Dressing Up (Male Edition)

By Adam Lotz, Staff Writer

It is a nice change of scene to see students all dressed up – even if only for recruiting purposes. On the whole, the Anderson students don’t look half bad. On a scale from the Three Stooges to Cary Grant, we’re leaning Cary Grant. That being said, we still have lots of work to do. Here are some basic tips for everyday suit wear:

Fitting: Fit matters the most. Get a suit that will fit your body well. Very few people can tell the difference between a $400 suit and a $2,000 suit, but even a child can see when a suit doesn’t fit right.
When buying a suit, the shoulders and overall shape are the most important aspects. All of the other features can be easily adjusted by a tailor.
To look extra sharp, get your tailor to taper your jacket sleeves and pant legs (more appropriate for slim body types)

Maintenance: If you plan to wear suits more than once a week, I highly recommend purchasing a fabric steamer. They will save you a lot of time and allow you to throw out your old-fashioned iron.
Do not dry clean your suits unless they absolutely need it. Most suits, especially cheaper ones, will have a fused canvas. Dry cleaning can lead to puckering of the jacket and there is no way to fix puckering once it has taken place.
If you wear the same pair of dress shoes more than three times a week, I would recommend that you get a second pair. Even the most durable dress shoes can wear out rapidly by overuse. It is also good practice to condition and polish your shoes on a regular basis.

Differentiate yourself: Once you know the basics, it’s important to look a bit different and move away from the stereotypical “Men’s Wearhouse ad” look. Here are some ideas:
Pocket square – Get one that will go well with the tie you are wearing, preferably one that is complimentary but not identical.
Tie Bar – A piece of the 1970’s that is coming back in style. I would advise wearing it higher on the tie rather than lower – unless you are going for an old fashioned look
Collar Bar – Another piece from many years ago. Be careful while using these, as they can leave a hole in your collar.
Ascot – Use a color that will go with your outfit. You will definitely receive more attention although they tend to be a more casual occasion item.
English Shoes – Shopping at the men’s dress shoe section seems like just different rearrangements of all the same shoes. Buying yourself some handmade English shoes is more affordable than you think and puts you one step further away from the monotonous masses.


Welcome Back

Dear Students:
Do you feel the energy that comes with a campus that’s – once again – teeming with people? Fall quarter 2014 is out of the gate, with more than 1,800 Anderson students across different programs charging full speed into another academic year. A warm welcome to our new students, and welcome back to those of you returning to campus. Summer was busy for us, as I’m sure it was for you. We celebrated a few commencements and sadly parted with graduates we won’t be seeing regularly on campus. And we put the finishing touches on new MBA, FEMBA and EMBA cohorts that are each comprised of remarkable individuals.

Judy Olian, Dean

Judy Olian, Dean

Your summer, I am certain, was also busy and interesting, whether working at internships or full-time jobs, or planning the transition into Anderson. Hopefully, there was also time to rest, relax, refresh and reconnect with family and friends. It’s now time to delve deeply into the learning process that is the hallmark of the Anderson experience. Learning covers many facets – exposure to conceptual frameworks and a knowledge base about the various functions of management, the discipline to analyze organizational or market challenges, increasing your knowledge of emergent trends in business, refining and structuring your own business ideas, and digging deeply into your values and disposition in order to become more self aware, and ultimately  a better leader.

These learning goals are front and center as we continuously innovate in our courses and programs. This year will bring several new developments including new senior associate deans for both MBA and FEMBA programs: Mark Garmaise, Professor of Finance; and Margaret Shih, Professor of Management and Organizations, respectively. We’ve hired five excellent assistant professors with PhDs from Columbia, Berkeley, Stanford, Wharton and UT Austin. Spend some time getting to know them and their viewpoints.

For MBA and FEMBA, we are launching our new Google collaboration, a course taught by marketing Professor Sanjay Sood called “Digital Marketing Strategy”, featuring Google execs and new Google cases. FEMBA GAP program participants are working with their first companies from Sweden. Students also will have a new automated system for recording and documenting their research, the OSCAR System, thanks to GAP Fellow Oscar Rodrigues. The EMBA and GEMBA Asia Pacific students combined forces this summer taking classes together for the first time, during the August Elective Block.

On the career-search front, Parker Career Management Center has a new eBook version of their Parker Binder, which provides a wide range of information from critical steps in the career search process to industry-specific overviews, so you can take it with you wherever you are. We’re in the process of making major changes to our website. Over the next few months, you should see a total overhaul. The MBA and FEMBA sites are complete, with the rest on the way. You might also have noticed my new communiqué. We’re excited about our new look, so please check it out.

We talk about the character of the Anderson community – that we share success, think fearlessly and drive change. These are shared qualities that drew you here in the first place, attracted us to you, and create a natural connection to the 36,000 Anderson alumni who embody these qualities in their careers and communities. Let’s continue to realize these qualities in our actions, and in the plans we pursue – as a school and as individuals.

The faculty and staff are here to support you in your transformative journey at Anderson – to stretch your understanding and world view, and to discover and refine your life’s purpose. As always, I truly value your ideas and feedback and want to hear them. Connect with me, whether on email (, during my office hours, by scheduling an appointment, or when we bump into each other around Anderson. Some of our very best ideas come from you.

Here’s to a great year.
Judy Olian, Dean


Peter Thiel is Wrong About MBAs. Here’s Why.


Zubin Davar

Zubin Davar

I love Peter Thiel. And I love his polarizing approach to voicing opinion. However, in a recent Business Insider article Mr. Thiel expressed his disdain for hiring MBAs, characterizing them as sheep that act with “extremely herd-like thinking and behavior.”His point of view is strikingly narrow, and I expect better than sweeping generalities from such a well-educated and successful role model.

It’s a great time to be an MBA. We’re exploring a myriad of careers as illustrated by Anderson’s Parker Career Center’s industry summary. Outside of traditional options, MBAs are entering into sectors such as healthcare, energy, and the public sector, recognizing the nuanced opportunities to make a massive impact in these mature industries.

Representation of pre-MBA vs. post-MBA industries for UCLA Anderson graduates

Representation of pre-MBA vs. post-MBA industries for UCLA Anderson graduates

Take recent Anderson graduate Thomas de Fresart ’14, for example. After launching his cleantech start up, SolarWing, he decided to pursue his MBA. Leveraging his entrepreneurial experience and education he plans to “transform the electricity market, save consumers money, and reduce environmental impact” working at EDF Renewable Energy. Such pursuits are anything but sheep-like.

Additionally, Mr. Thiel’s claim is ironic because the MBA degree actually provides a broader range of career opportunities than any other graduate program. MBAs are, in part, seeking this breadth of opportunity in order to find their true career path and not become pigeonholed in unfulfilling or valueless careers.

The article goes on to portray MBAs, without substantiation, as people prone to groupthink. His statement is an antiquated, Enron-like perception of MBAs at best – or a typical, corporate culture write-off by the contrarian-minded Silicon Valley elite at worst.

Research from Ernst & Young, Harvard Business Review, and essentially all organizational behavior literature support diversity in teams to help reduce groupthink. With 37 countries, 171 undergraduate institutions, and practically every industry represented in Anderson’s Class of 2015, we are constantly bombarded by diverse points of view, cultures, and approaches to problem solving. If groupthink exists, it doesn’t stem from program culture.

This rich diversity of thought is unique to MBA environments. Higher education expands perspectives, it doesn’t put on cognitive blinders.

I see countless examples of how our MBAs think fearlessly. From trailblazing new start ups such as Vow to be Chic,Neural Analytics, and SmartestK12, to industry legends such as Sirius Satellite Radio and BlackRock, the history of entrepreneurship at UCLA, as well as at other top business schools, outshines Mr. Thiel’s narrow point of view.

The “high extrovert/low conviction” caricature Mr. Thiel crafts is not a familiar persona among the MBAs I know.

John Wooden Global Leadership Award Fellow, Elliot Ling ’14, spent his career serving low-income communities. Ling came to business school not with the allure of making money, but with a dream of developing the South LA inner city. To this extent, Ling and his wife welcomed into their own home a 16-year-old dropout who was in desperate need, helping the young man build a new future for his life. As Ling finds more success in his career he continues to embrace the notion of shared success and opens doors for others. Not much fluffy MBA extroversion going on there.

I actually agree with Mr. Thiel’s perspective on the suits; the “slick business folk compensating for crap products with well-dressed charm.” The world needs more characters, more idealists, and more genuine visionaries aiming to improve our society. That said, I find his outspoken attack hypocritical given his own professional background. After finishing law school Mr. Thiel spent three years trading derivatives for Credit Suisse and went on to found Thiel Capital Management, a multi-stage investment fund. I’m personally inspired by his career but when one puts that kind of time into a “tracked career” it’s hard to shake the impression of a pot calling the kettle black. (I also find it amusing Mr. Thiel is wearing a suit in the article’s cover photo, his Twitter profile photo, and his Facebook profile photo).

What’s truly concerning is Mr. Thiel taking such a limited approach to business. He’s carelessly cutting out top talent who have unbelievably interesting backgrounds matched by stratospheric achievement yet who are balanced by thoughtful humility.

We’re at an exciting point in the evolution of what the MBA degree represents and means for businesses.The value of our degree continues to rise, with the percentage of companies hiring MBAs jumping 30% over the past five years.  And 45% of those hiring companies are increasing base pay to MBAs in 2014, according to Poets & Quants. Those are pretty promising numbers, even to skeptical venture capitalists. Anderson welcomed an impressive new class this month and I can’t wait to work closely with them to prove Peter Thiel wrong.

And to Mr. Thiel: please accept my open invitation to visit Anderson and share more of your perspective with us. We always love a lively debate!



Making the Welcome Back Transition to Business School: An International Student’s Perspective


One year has passed since I started my journey here at UCLA Anderson. Looking back over the past 12 months, I can conclude that it has been one of the most fulfilling years of my life. But I’d be lying if there weren’t some difficult moments. Transitioning to life at Anderson as an international student can be challenging. The school does a good job of providing resources for international students to adapting to life in Los Angeles through obvious channels, such as forming good relationships with classmates and getting involved in school life. However, there are two additional ways that helped me transition to life at business school that I would like to share in this article.

 1. Join a trip

Group travel is a great way to gain a deeper understanding of your classmates and to make new friends early on. These shared experiences act as icebreakers, and spending several days off campus with classmates enables you to discover sides of these new acquaintances that you may never see on campus.

Discovering cultural differences through these shared experiences helps to shape your impressions of these differences, usually in a positive way. In the past year, I’ve joined both the pre-orientation Canoe Trip up the Colorado River and the Israel Spring Break trip. At the pre-orientation trip, my best memories were simply sitting around a campfire and playing a game through which we revealed our past heroic and foolish stories. Carlos Noriega Belausteguigoitia (Class of 2015 from Mexico) probably wins the award for the most outlandish stories that night. Jumping from the cliff into the Colorado River is another memory from that trip that I will never forget.

Attending that pre-orientation trip gave me a chance to know more than ten classmates before school even started, which was very helpful when classes and extracurricular activities began to pick up. It is always encouraging when you are in a new environment and you have someone that you can talk with and rely on.

The Israel trip also provided several simple, but lasting memories. While staying in the desert, we spent time watching the stars and catching sunrise at a Bedouin camp. Visiting Jerusalem and experiencing religious culture and tense relations between different religions was also an eye-opening and memorable experience.

Masa and friends outside the classroom

Masa and friends outside the classroom

But the best part about the spring trip was that I was able to expand and deepen my relationship with the classmates I had gradually come to know over the year. By winter quarter, it’s easy to fall into a group of fixed relationships – learning team, section mates, “secondary learning teams” an so on. However, on the Israel trip I was able to broaden my horizons again and get to know classmates that I had rarely interacted with before, including second years. Throughjust these two trips, which accounted for just two weeks’ time, the relationshipsI had with my classmates were dramatically enriched.

2. Learn a new sport

Learning to surf has enhanced my life at business school in several ways. Surfing enabled me to be mentally and physically sound, which in turn helped me to focus on my academic and socia activities. I started surfing in November of last year for two reasons: 1) I was curious about the experience, and 2) I needed exercise.

Surfing has given me more than I could have expected. In addition to the physical exercise, you can relax simply by going to an awesome beach and floating on the water.The waves wash away my daily pressures and concerns. Riding on a wave is so smooth and relaxing that it is easy to get hooked on surfing (though as a beginner sometimes I could only catch waves once or twice a day). Similar to the Anderson sponsored trips to the Colorado River and Israel, surfing allowed me to get outside of my comfort zone and meet new people. There are a number of other classmates that are interested in surfing and it is not difficult to find a group to go with you. Surfing provided me with yet another opportunity to hang out with my classmates, share the same experiences, and build my network beyond my circle of friends.

To conclude, two powerful ways to form lasting connections with classmates as an international student are to join those well-organized  MBA trips and to get involved in a sport in the area or through the university. By doing these two things in my first year, it greatly helped my transition to business school.

While I recommend these two methods, you don’t necessarily have to join all the trips or become a pro surfer –what you choose to do should depend on you own interests. But be sure to find ways to quickly and deeply connect with your new peers.

My own personal recommendation to those who are considering
joining a trip during spring break: the Japan America Business Association (JABA) is already planning a legendary Japan Trip for Spring Break!


California Dreamin


Being an orientation leader makes it evident how we’ve come full circle as MBAs in our second year. Seeing the excitement, nerves, and posturing of first years is such a vivid reminder of all of my emotions just one year ago. Some people jump in headfirst, others dip a toe in the water, and all are taking advantage of a new environment filled with future business partners, spouses, and unavoidable lifelong friends – while tolerating orientation leaders with titanic levels of enthusiasm. The relationships gel, the hustle grows, and after a year you feel like you’ve got your arms around it all as you go into your internship.

Just as things got comfortable last year I found myself back out on that limb. Starting an internship, like any new challenge, comes with the same jitters, the same promise of hard-earned opportunity, and the same desire of making a positive impact on a new team. For me, transitioning from school to the internship was relatively painless. I hit the ground running by missing my first flight on the first day (I have some layout suggestions for LAX) and then locking my 20-person case team out of the client computer terminal for booking meetings for a week (I have some IT suggestions for a Fortune 500 in Phoenix). On paper I should have called Parker, notified them that they somehow got a half-functioning human being a job, congratulated them on this feat, and then geared up for re-recruiting. In reality, though, these are the experiences that make us who we are. These vulnerabilities, paired with the ability to not take oneself too seriously, allow us to forge relationships that will ultimately make us effective throughout the unforeseeable turns our lives will all take.

Anderson’s reach put me on a team with multiple graduates as well as two members of the incoming Class of 2016 -allowing them to rib me in the way that only people who have your back could. The projec was challenging, but learning from the candor of those around me brought me up to speed quickly. By the time I was hitting my stride, it was over.

Touching base with the world outside the AnderBubble tends to come just in time, but lasts only long enough for you to reground yourself before plunging back into school. Like waking up an hour before your alarm goes off and realizing you get that extra bit of bliss, I’m eager to hit the cooler side of the pillow as a second year. To have the privilege of building relationships with a new class, while cementing those I started last year, is something I’ll be pinching myself over for the next nine months.

Can’t wait.

Sunset at the Santa Monica Pier, photo credit Subodh Kolla

Sunset at the Santa Monica Pier, photo credit Subodh Kolla


7 Tips to Surviving the First Quarter of B-School


The first quarter in Business School is exciting…. but it can also be very stressful. Use the 7 Tips below to navigate through your first few weeks at Anderson and make the most of your experience.

1) Learn How to Plan
Google Calendar will save your life this quarter. You may have an amazing memory but with club events, recruiting functions, coffee chats, social functions, group projects and whatever else you may be involved with, something is bound to slip through the cracks. Make sure to dedicate a few minutes in the beginning of the quarter to figure out the ins and outs of using a Google Calendar. Just do it.

2) Put Everything into Perspective
Always remember that you’re at one of the top schools in the country and among the brightest type-A personalities. So even if your accounting quiz score puts you in the bottom 25% of the class, remember you’re still in the top 5% of all MBA students in the world!

3) Take a Step Back to Reflect
It may be overwhelming to figure out within the first few weeks of school what internship you want to do over the summer, which in turn could lead to a full time position and the rest of your life. Some of your classmates know exactly what it is they want to do and are laser focused; others, however, are still going through the self-discovery process. Try to take a step back every now and then to evaluate whether you’re just following the crowd or if you’re actually doing what you want to do. And remember, although your summer internship is important, you’ll always have another opportunity to re-recruit for a full-time position your second year. Do not force yourself to decide on something early on and feel like you’re stuck.

4) This Too Shall Pass… Stress that is.
We all know the first quarter is stressful. Balancing academics, recruiting, leadership roles and a social life is not an easy task. At times it may seem like it’s too much to handle, but remember: this too shall pass!

5) It Is What You Want It to Be
Business school can be whatever you want it to be. Whether you’re looking to form lifelong relationships with your classmates, push yourself to new limits, get
a dream job, all of the above, or simply cruise to get your degree - your experience at Anderson will be defined by your own attitude and expectations.

6) Reach Out to Second Years
We’ve been there, we’ve done it and we want to help. Last year the 2nd years were instrumental to making our first year Anderson experience one to remember and we are eager give back. Whether that’s helping you out with a concept for a class, giving you our two cents on an industry or simply helping you navigate the social and professional scenes – any one of us would be more than willing to help.

7) Have Fun!
Always remember to have a good time. Being in your prime and getting elite education with some of the brightest minds in the country is an amazing opportunity, enjoy it! Also – when you’re happy your brain releases endorphins which help you think better and faster! (it’s a fact! I actually did a
COMM presentation on it). Not only will you be making the most of your time here but you’ll also be getting a competitive mental advantage.

Don’t forget to have fun!

Don’t forget to have fun!



The Anderson Exchange


Dan Brown

Dan Brown

When Mike Hirshman and Zubin Davar revived the Anderson Exchange from its brief hiatus last year, their mission was to provide a forum for thoughtful opinion and considered commentary for the Anderson community. Our hardworking staff is excited to bring you another year of meaningful content via both this newspaper as well as


We would also like to hear from you. We are always looking for contributors to the publication, on both the writing and the production side of the organization. Please send any questions, comments, or letters to the editor to me at

We are looking forward to a great – and newsworthy – year ahead!

Dan Brown


Class of 2014 Superlatives


Dear Class of 2014: A Heartfelt ‘Thank You’


Zubin Davar

Zubin Davar

With graduation just a few weeks away, the unsettling thought of losing our beloved second-year classmates has begun to sink in. This is followed by an even scarier thought: We first-year students are about to become second-years ourselves. But before the annual “changing of the guards,” I’d like to reflect on what this year’s graduating class has imparted on the Anderson legacy.

Anderson’s differentiating feature is its collaborative culture and sense of community. However, Anderson’s culture as we know it would be entirely different if it weren’t for the Class of 2014. Their ambition to continue the class of 2013’s legacy – added to their frustrations with what they wished they’d received from the class above them – fueled their selfless drive to take an active role in shaping our experiences. It’s our duty to now step into those shoes and provide an unparalleled experience for the incoming class. But first, here are a few nuggets of wisdom we should keep in mind during the coming year:

Motivation and Tenacity Go a Long Way
If you have a big vision, the broader community will do everything it can to help you reach that goal. Anderson students, staff, and faculty are personally invested in helping you succeed – whether it’s coordinating alumni from around the world in order to host a major conference, or renovating our student lounge. We’re In This Together Take an active role in the happiness of others. If even five of us haven’t landed jobs by graduation, it affects all of us. It’s important to keep tabs on one another, open doors for one another and find ways to share our successes so that we all benefit. Seemingly “little things”– an introduction over email, a Sunday evening phone call to check in on a friend, or just a big bear hug – can make someone’s day and motivate a classmate to maximize every minute at Anderson.

Do Not Let “Good Enough” be the Enemy of “Great” 
While the “80/20” rule is important when juggling priorities in business school, mediocrity is unacceptable. Pushing boundaries, exceeding expectations and challenging the status quo are qualities that have defined Anderson’s culture. When the school’s Wi-Fi was not up to par, for  example, students demanded state-of-the-art functionality and facilities. The same goes for faculty, career preparation, and student programming; we must continue to expect the best from our school.

Be Yourself
Whether you’re gearing up for a Goldman Sachs interview or dressing up for Anderprom (perhaps in full drag), staying true to who you are is essential. Sure, it can be difficult to stay grounded through two years of transformational change. But if we deviate drastically, we do our classmates a disservice by not bringing to the table our unique personalities, talents and perspectives.

It would be an understatement to say that the second-years have made a lasting impact, and living up to them will be no easy task. Let’s raise our blue mugs to the Class of 2014 and send them off in all the pomp and circumstance they deserve. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for everything you have given us.



M.B.A. Shades of Grey


By now, most of us have taken a course or two on ethics. But can ethics really be taught in a classroom setting? The role of management is to make hard decisions, and all decisions depend on context. I believe that there are ethics and morals in theory and ethics and morals in practice. The problem is that dilemmas change from black-and-white to grey depending on the circumstances we encounter them in. Anderson lecturer Derek Alderton notes that when managers cross ethical lines, it isn’t usually due to a lack of morals or to conscious criminal intention. “Managers provide value by making the hard decision when alternatives aren’t perceived as between right and wrong, but as between varying degrees of right,” he explains. “You can suddenly find yourself in a very hard place.” Maryland’s Smith School of  Business has taken students to a real prison to reinforce the implications of lapses in ethics. Here at Anderson, Associate Dean Rob Weiler says morals and ethics “are a community issue.” “Too often, we don’t fully understand the repercussions of actions. Until you attach the outcome – who it’s harming and who it’s affecting – it’s not real,” Weiler says. But one challenge is how to empower students to actively engage in dilemmas. “One downside of the great [culture] is that sometimes we aren’t courageous enough,” Weiler says. “We don’t take short term pain for long term growth. Now, how do we teach that?” Effective management means making the hard calls. Without simulating the high-pressure environments that M.B.A.s will inevitably encounter after graduation, classes focused on decisions and negotiations will surely miss out on an opportunity to help students learn critical skills.

Professor Keyvan Kashkooli teaching Organizational Behavior

Professor Keyvan Kashkooli teaching Organizational Behavior