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Why MBA Podcast
A podcast giving you 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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What Exploring Mars Can Teach Us about Business and Ourselves

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.

Featuring: Allen Chen, Systems Engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

A Problem-Solver Finds Unexpected Purpose in a Corporate Setting

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

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

U.S. Navy Captain Gary Ryals (’08) and Duncan Smith (’91), retired U.S. Navy SEAL officer


Being Open to New Opportunities

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.

Featuring: Deb Johnson, Chief Learning Officer of Deloitte Consulting

The path to CFO

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.

Featuring: Katie Low Anderson, CFO at Guess?

Don’t be afraid to trust your gut

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.

Featuring: Constance Knight, Global Head of Video Curation at Instagram

Timing Is Everything

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.

Featuring: Aaron Hirschhorn (’05), Founder and CEO, Gallant

A Fortunate Coincidence to Change People’s Lives

Hugh Chang walks us through his journey from a fast-paced tech job to the world of global health at the Gates Foundation. By focusing on innovation as a source of impact, Hugh was able to combine good luck and self-awareness to improve the lives of millions.

Featuring: Hugh Chang (’90), Director of Strategy, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Patience and Strategic Thinking for a Career in Analytics

Reggie Panaligan walks us through the strategy for how he got his dream job at Google. We also discuss the role data plays in entertainment and the dichotomy between new and old media companies.

Featuring: Reggie Panaligan (’10), Head of Analytics for Media and Entertainment, Google

Impact in Business School

Hear how two current students teamed up to create UCLA Anderson’s Crisis Response Corps, which pairs MBA student consultants with nonprofits and businesses to help them strategically respond to the effects COVID-19 and social injustice. We explore the role an MBA plays in our new world of socially responsible businesses.

Featuring: Bhavna Sivanand (’14), Executive Director, Impact@Anderson. With Joe Roohan ('21) and Charles Moran ('21) 

Incorporating Passion

On this episode we talk with Darren Pleasance about incorporating passion into a busy life. We lay out a framework for how to make sure you’re getting what you want out of life and how to recalibrate yourself if things get out of alignment.

Featuring: Darren Pleasance (’95), SVP of Global Strategy, Cisco

Chasing Your Dream Job

Getting your dream job is at the core of the business school experience. In this episode we explore what it’s actually like once you achieve your dream and the risks that you have to accept along the path.

Featuring: Rosie O’Neill (’05), Co-Founder, Sugarfina

MBAs and Startups

Is an MBA helpful in starting a business or going to work for a startup? Hear from the co-founder of the disruptive flower company The Bouqs on what disruption really means. Also, the tactics a current student uses to get an internship and a job.

Featuring: John Tabis (’06), Co-Founder and CEO, The Bouqs

The Business School Experience

In Episode 1, learn about why people come to business school, the actual reasons that drive people to make the investment. Also, what it’s like once you’re here — the paths you can take and an exercise to discover your authentic self.