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Drive Time Podcast
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Latest Episodes

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

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

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

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.

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

Confidence was one of the gifts of business school

Ashley Merrill (’15) launched her sleepwear business, Lunya, one month after starting business school in Anderson’s FEMBA Flex program — and a few weeks after finding out she was pregnant. She initially couldn’t picture how she’d manage all of it at once. “Confidence was one of the gifts of business school,” she says. “It wasn’t like I went to accounting class and that was the gift, it was feeling like I could wrap my head around business terminology, basic structures of business and leadership.” Now she is “reinventing sleepwear for the modern woman,” including some very recognizable figures.

Featuring:  Ashley Merrill (’18), CEO/ Founder - Lunya Company

Nationals Philanthropies

A decade after earning her Anderson MBA, double Bruin Kate Greenberg (B.A. ’04, ’10) has led a remarkable career. When she was an undergraduate, the communications job she does now for the Washington Nationals’ charitable arm didn’t exist. She’s gone from managing PR for high-profile companies like Disney to shaping the communication strategies of nonprofit and philanthropic organizations, and she is now immersed in the #NATS4GOOD​ community response fund. Perks along the way have included seeing her name inscribed on a Nationals 2019 World Series championship ring and meeting President Barack Obama.

Featuring:  Kate Greenberg ('10), Chief Marketing & Development, Nationals Philanthropies

Be ready to have fun. Be ready to be open-minded

Growing up in China, Sophie Gao dreamed of an American experience. Her father made sacrifices to pursue becoming a medical doctor, and Sophie followed his work-hard example to get herself to the U.S. for college and career. She completed her Anderson MBA while living and working in Arizona and, distance notwithstanding, served as a FEMBA Council member and tutor. She was an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion student representative and, in 2020, she co-founded the nonprofit Humans of Wuhan to educate people and diminish racism. Through on-campus recruiting, she landed a new job at Amazon she’ll start right after graduation. Her advice for incoming FEMBA students? “Be ready to have fun. Be ready to be open-minded.”

Featuring:  Sophie Gao (’20), Amazon, Finance Leadership Development Program

Working mother going through the Fully-Employed MBA (FEMBA) program

Recent graduate of the class of 2020 Dominique Kagele, Global Product Strategy— Heme/Onc, Integrated Insights Leader talks about her experience going through the Fully-Employed MBA (FEMBA) program as a working mother.

Featuring:  Dominique Kagele ('20), Genentech, Global Product Strategy

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 

Career switcher

Recent graduate of the class of 2020 Tina Pham, Category Manager at Amazon Go Grocery talks about her experience going through the Fully-Employed MBA (FEMBA) program as a career enhancer in the retail industry before becoming a career switcher and getting a new job at Amazon.

Featuring:  Tina Pham ('20), Amazon Go Grocery, Category Manager

Suitcase of Joy

Brittany Blackamore (FEMBA '16) discusses her successful career transition to Boston Consulting Group and her nonprofit organization, Suitcase of Joy.

Featuring:  Brittany Blackamore ('16), Suitcase of Joy, CEO & Founder

Honoring Veterans Day

Dylan interviews four current FEMBA students, each from a different branch of the military: Stacey Mercado (’22), U.S. Navy; Bob DeLullo (’22), U.S. Coast Guard; Jamie Long (’22), U.S. Air Force; Austin Carroll Keeley (’22), U.S. Marine Corps.

Featuring:  Honoring Veterans Day

Military Special Edition - Honoring Veterans Day

Assistant Dean of FEMBA, Dylan Stafford and four current FEMBA students, each from a different branch of the U.S. military, deliver a special "thank you" to our nation's veterans.


Measuring the ROI

We asked the guests of our Summer Spotlight series how they measured the ROI of a UCLA Anderson FEMBA education.


Career transitions

Recent graduate of the class of 2020 Tarang Lal, M&A Advisory— PwC, talks about his experience going through the Fully-Employed MBA (FEMBA) program and how he made the career transition from Petroleum engineering to an M&A Consultant at PwC.

Featuring:  Tarang Lal ('20), M&A Advisory, PwC

Honoring Black History Month

In this special edition of the Drive Time Podcast Dylan interviews UCLA Anderson Fully Employed MBA (FEMBA) program alumni, Jermeen Sherman ('20), Social Impact Management Consultant, Jairo Mateo ('20), Associate Director of Business Transformation at The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation, and current FEMBA student, Derek Cox ('21), Sports Marketing Management Consultant.


Honoring Women's History Month

In this special edition of the Drive Time Podcast, Drive Time executive producers, Darcy Hitt ('20) and Samantha Hollon ('20) take over the podcast in honor of Women's History Month. The all-women panel discusses salary negotiation, workplace assertiveness, and overcoming imposter syndrome.

Featuring:  Kathi Chandler-Payatt '15, VP of Content Analytics & Strategy at MGM Studios
Ramine Cromartie '15, Regulatory Affairs Manager at Western States Petroleum Association
KDominique A. Kagele '20, Global Product Strategy Insights Sr. Manager at Genentech


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

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