Be Here Now: Brian Lopez ’12 launches his new firm

FEMBA PODCASTS - Dylan's Blog - Brian Lopez - Episode 40 Final

Five years after graduating UCLA Anderson, Brian Lopez ’12 is the brand new President and co-founder of The Data Analysis Group, Inc. You’ll hear how Brian launched his new company, how he turned an engineering degree in undergrad into a career in forensics and data analytics, and more.

Highlights of Brian’s interview include:

  • Choosing FEMBA after initially planning a full-time MBA pathway when his then-boss launched a firm and took Brian with him.
  • Finding his undergraduate path in engineering through good college counseling and a supportive family environment.
  • Establishing his professional reputation, including being a Certified Fraud Examiner and a Certified IDEA Data Analyst. Brian teaches corporate classes in analytics on the side and regularly speaks at forensics conferences on fraud.
  • Combining his Global Access Program research work with his Korean GAP company with a Global Immersion to Seoul National University.
  • Enjoying his five-year Class reunion this past weekend with networking, food and dancing at Shutters and Hotel del Mar in Santa Monica. Note how he will be following up with fellow Anderson alumni at lunches forthcoming.
    (How comfortable are you to work a room? We brainstorm on the challenge of networking in a room when everyone is interesting!)
  • Sharing his productivity tips, including a great perspective he calls “Be Here Now” and how that perspective not only leads to peace of mind, but also is very supportive of selling work.

Brian is a wonderful example of a UCLA Anderson MBA fully leveraged: He’s thinking fearlessly as a forensics expert; He’s sharing success keeping up with peers from school and tapping into the Anderson network: And, he’s driving change, launching his brand new firm. Enjoy this FEMBA Drive Time interview with Brian Lopez.

The real Jerry Maguire and the $5,000 1st Place Prize: Meet the winners of the Game Day Sports Case Competition

Last weekend, three FEMBAs won the 4th annual Game Day Sports Case Competition at Villanova University. Congratulations to Thomas Crutchley ’19, Keenan Long ’19 and Doug Paulus 19.  And special thanks to Thomas for this interview.

Dylan: So first, Thomas, thanks for bringing me the good news. And second, tell me all about the Game Day Sports Case Competition.

Thomas: My pleasure Dylan. Well we all flew to Pennsylvania last weekend. A cool thing was that MEMES paid for our plane tickets to go compete. We won from a field of nine teams including Penn, U Connecticut, another UCLA team, USC and Villanova.

Dylan: Congratulations! Tell me more.

Thomas: Well, this was the 4th annual for this case competition. It goes back and forth between UCLA Anderson and Villanova. UCLA hosted 1 and 3, and Villanova hosted 2 and 4. It comes back to UCLA next year I believe.

Dylan: That’s great. So our new FEMBA 2020 students reading this, pay attention, maybe you can participate next year. And you won’t have to fly to Pennsylvania.

Thomas: Yeah, they’ll save a flight, but they’ll miss out on the Philly cheesesteaks!

Dylan: Life is full of difficult choices for sure. How did you hear about the competition?

Thomas: Keenan got an email from the SBA [the Sports Business Association] and we looked into it. The hardest part honestly was that this competition requires both MBA and Law School students be on every team.

Dylan: Cool. So how’d you get a law student on your team?

Thomas: All internal networking. We reached out to Dean Freixes. We just started asking around. We ultimately connected with Ilan Issacs, a 3L here at UCLA Law. He crushed the legal part. He’s going into entertainment law after graduation.

Dylan: And how about Doug and Keenan, your fellow FEMBAs? How all do you know each other.

Thomas: Well first we’re all in Section 3. Go section 3! And second, we’re all just a bunch of sports lovers.

Dylan: And was this your first case competition?

Thomas: For sure. First case competition for all of us. Turns out all four of us have a sports connection. Ilan walked on to the soccer team at Brown. Keenan played semi-professional Major League baseball. I played college baseball at UCSD. And Doug self-describes as the “ultimate intermural athlete.”

20170408 Game Day Sports Case Competition L-R Ilan Isaacs 3L Law School Prof Jeffrey Moorad host Keenan Long 19 Doug Paulus 10 and Thomas Crutchley 19 best

Above: 2017 Game Day Sports Case Competition (L-R) Ilan Isaacs 3L UCLA Law School, host and professor Jeffrey Moorad, Keenan Long 19, Doug Paulus 19 and Thomas Crutchley 19.

Dylan: Nice. And how about Jeffrey Moorad, professor and founder of the Game Day Sports Case Competition?  [Shown in the photo above.]

Thomas: That’s one of the coolest parts. So he’s amazing. He’s a former sports agent, as well as the former CEO and former minority owner of both the Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Diego Padres of Major League Baseball (MLB).

And, he’s part of the inspiration of the Jerry Maguire character in the movie.

Dylan: No way. That’s awesome. I didn’t know that?

Thomas: When he teaches sports business at UCLA, he brings in all kinds of big names, A-Rod, like that. He represented Steve Young, Troy Aikman, Warren Moon, Manny Ramirez. That’s where they got all the perspective that became the Jerry Maguire character.

Dylan: Oh yeah. That’s right. In my Drive Time podcast interview with our FEMBA Olympic Gold medal winner Ed Moses last year, Ed mentioned being in that class.

Thomas: Professor Moorad is amazing. He created this case competition. He put up the prize money.

Dylan: I’m looking him up online right now. Looks like he’s an alum of both UCLA and also Villanova, and that in 2012 he donated $5 million to the Villanova Law School for the creation of a new Center for the Study of Sports Law.

Thomas: Exactly. And when we met him at first we didn’t recognize him. We were all mingling around and one of asked, “So what’s your role here?” Later, when he went up on stage and we realized the whole thing revolves around him. You know. It was a moment.

Dylan: Love it. Well what were your other take-aways? Was it worth your time and effort?

Thomas: For sure. I think for all of us, what was really exceptional was the interaction with the judges. I mean, these were some real big names in sports management, like Joe Banner, former president of the Phildelphia Eagles. He was a judge. People like that.

And we were hanging out with them, listening to them talk about their careers.

It was eye-opening. It’s not just an old boys network. The way they described their career paths, you can see it. You can see that you can take an MBA, or a law degree, and you can really make a career in sports management.

Dylan: How great is that? We all know sports is a huge business and it’s only going to grow.

Thomas: Yes. And these guys were telling us how to get started. I mean, they all gave us their business cards. It was great.

Dylan: Oh very good. Hold on to those. And follow up. Send ’em a ping now and again to keep them posted on how your MBA is going.

Thomas: We will for sure.

Dylan: Well thanks for this. You made my week with your story. Congratulations again Thomas (and Doug, Ilan and Keenan!).

20170408 Game Day Sports Case Competition Thomas Crutchley 19

Thomas Crutchley, FEMBA 2019, with the winning check. Congrats!

FEMBA Section Wars 2017

Got to check out the first couple hours of Section Wars today. Great turnout from all three class years. 

Be Authentic, Be Yourself – Meet Grace Chang ’13

FEMBA PODCASTS - Dylan's Blog - Grace Chang - Episode 34

From FEMBA Council President to Anderson Alumni Board to Winning at TechCrunch Disrupt, we catch up with Grace Chang, FEMBA 2013 to hear about her very busy career trajectory post-graduation.

Grace launched Events Sorbet during FEMBA with two fellow FEMBA Council leaders, quickly growing from 3 to 26 people with operations in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York before they brokered off the business. Grace then went to a mobile chat company, getting her feet wet in a more seasoned start-up and successfully riding through an acquisition, ending up with 6 different offers.

UnifyID was the most intriguing of the 6 offers Grace was considering and she signed with UnifyID as both their first-ever product manager and their first non-technical hire. Launched at TechCrunch Disrupt, UnifyID won battlefield runner-up winner (#2 out of 1,000 start-ups competing).

Coincidentally, Phillip Chang 17, Head of Information Security at Boingo Wireless, and Drive Time podcast editor, was attending the RSA Conference last month where UnifyID was again one of ten finalists in an innovation competition and won the “RSAC Most Innovative Startup 2017”!). Today, 3/10/17, as we post, Grace’s whole team is headed to SXSW!

Back during FEMBA, as FEMBA Council President, Grace was the organizer of the first ever “Opportunity/Enterpreneurship/Club Zone” at the very ever first FEMBApalooza in the summer of 2012. She reflects on taking on leadership roles during FEMBAs that were not offered at work, and how she grew from the opportunity.

Learn about all of this and more from Grace Chang ’13 in this episode of our Drive Time podcast.

Nobel Prizes and South El Monte’s First Microbrewery: Meet Diego Benitez ’19

femba-podcasts-dylans-blog-diego-benitez-episode-33

What’s it like to have TWO Nobel Prize winners in your professional circle? (Robert Grubbs and Sir Fraser Stoddart) (As a follow up, Diego sent me this link of an interview with Sir Fraser Stoddart, about life after winning the Nobel Prize.)

What’s it like to successfully found Progress Brewing, now be opening a wine bar, and already be changing management style due to Professor Bendersky’s Organizational Behavior course first quarter?

What’s it like to come to the United States with no undergraduate degree, earn a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Caltech, have over 45 peer-reviewed publications and 4,000 citations, an h-index of 35, and then begin FEMBA?

What’s it like to donate four kegs to FEMBApalooza, plus 12 cases of beer to the Craft Beer Club, and serve on FEMBA Council?

You’ll learn all this and more in this Drive Time Podcast with Diego Benitez ’19, including his favorite time management tips.

“FEMBA is one of the best decisions of my life.” –Diego Benitez.  That is high praise from any FEMBA, but especially from Diego.

Enjoy! This is one of our richest, most interesting podcasts yet!

20160724-palooza-5-marty-zhu-18-dylan-diego-benitez-19-raymond-morada-27940488263_ede93e5b13_h

@Fembapalooza 5, July 24, 2016, l-r, Marty Zhu 18, Dylan Stafford, Diego Benitez 19 and Raymond Morada

Real-Time Real Results: Meet Sharon Lee ’15 and David Duong ’15

drive-time-dylans-blog-episode-32-david-duong-and-sharon-lee-1

Will the MBA work for an English major? Will the MBA help me open my own business? How successful is the MBA for helping to change companies, and could I change companies during FEMBA? Will an MBA make me more confident? Yes, Yes, Very Successful, Yes and YES.

This week’s podcast features two recent graduates, Sharon Lee ’15 and also David Duong ’15. Both were very active student leaders while they were here, and each has a very strong return-on-investment story to tell from their FEMBA experience.

Also, new for 2017, at the end of this podcast, listen for some bonus tips on professional productivity, some best practices from Sharon and David.

And, as a special bonus, after the podcast, please also enjoy this unique video that David wrote, directed, choreographed and danced in…

So you think you can dance? Wait until you see David Duong 15, and his posse in this magic moment, filmed all around UCLA Anderson.

My Life-Changing FEMBA Experience: Meet Brittany Blackamore ’16

drive-time-dylans-blog-episode-31-brittany-blackamore

Drive Time is proud to share this inspiring UCLA FEMBA success story with recent alum Brittany Blackamore ’16. With a B.A. in French from Pepperdine, Brittany has always been proactive, but during FEMBA, she really turned it up a notch. As you will hear, Brittany’s UCLA journey included:

  • Discovering a passion for global macroeconomics
  • Re-discovering a passion for travel (see below)
  • Landing her dream job at Experian
  • And was in her words “a life-changing experience”

You’ll hear all about that, plus Brittany’s incredible Global Immersion travel schedule during FEMBA (she is definitely in the top 1% of all-time travelers during FEMBA) which included:

  • Argentina, with Professor Andres Terech
  • Greece, with Professor Ed Leamer (see the F-E-M-B-A photo below from the Parthenon)
  • Hong Kong, with Professor Gonzalo Freixes (see photo below)
  • Israel, with Professor Stuart Gabriel
  • South Africa and South Korea, each on a Global Immersion Exchange
  • And Australia and Dubai for the Global Access Program!

Recorded the afternoon of SuperSaturday #42 (the day that we surpassed 6,000 lifetime FEMBA admission interviews) when Brittany was here as an alumni volunteer. Enjoy!

201509_BrittanyBlackamore_F-E-M-B-A-Acropolis

The latest in the global F-E-M-B-A body spelling. This was from Brittany Blackamore 16 (second from left) with Ray Obico (far left) and friends.

20160202-brittany-blackamore-16-in-hong-kong-in-2015-20135862600_edff0f76dd_o

Brittany Blackamore in Hong Kong at Sotheby’s when we visited and Anderson Alum who is now curator there.

20160202-d-y-l-a-n-in-greece-september-2015-victory-shyu-mark-reidy-ray-obico-christopher-ferruzzi-brittany-blackamore-mark-lee-caitlin-cassidy-and-jonathan-driscoll-dsc_0803-002

Here’s the photo that I mention about 35:00, where I got “verklempt.” Pictured here, from the 2015 Global Immersion to Greece are FEMBAs Victory Shyu, Mark Reidy, Ray Obico, Christopher Ferruzzi, Brittany Blackamore, Mark Lee, Caitlin Cassidy and Jonathan Driscoll!