This UCLA Anderson EMBA’s Through-Line Is a Fast Pace

This UCLA Anderson EMBA’s Through-Line Is a Fast Pace


Fabiola Rangel Ornelas (’23) forged her career in sports and entertainment

OCTOBER 14, 2022

By Bekah Wright

  • UCLA Anderson Executive MBA student Fabiola Rangel Ornelas forged her career in the sports and entertainment industry
  • Bilingual in English and Spanish, she has managed marketing for the Latin American arms of various media companies
  • She entered the EMBA program at the same time she became the first director of content and partner marketing at startup Tubi

Fabiola Rangel Ornelas (’23) knows the qualities she’s looking for in a career: a fast pace, ever-changing and exciting. These are the characteristics she’s been pursuing and building on since her undergraduate days. She’s all about taking risks and relishing victories.

With degrees in communications and Spanish in hand, Rangel’s first job post-college was in sales. Realizing it wasn’t a fit, she shifted into a marketing role at Spanish-language sports network FOX Deportes. Working in the sports world quickly became a passion for the Pico Rivera, California, native. With a desire to add certain skills, specifically in marketing and business, to her arsenal, business school seemed like a natural next step.

While researching business schools, Rangel heard about UCLA Anderson’s Riordan MBA Fellows Program. Going strong since 1987, it is one of three Riordan programs that include the Riordan Scholars for college-bound high schoolers, and College-to-Career for undergraduate students transitioning into a career in management.

Through the Riordan MBA Fellows Program, college graduates are prepped to pursue business school. “It gives you the resources to apply for and excel in business school, including GMAT and application guidance, and access to Anderson’s admissions team,” Rangel says. Given where she was on her career path, the program checked a lot of boxes. “I wanted to get a feel for what business school would be like and to start building my network,” she says. “And I was interested in attending Anderson, so this felt like a big start to my business school journey.”

Her boss at FOX Deportes, Steven Graciano, encouraged Rangel every step of the way, even writing a recommendation. “I consider Steven my mentor during that time,” she says. “He supported my entering the Riordan MBA Fellows Program and looking into business school.” Rangel applied and was accepted into the program as a member of the 2011 class. Throughout, she continued working at FOX.

The students met at Anderson for all-day sessions one Saturday per month, a routine many would see mirrored in business school. These concentrated Saturdays introduced experiences ranging from case studies to team learning activities.

Of her classmates, Rangel says, “We were a diverse group of about 80, mostly from underrepresented communities.” To this day, she says, “We follow each other on social media and celebrate our successes and wins.” Since graduating from the program, Rangel, who is Mexican American, has been invited back twice to talk with Riordan Scholars Program high schoolers about her background in the sports and entertainment marketing industries.

After completing the Riordan MBA Fellows Program, Rangel was still working at FOX Deportes when a marketing manager role at UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) came her way and had her moving to Las Vegas in 2013. Leaving there in 2015, she spent four months serving as Chemistry Cultura’s (formerly Pinta) marketing and public relations consultant to the famous Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight.

Then Univision came calling. This led to a move to Miami, where Rangel served as director of marketing. Just shy of two years in that role, she was ready to move into a new industry. “At that point, I’d been in sports for 12 years,” she says. “It was time to expand and diversify my portfolio.” Returning to Los Angeles, Rangel took a job with Warner Brothers’ television arm as their director of marketing for Latin America, and also helped launch HBO Max International as director of integrated marketing.

A through-line in Rangel’s career has been working with the Latin American arms of various companies. Of this career trend she says, “As a Latina, I think I was unconsciously moving in that direction because of my background and culture. Majoring in Spanish was confirmation of not only knowing the language but having the degree to prove it.”

Rangel was at Warner Brothers for three years and eight months when the pandemic struck. A casualty of massive layoffs at the studio, she found herself at a crossroads. “There was a lot of uncertainty in the industry,” she says. Her question of “what next?” brought her thoughts back to UCLA Anderson. “The time had come to pursue that business degree I’d had my eyes on for so long.”

Earning a spot in Anderson’s Executive MBA program was a big win for Rangel, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. When she told her husband “it’s time,” he replied, “Let’s do it.”

But her focus would soon be split because Tubi, FOX’s ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) service, hired Rangel as its very first director of content and partner marketing.

What was alluring about the opportunity? That Tubi is a startup. “I felt there was an opportunity there, considering the current saturation of subscription-based video-on-demand platforms [SVOD] like Netflix and Hulu in the industry,” Rangel says. “There’s the excitement of being part of something new and different.”

Currently, Tubi has over 46,000 film titles from a variety of studios. The network is also creating original content, such as films and series. In fall 2022, it will be broadcasting the FIFA World Cup soccer tournament on delay.

As cord-cutters are finding themselves paying for multiple subscriptions, they’re scouring the market for less pricey options. This has led the SVOD market to eye moving into the AVOD market. “I think we’re going to see a lot of platforms offering both paid and free versions, creating more competition across the board,” Rangel predicts. “This is a big driver for Tubi. It hasn’t reached its highest momentum yet, and we’re going to see continuous growth.” As the Tubi network grows, Rangel says, “it’s still finding its place in terms of brand identity in the consumer marketplace. I can truly help shape something.”

Juggling business school, a new job and home life hasn’t been easy. “Having a support system has been important, as it truly ‘takes a village,’ not only to help with my daughter, but with business school.” Prioritizing and scheduling are vital, something Rangel says wouldn’t be possible without her family’s and the Tubi marketing team’s support. “I depend on them a lot and try to stay active, available and responsive, though sometimes I can’t be as involved as I want to be.”

While pushing Tubi to achieve its full potential is exhilarating, there’s something still tugging at Rangel’s heart: sports. “I miss it,” she says of the industry. “It’s fast-paced, ever-changing and exciting.” She also feels a sense of responsibility, particularly when it comes to being an advocate for women’s sports. “We’re seeing the rise of women’s sports, especially here in Los Angeles with what Angel City Football Club has done for women’s soccer. The new Las Vegas Aces team won the WNBA championship. There’s also the San Diego Wave FC, and an untapped market for the Los Angeles Sparks.”

With these factors in mind, Rangel is surveying her personal brand, continuing to add to her portfolio and keeping a competitive edge. With everything she’s experienced so far, Rangel offers this advice to others considering the Riordan Programs and pursuing their MBA. “Sometimes we discourage ourselves from going after what we truly want,” she says. “Don't hold back on accomplishing your dreams and what you’ve set your heart on.”