Meet UCLA Anderson’s MBA Class of 2018

UCLA's Alexis Ryan in the Class of 2018

UCLA’s Alexis Ryan in the Class of 2018

Alexis Ryan

UCLA, Anderson School of Management

Assistant Dean’s Scouting Report: “Truly passionate about making a difference for the better in any environment she is connected to.”

Describe yourself in 15 words or less:  Meticulous checklist creator; pescatarian foodie; sophisticated yet secretly clumsy; adventure seeker; curious academic

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA (but most recently lived in NYC)

Fun Fact About Yourself: Last year at the Cannes Lions Festival in France, I hosted Omnicom’s creativity and innovation thought leadership series. I had the opportunity to introduce a number of celebrity guest speakers, including Ryan Seacrest. It was both an exciting and nerve-racking experience!

Undergraduate School and Major: Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business – Majors: International Business and Marketing

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

Company: Omnicom Media Group

Department: Global Business Development

Titles: Coordinator, Associate, Manager, and most recently, Supervisor

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Last summer, one of my company’s biggest pharma clients went into review, which meant over $1 billion of business was on the line. With just one day’s notice, I headed to London for two grueling weeks to prep for the pitch meetings with the clients. The schedule was unprecedented: we presented 9 meetings over 5 days. It was definitely a stretch, but in the end we retained the account and even added new business to the portfolio. This type of experience was both the beauty and the downfall of working in business development; but the hard-earned wins were always the sweetest.

Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? The three most important pieces of advice I could give to business school applicants is to start early, start early, and start early – did I mention start early? You’ll be at a huge advantage if you take time to research different programs and find ways to connect with current students. The more information you can collect about the MBA programs out there, the easier it is to make an authentic decision based on fit versus ranking alone.

GMAT – I took a course with Manhattan Prep prior to taking the GMAT and found it incredibly useful, not only for content review but for test taking tactics. No matter how book smart you may be, there is likely still room to improve your score by learning time saving approaches.

Recommendations – Identify your recommenders early and play the long game. My recommenders were aware of my aspiration to attend business school before I began the application process. Make sure to take the time to connect with them before making the big ask.

Essays – Choose a couple of key people to review your essays, and welcome their criticism. While it is important to maintain your personal writing style, I found it immensely helpful to have someone read my content with a fresh set of eyes and give me brutally honest feedback…even though it stung a little at times.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? UCLA Anderson’s “Think in the Next” approach was one of the key factors that initially attracted me to the program. In addition to its close proximity to LA’s Silicon Beach, Anderson is truly future-focused, bringing in distinguished alumni and guest speakers from innovative companies, hosting CES and TED inspired events, and helping students foster their own startups. It was important to me to be in an environment that felt current and relevant.

Anderson’s pillar of “Shared Success” was also a major selling point for me. While I am a naturally competitive person, I had no interest in joining an MBA community that would be self-interested and cutthroat. I’ve had the chance to get to know my class and I couldn’t be happier with the quality of the student body; my classmates are equal parts intelligent, driven, and collaborative.

Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? I am currently exploring a couple of different post-MBA paths, and I am looking forward to taking full advantage of the Parker Career Management Center, which is now one of the top career centers in the country. There are a few things I really care about: technology innovation, great brands, and making a tangible business impact. On one hand, I would love to leverage my business development background in a growth-focused role at a medium-sized tech company like Uber. Alternatively, I would also enjoy working in brand management for an established CPG company, where I’d have the opportunity to learn multiple aspects of running a business. So far, Parker CMC has provided some excellent tools to help me identify my work style and my long term career values.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? At the end of the program, I hope that my peers feel that I was genuinely dedicated to our collective success, was able to share my strengths with others, and added a fresh and innovative contribution to the program. My focus for the next two years is to have authentic interactions with my classmates and be accepting of the diverse perspectives that make up the Anderson community.

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.