During the final stretch of his MBA education, Guilherme “Gui” Pereira (’18) was reflecting on his time at UCLA Anderson with a mixture of pride and remorse. He had achieved his personal and professional goals by doing high-quality work and securing a position at Microsoft after graduation. Yet he felt he may have missed chances to get involved with student organizations and activities.
In his final term, Pereira sought to immerse himself in the Anderson community and make up for lost time. “I didn’t feel like I’d done a good job of involving myself in my first year and a half,” he says. “I was focused on academics. Looking back, I regret that.”
But it’s never too late to get involved at Anderson, as Pereira discovered. As a second-year student, he seized the opportunity to fill a committee member role with the Anderson Affiliates, a group of current students who work together to raise funds from their fellow classmates. “It was a great way to help the school, build leadership experience and make a tangible difference,” he says.
Coming from a family of salespeople, Pereira was up for the challenge. He quickly found peer-to-peer fundraising to be a challenging, but rewarding, endeavor. He connected with section representatives and worked on demonstrating the value of philanthropy to his classmates.
His pitch concentrated on the connection new alumni will have to their alma mater for years to come, and their own return on investment. Pereira also hopes to build a culture of philanthropy among potential future donors, noting that high alumni giving rates are also reflected in school rankings.
“The value of your diploma and your resume is directly tied to the success of the school,” he says. “Donations allow us to create fellowships and get better students, better faculty and better programs to build up UCLA Anderson’s reputation.”
At a time when students may be struggling and the economy flagging, Pereira says alumni can step up in ways beyond monetary donations. “As alumni, we have a chance to be very intentional with our actions and generosity. You can help by being that connection for a student trying to find a job or internship, or available for someone in need of a connection in your area.”
Two years after graduation, Pereira has found more ways to invest in Anderson. As sales operations program manager at Microsoft, he connects with applicants for possible Microsoft recruiting activities, and is involved with his local alumni chapter in Seattle and in his home country of Brazil. He views his connection to Anderson as a constant for him going forward, and encourages others to do the same.
“I will always give my time and be there for my MBA community,” he says. “To me, that’s what Anderson is all about.”