Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Yoshita Manne, UCLA (Anderson)

Yoshita Manne

UCLA, Anderson School of Management

“An engineer by profession, a health nut by passion who swears by her to-do lists.”

Hometown: Hyderabad, India

Fun Fact About Yourself:  I am an empath and hence can never finish watching a horror movie, although I hopelessly fantasize about acting in one.

Undergraduate School and Major: Manipal University, B.S. in Civil Engineering

Graduate School and Major: University of California, Davis, M.S. in Civil Engineering

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: DCI Engineers, Structural Engineer

UCLA Anderson is founded on the Three Pillars: Share Success, Think Fearlessly, and Drive Change. Which pillar resonates most with you and why?  For me, it is thinking fearlessly. Fear is the biggest reason that prevents people from trying or saying something. Given today’s environment, standing up for what you believe in is more important than ever. The fear of the unknown or the fear of standing against your tribe is an evolutionary instinct.

With UCLA Anderson’s support, I look forward to strengthening my ability to push past that fear.

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?  I was leaning towards another school when I attended the Forte conference in LA. I dropped by the UCLA Anderson happy hour since I had an admit and an invitation to network. I was surprised at the warmth of the alums and current students. The vibe was very welcoming, even though I was not yet part of the school. I talked to a few more alums and scheduled a campus tour; the rest is history! One of the alums went so far as to extend the offer to help me with my career, irrespective of the school I’d join. This moment was critical in changing my heart.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at UCLA Anderson?  I am excited to be part of the AREA (Association of Real Estate at Anderson) club. UCLA Anderson is the best place to be if you want to understand a complex and inter-disciplinary industry like real estate. With outstanding professors like Paul Habibi, Eric Sussman, and resources from the UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate, there is immense opportunity for me to understand the market, economics, regulatory and legal frameworks that shape the built environment beyond just engineering and design.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest accomplishment was working directly with my CEO (Jeff Brink, DCI Engineers) on retrofitting a large parking garage in San Francisco. The parking structure was closed due to faulty design and deemed unsafe for use. We were able to avoid having to tear the structure down and reengineered it for safety. It made me happy as our proposed design was innovative, saved the owner a lot of capital, significantly more sustainable, and positively impacted the community.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? I was a structural engineer on over a dozen buildings in the Bay Area and was frustrated that construction often went over budget and over schedule. There are interdependencies among the stakeholders that make implementing a win-win solution complex.

I wanted to understand the various decision dynamics and develop the ability to challenge existing standards and influence future changes. I am unwilling to accept that we can’t do better for such a fundamental human need.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you enjoyed and would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? I have watched Cred founder’s Kunal Shah podcast on YouTube. His ability to deeply observe and make conjectures about life is fantastic. He understands the intrinsic motivations of customers (especially Indians) and is a master at breaking down the value of a service/product.

Indra Nooyi’s interview at Stanford GSB is another interview I often re-watch. She’s eloquent and extremely bright, and her emphasis on work ethic is a good reminder for me always to go the extra mile.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? UVA Darden, Michigan Ross, and UNC Kenan Flagler

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into UCLA Anderson’s MBA program? I highly recommend future MBA applicants reflect on their intrinsic purpose before writing essays and interviewing. One conversation with an Anderson current student is equivalent to 5 hours of online research, so please reach out. I realized no cookie-cutter approach works for all and embraced authenticity throughout the process. You may find this exercise incredibly rewarding, irrespective of the outcome.


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