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Real Humans of MBA Students: UCLA Anderson MBA Class of 2023

ucla mba class of 2023

ucla mba class of 2023Justin Jones, UCLA Anderson MBA Class of 2023

Age: 26
Hometown: West Bloomfield, MI
Undergraduate Institution and Major: University of Wisconsin – Madison, Finance, Investment & Banking
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): KPMG – Senior Associate – Management Consulting – Financial Services Solutions (Data & Analytics Team)

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
The events of the past year taught us all that life is short. Regardless of whether it is COVID, police brutality, or other forms socioeconomic discrimination, all of these systemic societal issues disproportionally affect people of color. Now more than ever, I realized I did not want to spend anymore time in an industry/function that I was no longer passionate about.

Why did you choose UCLA Anderson? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
Anderson has the ideal program located in the epicenter of technology, innovation, and entertainment to assist me in combining my finance skillset with my fitness passion. Having the ability to tap into the boarder Los Angeles community while simultaneously getting the smaller college town vibes within the Westwood Community really stood out to me. Furthermore, UCLA’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion further made me realize this is the place I belong. 

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2023?
One unique contribution I’ve been able to provide to the Class of 2023 is connecting my class with the Class of 2022. Fortunately, my older brother is a member of Anderson’s 2022 class and together we have been able to uniquely join both classes in terms of academics, social events, and bond on a more personal level than classes before. Because of this connection, there is a unique bond between the first and second year students that maybe wouldn’t have been there prior.

Tell us a fun fact that didn’t get included on your application:
One aspect of my life that gets often overlooked is my passion for fitness and sports. During COVID, I decided to take this dedication to the next level and acquire my certified personal trainer’s designation (still in progress). This was a big reason I decided to come back to business school to merge passion of fitness with my skillset of finance and have been able to meet similar individuals like Keven White (check out his IG @the.kevinwhite). We’re looking to capitalize on UCLA’s BCO capstone project to further promote his fitness startup “Chief Fitness Officer.”

Post-MBA career interests:
Health & Wellness, Fitness, Technology, ED&I

 Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
–What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Take the time to truly reflect on why you’re going to business school. Depending on if it’s academics, networking, social activities, etc… that should play a big role in where you would like to attend. For example, if you really want to recruit heavy in a particular industry certain schools, especially with grade non-disclosure, also will allow to focus more on networking/recruiting vs grades.

–What is one thing you would change or do differently?
For anyone coming from a diverse background, I would say the one thing I would’ve done differently is apply to MLT
(Management Leadership for Tomorrow) program. Meeting so many people in my class who come from that network truly enjoy all the relationships / connections made through MLT and I wish I would’ve taken the time to do the same.

–What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
GMAT. Test scores are not always indicative of true capabilities. Never let test scores hold you from applying to your dream school because admissions officers take into account the WHOLE application.

What is your initial impression of the UCLA Anderson students/culture/community?
Anderson students love to work hard and play hard. Business school at Anderson is much more than just landing the next job. It’s truly about meeting some of your life long friends and experiencing this journey together. 

What is one thing you have learned about UCLA Anderson that has surprised you?
My initial impression of Anderson was that most people recruit for Tech, Entertainment, and Sports. While we do very well in those arenas, we also do extremely well in terms of recruiting for areas like Consulting, VC, IB, and Entrepreneurship.

Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your personal application or admissions process in any way? If so, how?
Not at all. Anderson has quickly adapted to a hybrid environment that allows those who are vaccinated and feel comfortable to come into class to do so. Additionally, those who do not fit this category able to get tested on a daily basis and can also zoom into any class when needed.

Posted in: Real Humans of MBA Class of 2023, Real Humans of MBA Students

Schools: UCLA Anderson

About the Author

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Lauren Wakal

Lauren Wakal has been covering the MBA admissions space for more than a decade, from in-depth business school profiles to weekly breaking news and more.

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