Q: What qualities attracted you to Anderson, and how has this institution allowed you to make your mark on the world?
I came to UCLA as an assistant professor of economics and my goal was to get tenure, which I thankfully did really quickly. From the beginning, I felt this was a broad, multi-ethnic community; it’s what attracted me and what brought me back after I went to Washington to work as a fellow at the SEC. I was at the Brookings Institution in association with then-Chairman Harold Williams, who was also the dean who hired me at Anderson.
Coming back to UCLA from Washington was the best decision of my life. It gave me the opportunity to work with then-Dean Clay La Force. To this day, I consider Clay to be my most important mentor. His support for entrepreneurs and for me building what became the Price Center was very important to me, and the latter, at least, was very important to the school.
Following the launch of the entrepreneurship program, Clay appointed me associate dean for program development, leading us to establish centers for global management, for real estate and finance.
But my driving interest continued to be in entrepreneurship. It was really an outgrowth of my economic interests. Societies that don’t innovate are destined to die, and my view is that our management school can benefit from understanding things entrepreneurial.
"I love the energy of the classroom. The translation of ideas that are useful to students as they learn is a very satisfying experience. I’m committed to high-quality teaching and an effort to be responsive to the changing needs of students, as they develop their own perspectives on various subject matters."
For MBA students, entrepreneurship can be a means for them to discover who they are and what they can do. There’s nothing like trying to create value for an audience you might call customers ― growing an enterprise, doing what’s necessary to satisfy customers by assembling and managing the necessary resources, and, over time, perhaps exiting, and creating value. It’s a daunting task. Entrepreneurs are doing America’s hardest job, but they’re needed to secure our future in a turbulent world.
All sectors ― private, public and nonprofit ― benefit from entrepreneurial thinking. For me, the essence is, how do we make an organization successful and responsive to the needs of a focused audience? Whether you need money or you want to achieve a mission, it’s really the same thing. That’s why I went on to develop a series of management development programs tailored for entrepreneurs in different sectors, including our 20-year Head Start partnership with J&J.
So, I think it’s fair to say that, thus far, I’ve made my greatest contribution to Anderson through the Price Center. And, of course, much of the credit for the center’s ongoing accomplishments ― including our new Anderson Venture Accelerator ― belongs to the excellent team led by Elaine Hagan.