At UCLA, generations of Latinx students pursue higher education, build a cultural identity and create a legacy for future Bruins.

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15–October 15), UCLA Anderson celebrates the contributions our students, alumni, faculty and staff have made to the university, to business leadership and to the community.

Join Our Clubs


In 2023–24, the Alliance for Latinx Management at Anderson and Latin American Business Association will be augmenting the celebration of Latinx and Hispanic cultures in the Anderson community by introducing new programming around National Hispanic Heritage Month and focusing on ally engagement more than ever before.

Latinx en Anderson

“National Hispanic Heritage Month brings awareness to sacrifices overcome by Latinx Americans and gives us a chance to share our pride with the wider community.”

Marysela Garza (’24)
Co-President, Alliance for Latinx Management at Anderson

latinx in business

“Latinx culture has made very influential contributions in America. Having a month when we can showcase our beautiful culture brings a sense of belonging and community to all.”

Jessica Naves (B.A. ’16, Riordan MBA Fellow, ’20, ’24)
Co-President, Alliance for Latinx Management at Anderson

“In addition to our classic Latin parties, a new speaker series and the traditional Mexico trek, LABA is introducing a thrilling Colombian trek to the Anderson student experience.”

Maria Ignacia Marchant (’24)
Co-President, Latin American Business Association

For more than 35 years, the Riordan Programs at UCLA Anderson have opened up leadership and management education opportunities to students traditionally underrepresented in business. Among alumni of the Riordan Scholars and Riordan MBA Fellows programs are success stories that include a UCLA physician involved in bringing health care technologies to underserved communities, a U.S. Navy officer who now works in cybersecurity and an investor who also serves as an instructor in the Riordan Programs’ annual Stock Market Analyst Competition.

Alejandra Perez (’22)

Alejandra Perez (’22)

Founder, IMA Blends

Alumna, Venture Accelerator at UCLA Anderson

Entrepreneur Alejandra Perez (’22) holds a B.S. in chemical engineering from Universidad Simon Bolivar, Venezuela’s No. 1 engineering school. She represented her school at Harvard’s Model United Nations conferences in Singapore and Vancouver. At UCLA Anderson, she served as president of the Entrepreneur Association and mentored high school and college students in the Riordan Programs, which provide a pathway for young people in underrepresented groups to excel in business education and leadership.

With this broad, international reach, Perez is certain of one thing: nursing mothers the world over face exhaustion and flagging nutrition. “Motherhood is a bumpy ride,” she says. “I could not keep up with my baby’s appetite and felt guilty. I was desperate for a solution.” So she pioneered IMA Blends, a line of healthy “lactation snacks” for moms at every stage, including preconception, pregnancy, postpartum, nursing and beyond.

Research Spotlight


Fernanda Bravo

Assistant Professor of Decisions, Operations and Technology Management

“The management of health care delivery systems, health organizations and policy-focused institutions affects everybody, not just providers.”

From timely research that demystifies the complicated FDA approval process to collaborations that improve hospital efficiency and patient outcomes, Fernanda Bravo’s goal is to inform health care policy and decision making to help ensure that good business is also good medicine.

In Their Words


“Many young people in our community don’t have someone in their lives who knows how to help them get on the road to success.”

Katelyn Bowyer (’22) was fortunate that her school teacher father was aware of early testing to qualify her, at the age of 4, for enrollment at a Houston magnet school. Katelyn, now a brand manager and marketer, is conscious of how rare that formative opportunity might be for other LatinX youth. As a volunteer mentor at Minds Matter Los Angeles, she embraces Anderson’s ethos of sharing success and feels a responsibility as a future business leader to help track high-achieving students from low-income families on a successful education path.

“Here at Anderson, we really are an ecosystem and we all support each other in different ways.”

Coming from the creative side of public relations, communications professional Marcella Thompkins (’23) enrolled in UCLA Anderson’s Fully Employed MBA program to fill in gaps in her knowledge about the business side. She is building a solid foundation in finance and strategy, but finds that Anderson’s challenging curriculum offers so much more, and she looks forward to continuing to take classes that are outside her comfort zone. “No matter how difficult the course is,” she says, “I have so many incredible resources surrounding me and so many brilliant classmates to learn from.” Now manager of fine wines at Constellation Brands, Marcella says, “I can honestly say this program has impacted my career immeasurably. This program is the very reason I have the job that I have today.”

Diego Benitez ('19)

“I always wanted to start a business ... Brewing is an alternative career in chemistry.”

What’s it like to come to the United States with no undergraduate degree, earn a Ph.D. in chemistry from Caltech, publish more than 45 peer-reviewed articles, pivot to brewing beer and then embark on your MBA? With credit for contributing to prize-winning research by two Nobel laureates, alumnus Diego Benitez (’19) founded Progress Brewing in South El Monte, California, in 2012. The former academic, now a successful full-time businessman, said as an Anderson student, “FEMBA is one of the best decisions of my life.”

Liz Cercado (’19)

“How great would it be if we unlocked each person’s potential?”

At the close of her UCLA Anderson executive MBA, mechanical engineering professional Liz Cercado (’19) observed that, in hindsight, some of the experience looked different than she had expected, and some looked better than she’d ever dreamed possible. Recognized by Profiles in Diversity Journal as a Woman Worth Watching, Liz said, “Thinking about societal expectations of who we should be, what careers we should pursue and what success looks like is exhausting. Good people doing great things deserve to be celebrated and reminded of how amazing they are.”

Faculty Spotlight

Miguel M. Unzueta
Professor of Management and Organizations
Award-winning instruction in diversity and organizational behavior
“It is often said that perception is reality. My research explores the psychological motivations that underlie people’s perceptions of diversity-related phenomena in the present day.”
Miguel M. Unzueta
Professor of Management and Organizations

Organizations Have Committed to Better Representation, But Really?

Riordan Programs


Providing a pathway for underrepresented students to excel in business and leadership

Tomorrow's leaders emerge from a transformational experience with Riordan mentors, educational workshops and community service. The Riordan Scholars Program, College to Career Program and MBA Fellows Program provide leadership and management training to diverse individuals all over the country.

Learn About the Organizations That Advance Our
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Mission