Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Sarah Gerlach, UCLA (Anderson)

Sarah Gerlach

UCLA, Anderson School of Management

“Enthusiastic morning person thrilled to be back in Southern California and ready to shake things up!”

Hometown: Thousand Oaks, CA

Fun Fact About Yourself: I recently hiked ~400 miles across Northern Spain on the Camino de Santiago!

Undergraduate School and Major: UC Berkeley, B.S. Environmental Science

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Customer Success Manager, Google

UCLA Anderson is founded on the Three Pillars: Share Success, Think Fearlessly, and Drive Change. Which pillar resonates most with you and why? I love all three, and I can attest to how valued the pillars are. If I had to pick one, it would be Drive Change. I feel lucky to have already experienced going to a four-year university, living in some of the most vibrant cities in the U.S., and working at a fantastic company. I would love to devote my career to giving back in some small way. One of the best parts of Anderson is how motivating my classmates are, and I already feel inspired by everyone’s passions. I can’t wait to collaborate on real change over the next two years (and beyond!)

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 location and student profile were two of the main reasons why I chose Anderson. I have lived and worked in the Bay Area, CA and New York, NY, but I am originally from Southern California and was looking to grow my professional network here. Aside from those two, I have loved how much agency students have at Anderson. From applying to interviewing and now onboarding, I have enjoyed how student-led the process has been. Chatting with multiple students while shopping around and interviewing with current students during the application process was a major green flag. We have already been given opportunities to provide our input to make the MBA experience even more magical for future classes.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at UCLA Anderson?  I have been a fan of Dr. Heather Caruso’s work in the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion sphere since reading one of her studies during undergrad, so I am extremely excited to take a class of hers in the next two years! There are probably too many courses I am interested in taking as electives that I am worried I won’t have enough time — but luckily we are on the quarter system here!

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far:  At Google, I worked in the digital advertising space, and that industry has changed drastically over the last 5 years. Some weeks it felt like we had to pivot our strategy every day! Being part of the team that navigated these constant changes and provided thought leadership to Google’s users was extremely rewarding.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation?  I loved working in tech and would be thrilled to return! However, I am interested in exploring other functions within tech, ideally product marketing. It’s my goal to ensure the marketing surrounding a product is inclusive and representative of all its users.  

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you enjoyed and would highly recommend to prospective MBAs?  I am a big podcaster and have plenty of favorites! Specifically for prospective MBA students I would recommend The Atlantic’s How to Start Over podcast, especially Season 1 (which was called How to Build a Happy Life). Two episodes in particular are relevant for anyone looking to pivot: How to Find the Secret to Meaningful Work and How to Identify What You Enjoy. Listening helped me identify the type of work I enjoy and find meaningful, and what I am interested in exploring while I am here.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? UC Berkeley Haas

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into UCLA Anderson’s MBA program?  Be your authentic self! I have been blown away by the diversity of my classmates, especially the plethora of different background careers and companies. We want to get to know who you are and what unique ideas and perspectives you bring to the table. We absolutely live by our three pillars and value collaboration, so if that resonates with you – apply!

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