“Ex-banker, ex-chef and future purveyor of good times.”
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Fun Fact About Yourself:
I trained in Paris, France to be a chef, where I lived and worked for over a year!
Undergraduate School and Major: University of Chicago, Economics and Political Science
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Commis Chef at Pasjoli (French Bistro in Santa Monica, CA)
Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of the school’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? UCLA Anderson has extraordinary entrepreneurship programming relative to many of the schools I looked at when applying. The Price Center and Entrepreneur Association are both first-in-class and offer so many opportunities for students interested in entrepreneurship. Additionally, all students have the opportunity to start a business while in school through the Business Creation Option (BCO) capstone project. As someone who is interested in eventually pursuing entrepreneurship in the food and beverage space, I think this is an exceptional opportunity to build true entrepreneurial skills that I would not have available to me at other schools.
What makes Los Angeles such a great place to earn an MBA? There are many advantages to earning your MBA in the 2nd-biggest city in the country! Los Angeles (LA) has it all from an industry perspective. My classmates are pursuing opportunities at LA-based firms that do everything from tech to entertainment to social impact. Additionally, LA has great weather and allows you to fulfill whatever outdoor passions you may have in a way that other cities can’t. There aren’t too many cities where you can ski, surf and hike in the same day, all while earning your MBA at a top business school!
What quality best describes your MBA classmates and why? One of UCLA Anderson’s core values is “Share Success”, which is more important now than it has ever been considering the pandemic and all the changes it has brought along. The warmth my classmates have shown in both in-person and virtual interactions has been so amazing. Every time I meet a fellow classmate, I am always struck by how driven, kind and team-oriented they are, which only makes me happier that I decided to join the UCLA Anderson family!
What makes you most excited about getting your MBA at UCLA Anderson? What makes you most nervous about business school? I’m excited to join the Anderson network, which is renowned in LA and around the world. I’m equally excited about the opportunity to stay in LA and to continue to connect with the many amazing hospitality professionals based in and around the city.
It had been a long time since I had gone through a traditional interview process until I started interviewing at the various business schools where I applied. Although those interviews went well, I would say that I am definitely a bit nervous about the first-year recruitment process, which is known to be challenging and a bit chaotic. Fortunately, we have a wonderful team of advisors at the Parker Career Management Center to and guide us to our goals!
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Joining Pasjoli as a member of the opening team was my first experience working in a truly entrepreneurial environment. I was fortunate to be able to work with a group of world-class chefs with pedigrees spanning some of the best restaurants in the US. I’m so proud of the experience we were able to deliver to our guests and of the team’s resilience and resoluteness throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? Prior to enrolling at UCLA Anderson, I had worked in investment banking and in the hospitality industry. I decided to pursue an MBA as a way to marry the skills I developed during these two experiences and to learn more about how I utilize my career to make an impact in the food and beverage industry.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? Chicago Booth, NYU Stern and USC Marshall.
What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? I find that the questions addressing short-term goals in applications and interview settings were particularly difficult for me to answer. Like many students, I had a clear sense of my long-term goals going into the application process. However, I found it challenging to articulate the path to achieving them because, for me at least, part of the appeal of business school broadly was the career exploration component.
How did you determine your fit at various schools? I primarily determined fit on the basis of location and culture. Being located in a large city was important in order to remain in close contact with the hospitality industry, which led me to look at schools in LA, New York, and Chicago. In order to determine a cultural fit, I had phone and email conversations with several students from each of the schools and talked a lot with them about how they were getting involved on campus and how cohesive their respective classes were. Armed with this information, I was able to further narrow down my list to the aforementioned schools that I ultimately applied to.
What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? The hardest decision I’ve had to make thus far in my life was to leave my investment banking job to begin a new journey learning to cook in Paris, France. I’d describe myself in many ways, but “fearless” would not be one of them. Making that decision was a huge developmental moment for me where I chose to own my future and make a pretty significant move geographically and with respect to my career. I think those themes of risk, change, and fearlessness are all relevant to the business school experience.
What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? I am a wine enthusiast and so I will highlight Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, one of the most influential importers and retailers in the wine industry. Kermit Lynch started the company with a small loan, some limited proficiency in French, and the energy to roam around the French countryside looking for its best wines. Since then, he has completely changed the US market’s understanding of French and Italian wines and brought critical innovations to the industry such as the use of refrigerated shipping containers to guarantee quality on long shipping routes. I think of him as an entrepreneur’s entrepreneur and believe that many business students could benefit from studying his story regardless of their proclivity for wine!
DON’T MISS: MEET UCLA ANDERSON’S MBA CLASS OF 2022