Meet UCLA Anderson’s MBA Class of 2020

Career services team at UCLA Anderson’s Parker Career Management Center

THE TOP CAREER CENTER

Amanda Sol Peralta, a marketing manager whose client list included Spotify, Lyft and BlackRock, has a vision for entertainment and pop culture. She views them as channels that can “unlock community, belonging, and identity for marginalized young people.” For her, to make an impact in this space, she needed to be in the right place at the right time. That’s why she chose to join Anderson’s MBA Class of 2020.

“Anderson was the perfect place for my specific career goal to transition into tech-entertainment,” she asserts. “My experiences at startups taught me how technology could be a vehicle for change, but I had struggled to incorporate my passion for online communities and pop culture into my career. I knew I needed to deepen my entertainment industry knowledge and experience, while expanding my entertainment-tech network. Los Angeles-based Anderson was a leader in each of these spaces.”

Kaavya Remesh also praises the Parker Career Management Center, which earned the second-highest marks for new career opportunities and overall assessment in The Economist’s 2018 survey of students and alumni. One of the center’s biggest strengths? It possesses deep roots in the entertainment, enabling students to find work in a fickle industry that often relies heavily on referrals and just-in-time hiring.

UCLA’s Anderson School of Management

“Not only is the Parker Career Center incredibly knowledgeable about entertainment and very hands-on in terms of its coaching resources,” Remeish writes, but I also learned from speaking to an Anderson Class of 2018 student that her ability to complete a spring internship at a major studio in LA during the academic year gave her a major leg-up when it came to landing her summer internship at Disney.”

“A CITY THAT REWARDS HARD WORK”

Location certainly helps too. In 2017 Q&A with P&Q, Al Osborne, UCLA Anderson’s interim dean, cited the diverse industries and leadership heft of the region, noting that its defense and aerospace past had laid the groundwork for Silicon Beach. A tech hub par excellence, Silicon Beach stretches from Westwood to Manhattan, giving rise to legendary startups like Hulu, Dollar Shave Club, Snap, BeachMint, and TigerText in its wake. Such activity has also drawn business royalty to the area, including Apple, Google, Netflix, and SpaceX – not to mention an influx of investment capital. This has created a virtuous cycle, Osborne says, that has enabled the region to support the nation’s largest collection of middle market companies to support these ventures.

Ezra Glenn grew up in New York City and started his career. He sees a night-and-day difference between his hometown and the LA scene. “Los Angeles is a city that rewards hard work in a way that my hometown does not,” he writes. “In New York, the baseline assumption is that everyone is grinding and pushing as hard as they can just to stay afloat. Anderson embodies the synergistic quality of LA – the more you give, the more you get. Rather than being a transactional environment, it’s a truly transformational one.”

The area’s diversity was another key differentiator. “The school and the city are home to incredibly rich varieties of cultures and expressions of ideas,” observes Emily Bestwick. “I love the influence of greater perspective that Anderson and LA offer, as well as the sense of inclusion that comes with being new here. A slogan that I’ve learned and grown to attribute to my experiences in LA is “be interested and be interesting.”

SCHOOL SERVES AS ENTREPRENEURIAL HUB

And come with a vision too! After graduation, Abhinav Goel hopes to export E-sports to India. To create that market, he says, he needed to learn how the industry worked in the one of its biggest hubs. “UCLA Anderson was the perfect gateway for me to venture into this space, primarily because of its strong ties to E-sports powerhouses like Riot and Blizzard,” he points out. “It’s location in Los Angeles also brings me in close proximity to some of the largest video game conferences like E3, GDC, BlizzCon and Pax West. The school has a specific group for coaching people who want to venture into the E-sports industry and Days On The Job (DOJ) treks to gaming companies in California.”

Alfred Osborne Jr. UCLA photo

Not surprisingly, considering LA’s tech roots and startup frenzy, UCLA Anderson itself has emerged as an entrepreneurial mecca. Dean Osborne boils down the program’s entrepreneurial strengths this way: “consumer-facing, digital content, entertainment tech-enabled that solves a problem in either the b-to-b or b-to-c space.” Such ventures can be nurtured in the Anderson Venture Accelerator, which is housed in the Price Center for Entrepreneurship. Covering 10,000 square feet, the space brings together students from every discipline. Anderson also organizes the Entrepreneur Association. With 600 members from across campus, it is one of UCLA’s largest clubs. Startup-minded MBAs can even fulfill their required second-year capstone by launching a venture with classmates as part of the Business Creation Option.

“As someone who is interested in healthcare entrepreneurship,” writes Patricia Mathelier, “I knew that I wanted to go to a business school that was equipped to support my entrepreneurial endeavors from beginning to end. With the support of the Anderson Venture Accelerator, I know that I will have an overwhelming amount of support, resources, and mentors to guide me in creating a successful startup.”

GETTING TO KNOW YOU

Perhaps the defining feature of the Anderson experience is the Parker Career Center, maybe the best in the world. The center’s secret? Simply put, it gets to know the students – each and every one, says Regina Regazzi, the school’s assistant dean and head of the center, in a 2017 interview with P&Q. The center’s high-touch, customized model swoops into action quickly after a student accepts. By orientation, the center has already met with each student individually to pinpoint their goals and gaps. Aside from regularly meeting with students, the center also conducts a mandatory career series – one that traditionally earns near perfect survey marks from students. Plus, the school does more than simply reaching out to potential employers. The center staff also supplies these partners with data, keeping them current on industry and hiring trends.

It is an advantage, Rob Weiler says, that cannot be underestimated. “Parker provides extensive services to all students, beginning with a career course that starts before students arrive on campus.  All students are assigned a career advisor, who is responsible for keeping track of that student during their entire time here.  Advisors have specific industry expertise, which is greatly beneficial in today’s competitive MBA hiring atmosphere, and is immensely helpful in the interview preparation process.”

Regina Regazzi, Assistant Dean for the Parker Career Management Center at UCLA (Anderson)

That’s critical in a program like Anderson, which doesn’t just cater to cookie cutter career paths, adds Emily Moore. “What I want to do (strategic partnerships/sports sponsorships) is very specific and niche, With my network and the Parker Career Management Center at Anderson, I think I will be able to get there. UCLA Anderson students get jobs in a field that they are passionate about – either entertainment, sports, healthcare, consulting or so many others. Other schools are so focused on the “generic” paths – finance, consulting and brand management.”

THE PLAN: SELL STARTUP BY GRADUATION AND RETIRE

You won’t find many generic paths with the Class of 2020. Abhinav Goel dreams of developing the next generation of mobile and desktop E-sports games. Similarly, Amanda Sol Peralta pictures herself playing a major role “in the evolution of the creator-fan relationship” – targeting companies like YouTube, Spotify, and Netflix in the process. And Emily Bestwick may not have a platform, but she has an end game in mind.

“[I want to] initiate my own venture: one that will get at the core of helping people overcome the tendency to accept what we know is wrong, to settle for less than we deserve, and to be limited by lack of resources.”

Jessica Cheng, however, has the next two years planned out. By graduation, she plans to sell her startup, retire, and head to Hawai’I to surf. If that doesn’t pan out, she is comfortable with whatever comes next. “Five years ago I was living life on Miami Beach with a strawberry daiquiri in hand, far away from GMAT woes and MBA shenanigans, so it’s hard to say exactly where I’ll be in five more fabulous years!”

What led these professionals to enter business schools? Which programs did they also consider? What strategies did they use to choose their MBA program? What was the major event that defined them? Find the answers to these questions and many more in the in-depth profiles of these incoming MBA candidates.

StudentHometownAlma MaterEmployer
Mariana BarrazaLong Beach, CAStanford UniversityAccenture
Emily BestwickReading, PALehigh UniversityPrudential Financial
Jessica ChengTaipei, TaiwanCornell UniversityEvolve Fitness
Ezra GlennNew York City, NYBard CollegeFirst One Up
Abhinav GoelNew Delhi, IndiaInternational Institute of Information Technology, HyderabadSHEROES
Sam KirtnerEugene, ORYale UniversitySemler Brossy Consulting Group
Patricia MathelierSuffern, NYHarvard UniversityUCLA (MD/MBA)
Emily MooreRichmond, VAUniversity of North CarolinaESPN
Austen MountOlympia, WAUniversity of California, Santa BarbaraThe New Home Company
Arne PanzerBerlin, GermanyUniversity of California, Santa CruzGeneral Mills
Kaavya RameshAtlanta, GAMichigan State UniversityThe ONE Campaign
Amanda Sol PeraltaBrooklyn, NYDuke UniversityJopwell
Frida WinkelmannBerlin, GermanyMaastricht UniversityMobisol Group