An alumnus of the UCLA Anderson School of Management, Alex Lawrence knows the school and its admissions process inside and out. He’s served as assistant dean and director of MBA admissions for the past five years. Before that he spent eight years as executive director of Anderson’s Riordan Programs, a series of opportunities for diverse individuals from all over the country to receive leadership and management training through mentorship, workshops, and community service. Lawrence himself is also a Riordan alumnus.
After graduating from Anderson with his MBA in 1999, he spent four years working as a management consultant for Capgemini before finding his way back home to Anderson, where he’s stayed ever since. Adding to his list of talents, he’s also a highly trained engineer, holding both master’s and bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and Drexel University respectively.
But enough about the professional Lawrence. As we endeavor to do with our Real Humans of MBA Admissions series, we want to give you a glimpse into his more personal side. Below, we hope you’ll learn a few things that might help you feel like old friends when you meet for the first time at one of the upcoming information sessions Anderson will be hosting in cities around the globe for prospective applicants.
Our thanks to Lawrence for allowing us to get to know him a little better, too!
Real Humans of MBA Admissions: UCLA Anderson’s Alex Lawrence
Coffee or tea? Coffee
Beach or mountains? Mountains with snow
Morning person or night owl? Morning
Pet peeve? People who don’t respond to my outreach
Guilty pleasure? Red wine, preferably a Cabernet or Syrah from Paso Robles
Favorite virtue in others? A positive attitude—I like half-full types of people.
Worst habit? Saying yes to everything
Happy place? On a soccer field totally unplugged. I coach AYSO boys youth soccer teams.
Comfort food? Chocolate
Go-to cocktail? Old fashioned
Proudest moment? Proudest moment? Being inducted into The Riordan Programs Hall of Fame at UCLA Anderson.
Biggest regret? I had a chance to do a sabbatical, which I did take early in my career before Anderson. But I wish I had gone somewhere where I could have challenged myself to learn a second language. Especially being in Los Angeles, I should have gone to Mexico for a year and learned Spanish. Instead I lived in Australia, which was great but didn’t expand my language abilities.
One thing you would change about how you were raised? It was such a great experience, but my sister and I—we were poor growing up—and I do wish we could have traveled west more as kids. I grew up in New Jersey and the farthest west I got was Ohio. When I did get to California, I moved out here—25 years ago—and I’m not going back.
Superpower you wish you had? Flying—to have a big view of everything
Favorite fictional hero/heroine? Wolverine without a doubt. I have been a big comic book collector since age six.
Which part of the Anderson application process would you most like to skip if you were applying today? For me—as an engineer—taking the GMAT/GRE was not a big deal. I think I’d like to skip the essays. I don’t think I’m alone in that—I think a lot of people don’t like to write.
What’s the best thing you read/watched/listened to recently?13TH, the documentary by filmmaker Ava DuVernay about the 13th Amendment, racial inequality, and the U.S. prison system. My parents recommended it to me, and it is excellent.