Alejandra Rodriguez, originally from Mexico, reflects on her time spent pursuing her MBA at UCLA Anderson School of Management. Also she provides advice for future applicants on how to fund their MBA and how to choose the right school for them.
What do you think is UCLA Anderson’s greatest asset?
The Parker Career Management Center for sure! They offer invaluable training and advice for everything related to your job search and they are amazingly motivated to find every student their dream job. Just their services alone are worth the cost of the MBA and they are the reason I am now at Siemens AG!
How did you fund your MBA? Can you offer any advice to student looking to fund their MBA?
I funded my MBA using a loan, two fellowships, and a scholarship. UCLA Anderson is one of the few MBA schools that offers loans to all their international students. I also obtained two fellowships through UCLA with my admission offer and I obtained a scholarship outside of UCLA.
Regarding advice for students looking to fund their MBA what I recommend is to invest all you can spare (time and money) into having the best application possible. Take GMAT classes, get advice on your resume and MBA applications from a professional, visit the schools you are interested in, talk to current students, do interview prep, and apply to as many schools as you can (that you would be happy to go to) and do so in the first round. I spent all my savings doing this but I got back about 9 times what I spent in scholarships and fellowships. If you are a good applicant schools will help you with the finances so you can attend their school.
Why did you choose your MBA Program? Do you have advice to students on how to make a decision?
The best advice I can give you is to visit the school, walk around, sit in a class, and talk to the current students. The most important thing in choosing an MBA is that you fit in. All schools have different cultures and strengths and if you want to make the most of your experience you need to enjoy being there. No ranking will be able to tell you which school is better for you specifically. I chose UCLA Anderson because they have the happiest and most charming students out of all the schools I researched and I wanted to be a part of that too. I am happy to report I have never regretted that decision.
What advice can you give to ease the transition into a new country?
Don’t ease the transition! It is one of the best parts of the MBA so dive in head first! Get a roommate from a country very different from yours, seek to meet people from different countries and immerse in the culture of wherever you are. The struggles and the awkwardness is part of the fun and the learning experience will be invaluable in your work and private life.
What inspired you to pursue your MBA abroad and what have been the greatest benefits of doing so?
I thought living abroad for the first time would make me grow on a personal level and I was right. Living abroad made me more sensitive and understanding of others, more flexible and more creative. This was, for me, the greatest benefit of studying abroad and it also had a big impact in my leadership style and teamwork approach.