Drive Time Podcast


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Latest Episodes


Balancing Everything

Class of 2020 graduate and John Wooden Global Leadership Fellow Rob Busalacchi is an investment banking associate at Barclays. He looks back on his experience balancing priorities while he went through the FEMBA program as a former U.S. Marine.

Featuring:  Rob Busalacchi (’20), Investment Banking Associate, Barclays 

From Marine to Movie Maker

Why does a U.S. Marine Corps veteran earn an MBA from UCLA Anderson? And what can his military training teach the rest of us about dealing with COVID-19? Joel Searls reflects on these topics as well as his decision to reinvent himself as an associate producer of a feature-length Hollywood movie, Running with the Devil (2019), starring Nicholas Cage and Laurence Fishburne.

Featuring:  Joel Searls (’17), Investment Banking Associate, McCafferty & Company

Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan

Get to know Brent Pressentin and, 30 minutes later, you might be managing your money better than you were before. Despite the peripatetic nature of his early career, the self-described Cheese Head says, “Planning is a consistent theme in my life,” something he learned to value at 23 working for E&J Gallo. Post-college, he test-drove the carbon-fiber Trek bike Lance Armstrong rode in his fifth Tour de France, got his feet wet in internet security and chased the girl of his dreams to Washington, D.C. But He found his “why” in wealth management when he earned his MBA from UCLA Anderson — which he is not above rubbing in his siblings’ faces. FEMBA Drive Time post-production by Samantha Hollon (’20)

Featuring:  Brent Pressentin (’15), Partner Advisor, AdvicePeriod

Anderson Definitely Prepped Me

Anika Sharin (’20) has commuted from the Bay Area to L.A. for three years because she chose UCLA Anderson over UC Berkeley. She keeps her base up north because she was hired by fellow alumnus Paul Badawi (’00), who founded the Silicon Valley-based company Sight Sciences. “The way we talk about sharing success at Anderson,” says Sharin, “he is really doing that.” Now, as she prepares to graduate, Sharin reflects on her Anderson SuperSaturday admission interview experience, launching her own health care startup, being a powerful woman in tech and FEMBA puppies (of course).

Featuring:  Anika Sharin (’20), Senior Partnership Development Program Management, Sight Sciences Inc.

I Love My Bruins

Even the assistant dean and CFO of the UCLA School of Law had to overcome his fear of public speaking. Double Bruin and alumni board member Steve Yu is an active mentor and tireless advocate of higher education, yet he says doing the dishes is crucial to staying productive. The winner of the UCLA alumni network’s 2017 Volunteer of the Year Award proves he’s just like us.

Featuring:  Steve Yu (B.A. ’95, ’03), Assistant Dean and CFO, UCLA Law

Team Player

Susan Francia won Olympic gold medals in 2008 and 2012, and founded her own company and motivational speaking series, Coach Francia LLC. She also MacGyvered her trousers back together right before her FEMBA capstone presentation. Now, as business development manager at TriLink BioTechnologies, she’s helping to research a COVID-19 vaccine.

Featuring:  Susan Francia (’18), Olympic Rower and Entrepreneur

Brian Thomas

Post-FEMBA, He Runs a $300MM Funded Company

Alumnus Brian Thomas recalls the journey of Clutter, a full-service moving, storage and logistics company that started as an idea he had as a FEMBA student. Brian went from driving the truck and making pick-ups himself to expanding Clutter into a nationwide business with $300 million in funding. He pays tribute to Anderson faculty, his fellow students and the FEMBA program for helping to drive his entrepreneurial success.

Featuring:  Brian Thomas (’14), Co-Founder, Clutter; Venture Partner, Resolute Ventures

Diego Benitez

There’s Passion in Progress

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 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.”

Featuring:  Diego Benitez (’19), Founder, Owner and Brewer, Progress Brewing


High-Impact People Strategist

John Wooden Global Leadership Fellow Sana Rahim says her native Laramie, Wyoming, “was a totally random place to grow up” for a Muslim of Pakistani heritage. She knew wanted to achieve a global perspective, whatever her career path — which has ranged from working in Turkey with victims of domestic violence to five years with logistics and supply chain giant McMaster-Carr. As a UCLA Anderson student, she founded Emerge Consulting, a management practice with a social justice mission that builds the capacity of nonprofit organizations.

Featuring:  Sana Rahim (’19) , Senior People Operations Manager, Freckle; Founder and CEO, Emerge Consulting


Sustainability and Ingenuity for Life

Born in New Delhi, India, Akshay Grover moved 8,000 miles to attend UCLA Anderson. He earned his engineering degree in Dubai, and an internship with Siemens got him to California. Here he worked on a sustainability project for San Bernardino County that resulted in more than $400,000 in energy and cost savings for America’s largest county (covering some 20,000 square miles). This project caught the attention of Time Magazine’s “American Genius” segment, for which Akshay and his team were interviewed.

Featuring:  Akshay Grover (’18), General Manager, Siemens


Faculty Spotlight: Developing Self-Awareness to Become a Better Leader

Professor Corinne Bendersky teaches FEMBAs in the Leadership Foundations and Organizational Behaviors courses and is faculty chair of the Human Resources Roundtable (HARRT). She studies female firefighters — who typically make up no more than 4% of their field — and what they can teach us about diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace. Bendersky discusses developing one’s self-awareness to become a leader who consciously enables others to live up to their untapped potential.

Featuring:  Corinne Bendersky,  Professor of Management and Organizations, UCLA Anderson School of Management

Barry Ripley

An Engineer Launches a Career in Investment Banking

Barry Ripley switched careers from engineering to finance, and as an Anderson FEMBA secured a prestigious internship in investment banking (twice!). While he was a student, he also led a FEMBA Anderson Career Team with stellar results, helped to bring microfinance to farmers in the Andes and learned to love speaking up in class.

Featuring:  Barry Ripley (M.S. ’11, ’16), Technology M&A, Qatalyst Partners