Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Joachim Cassel, UCLA (Anderson)

Joachim Cassel

UCLA, Anderson School of Management

“Entrepreneur, ultramarathoner, singer, soccer fan, spicy food enthusiast, lover of warm weather and traveling.”

Hometown: London, UK

Fun Fact About Yourself: I was a choral scholar at university and have sung in front of the Queen and Kanye West (not at the same time).

Undergraduate School and Major: Mathematics, University of Cambridge

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Oxbridge Global Tutors, Founder and Director

UCLA Anderson is founded on the Three Pillars: Share Success, Think Fearlessly, and Drive Change. Which pillar resonates most with you and why? Sharing Success is the pillar that most drew me towards UCLA Anderson. I’m naturally a very social and collaborative person and being able to exercise that professionally is very important to me. I’m always keen to help out a colleague, as much to see them succeed as for what I can learn from the experience, and will obviously always value having someone to help me when I need it.

I experienced Anderson’s shared success as early as my initial research into the school. The first person I spoke with saw a connection between my interests and a friend of hers, who was in the fitness/entrepreneurial space, and immediately put us in touch. That following chat was so insightful and helped me see exactly what my path at Anderson could be. That’s when I knew I wanted to study here.

What makes Los Angeles such a great place to earn an MBA? Besides the incredible weather? Los Angeles is such a vibrant and diverse city where you can live pretty much any experience. For me personally, Los Angeles has a remarkably exciting tech startup scene, especially revolving around health and fitness. There are a huge number of networking events and everyone I’ve met so far has been so interesting, friendly, and impressive. I’m hoping to start my own venture after business school and LA seems like the perfect place to do it.

Outside of school, I cannot wait to indulge in the extensive food scene, go to sports games, and explore the vast trail network around this city and further afield on the West Coast — all things that make Los Angeles a uniquely amazing place to be.

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 Entrepreneurship Specialization at UCLA Anderson caught my eye very early on. You have first-year courses in Entrepreneurship and Venture Initiation and Business Plan Development. In addition, there is a second-year thesis project, Business Creation Option, where you can launch your own company while still in school. Either way, the program perfectly prepares you to enter the world as an entrepreneur, all while gaining a holistic and complete education on all things business.

On top of this, Anderson has an in-house Venture Accelerator where you have the opportunity to really take your company to the next level if it is ready. If all goes according to plan, hopefully you’ll see me there sometime soon.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at UCLA Anderson? I am really looking forward to Anderson Afternoons, a tradition where MBA students across all programs come together, as well as professors, administrators and deans, to network and debrief the preceding week. Described as the weekly equivalent of a tailgate, it is a great opportunity to get to know the wider community and make the most of the Anderson’s best resource: its people.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My proudest moment is the first time I expanded my business internationally. Entering into a school holiday, I had the opportunity to fly out to Russia to consult with a family on applying to school in the UK. I had several business opportunities in the UK, but I chose to put them on the backburner and within three days I had touched down in Moscow (to temperatures about 40 degrees lower than I was expecting). After two weeks with the family and countless meetings with vague connections all over Moscow, I came back to London with a presence in Russia that would grow and grow over the coming years.

How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? I think the biggest lesson I’ve learnt over these past 18 months has been the importance of adaptability: professionally, personally, and socially. The world is changing at an incredible rate, and that was massively exacerbated by the pandemic. If you aren’t able and willing to adapt to changes in the workplace, or life in general, you run the risk of being left behind, and that’s something I want to ensure doesn’t happen to me.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? I’d spent the last 8 years building my educational consultancy in the UK. While I found this hugely rewarding, it was time for me to move on. Instead of launching into my next venture and continuing to figure things out as I went along, I decided it was the perfect time to go back to school and round out my skills, especially the ones I knew I’d neglect if left to my own devices. The amount I’ve learnt so far at Anderson truly reinforces why I chose to come here.

After graduation, I hope to launch my own venture involving hiking and trail running and beyond that, I’m simply excited to see where life takes me.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I knew I wanted to study at a STEM-certified program on the West coast, so I applied to Stanford and Berkeley along with UCLA.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into UCLA Anderson’s MBA program? Research what UCLA Anderson is about and reach out to someone here to solidify your understanding of that. The “Why” in business school applications is the most important aspect and if you don’t know why you’re applying, that will show on your application. There’s so much to be excited about at UCLA Anderson and taking the time to find out what you hope to gain from your time here will help you feel confident in the process and will help your application shine.


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