Mike Leve (UCLA Anderson ’16) speaks with MBASchooled about his two years in business school. Mike looks back and reflects on the people, lessons, and influences he has encountered during his time at UCLA Anderson School of Management. He speaks about how his leadership and school experiences have helped shape the experience. In his Final Reflection for MBASchooled, Mike details how he has grown and what he has learned during business school.
MBASchooled: What will you miss most about your MBA experience?
Mike: It sounds cliché, but without a doubt I will miss the people. I think the business school pedagogy requires a certain level of culture, and Anderson goes above and beyond to ensure that each class’s culture is unique. I was – and still am – humbled by learning from my peers, and I’m going to miss that tremendously.
MBASchooled: What is your favorite memory of business school?
Mike: I was fortunate to serve as Orientation Co-Director for the incoming Class of 2017, and learned lessons in leadership I won’t soon forget. When an incoming student is perched high on a ropes course, precariously hanging on for his life with his last bit of strength to reach his goal, and is being witnessed by a cheering crowd of 100 new classmates, it’s a pretty rewarding experience.
MBASchooled: What are you most proud of from your MBA experience?
Mike: UCLA Anderson’s capstone experience is a consulting engagement in lieu of a master’s thesis, and our team was working with a leading entertainment company. One of our advisors suggested that “hitting your stride” during the engagement is like falling asleep; you’ll work so hard to try to do it without getting anywhere, then out of the blue you just fall asleep. When we finally fell asleep and the wheels started turning, we uncovered some really exciting findings; I think we were able to lend a great deal of value to our client.
MBASchooled: What part of you has undergone the most transformation while in business school?
Mike: I think through business problems differently. This happened during second year. All of a sudden I started asking better questions, becoming suspicious of assumptions, and having a more sensitive pulse on issues that I might never have questioned when I came to business school. I think differently now than I did a few years ago. I like to believe it’s for the better!
MBASchooled: Who is someone who has had a positive influence on you while in business school?
Mike: My Entertainment Strategy professor commanded a level of engagement I had never before experienced in a classroom. To do this class justice, a two-page paper might require 40 hours of modeling and performing research; preparing for a 45-second case summary might require reading two entire textbooks. I was squeezed and stretched, and left class every night carefully downloading these experiences into my memory in the hopes I will be able to flex these muscles one day in the real world.
MBASchooled: Is there anything that you haven’t gotten to do that you wish you had done?
Mike: The other day, a friend from another school posted on social media, “I’m going to miss the business school lifestyle.” I thought, “Are you kidding? My gas is on empty, my well is dry!” I think I’ve been burning this candle at both ends and I feel like I’ve accomplished my goals, so no. Feeling good!
MBASchooled: Where do you hope to be in five years?
Mike: Business school helped me learn that I not only have a knack for brand and corporate strategy, but I really enjoy it as well. I hope to be doing more of it in five years. I also hope to continue making time to play tennis, football, and maybe even get back on the golf course. My golf handicap has likely suffered from too many hours reading and preparing cases!