This post is part of a new “From the Dean’s Desk” series, where we hear directly from our UCLA Anderson leaders across the school.
Q: The UCLA Anderson MBA program is starting in just 1 week on August 1st -- what was the rationale behind starting the program earlier than in past years?
The August 1st start for all incoming UCLA Anderson MBA students is a radical change from the past. (Actually, our international students are arriving today for International Orientation!). This earlier summer start was born out of a desire to solve two issues: first, our previously later start relative to other MBA programs put our students at a disadvantage in having sufficient time to explore career options and build skills necessary to secure summer internships; and second, the first Fall quarter was extremely intense and very quant-heavy (students took Statistics, Economics, Accounting, and Finance or Marketing). This heavy load was exacerbated by how quickly students had to get moving on recruiting.
Q: What will students be doing during this additional time in the program?
Faculty from our Organizational Behavior and Statistics courses offered to adjust their syllabi and teach their normal 10 weeks course in 5 weeks. This will allow students to take only three classes in the Fall quarter and will allow our “less-quant-able” students to ease into the MBA experience more easily. During the first of the 6 weeks, students will take a crash-course in being a student at UCLA Anderson, hear from staff with whom they will work for the coming years, and also take the Leadership Foundations course with our Organizational Behavior faculty. That will be followed by 5 weeks of Statistics and Organizational Behavior. Woven throughout these 6 weeks will also be career-related programming from the Parker Career Management Center. After the completion of Summer Session, we will engage the students in more traditional Orientation activities, as we have done in the past.
Q: How will these extra weeks added to the program benefit UCLA Anderson students?
We expect substantial benefits from this gigantic shift. First, students will have months instead of weeks to explore careers. The vast majority of students entering an MBA program are changing industries, functions, or both. Learning about new opportunities takes time, and getting our students here on campus, fully engaged and focused on this next phase of their careers, will allow them to make better decisions about what they focus on for their summer internships, and even more importantly, will give them substantially more time to prepare for summer internship interviews. No longer will they feel like they are months behind the competition at other schools.
Equally beneficial is that the new arrivals will be able to ease into academic life by taking one quant class and one class that might be more in the wheelhouse of those without quant training. Since the pressure is high in the early part of the program, which can result in some people having to choose between focusing their efforts on either academics or career, we feel that this will take some of the pressure off, thereby allowing students to perform better, both in the classroom and in the job search process.
Q: Any final words to the new Class of 2018?
We are excited to welcome the next group of Andersonites to our illustrious club and look forward to excitement of having 360 highly accomplished, energetic, and brilliant MBA students gracing the halls of the Anderson complex!