Terry Kramer Gives Because Anderson Students Lead Great Companies, Solve Societal Problems

Terry Kramer Gives Because Anderson Students Lead Great Companies, Solve Societal Problems

Easton Technology Management Center’s director supports the school’s vision

  • Kramer gives to Dean Bernardo’s One Anderson Student Relief Fund
  • Acknowledging the pandemic, he says, “Extraordinary times require extraordinary actions”
  • The popular professor believes earning an Anderson MBA “is a high-leverage, high-impact, high-return activity”

Terry Kramer is faculty director of UCLA Anderson’s Easton Technology Management Center, where he and his team are responsible for curriculum development, conferences, workshops and industry partnerships oriented around technology and technology management. Kramer also teaches full time, bringing the expertise he amassed over decades as a private-sector executive in the global mobile technology space to a variety of on-campus courses as well as annual global immersion courses he teaches abroad.

As the school adjusted to COVID-19, Kramer, like his fellow faculty members, rapidly converted his spring 2020 course to a virtual format, counting on the invaluable flexibility of students in his class Evolution and Innovation in the Global Mobile Industry.

The impact of the pandemic, of course, goes far beyond the migration of courses online. For many Anderson students, it has layered financial burdens on top of those already associated with life in graduate school. That’s why Dean Tony Bernardo created the One Anderson Student Relief Fund, which focuses on some of the students’ most pressing needs.

It also inspired Kramer to give. “Extraordinary times require extraordinary actions,” Kramer says, citing the number of people who have lost their lives or are sick because of COVID-19, and its effect on the economy.

“An MBA is a high-leverage, high-impact, high-return activity, and anything that potentially would get in the way of our students’ being able to reap the benefits of their degree would be a travesty. Because you’re interrupting the process of generating the next group of leaders that are going to work on big problems, that are going to create great companies. They’re going to solve societal issues,” Kramer says. “When I looked at the current environment, knowing that people are having tough times with their jobs and getting work and thinking about whether they could afford school or not, I said, ‘Hell, this is the right time to make a contribution.’

“In business terms, people ask, ‘What criteria do you use to decide to join a board?’ I always say there are two things that matter when you want to join a board or work for a company. One is, do you believe in the vision of the organization? The second is, can they execute, take that vision and actually make it happen and get great outcomes?” Kramer says. “The MBA at Anderson meets both of those criteria. The school’s trying to create the next generation of high-impact leaders. And its ability to execute? You look at the faculty, you look at the alumni and you look at the centers, the staff and, obviously the students mdash; you’ve got what it takes to execute. So, I looked at my gift as a drop in the bucket, an opportunity to make a contribution that might create some multiplier effect.”

A key component of Anderson’s multiplier effect is the work of the Easton Center.

Kramer and his team — program director Heather Felix (’94), program manager Darina Genina and operations manager Jaymie Park — have a vision for the Easton Center: leadership preparedness in a tech-driven world. The mindset is that, regardless of industry, every business is a technology-based business, reliant on data, high-speed mobile communications and cloud computing. “What we’re trying to do at a broad level is make sure our students are ready to lead in that environment,” Kramer says.

Easton sponsors several conferences and workshops to address innovation in the enterprise and consumer sectors, bringing in seasoned executives to mentor students and hosts a recently launched cross-campus Innovation Challenge. The center furthers its goals through a variety of courses that cover product management, artificial intelligence, media, health and financial tech, all aimed at preparing students for tech-savvy leadership roles in those industries. “We hope that we’re turning out students that can be successful right out of the gate,” Kramer says.