2016 MBAs To Watch: Jonathan Mandala, UC-Irvine (Merage)

Jon Mandala-UC Irvine-PoetsAndQuants_MBAsToWatch2016

Jonathan Mandala


UC-Irvine, Paul Merage School of Business

Age: 31

Hometown: Newport Beach, CA

Undergraduate School and Degree: UC-San Diego, Double Major in History and Political Science with an Art History Minor

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Charles Schwab, Client Service Specialist

Where did you intern during the summer of 2015? Capital Group, Los Angeles, CA

Where will you be working after graduation? Bank of America, Consumer Banking Leadership Development Program

Community Work: Special Olympics and Junior Achievement.

Leadership Roles: Section Class Representative, Acting President (Fall 2015) and VP Marketing-Financial Management Association, Faculty Fellowship Recipient

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I’m most proud of being elected Section Class Representative by my classmates because they entrusted me with the important responsibility of representing their interests and communicating their concerns to the faculty, program office, and student government. It was very flattering and humbling that they thought I was the most qualified for the position. It also provided the opportunity for me to know my classmates, faculty, and staff in the MBA program on a much deeper level.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? The achievement I’m most proud of is the post-MBA job opportunity I accepted with Bank of America. I was able to effectively communicate how my time as an MBA student blended well with my past work experience to make me an excellent fit for the position. I was also able to accomplish the goals I set for myself at the start of business school when it came to finding a post-MBA job, namely make a career pivot from my previous work experience, find an opportunity where I can leverage what I learned during business school, and achieve my salary/incentive target.

Who is your favorite professor? Professor Gerardo Okhuysen. His Organizational Behavior course is very demanding with a heavy workload, but he is equally demanding in the amount of time and effort he puts into teaching the course in order to ensure that we learn as much as possible.

Favorite MBA Courses? Organizational Behavior and Negotiations

Why did you choose this business school? I chose UC-Irvine because the school makes every effort to make you feel less like a number and more like an individual with the potential to contribute heavily to the MBA program and leave a lasting contribution. There is also a deep sense of collaboration and mutual success ingrained into the program itself and the student body. Everyone supports one other and fosters a team environment that is unlike any other MBA program.

What did you enjoy most about business school? It was the international residential to the UAE where I learned about business in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Spending a week in a foreign country with some of your best friends from business school is a great way to develop a fresh perspective on international business.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from business school? The amount of time and effort you personally invest in your MBA experience is key to your success in the program as well as your post-graduate career. The MBA program provides many powerful tools, assets, and resources. However, it’s up to you to make the most of what’s provided. Nothing is rolled out on a red carpet for you; you need to hustle and have a sense of urgency in order to obtain the goals you set out for yourself.

What was the most surprising thing about business school? Two things come to mind. First, it was the amount of fun I had over the course of my entire MBA experience. Secondly, it was the number of unique opportunities I had while in school. Whether it was participating in a case competition, representing UC-Irvine at a nationwide investment conference sponsored by Charles Schwab, or helping the former dean of the business school edit and publish his second book, I had the privilege of taking advantage of several opportunities and experiences that I don’t think I would have been able to enjoy if I had enrolled in a different MBA program.

What was the hardest part of business school? Certainly the hardest part would be time management. You have a lot of things on your plate and it can sometimes be difficult to keep track of and manage everything you need to take care of on a week-to-week basis. Don’t let it stress you out and make you discouraged! Instead, see it as an opportunity to hone your time management skills even further.

What’s your best advice to an applicant to your school? Make the most of your time in business school. Two years go by very quickly! Success in class is certainly important but that’s only one part of it. Take advantage of all the networking, professional development, leadership, and social opportunities your program provides. Get involved in your program and leave an impact by the time you graduate.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when… I was being underutilized at my old job and not learning anything new. I felt I had hit a glass ceiling and couldn’t break it.”

“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be… nowhere near the potential I envisioned for myself when I hit my early 30s.”

Which executive or entrepreneur do you most admire? Elon Musk because of the intelligence, passion, and ingenuity he brings to his work. In a business environment where many C-level executives think only on a quarterly basis, Mr. Musk is a modern-day Renaissance Man who thinks in the long-term for the benefit of humankind. His involvement in multiple ventures such as Tesla and SpaceX will drastically change for the better the way we live our lives in the coming decades.

What are your long-term professional goals? Utilizing my past work experience and MBA knowledge, in the long-term I hope to be in a high-level managerial or executive position with a major company in the financial services industry.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I want to thank my sister and parents for all the support they gave me over the course of my entire MBA experience. They were all very encouraging of my decision to return to school full-time for two years and constantly reminded me not to be discouraged or frustrated of anything in the short-term. They also told me the benefits of investing the time and effort in a graduate degree would pay off immeasurably long-term.

Fun fact about yourself: My family used to own a winery in Southern California

Favorite book: Nonfiction: The Last Lion trilogy by William Manchester; fiction: For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

Favorite movie: Tie between Lord of the Rings and Star Wars

Favorite musical performer: Led Zeppelin

Favorite television show: “Game of Thrones”

Favorite vacation spot: Lake Tahoe, CA

Hobbies? Golf, traveling, reading, bocce ball enthusiast



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