Earning My MBA for Fun
Featuring: Yong Kim (’23), Vice President, Worldwide Television Publicity, Warner Bros.
Double Bruin Yong Kim (B.A. ’09, ’23) knows something about fun. Not only does he work in the entertainment industry, he performed, as an undergraduate, UCLA’s Joe Bruin mascot for two seasons. Kim never felt particularly gifted when it came to numbers and finance, and he didn’t “need” to earn another degree to advance his career; but he felt increasingly compelled to pursue an Anderson MBA. He prefers “bonding” with his classmates to “networking,” and, to hear him tell it, the “F” in FEMBA stands for “fun.”
An Aerospace Manager’s Challenges and Triumphs
Uzair “Uzi” Alaidroos (’23) is an aerospace manager and engineer and a father. His journey through UCLA Anderson’s FEMBA program entailed pivoting sharply during pandemic to hold together his Northrop Grumman team, who had to work on site, and raising his children with his wife while also, at age 30, facing a diagnosis of thyroid cancer. Despite two surgeries and the tumult of COVID-19, he missed only three classes that quarter and earned a GPA of 4.0, and he was honored with a John Wooden Leadership fellowship. Alaidroos shared what he learned from these challenges and triumphs, hoping that his experience helps fellow FEMBAs prepare for the bumps in the road that are an inevitable part of the graduate school journey.
Entrepreneur Ryan Alimo (’23), Ph.D., is a person with big dreams. He emigrated from Tehran to the U.S. to pursue higher education, and he became lead machine learning scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. More recently, Alimo launched his own augmented intelligence startup, OPAL AI Inc., and received the National Science Foundation’s Small Business Innovation Research grant. A mentor for NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Program, he is passionate about motivating younger generations to believe in themselves and reach their dreams. He has already hired six fellow UCLA Anderson students to help him run OPAL AI.
Two Doctors Pilot Eye MBA at UCLA
Featuring: Cory Hoeferlin (’23) and Sagar Rambhia (’24), Ophthalmology Residents, UCLA Stein Eye Institute
EyeMBA is a joint ophthalmology residency and MBA program designed to develop the financial, management and measurement skills that will be broadly applicable to an ophthalmologist’s leadership in academia, translational research, health system management and health care delivery. Cory Hoeferlin (’23) and Sagar Rambhia (’24) are the first two M.D.s to pilot Eye MBA at the UCLA Stein Eye Institute. They shared their experience in a program whose goal is to expand to residents in other disciplines of medicine, and talked about the value of an MBA to medical practitioners.
The Born Volunteer
Featuring: Kyle Brauer (B.A. ’17, ’23), California State Auditor
Incoming FEMBA Council president Kyle Brauer (B.A. ’17, ’23) is a servant leader with big plans for UCLA Anderson’s student government. He possesses an innate volunteerism that, over time, has become “more intentional.” He says, “I see volunteering as an amazing way to connect with people and to share. If you can work with somebody with the motive of only to help, and the motive is then turned into action, then you have almost a pure interaction with someone.” He has pledged to make inclusion the focus of his term in office, and to invite everyone — irrespective of experience or background — to the table.
Paralympian Hopeful Is an Ally to All
Featuring: Carolanne Link (B.S. ’18, ’23), UCLA Web Accessibility Initiative (UWAI)
Double Bruin Carolanne Link (B.S. ’18, ’23) never says never. She is a project manager at the UCLA Web Accessibility Initiative (UWAI) and serves on UCLA’s Committee on Disability (UCOD). She has served all three of her FEMBA years as FEMBA Council’s VP of equity, diversity and inclusion. A “we not me” person dedicated to allyships across colleagues, classmates and her community, she is applying her business education to helping UCLA prepare to host the 2028 Paralympic Games. Between now and then, she is training as a competitive racing wheelchair athlete and hoping to be eligible for the Paris 2024 Paralympics.
FEMBA Founder Figuring It Out
Featuring: Tori Brodsky (’23), DrinkLyte Co.
When Tori Brodsky (’23) began her FEMBA experience, she embarked on her journey navigating school, friends, finances — and found herself fundraising for the first time as a freelancer, to become a solo beverage business owner. Brodsky incubated DrinkLyte Co. in the UCLA Anderson Venture Accelerator’s summer Activate program and will present it to VC funders in the Anderson Venture Showcase. On top of all that, she earned UCLA Anderson’s Larry Wolfen Entrepreneurial Spirit Award and completed the Leadership@Anderson Executive Coaching Program.
A Young Manager’s Playbook
Featuring: Scott Matthews (’22), Vice President of Global Strategic Operations, Hygiena
Scott Matthews (’22) turned his director role at rapid hygiene test systems company Hygiena into a VP of global operations, while turbo-charging through his MBA at UCLA Anderson. He managed it in part by working with Anderson staff and faculty to design an independent study that he felt would customize his experience and, specifically, give him a young manager’s playbook. In this episode of Drive Time, family members joined in to “fact check” the conversation. Is Scott Matthews really the unicorn Anderson’s FEMBA team thinks he is? Find out!
Career Switch Slam Dunk
Haley Ehrlich (’23) started her UCLA Anderson MBA with the goal of changing industries, from high-tech to sports management. In particular, she wanted to land at the center of what she described in her 2019 admission essay as “this pivotal moment of live sports on a streaming service.” Her goal was prescient, as the 2020 pandemic lockdown would prove. But instead of being deterred by the remote learning environment forced by COVID-19, she networked and joined as many student clubs and councils as she could, and took advantage of a particularly fruitful Day on the Job field trip. Now, not even halfway through her program, she is a growth marketing manager with the NBA.
Extrovertedly Introverted, Creatively Logical
Featuring: Sarah Anderson (’22), Director of Systems and Organizational Development, Concord Real Estate
FEMBA Council president Sarah Anderson (’22) describes herself as “an enigmatic contradiction.” She is a professional photographer, as well as director of systems and organizational development at Concord Real Estate in Los Angeles. At UCLA Anderson, she has learned leadership skills during challenging times. She reflects on “the struggles of being an extroverted introvert, living intentionally uncomfortably, the excitement of being a part of change and how to be creative at B-school.”
Double Bruin Family Man, Edupreneur, Investor
Featuring: Stephen Johnson (B.S. ’05, ’21), Founder, Bright Minds Tutoring Inc. and Ymeon Capital
Father of four. Entrepreneur. Scientist. Double Bruin Stephen Johnson (B.S. ’05, ’21) is all of these and more — not least of which is the distinction of earning UCLA Anderson’s John Wooden Leadership fellowship while he was a FEMBA student. The former genetics researcher founded both Bright Minds Tutoring Inc. and venture equity firm Ymeon Capital, and self-published his first book, Small Beginnings Require Bigger Dreams. In honor of Black History Month, he shared his stories of success to help other FEMBAs drive change in their lives and careers.
Business As a Contact Sport
Featuring: Derek Cox (’21), Player Relations, National Football League
Former NFL cornerback and FEMBA alumnus Derek Cox (’21) went from collisions in the football arena to collisions in the corporate arena. He says the friendships he made at UCLA Anderson have led to multiple career breakthroughs. Now he is establishing a sports agency that represents and markets NFL players, coaches and college football players. From playing the game himself, Cox developed a desire to make a great impact on players’ careers both on and off the field, helping them with a successful post-career transition.
Professional Tool Kit: How to “Anderson”
How do FEMBAs leverage UCLA Anderson for maximum career impact? This episode of Drive Time extends a special welcome to our newly admitted UCLA Anderson Fully Employed MBA students. FEMBAssador co-president Wing Lee’s (’23) began her career at the Kraft Heinz Company, followed by business intelligence roles at GoPro and Mattel, on up to her current position as a revenue management and analytics manager at Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. An active leader at UCLA Anderson, Lee describes how she learned to “Anderson.”
Black Futures in Health Care
Featuring: Dominique Kagele (’20), Stephen Johnson (’21) and Vanessa Nunez (MBA/M.D. ’22)
UCLA Anderson FEMBA alumni Dominique Kagele (’20), Stephen Johnson (’21) and Vanessa Nunez (MBA/M.D. ’22) are driving change in their industries and communities. Kagele, a Ph.D. who works on Genentech/Roche’s corporate development and product strategy team, is building a biotech accelerator and venture fund to improve health outcomes in Black and other underserved communities. Johnson is an entrepreneur and investor who founded Bright Minds Tutoring, a company focused on reducing educational gaps by augmenting STEM access among underrepresented students. Vanessa Nunez is a dual-degree UCLA medical and business alumna committed to developing sustainable, systems-based interventions to eliminate health inequities and increase access to health services in underresourced communities.
UCLA Anderson Is a Leadership Laboratory
Featuring: Will Lycette (’22), Associate Vice President, Realty Income
UCLA Anderson is a leadership laboratory. Inside the classroom, outside the classroom and back at work, catalytic connections abound. This episode of Drive Time extends a special welcome to our newly admitted UCLA Anderson Fully Employed MBA students. Alumnus Will Lycette (’22), associate VP at Realty Income, is current FEMBAssador co-president. He helps orient new FEMBA students by describing the many leadership opportunities at UCLA Anderson.