Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Reflections on UCLA Anderson

Happy New Year everyone!

Before I get started on this post, and well, restarted on this blog in general, I wanted to mention something. For the past several months, I have thought about how to approach what I am putting out in this space. Do I write about b-school, career, life, etc. as an “expert,” or do I just tell my story? In fact, I have written several “posts” and played around with a variety of ideas. I have quickly realized I am not an expert, far from it, and to position myself as such would be inauthentic and fraudulent. But what I can and will do is, offer my perspective as one person who has gone down this path, with the hope of adding value to someone’s life.

So, this is my story. Raw. Unedited. Messy. And far from finished.

I was recently asked by an admissions consultant on a b-school forum if I would write about my experience at UCLA Anderson. As I begin jotting down some thoughts to post in response to her request, I realized that it might be valuable to expand on my reflections here.

In the coming weeks, I plan on writing about the following topics about my experience at Anderson:
  • Admissions 
    • Resume 
    • Essay 
    • Interview 
  • Career services 
  • Recruiting 
  • Summer internship 
  • Academic internships 
  • Full-time recruiting 
  • Academics 
  • The Applied Management Research Program 
  • Student life/culture 
  • Clubs/extracurricular 
  • Alumni 
To get this all kicked off, I want to post my response to that admissions consultant:

“It’s difficult for me to successfully depict my experience at UCLA Anderson in such a limited space. This usually works much better for me in one-on-one conversations, but I will do my best.

“For me Anderson was a place where I met amazing people, pushed myself intellectually, and ultimately transformed myself professionally and personally.

Academics 
“The academic experience overall was great! I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t love all my classes or professors, but on the whole I found myself learning and challenging my own understanding of business on a daily basis. One of the things I loved most about the academic side of Anderson was the diversity of learning experiences and methods I was exposed to. It wasn’t all cases or just lectures. It was a nice balance of those two, plus a healthy amount of experiential learning. Not only were the majority of the professors solid, we also got some amazing guest speakers—Alex Rodriguez, the President of Adidas North America, one of the founding members of CAA, David Aaker, Al Michaels, and Jessica Alba just to name a few.

People 
“One of the main reasons why I decided to attend Anderson was the people. During the application process, Anderson was the only school where 100 percent of the people I reached out to actually got back to me. Those I spoke with were sharp and really knew their stuff. However, the thing that won me over was how noticeably happy they all were. Needless to say, I came into the program with high expectations for my peers. I was not disappointed in the slightest. Not only was I surrounded by incredibly accomplished and intelligent individuals, they were also down-to-earth and approachable. During my two-years at Anderson, I made some of the best friends I will probably ever have. Simply put, the student culture at the school was amazing!

Career
“Although there are many other positive aspects of my Anderson experience, the last one I will mention here is career. The Career Services Center at Anderson is second to none. I would put them up against any other school’s career center. The people I worked with not only wanted to help me get a job, they were invested in helping me better understand myself, my motivations, and my skills so that I could land the right job. I spent many hours with my advisors researching jobs, identifying target companies, prepping for interviews, etc. Without all of that, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Another big asset of Anderson on the career front is the location of the school. The business community in LA is thriving and the opportunities to work within that community to gain real experiences during school are endless. Not only did I do a full-time summer internship, I also did three part-time internships during the school year that enabled me to make the dramatic career shift that I did—operations at Goldman Sachs to marketing at Microsoft.

“In the end, the 21-month experience cost me over $100,000, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The experiences I had, the friends I made, and the opportunities that have been opened up for me wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t gone to Anderson.”

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Re-introduction

It’s quickly approaching two years since I last wrote anything on this blog. A lot has happened since then. When I last posted, I had just gotten back from spending time with family during the holidays and was entering my second quarter of my first year at UCLA Anderson. Classes, b-school social life, and internship recruiting were in full swing...

Two years later, I am now living in the Seattle area, working as a Digital Marketing Manager for Microsoft. Since my last post, I have frequently thought about writing about my journey, but in hindsight, I am glad I have waited until now to start back up again. The time has given my perspective on the MBA experience that I think will allow me to contribute in a more meaningful way to those who are thinking of getting an MBA, are in b-school now, or who are just at a place where they are evaluating their career goals.

I am not claiming to have all the answers to finding a meaningful and fulfilling career, or any answers along those lines for that matter. But I do have a perspective that I wish to shareδΈ€and maybe that perspective will influence one or two people out there for the better. And if that’s all it does, that’s cool with me.

With all that being said, I just realized since I started this blog, I never really introduced myself. So, here we go.

My name is James Huntington. I am a husband, father, and a despiser of small talk. I love writing, design, visual communication, and storytelling. I was born in Okinawa, Japan. Contrary to most assumptions, my father is not in the military. My mom is Japanese and my dad is from California.

I moved back and forth between Okinawa and California quite a bit. In total, I spent about eight years in Japan and the rest of my childhood in California. I am sure I will talk plenty about my career in future posts, so I am not going to today. I just want to talk about the important things. I am married to the coolest girl I know, and we have three crazy little boys with the wildest of imaginations. My family is my inspiration. I am trying my best to live a ridiculously intentional life, and be the kind of grown-up my kids will be excited to be like (because let’s face it, most grown-ups are lame, but they don’t have to be).

I don’t know where this blog is going to go. I have a lot of ideas, but don’t necessarily have a concrete plan. I am just hoping that some of the ideas and thoughts I share will turn into meaningful conversations. Well, let’s get this started… or, ah, restarted!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Great Article about Anderson

Check out this awesome article about Anderson on Poets & Quants, http://poetsandquants.com/2015/01/02/uclas-anderson-school-morphs-into-a-friendly-tech-hub/.  Anderson is a great place!  Sorry for the lack of updates recently.  I promise there is a new post coming soon!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

MIA

I have been out of the blogging game for a bit, but I promise that won't be a regular thing.  With classes and recruiting in full swing, I have had little time for anything else.  That being said, I have had the chance to blog a couple of times for the Anderson MBA Student Voice.  Check it our here!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Recent Updates - Baby, Housing, Laptop, and Some Other Stuff

It’s crazy how fast time flies.  There are still a ton of things I would like to get done before classes start in September.  However, the past month or so has been packed with putting my house on the market and everything that goes along with that, winding down at work, handing off projects, training new hires and interns, etc., oh ya, and my wife and I welcomed a new baby boy.  That’s boy number three for us!  So needless to say, things have been crazy.

In spite of all that is going on, I have been able to cross off a few essential items off my pre-MBA checklist.  I purchased my laptop for school.  I decided to go with the MacBook Air.  For those that are considering a Mac, Apple is offering a $100 gift card to those that purchase one now.  Although this wasn’t on my checklist of things to do, I decided to buy and iPad Mini with the gift card I got from Clear Admit for winning the Best of Blogging.  Thanks Clear Admit!

In the past month we have been able to get our house under contract too!  As long as things go as planned, we should close just a couple days before we are able to move into our place in LA.  Which brings me to my next checklist item, finding a place to live.  We were lucky enough to get into graduate student family housing in LA.  I am very glad, because we needed a 3-bedroom, and anything near campus that wasn’t university owned was about twice the price.  Also, the elementary school my oldest son will be going to has great ratings, so that is a huge plus.


There are several other things on my list that I am currently working.  Unfortunately, a lot is getting pushed back because we have been busy packing and cleaning up our house.  I am currently reading a couple great books.  Quiet, by Susan Cain, and The Start-up of You, by LinkedIn co-founder, Reid Hoffman.  I have also been working on learning some coding.  I started taking the HarvardX CS50x: Intro to Computer Science.  I have also been playing around quite a bit on Code Academy.  If anyone has any other good learning sources, please share.  Although things have been busy this past month, we will be heading down to LA almost a month and a half before I start classes.  So, that should give me plenty of time to finish things up, and be ready to hit the ground running!

Monday, July 14, 2014

McKinsey & Company Emerging Scholars Interview Debrief

I just wanted to say congratulations to everyone that was selected to the McKinsey & Company Emerging Scholars Program.  Unfortunately I did not make it passed the semi-finalist interviews.  The being said, I was honored to be selected as a semi-finalist, and true enjoyed the process.  I was able to interview with the recruiter in charge of UCLA Anderson recruiting, as well as two consultants that were Anderson alumni.  I am grateful for the time they took to get to know me (each interview was about 45 minutes), and I enjoyed getting to know them and McKinsey a little better.  Luckily I had two weeks off for paternity leave during the times the interviews were scheduled (we just welcomed out third baby boy to the family).

Although I was a bit nervous at first, the interviews were actually pretty fun.  With my interview with the recruiter, I had to complete a creative exercise.  I chose to do a single-slide PowerPoint about the person I admire most.  It made for a great conversation.  We discussed my work experience, extracurricular involvement, and my thoughts about McKinsey.  The recruiter was really nice and created a very relaxed and conversational environment.

My next two interviews were with consultants, both UCLA Anderson grads.  Again, both were great experiences.  We were able to go a little bit deeper into my work history and then we worked through a mini-case.  I really enjoyed working through the mini-case, and if that is the type of stuff McKinsey consultants get to see on a daily basis (although I am sure real cases are much more complex), I would definitely enjoy it.

Although I tried not to get my hopes up, as the notification date drew closer, I couldn’t help but imagining myself being selected.  It would have been a great opportunity.  Unfortunately, I didn’t receive the news I was looking for on July 3rd.  It was ok though.  I heard from another semi-finalist that over 1800 people applied to the program, so just being selected as a semi-finalist wasn’t too bad.  Anyway, it was a great opportunity, and I was able to meet some fantastic people.  I was told by all three people I interviewed with to stay in touch, and the recruiter said she would be looking for me in the fall.  I am definitely excited for what the future holds in store. just wanted to say congratulations to everyone that was selected to the McKinsey & Company Emerging Scholars Program.  Unfortunately I did not make it passed the semi-finalist interviews.  The being said, I was honored to be selected as a semi-finalist, and true enjoyed the process.  I was able to interview with the recruiter in charge of UCLA Anderson recruiting, as well as two consultants that were Anderson alumni.  I am grateful for the time they took to get to know me (each interview was about 45 minutes), and I enjoyed getting to know them and McKinsey a little better.  Luckily I had two weeks off for paternity leave during the times the interviews were scheduled (we just welcomed out third baby boy to the family).

Although I was a bit nervous at first, the interviews were actually pretty fun.  With my interview with the recruiter, I had to complete a creative exercise.  I chose to do a single-slide PowerPoint about the person I admire most.  It made for a great conversation.  We discussed my work experience, extracurricular involvement, and my thoughts about McKinsey.  The recruiter was really nice and created a very relaxed and conversational environment.

My next two interviews were with consultants, both UCLA Anderson grads.  Again, both were great experiences.  We were able to go a little bit deeper into my work history and then we worked through a mini-case.  I really enjoyed working through the mini-case, and if that is the type of stuff McKinsey consultants get to see on a daily basis (although I am sure real cases are much more complex), I would definitely enjoy it.

Although I tried not to get my hopes up, as the notification date drew closer, I couldn’t help but imagining myself being selected.  It would have been a great opportunity.  Unfortunately, I didn’t receive the news I was looking for on July 3rd.  It was ok though.  I heard from another semi-finalist that over 1800 people applied to the program, so just being selected as a semi-finalist wasn’t too bad.  Anyway, it was a great opportunity, and I was able to meet some fantastic people.  I was told by all three people I interviewed with to stay in touch, and the recruiter said she would be looking for me in the fall.  I am definitely excited for what the future holds in store.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Why Anderson? – Thoughts from Fellow Admits and Current Students (Part 9)

This post is a continuation of "Why Anderson? – Thoughts from Fellow Admits and Current Students."  Thank you again to all the individuals who have submitted their thoughts.

I chose Anderson for a number of reasons.  Great brand, collaborative culture, unique programs.  One of the main reasons, however, was simply due to geographic location.  MBA graduates, by a large margin, end up taking a job in the region where they completed their MBA.  For the highly represented industries (consulting, finance, etc.) with many offices nationwide, you'll most likely be speaking with recruiters from the offices in your region.  Knowing how beautiful California is, and knowing the types of opportunities that are growing here, it seemed like a fantastic place to begin the next phase of my career.


By far, what I've enjoyed the most is getting to know the other students at Anderson.  Unlike some schools that are known primarily for a particular industry, the career backgrounds and career choices for Anderson students are incredibly diverse.  Typically, you'll see about 20% of students each go to consulting, finance, marketing, tech, or entrepreneurship/start-up.  Because of that diversity, you have a tremendous number of opportunities to collaborate with other students and do not feel the competitive pressure that you might at another program where career interests are more narrowly focused.  It's nice, and has definitely been something that I've taken advantage of since I arrived.

- Ryan L., UCLA Anderson Class of 2015