When UCLA Anderson Assistant Professor of Decisions, Operations & Technology Management Elisa Long was an undergraduate at Cornell University, she started out in biomedical engineering — “I was too squeamish for medicine,” she confesses — but found her way to operations research when she realized its applications to so many everyday systems, from airline scheduling to retail supply chain management to fraud detection. Once she was in graduate school at Stanford, Long saw everything she had learned about operations and probability coalescing in health care policy and institutional practice, and she knew that was where her applied research would be most useful.
Long teaches the data and decisions course in Anderson’s full-time MBA program. She says her goal is to distill for students the most relevant information for their business objectives, to “connect the dots” so that they can use statistics and probability directly to solve problems or enhance their work. She recently had a chance to practice the basic principles she imparts to her students when she was invited to write an article for the Washington Post connecting the dots between her victory as a contestant on “The Price Is Right” and her diagnosis and treatment of a rare, aggressive form of breast cancer related to the BRCA1 gene mutation she carries.
One of the most popular aspects of Alumni Weekend is its culminating event, the Alumni Golf Tournament, the brainchild of Chris Benedict (’98), Curtis Colon (’98) and Jim Hannon (’98) (who have recently been joined by co-chair John Kelly ’98). The nine-year-old volunteer-run tournament puts the “fun” in fundraising, with 45 golf foursomes competing as teams for a range of prizes and recognition. In a separate putting contest, all players get a chance to win private jet travel to Las Vegas, provided by Pride Flight Associates, a local company founded by Anderson alumnus Roger Behrstock (BS ’59).
Benedict, also the CFO of the UCLA Anderson Alumni Network Board, says, “As Anderson alumni, we should all embrace the spirit of giving back to help support and grow the brand that is UCLA Anderson. What is really effective about this tournament is that it enables this while bringing the full cross-section of constituents together in a great day of camaraderie and networking.”
Under the festive theme of Venice Carnival, the student-run Challenge for Charity’s annual C4C Casino Night raised more than $20,000 for its selected charities, Special Olympics, Junior Achievement and Project ECHO. It’s a record for C4C’s biggest social event of the year, which raised $9,000 last year and clearly exceeded this year’s goal of $15,000.
Held at the El Rey Theater in Los Angeles, the fundraiser featured real casino games dealt by favorite Anderson professors and staff, a date auction, a silent auction (with a signed shirt from David Hasselhoff!), live DJs, open bar, dancing and photo booth.
“Even though the chips had no monetary value,” blogged C4C member Zafeer Khan, “students enjoyed playing to win big and get more tickets for the raffle.”
As part of the promotion of its biannual rankings of the nation’s business and management schools, Bloomberg BusinessWeek decided to hold a contest. They posed a question to its readers in the form of a hashtag — #WhyMBA — and they asked folks why their MBA was important and, more specifically, why an MBA degree from their institution was valuable. The challenge asked people to tweet their responses and include the hashtag and a reference to their school. The school with the most mentions would “Win the Internet.”
Well, UCLA Anderson won the Internet.
At first it seemed like a lark. After all, anyone could sit and just keep tweeting out a hashtag and a school name; in fact, if one really wanted to one could probably program a ’bot to do it automatically. No doubt, some took that approach. But as the challenge continued, something started to happen. What began as a laugh evolved into a way to bring the Anderson community together. It wasn’t necessarily about “winning the Internet” — it became about working together and bonding over a common cause. The tweets came from all corners of the Anderson universe, with students, administration, alumni and faculty all joining in.