Meet UCLA’s Incoming MBA Class of 2017

Yu Chen-UCLA-PoetsAndQuants-Classof2017

Yu Chen


UCLA, Anderson School of Management

Hometown: Wellesley, MA

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Pennsylvania, 2010, World History major

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: 

Phoenix Charter Academy (2011-2015)

  • Science Department Chair (2014-2015)
  • Humanities Teacher (2011-2015)
  • (Co-)Athletic Director (2013-2015)
  • Summer Development Intern (current) 

Tufts University (Summers 2012-2015)

  • English Language Programs ESL Instructor

MATCH Education (2010-2011)

  • Teaching Resident

Recalling your own experience, what advice do you have for applicants who are preparing for either the GMAT or the GRE? When taking the test, have a short memory and keep your composure- everyone will stumble upon a problem that they ultimately spend too much time working on and know probably got wrong, but the GMAT has more than 100 questions. If you let one frustrating problem send you on a downward spiral of negative thoughts and emotions, you’ll end up selling yourself way short.

Make sure you prepare for the GMAT by simulating the conditions of the real thing: Take practice tests on a computer, if possible, with only the allotted breaks. If you struggle with pacing and time, give yourself a couple fewer minutes per section on practice tests to challenge yourself. You may not know everything you see on test day, but nothing (including the time constraints) should surprise you.

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? In order to know which business schools to apply to, you need to first know what you are looking for in a business school. Attend as many MBA fairs as possible, and sign up for visit/ preview days at local business schools. Each school has its own unique “feel” to it, and the more schools you expose yourself to, the more easily you’ll be able to discern the differences between individual schools and know what things you prefer in a MBA program.

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? Every admissions interview I attended really revolved around three core questions:

  1. Tell me about yourself.
  2. Why do you want to get an MBA?
  3. Why do you want to get an MBA at our school?

Make sure you really sit down and think through the nuances of these three questions. What narrative do you want to tell that will set you apart from everyone else? Where do you see yourself in the future and why do you need an MBA to get there? How will this specific school- and not just any other school- help you reach your goals?

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA?  “Collaboration: is a buzzword at any business school, but it really does fit into the theme of “sharing success” at Anderson: Students collaborate with each other to propose solutions in their AMR group projects and compete with each other against other schools in the Challenge For Charity competitions. 2nd years interview prospective candidates and Anderson students collaborate with the admissions staff to produce business school social media content such as the MBA Student Voice Blog. Students truly own their MBA experience.

Anderson is also distinct in how it encourages thinking outside the box and really supports incoming students who want to shift industries or career paths, and does a tremendous job of messaging that you don’t need the conventional finance / corporate resume to find success. The Parker Career Management Center has already provided us a wide range of resources and summer deliverables to help facilitate our transitions to post-MBA careers, before we have even arrived on campus!

What would you ultimately like to achieve before you graduate?

  • Challenge myself taking some math-heavy quantitative analysis and financing classes
  • Produce concrete solutions to real-world educational and public health issues as part of the Applied Management Research (AMR) Program
  • Attend Stanford Weekend as part of Challenge For Charity and help UCLA win the Golden Briefcase
  • Learn to swim

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