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

MBA student Dan Reiss passed on an offer from Tuck to go to UCLA

MBA student Dan Reiss passed on an offer from Tuck to go to UCLA

A 20-WEEK CAPSTONE COURSE IN THE SECOND YEAR

In the second year, there’s the usual array of electives as well as a capstone course, a 20-week project in which students choose teams and do one of three options: a management field study in which MBAs work on a key strategic issue with a participating company; a business creation option, which gives entrepreneurs the chance to work on their own startups, and a special project option, which allows teams to analyze a strategic issue facing an entire industry.

Through it all, the school has gotten closer to students and their career needs, insists Regina Regazzi, assistant dean and director of the school’s Parker Career Management Center. “We got to know the students a lot better. Starting with the Class of 2012, we committed to tracking them and met every student before the end of orientation. We started to problem solve what they needed and what they were looking for.”

The school also launched what it calls ACT which stands for Anderson Career Teams in which some 80 second-year MBAs volunteer to coach first-year students by industry and functional backgrounds. “That allows us to teach our career series and then individualize it for each student,” says Regazzi. “Our students do it because they want to pay it forward. They spend an hour a week over the ten-week period with them and keep office hours, read resumes and cover letters. Some volunteers are putting in 10 to 15 hours a week. And when it comes to show time, before the interviews, our second years conducted 125 mock interviews in one week just for banking interviews last year.”

The entrepreneurial culture is also predictably strong, with some 300,000 entrepreneurial ventures based in the L.A. metro area. “Finding new sources of value is the best way to secure our future,” says long-time UCLA professor Al Osborne, founder and faculty director of the school’s Harold Price Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. “This generation of students wants to be on their own. They are not interested in gold watches and security. I see students who want to make a big difference with their time. My generation made a fortune destroying the environment. What they want to do is make a future cleaning it up.”

JOB OFFER NUMBERS FOR CLASS OF 2014 SLIGHTLY LOWER COMPARED TO RIVALS

Adds Reiss, who will graduate this June, “The students basically run everything here. The only disappointment is that I don’t have 48 hours in a day to get everything done.” His classmate Fagnani knows the feeling. “A common pitfall for a lot of MBA students is that they don’t do enough diligence before they come to know what they want to get out of the experience,” he says. “They are trying to explore and those are the ones who struggle during recruiting because they spread themselves too thin.”

Reiss and Fagnani are helping to run the school’s own consulting firm called the Anderson Strategy Group. Last year, the group—composed of UCLA’s MBA students exclusively—did consulting jobs for companies that ranged in size from $200 million to $1 billion, including a food and beverage company, a ticketing company, a hospital, and a non-profit organization. Not surprisingly, both of them are making the transition from finance to consulting and will join their summer internship employers, with Reiss going to ZS Associates and Fagnani headed for Boston Consulting Group’s West Coast practice which focuses on growth companies.

The fact that they already have their jobs lined up could help Anderson’s job offers numbers for next year. For the Class of 2014, a year in which the median base salary improved by $10,000 to $110,000, the job offer rates trailed many rival schools.  Some 75.4% had job offers at graduation and 90.3% had offers three months out, numbers that Weiller believes would be better if not for the strength of the job market and the school’s location. Compared to some rival schools, those stats are not nearly as impressive. The average offer rate at graduation for a Top 25 school this year was 84%, while the three-month rate was slightly over 94%.

‘WE ARE GOING TO LAG A BIT’

“The market has given people some comfort,” explains Weiller. “We have more students who go to firms with just-in-time hiring. There were plenty of students who had job offers before graduation and they turned them down. That is a drawback of being in a big city. If you are in Hanover or Charlottesville, there is a real incentive to make sure you get a job before you get out of there. So we are going to lag a bit, but I don’t want to push anyone to take a job for statistical purposes. We also want to make sure they get the most value out of being here.”

All told, administrators, faculty and students seem to be getting a lot of value out of Anderson and its new direction. “I think we are on this incredible upward trajectory,” believes Weiller. “I love where we are positioned right now. We have caught up in many ways and our level of services has caught up. We have the best career center in all of the MBA world. The capstone project has been completely revamped and is now a positive experience for our students. We are delivering a really, really good product to our students. In the past five years, the grumbling went from ‘Parker sucks’ to ‘the water fountain in the library shoots too high.’”

Many Anderson MBAs Are Using The MBA To Transition To New Careers

 

Source: Anderson 2013 employment report

Source: Anderson 2013 employment report

DON’T MISS: BEST & WORST MBA JOB PLACEMENT IN 2014

  • 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”