Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Daniella Ryskina, UCLA (Anderson)

Daniella Ryskina

UCLA, Anderson School of Management

“Ambitious, results-oriented Russian-American who prides herself on helping others achieve their personal and professional goals.”

Hometown: Los Angeles, California

Fun Fact About Yourself: My family is from Ukraine and immigrated to the U.S. in 1993. I was the first in my family to be born in the U.S. and receive a college education.

Undergraduate School and Major: Loyola Marymount University, Accounting and Finance double major

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: KPMG, Financial Services Management Consultant

UCLA Anderson is founded on the Three Pillars: Share Success, Think Fearlessly, and Drive Change. Which pillar resonates most with you and why? Share Success. I have always valued the concept of mentoring. As part of the Step Up Women’s Network, I mentored young women in under-resourced communities to realize their potential and prepare to join the professional workforce. While at KPMG, I was a leader in the KPMG Network of Women, in which I advocated for firm-wide diversity and equity by organizing events for female professionals to build business relationships. In turn, I attribute much of my success to the incredible mentors with whom I have developed lifelong personal and professional connections.

A key facet of UCLA Anderson School of Management that attracted me was the school’s partnership with the Forte Foundation. As a Forte fellow, I have been granted the exciting opportunity to continue building relationships with incredible women both within UCLA Anderson School of Management and nationally. I believe that the ability to learn from each other’s successes and failures will propel us greatly in our careers.

What makes Los Angeles such a great place to earn an MBA? Having grown up in Los Angeles, I have witnessed the city transform from being predominantly entertainment-focused to a technology and financial services hub. From some of the most innovative technology firms moving to Silicon Beach to traditionally East Coast-based private equity firms opening in downtown Los Angeles and Century City, Los Angeles has become a unique place to earn an MBA because of the diversity of industries and career paths now at our fingertips.

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? The Parker Career Management Center played a key role in my decision to accept the offer from UCLA Anderson School of Management. While speaking with current students and alumni, it became evident that Parker truly goes above and beyond to help students understand and achieve their career goals.

Personally, I was drawn to Parker’s Industry and Function Insights Panels and Immersion Programs. As part of the Industry and Function Insights Panels, Parker hosts a series of sessions featuring Anderson alumni. These conversations seek to help students understand the current dynamics of specific industries, functions, career paths, and recruiting strategies. The willingness of alumni to come back and speak with students, and “share success,” resonated with me as I prioritized the school’s tight-knit community during my evaluation.

This year, Parker piloted three new Industry Immersion Programs specifically designed for enhanced recruiting experiences in finance, consulting, and technology. The programs took place prior to the start of fall quarter. I was particularly appreciative of Parker’s desire to introduce innovative methods for students to be prepared for recruiting, given conversations with firms start earlier and earlier each year. When selecting an MBA program, it was important to me to have a career center that was both proactive in helping students understand career opportunities and forward thinking to keep up to date with evolving recruiting and interviewing tactics.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at UCLA Anderson? I am most excited about the capstone project in which I will have the opportunity to apply the tools I learned during the program to a real-world business challenge. The capstone project can be fulfilled in two ways: (1) the Applied Management Research program (“AMR”), and (2) the Business Creation Option (“BCO”).  While many of my fellow classmates will leverage UCLA Anderson’s resources to build their companies while still in school through the BCO, I am looking forward to the AMR in which I will work as a consultant to help an organization solve a key business challenge, while advancing a pro-social cause and making an immediate, profound impact.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Most of my career, I focused on consulting for traditional banking and financial services clients. Recently, I was given the opportunity to apply my industry experience to develop a new payments offering that KPMG could apply to Financial Technology (“FinTech”) companies booming in the local Silicon Beach area.  As a young consultant, it was rewarding to see the offering I developed help smaller companies grow first-hand and contribute to the community in which I grew up.

How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? COVID-19 has shown me the importance of creating personal connections and fostering meaningful relationships. The virtual world has revealed that we often took for granted the ability to connect with colleagues and clients while getting a cup of coffee or passing each other in the hallway. The pandemic has pushed me to go out my comfort zone to consciously nurture personal and professional relationships, a practice I hope to continue throughout my professional career.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? Once promoted to a supervisory role at KPMG, it was my responsibility to manage and mentor incoming associates. Having taken on this role and knowing the roles I hoped to have as my career progressed, I understood that I needed an MBA to learn the foundational leadership skills that are not explicitly taught in a corporate setting. After graduation, I hope to continue my career in corporate strategy, equipped with the self-awareness and management capabilities required to lead teams in achieving company objectives.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? USC Marshall School of Business

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into UCLA Anderson’s MBA program? Devote time to reflect on what you want to gain from an MBA, how UCLA Anderson School of Management can help you achieve those goals, and whether the program’s values align with yours. Applying to business school is like applying to a job – it is a two-way street. Not only should you want the school to accept you, but it is also important that you believe the school is a good fit to help you make the right connections and achieve your goals. Once you understand WHY you would like to gain admission into UCLA Anderson’s MBA program, the application process will feel more natural.


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