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.
Some students worry that by leaving their jobs to return to school to get their MBA, they will feel too far removed from the business community. However, one of the (many) perks of going to UCLA Anderson is that you are never far from the action. Los Angeles might be best-known for the entertainment industry, but the growing start-up scene in Silicon Beach is bringing new sectors and jobs for those interested in tech. Regardless of your area of interest, LA is a crossroads for companies heading east towards the Asia-Pacific region and south to Latin America. This brings not only diverse job opportunities but also industry experts to the city, and into UCLA's classrooms.
How do these connections help students?
- In the Classroom: Many professors will use the broader international business community to provide their students with unique speaker series. For example, Professor Jeff Moorad, the former Vice-Chairman of the San Diego Padres, teaches a Sports Management Class each spring. During the quarter he invites speakers from all segments of the industry: analysts, managers, and front-office executives. These unique opportunities give students an opportunity to meet with experts in their target field in a intimate setting and stay up to date on industry trends and changes.
- Club Connections: While classes are one way to specialize in a particular field, our 50+ clubs offer another way to build a professional network in LA. Throughout the year, the professional and identity clubs arrange myriad of ways to stay connected; from career nights to speaker series; alumni mentorship opportunities to newsletters with industry news articles and updates. Another favorite are small group dinners with local alumni that are limited to a set number of students to guarantee that all attendees will be able to have meaningful conversations and learn from the practitioners directly.
- Conferences: Separate from the Speaker Series hosted throughout the year, UCLA Anderson hosts multiple professional conferences that are open to the student body, along with alumni and industry leaders. Some are jointly planned by the Academic Centers and professional clubs, which means students have a direct say in the content and speakers at these events. Given LA's convenient location, UCLA Anderson attracts excellent speakers. For example, the Big Data Conference hosted by the Easton Center and the Center for MEMES at the UCLA Anderson School of Management had keynote speakers Bill Duff ('96) CFO of Microsoft Windows & Devices and Michael King ('96), the VP & General Manager of Global Education Industry at IBM.
- Days on the Job: Many students travel to visit their target companies for "Days on the Job" (DOJ), which are extended site visits that offer an opportunity to see the company campus and meet with alums. A perk of being in LA is that you often don't have to travel more than a few miles to visit exciting companies that hire from UCLA Anderson. Companies like Mattel and Amgen have already welcomed students this year and more visits are coming in the spring.
As industries change at an ever more rapid pace, going to school at UCLA allows you to keep up with the change inside the classroom and off-campus. The only problem is choosing which opportunities to take!
– Carolyn Wright '19