Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Gabriella Pesce Eliezer, UCLA (Anderson)

Gabriella Pesce Eliezer

UCLA Anderson School of Management

“I am a proud marketer, passionate about people and committed to make a positive impact.”

Hometown: Sao Paulo, Brazil

Fun Fact About Yourself: Since I am short (1.54 meters) sometimes I can find clothes and shoes that fit me perfectly in kids stores. It is a great financial advantage depending on the brand.

Undergraduate School and Major: Dual-Degree in Business Administration from Fundação Armando Álvares Penteado (FAAP) and The University of Northampton.

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Kimberly-Clark / Marketing Senior Analyst

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? The key part that made me chose Anderson as business school is the career center since it is consistently one of the best among top business schools. This is extremely important for me because I wanted to have the support of a career center that is equipped to help me pursue my next role in the industry and function I desire. As an international student, I believe this is essential especially if you want to pursue a career in the US.

What makes Los Angeles such a great place to earn an MBA? When you think about Los Angeles, a few things come to your mind: sun, palm trees and the traffic. However, it offers so much more than that. It is one of the only cities in the world that allows you to enjoy the sea, the snow, and the dessert in the same weekend. It has many restaurants, museums, hiking trails, and theme parks. There are so many things going on that FOMO (fear of missing out) will be something you will definitely experience.

Professionally speaking, it is the heart of Media, Entertainment, and Sports and is close to the Bay Area and its vibrant Technology industry. Also, LA is home of the “Silicon Beach”, a hub of tech, startups and several venture capital firms. Since it is a big city, it has many opportunities for academic and summer internships as well as full-time jobs. Finally, the location allows students to visit many companies and network with potential employers.

What quality best describes your MBA classmates and why? My classmates are beyond amazing and I am honored to be a part of this class. Among many qualities, there is one that stands out in our community and it is the spirit of collaboration. To start an MBA is challenging enough, but to embark in this intense journey in the middle of a global pandemic is indescribable. Therefore, what keeps me motivated and engaged to pursue this pathway is the fact that my classmates are truly with me in this journey and ready to share our successes. We help each other cope with issues such as getting a U.S. visa (for internationals), moving to LA, and adapting to our new remote lives.

What makes you most excited about getting your MBA at UCLA Anderson? What makes you most nervous about business school? There are many things that make me excited about getting my MBA at UCLA Anderson. Without a doubt, the main one is the community! Even before being accepted I felt like I was a part of the AnderFam. Everyone was friendly and welcoming and helped me in any way they could.

Business school is so overwhelming that prioritizing among many events, such as clubs’ meetings, networking dinners, industry treks, and career activities, is what makes me nervous. The famous FOMO (fear of missing out) is real!

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: The biggest accomplishment I had in my career was when I was working at Mars Petcare in Brazil and I had the challenge of improving a brand’s margin without losing sales. I developed and implemented a breakthrough brand strategy with a cross-functional team by creating a new P&L report with gross profit information per product, channel, and region and analyzing it deeply searching for opportunities. It took my team and I less than a year and the project resulted in a focused strategy allowing the brand to have better margins and healthier growth.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? Since the start of my professional life, I have been dreaming about pursuing an MBA and I am at the right point in my career to do so. I believe I have enough background to be able to absorb new content and contribute to discussions in class. Also, as my responsibilities grow and the impact I have as a leader increases, I will require more leadership skills, which I will only be able to unleash through the experience that an MBA provides. It will allow me to become more confident, to explore development opportunities, to learn how to see challenges from a different point of view, and to embrace the cultural and background differences of my colleagues.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Since I want to continue to pursue a career in Marketing, I applied to the most recognizable MBA Programs in Marketing. These schools included: Kellogg School of Management, Ross School of Business, Fuqua School of Business, Haas School of Business and London Business School.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? The most challenging question for me was, “Why are you applying for this specific school?”. It seems like an easy question. If you think about it, it is not. To answer properly, you are expected to deeply analyze three main factors: who you are, who you want to become and if the school is going to help you achieve your goals. You must search beyond the website and informational sessions, try to experience how it feels to be a part of that community and check if they offer the opportunities (in clubs or courses) that will help you. The whole MBA process is tough. If you want to live “the best two years of your life” as many alumni state, you must choose your school well. The program has an end date but you will be part of the community, in my case the AnderFam, for the rest of your life.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I prioritized community and its values, location, and career center. I used all the resources I could, such as going to info sessions, connecting with current students and alumni, following the school on social media, and (in some cases) visiting the school to get a better sense of the environment. Nevertheless, the most valuable part was talking to people. By doing that I got a better sense of the school’s culture to help me decide if I wanted to be part of that community. Also, I could get more insights regarding the advantages of the school’s location and the career possibilities.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? Three months after I arrived in England for my exchange program, I had to undergo an emergency surgery. I was supposed to stay away from undergraduate school for over four months and nurses told me to quit. However, as I am very studious and determined, I went back to school after 1.5 months with the help of my friends and my mother, who had to fly over from Brazil since I needed a 24h assistant. Everything went well in the end. Most importantly, I learned life lessons that helped me prepare for business school such as building a supportive network, not allowing anyone to tell me what I am capable of doing, and continuing to aim for my goals despite of obstacles.

What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? My favorite organization is The Walt Disney Company because of its outstanding and “magical” way of running the business. I had the opportunity to take a course there called “Disney’s Approach to Leadership Excellence”. One of the key takeaways was the relevance of building a collaborative culture that makes employees passionate about their work, obsessed with quality, and committed to the company’s mission. Another one was the necessity of being customer-oriented, especially in unprecedented moments. An example worth mentioning happened at the Jungle Cruise attraction where there were huge lines and managers wanted to reduce the time of the ride, but Walt stated that because guests were waiting for long hours, the ride should not be shortened.