It was perhaps not a long time ago when the air nipped, leaves began to fall, Anderson Afternoons became Anderson nights and the rare hoodie-covered soul who'd be found roaming the Anderson compound had but one thing to say with a grim stare, "Winter is coming..". Just the thought of a winter quarter with the heavy recruiting, interviews, sitting in classes with suits and the wretched Operations Management course haunted almost everyone, except ofcourse the above-mentioned bravehearts. My absence from this blog, therefore, is pardonable. Hibernating seemed to be the safest thing to do.
Alas, hibernate I did not. As we slowly began to ease into the rigorous MBA program, a lot more began to be piled up on our frail shoulders. Here are some of the highlights, from my perspective, of the war that ensued.
The quarter sort of began with days on the job for finance, tech, entertainment, sports and retail industries. My sweet but short Florida winter vacation was cut even shorter by the "Tech trek" organized by HTBA. The allocation of companies was done through a bidding system where you bid 1000 points across the 9-10 companies chosen for the trek. I was somehow allotted companies I had bid only 1 point for and thus had no motivation at all to travel to the bay area. Frankly, being from the tech industry I already had contacts in most of my target companies who I could've contacted and arranged a meeting at a bit more convenient time. So the tech trek was a bit of a dampener in that sense for me. However, a lot of my classmates had a good experience because they could've never arranged to visit these companies on their own, so I guess it definitely has more value for people with non-tech backgrounds.
As soon as school started in January, most of the big tech companie started pouring in and people like me recruting for tech were left gasping for breath. We were under the impression that the early recruiting is usually for consulting and finance but tech started real early this time. I applied for about 20 jobs in January alone and interviewed with atleast 10 over the next 2 months. Almost everyone underestimated the time it takes to drop resume and cover letter into the Parker posting for on-campus opportunities! Interviewing itself was ofcourse time consuming because of the unique way one needs to prepare for different companies. All in all, it was hectic, but not stressful. So many companies come on campus at UCLA Anderson that it tremendously reduces your travel needs and time. Interviewing at Parker (with the friendly staff, Emily Taylor with the usual coffee and your friends offering you comfort) makes it much more relaxed. All through I was in touch with my friends from other schools and it was obvious that Anderson had the lead in the quality of companies to campus (atleast for tech, not sure whats the scene for other industries). Product Management, Product Marketing, Corp. Strategy, Finance and Buss. Development were the usual roles in the offing. I ended up riding high on the first wave of recruting, got three offers and will be spending the summer in Seattle! My classmates recruting for rech have also reported some amazing offers, proving Anderson's reputation in tech.
While the coursework, as usual, was great and the professors awesome, it was hard to maintain focus while you're waiting to leave the class midway for an interview. You're physically in class, but in all other respects all you care about is the job you're interviewing for. Naturally, academics tend to suffer. It is worth mentioning, then, that the professors here make it really easy for students by bringing in a ton of energy to the classroom. I'm lucky to have been taught by Anderson's own Dougie Houser, Bruce Carlin, who has a way of spicing up Finance classes through Pink Floyd quotes and Philip Leslie, who got in his son's entire second grade class to participate in the Disney case discussion for the Strategy course. Yes, classroom continued to be a lot of fun!
The recruiting stress couldn't keep the future business leaders here from partying fridays and being hungover Saturdays. While I'm bound by the Ander-honour code for partying, I can't really talk about all the crazy things that happened. What I can talk about are fun things we did on campus. A case in point being the Harlem Shake, where a bunch of MBA students-gone-crazy wore the most preposterous costumes and danced awkwardly to the meme of our times. Oh, and we even did one on the beach!
The song and dance continued into the Anderson Talent Showcase organized by Anderson Creative, a show where Anderson students perform to raise money for Challenge4Charity. It was overwhelming to see the kind of talent we have in our class. We're surely gonna kick some butt in the upcoming Stanford C4C weekend!
This was the quarter that saw the first of Ander-babies, as some of my classmates became proud fathers/mothers. Our section put up a baby shower for four to-be dads, all at once! We're one big family and we're only growing. Sig-O's of Anderson students are a pretty active bunch as well! Never to miss the social scene, some of them are even making the most of their stint in LA. If you're a sig-o reading this or someone who has a sig-O, check out Sunny's blog to explore the possibilities.
Thats it for now. They say in the game of MBA, you either win or you die. That makes us a 360-strong class of survivors!
By the way, If you're a new admit still making a decision about Anderson, feel free to hit up any of us who post here and we'll be happy to talk! I've already spoken to a few people in the last few weeks and looks like we have amazing class starting this fall!
~Ayushman Jain, MBA '14