Fintech COO Chose UCLA Anderson for Its Collaborative Culture

Fintech COO Chose UCLA Anderson for Its Collaborative Culture


Reggie Hall (’14) invested in people and relationships, and doors opened

FEBRUARY 23, 2023

  • UCLA Anderson alumnus Reggie Hall is chief operating officer of API payment integration platform
  • Hall chose the Anderson MBA program for its collaborative culture and the meaningful relationships it produces
  • An entrepreneur with a background in finance and investment banking, he has helped launch a range of successful startups

Los Angeles had always been tugging at Reggie Hall’s (’14) heart. The Charlotte, North Carolina, resident’s path found him squarely on the East Coast through his college years at Elon University, and then he worked in investment banking’s TMT (tech, media, telecom) space in New York. His decision to potentially pursue an MBA provided him an opportunity to look west, as he considered a variety of programs in California and Texas.

“I was looking for a school with a great academic program and a big athletic presence,” Hall says.

This made UCLA Anderson the clear winner. Receiving a Consortium for Graduate Study in Management Fellowship and with his path focused on entrepreneurship and finance, Hall knew he’d chosen wisely. “Anderson presents opportunities across finance, entertainment, real estate, sports, marketing and consulting,” he says. It was something else, though, that won Hall’s devotion. “One of the main drivers for me was the collaborative nature of Anderson’s student population, the diversity of backgrounds and inclusivity,” he says. “It was a nice transition from New York and, because of this, I felt at home.”

Hall immersed himself in the team-oriented environment, getting involved in Anderson’s student-led Investment Finance Association, African American Students in Management, Sports Business Association and Entertainment Management Association. Having played football at Elon, Hall was drawn to combining sports with business. Early on at Anderson, he took a spring internship with the sports agency Wasserman Media Group. This was followed by a summer internship in New York’s NBA League office. “I loved working in sports,” he says. “But I found my skill set, coupled with how the leagues operate, wasn’t a great fit.

“When I left banking, I hit a reset button,” he says. “I wanted to explore a multitude of things, sports being one of them. Having been in technology banking and advising businesses for five years, I knew entrepreneurship and running and operating businesses were things I wanted to do.” This direction would see Hall helping to launch a startup with a colleague.

Fueling Hall’s inspiration were the diverse perspectives he encountered. “During the first five years in investment banking, I worked with a very homogenous group of thinkers,” he recalls. “People at Anderson looked at things through different lenses. This opened my eyes to thinking more broadly — not only finance-centric, but product-centric, operation-centric.”

Adding to that fire was finding the collaboration he’d been seeking through group projects. “It wasn’t a cutthroat environment,” he says. “People weren’t apprehensive about sharing different approaches.” Opportunities abounded, too. “Through Anderson’s Applied Management Research capstone project, I traveled with a team to the Philippines to work on a student micro-loans project,” he says. “We were evaluating the market space there and talking to potential users of the service.” The experience was revelatory. “Working together to solve problems didn’t feel transactional, it felt genuine,” he says. “By working so closely, relationships and friendships were built on top of getting work done.”

Anderson brought with it other once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Through the Entertainment Management Association, Hall attended the Cannes Film Festival for a behind-the-scenes experience. “When else in my life would I have an opportunity to attend Cannes and walk the red carpet?

“I wanted to get into startups, be an operator and build a business,” he says of his plans post-graduation. “A former investment banking colleague was launching a startup and offered me the opportunity to join as employee number eight.”

Hall helped build the business from the ground up, from raising money and selling to customers to dealing with insurance, payroll and usability testing. He remains an advisor for the company today. He’d been with the startup for two and a half years when he was contacted by an Anderson classmate suggesting he come on board with BCG Digital Ventures. “It was a startup inside a big firm, so it fit my bill of working in a startup ecosystem.” Another big draw for Hall was the stability the job offered.

Over the nearly five years Hall was with the company, it evolved into what’s known today as BCGX. “We built new products, capabilities and businesses for corporate partners that we designed and launched, and for which we established a roadmap to scale in the market.”

While at BCGX, Hall worked with client Stephany Kirkpatrick. Happy with how they’d collaborated on a project together, Kirkpatrick mentioned she might be launching a business in the fintech arena. “I’d done some fintech work at BCG, but wasn’t deep into fintech, which Orum, the company she was launching, is.” Kirkpatrick and Hall kept a dialogue going. “We spent time evaluating different market opportunities, business and financial models.” Orum proliferated, raising over $80 million.

By the fall of 2021, Kirkpatrick asked Hall to come on board as VP of strategy. Soon he became Orum’s VP of finance and strategy and eventually the company’s COO. “Though the broader market has been a little crazy the past 12 months, it’s created a lot of growth and opportunity,” he says. “It’s been a fun ride.” The ride he’s referring to is operating in a down market. Considerations he’s faced have included how to tighten the belt, where the company should be focusing and where it should invest. “Cash is no longer free,” he states. “There are tradeoffs and investment decisions.”

Hall’s deep dive into fintech was natural for him. “At BCG, we were always rotating projects and getting up to speed on new companies, industries and dynamics,” he says. “The background of learning fintech is more about creating frameworks around a problem and thinking about how to solve and attack investment decisions. Focusing on things like how to ensure synchronization so revenue and sales are in lockstep with product, who is in lockstep with engineering, who is in lockstep with finance, who is in lockstep with marketing … ensuring we’re all in pursuit of the same goal.”

Hall says being able to call upon the network he established through Anderson has been invaluable. And then there are the friendships. “My Anderson roommates were both in my wedding.” Geography, he says, hasn’t hindered the closeness he’s maintained with fellow alumni around the globe.

With this in mind, Hall shares advice for those considering an MBA program. “Though they benefited me, I can’t tell you what was said in my statistics or strategy classes 10 years ago,” he says. “What I can tell you about are the relationships that were forged because of Anderson. My advice: Go somewhere where you can invest in people and relationships. You never know what doors they’ll open.”