Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Philip Mawamba, UCLA (Anderson)

Philip Mawamba

UCLA, Anderson School of Management

“Content but not satisfied.”

Hometown: Yaoundé, Cameroon

Fun Fact About Yourself: 

Undergraduate School and Major: Northwood University, Florida; International Business

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: United States Marine Corps, Operations Officer

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” resonates with me because the culture in the Marine Corps is very similar. As Marines, we have sometimes seemingly impossible tasks to accomplish, but the strength of the wolf is in the pack. As a veteran, it was important to find a similar culture of collaboration. You can hardly spend any amount of time at Anderson without this pillar being brought up. Let’s just say if you were playing an adult beverage game every time someone alluded to this concept, you would quickly find yourself on the other side of sober. All jokes aside, the fact that I know my classmates have my back allows me to be more daring in my dreams and actions.

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? One critical factor in my decision to attend UCLA was the caliber of its real estate program. It is the best program on the West Coast, and arguably the best overall of any graduate program. Since I chose a path that was “non-traditional,” it was important to attend a program that paid particular attention to this industry.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at UCLA Anderson?  There is a club called “AnderEats” that I cannot wait to join! I love to cook and having lived on different continents, I enjoy experiencing culture through the lens of food. I want to share some of the foods I grew up with in Cameroon, especially since I’ve been hyping them up! Also, what a great way to balance the quantitative rigors of getting an MBA!

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: It was partnering with my brother to start a scholarship fund for young Cameroonians. Growing up in Cameroon, I was fortunate that my parents valued education. My mother gave up her work for a number of years to homeschool us. I believe it is my responsibility to use the combination of skill, hard work and luck that I have earned and been given to provide opportunities for the next generation. We hope to open an academy in the future.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? A well-known book says, “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens; a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot…”  There is also a time to get an MBA! I reached a point in my career in the Marines where I could either commit to that lifestyle until retirement (a mere 20 years total) or expand my experience set in a different career. I chose the latter for the chance to discover what else I might offer the world. While on active duty, I used the VA home loan, converted my garage into a loft, and was immediately hooked on the endless possibilities of the real estate world. My professional objective is to become a real estate developer.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you enjoyed and would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? “Tuesdays with Morrie” by Mitch Albom. This book will challenge you to think of your “why,” which is ultimately what you are trying to figure out and articulate in your admissions essays. I have not wept reading a book in years. I promise, it is worth it.

What other MBA programs did you apply to?  Stanford, UC Berkeley, University of San Diego

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into UCLA Anderson’s MBA program?  The secret about the sauce is that it doesn’t exist. Be yourself. Anderson seeks genuine human beings who want to leave UCLA and the world better than when they found it. If that’s you, apply!

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