The number of applicants to the Masters of Business Administration program at the UCLA Anderson School of Management are up, despite a trend of fewer applications to MBA programs nationally.
The Anderson school has recently seen a 22.3 percent increase in its application rates, which officials attribute to revamped recruiting practices, said Rob Weiler, associate dean of the full-time MBA program at Anderson. The Anderson school received about 3,335 applications to the full-time MBA program this year.
However, the number of applications to MBA programs across the country decreased for the fourth year in a row, according to a September report released by The Wall Street Journal.
Weiler said the gap between tuition for MBA programs at UCLA and other private schools has closed in recent years.
According to US News and World Report, the Anderson School of Management has an in-state tuition of $45,386. In contrast, Harvard Business School has a tuition of $51,200.
He said the uptick in applications to UCLA may instead be attributed to the increase in expanded and targeted outreach efforts and a refinement of how the school presents itself.
“Curriculum and outreach were different this year,” Weiler said. “We targeted and focused on folks we had relationships with.”
For this year’s class, the Anderson school contacted approximately 45,000 students by email, double than in the past two years.
Potential applicants who came to recruiting events or requested information about the Anderson school were put into a database that was used to send out recruiting material.
The material was specifically targeted to people’s expressed interests, for instance programs for women in business.
The school recently made changes in the MBA curriculum to help students focus and prepare quickly for their careers, allowing them to take marketing or finance in their first quarter, Weiler said. This change, he said, may have attracted more applicants.
Admissions officials also made an effort to point out the Anderson school’s differences from other business schools, and why the school would be right for a given student.
Despite the increase, Weiler said the Anderson school plans to maintain its current admissions target of 360 MBA students for next year.
Students at the Anderson school gave various reasons for applying to the MBA program.
Brian Chan, a second-year graduate student, said one reason he chose to go to the Anderson school was because of its proximity to the technology industry within California. He added that the student culture at the Anderson school was a big draw.
“Instead of being very cutthroat the student body is more supportive of each other,” he said.
First-year graduate student Kate Edwards also used location as a factor in applying to MBA schools.
“I loved the idea of coming to Los Angeles,” Edwards said. “I ended up falling in love with the people that I met here. The people that I met at Harvard, even the people I met at Stanford, had kind of an air of elitism.”