Student Perspectives: How to Leverage Your Work Experience in the Classroom


MP Guru
About Haley: Haley Cassriel (‘22) is a first year MBA student at UCLA Anderson. She spent the past four years at Citibank in New York and London working in diversity, talent, and learning to build a culture of belonging. She is pursuing a career in social impact to ensure profits are good for people, the planet, and stakeholders. In her free time, Haley enjoys coffee with friends, discovering new hikes, and taste testing new Trader Joe’s snacks.

My favorite part of school so far has been learning from my classmates, both in and out of the classroom. Our MBA class is incredibly diverse, with a wealth of experience in many functions and industries. The range of work experience of the class of 2022 ranges from one to ten plus years, from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies, from Nashville to Singapore.

When my classmates share their relevant work experiences, the discussion becomes much richer and applicable. The personal experiences are more memorable and help to visualize the class material. For example, when discussing a Rent the Runway case in my Economics class, a section mate who had worked at Rent the Runway prior to Anderson was able to add more context and had a unique perspective about their pricing model. Not all contributions have to be directly related to the company in question either. Many classmates have shared relevant stories about a time they were confronted with an ethical dilemma at work, how their team handled a particular situation similarly, or how they overcame a challenge.

Professors love when students share their perspectives because they know how important peer to peer learning is, which is also why participation is part of our grade.

Diverse past work experiences also enrich our Learning Teams. Students are placed in teams of six to complete assignments for the core curriculum together. On my team we have an accountant, a PhD, a banker, a techie, a marketer, and myself from HR. While you may think the econ majors or investment bankers monopolize the finance homework, instead they help us digest the material and come up with a solution as a team. Each of us bring a unique skillset and past experience that help us navigate conflict and become better communicators to succeed together.

I’m constantly amazed by what my classmates accomplished prior to Anderson and how they’re able to use their past work experience to teach all of us!

Student Blogger: Haley Cassriel ‘22

Undergrad: Vanderbilt ‘16

Pre-MBA: HR at Citi

Leadership@Anderson: Director of Career Development, Net Impact; Director of Financial Inclusion, Anderson Venture Impact Partners; Director, Admissions Ambassador Corps, Riordan Scholar Mentor

Activities@Anderson:Outdoor Adventure Club, Wine Club, John Anderson Golf Club, Yoga and Wellness Club, Investment Finance Association, Entrepreneurship Association, Women’s Business Connection


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