Applications are slightly down, the average GMAT score for admitted students is slightly up, and everything else is more or less the same as UCLA’s Anderson School of Management prepares for the incoming class of 2018. All except for one key difference: This year students will arrive nearly a month and a half early.
According to Alex Lawrence, assistant dean of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid, student feedback revealed that first-year students are bombarded with too many things in the fall semester. That spurred the school to make an important change.
“When we look at years prior, when our students start at Anderson they kick things off with orientation, but then are quickly thrust into classes,” Lawrence says. “And they’re also getting acclimated with the B-school experience, they’re meeting faculty and getting used to being in graduate school.”
A VERY LONG ORIENTATION
With all that going on, some worried they didn’t have adequate time to apply for summer internships. It was a concern shared by the school’s administrators.
“Getting prepared for the whole interviewing process in the fall, as you can imagine, that’s a lot of work to take on,” Lawrence says. “We thought that by extending the first exposure period, the longer time frame would be beneficial from a career management aspect.”
Students will now arrive Aug. 1, rather than in mid-September, and orientation will extend through Sept. 20. The first week, incoming MBAs will take their first course, Leadership Foundations; the second week introduces two core classes, Organization Behavior and Data & Decisions. During this time, students are also encouraged to visit the Parker Career Management Center and work on their career management skills.
MORE AND MORE STUDENTS INTERESTED IN TECH
Ideally, Lawrence says, the extended orientation will give students more time to get used to their new environment, and more time in class before exploring the job market. And concerning career preparations, he says he has noticed an interesting trend with this year’s pool of applicants.
“I’ve been here since 2012, and back then consulting and finance were the top two things applicants were interested in,” he says. “Now students interested in tech have, not quite surpassed, but grown to be on par with the other two.”
Lawrence says interest in tech has been gradually rising among Anderson MBAs for a couple years now. He thinks location has something to do with that. Los Angeles is a large metropolitan area, where students are able to get involved with local entrepreneurs’ projects and small startups.
Lawrence hopes that having more time to settle in will help students learn about the area and make more and better connections. And he predicts that the Aug. 1 arrival date will continue in coming years.
DON’T MISS: MEET UCLA’S CLASS OF 2017