New UCLA Anderson Student Body President Leads with Intention

New UCLA Anderson Student Body President Leads with Intention


Design thinking guides Juhie Rathor’s (’24) personal and professional goals

April 28, 2023

  • UCLA Anderson MBA student Juhie Rathor, an influencer marketing manager, has been elected Anderson Student Association president
  • Through design training as an undergraduate, she learned the creative and the iterative processes that involve understanding audiences, generating a creative brief and stewarding a project from launch to finish
  • Taking a decidedly intentional approach, she’s setting goals of transparency, efficiency and collaboration in her role as ASA president, and laying groundwork for future roles

When Juhie Rathor (’24) first arrived at UCLA Anderson, she was dazzled by the endless opportunities of the MBA program. “I immediately wanted to do everything, but realized that was literally impossible.” Then, the Sacramento native remembered, “I’d set priorities for my Anderson experience: learn about myself, build relationships and gain leadership experience.”

One way Rathor, a marketing professional, is meeting her goal of gaining leadership experience is through her upcoming role as Anderson Student Association president. “I’m interested in chief of staff roles, and being ASA president feels like a mini version of that, like a trial run at running a company or department.”

Setting intentions is a practice Rathor has used throughout her education and career. A long list of diverse interests has accumulated through this approach: yoga, calligraphy, business, design, keynote speaking on personal development ... How did these make the list? “In thinking about my core values, the three things that matter most to me surfaced: creativity, people and wellness,” Rathor says. “So, everything I do in my life at any point will incorporate at least two of those three things.”

“Anderson’s vibe sold me. I immediately knew these were my kind of people.”

Rathor’s path hasn’t always been so clearly defined. Heading into undergraduate studies at the University of California, Davis, pre-med was in her sights. When biology courses didn’t click, she switched to economics, then pivoted to statistics.

Juhie Rathor enjoying breakfast

These majors, though, lacked a creative element, something Rathor thrives on. “I was under the impression creativity wouldn’t lead to viable, profitable career options.” Picking up a design major as “my fallback, fun major” brought a different perspective. “Through design, I learned skills needed for the creative and the iterative design processes — how to understand who your audience is, how to make a creative brief, how to launch a project from start to finish.” Putting those skills into action when managing business-based projects revealed something else. “Everything I was doing involved learnings from my design major.” With the addition of a managerial economics minor, she ultimately landed on the right major/minor mix.

At UC Davis, Rathor also served as president of the Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity. A chat among women presidents of other business clubs spurred an idea: They should bring together all their best practices through one club. Davis Women in Business was born. “Within one quarter, it became the quickest growing club on campus,” Rathor says. Davis Women in Business continues to thrive, and the core group is still tight. “Four of our five co-founders are pursuing our MBAs,” Rathor says. “It’s awesome to have that network of like-minded women doing great things out in the world.”

After graduation, Rathor’s career path veered into content, social media and influencer marketing for companies that included Snapchat, Google/Waze, Uber and Healthline Media. “I ended up with a good blend of creative strategy, leadership and execution.” Yet, as a team member on the receiving end of a list of needs, Rathor knew, “I wanted to be on the team creating those demands.” A desire to work as a chief marketing officer for a large tech firm led to thoughts of applying to business school. “It occurred to me that I knew the influencer and social media spaces well, but if I wanted to run a company, I’d need to understand how a business functions outside of the marketing realm.

“We want to create an environment of trust and support. We’re all working toward the same goals, which is often easier when working with others.”

“Anderson’s vibe sold me. Everyone was so genuine; I immediately knew these were my kind of people.” Rathor found Anderson students to be the most willing to help her through the application process. “I was amazed at how far people would go to help me,” she says. “It made me excited to become part of this community.” Right away, Rathor’s list of priorities — learn about herself, build relationships and gain leadership experience — was addressed. Fast friendships occurred when 200 members of Rathor’s class traveled to Japan for spring break. “It was one of those MBA experiences you can’t get anywhere else.” Though the group was large in number, they formed close bonds. “I was surprised that these people I’ve only known for a few months I now call some of my closest friends,” Rathor says. “High-quality friendships were something I knew I’d gain from this program, but not to this extent.”

Monthly meetings with her leadership coach have resulted in lightbulb moments. “I learned I’m far more extroverted than I thought. I’m someone who feels energized and at peace when I’m around people.” She credits business school with teaching her how to use this energy. “I’ve been able to pinpoint what makes me feel happy and productive and how to put that energy in the right places.”

Now, as ASA president, Rathor and her executive vice president, Michael Bleggi (’24), have set out three primary goals: transparency, efficiency and collaboration. “We’re one of the first classes to be fully back in person post-COVID,” Rathor says. “Though we’re grateful for this, it brings challenges, as we’re picking up where many classes left off from years of not being in-person.”

Regarding efficiency, “We’ve seen a lot of duplicative work, so we want to reevaluate our processes and structures and find ways to streamline processes wherever we can to improve the student experience.”

On the transparency front, Rathor says, “We want to increase transparency and communication between faculty and students. There’s so much of the MBA experience to take advantage of, and we want to ensure people know what’s available so they can leverage those resources.”

“In thinking about my core values, the three things that matter most to me surfaced: creativity, people and wellness. Everything I do in my life at any point will incorporate at least two of those three things.”

As for collaboration, the ASA foresees this involving first- and second-year classes, Anderson’s degree programs and student clubs. “We want to create an environment of trust and support,” Rathor says. “We’re all working toward the same goals, which is often easier when working with others.”

As she begins her ASA presidency, Rathor gives a shout-out to Mike Morgan (’23), former ASA vice president. “He’s been a great mentor and coach,” she says. “I believe this has helped bring our classes together and set expectations for the student experience. I’m grateful for his support.”

With an eye toward the future, Rathor is staying open to change. “Every time I’ve made a five-year plan, 20% of that will stay true, and the rest will change.” Currently, she’s aiming to go into product marketing. This summer, she’ll be working in global brand marketing at PlayStation. “The recruiter specifically pulled my profile because they’re trying to do more with influencers,” Rathor says, referring to her past career trajectory as an influencer marketing manager. “I think Sony has a long-term strategy to bring me back into that world, and I’m absolutely not opposed.” Rathor’s been taking a gaming course. “I’m looking at this from a video game angle with the metaverse in mind,” she says. “It’s crazy how artists can use different mediums. Like in the metaverse, where you see influencers popping up in different ways.” A current trend she’s noticing is a move toward virtual reality. “Influencing will take shape and adapt to whatever that looks like in the metaverse.”

Still, with all these plans lined up, Rathor hopes to launch a side business someday. “I want to leverage my creative hobbies,” she says. “I was teaching yoga and doing wedding calligraphy and graphic design. If there’s an opportunity to pursue those as official side businesses, I’d love to explore them.”

With her passion for embracing opportunities, Rathor puts forth this advice for those contemplating business school. “Think about what you want to get out of the experience and keep that top of mind,” she says. “There are endless opportunities, and you’ll want to do it all, but it’s best to know what you want to get out of the experience.” Following her example, consider setting intentions. “When you prioritize, it’s easier to prevent burnout and focus energy in the places aligned with your goals.”