Sunday Breakfast with the Flexers

Sunday morning I joined the FLEX breakfast (along with my seven-year-old who happily ate bagels and watched the iPad) to witness the launch-weekend atmosphere of FLEX. I also gathered a few great perspectives from FLEXers to share with you.

20141015 Karen Shang 17Karen Shang ’17.  Karen a brand new FEMBA and the mother of a three-year-old and a one-year-old. Karen works in accounting/finance and was actually admitted last year, but postponed to be with her second child.

Regarding adding UCLA to her already full life, she told me, “While everyday life with work and kids could be exhausting and even draining at times, being a part of such a dynamic learning environment re-energizes me… this is my space where I feel replenished and stimulated intellectually…Believe it or not, I’m working on starting a LinkedIn profile. I’ve always been so wrapped up in my jobs that I never really invested any time in networking, but I definitely plan to take on the opportunity to network extensively here at UCLA, especially with the intent of transitioning into the education consulting sector within the area of finance/accounting.

20141014 Ola Dokun 17Ola Dokun ’17 is an IT Process Delivery Specialist at The Walt Disney Company. UCLA Anderson will be her second master’s degree. We talked about the crazy ramp-up that the first quarter of FEMBA requires.

Ola told me, “I would say if you are going to do the Femba program you probably will have a lot of constraints with time and structure around work and personal life. Flex gives you that added Femba bonus to pick and choose what time and pace to learn anywhere you want with deadlines of course that prevents procrastinating and creates discipline. There is an assumption that the Flex section is for people who don’t live in the LA area but a handful of us live only a couple of miles from UCLA so we still get to benefit from attending the extra curricular events weekly. I love the schedule!”

20141014 Rebecca Stolz 16Rebecca Stolz ’16 is Assistant to the President of Occidental College. She was in all-day Saturday for her first year of FEMBA, but has moved into the FLEX section because her five-year-old daughter Grete has begun school and it works better for her family and work to use the FLEX format for classes. Later Rebecca sent me these photos of Grete. Look how many FEMBA events Grete’s attended with Mommy!

20141015 Rebecca Stolz sectionwars and daughter Grete with Katie Kroeger-Davis '16 at FEMBApalooza 2014 w butterflies

Grete, Rebecca’s daughter, with Katie Kroeger-Davis ’16 at FEMBApalooza 2014, with matching butterfly face paintings.

20141015 Rebecca Stolz sectionwars and daughter Grete in bounce house with Nancy Yao 16

Grete with Mommy’s friend Nancy Yao ’16, in the bounce house at FEMBA Section Wars

20141015 Rebecca Stolz sectionwars and daughter Grete

Grete, running in the light blue outfit, inspecting Mommy and her FEMBA classmates at Section Wars, 2014

20141014 Anthony Patterson 16Anthony Patterson ’16 is a Senior Associate at Revel Consulting. Anthony commutes from Seattle and he explained the value to me, “FEMBA FLEX has been a great experience that I didn’t discover during my initial search for an MBA program. Not being sure if I wanted to stay in Seattle long-term, I wanted an MBA with a more global brand, but wasn’t ready to move my life across the country. FLEX offers the same experience and instruction as other programs, but allows for flexibility to maintain consistency in my life week-to-week. I find myself looking forward to flying to So-Cal once a month to get some sun and learn with my classmates.

It’s a great way to immerse yourself in an MBA, but on focused weekends instead of each week. Many of us look forward to our sunny weekends in Westwood!

20141014 Vinay Kondapi 16Vinay Kondapi ’16 is a Product Manager at Impinj. Vinay, along with Anthony, is also commuting from Seattle down to UCLA and for him joining FEMBA turned out to be great accelerator for his career.

“Dylan, it’s already happened for me!” Vinay told me Sunday. “I wanted to switch out of engineering and into product management and it’s already happened, within 3 months of joining FEMBA. Immediately after getting admitted to UCLA Anderson, I attended a career seminar for FEMBA students and quickly learnt that I don’t need to wait until I complete my MBA to switch into product management.

UCLA Anderson’s brand name is well recognized in the industry and the fact that I am admitted into business school served as a proof that I am serious about my career switch and got me interviews for product management positions. FEMBA Career coaches -Gordon Hill & Susan Cowell– helped me understand my career choices, position and switch into product management career. In hindsight, joining FEMBA turned out to be a key decision which accelerated my career.”

I felt like a proud father, hearing about Vinay’s success. He also emailed me a photo he prizes, from the Ropes Course of Leadership Foundations.

20141017 Vinay Kondapi 16 Ropes Course

Vinaky Kondapi ’16 during Leadership Foundations last year. Vinay’s already made a successful career leap, during FEMBA, with support from Gordon Hill and Susan Cowell in Career Services.

20141014 Fang Fang 16Rachel Fang Fang ’16 is Owner and CEO of CN Winners, Inc.

Bonus interview! Rachel isn’t in Flex, but she happened to be on-campus to study and I got to speak to her too. Rachel is a successful entrepreneur already and she’s got several “what’s next” ideas percolating. I love talking to serial entrepreneurs. It’s always inspiring and stimulating, the way they’re always focused on the future, and making things happen. She also told me about a classmate who just got married: Congratulations Jordan!

My final breakfast conversation was with the one-and-only George Ingersoll ’09, Director of Hybrid Learning Initiatives at UCLA Anderson School of Management.  George earned his UCLA Anderson MBA back in 2009, and now is in our PhD program while he simultaneously works as the Director of Hybrid Learning. George has been instrumental in launching FLEX and improving it. FLEX wouldn’t be half as great as it is without George.

20141014 George Ingersoll and Rebecca Stolz at Flex breakfast

George Ingersoll ’09 and Rebecca Stolz ’16, at the FLEX breakfast on Sunday.

That’s it for me from Sunday morning with the FLEXers. My son Jackson loved his yummy breakfast at Daddy’s work, plus his iPad time. We scooted out of there and were able to catch up to Mommy at church. Life at the speed of FEMBA!

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