Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Alma Luz Zepeda, UCLA (Anderson)

Alma Luz Zepeda

UCLA, Anderson School of Management

“I am a gritty first-generation student, tireless community advocate, and life-long learner.”

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Fun Fact About Yourself:  I’m a lover of DIY and remodeled my kitchen with floating shelves!

Undergraduate School and Major:  Yale University, American Studies

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Libertas College Preparatory School, Principal and Co-founder

UCLA Anderson is founded on the Three Pillars: Share Success, Think Fearlessly, and Drive Change. Which pillar resonates most with you and why?  I was most attracted to UCLA Anderson’s pillar of Drive Change. As we grow as leaders and go off to work in the country’s top firms, it is critical that we drive positive change in our communities. I want to be engaged in the work of improving systems and I want to be surrounded by individuals who are similarly driven to improve the world around them.

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 Center was a huge draw for me. As an educator looking to pivot into consulting, I felt I needed the support and structure that Parker provides for Anderson. Even before we came onto campus, Parker sent out resources, hosted career information sessions, and reviewed my resume so that I felt prepared to hit the ground running. I also recently participated in the Tech and Consulting immersions and found them to be a huge value add. Parker has a wide set of resources and can meet you wherever you are on your career journey.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at UCLA Anderson? I am most excited by the Board Fellows program. I have seen the impact an engaged and passionate board can have on an organization and I look to give back to the Los Angeles community through nonprofit work.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: After my Teach for America commitment, I chose to return to my childhood neighborhood to continue teaching. I was disappointed with the schools in my area and took a risk in co-founding a charter school in South Central Los Angeles. Working with our founding team to create our program and serve our students has by far been the most challenging and rewarding experience of my life.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? As I reached higher levels of leadership at my school site, I realized I needed to continue to grow myself in order to be the best possible leader. In my mind, business school balances the need for practical technical skills with vision setting and leadership skills. After graduation I want to pursue strategic management consulting and ultimately go into impact consulting.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you enjoyed and would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? I recently read an article called “The Brand Called You” for one of our summer courses and I immediately wished I had come across the article while I was applying to my MBA program. What really hit home was the idea that we all have value to add based on our previous experiences, BUT it’s up to everyone to own their story and craft how they are perceived by others.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Yale, Duke, Rice, Michigan Ross, UC Berkeley, USC

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into UCLA Anderson’s MBA program? As you go through the GMAT, essays and information sessions, keep your assets at the front of your mind. It is easy to get caught up in all the reasons why a school might not admit you, but it’s much more valuable and empowering to think of all the reasons why they should admit you.

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