The More Things Stay the Same, the More Things Change


Prospectus Alumni

SINCE 1935, UCLA’s business school has always looked to The Next. Along the way, through name changes and a changing world, students have shared a place, an experience and an outlook that have united classes and eras. Here, two alumni and a current student share their b-school experiences.

What was the most coveted class in b-school?

Bob Foster (’65):I was a student when three professors were the leaders in their field: Hal Koontz, Cyril O’Donnell and Elwood Buffa. Koontz and O’Donnell authored the well-known textbook Principles of Management, and I took courses from both of them. Buffa’s Modern Production Management was the most popular textbook on the topic in the U.S. for many years. I have both these textbooks on my bookshelf.

Jill Baldauf (’81): It seems to me both Bill Cockrum’s and Dick Rumelt’s classes were very sought-after and considered very tough.

Zubin Davar (’15): Students historically regard Bill Cockrum’s classes as a necessary “right of passage.” Looking at recent demand for classes, however, it seems that Sanjay Sood’s Digital Marketing Strategy class, to which he brings a different senior Google executive every week, is the most desired course. 

What was orientation like?

ZD: Section Olympics was my absolute favorite part. I just remember yelling harder than I ever have during tug-of-war.

JB: Wow, I think ours was only one day.

BF: What orientation, there wasn’t one … at all.

What class do you wish existed?

BF: A class in high technology strategy.

JB: A class on big data and statistical analysis would have been amazing. We were punching cards and running them through a mainframe or learning COBOL.

ZD: I wish there was a course that examined ways in which the public and private sectors corroborate to drive initiatives while ensuring superior returns for both parties.   

Bob and Jill, you’re now working at UCLA Anderson. How do you think b-school has changed?

BF: Wow, it has changed in so many ways and all for the better. In 1964-65, the school, then called the Graduate School of Business, had no job placement center. Also, MBA graduation was included as part of the undergraduate school graduation. Most of my classmates had no interest in joining about 2,000 undergraduates so most of us went to the beach. I now attend every Anderson MBA graduation.

JB: I think it is a lot more student centric — our career center had one person managing it. Now there are workshops for resumes, interviewing, career coaching, etc. It is amazing.  

Did you have any class traditions?

JB: A memorable tradition that still exists today: Beer busts (AKA Anderson Afternoons) on Thursday evenings!

BF: I also remember a weekly social hour on the roof of the building on Fridays.

ZD: Disorientation is our unofficial class tradition. It’s an all-out celebration in Las Vegas just before graduation. 

What are some of your most memorable experiences outside the classroom?

BF: I was being awarded a six-week trip to Europe to study international business. It was guided by a professor from USC’s business school and three students from the leading five business schools on the West Coast were included. We visited executives and government people in the business centers of London, Rome, France, as well as behind the Iron Curtain into countries like East Germany, Czechoslovakia and Hungary.

JB: I wanted to be in advertising, but agencies didn’t really recruit on campus still, I managed to get a summer internship at Benton & Bowles.  It was my number one choice of agencies, so I jumped at the chance. I spent a week flying from El Paso to Mexico on Continental Airlines doing passenger surveys. I never got off the plane, just sat on the tarmac while they turned the plane around and headed back.  For that incredible experience, I was paid $300 — for the entire summer!

ZD: Traveling halfway across the world on the Israel Trek with 60 of my closest friends. Oh, Tel Aviv ...

What is the most popular industry that students worked in after graduation?

BF: Pure startups didn’t exist then, so most of us went to work for large companies; mostly in accounting and consulting.

I can’t remember a single student going into business for themselves.

JB: I think most folks went into banking or finance. Consulting perhaps.

ZD: Big tech and tech startups.