Meet UCLA’s Incoming MBA Class of 2017

Richard Leon Laroue-UCLA-PoetsAndQuants-Classof2017

Richard Leon Laroue


UCLA, Anderson School of Management

Hometown: East Los Angeles, CA

Undergraduate School and Major: University of California, Berkeley; B.A. Computer Science and Cognitive Science (double major)

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: Goldman Sachs and Co.; Associate Software Application Developer (2011-2015)

Recalling your own experience, what advice do you have for applicants who are preparing for either the GMAT or the GRE? Get started early! And if you’re like me, plan to get all of your studying done during the winter months and not in the middle of a beautiful summer in New York City. Keep in mind the possibility that you’ll want to retake the GMAT/GRE once or twice and that you need to allow at least one month between test dates. Plan your 2-3 months of studying in detail and stick to your plan – discipline is key.

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? First, think about where you could ‘see yourself’ geographically. You’ll be spending two years in whatever city/state you choose, and you definitely don’t want to be in a place that doesn’t suit you. Also, the chances of you staying put after graduation are high, so choose carefully. Second, think about what industry you’re looking to get into after graduation and about how your target schools can help you get there – whether by means of proximity to the industry or by means of a specialized curriculum that might set you apart from the field.

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?  Identify your recommenders early on in your application process and give them plenty of time to write your recommendations. Also, make sure to have at least one other person revising/critiquing all of your admissions essays, preferably someone who has already been through the process of applying to business school.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? Prior to UCLA Anderson, I had been away from my home and family in East Los Angeles for nine years, taking into account my time as an undergrad in Berkeley, CA and my time working for Goldman Sachs in New York City. Choosing a school that was close to home was important to me at the time. Also, given my intentions to work in the technology industry upon graduation, particularly working with high-tech startups in California, it made sense professionally for me to be close to Silicon Beach and Silicon Valley.

What would you ultimately like to achieve before you graduate? I would like to create a mentorship program in East Los Angeles whereby undergraduate students from local universities like UCLA and CSULA partner with poorly resourced middle schools and high schools to mentor students and coach them in college preparation. I was fortunate to be a part of a similar program while at UC Berkeley, so I’ve seen first hand the transformative power that these programs have. And I’m a product of East Los Angeles and of Garfield High School (synonymous with the film Stand and Deliver), so I know there is a need for such programs. 

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