It has never been busier, it has never been crazier. And yet, I've never learnt so much and never been so satisfied about being so busy.
I've just completed the first couple of MBA-years (1 MBA year = 1 earth month), and this speeding bullet is not getting any slower. So what have I been upto and why have I been absent since so long from here? Hmm, let me take stock:
1. Two case competitions: Yes, an MBA is grossly incomplete without case competitions. The first one was the Amazon case competition where I collaborated with 3 other team mates through 24 hours to create a business plan for the new Amazon Gamecircle. We didn't win, but it was still like a successful conquest - coming up with some great ideas and writing a whitepaper - Amazon style! The company reps went so far as to say that they were highly impressed with the quality of submissions from UCLA Anderson and they're gonna hire big time from here. They love this school (read this again if you're a prospective student :) ).
The second competition was the Deloitte National Case Challenge, where I spent another sleepless night with 3 other classmates working on a marketing plan to make Intelligentsia coffee a national brand. We ended up at 4th place and won $25 vouchers for the most expensive coffee in LA. The most exciting thing about both of these competitions was the fact that they were real problems of real businesses. You're not just working on some hypothetical situation but on something the managers at these companies have to deal with on a daily basis. The result? A highly rewarding experience which gives you a safe laboratory to test your business skills. Being at UCLA Anderson definitely gives you the advantage of participating in such big case competitions.
2. Academics: The quarter system at UCLA Anderson is very different from the semester system in othe schools. The pace of learning is very fast and you get to take a lot more courses in your 2 years. We just had our mid-terms 2 weeks and the finals are coming up in 2 weeks! 4 courses checked off in just 3 months! The classroom experience has been absolutely delightful and very lively. The professors make it fun and they're so patient with explaining everything. I sometimes feel over-pampered! Also, coming from India where final exams make up 75% of your grade, I really like the continuous testing process here such that everything you do during the quarter counts towards the grade. See the picture below o get a better idea of what we do in the classroom. :P
3. Recruting/networking: This has been the hardest part already. With the already over-loaded calendar, its sometimes hard to be on the top of your game during recruiting events. However, I find it very helpful to be meeting people from companies I'm interested in before I start dropping resumes and interviewing. HTBA recenly organized its career night and we got to meet reps from companies such as Zynga, EA, Ebay, Amazon, Hulu and others. Yes, it leaves me panting for breath but its also a great way to take a peek into the companies. I've also started a project with Paramount which is helping me learn about the entertainment. Think UCLA Anderson. Think LA. Think Hollywood!
4. Socializing: Phew, this calls for a completely new post. When you're in LA, the fun never stops. From the Anderson Afternoons to the birthday/halloween parties to the football tailgates, we've done it all.
Meanwhile, I'm also delighted by the fact that UCLA Anderson's rankings have been rising and there's a buzz about the school everywhere. The second years are getting some great offers and there's a lot of optimism. BusinessWeek recently published a video about Anderson when it released the new b school rankings. Again, if you're a prospective student, pay special attention!
-Ayushman Jain, MBA '14