Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Quinn Bader, UCLA (Anderson)

Quinn Bader

UCLA, Anderson School of Management

“Tennessean by birth, Angeleno by calling, MBA to help build a generation of responsible businesses.”

Hometown: Oak Ridge, Tennessee

Fun Fact About Yourself: I have a dream of one day launching a beverage brand!

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Southern California, B.A. International Relations & the Global Economy

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Lilt – Account-Based Marketing Manager / Senior Account Development Representative

UCLA Anderson is founded on the Three Pillars: Share Success, Think Fearlessly, and Drive Change. Which pillar resonates most with you and why?  UCLA Anderson’s focus on Driving Change was a core reason the school topped my target list. Coming from the world of politics and media, I’ve often felt like the guy with a lot of ideas but no power to put them in motion. It mattered to me that Anderson really cares about offering MBAs the tools to step out of that role. I’m excited to be part of a community here that empowers students not simply to create more businesses, but also to make those that exist shepherds of a more modern and creative business environment, driven by ideas.

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? UCLA’s hands-on capstone options made the school’s curriculum stand out as a fit for me. Instead of focusing on abstract research, students get a range of in-context curriculum options from solving challenges for a real-world global business to launching their own company through the Business Creation Option. As an early-career professional, putting my learning into practice in real-time was a major draw.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at UCLA Anderson?  I’m most excited to get involved with Out@Anderson! This is the first time in my career that I’ve had the opportunity to build a network of queer colleagues in the business world, and I’m looking forward to supporting more diverse and inclusive recruiting and outreach efforts at Anderson.

Growing up, I used to think that identity was a zero-sum game, and it held me back from bringing my full self to my work. In a world where I was constantly overcommitting to internships, jobs, and organizations, I thought that by boxing up my queerness, I’d find more time to pursue everything else. Ultimately, though, that choice only left me fatigued and disconnected from potential mentors and advocates.

I’m excited to work with Out to ensure all LGBTQ+ business students feel empowered to be their whole and authentic selves in the workplace, and to drive the changes our community demands.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far:  In 2020, I had the opportunity to lead a Voter Registration field campaign in Phoenix, Arizona, targeting communities with historically low voter engagement. In a month, we were able to hire, train, and deploy over 60 canvassers across these communities, registering thousands of new and informed voters ahead of the 2020 election. Watching the state’s results come in that November was one of my career highlights.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? Looking forward at my career, I understood that I was approaching a period of transition, and I felt I had the requisite leadership experience to take full advantage of the MBA curriculum. I think doing the MBA now creates a perfect opportunity to translate my early-career work into unique value-adds for a future employer. After graduation, I plan to pursue a career in management consulting with a focus on technology, media, and telecommunications.

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 Patricia Lockwood’s No One Is Talking About This and was completely enraptured. As a digital native, the first generation raised on the internet, I’ve never read something that captured the blurred lines between our internal and online identities so well and so comedically. It’s not only a picture of us, the tech consumer, but also of the absurd and genuine challenges of living a life on and off the internet. For any prospective MBAs considering a career in and around technology, I’d highly recommend a read.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? University of Chicago Booth, Columbia Business School

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into UCLA Anderson’s MBA program?  First, don’t doubt that your experiences are valuable. There’s certainly a tendency among prospective MBAs to want to make yourself sound “business-y” for the MBA application. While experience in some quantitative fields is valuable, the program would be a lot less engaging if we were all investment bankers and consultants going in. Own the experiences you bring for their uniqueness, and demonstrate in your application how the skills you learned would be valuable for a business student and leader.

Second, I’d say that the MBA isn’t just about taking in knowledge; it’s also about being part of a collaborative community. Anderson students pride themselves on Shared Success, and the students who bring the most value to an MBA class are those who embed themselves in the community. Do your research, lay out how you want to get involved on campus, and reach out to students! We’ll be excited to chat about our experience.

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