“I am endlessly curious, passionate about ethical tech, and just a little offbeat.”
Hometown: Rockville, MD
Fun Fact About Yourself: I’m a pretty fast typist! My record is about 130 words per minute.
Undergraduate School and Major: UC Berkeley, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Google, Product Manager
UCLA Anderson is founded on the Three Pillars: Share Success, Think Fearlessly, and Drive Change. Which pillar resonates most with you and why? While I believe all three pillars are absolutely critical in cultivating impactful and empathetic business leaders at Anderson, I personally resonate most with “Share Success.” I have had the opportunity to work in both environments that have built me up and supported me through hardships, as well as those that were antagonistically competitive and treated career success like a zero-sum game. These experiences allowed me to observe and reflect on how teamwork and mentorship truly create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. Working collaboratively in a trusting, psychologically safe environment has extracted more creativity and innovation out of myself than I could ever accomplish alone. I learn more, I am more impactful, and I have much more fun in the process. I would not be where I am today without the communities that have supported me along the way.
What makes Los Angeles such a great place to earn an MBA? There are so many reasons! As someone who wants to pursue tech after I graduate from Anderson, I know that Los Angeles (and Silicon Beach in particular) would have a plethora of tech companies where I could recruit for both internships and full-time positions. Especially for entertainment tech job opportunities, Los Angeles could give San Francisco and Silicon Valley a run for its money. In terms of lifestyle, there is never nothing to do in LA – delicious food, fun hikes and beaches, and an exciting nightlife. I feel like two years isn’t enough time to fully explore the city!
Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key part of UCLA Anderson’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? UCLA Anderson’s Global Immersion program is what ultimately finalized my choice. Of course, almost every reputable MBA program in the country will have a global aspect, but the UCLA Anderson’s Global Immersion program stood out in that it offered a wide variety of countries and courses through which I could customize my global immersion experience. UCLA Anderson truly values the blending of business perspectives and expertise from all over the world. To me, this was the best opportunity to widen my lens and learn from others whose culture and values are different from mine. This will inevitably prove priceless for both my career and personal growth.
What course, club or activity excites you the most at UCLA Anderson? I’m most excited about courses that combine business with the study of human behavior (a more sociological lens)! Being able to navigate various situations and understand why people react differently to various styles of leadership is very fascinating to me. It will allow me to practice more kindness and empathy, which I believe depends heavily on the ability to understand others’ actions and intents. This is also an area that I did not delve into during my undergrad years (you know, as a reclusive computer science nerd!), so I am extremely grateful to have the opportunity to learn from some of the best professors in the world.
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest accomplishment was giving a keynote presentation in front of thousands at the Spring One 2019 conference. The stage is usually meant for industry experts and thought leaders with years of experience. So as an early career product manager barely 3 years out of college, it was totally out of my comfort zone. That said, it was a unique way to learn about leadership through influence and presentation that was very different from my typical day-to-day as a product manager.
How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? The pandemic, in a sense, helped me realize my passions for global product management. 2019 was a whirlwind of marketing events in various parts of Asia as well as back-to-back client visits, both domestic and international. If not for the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, I might have continued charging blindly full-speed ahead for years, without an opportunity to reflect. The drastic change to working from home and seeing the same roommate every day allowed me to discover just how much I loved traveling for work. I learn best when I push myself into unfamiliar and uncomfortable environments, and I knew that whichever job I choose next must offer that for me.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? As a product manager with a computer science background, I always admired my mentors and peers who were strong in skills complementary to my own. While I could “talk the talk” with the software engineers and product designers on my team, I often felt I fell short when speaking to areas like marketing, sales, and monetization strategy. By the end of 2019, I had come to a crossroads where I could continue to learn on the job, or pursue an MBA where I can obtain these skills in a more concentrated and deliberate way. The pandemic had pushed me in 2020 to finally commit to an MBA so that I can return to the workforce in 2 years with new skills under my belt.
After graduation, I will continue pursuing product management in tech, but start exploring the intersection of entertainment and tech. Once I gain a few more years of experience, I hope to find a position where I can do globalization strategy.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? USC Marshall School of Business, UC Berkeley Haas School of Business
What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into UCLA Anderson’s MBA program? Firstly, every school is unique in the opportunities it can bring you. Really take the time to do your research on UCLA Anderson to see whether the program is a good fit for you. Attend information sessions, reach out to Anderson alumni (they’re really friendly!), and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Once I realized that UCLA Anderson was the best fit for me, it became much easier to honestly express myself and my aspirations through my application.
Secondly, try to find what makes you get out of bed in the morning. What kind of impact do you want to make on your team, your community, and on society? Once you have that, define a high-level trajectory that you think can get you from where you are now to where you want to be. It can be fuzzy and half-baked, but Anderson can help you define that. However, admissions needs to see that you have the passion and drive to achieve your goals.