Meet UCLA’s Incoming MBA Class of 2017

Kathleen Uson-UCLA-PoetsAndQuants-Classof2017

Kathleen Uson


UCLA Anderson School of Management 

Hometown: Manila, Philippines

Undergraduate School and Major: University of the Philippines Manila – B.A., Organizational Communication

Employers and Job Titles since Graduation: Zenith Optimedia – Senior Integrated Media Planner / Buyer (2015); FCB – Account Executive (2010)

Recalling your own experience, what advice do you have for applicants who are preparing for either the GMAT or the GRE? Have a study plan and practice often (i.e. prepare to answer five questions after work or during lunch breaks, then one full-length CAT in the weekend). Also, remember that the GMAT/GRE is just one part of the MBA application process, so don’t over-exert yourself and cram the other components! I thought the worst was over when I finished my GMAT, only to realize how equally—if not more—time-consuming the essays, resume, and interview preps were.

Based on your own selection process, what advice do you have for applicants who are trying to draw up a list of target schools to which to apply? Have a good sense of what you want to get out of your MBA experience and shortlist from there. Are the school’s programs, location, and alumni network relevant to your goals? Do your target companies recruit on campus? Can you imagine yourself (and afford) living there in the next 1-2 years? These are just some of the issues you need to sort out, so you’d want to do your research beyond b-school rankings and seek first-hand advice if you can.

What advice do you have for applicants in actually applying to a school, writing essays, doing admission interviews, and getting recommenders to write letters on your behalf? Research and introspection are essential. Really spend time crafting an effective yet authentic response to “who are you, what are your goals, and why this school?” Try to write down ideas as they come up so it’ll be easier to organize your thoughts later on.

As for international students, maximize the digital space for your research—especially if you’re unable to visit the school (like yours truly). Many programs conduct online and off-campus information sessions, maintain blogs/social media sites, and offer several ways to connect with current students. They’re just as valuable so don’t hesitate to exhaust these sources!

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? I was impressed by the programs and career resources offered at Anderson. The school has done an excellent job at integrating its strong ties with Los Angeles’ entertainment scene with its strategic proximity to the West Coast tech powerhouse. As someone with prior work experience and post-MBA goals within the realm of new media, I thought this synergy made perfect sense. Anderson is the only top program to offer Entertainment Management and Easton Technology Leadership specializations as well as have dedicated academic centers and active student clubs for both. Not to mention, the Parker CMC is well-regarded by students (they have been in contact with the Class of 2017 as early as May for our summer career prep) and maintains impressive hiring stats in fields I’m interested in—even for internationals.

What would you ultimately like to achieve before you graduate? Career goals aside, I’d like to be fully immersed in the Anderson culture and explore Los Angeles in all its glory. This will be my first time to live outside my home country, so I see it as more than just a study experience. Luckily, LA is never boring! I’ve already drawn up a list of restaurants, (free!) museums, shows, and other activities to try out. And judging from all the UCLA e-mails I’ve been getting, pre-orientation trips are already being planned by my class, I’m sure the next two years will be far from uneventful.

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