Allie Brodsky, a Full-Time MBA Student at UCLA Anderson School of Management and summer intern at The Walt Disney Studios, shares how her MBA program prepared her for her growing career in the entertainment industry. She also explains how she leveraged on-campus opportunities, utilized her alumni network, and learned to prioritize in order to accomplish her personal and professional goals.
Name: Allie Brodsky
School: MBA, UCLA , Anderson School of Management
Expected Graduation Year: 2018
Hometown: Tenafly, New Jersey
Why did you choose your MBA program? Do you have advice for students on how to make a decision?
I chose to attend UCLA Anderson because of the collaborative student body. What stood out to me (even before I submitted my application) was the willingness of students to chat with me. I had such positive interactions with everyone I spoke with that the decision was fairly easy for me. Stepping foot on campus actually sealed the deal. I visited campus for my interview and was very nervous, but my nerves went away as soon as I started speaking with current students. My advice for prospective students is to talk to as many current and former students as possible. And if possible, try to visit the campus! If you can’t make it to the school’s campus, look for events that are hosted in a city near you so you will get some face-time with staff, faculty members and students.
What are some activities you are involved with outside of class? How do you balance your time?
Outside of class, I’m a member of 8 different clubs ranging from Professional to Identity to Interest Clubs at Anderson. Through these clubs, I’ve had the opportunity to serve in a few leadership roles including with the Women’s Business Connection (WBC) and Entertainment Management Association (EMA). This upcoming year I’ll be serving as the Executive VP for the WBC. One of my core responsibilities is to oversee and develop our MANbassador program. MANbassadors are male allies on campus who are active advocates for gender equity and inclusion on campus and beyond. They help to increase awareness and develop skills to manage and promote diversity within professional environments. Overall, finding balance is very important. MBA life is filled with group and individual projects, lots of reading for classes, career prep, networking and club events. After a few weeks, I realized that I couldn’t say “yes” to every opportunity that the clubs offered. As a result, I had to prioritize certain clubs based on my personal and professional goals. I also had to create a new level of organization for myself to keep track of assignments as well as activities – so time and project management was absolutely key!
What has been your favorite classroom experience?
I’ve had so many. If I had to choose one, it would be a class I took this spring called Entertainment Strategy. It was taught by a consultant and Anderson alumnus who works with clients within the entertainment industry. I knew that the class attracted mostly second years, but as a first year, I decided to take the class anyway. I am so glad that I did! Although it required the most work of any class I've ever taken, I loved every minute. I felt challenged by all the cases that we had to read and prepare, and really pushed myself out of my comfort zone. I highly encourage anyone pursuing an MBA to take classes that make you uncomfortable. You will learn and grow so much.
How much are you in touch with the alumni network? Are they helpful in making connections with companies? What did you learn about creating and utilizing networks during your MBA?
I knew going into my MBA program that the UCLA network is very strong. What I didn’t realize is that the UCLA Anderson network is even stronger and very tight knit. This is one of Anderson’s major assets! At the beginning of the year, I reached out to alumnae within the entertainment industry to learn more and hear about various internship and full-time roles that were available for MBAs. As I was applying for internships, the alumni network helped me with interview prep and connected me to more people so that I could extend my network. Regardless of industry, utilizing and forging relationships with alumnae is important- especially for entertainment since it is a highly relationship-driven industry.
What resources and support did your school offer you through the career search?
At Anderson we’re very lucky to have the Parker Career Management Center, which is the #1 career center among top MBA programs. During the summer and fall quarters, all first years participate in the Parker Career Series, which offers resume and cover letter revising sessions, interview prep, introduction to negotiating and so much more. I remember half-way through the fall quarter, Parker gave everyone a manila envelope and told us to look inside. I opened the envelope and saw the resume that I’d used to apply to business school and my newly, updated resume. I was shocked at how much my resume had changed in just a few months! In addition to the Parker Career Series, the Parker advisors offer a ton of help throughout the interview process. I had many mock interview sessions and prep meetings throughout the school year and am very grateful for everyone on the Parker team. In addition to Parker, the student body is also a major resource for the career search. Each club offers networking and interview opportunities, and individual students are also willing to offer a helping hand in interview and application preparation.
Advice for Future Applicants
What is it like to transition back to school after being out for a few years? What advice can you offer students returning for their MBA?
Studying for the GMAT and preparing my applications for business school helped me to get in the mindset of being back in school. However, the summer before I started my MBA program I also enrolled in some math and excel courses that UCLA Anderson offered to freshen up my skills and knowledge. This helped as well. The advice I offer is “don’t worry” and “be patient”. All of your classmates will be in a similar boat - everyone is readjusting to student life. Additionally, don’t be too hard on yourself. After a few weeks you’ll be back in the swing of things.