Four days ago, we stepped foot on the UCLA Anderson campus with a few friends, some butterflies, and buckets (briefcases?) full of questions. Who knew in such a short time, we would already feel right at home?
Four days of Orientation in, two weeks until classes, we can already feel that we belong here.
I belong at UCLA Anderson because…
Aimee Musil: I belong at Anderson because, even though my classmates are amazingly diverse, we’re already showing signs of the engaging, supportive, collaborative, and open-minded community they talk about in those shiny admissions brochures.
What exactly does that mean? As for engaging, over the past four days we’ve spent more than 9 hours watching presentations on what some might consider dry material - ethics, technology services, and the Anderson library (I apologize in advance to my mom, former librarian). However, from Jackie Reynolds, the Chief Technology Officer (and Anderson alum!) who had us cracking up to the saucy Angela Horne, newly appointed head of the Rosenfeld Library, the staff consistently impressed with their charm, wit, and genuine interest in helping us succeed during our time here.
Our collective open-mindedness came into play later, during our class photo scavenger hunt, when the accomplished and successful professionals of the class of 2015 literally ran around campus sweating profusely, planking, twerking, and screaming at tour guides/undergraduates, “Where’s the tree of knowledge?” All in all, I’ve been so impressed by the people I’ve met both on the staff and student side, and am excited to spend the next two years with this great group of people.
Orientation has featured a myriad of structured and unstructured activities to begin crafting our own Anderson identities. As we’ve been guided toward making personal and professional decisions that will soon impact the direction of the next 2 years (and henceforth, the rest of our lives), I could not feel more supported by the faculty, alumni, students and staff of the UCLA Anderson community.
Earlier this week, Senior Associate Dean Andrew Ainslie led a panel discussion with five of Anderson’s esteemed (and pleasantly charming) faculty members representing a variety of disciplines. The wisdom imparted and the intellectual energy exuded by Iris Fistenberg, Sebastian Edwards, Sanjay Sood, and their colleagues were both comforting and invigorating. We also had the chance to speak more intimately with alumni, including Anderson Alumni Network President Glenn Lyday, who flew down from the Bay Area just to represent the 40,000 alums in welcoming the new incoming class and delivering the power and passion of the Anderson alumni network.
On a more personal note, I spent some time getting to know a few of this year’s other LGBT students who will be part of this year’s LGBT affinity group, Out@Anderson. As part of a small, but growing minority in the business school setting, we found it rewarding (and so much fun) to spend time with other amazing individuals with shared experiences. Additionally, I had the chance to introduce my fiancee to the campus. I took him on a tour around Anderson before we spent the evening with other Anderson significant others (Sig-O’s) and families.
Now, I know I've only been a Bruin for four days, but I can already say that Anderson's unique culture lives up to its reputation. If you decide to apply to UCLA, you will learn that the Anderson student body prides itself on being kind, collaborative and diverse. And it is.
About one third of the class of 2015 is international. And while most post-grad programs would leave these students to fend for themselves, Anderson organized a Cultural Awareness workshop. The lecture, presented by international communications expert Craig Storti, utilized real life business examples to highlight the cultural differences of our own class. But more importantly, it allowed us to think about how we interact with our fellow students, and tried to reduce potentially awkward cultural barriers.
Another way that Anderson fosters its international mindset is through the Center for Global Management. I had the chance to attend the center's presentation and to learn more about the various global opportunities given to us. From the Global Management specialization, to the Global Immersion Programs, the Center enables all Anderson students to gain international experience both in and out of the classroom. But enough about academics. It wouldn't be B school without a mixer, and it wouldn't be a Thursday at Anderson without Anderson Afternoons. AA, the Anderson sponsored pizza and wine/beer fest, is a great opportunity to kick back after a long week, meet some new friends, and show some section pride. But in my case, it was also a great opportunity to mingle with people from my high school! I guess it really is a small (global) world.
#WeBelong #UCLAMBA #ThinkInTheNext