Alumni Profile: UCLA, David Nash

Alumni Profile, David Nash.jpg
Posted by TheMBATour on 03 August 2017 / 0 Comments

David Nash, an MBA alumni of UCLA Anderson School of Management, shares how his MBA program prepared him for his growing career, and gives advice to prospective students.  

Name: David Nash

School: MBA, UCLA , Anderson School of Management

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Profession: Investment Banking, Financial Sponsors Group, Barclays, Los Angeles 


Student Life

What do you think is/was your program's greatest asset?

I’m torn between the student driven culture and the career resources, but for now I’ll focus on the culture. Throughout my time at Anderson, there was always a focus on helping one another and challenging each other to push past our comfort zone. For instance, the second years spend a tremendous amount of time helping first years recruit in every industry vertical. In my second year, I was head of the Anderson Career Team (ACT) focused on investment banking. ACT groups are basically recruiting boot-camps where successful second years train first years on all the industry specific concepts they need for their interviews. This extra class made such huge impact on my ability to successfully transition careers that I really wanted to be involved in giving back. That’s the attitude that permeates the Anderson culture: a desire to drop everything and help someone else be successful. The business world is very competitive, but that doesn’t mean business school always needs to be.

How did you decide that an MBA was the next step for you? What advice do you have for students considering an MBA on how to make that decision? 

For me, it was an easy decision. I was working at a brokerage in a sales role prior to business school, but I knew I wanted to pursue a career in high finance where I could have a larger impact on organizations. I knew business school would provide the formal education I needed to launch my career to that next level. For others who are not as sure, I would suggest looking at the benefits of business school holistically. While the return on investment and opportunity cost of exiting the workforce are important considerations, the friends, connections, and memories I have made add a tremendous amount of unquantifiable value to my life. My advice: know what you want to get out of the business school experience ahead of time and keep in mind that, like many things in life, you get out of it what you put into it.      



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?

Connecting with the alumni network was a huge part of my recruiting success at Anderson. We have alums at just about every bank in Los Angeles and they were a tremendous resource throughout the process. Recruiting is a two-way street and learning about the culture at companies you might want to work for is just as important as giving them the opportunity to learn about you. My first step with every company was to reach out to alumni working there to find out about their experience. This might sound like a daunting task if you don’t have much experience networking, but Parker, our career management center, does an excellent job of training each student on how to leverage the network. It also helps knowing that the alumni were in your shoes not too long ago and the Anderson spirit of giving back doesn’t end after graduation. All the alums I spoke with were extremely eager to connect and help me learn about their companies. Now that I’ve graduated, I’m looking forward to being on the other side and connecting with current students as they navigate the process.    

What resources and support did your school offer you through the career search?

As I mentioned previously, Parker, our career management center, does an excellent job training everyone on how to leverage the extensive alumni network. That’s just the beginning, though. Through the Parker Series, a class you take your first year, you’ll learn everything you need to know to recruit successfully. This includes resume and cover letter workshops, one-on-one consulting sessions with advisors, interview practice and guidance, and lots of instruction on how to best pitch yourself to prospective employers, all specifically tailored to your industry focus. Additionally, Parker teams up with the professional student clubs to coordinate the Anderson Career Teams, where second years train first years on how to successfully land summer internships. Behind the scenes, Parker coordinates the hundreds of recruiting events that take place throughout the year and keeps a pulse on recruiting trends in each industry and within each company. There’s definitely a reason the Parker Career Management Center topped The Economist’s 2016 survey for student satisfaction among top MBA programs. I would not have landed my internship and full-time job at Barclays were it not for everyone at Parker’s tremendous hard work and dedication to the students.   


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?

I think the transition back to school can definitely be a bit jarring. I distinctly remember the moment I got my first midterm back. I thought I had done quite well on the test but learned that my score was right around the mean of the class. Everyone else had done very well, too! I had never been in classes with so many other extremely intelligent and talented individuals. My advice is to take some classes to prepare for business school. I took several accounting and “math for management” classes through UCLA extension and it made the transition a lot easier. Even though the classes were online, it allowed me to get back in the flow of assignments and tests and prepared me with some fundamental knowledge as I started the program. The classes were self-study, so they didn’t get in the way of work, and the high marks I got also bolstered my application.

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?

My background was definitely unique. My undergraduate degree was a Bachelors in Fine Arts in Acting. After undergrad, I worked for start-ups, in theatrical casting, and social media marketing and digital strategy before I started thinking about business school. Once I knew I wanted to transition towards finance and get an MBA, I had to carefully consider how I was going to improve my application and how admissions committees would view me as an applicant. I knew I needed related financial experience if that’s how I was going to pitch myself, so I got a job in insurance sales and leveraged that experience to move to a brokerage. There, I managed client relationships and helped veteran brokers improve their businesses through my marketing background. I also knew that my academic profile was not as compelling and representative of my abilities as I would have liked, so I used the GMAT to prove that I could handle the academic rigor of a top program. I realized that my score would matter a lot more than an applicant with a more traditional progression and fewer years between undergrad and business school. The most important thing is to analyze your profile from the perspective of the admissions committee and consider the best ways to strengthen any areas that might be of concern.


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