Case Studies · 4 minute read

UCLA Anderson MFE more effectively evaluates for employability, helping them achieve a 97% post-grad employment rate

With employability top of mind, UCLA Anderson’s MFE uses an asynchronous assessment to identify key soft skills in the admissions process that help them enroll the candidates who are most likely to succeed.


Gathering deeper insight into applicants’ communication skills while working within a small team with limited bandwidth.

Key outcomes

Significantly reduced time spent organizing interviews, eliminating frequent 12-15 hour work days.

Favourite features

  • Structured review
  • Recorded responses
  • 24/7 tech support

At UCLA Anderson School of Management’s Master of Financial Engineering (MFE) program, employability is top of mind from admissions through to graduation. 

Boasting a 97% post-graduation employment rate, the school leverages its strong relationships with top employers in the United States and wide network of more than 42,000 alumni to help students get their foot in the door at hundreds of leading financial institutions globally. The continued success of those relationships, however, relies on the continued success of the MFE students in their careers. To help ensure that they’re enrolling the right students for the job, UCLA Anderson MFE relies on Kira Talent.  

Identifying top applicants by assessing employability in the admissions process

“Our emphasis on employability and soft skills begins in the admissions process with our video assessment,” shared Leanna Cortez, the Interim Executive Director for the Master of Financial Engineering at UCLA Anderson School of Management. 

Presenting applicants with mathematical problems, the MFE admissions team assesses how applicants are able to approach solving the challenges in real time. 

“It’s not just about them reaching the correct answer, we want to see how our applicants handle the stress of having to solve a problem on their feet and if they can communicate how they arrived at their result,” Cortez explained. 

“It's an essential component of our application process,” explained Jeff Credidio, Manager of Admissions & Recruiting for the Master of Financial Engineering program. “There are a lot of candidates with perfect test scores and impressive grades and, on paper, they look the same."

"How they communicate is the differentiator, not only for us but for employers.” 

“An Asynchronous Assessment in Kira Talent has allowed us to efficiently assess those key skills in the application process,” he shared.

Replacing time-consuming Skype and in-person interviews

“Prior to Kira, we were gathering these critical insights through a combination of Skype and in-person interviews,” shared Cortez. “This disparate process not only created inconsistencies in the applicants’ experiences but, from a scheduling perspective, it was incredibly time-consuming.”

“We receive applications from all over the world, so juggling time zones presented a significant challenge during interview season,” Cortez explained. “During the admissions season, we frequently worked 12-15 hour days to keep up with the volume of applicants and align our team with applicants’ availability.”

“We're a small team, so each component of our admissions process needs to be designed with our limited bandwidth in mind,” she continued. “When we started looking at alternative solutions to conduct our admissions interview with, reducing the time spent on purely organizational tasks was a key focus — we needed to make the process more efficient.”

Since 2016, UCLA Anderson MFE has conducted their admissions interviews with an on-demand video assessment in Kira Talent.

“By using an Asynchronous Assessment, we’ve eliminated the entire scheduling component of the interview process, saving us countless hours of work each admissions cycle."

Optimizing resources for a small admissions team

“With Kira, you can invite multiple applicants to complete their assessment with one email blast,” Cortez explained. “The assessment is available online and on-demand, so not only do we not have to try and find a time that works for both applicant and interviewer, but we’re no longer limited by the number of interviewers we have available at a given time. Multiple applicants can complete their assessments at the same time, from anywhere in the world.” 

“In that way, Kira allows us to optimize our resources and interview significantly more candidates than we could with a traditional interview,” she added.

Learn how Kira helped McCombs School of Business increase applicant yield by 30%

For UCLA Anderson MFE's admissions committee, that means that they're getting better insight into the wider applicant pool.

“Our admissions committee has been really impressed with the process in Kira," Cortez shared. "Coming from a wide variety of professional backgrounds working in admissions, they've experienced first-hand all sorts of systems and ideologies."

“Of the many different admissions processes that we’ve been a part of, we feel that Kira’s platform has provided the smoothest user experience all around.”

Mitigating bias and strengthening scoring reliability with an accessible assessment

The on-demand nature of Kira’s Asynchronous Assessment helps UCLA Anderson MFE increase the number of applicants they can invite to interview, while also helping the admissions team increase the reliability of their reviewing process.

“With a live interview, you’re relying on the notes and initial appraisal of the one reviewer in the room,” explained Credidio. “Kira enables us to easily rewatch and share applicants’ responses, which helps us ensure that we’re making our admissions decisions based on thorough and accurate assessments of the candidates.”

“If a reviewer is at all unsure about an applicant’s response, they can ask another team member to watch the response and give a second opinion,” added Cortez. “If a reviewer’s notes are unclear or the admissions committee is on the fence, they can watch the responses themselves.”

“The full access we have to applicants' responses has been a game changer, helping us mitigate bias in our admissions process and strengthen the reliability of our evaluation.”

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