This post is a part of the Student Perspectives series – each post is written by a current UCLA Anderson student, and provides first-hand perspectives and experiences about being an MBA student at UCLA Anderson.
As I come back from Winter Break and the holidays, it’s a good time to recognize how happy and thankful I am to have joined the UCLA Anderson community.
When you come to business school, second year students will tell you to juggle social, class, and recruiting. The three prominent aspects of MBA life will vie for your time and, based on personal decisions, you will determine the focus areas. The social, class, and recruiting aspects also provide a good framework to describe my business school experience and relationships formed.
CLASS: I am drawn to learn when my professors are invested in making me successful. Professors have spent time outside of office hours to explain derivatives in economics or calculate the probability in binomial distributions in statistics. And, professors always seek to keep the conversation relevant and bring in their own research whether it’s debating Peter Thiel’s ideology on monopolies or showcasing how Nortel Networks hid losses through accounts receivable reserves. Professors are passionate about their fields and want to channel their knowledge to help make future business leaders.
The opportunities for learning are within your fingertips whether through the official tutoring and office hours or the unofficial help from a friend. Classmates have volunteered to catch me up on a homework assignment, explain economic intuition, or spend time post review session going over a tricky accounting problem. One of our mottos at Anderson is Sharing Success and even in class we are really just competitive with ourselves. Before starting a midterm or final, I will often hear “Go Section B.”
I am thankful for the amount of knowledge that my brain has soaked up in the past five months. Never having taken Accounting, I have gone from zero to mastery over the basics in a six week period (mastery may be a strong word but I’m going with it). I am constantly challenged by myself and my community of professors and students to think in the next.
SOCIAL: You know you love your section when….all 70 of you cram in a 150 sq ft karaoke room because you just can’t stand splitting up. That may have happened during summer quarter but my section-mates still tend to find each other in the crowd at Anderson Afternoons. For a little context, Anderson Afternoons is a hosted event every Thursday where students can connect over food and drinks on campus. It’s hosted by a student organization or company and we recently feasted on King’s Hawaiian and celebrated Diwali with the South Asian Business Association (SABA).
In addition to my love for Section B, I am also thankful for my learning team. While my learning team is my small group for class-work, they are also the people that I play tennis with, travel to the Bay Area for Days on the Job, and dress up in 90s outfits for our end of the summer quarter celebration. On first appearance, we are a pretty diverse group in thought and appearance having an architect from Japan, a physicist who studied black holes, a member of the Obama administration, an actuarial, and an M&A specialist. But after the initial weeks of figuring out learning styles and playing to each others strengths we have become tight-knit friends.
I would be amiss to not call out my roommates. My roommates, second year Anderson students, have helped me navigate business school and become my LA family. I am thankful for the end of day check-ins where they provide emotional support and encouragement. Wish I had them both for another year.
RECRUITING: Chatting with Anderson alumni at the Seattle Tech Mixer felt unlike any other networking event- it felt like I was being welcomed into the alumni community. There is a genuine sense of helpfulness from UCLA alumni who want to give us the insights to guide our career decisions and/or pave the way for Anderson MBAs to join their companies. Alumni come back to campus through career nights, on campus recruiting sessions, and Dinners for Eight. And, during the Fall Quarter we travel to them to visit companies of interest through our week long Days on the Job program. Conversing with alumni tunes me into their company and functional areas and also gives me a picture of my future in the next 2-5 years post-business school.
There are all the moments leading up to alumni and company visits that helped shape my recruiting decisions. Parker Career sessions started in August with exercises and assessments to identify potential industries and functional areas, 1-1 career advising sessions that inform my networking approach, and mock pitches and resume reviews. The hands on help coupled with the responsiveness of second year students to coffee chats informed the types of companies and roles that jive with my interests.
I am thankful for the efforts being made by alumni, students, clubs, and Parker to increase access and ready me for a career in technology. Tech has taken off at Anderson in the past 8 years and that is because of increased presence of MBAs in the industry and the trailblazing partnerships with companies for on-campus recruiting. The tightness of the Anderson community continues to pave the way for new and emerging opportunities in tech.
The relationships formed at Anderson are the glue in the community. I am thankful for the experiences provided in recruiting, classes, and social events that serve to strengthen that glue. It’s been a whirlwind four months and, in reflecting back, I am amazed by how fast I have integrated into the Anderson community. Can’t wait for the next year and a half.
– Julie Mills '19