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First Year Perspectives: The MBA Experience Beyond the Classroom

About Sai Vivek R: Vivek was born in Southern India but grew up in more than ten states, including Gujarat, Delhi, Andhra, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, etc. Intrigued with technology, he studied electronics and electrical at BITS Pilani, while handling all the events as the vice-president of the hospitality club. After graduation, Vivek headed to the Silicon Valley of India to work on the intersection of hardware and software at Nvidia Graphics. He chose UCLA Anderson for its student-driven community, proximity to the beach and mountains, and resources for pursuing a career in consulting.

Entering UCLA Anderson is akin to stepping into a vibrant tapestry woven with intellectual curiosity and boundless opportunities…. alright as you guessed correctly, that is taken from ChatGPT. We are the first batch of students who are learning how to be effective leaders and problem solvers in the world of different GEN AI tools right from our first class in school. I promise you, except for the first line, all the other information written here is using my own words (feels strange but this article is not going to be your canon event).

I know Anderson has a very strong network, with students taking up various leadership roles and organizing different events throughout the year, but I was surprised by the amount of learning I’ve experienced outside of the classroom that is helping me prepare to pivot from my pre-MBA tech background to consulting.  

Clubs: The most remarkable thing I saw on my first day at Anderson was the Club hallway. It sounds as if it’s a hall full of different club posters and photos of various leaders of each club – and it is exactly that. Walking through that hall made me realize there are more than 50 clubs mainly split into 3 categories – Professional, Diversity and Affinity, and Interests clubs. So what, I had the same number of clubs in my undergrad, what’s the big deal here? Well, if you are asking this question, it is a big deal because, with more than 500 leadership positions available to 1st-year students, you get to apply all the leadership learnings you gain from classes in the real world. You get to organize different events, reach out to alumni, write blogs, and plan DOJ weeks. Club activities are a safe space for you to explore your style of leadership.

ACT: Anderson Career Teams are a Parker Career Management Center (CMC) led program. You can decide on the industry of your choice and get assigned a couple of 2nd-year students who will meet you at least once every week to review trends, cases, and technical interview questions, and practice various networking and interviewing scenarios. My ACT coaches have dedicated time to help make edits to my resume and cover letter and helped me shortlist the various companies for me to apply to. Since your coaches have already gone through each step of the recruitment process, they are the best people to go to for any kind of guidance.

IPT: The last and probably the best outside-the-classroom experience I’ve had so far was with the IPT – Interview Prep team. No credit for guessing what IPT does, as its name suggests IPT helps you prepare for your internship interviews. I joined the consulting IPT, where I was paired with four other 1st year students and a couple of 2nd-year students to do casing. We do mock interviews with each other that prepare us for any situation in a real interview. Here you are unlocking the true potential of having a good peer system to grow together as a team. This is exactly one of the main pillars of Anderson’s ethos – Share Success.

Without going into further details which might get you distracted from all the information that I am throwing at your face, it is important to understand the MBA is much more than just sitting in a class and learning how an ideal leader would behave, rather it’s a personalized journey where you learn how to respond to any situation as a leader. The MBA experience in the classroom is as important as the experience beyond the classroom.

Student Blogger: Sai Vivek R ‘25

Undergrad: Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences, Pilani ‘18

Pre-MBA: Senior Engineer at Nvidia Graphics

Leadership@Anderson: Marketing Director, Admissions Ambassador Corps

Instagram: @vivek_repalle

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