Meet UCLA Anderson’s MBA Class of 2019

UCLA’s Anderson School of Management

This growing commitment is certain to attract more students like Molly Tarrant, a Harvard grad looking to take her commitment to philanthropy to the next level. ”It was important to me to attend a school committed to fostering a social impact mind-set (and career paths),” she says. “UCLA recently launched its Impact@Anderson program and has ambitious plans for launching a fully-endowed, leading-edge social impact center at the school. I am so excited to have the opportunity to support and help shape the program’s work over the next two years.”


Such programs also build on Anderson’s extensive portfolio of global programs, notably its popular global immersion courses where students spend a week studying abroad in partner institutions in Europe, South America, and Asia. As a result, MBA candidates enjoy the best of both worlds: intensive global engagement without leaving the comforts inherent to the West Coast.

“I wanted to stay aware of West Coast current events and potential opportunities, while at the same time expanding my professional global experience,” says Gonzalez-Kim. “Anderson was the perfect fit. The school has a global reach, specifically through their Center for Global Management. However, they also have a lot of initiatives relevant to the West Coast.”

Along with social impact, Anderson has also been concentrating heavily on leadership. After pilot testing a leadership program with the 2017 Class, the school rolled out Anderson Leadership Development (ALD) this fall. According to Fraser, the voluntary program offers a variety of benefits to incoming class.

Gary Fraser

“Students can conduct a personal self-assessment, collect key feedback on leadership capabilities from their learning team, and be paired with an internal leadership coach at Anderson,” he shares. “What makes our program so unique is that students develop their own individual leadership development plan based on the feedback and discuss it with a coach who knows the internal culture at Anderson. Coaches are either on the faculty or are senior administrators at Anderson and a typical coach only has 3-5 students each to maximize the focus on the individual development of every student.”


The ALD program will only amplify one of Anderson’s greatest strengths: career services. In the 2017 student satisfaction survey from The Economist, the Parker Career Management Center ranked 2nd in the world, with the program as a whole finishing 4th for opening new career opportunities up for students. Over the past five years, Anderson grads have also seen their pay rise by $66,500 to $181,000.

So what’s behind Parker’s popularity? Regina Regazzi, the school’s assistant dean and director of the center, attributes its success to reaching out and getting to know every student. In a 2017 interview with P&Q, Regazzi notes that her team will meet with every first-year by the end of orientation, where they hold in-depth discussions about their career plans. From there, an advisor touches base with every student in every quarter, which has resulted in the center holding nearly 5,000 advising appointment a year. Not surprisingly, Regazzi asserts that her team knows the status of 99% of every class by the time graduation rolls around. “Few people fall through the cracks,” she says. “Something must be working if we know students that well.”

That’s not all. The Parker Center also holds a required career series that has received rave reviews in student evaluations. Students also complete CareerLeader self-assessments, which enables Regazzi’s team to help guide students to the best choices based on their true passions and aptitudes. Because the center gets so close to students, they are better able to access the right people in the school’s alumni community for mentorship and internship opportunities.

The relationships built from this high touch, custom-tailored approach enables the Parker Center to do what some peer programs shy away from.  Giving real feedback. “We’re willing to have tough and honest conversations here,” Regazzi adds. “We don’t want to be just nice guys.”

Such candor is exactly what the Class of 2019 expects to help them achieve their career goals. That’s especially true for Gupta, who hopes his first post-MBA job enables him to develop the global, technical, and operational knowledge to launch his own firm in India. “None of the schools on the west coast have as efficient, proactive and helpful career management center as Parker,” he explains. “And from what I have seen so far, Parker has delivered more than I had hoped for.”


Al Osborne

Career services isn’t the only area where Anderson excels. The program is increasingly becoming associated with entrepreneurial excellence. Part of the credit goes to the Price Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which offers over two dozen courses in the field along with an accelerator used by over 100 students. It is also home to the Entrepreneur Association, the largest club on the entire UCLA campus. It draws students from schools as diverse as medicine, computer sciences, and engineering – all areas where UCLA ranks among the very best higher educational institutions.

Such synergy, research capabilities and industry expertise position Anderson at the epicenter of interdisciplinary innovation, says Al Osborne, senior associate dean at the school. “What’s different about what I’m trying to do,” he tells P&Q in a 2017 interview, “is to allow our students to collide with scientists and principal investigators and see if there are ideas that can be licensed to solve real problems.”

Osborne lists Anderson’s entrepreneurial strengths as “consumer-facing, digital content, entertainment tech-enabled that solves a problem in either the b-to-b or b-to-c space” – some of the biggest growth areas in the economy. Bhargava, for one, dreams of starting her own company in “the intersection of retail and technology.” For her, Anderson’s ability to couple technology with entrepreneurship was an impeccable combination.

“Since, 2012 more than 25% of the class has been recruited for roles in the technology industry, building a strong alumni network that you can reach out to for guidance,” she states. “Furthermore, I wanted to leverage Anderson’s proximity to the start-up hub to develop skills to grow and scale businesses.”


And Bhargava won’t find a better locale than Los Angeles join the tech sector. It is a market where the intersection between digital technology and entertainment, logistics, and retail is particularly strong. The region is popularly known for its “Silicon Beach,” a concentration of plucky startups, established tech players, and angel investors stretching from Westwood to Manhattan Beach. A tech hotspot, Silicon Beach is known for incubating Hulu, Snap, and ZipRecruiter. At the same time, it has become a hub drawing the likes of Google and Facebook. Plus, the pervasive presence of movie studios and Disney has cultivated a deep bench of support companies in the tech and creative sectors.

In reality, says Osborne, Silicon Beach is only part of the equation. The region is also a leader in defense and aerospace, thanks to a surplus of highly skilled engineers, which has resulted in organizations like SpaceX, Tesla, and Jet Propulsion Laboratories taking root. Not to mention, the Los Angeles area boasts two of the largest ports in the world requiring intensive logistics support. Like entertainment, these industries have spun out a wealth of middle market firms that cater to their outsourcing needs.

In other words, looking at the big picture, the Southern California economy is as diverse and potent as the Bay Area. And Anderson, says Osborne, has become increasingly crucial to the fortunes of the region. “We are the place where companies look for talent and students,” Osborne adds.

Manhattan Beach Pier

When it comes to why he chose Anderson, Jain says it comes down to three words: Location, Location, Location. “Of all the business schools, UCLA is the only one located in a big city with a thriving tech and entrepreneurship scene, a global population, incredibly diverse culture, sunny, beautiful weather, and year-round beach volleyball,” he says.


Indeed, the climate is the proverbial cherry on top. “Even on the busiest days, you can’t help but smile with the bright sunshine outside,” Niemeyer adds.

Alas, the Class of 2019 is too busy to laze away their days on sunny beaches. Instead, they are fearlessly taking risks and pushing forward. Gonzalez-Kim, for example, admits that she is naturally risk-averse both personally and professionally. For her, success means being able to say she stepped out of her comfort zone, citing case competitions as one way to do that. Similarly, Rajapuram views change as the perfect measuring stick for evaluating her MBA success.I define success as change in beliefs,” she stresses. “I hope to complete my first year pursuing new passions, refining old ideas, and embracing friendships with people I never would have been exposed to but for Anderson.”

That said, Santana is also looking boost his “business savvy” and figure out how his past experience can bring value to his plan to integrate technology with human capital development. And he isn’t shy about admitting where he stands in the process. “I know I have a steep learning curve, so I am looking forward to the challenge of pursuing this path.”

To read profiles of incoming UCLA Anderson MBA students — along with their advice on tackling the GMAT, applications, and interviews — click on the links below.


Student Hometown Alma Mater Employer
 Adi Rajapuram  Lafayette, CA  Baylor University  Oracle
 Bharti Bhargava  Singapore  Lady Shri Ram College  Oxford Economics
 Katie Farias  Scranton, PA  Georgetown University  MUFG Securities Americas
 Denice Gonzalez-Kim  Los Angeles, CA  UCLA  School on Wheels
 Prateek Gupta  Jaipur, India  Indian Institute of Technology  Flipkart
 Hoonki Hong  Seoul, South Korea  Seoul National University  Deloitte
 Kartik Jain  Houston, TX  University of Texas  Nomly
 Esther  Njuguna  Nairobi, Kenya  Averett University  Booz Allen Hamilton
 Luiza  Niemeyer  Rio de Janeiro, Brazil  Pontíficia Universidade Católica  Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV)
 Jennifer Ojeh  Richmond, CA  Stanford University  WePay
 Jorge Santana  Millburn, NJ  Princeton University  New York City Department of Education
 Molly Tarrant   Saratoga Springs, NY  Harvard College  Arabella Advisors

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