Why MBA - UCLA Anderson

Why MBA Podcast

A podcast with an inside look into what business school is really like. Stories from current students and successful grads combine into a behind-the-scenes look at the UCLA Anderson MBA experience. Hosted by Class of 2017 graduate Alex Grodnik.

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Recent Episodes

Be Open to an International Career

Featuring:  Savita Iyer (’05), CFO - Southeast Asia and Head of Finance APAC Media Networks at The Walt Disney Company
Finance  International

Singapore-based Savita Iyer (’05) has worked in finance at the Walt Disney company for 15 years. But she’s had so many opportunities in different roles worldwide that she doesn’t feel like she’ll ever get stuck doing the same thing for long. Now CFO of Southeast Asia and Head of Finance APAC Media Networks at The Walt Disney Company, Iyer was the commencement speaker for her FEMBA class at Anderson, and worked as a consultant in Sweden following graduation. She recommends that MBAs who want an international career be rigid in their goals but open to the path they take, and make it known early to employers that they’re seeking assignments overseas.


Bridging Worlds

Featuring: Jon Niermann (’95), Co-Founder and CEO, Loop Media Inc.
Entertainment  Leadership
From a pivotal leadership role at Disney to hosting a late-night show in China to co-founding Loop Media, Jon Niermann’s (’95) professional journey transcends borders and defies convention. His unique and influential career is marked by cultural understanding and reciprocity.

Mastering the Craft

Featuring: Melanie Auguste (MBA/J.D. ’13), VP of Global Brand Narrative, Purpose and Athlete Marketing, Nike
Sports  Leadership
Melanie Auguste (MBA/J.D. ’13) harbors a deep-seated passion for sports and a gift for understanding people and trends. From aspiring pro athlete to influential leader in the sports marketing industry, she transformed her career goals into her dream job at Nike. Her secret? Shift from thinking about your work as a “job” to viewing it as mastering a craft. It also helped that she found, in UCLA Anderson, a graduate school that valued exactly what she wanted to do.

Always at the Forefront of Storytelling and Technology

Featuring: Malik Ducard (’00), Chief Content Officer, Pinterest
Statistics  Technology
Throughout his career, Malik Ducard (’00) has always stood at the forefront of storytelling and technology. He studied liberal arts in college and never thought he would warm to quantitative subjects. When he enrolled at UCLA Anderson, he put himself in the crosshairs of learning new things, fell in love with statistics and developed skills for his first job in entertainment.

We Have to Think Macro, but We Have to Act Micro

Featuring: Blair Taylor (’90), Managing Director of Talent & Organization, and North America Lead for Inclusion, Diversity & Equity, Accenture
Impact Leadership
Senior executive Blair Taylor (’90) has spent his career introducing principles of community engagement and inclusion into daily business practices — a professional journey that has put his service to others first. He discusses the three fundamental shifts in the market that have driven a new era for companies, and he describes an operating plan he wrote for his young self that guided the trajectory of his career.

Run at the Barking Dog!

Featuring: John Carmichael (B.A. ’90, ’95), CEO and President, Nestlé Canada
Finance Double Bruin
John Carmichael (B.A. ’90, ’95) has enjoyed a 27-year career with Nestlé that is characterized by adventure and turning around struggling businesses. Working like an entrepreneur within a major corporation, Carmichael has found that attacking rather than avoiding the most daunting challenges leads to transformational opportunities. He implores executives trying to solve business problems to “run at the barking dog.”

A Creative’s Career Pivot

Featuring: Ginny Chien (B.A. ’98, ’10), SVP of Global Brand Marketing, Unilever Prestige/Murad Skincare
Marketing Double Bruin
Double Bruin Ginny Chien (B.A. ’98, ’10) began her career as a print journalist covering, among other topics, fashion, style and beauty. When she decided to earn her MBA at Anderson, she made the connections and gained the confidence and wherewithal to shift careers. Now she brings her interest in beauty full circle as SVP of brand, content and creative at Murad Skincare, a Unilever prestige brand.

What Exploring Mars Can Teach Us about Business and Ourselves

Featuring: Allen Chen (’07), Systems Engineer, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Engineer Explorer
UCLA Anderson alumnus Allen “Al” Chen (’07) is the entry, descent and landing lead for the Mars 2020 project at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. In describing his fascinating job, he explains how an MBA education fits into a deeply technical role.

A Problem-Solver Finds Unexpected Purpose in a Corporate Setting

Featuring: Neesha Hathi (’00), Chief Digital Officer and Managing Director, Charles Schwab
Finance Corporate
Neesha Hathi (’00), chief digital officer and managing director at Charles Schwab, felt motivated to help people create better financial futures for themselves. But she never thought that would mean working in a large corporation, leading a team of 1,500 people focused on digital transformation.

A Fitness Entrepreneur Strengthens Her Resolve

Featuring: Felicia Alexander (’05), Co-Founder and President, BoxUnion; Chief Revenue Officer, TITLE Boxing Club
Finance Entrepreneur
Despite a “burning desire” to launch in the fitness space, Felicia Alexander (’05), co-founder and president of BoxUnion and chief revenue officer at TITLE Boxing Club, needed to overcome her risk aversion.

Teamwork — in the Navy SEALs and Business School

Featuring: U.S. Navy Captain Gary Ryals (’08) and Retired U.S. Navy SEAL Officer Duncan Smith (’91)
Marketing Strategy

Being Open to New Opportunities

Featuring: Deb Johnson (’99), Chief Learning Officer, Deloitte Consulting
Finance Consulting
Deb Johnson (’99), chief learning officer of Deloitte Consulting, tells us how a piece of advice her father gave her as a young girl has shaped her entire career and also the skills you should be developing for a career in consulting.

The Path to CFO

Featuring: Katie Low Anderson (’09), CFO, Guess?
Finance Retail
Katie Low Anderson (’09), CFO at Guess? Walks us through her up and down journey to becoming the CFO of a multi-billion dollar company. How believing in herself, constantly learning and keeping good relationships were the keys to her success.

Don’t Be Afraid to Trust Your Gut

Featuring: Constance Knight (’98), Global Head of Video Curation, Instagram
Marketing Social
Constance Knight (’98) talks about how not being afraid to make big changes in your career and trusting your gut can lead to life changing outcomes. Also, why it’s so important to have specific career goals and predictions for the future.

Timing Is Everything

Featuring: Aaron Hirschhorn (’05), Founder and CEO, Gallant
Finance Entrepreneur
Aaron Hirschhorn, founder, CEO and chairman of the disruptive startup DogVacay, tells us how timing was the crucial factor in growing his business from nothing to $100 million in revenue. Also, we discuss how to make the best decisions with the information you have.