This post is a part of the Student Perspectives series - each post is written by a current UCLA Anderson student, and provides first-hand perspectives and experiences about being an MBA student at UCLA Anderson.
Today’s student blogger is Jose Leon, UCLA Anderson MBA Class of 2020. Jose is from Santiago, Chile and graduated from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and prior to starting Anderson, worked at PICTON as Deputy Manager of Equities.
Post-MBA Career Goals:
Q1. What was it about UCLA Anderson that attracted you when you were considering schools?
A1. There are three main reasons why I decided UCLA Anderson was the best place for me. First, it is arguably one of the best MBA programs in the world, and among the top schools. It is the only school that I truly felt shared my values (sharing success, drive change and think fearlessly). Second, UCLA Anderson is a school with an extremely strong alumni network in Chile. The Chilean Anderson alumni are a very active community that organizes all sorts of activities and is committed to the success of all its members. And finally, I knew Anderson would do anything it could to help me finance the MBA. This was important for me considering that I did not have the financial situation to fully afford the 2-year program.
Q2. How did UCLA Anderson work with you to make the MBA more affordable?
A2. From the very beginning, when I attended to the information session in Santiago, the staff was warm and friendly. I was able to reach out to them afterwards, and they answered all of my questions regarding the admissions process. It was through one of these conversations that I became aware of the financial resources I could have available as an incoming student. For example, they offer competitive student loans, and incidentally UCLA Anderson is one of the few schools that help international students get loans without the need for US co-signer. Also merit fellowships were available to cover part and even the full cost of tuition. In my case, I was awarded two fellowships that are helping me pay for my MBA.
Q3. How does UCLA Anderson award fellowships?
A3. There are several ways to get awarded a fellowship. Everyone that applies to the MBA program is automatically considered for fellowships. The selection is based on the overall strength of the application. That includes academics, test scores, work history, essays, and even your fit the school culture. In some cases, applicants and admitted students can also apply to fellowships that will provide you both professional and financial help. As a second year student, you will be able to apply for additional fellowships, too. Overall, receiving a fellowship is a competitive process and typically a third of the class will qualify for fellowships so make sure to submit your best application. All students –- whether or not you have been awarded a fellowship -– are also still able to apply for loans to help offset the cost of their education.
Q4. What are your career plans post-MBA?
A4. After graduating from Anderson, I intend to look for a leadership position in an Investment Management company here in the U.S. I want to broaden my expertise, which today is mainly in the Chilean stock market, and learn about different industries and perfect my investment technical skills. In the long-term, I wish to create an ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) Investment Fund that connects capital from the U.S. and all over the world with businesses and ideas in Chile and the rest of Latin America. The result of being such a connector and promoter will mean growth and development for my country in a discipline that needs to be exploited around the world.
Q5. How has your experience been here at Anderson?
A5. I just got married on March, only a couple of months before we arrived in Los Angeles to start school! And so far, my wife and I have had an amazing experience! Even though we came from far away (Chile), we feel completely at home here. I think the main reason is the super friendly and supportive environment at UCLA Anderson. Classmates, staff, professors -- everyone is willing to help you and guide you to make this a pleasant experience. My wife has been part of almost every school event we have had. She already knows my classmates and has started to bond with them and their Sig-Os (significant others), who can actually become active members of our Anderson community. On top of that, the classroom experience has been really amazing Every classmate has different skills and background that enrich our discussions. Both professors and classmates will make this an intellectual challenge that will not be easy, but I am sure that it will help me grow much more than I expected to before.
Q6. What are you most excited to do here on at UCLA Anderson?
A6. Actually, it is the whole experience of an MBA in the U.S. I am looking forward to assuming leadership roles in the clubs I will join, like IFA (Investment Finance Association) and LABA (Latin American Business Association). Also, I am very curious about the summer internship process here in the U.S., because it is very different from what I am used to in Chile. Furthermore, I am excited to learn from the best professors in the world, which will make a huge impact on my professional path going forward. And finally, I am really enthusiastic about all of the extracurricular experiences I will be able to do here in LA, like hanging out with my classmates in Anderson Afternoons and organizing weekend trips, like the one we did at Sequoia National Park.
Q7. Overall, can you sum up how you feel going into the Anderson experience thus far.
A7. This is so much more than what I was expecting… this experience has been amazing so far and I am completely sure that I made the best decision coming to Anderson. I am excited about the challenges to come during these two years, which I know I can successfully navigate because I can count on a great team in this school. Now that I am a bit less worried about my paying for school, I can take the time to more fearlessly explore some of my passions. Being awarded a fellowship was life-changing for my wife and me. We are greatly thankful to school and the staff for being so supportive. We are excited to be able to call UCLA Anderson our family now!
-- Jose Leon '20