GAP is Where Students Turn Knowledge into Experience.
All UCLA Anderson coursework culminates with the Global Access Program (GAP). In truth, GAP is more than just the final phase of our training; it is the signature experience of our curriculum. Why? Because GAP ties everything together—asking students to draw upon all the previous lectures and class material to create a comprehensive business plan from scratch.
The Pressures are Real. So are The Benefits.
Each GAP project begins by matching a small team of students with an overseas technology company. The assignment: conduct a 360-degree analysis of the company, then use the findings to develop an effective business strategy to advance the company’s growth. To this end, students work as consultants; attending conferences, conducting interviews, and meeting with top management. Their research covers market assessment, competitive analysis, product development, sales, marketing, and a host of other critical areas. Collectively, GAP teams will invest over 2,500 hours by the time they deliver their finished business plan to industry professionals, investors, and their GAP company management team.
A Program that Takes Students and Companies to the Next Level.
As globalization forces companies to rethink their business strategies, they’ll search for individuals with experience in global commerce. Here, GAP students have a clear edge because they know the challenges associated with international business. GAP participants are also part of a global program that has matched over 2,000 students with 431 companies around the world. Since 1998, student-directed GAP business plans have helped international companies generate over $200 million in direct investments. From both a student and a corporate perspective, GAP produces growth on a global scale.
• UCLA Anderson's Global Access Program enables Fully Employed MBA (FEMBA) students to work on a global entrepreneurial project.
• Each year, approximately 50 GAP teams act as "consultants" to their company.
• Launched in the final year of the FEMBA program, the six-month GAP course teaches the principles of developing effective growth strategies for the sales, marketing, operations, financial and management functions of a product or service high technology company.
• The GAP project provides opportunities to learn the cultural challenges of growing an international business.
• This "real world" project is enhanced through the assistance of outstanding faculty, many of whom have directly managed and provided consulting services to leading companies located throughout the world.
• Students learn the elements and characteristics of successful business plans by studying in this six-month course that includes class lectures and case studies on business plan development, high-technology management, and international entrepreneurship.
• Each student team develops recommendations based on extensive primary and secondary research collected during the six-month program.
• Each student is required to spend a minimum of five days engaged in primary research activities.
• GAP students enhance their writing and presentation skills by formally presenting their final business plans to an audience of industry professionals and potential investors, as well as their GAP company's management team.
• Students conduct this 15-minute presentation, plus a question-and-answer period, in a manner similar to presentations for venture capital firms and angel investors.
• The Global Access Program provides students with exceptional benefits that influence their careers in the international world of business.
The following testimonials are excerpted from interviews with several of the students who have participated in the UCLA Anderson Global Access Program (GAP):
"The research effort with GAP met my expectations. However, I did not expect the different twists and turns and came out of the research. GAP was a true real world experience, where I had to constantly challenge my own initial perceptions, and realize there is not really a perfect answer that awaits me at the end of the project. So this was very different from classrooms. As I now think about switching careers, and the industry knowledge I picked up while researching for GAP has helped me during my interviews. I was able to use the right jargon and demonstrate that I have experience in this industry."
"The greatest takeaway is confidence I think. I now know I am capable of creating a business plan for a new product. I know what it takes, the amount of research required, for me to come up with a comprehensive business plan for the successful launch of a new product."
— Shane Liu, FEMBA Class of 2010