UCLA: Looking for Leadership

High on the list of qualities UCLA's MBA program seeks is evidence of past leadership and future potential, says admissions director Lydia Heyman

Lydia Heyman has been part of the admissions team at the Anderson School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles for more than 20 years. During her time at Anderson, Heyman has worked with all of the graduate degree programs, namely the Executive MBA, Fully Employed MBA, and PhD programs.

Six months ago, Heyman took over as director of MBA admissions. She recently spoke to BusinessWeek.com reporter Sabrina Siddiqui about admissions at Anderson and what she considers the ideal MBA applicant. Here are edited excerpts of the conversation.

Are there any major changes to the application process this year?

There are not any major changes to the process, though this year we have changed our policy on interviewing. Last year we interviewed all of our applicants, but this year interviews are by invitation only.

Is there a particular reason for this change?

We found that this was a more efficient manner of conducting and managing our entire interview process.

Are you seeing more applications now than in the recent past?

Yes, we have a 30% increase over last year's round one. Our deadline for round one was in late October and we were thrilled to see a 30% increase over last year's round one.

What do you make of the increase?

We're attributing that to the market. We anticipate that the financial-services sector has been hit hard (BusinessWeek.com, 9/18/07), and we will see an increase in applications from young employees in that area. We also attribute it to the number of outreach and community activities this season, and also the school's efforts in getting the word out about UCLA Anderson.

What's the most unusual or difficult essay question on your application? What's your advice to students on how to answer it?

It may not be difficult, but it could be for some, and that's where we allow applicants to address anything else that they want us to know about them that maybe doesn't fit into any of the other questions in the application. Sometimes it's an opportunity for individuals to...

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