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First Year Perspectives: Pay-It-Forward Mentality at UCLA Anderson

About Gina: Gina Leggio (’24) is originally from Cincinnati, OH. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in Finance and Marketing from the University of Georgia. After graduation, she relocated to Los Angeles and worked for J.P. Morgan across various industries and roles. At Anderson, she seeks to pivot her career from banking to Private Equity.

There are many reasons why I chose to come to Anderson, but one of the main reasons was the sense of community and camaraderie among students. It’s clear that everyone is working hard to achieve their personal and professional goals, but there is also a strong emphasis on collaboration and support in and outside the classroom. Reflecting on my first year, it’s incredible how much help and guidance I’ve received from the Anderson community; whether it be classmates, second-year students, or alumni, the pay-it-forward mentality is visible from all over. From the Anderson Career Teams (ACT), roundtable and guest speakers, learning teams, and fellowship opportunities, students are fully immersed into the MBA program on Day 1 and exposed to new relationships, networks, and friendships.

Anderson has a collaborative approach to the job search and it is clear that this has been a key part of the culture for a long time. During my internship search, I was able to talk to a number of alumni who were always willing to give advice, make introductions, or pass along my resume regardless of their employer or the year they graduated. While they were giving back and helping create opportunities for success, the alumni were also focused on forming relationships and were constantly checking in and providing general advice (including hyping up the weekly Thursday nights at Qs or which social clubs to be members of). Additionally, Anderson encourages and facilitates mentorships with current students and alumni through its fellowship and student admit buddy programs that help make the entire MBA process more manageable. Current students also look for ways to start giving back and paying it forward whether by making introductions, planning treks, serving as an ACT coach, helping with interview prep, or through leadership positions. I was able to heavily leverage and rely on classmates and professors to share interview resources and firm lists, help with competition prep, and review resumes and cover letters, which all contributed to my success and made the internship process easier. Additionally, many students apply the pay-it-forward mentality outside of Anderson, volunteering or participating in philanthropic events individually and through student clubs.

Thinking back on the last year, it’s incredible how much help I received from the Anderson people who were just paying it forward. It’s encouraged me to think beyond my own goals and has contributed to my success. I have no doubt that the mentality will continue, and I’m excited to have more opportunities to return the favor.

Student Blogger: Gina Leggio ’24

Undergrad: University of Georgia, ‘17, Business Administration

Pre-MBA: Banking at J.P. Morgan

Leadership@Anderson: Director, Admissions Ambassador Corps; Vice President of Private Equity, Investment Finance Association; Director of Sustainability, Anderson Venture Impact Partners; Vice President of Finance and Membership, Wine Club; Vice President Velocity Programming, Women’s Business Connection 

Instagram: @ginaleggio

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