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.”


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.”


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
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
Warner Brothers
Wells Fargo

Source: UCLA Anderson

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