UCLA Anderson FEMBA President Engineers Solutions Like a Concertmaster

UCLA Anderson FEMBA President Engineers Solutions Like a Concertmaster


Salesforce’s Tiffany Lin (’24) pairs musicianship with business leadership

May 15, 2023

  • Incoming UCLA Anderson FEMBA Council President Tiffany Lin, a senior solution engineer at Salesforce, will represent and provide a sense of belonging to 850 part-time students
  • Her top priority is facilitating networking opportunities in an environment where people feel excited to ask questions and take risks
  • The experiences of playing in an orchestra and teaching music to others taught Lin high standards of leadership and effective collaboration

Lin organized a facilitated networking event for incoming FEMBA students

When Tiffany Lin (’24) applied to UCLA Anderson’s Fully Employed MBA program, she submitted an essay in which she compared musicianship to leadership. She didn’t imply that her talent as a violinist necessarily qualified her as a future corporate CEO. Rather, she described how the experiences of playing in an orchestra, watching concertmasters and conductors at work, and also teaching music to others taught her the highest standards of leadership and effective collaboration — traits that could, in fact, put her at the head of the table in a boardroom.

Lin grew up in Orange County and studied managerial economics at UC Davis before embarking on a career in finance and tech consulting. In her second year at Anderson, she has been elected by her classmates to serve as FEMBA Council president. The office entails representing and providing a sense of belonging for more than 850 part-time MBA students whose schedules may bring them to campus in person only a handful of times per month, not necessarily (nor maybe ever) on the same days. The president, her 10 VPs and as many as 12 section reps perform the crucial function of liaising with FEMBA program administrators, all in the interest of optimizing the student experience.

“I’m learning to delegate and trying to connect the VPs to the right people. I want them to own their roles.”

Lin, a senior solution engineer at Salesforce, is taking up the challenge by making a priority of networking. As a FEMBAssador, she helps acquaint prospective and newly admitted students with Anderson’s FEMBA program. In 2023, she organized the school’s first WinterPalooza, which merged a social event with facilitated networking among new admits and current FEMBA students. Lin has offered fellow students primers on working at Salesforce, where she also volunteers on employee resource groups that the company supports. In her turn, she has personally reached out to hundreds of members of Anderson’s wider network of alumni, faculty and industry professionals, and has never heard a “no” when she’s asked for time or advice.

The combination of pandemic lockdown, a subsequent move to remote or hybrid learning and an even greater selection of flexible schedules for part-time MBA students has augmented Lin’s task as FEMBA Council president. “The logistics of meeting up are difficult,” she says. “I’m learning to delegate and trying to connect the VPs to the right people. I want them to own their roles. Showing up in person makes a difference. Our goal is to bring back some of that tribal knowledge and the activities that connect us, as well as determine more effective ways to keep us connected to the school’s administration, including our FEMBA deans.” In addition to making a priority of networking, Lin is committed to enhancing students’ academic, capstone and career advising experiences.

The greater FEMBA Council includes officers and committees devoted to a range of areas that include academics, alumni relations, ethics and professionalism, and operations. The job of section reps is to gauge student sentiment, listen to what students are experiencing and what they want from the 27-month curriculum. The FEMBA administration, which includes Associate Dean Gonzalo Freixes and Assistant Dean Dylan Stafford, relies on the council and its officers as liaisons to the large student body. According to FEMBA’s director of admission operations, Chris Thompson, the fully employed students are like a focus group that has influenced the scope of the program and effected changes that have resulted in a blended schedule option, for instance.

As it happens, Lin knows new ASA president Juhie Rathor (’24) from her college days at UC Davis. Their leadership priorities and tenets are aligned. “We want to create an environment in which people feel excited to be here and find their intrinsic motivation. I encourage risks, experimentation with ideas, and I want to make sure students feel comfortable challenging administration.”

“We want to create an environment in which people feel excited to be here and find their intrinsic motivation.”

Lin is embracing a true insider’s experience of Anderson’s FEMBA program. She says she accepted the greater responsibilities of leading the council because she considers it a unique opportunity to serve a 900-person organization and develop the kinds of skills she’ll need to pivot into product management.

“The FEMBA Council president doesn’t have isolated authority,” she says. “So how do you inspire and bring together a team without direct authority? I think this experience will help me prepare for a managerial role.”

Lin and UCLA Anderson FEMBA alumni admissions advisor Richie Chang (’21)

She adds, “I also feel a great need to give back to a program that’s given me so much. It’s a desire versus an obligation.”

Lin grew up within large Asian and Asian American communities in Irvine, California. She enjoyed experiences among a diversity of people as a member of Interlochen Center for the Arts’ renowned World Youth Symphony Orchestra, at UC Davis and with her first employer, Accenture. At Salesforce — which “has honored ERGs and created space for leaders to tell their stories,” as Lin puts it — she is still the only Asian woman under 30 on a team of 60. “Tech sales involve the biggest enterprise clients, and they are mostly white males and typically older,” she says. She is a member of Anderson’s Asian Management Student Association, which, among other things, organizes events celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month each May. “The safety of professional spaces fluctuates,” she acknowledges. As FEMBA Council president, she plans to help others carve out how they navigate environments with varying levels of inclusivity.

“How do you inspire and bring together a team without direct authority? I think this experience will help me prepare for a managerial role.”

In terms of Anderson’s academic curriculum, Lin says she’s learned the most valuable lessons and skills from Terry Kramer, faculty director of the Easton Technology Management Center, whose class she TAs. She participated in Kramer’s Greater China global immersion course in Singapore, and she has earned an Easton fellowship, which will support her work on strategic initiatives to advance technology at Anderson. “I’ve really learned from him about the framework for contextual leadership and how, in a given situation, to think through to ‘so-whats?’ That’s been a game-changer in my job at Salesforce, the way I think about leadership on FEMBA Council and how I approach preparing for a career in product management.”

Ever the FEMBAssador, Lin imparts this advice to both prospective students and her fellow FEMBA classmates: “Take as much advantage of Anderson resources as possible — people above all, including those in the Executive MBA, MSBA and MFE programs. Be open to taking on opportunities that would be beneficial professionally as well as socially. It’s hard for a FEMBA to balance responsibilities, but take advantage of the three years. Don’t blow off opportunities without thinking through what you can get out of them.”