November 13, 2006

Love of Networking Leads Kathryn Ullrich ('92) to Executive Recruiting

Her firm helps clients chart path to career success

Kathryn Ullrich ('92)LOS ANGELES - What’s your definition of career success? Kathy Ullrich (’92) has one. “I’m doing something I’m passionate about,” she says. And as president and executive recruiter of Kathryn Ullrich Associates, Inc, her business is helping others find their own definition of career success.

Ullrich’s route to executive recruiting had its own twists and turns. “Four years out of business school I was in strategic consulting and was looking for a change,” she explained. “I returned to Anderson and (former Parker Career Management Center Director) Kathryn Van Ness asked me about my network. And I didn’t have a network. I had been on the road all the time and hadn’t taken the time to develop one. “From that moment on, I started greasing the wheels and developing that network. I credit that advice with getting me on the path to where I am now.”

Ullrich specializes in the recruitment of senior level executives for enterprise software, high technology, and consulting companies. She has eight years of executive search experience with her own firm and Russell Reynolds Associates. Kathy believes that career transition begins with deciding what you want to do and what your aspirations are. In her case, she found she so much liked the networking experience that she ultimately landed in executive recruiting.

Step one, she says, was writing down everyone she could think of who might hire someone like her. Ullrich started with Anderson contacts and kept track of people she could call on. “During my career transition, I was able to build relationships with many alumni, doing informational interviews and meeting alumni in companies that might potentially hire me,” she said. “All the alumni were very helpful, which is one reason I stay involved with UCLA Anderson. It’s the you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours theory. Some people call it ‘pay it forward.’”

Kathryn Ullrich Associates, Inc. does considerable search work for technology and consulting companies identifying senior management teams, including C-level and VPs in product marketing/management, marketing, sales, consulting, operations, engineering and finance. From that vantage point, she saw tech boom – then bust – and now … what? “It’s fantastic, we’re back to the same levels of hiring and recruitment that we saw before the bubble burst, with candidates getting multiple offers,” Ullrich said. That said, the landscape is not exactly the same as it was a few years ago.

“I think beyond Web 2.0 and the digital media convergence space, there’s a lot going on with anything that has to do with enabling the web. Things like web security, analytics, and online payments – all those technologies are hot. Biotech is where the software industry was ten years ago, with a whole lot of growth and lots of start-ups.”

The other big area right now, she says, is consulting. Ullrich speculates that during the bust-then-lean years, there was a shortage of hiring in consulting. The result is a break in the hiring pipeline and there are simply not enough experienced consultants at senior levels to handle the demand.

For those interested in the opportunity, a background in technology is not a prerequisite. Kathy says the general skills clients are looking for are good, strong communication skills; client skills; business development or customer service skills; teamwork and the ability to manage client teams. “You can come from the outside if you have the leadership skills,” Ullrich said, though she cautioned that it’s hard to enter the biotech space without science skills. “One other way of breaking in is using vertical expertise. If you’ve worked in areas such as banking, insurance, telecommunications, you can find companies trying to target those industries.”

About UCLA Anderson School of Management
UCLA Anderson School of Management is ranked among the top-tier business schools in the world.  Award-winning faculty renowned for their research and teaching, highly selective admissions, successful alumni and world-class facilities combine to provide an extraordinary learning environment.

The mission of UCLA Anderson School of Management is to be a global leader in management education, research and service. Established in 1935, UCLA Anderson provides management education to more than 1,400 students enrolled in MBA and doctoral programs, and some 2,000 executives and managers enrolled annually in executive education programs. UCLA Anderson alumni number more than 35,000 graduates around the world dedicated to continued networking, professional development and educational activities. 

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