Fridays from the Frontline: My Takeaways from the First Half of Business School
This week in Fridays from the Frontline, current UCLA Anderson MBA student, Lorie Xi, shares her key lessons from the first year in business school.
Student Perspectives: My Takeaways from the First Half of Business School
By Lorie Xi, UCLA Anderson MBA ’22
This year is definitely special. Regarding what happened around the world, we started the school fully virtual. Even though I haven’t physically been at school, I think I have had a very fruitful six months.
During winter break, I spent some time thinking of the most important things I have learned while at Anderson:
1. Networking and relationships are really important
As an international student, we don’t network in my country. So networking is a brand-new to me. I didn’t know how to reach out, start a conversation, and follow up with practitioners. Thanks to Parker and all the 1st year and 2nd year students sharing success with me, I quickly adapted to networking. I think networking is important because, I can get first-hand insights and receive a lot of support, too! At first, I mostly reached out to the other first years to get to know them and their experience better. Then, I networked with second years to learn about their internship experience. During these chats, I made some good friends at Anderson! They continually supported me throughout the year both professionally and personally, which I think is the most valuable gift I have received from B-school. Finally, I started to reach out to alumni and they were so willing to share industry insights and recruiting tips, helping me become a better version of myself. I would love to thank all who talked with me sincerely.
2. Time is limited – it is essential to define your own interest and allocate your time wisely
I came to Anderson with a career goal to pursue a job as a product marketer. But when I started, I found out about all the many resources Anderson has in many different areas. So, I decided to start exploring other areas to understand different functions and industries. I was also afraid that I was not active enough, not participating in enough activities, and left out. My schedule started to become overwhelming, and I felt that my efficiency was no longer sufficient. So, I stopped, took a step back, asked people for advice, and took time to review all the activities I had attended. I confirmed that I am still most interested in and fit for product marketing. After that, I completely changed my strategy. I became more focused and dedicated to my goal. Every time I make a decision or trade-off now, I think about how best to allocate my time and energy. I am not saying exploring is bad. But, your time and energy is limited. I think it is essential to define your personal goals to best leverage all the resources you can get from B-school to achieve it!
3. Always be the true myself
Another important takeaway is always to be authentic. As I mentioned, communication is a big part of b-school. When you join a team or meet your teammates, there are some times that you might feel uncomfortable or not be fully yourself. In our leadership foundations class, I learned that people are quick to follow the majority. But I think showing your true self and expressing your ideas are the best way to contribute to your team and your community. Hold on to what really matters to you and who you really are. Who wouldn’t want to associate with an authentic person with a unique personality? I can say for sure that B-school is where Interesting souls collide with one another.
4. Trust myself and the process from school
When you enter a top b-school like Anderson. Your peers will be super impressive and all have achievements from their previous career or personal life. There was one time in the middle of the night where I felt panic and I thought I was not as fierce as others. Some of my peers had already secured their internships, and I haven’t interviewed any companies yet. But I quickly adjusted myself to trust who I am and not compare my credentials with others. I believe each one of us has our own phase and process. It is important to focus on my strengths, skills, potential, and opportunities that come my way rather than fearing failure! Also, to believe that MBA will be a transformational experience for me and will make me successful in my career and life!
Overall, I think the experience I have gotten halfway through my first year has exceeded my expectations. I am so glad that I made the decision to spend my MBA experience with Anderson. I am really looking forward to the rest of my journey. Can’t wait to see how far I can develop myself.
Student Blogger: Lorie ‘22
Undergrad: Purdue University, ‘15
Pre-MBA: Marketing at MEITUAN.COM
[email protected]: Director Admissions Ambassador Corps; Director of Events and Operations, Marketing Association; Director of Club Relations, Greater China Business Association