Rob Weiler (’91) is associate dean of the full-time MBA program, overseeing everything from admissions to career services to student affairs. Rob spent his post-MBA career working in finance prior to returning to UCLA Anderson, where he has been for nearly nine years. Here he talks about why UCLA Anderson MBA students will be arriving on campus to start the program on August 1, more than a month earlier than in past years.
Q: The UCLA Anderson MBA program is starting on August 1. What was the rationale behind starting the program earlier than in past years?
The August 1 start for all incoming UCLA Anderson MBA students is a radical change from the past. (Actually, our international students are already arriving today for International Orientation!) This earlier summer start was born out of a desire to solve two issues: first, our previously later start relative to other MBA programs put our students at a disadvantage in having sufficient time to explore career options and build skills necessary to secure summer internships; and second, the first fall quarter was extremely intense and very quant-heavy (students took statistics, economics, accounting and finance or marketing). This heavy load was exacerbated by how quickly students had to get moving on recruiting.
Q: What will students be doing during this additional time in the program?
Faculty from our organizational behavior and statistics courses offered to adjust their syllabi and teach their normal 10-week course in five weeks. This will allow students to take only three classes in the fall quarter and will allow our “less quant-able” students to ease into the MBA experience more easily. During the first six weeks, students will take a crash-course in being a student at UCLA Anderson, hear from staff with whom they will work for the coming years, and also take the Leadership Foundations course with our organizational behavior faculty. That will be followed by five weeks of statistics and organizational behavior. Woven throughout these six weeks will also be career-related programming from the Parker Career Management Center. After the completion of summer session, we will engage the students in more traditional orientation activities, as we have done in the past.
Q: How will these extra weeks added to the program benefit UCLA Anderson students?
We expect substantial benefits from this gigantic shift. First, students will have months instead of weeks to explore careers. The vast majority of students entering an MBA program are changing industries, functions or both. Learning about new opportunities takes time, and getting our students here on campus, fully engaged and focused on this next phase of their careers, will allow them to make better decisions about what they focus on for their summer internships and, even more important, will give them substantially more time to prepare for summer internship interviews. No longer will they feel like they are months behind the competition at other schools.
Equally beneficial is that the new arrivals will be able to ease into academic life by taking one quant class and one class that might be more in the wheelhouse of those without quant training. Since the pressure is high in the early part of the program, which can result in some people having to choose between focusing their efforts on either academics or career, we feel that this will take some of the pressure off, thereby allowing students to perform better, both in the classroom and in the job search process.
Q: Any final words to the Class of 2018?
We are excited to welcome the next group of Andersonians to our illustrious club and look forward to the excitement of having 360 highly accomplished, energetic and brilliant MBA students gracing the halls of the Anderson complex!
This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared in UCLA Anderson’s MBA Insider’s Blog.