2020 Best & Brightest MBAs: Dani Ebersole, UCLA Anderson

Dani Ebersole

UCLA, Anderson School of Management

“Insightful and collaborative, listening to others, and developing new ideas to solve problems.”

Hometown: Sao Paulo, Brazil

Fun fact about yourself: I live on a 38’ sailboat with my husband. We sailed from San Francisco Bay to Los Angeles for my MBA, and it was a beautiful voyage.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Bachelors in Marketing and Advertising, Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie (Sao Paulo), 2014

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Consumer Research Analyst, BabyCenter (World’s largest digital parenting resource)

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? Strategy Insights & Planning Consultant, ZS Associates, Thousand Oaks

Where will you be working after graduation? Associate Consultant, McKinsey & Company, Los Angeles

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

Honors: UCLA Anderson Merit Fellowship

Accomplishments: Winner of PwC Fiercest Competitor Case Competition


  • VP of International Student Relations for the Anderson Student Association
  • Managing Partner at the Anderson Strategy Group
  • Career Coach for Consulting (Fall’19)
  • VP of Excursions, Anderson Wine Club
  • VP of the High Seas, Outdoor Adventures Club

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? As a Brazilian who has been living in the US for a few years, I found myself early on acting as a liaison between international and domestic students – I wanted to continue developing an open and supportive environment for international students and promote intercultural exchange. One of the achievements I’m particularly proud of was to create a structure for an initiative called Global Partners Program, where international and domestic students are paired before orientation. I noticed that the lack of guidance on suggested activities for global partners led people to disengage from the program, but I saw its potential to foster early interaction and help break initial cultural barriers.

I worked closely with classmates, club leaders, and the school administration to develop an entire onboarding program to improve the experience of internationals at UCLA, including a better program for the International Welcome Week, a series of cultural activities organized throughout the Summer quarter called AnderWorld Cup, a welcome reception with prizes, and a day-long set of events around Thanksgiving starting with flag football, an American TV show featuring a Thanksgiving episode, and a Thanksgiving dinner. Our team received overwhelmingly positive feedback from international students and extremely high engagement with activities and events (400+ logged activities during AnderWorld Cup). I believe having the structure in place in the early months of MBA was a step towards sustainable development of initiatives that create global connections.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? One of the last projects that I led at the company I worked for pre-MBA was a global study on shopping behaviors. I’m proud of the collaborative approach which I took from beginning-to-end, leading to the most relevant white paper my company would release that year. I was able to identify the opportunity to learn about the disruptive changes in the global retail landscape and met with my company’s C-suite senior leadership and key media clients to design and manage a highly relevant study.

When results were available, I re-connected with stakeholders to co-create an impactful story, and presented insights and recommendations to the Board of Directors, 120 internal stakeholders, and 20+ multinational retail and brand clients, informing their retail strategy and helping to future-proof their business. I’m proud of this both because of the quality of the work and because I set a new standard on how to create meaningful studies in the future by closely collaborating with others throughout the process.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? My favorite professor was Ian Larkin, who teaches Core Strategy and General Management. What I liked about him was his ability to create thoughtful and interactive discussions in class, and challenge students to think beyond the obvious. His analysis of case studies would always blow my mind, as he broke down different strategy components in a way that not only helped me think about the specific problem at hand but apply learnings to other situations.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? I love Anderson Afternoons, a weekly happy hour on-campus open to all Anderson programs, including Full-time MBAs, Fully-employed MBAs, Executive MBAs, and MSBAs (Master of Science in Business Analytics). By offering a simple weekly meal, the school reflects its emphasis on sharing success, and its desire to bring people together in a highly collaborative environment.

Why did you choose this business school? My biggest motivators were culture and career development opportunities. When I was considering schools, everyone I connected with strongly emphasized the collaborative culture at UCLA Anderson – your peers, second years MBAs, faculty, and administration are cheering for your success. People always make themselves available to support each other – that is clearly seen when peers who are applying for the same positions get together to practice and help make each other better candidates. The second driver for my choice was the Parker Career Management Center, ranked as a top career center. As I was applying for a summer internship and full-time positions, I felt empowered by Parker’s resources and staff, and supported along the way.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Get outside of your comfort zone. Do things that will challenge you and force you to think differently and rely on others throughout the journey. Then, be ready to give back. During the first year’s fall quarter, you are working towards your career development, deciding which clubs to join and which leadership positions to take on – while also trying to stay on top of classes. At that time, be sure to embrace ambiguity and seek support. People will be happy to help you, as long as you reach out. During the second year, explore ways to help and support peers and first years; this will make your MBA experience more rewarding.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I would try not to stress out as much in the beginning. I would embrace the fact that the point of the MBA is to expose me to challenges, and that I can feel confident about my potential to overcome these challenges, to learn from others, and to contribute fearlessly.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Such a hard question! I continue to learn so much from classmates, and there are unique characteristics that make several peers impactful in my life. I would like to give recognition to Stephen Guerin, who embodies the concept of sharing success. Stephen is brilliant and well-accomplished in his career. Instead of enjoying his own success, he acts in a humble and altruistic way. I have seen Stephen countless times going out of his way to support classmates who are struggling. He is the VP of Academic Affairs of the Anderson Student Association, and acts as a liaison between students and the administration when it comes to academic interests.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? Felipe Prandini da Silveira was my supervisor, mentor, and role model while I was working at Nielsen in Brazil. Even though I was still in college – and that was my first internship – Felipe challenged me to take on increasingly more responsibilities, explained underlying concepts so that I could apply learnings to new situations, and made sure I had opportunities to develop in my career. Felipe’s thoughtful insights and mentorship ultimately led me to love my job and want to do consulting as my career.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? At UCLA Anderson, I became the first female Managing Partner of the Anderson Strategy Group (ASG), a student-led consulting firm. I’m thrilled about this opportunity and I feel extremely supported by my male peers. One of the biggest contributions our team of partners has worked on is a more structured and objective approach to recruiting, to help reduce biases, and to promote diversity. As I enter the workforce, I understand that being a female in consulting poses certain challenges, and my first bucket list item is to take what I learn from this experience to help promote diversity initiatives.

My second professional bucket list item is also related to my identity. As a Brazilian, I have a strong desire to help drive growth in developing countries, particularly in Latin America.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I would like to be remembered as someone who cared, listened, and acted on insights to drive positive change.

Hobbies? My fun leadership roles at UCLA Anderson are with the Outdoors Adventures Club and the Anderson Wine Club. In my free time, I enjoy surfing, backpacking, sailing, and being outside in general. I also enjoy wine tasting; my husband is a winemaker, so that works out well for us!

What made Dani such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2020?

“Dani’s mission at UCLA Anderson has been to selflessly improve the experience of her fellow students. From day one, she seemed to effortlessly bridge the gap between international and US students, and as is usually the case when something significant appears effortless, Dani invests the time, the work, and herself in order to make great things happen.

Dani pulls people into her ideas, gets people excited and engaged, and makes them a part of something bigger than themselves. At the same time, she has a calm center; she’s clear-eyed about her point-of-view, her goals, and how to accomplish them.

As one of five first-year section international vice-presidents, Dani was a fierce advocate for unanimity among the international and US students in her section, and as her ideas and initiatives were adopted by fellow vice-presidents, by extension she influenced the entire first-year class. Through this experience, Dani discovered the desire and the confidence to serve the entire student body. Her subsequent role as Anderson Student Association (ASA) Vice-President of International Relations allowed her to grow immensely in her leadership abilities. There’s nothing cookie-cutter about Anderson students; they’re encouraged not to fit themselves into any one particular mold, but rather to take risks, learn about themselves, capitalize on their best traits, and become the best leader only they could be. Dani perfectly exemplifies this process of personal leadership style discovery.

One of Dani’s major contributions to Anderson was the significant improvements she made to our Global Partners Program. For four years, we’ve matched international students in the first-year class with fellow US first-years with the intention of bringing the two groups together through individual friendships. Dani completely overhauled the matching process and the communications with incoming students, conceived of the first-ever “AnderWorld Cup” competition, tracked activities, provided incentives, and devised a social media strategy, all of which yielded over 400 logged partnership activities – more than three times the previous numbers annually. These relationships continue to grow throughout the year; it’s not an exaggeration to say that Dani is significantly responsible for the strength of the first-year network.

Using her expertise in joining international and US students, Dani also took on improving the relationship and ties between first and second-year students. As a second-year, she leads a team of five first-year section international vice-presidents in planning and executing internationally-focused activates for the full-time program. I’ve heard other student leaders say of her, “Dani loves her VPS, and they love her.” I’d characterize Dani’s leadership style as quiet, reasonable, yet persistent. She listens first; adjusts when it’s in the best interest of the goal, but is unafraid to be tenacious in service of what she believes to be essential and significant.

Perhaps most telling – although Dani’s time as an ASA VP officially ends in Spring Quarter, she’s already committed to remaining active in the transition to new leadership. This crucial transfer of institutional knowledge is key to a successful start for Anderson’s next phase of student leadership and isn’t necessarily a given year-to-year. It takes a person who genuinely cares about the investment they’ve made and who is determined to cultivate it.

Add to all of this a positivity, a cheerfulness, and a genuine optimism evidenced daily, and you have Dani! We’ve certainly been lucky to.”

Elizabeth McKillop
Senior Director of Student Services
MBA Student Affairs


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