Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Yano Windmiller, UCLA (Anderson)

Yano Windmiller

UCLA, Anderson School of Management

“Army veteran who loves live music, all things baseball, and skiing the West Coast.”

Hometown: Concord, Massachusetts

Fun Fact About Yourself: I enjoy challenging myself by trying to make recipes from chefs at Michelin star-awarded restaurants. The results aren’t always bad, but they’re certainly never perfect.

Undergraduate School and Major: Washington University in St. Louis, International and Area Studies

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: US Army, Armor 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’ appealed to me immediately when I started learning about Anderson. Teamwork was a fundamental characteristic of my time in the military, and I was concerned that MBA programs would be full of sharp elbows. Discovering that collaboration is a core Anderson value and then hearing concrete examples of incredible selflessness among Anderson classmates from current students convinced me that Anderson was the place for me.

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? Anderson’s focus on global business, specifically through the global requirement, was key in choosing to attend the program. I love expanding my understanding of the world through travel, and I knew I wanted to participate in a program that would give me opportunities to continue indulging in that passion.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at UCLA Anderson? I am excited to join the Outdoor Adventure Club (OAC). I’ve been in LA for six months, but the more I explore LA, the more I realize how many activities there are around the area that I haven’t tried yet. I think OAC will be an incredible resource for getting the most out of being an LA resident.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I’m extremely proud of being able to institute financially conservative programs despite not working in a profit-driven organization. I helped research and write a paper that showed in clear, intuitive metrics that there was an outdated program that was costing the Army significantly more than was anticipated. That paper was the catalyst for senior Army leaders choosing to retire the program four years ahead of schedule and save $150M over those four years.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? I started my Army career in operational roles leading combat tank and recon units, but ended up spending most of my time as a financial and logistics planner. I discovered a passion for working through the contracting process with vendors and using quantitative analysis for persuasion. I knew I needed to build on these passions with formal training, and earning an MBA was the best way to accomplish that. I hope to combine my experience leading combat units and ability to craft narratives using data with an analytical foundation from Anderson to transition into investment banking.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you enjoyed and would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? I would recommend Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman to prospective MBAs. Developing a small understanding of how human beings make decisions and pass judgments, albeit imperfectly, is critical to the ability to analyze your application materials from the eyes of an admissions officer or current student. For example, knowing which of your anecdotes in your essays will cause a reader to stop and think can help you highlight the point you’re trying to get across.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? USC Marshall

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into UCLA Anderson’s MBA program? The MBA admissions process can feel incredibly overwhelming. I strongly recommend reaching out to current students, especially by connecting your background or interests to a student club and starting there. Current MBA students love talking to prospective students, and you will undoubtedly find some help in the process if you are willing to ask for it and put in the work.


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