Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Sami Sciacqua, UCLA (Anderson)

Samantha (Sami) Sciacqua

UCLA Anderson School of Management

“I am a stereotypical extrovert, a lover of all creatures, and a serial problem-solver.”

Hometown: Lafayette, CA

Fun Fact About Yourself: I have a pet leopard gecko named Petrie after the pterodactyl in Land Before Time, not the dish.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Michigan, B.S. Biopsychology, Cognition & Neuroscience and B.S. Spanish

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Oracle, Enterprise Technology Regional Manager

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? I ultimately chose Anderson due to the culture of the program and the resources available for career switchers. With an incredibly engaged student body and a space for events like Velocity and Impact Week, I knew I would be surrounded by a diverse, determined group of individuals looking to drive change. Furthermore, Anderson provides a collaborative, case-focused curriculum and supportive environment that would enable me in pivoting my career. The Parker Career Center is regularly recognized as a top MBA Career Center, and the students I spoke with only had incredible things to say about the Parker advisors and Parker Programming. This was especially important for me as I plan to transition my career in both industry and function.

What makes Los Angeles such a great place to earn an MBA? Growing up in Northern California, I loathed the idea of LA. The traffic, the flashy cars, the celebs – no thanks. I have lived in LA for the last four years, and I’ll finally admit I’m probably here for the long haul.

LA truly has everything! There’s art, music, sports, DELICIOUS food, and microcosms of culture everywhere you turn. My personal LA favorite: you can surf and ski in the same day! From a professional standpoint, LA is a particularly great place to earn an MBA due to availability of academic internships and proximity of business leaders already living in or visiting LA from across the globe.

What quality best describes your MBA classmates and why? Anderson students are engaged. In this virtual world, we are all adjusting to a new normal. My peers have been so impressive in their drive and excitement to build a community. From socially distant hike/golf/beach meet ups, to Zoom Zumba classes, to virtual happy hours, to already building apps to enhance our learning experience, my classmates show up and make things happen.

What makes you most excited about getting your MBA at UCLA Anderson? What makes you most nervous about business school? I am most excited to build relationships with my classmates, Anderson faculty, and alumni!

I am most nervous that COVID will never end, as I’m sure is a shared sentiment amongst many other students. That being said, I am confident Anderson will provide an unforgettable MBA experience regardless of the pandemic.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: In 2018, I joined a team that covered our high-risk accounts. I spent weeks researching and understanding how these companies did business, their upcoming priorities, and their current and past relationship with my company. By standing upon the shoulders of others and leveraging all the resources at my disposal, I was able to rebuild key relationships with customer stakeholders and close 430% of my annual quota. I was recognized as the North America Digital Enterprise Sales MVP for Fiscal Year 2019, and was subsequently offered a management position a few months later.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I believe education is the best investment we can make in ourselves. Therefore I always planned to pursue a master’s degree. I felt I had built a strong foundation in my four years of experience but wanted to position myself for other career options outside of sales. I knew the MBA would get me there.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Anderson, Haas, London Business School, McCombs, Marshall

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? If money was no object, what would you do with your career and why?

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I prioritized the culture in searching for an MBA program and researched this by spending a lot of time meeting with current students, attending information sessions, and actually visiting the campuses. Furthermore, I scoured program websites, employment reports, and class profiles to ensure there was a diversity of thought and experience.

It was extremely helpful to leverage Poets & Quants for truly any MBA-related question and ClearAdmit to understand when students received interviews and offers.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? My defining moment was sitting in a room full of executives, majority male, all with 20+ more years of experience, and I commanded the attention of the room. It prepared me for business school by validating that I can drive change and make a positive impact, even without knowing all the answers.

What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? Patagonia is my favorite company. In studying Patagonia, business students can learn about the value of culture, adhering to values and ethics, and business’ ability to drive meaningful change.