By Neama Dadkhahnikoo (’14)
As the chief operating officer of Textpert (www.textpertapp.co), a smartphone app that provides quick, crowd-sourced advice for how to respond to texts that have you stumped, I wear many hats every day. Whether it’s fundraising, product development, growth marketing or startup strategy, I have to be ready for any new challenges the startup world throws in our direction. Thankfully, my MBA from UCLA Anderson has proven itself handy time and again. Here are the top 10 aspects of an MBA from UCLA Anderson that have helped me, and Textpert, get to where we are today:
- Learning how to build a 17-tab financial model with dynamic growth assumptions to impress number-crunching investors.
- Entrepreneurial classes that taught me how to evaluate an opportunity, size a market and write a bullet-proof pitch deck.
- Dozens of chances to practice and perfect my pitching and public speaking skills — so that I can shine whether speaking to a crowd or to an individual angel investor
- Having world-class VCs, industry leaders and startup veterans who were my professors and fellow alumni just a phone call away
- A student ID with no expiration date that allows me to return to campus to speak with college students every week, providing invaluable first-hand feedback from our target audience (don’t leak this to the dean)
- Technology classes that help me understand rapid iteration, product-market fit, and the fact that analytics and customer insights are the lifeblood of an early-stage startup
- An active and robust alumni network through both UCLA and UCLA Anderson, giving me access to amazing connections with a wide array of experience and expertise
- Soft skill classes that taught me how to build and manage a team, persuade VCs to invest and influence customer behavior
- Using the many collaborative spaces at Anderson as my own rent-free incubator after graduation (seriously, don’t tell the dean)
- Lifelong friendships with brilliant classmates who open doors, make introductions and invest in my startup
As we say in the startup world, UCLA Anderson helped me pivot my life from ordinary to extraordinary.