First Place (3x) and Flex from Houston: Meet Vishal Saheta ’17

FEMBA PODCASTS - Dylan's Blog - Vishal Saheta - Episode 41

What is Flex like from Houston? And how about your wife flying to LA with you?

How does it feel to earn three first place finishes in case competitions during FEMBA?

What is FEMBA like during large layoffs at your company?

Vishal Saheta ’17 is in a brand new role as a Project Manager at Schulumberger (Fortune #287), and he answers these questions and more in this Drive Time podcast interview. If you’re thinking about Case Competitions, if you’re thinking about Flex, if you’re balancing friends and family and FEMBA, Vishal’s story has something for you.

Vishal’s three first place finishes in case competitions were:

  1. 2017 First Place “The Economist / NRG Energy Case Study” global competition
    The $10,000 prize is shared by Vishal and his team members Ean Mulligan and Julian Trobe, both in the full-time MBA program. The judges awarded UCLA #1 saying, “The UCLA Anderson Blue team’s solution was clean, concise and well thought-out.” 15 competing teams included HEC Paris, MIT, Duke, Carnegie Mellon, UCLA, Rutgers and Columbia. The UCLA Anderson Energy Management club made this competition available.
  2. 2016 First Place “PwC Fiercest Competitor Strategy” competition
    The UCLA Anderson Management Consulting Association made this competition available, with sponsorship from PwC. Two teams from UCLA actually competed against each other.
  3. 2015 First Place, 4th Annual “UCLA Challenges in Energy” case competition 
    Teams from seven schools competed, including Stanford, UC Berkeley and Michigan Ross. Vishal’s winning team “The Energizer Bunnies” consisted of Dan Freeman ’15, Dan Abbott ’16, and David Penskar ’16. The first place prize was $2,500. The UCLA Anderson Energy Management club also made this competition available.

To complete the interview, Vishal shares about:

  • Global Access Program with Finland and a Global Immersion to Hong Kong. Vishal shares about these two FEMBA experiences.
  • Maximizing productivity in FEMBA Flex. Vishal ends the interview sharing some of his secrets for success.

Vishal is a very accomplished person with 17 years of experience in Technology development & Product Management. His pre-UCLA degrees include a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Mumbai (First Class with Distinction) and an MS in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue where he earned a 4.0. UCLA Anderson helped him round out his skill set by building on his finance skills (passed 3 levels of CFA) and innovation skills (24 US and International patents awarded).


Inside FEMBA Flex: Meet Dr. George Ingersoll, Associate Dean of Hybrid Learning


What does it take to launch a new teaching pedagogy at an institution with a reputation as respected as UCLA Anderson?

Today’s podcast offers an inside view from Dr. George Ingersoll, PhD ’15 and MBA ’09. George was there when Senior Associate Dean Carla Hayn proposed of “FEMBA Flex” for a UCLA Anderson Faculty vote back in 2012. Today he is UCLA Anderson’s Associate Dean for Hybrid Learning.

Since 2012, Flex has become a popular schedule option for both Core and elective courses, and has contributed significantly to the growth of FEMBA’s student body in enrollments of women, military, MD, PhD and of course, out-of-area students. Flex has definitely brought talented students to UCLA Anderson who would not be here otherwise.

FEMBA Flex is proof-positive of UCLA Anderson’s commitment to Think in the Next. We hope you enjoy George’s interview.


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!

2 Careers, a new Baby and a relocation to LA: Cassandra and Jason Stokes ’15

Here is an inspiring story of a FEMBA-power-couple — Cassandra Stokes ’15 and her husband Jason Stokes, also ’15 — who happen to be really wonderful people. They are going through FEMBA together, have had a baby, commuted from the Bay Area and then relocated to LA. Cassandra did FLEX last year and is doing an internship this summer. They are doing it all!

20140321-2 Jason and Cassandra Stokes '15  20140214_193328

Jason and Cassandra Stokes, both FEMBA 2015, and their family. They commuted from the Bay Area, did Flex and had their daughter all in their first year here.

Living in the Bay Area originally, Jason and I began exploring the possibility of business school in the the first half of 2012, looking both locally in the Bay Area and abroad.  We wanted to find a program that would meet both of our interests.  We sought a top 25 school that would provide us with credibility in the Bay Area and beyond as we considered living on the East Coast or overseas.  At the same time, we sought a diverse student body with students from a variety of fields including tech, finance, engineering, energy and nonprofit.  Finally, we wanted a program that would provide us with a top MBA degree and as robust of an experience as we would experience in a full time MBA program, from Academics to On-campus Recruiting opportunities… Anderson delivered it in spades.

20140321 Cassandra Stokes 15

Cassandra Stokes, ’15. Private Wealth Management, summer of 2014, internship

Initially drawn to the Flex program, we realized we could make both the Saturday and Flex sections work for us.  Of course, life became more interesting when we realized shortly after admission that we would be blessed with our first daughter in the second quarter of our first year!  From the first phone call I received from admissions ensuring me it would be no problem to take a quarter off and resume the program, to the special requests we have had honored as we make juggling the program, our dual careers and family a reality, Anderson has provided a place for all three of us to be successful. We commuted the first six months of FEMBA, me in the FLEX cohort and Jason in the all-day Saturday section, and then relocated to Los Angeles after our baby came.

20140321 Jason Stokes 15

Jason Stokes, ’15. Risk Consultant at Wells Fargo Bank

What is it like doing an MBA together?  I can’t imagine doing it any other way at this point!  The mutual support and understanding we have been able to provide each other has made the demands of the program much more manageable as we share in the experience. This past year, I also successfully participated in summer internship recruiting both on- and off-campus via the various recruiting resources Anderson has to offer and will be in a Private Wealth Management internship this summer of 2014.

Jason has been active in Anderson Student Asset Management Association (ASAM) and was thrilled to spend a day with Warren Buffett earlier this year. He’s going to be VP of FEMBA Relations for the Investment Finance Association for the upcoming year.

We have remained in separate sections throughout the program and have each enjoyed our own unique experience at Anderson. We will be taking our first class together this Spring so we will let you know how that goes of course!  All signs point to success at this point. 🙂