Stanford GSB | Mr. Pizza For Breakfast
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
Kenan-Flagler | Mr. Top Performer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.3
Georgetown McDonough | Mr. Navy Vet
GRE 310, GPA 2.6
Harvard | Ms. Comeback Kid
GMAT 780, GPA 2.6
Darden | Mr. Military Communications Officer
GRE Not taken yet, GPA 3.4
Kellogg | Ms. Retail To Technology
GMAT 670, GPA 3.8
Ross | Mr. Top 25 Hopeful
GMAT 680, GPA 3.3
London Business School | Mr. Indian Banking Leader
GMAT 750, GPA 3.32
UCLA Anderson | Ms. Qualcomm Quality
GMAT 660, GPA 3.4
Chicago Booth | Ms. Hotel Real Estate
GMAT 730, GPA 3.75
Chicago Booth | Mr. EduTech
GRE 337, GPA 3.9
Yale | Mr. Gay Social Scientist
GMAT 740, GPA 2.75 undergrad, 3.8 in MS
MIT Sloan | Mrs. Company Leader
GMAT 760, GPA 2.92
Wharton | Mr. Cross-Border
GMAT 780, GPA 3.7
UCLA Anderson | Mr. Career Change
GMAT Have yet to take. Consistent 705 on practice tests., GPA 3.5
HEC Paris | Mr. Introverted Dancer
GMAT 720, GPA 4.0
Kellogg | Mr. Safety Guy
GMAT 720, GPA 3.3
Kellogg | Mr. Danish Raised, US Based
GMAT 710, GPA 10.6 out of 12
Harvard | Mr. Aspiring FinTech Entrepreneur
GMAT 750, GPA 3.9
Stanford GSB | Mr. Fill In The Gaps
GRE 330, GPA 3.21
INSEAD | Mr. Behavioral Changes
GRE 336, GPA 5.8/10
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Texas Recruiter
GMAT 770, GPA 3.04
USC Marshall | Mr. Strategy Consultant
GMAT 730, GPA 4.0
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Entertainment Agency
GMAT 750, GPA 3.8
Chicago Booth | Mr. Quant
GMAT 750, GPA 3.7
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Well-Traveled Nonprofit Star
GRE 322, GPA 3.0
Wharton | Mr. MBA When Ready
GMAT 700 (expected), GPA 3.3

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

When Dan Reiss and Robert Fagnani were applying to business schools two years ago, their backgrounds suggested they would stay on the East Coast.

After all, Reiss was a native of Philadelphia who majored in drama at New York University. He had been working in New York City for an investment management firm. Born and raised in New Jersey, Fagnani had gone to Lehigh University in Pennsylvania and spent the past four years at Morgan Stanley in New York.

Ultimately, the pair went west, accepting invites from UCLA’s Anderson Graduate School of Management. Reiss turned down Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business to come to sun-bleached Los Angeles, while Fagnani passed on the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business to enroll at Anderson, currently ranked 14th best by Poets&Quants.

‘PEOPLE HERE AREN’T AFRAID TO START WITH A BLANK CANVAS’

Why turn down higher ranked schools to go to UCLA? For both MBA students, a lot of the appeal came down to culture. “There’s a very different way that people think on the West Coast,” says Reiss, who also saw appeal at how technology was was so preeminent in the West and infiltrating every facet of life. “People aren’t afraid to start with a blank canvas and rethink everything. I like that lifestyle. If I had went to Tuck, I would have never left the North East.”

Fagnani, 28, agrees. “The more I looked at programs, the more I realized that the infrastructure, the classes and the opportunities are roughly the same at the top schools,” he says. “The biggest variable is the culture. I felt this was the place I would fit in and thrive. There is this spectrum on the larding environment where one is more team-based and one is more academic. Anderson is far on the team-based collaborative scale as far as culture goes with Tuck and Kellogg. Booth is more on the academic side. I felt a little bit more at home here.”

He’s not alone. Student opinion surveys show increasing levels of high satisfaction at UCLA’s Anderson School which has gone through something of a major transformation in recent years, becoming more closely tied into the tech boom both here and in Silicon Valley and Seattle. The upshot: Applications last year soared by 32%, while the average GMAT for the overall applicant pool was up five points to 688, swayed in part by the greater tech focus. Those extra apps drove the school’s acceptance rate down to 18%, from 22% a year earlier, while the average GMAT for the new class hit a record 715, up from 706.

‘I DON’T CARE IF YOU HAVE THE H WORD ON YOUR DIPLOMA’

“This class is phenomenal,” boasts Rob Weiller, associate dean of admissions for the MBA program. “The second years are in awe of the new class. More importantly, though, they are still the same kinds of people. We haven’t sacrificed our supportive culture. There is just a world of opportunity out there and our career center is plugged into those opportunities. It is way more difficult to do that from the East Coast. I don’t care if you have the H word on your diploma.”

At 26.5% of the Class of 2014, technology is the top hiring industry of Anderson graduates and has been for the past three years. The percentage going into tech from UCLA has more than doubled in the past four years, eclipsing the 20.4% who took finance jobs and the 14.2% of Anderson MBAs who went into consulting (see major employers of Anderson MBAs).

This year, in fact, at least 15 students went to work at Google, while Amazon and Microsoft each hired 10 or more MBAs, and Adobe Systems, Amgen, Apple, Ebay, Symantec, and Vmware each employed between five and nine Anderson graduates. School officials, moreover, believe that tech has morphed with L.A.’s traditional strengths as an entertainment and media mecca to give birth to a host of new startups and tech firms in Silicon Beach, a three-mile stretch of sand between Venice and Santa Monica. More than 500 startups and tech giants inhabit the place, ranging from Snapchat to online video service Hulu, along with an expansive L.A. office for Google.

“The school has pivoted fairly quickly to become much more of a technology school than when I first came here,” says Mark Garmaise, a finance professor who joined UCLA in 2001 after a stint at Chicago Booth. “Our major new push is going towards analytics and technology. We have great data analytics courses and classes where students are working with Google and doing real-time problem-solving.”

A UNIQUE COURSE: THE GOOGLE CLASS PAIRS A PROF WITH A GOOGLE EXEC

Dubbed “The Google Class” by students, the course is unique and symbolic of how Anderson, once more of a finance and quant haven, is transforming itself into a pathway into tech. Anderson partnered with Google to develop the course which is officially called “Digital Marketing Strategy” and was first offered on a trial basis this past fall. Co-taught by marketing professor Sanjay Sood and a Google executive, the course provides students with a broad overview of Google’s approach to marketing focused on four key areas: insights, measurement, storytelling and brand. “We reinvented the class to be more industry relevant,” says Karen Williams, executive director for the school’s Center for Management of Enterprise in Media, Entertainment & Sports. “There are Google cases and projects with Google executives. All the top schools are being challenged to bridge the thinking with the doing. It is a model we are talking with another company about and have two more firms on our target list.”

Where Anderson MBAs Go To Work

 

Industry20142013
Technology26.5%26.2%
Financial Services 20.2%20.4%
Consulting14.8%14.2%
Consumer Products11.7%12.7%
Entertainment/Media7.4%8.5%
Healthcare/Pharma3.5%6.2%
Real Estate3.5%4.6%
Energy/Transportation3.5%1.2%
Non-Profit/Public Sector1.6%1.5%
Retail——–1.5%

Source: UCLA Anderson School

About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.