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UCLA’s Anderson School Morphs Into A Super Friendly Tech Hub

UCLA's Anderson Graduate School of Management

UCLA’s Anderson Graduate School of Management

Even beyond the Google example, Anderson doesn’t shy away from bringing in leading executives to teach in its classrooms. Brian Frons, the president of daytime Disney/ABC, now teaches ”Making Creativity Profitable in Entertainment & Technology.” Dean Judy Olian and famous Hollywood producer Peter Guber, CEO of the multimedia Mandalay Entertainment Group, teach another class together. Not surprisingly, perhaps, one of the school’s six specializations, along with such traditional MBA areas as accounting and corporate finance, is technology leadership, with such courses as “New Product Development” and “Technology Management.”

“This California location has us keyed into the tech boom,” adds Garmaise, who is also senior associate dean of the MBA program. “We didn’t stop being a finance school, but we have pivoted in terms of industry because it is a better fit for us. You have California opportunities that would open up to you that are very difficult to access from other parts of the country. There is tremendous excitement going on in California and Anderson is a door to those things.”

‘WE COULDN’T EVEN PUT PALM TREES OR SAND ON OUR BROCHURES’

Once wary of heavily promoting its southern California location, in the affluent Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, the school seems far more willing to embrace it these days. “We’ve done a much better job of talking about why California,” says Weiller in admissions.“Five years ago there was this feeling that we couldn’t even put palm trees or sand on our brochures because some thought we would diminish our reputation by making people think we are here playing beach volleyball. But we are THE school in Los Angeles. We are not going anywhere. So we need to learn to talk about L.A. as a competitive advantage. And our students have access to internships in Century City, Santa Monica or downtown. You get all the good of being in a city and all the good of being in a suburban area. I think we are the only top school that offers that.”

The school has not only turned into a tech hub, of course. Many business schools in big urban centers by their very nature tend to be less collaborative and more competitive. It’s because students often disperse into the city after class, making deep and enduring bonds with each other more difficult. Not so at UCLA’s Anderson. “Some students say they expected UCLA to be a commuter school because we’re in the city, but their experience is just the opposite,” adds Weiller. “They are here and it feels like they are in Hanover or Charlottesville. It is an organic part of who we are: We are confident but not cocky and smart but not overbearingly so.”

Students say the environment is rich in a supportive community style. “Business schools are super competitive but you can be in this competitive environment and win together,” says Schoelkopf. “I was showing students to a class last winter and we were finding out about consulting interviews and offers. One of my friends came up and said, ‘I heard you got a final round at BCG.” She said, “I didn’t get it but I am super pumped for you.’ People were generally excited about the things others were doing. It is such an anxious time in all of our lives. At other schools, people don’t talk to one another during recruiting. It’s a lot more cut-throat.”

‘THE STUDENTS HERE ARE INTELLECTUALLY CURIOUS BUT VERY NICE’

Garmaise agrees. “I have never met anyone who said they had a terrible time at Anderson,” he says. “No one would say, ‘I was miserable there.’ But I can promise you that people have told me they were miserable at other elite places. The students here are intellectually curious but they are very nice people and that matters a lot. It is a deeply collaborative place.”

In Schoelkopf’s learning team, he played the role of the finance guy in a diverse group that included a former Wall Street Journal reporter, a consultant, a serial entrepreneur, and a human resources person. “Managing that dynamic was a bigger learning experience than any class you are going to take,” he says.

At UCLA, students take a fairly typical set of core courses in the first year. “Our core may be bigger than other schools, with nine or ten courses,” says Garmaise. “You can waive out but few do. We have two basic tracks: finance and marketing. If you express interest in one of those areas, you take finance or marketing first and that will get you closer to electives.”

Major Employers At UCLA Anderson

 

# of MBA Hires 2014 Header 3
15 or more Deloitte Consulting Amazon
Google Deloitte Consulting
PricewaterhouseCoopers Mattel
10 or more Amazon McKinsey & Co.
Mattel Bank of America/Merrill Lynch
Microsoft Google
Disney
5 to 9 students Adobe Systems Adobe Systems
Amgen Amgen
Apple Boston Consulting Group
Bank of America/Merrill Lynch Citigroup
Boston Consulting Group General Mills
Citigroup Goldman Sachs
Credit Suisse Johnson & Johnson
Danaher J&J HeadStart & Healthcare
Ebay Microsoft
General Mills Moeilis & Co.
Moeilis & Co. Nestle
Nike Nike
Samsung PIMCO
Sony PricewaterhouseCoopers
Symantec Sony
Visa Symantec
VMware Toyota
Wells Fargo VMware
Disney
Warner Brothers
Wells Fargo

Source: UCLA Anderson

  • reissandfagnanirule!

    Fagnani and Reiss are so cool! I want to be just like them! Yay!

  • AndersonMBA2016

    Anderson pays current students to post on Poets and Quants and the GMAT Club. Maybe not the best school, but at least they’re good at “marketing” 😛

  • AndersonIsNotUnderrated

    most major rankings do not think Anderson is underrated….

  • ToBeOrNot

    Is Rotman’s 2014 report out?

  • mba1988

    If Anderson was so obsessed with rankings, then why did its ranking drop from 14 to 16 in the latest US News Rankings?

  • MistaButters

    By the way, on that article it seems like Kellogg’s “% of Gross Tuition” is incorrect. Considering Kellogg gives out less scholarship dollars than Anderson, has a higher tuition than Anderson, and has significantly more students than Anderson, it would only make sense that the percentage of gross tuition would be significantly lower than Anderson.

  • JohnAByrne

    Thanks for weighing in with that insight. It will be very helpful to appliance out there.

  • UCLA 2nd Year

    From a current 2nd year student, heres the deal:

    I have almost always gotten into the classes that I wanted, especially the most popular ones. There are exceptions to this of course, but on the average I was never “stuck taking classes I had no interest in”.

    How it works is that there is a bidding system where each quarter you are given a certain amount of points to bid for all of your classes. There are also 4 rounds to the bidding system, where enroll in 1 class per round. During your first year, you have accumulated less points and can only bid in later rounds, so, yes, it can be difficult to get into the most popular classes if you are not willing to bet the farm on a popular class as a first year. However, during your second year you have accumulated many points, bid in earlier rounds and can use those to get into whatever class you want. In addition, this system is also in place to allow second years to have first pick because they will not have another opportunity to take these classes. Common sense, right?

    One could think that this means you “will not get into any popular classes in your first year”, but that is also not true. There is a wonderful invention called a waitlist in all of these classes and typically professors will let many people in off the waitlist, depending on the professor. I was #11 on the waitlist in a negotiations class this quarter and the professor announced that he would let almost the entire waitlist in. I was also in the most popular real estate class last quarter as #12 on the waitlist and was let in by the professor. And if the professor is not budging on the waitlist, then simply use what you learned in negotiations to force yourself into the class (or at least that’s what I did…that class is amazing). If all else fails, you can always audit any class, not for credit, but simply to gain the skills or knowledge. Lastly, due to our LA location, there are always new classes that pop-up with adjunct professors (CEOs, Entrepreneurs, Consulting Partners, etc.), so I would say that typically there are more than 3-5 “popular” classes per quarter and the points are spread a bit more evenly than you would think and you don’t need to bet all of your points to get into the class you want, generally.

    All in all, yes it can be difficult, but there are plenty of avenues for you to get what you want, whether by letting it happen or by making it happen. You’ll learn this lesson through the recruiting process as well. Hope this helps and hope to see you on campus next year.

  • FEMBA Alum

    As an Alum: I think the key to understanding Anderson students lies, at least for FEMBA students, is their IMMENSE appetite for risk. There are social rewards to doing crazy things for ones career, such as starting a new business, taking an unpaid internship, or quitting a perfectly good job to explore new things in non-traditional ways. Risk taking is revered as “bad-ass,” even when it fails miserably. That’s the difference.

  • Myron

    John,

    Thanks for the link. Much appreciated

  • JohnAByrne

    Myron,

    We recently published an extensive report on MBA fellowships and had interviewed UCLA officials for several of our stories. Here’s how Anderson compares with other leading business schools:

    http://poetsandquants.com/2014/11/20/mba-scholarships-at-top-business-schools/

  • Myron

    Thanks for sharing your first hand experience. This is interesting that Anderson’s move from public to private funding has led to more flexibility in fund raising and thereby supply of more fellowships. Have you seen a clear rise in fellowships (numbers and average $)? Any favourite courses and are profs accessible?

  • JohnAByrne

    Thanks for weighing in with your observations. I’m sure our readers will find them very helpful.

  • AndersonMBA2016

    Current Anderson 1st year student here, going into Marketing (either Consumer or Tech – fortunately I’m able to recruit for both at Anderson!)
    -I agree that Anderson is going places. I’m extremely happy with the direction the school is taking – the revamped application (easier to apply = more applicants), giving more fellowships to attract top talent away from other schools (myself included), and making the school Privatized (which means higher fundraising, which means more fellowships, which means more top talent).
    -I don’t think there’s an “obsession” on rankings, but they are discussed, and rightfully so. Rankings are a reality, and one that has a big impact on any school, both in who chooses to apply/attend, as well as which companies recruit on campus, and the ultimate value of your degree.
    -Yes, there are some flaws at the school (for example, I think we need to move off the quarter system), but there are flaws at any school!
    -My favorite thing: the people/ the collaborative culture – everyone is super nice and down to earth, and super smart/accomplished. For example, after interviews, people will share the interview questions with other people who are interviewing – even though we are direct competitors to one another

  • mba2015

    Interesting article, but UCLA was more of a safety school for me.

  • uclaadmit

    Current students tell me that it is hard to enroll in the 3 to 5 popular classes and many times students are stuck taking classes that they have no interest in.

  • murica

    well yeah…. silicon valley is 40 min away..

  • Myron

    UCLA earns marks for repositioning its MBA program to high growth technology and opening up new opportunities for students. I remember older articles from 8 years ago when journalists wondered why UCLA underachieved in rankings. UCLA is going places, the administration did a good job. Thanks John for covering a West Coast B-School and looking at recruiters and courses.

  • a3

    My friends is at UCLA and I know for a fact that UCLA did not send 15+ people to work at Google

  • guest22

    “Record 43% Of Haas MBAs Go Into Tech”

  • Guest22

    I wish those who post like this could go a bit more into detail. How does a school that sends over a quarter of its students into tech give you fewer opportunities than other business schools?

    Based on the internship data someone posted below, 17% of internships were in Tech for the class of 2015. 30 people interned at Amazon, Google, Apple, Ebay, Microsoft.

    Is it the function you want that isn’t available?

  • mba

    how did Anderson accept someone that can’t even spell the name of the school correctly?

  • guest123

    I too am a student at Anderson. I’m not miserable but not happy either. I have way fewer opportunities in tech when compared to my friends at other business schools.

  • Anderson15

    I’m a first year student and can help ballpark for you. I know last year about 30 students had IB internships. I’m not sure how many applied for these jobs, but I do know that this year about 35 of us are actively recruiting for IB. In other words, the vast majority of people who want to work in IB end up landing a position. And just from my personal experience with IB recruitment so far this year, I can say that Anderson has a very strong and close network of alumni bankers in LA, SF and NYC.

  • JohnAByrne

    The 2014 report is not out yet. The data in the story was provided to us as part of our reporting.

  • Mike

    John,
    Can you post a link to 2014 Ucla employment report? Only see 2013

  • Mike

    Can a current Anderson student tell me what percent of students interested in getting an IB internship were able to do so?

  • Anonymous

    Maybe if you spelled things like “Anderson” correctly, you would get those opportunities.

  • Anderson Alum

    Great article. UCLA Anderson is an underrated school.

  • MBAPicking

    Can you elaborate on this?

  • AndersonMBA

    Anderson is ok, but would not recommend anyone forgo Booth or Tuck to attend Anderson. Anderson is obsessed with its rankings and many professors are visibly frustrated with Dean Olian’s strategic direction for the school

  • UCLAMBA

    This is spot on. Coming to Anderson has been an incredible experience!

  • UCLAAndesronAMR

    I am currently a student at UCLA Anderson and I am miserable. The are very few job opportunities to speak of and the placement statistics are completely wrong.

  • MBAreapplicant84

    Great article! I may be biased, but I have loved my time at Anderson so far.

  • AH

    Not to mention closing the gap with Haas.
    “larding” should be “learning”