Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Nkemdilim Chukwuma, UCLA (Anderson)

Nkemdilim Chukwuma

UCLA, Anderson School of Management

“I’m an outgoing, introspective soul with big ideas who values people over everything.”

Hometown: Valley Stream, NY

Fun Fact About Yourself: I lived in South Korea for 3 years.

Undergraduate School and Major:  American University, BBSA in Business Administration (Accounting) and minor in Education Studies

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: English teacher at CBIS.K in Suwon, South Korea

UCLA Anderson is founded on the Three Pillars: Share Success, Think Fearlessly, and Drive Change. Which pillar resonates most with you and why?  When I first read Anderson’s pillars, I thought to myself: Sharing success is what I do; driving change is why I do it; but thinking fearlessly—was fear inducing. I have always valued collaboration and am passionate about driving positive change in the spaces I choose to operate in, not for me but for those that will come after me. At its core, Anderson tends to be exceptionally entrepreneurial and student-led. I wanted to be in a space that would push me beyond my comfort zone and what better place to do it than somewhere that values it in thought and action.

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? Net Impact played a large part in my decision to join Anderson. When I talked to students about it, it felt like a culmination of everything I said I wanted in a business school, including being collaborative over competitive, forward thinking, and socially conscious.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at UCLA Anderson?  I’m excited to get involved with Impact Week. I enjoy ruminating over tough questions with smart people and hearing diverse perspectives that both challenge and complement my own. I’m always dedicated to being my best and doing my best and I feel like Impact Week shows that Anderson is too.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far:  Winning the 2020 Teaching Performance Award shortly after leaving my career in finance during the pandemic to pursue a long-lasting interest in teaching abroad. It was the sign I needed that I was on the right path to being my best and doing my best.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation?  I have thought and re-thought about getting my MBA since my undergraduate days. In the end, the decision really came down to this: I want to pursue education consulting after graduation and was told that to be a consultant, I needed an MBA degree…so here I am. Additionally, I’ve decided that now is the right time because I have been able to spend adequate time, academically and professionally, in both business and education settings. I am confident that the skills I’d learn as an MBA align with my next step.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you enjoyed and would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k by Mark Manson. This is a book I pick up every now and again when I need to get recentered on my goals and can use a nudge in the right direction. I kind of see it as a guide map to being intentional and staying there. Anyone would benefit from picking it up, especially if you suffer from FOMO like I do.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I applied to the University of Michigan Ross, Columbia Business School, and NYU Stern in addition to UCLA Anderson.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into UCLA Anderson’s MBA program? Reach out to current students whose interests align with yours and ask questions. Networking is so important and getting real feedback from people who were in the same shoes not too long ago is probably the most helpful thing I did. It helped me not only get a real image of the schools and business programs, but better helped me picture myself in those environments.

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