at Anderson, he would have been a part of a team there; that’s an opportunity I do not want to miss.

Coming into Anderson with a strong product management background, I’ll be able to act as a facilitator amongst students across disciplines and help drive strategy and direction for a submission to the Knapp Venture Competition. I’d do everything to bring home a second win in the family at Anderson.

As my career advances, Anderson, the greater UCLA community, and the LA tech landscape will continue to play important roles for me. I am strongly #LongLA due to the continued growth in institutional capital here, the diversity and creativity the city has to offer, and my own history of building a career in the city I call home. I know that UCLA will continue to produce high-performing talent in technology and I will utilize that resource to fuel growth in my ventures. Expect me to lead a company in the LA Tech space and proudly wear my Anderson degree with respect and gratitude. An eventual home run exit will then help spur the next generation of Anderson graduates to pursue their dreams.

After


Describe your short-term and long-term career goals. How can the UCLA Anderson experience add value to your professional development? (500 words maximum)

Nowadays, product management is thought of in terms of software or packaged goods. But the history of human progress has been entirely defined by products: sharpened pebbles fashioned into knives, the harnessing of fire, or more modern examples such as flight or touch screens. To me, however, what’s more interesting is the management of those products once they’re invented and, ultimately, the redeeming social value they contain.

I want an MBA in order to combine my digital marketing, sales, online retail, and product management experience with a formal business/management education. Leveraging both, I can realize my short-term goal of leading product management for forward-thinking, impact-driven organizations such as Apple, Spotify, or a current hyper-growth company, a la Airbnb circa 2011. While my skills in product management, digital marketing, and sales have been refined through my years working in consumer technologies, I still lack the broader understanding of corporate finance, capital markets and organizational behavior to make the transition from product manager to a Director/VP Product.

Academically, I intend to specialize in Social Impact. Having created and managed Topspin Labs, an online platform that streamlines the delivery of online tools for artists, I am excited about collaborating with like-minded future thought leaders in the Social Impact space and take my penchant for creative problem solving to the next level.

One of my strengths has always been the ability to marshal resources and catalyze human potential into action. In college, it was spearheading industry trips from Boston to L.A. as President of Berklee’s Music Business Club. Later, it was assembling diverse teams and employing their varied talents—engineers, designers, producers, and marketers—to help pitch, design, implement and launch Topspin Labs. I am a doer at heart, which is why I look forward to my second year at Anderson, collaborating with enterprising go-getters at the Samueli Engineering School who, like me, are intellectual risk takers with an eye towards idea creation and entrepreneurship. The BCO capstone project will be my opportunity to leverage the rich resources of Anderson’s Accelerator program, using them as a springboard for potential ventures.

As a career enhancer, I want to enrich my contacts in the tech space and facilitate my transition back to it once I graduate. Being around like-minded tech innovators and future VC decision-makers is a big part of that aim. Therefore, socially, AnderTech seems like a good fit. As a product manager, I can act as facilitator amongst students across disciplines and help drive strategy and direction for a winning submission to the Knapp Venture Competition.

As my career advances, Anderson, the greater UCLA community, and the LA tech landscape will continue to play important roles for me. Due to its continued growth in institutional capital, its diversity and creativity, and my eight-year professional history here, Los Angeles is where I want to complete my MBA. Due to the experiential learning environment that reflects its emphasis on developing purpose-driven business leaders that drive social impact, Anderson is where I want to receive it.