BY BRIAN SCHOELKOPF – GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
Reflecting midstream is difficult. The currents that carry you forward create a noisy, tumultuous state where clear mindedness is not easily attained.Both the classes of 2015 and 2014 are presently midstream. The 2015ers are in shock that one half of their time at Anderson has nearly eclipsed. While it feels like the 80’s party was last month, within three weeks we will be the second years and transition to the role of MBA upperclassmen.
Second years find themselves in an even more turbulent situation: forced to leave the enclave of Anderson and return to the world of the working. One can only imagine the horrified faces the 2014ers will don in the coming months as they rediscover a world in which the work week does not end at 4PM on Thursday, nor is the weekend heralded by frothy beer and a buffet of warm(ish) pizza! Of course, the pain of change is simply a sign that we are making progress, becoming stronger and better. Both classes are taking the next step on their path to doing great things and changing the world.
What reflections can be made at this point of transition? What is it that the Class of 2014 will take with them from Anderson to transform the landscape of the corporate world and the public sector? What is it that the Class of 2015 will carry with them from their first year to their second as they become the leaders of this institution? The answers are as varied as our class is diverse. Some will find that mastering discounted cash flows has been of momentous importance, while others will discover that the confidence they found within themselves while “taking a stand” to have been utterly transformative. Yet even with this diversity of experience, there is one thing that every student here will take with them that will irreversibly change and improve the course of their life – the Anderson family. Family is a word used excessively in corporate and institutional rhetoric. It is used to imply an absent feeling of connection and loyalty that few businesses or organizations truly achieve. The word is made cheap. Here, I use the word family deliberately – it expresses a reality that is at the core of our school’s DNA.
Where would an outsider see the strength of the Anderson family? Last Monday, Parker released a list of 74 students (20% of the class of 2015) who will be dedicating upwards of ten hours a week as ACT Coaches to help the incoming class of 2016 find success in recruiting. Without pay. Adding a position to their resumes that 0% of recruiters value. Three weeks ago a group of over 80 students dedicated their weekend to execute A Days, with the goal of giving admitted students a taste of the Anderson experience. Those involved committed countless hours before the weekend to planning. Zero dollars were paid to these students. Zero recognition was sought by them. Walk into Il Tram right now. At least one table, there will be two students who barley know each other having a coffee chat in which one, with nothing to gain, is spilling every secret and tip that they have to help advance the other’s career and ambitions. In return, they might have a cup of coffee bought for them.
Where does a member of Anderson feel the strength of the Anderson family? Every time someone who was impossibly busy took twenty minutes to explain an econ concept to you. Every time your classmate who was still buried in recruiting took time to introduce you to someone in their network. These efforts happen everywhere at Anderson.
Reflecting on the year so far, I would say that we cannot take this blessing for granted. If you assume that our counterparts in other programs enjoy a similar strength of family, you are wrong. What we have here at UCLA, and what we take with us when we leave, is special. It is unique. It is Anderson. While we are MBA students for less than 24 months, we are members of the Anderson family until the day we die. Be proud of your family. Be loyal to your family. Do what you can to make your family strong, because its strength becomes your own.