Real Humans of UCLA Anderson MBA Class of 2021
Gaelen LeMelle-Brown, UCLA Anderson MBA Class of 2021
Hometown: Queens, NY
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Morehouse College, Business Administration/Music (Double Major)
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 4 Years, Tech/Entertainment at Google/YouTube
Why business school? Why now?
Even during my freshman year of college, business school was always in my career plan. I hope to build a business where I educate musicians on how to effectively navigate the entertainment industry. Although I think I understand the music side, I wanted to make sure to sharpen my business acumen as well.
Why UCLA Anderson? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
A mentor at my previous job told me that if I really wanted to be taken seriously in entertainment, I had to spend time in New York, Los Angeles, or both. Being immediately available is integral to taking advantage of entertainment opportunities.
I’m originally from New York, but I made sure to apply to the four MBA programs in the Top 25 in these two cities. That being said, I immediately fell in love with UCLA Anderson. We have classes directly catered to students interested in entertainment, specifically music, and I noticed how strong the Entertainment Management Association program was. I knew that if I wanted to best position myself to succeed in the industry, I had to be here.
What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2021?
In addition to my business experience, I have experience in music composition and vocal performance. I have been playing piano for almost 8 years and have been performing in several group and individual capacities since I was ten years old. This not only helps me connect with the entertainers on a personal level, but also helps me with effective communication, public speaking, and creative problem solving.
Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?
I absolutely love to cook. Before starting at Anderson, I traveled around Southeast Asia for six weeks and took cooking classes in each country I visited.
Post-MBA career interests?
No matter what, I am interested in specializing in music business. Short term, I hope to work directly with artists as a product manager for a music tech company, creating a platform for artists to succeed. Long term, I’d like to establish my own “music incubator” where I help artists better understand how to build their brand and get compensated fairly for their work.
Advice to current prospective applicants:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Visit all of your schools! If you have the time, it truly makes a difference being able to visualize yourself on a campus. Luckily, I only applied to 4 MBA programs, so it was pretty easy.
–One thing you would change or do differently?
I would definitely reach out to my undergraduate admin earlier about getting my official transcripts. It seems simple, but I didn’t even know that my college only sent transcripts through mail. This made for a difficult and stressful process to get them to my schools on time for Round 1.
–Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
The stress of seeing your friends get into their respective programs. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in business school, it’s “stay in your lane.” Everything will work out the way it’s supposed to; you just have to trust the process.
What is your initial impression of UCLA Anderson’s students/culture/community?
Anderson is an extremely welcoming community. When I visited the campus during Embracing Diversity Weekend, I was immediately plugged into the network of students interested in entertainment. They really helped me prepare for my interview.
One thing you have learned about UCLA Anderson that has surprised you?
The school truly practices what they preach about “Sharing Success.” Second-Years are more than helpful with helping the First-Years through our internship recruiting season. My peers and I definitely lift as we climb when it comes to completing our core classes.
Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
The entertainment recruiting season is a bit daunting as it happens so late. A lot of my peers will already have offers by the time I even apply. I’ll have to take some of my own advice of “staying in my lane.”
Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
This may seem obvious but: the travel! I’m actually heading to India this winter and Ghana this spring, so I’m excited to immerse myself in new cultures (and to take some more cooking classes, too.)