I came to UCLA Anderson School of Management from a background in teaching and education. I started this work as a Teach For America Corps Member, through which I was placed as an elementary teacher in Brooklyn, New York. I loved teaching, but wanted to expand my influence beyond the classroom, and I knew an MBA would enable me to develop the management and leaderships skills I desired.
Pursuing this step five years later, I was attracted to Anderson for its sharp focus on impact and spirit of shared success. It was a no-brainer, and I knew that Net Impact would be a core component of my MBA experience.
Tarik Walmsley (’20)
As I had hoped, Anderson’s award-winning Net Impact chapter filled my first year with meaningful opportunities, including the annual Impact Week programming and hands-on impact investing experience through the Anderson Venture Impact Partners (AVIP). I highly recommend taking part in both! However, my classmates and I felt that one program was missing — a program that would allow us direct experience with board-level nonprofit strategy. We decided to build it ourselves.
The Board Fellows program, which we launched in 2020, places MBA students on various boards of directors of local partner nonprofit organizations as non-voting members. In addition to attending board meetings and supporting committee work, first-year fellows are matched with a board mentor, typically an Anderson alumnus or alumna.
We haven’t looked back. Our first year has included partnerships with eight local nonprofit organizations ranging in focus from workforce development to education to homelessness. We work with some of Los Angeles’ most effective nonprofit organizations, such as Chrysalis, the Downtown Women’s Center and the Fulfillment Fund. Student fellows are supporting board strategy at our partner organizations by driving marketing decisions and online presence, modeling financial implications related to a CEO transition and developing the mission and structure of a new committee. Participation has allowed me to refocus my work on education equity as a fellow at Inner-City Arts, an organization offering campus-based youth arts programming through a unique partnership with the Los Angeles Unified School District.
An Anderson MBA comes with the benefit of its professional network. As we built the Board Fellows program, I experienced the power of this network, as each individual and institution I called on for collaboration showed up with glowing support. Working closely with Impact@Anderson and the Office of Alumni Relations , I have been deeply inspired by the teamwork and power of our Anderson community. Alongside students, alumni are at the heart of the program. Alumni mentors are driven by a desire to give to their organizations and to support student leaders with similar visions and values. Students and alumni work side by side, connected through a shared purpose — serving those in need and strengthening our Anderson family.
Looking ahead, the Board Fellows program continues to build our existing relationships, while seeking new partnerships with mission- and data-driven organizations that move the needle in our local communities. Rooted in our goal of applying an MBA skill set to nonprofit board-level strategy, the Board Fellows program will continue to work with our partners to ensure that they thrive in our rapidly changing environment.
Tarik Walmsley graduated from UCLA Anderson School of Management in 2020. If you are a student or nonprofit organization interested in participating in the Board Fellows Program, reach out to Carl Anderson (’21) (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Emily Houghton (’21) (email@example.com).