As a follow-up to our earlier article (UCLA PGP PRO for Executives), we asked students of the program to share their experiences and reviews.
The students come from a wide range of backgrounds and have covered several aspects including their rationale, expectations, concerns, classroom experiences, challenges, assignments / exams, favorite professors, practical lessons and more. Use their inputs and feedback to evaluate whether the program is right for you.
UCLA PGP PRO Reviews
UCLA PGP PRO Student profiles
Qualification: B.Tech (Hons.) in Mechanical Engineering from National Institute of Technology, Jamshedpur. I have been working with NTPC Ltd. (National Thermal Power Corporation), a Maharatna PSU of Govt. of India, since 2008 under various capacities. I am currently positioned in operations department as manager at National Capital Power Station, Dadri, UP.
I am an ERP consultant, working with SAP India. Formal academic background includes bachelors in commerce. I started my career as a sales professional. Currently my consulting work focuses on foreign trade through the various solutions offered by SAP.
I am an Engineer by profession. I graduated with B.Tech. in Automobile Engineering in 2009 and started my career with GPEPL as a Graduate Engineer Trainee and then worked there as Engineer – QA . Later, I moved to Paragon Group of Companies as Plant Engineer/Plant Head. Now I am with Nike as Engineer – Manufacturing & Sourcing.
I am a trained pharmacist with 18 years of experience in clinical research. Currently, I work with a Top-10 multinational biopharma company as Director for Asia Pacific.
I am an investment banker. In terms of qualifications, I am a CFA charterholder and have done my MBA in Finance from India. I am currently pursuing CAIA Level 2. I currently work for Qatalyst Consultancies as VP. My work involves assisting companies in raising equity capital or helping them in their mergers and acquisitions initiatives.
B.Tech – Electrical Engineering, University of Rajasthan
MBA – Marketing and IT, IILM University
professional background: Currently I am working with Emami Group as Strategic Marketing Manager.
Past Experience – ITC, Ministry of Textile (Govt. of India)
When and why did you start thinking of gaining a formal management qualification?
Working as an ERP consultant with global companies, I have been exposed to the inter play of various management functions like finance, marketing, production and inventory management.
I also learnt that for leadership roles we need to have a good breadth of knowledge in all important management functions along with depth in a specific area, like may be marketing or finance.
I then thought of taking up formal education to gain knowledge in the various management functions, so that I can use it to explore various career options beyond my current role.
When I moved from Functional Side to Managerial Side in my previous organization, I found several gaps in my ability to be a good mentor and a leader. That time I realized from my peers (and my personal network) that a management qualification is very much needed at this stage.
It was almost ten years since I had done my first masters in management. I felt the need to go back to a management school to brush up my knowledge and hone up my skills. Management education from a top US business school was always a dream.
In the year 2016, NTPC started diversifying and aggressively expanding its business into renewable energy. I was promoted to the level of manager the same year. I was entering the middle level management group and with so much happening around me, I felt the need of expanding my knowledge horizon related to business and the allied activities.
Gaining a formal management education from a good university has served the twin purpose of acquiring knowledge and powering my personal brand.
What other programs did you consider? What were the pros and cons of each?
1. GMAT – my first option was to prepare for GMAT and qualify for an American university for a full-time MBA course. But it didn’t work out, as I was not being able to give enough time for my preparation while working on a full-time job.
2. IIM C (APMP) – I considered this program from IIMC. When I compared this with UCLA PGP PRO, I felt that UCLA PGP PRO was much more extensive and better suited in terms of curriculum.
I could not take up a full time MBA program due to financial commitments and constraints.
I did consider PGDGM from Emeritus, which was a combination course of three management schools, but I believe it would be confusing to understand from where I have completed a program and wasn’t sure about its value.
I also considered doing a program from the IIMs – Bangalore / Kolkata, but did not have a very good experience with getting the information I needed to decide, and found a general lack of transparency.
I had explored multiple options from IIM / ISB programs in India as well as multiple programs from top US universities.
As my job involved lot of travel and I was spending significantly long hours developing and implementing an innovative and efficient operating model, it was impossible for me to enrol into a full classroom-based program requiring a number of study leaves.
There were hardly any courses which provided learning flexibility. Apart from time commitment during work weeks, fees plus supporting expenses turned out to be counter productive.
INSEAD Executive MBA, LBS Executive MBA and Hult Business School International MBA were some of the options that I evaluated on parameters such as course outline and design, method of delivery, time period, intensity, fees, interaction with core faculties etc. This program was better suited to me as a combination of fee, brand recognition, curriculum and flexibility.
I compared this program to ISB PGP PRO which also had good content and brand value but alternate weekend classes would have made life very difficult for a working professional like me.
What made you pick UCLA PGP PRO? What were the top concerns before joining?
UCLA PGP PRO turned out to be the perfect pick – the blended program that I was looking for. The flexibility of eLearning, live webinars and direct interaction with UCLA faculty in instructor-led sessions; a mix I thought would work best for me.
The face-to-face sessions structured only on weekends meant it would blend well with my work schedule.
As I started communicating with Northwest, one of the biggest concern was whether it was going to be a true UCLA program, which of course got addressed on day 1 when prof. Sanjay Sood came to class and talked about the program.
The curriculum is well-designed and very extensive and is meant to cover all aspects of management education.
UCLA PGP PRO provided the right balance in terms of cost, curriculum and the brand of the school (UCLA) that conducts this program. The faculty that are involved in the program are amazing with more than 20 faculty members delivering the online and classroom program.
While being the first run of the program, there were no alumni to connect to, but I trusted UCLA Anderson since it has a great reputation around the world.
I also did some research online to get feedback on the various management programs conducted by UCLA and their ratings and feedback.
I had a huge list of options. Then I shortlisted them to few based on brand image, value, area of specialization in management, classroom / online, frequency of classes, curriculum, fee structure and location.
The confusion was to go with institutes like IIFT, Symbiosis, BITS Pilani, IIM etc some of which were granted degrees also or to go with an Internationally renowned university having a great brand recognition.
I chose UCLA PGP PRO for the international exposure, brand image, flexibility and the curriculum which is taught by world class faculty from UCLA and is very extensive.
The brand of UCLA, the design of the course and value for money proposition have made me pick UCLA PGP PRO over other courses.
My top concern was no proven history of the course, we were literally first batch for UCLA PGP PRO!
Also I had doubts about the delivery of the promised course outline. But, I trusted UCLA Anderson to deliver high quality management education that they are renowned for.
UCLA is one of the best universities of the world and the brand value attached to Anderson School of Management makes any program offered by it very attractive. The program curriculum was most suitable for working professional like me so I chose it over other options.
My only concern was regarding the content of the program because it was totally a new course getting launched. This has been addressed more than adequately as the curriculum is world class and covers all aspects of management and the delivery in blended format makes it even better.
To select this program Northwest team helped me a lot, my primary motive to attend such course was an International exposure and Interaction with International faculty. And the secondary was the time management between my job and UCLA PGP PRO.
This course is also covering all the aspects of general management with qualitative study material extensively with more than 500 hours of commitment across online and classroom study.
UCLA PGP PRO is the best platform for working professionals like me to enhance their managerial and leadership skills with the world-class faculty and industry experts. QS Global ranks the UCLA executive MBA as 2nd in the world, and UCLA part time MBA is ranked 3rd in the world by U.S. News.
The faculty are the pillars of any educational program. UCLA PGP PRO also gives me an opportunity to get great guidance from the faculty such as Alfred E. Osborne, Sanjay Sood, Bob McCann, George Geis, Phil Leslie, Suzzane Shu and many more. So it is the best place for me to enhance my management skills and execute my short and long-term plans.
Describe your application experience.
The application process was smooth and well explained. There was transparency in the entire process itself and help was available on all queries all the way upto selection and beyond from Northwest.
The application process was easy but it did require introspection and effort on my part. The essay was an opportunity to present oneself in the truest form possible. One on one personal interview was informative and exciting.
I found the application process very smooth. All the communications from the UCLA and Northwest side were quite clear. I got my essay reviewed by a few colleagues of mine to fine tune it.
I think UCLA PGP PRO has one of the most systematic and smooth application processes when compared to the same kind of courses offered by various universities.
It was a great experience writing the application to apply for this Course. One just needs to make it simple and elaborative about your personal goal and professional profile.
Describe a typical week in the UCLA PGP PRO program.
The course is designed in such a format that we have a mix of hectic and not so hectic time periods. A typical week when I have deadlines on work and as well as study front, I have to chalk out a plan to deliver both on time. My family and colleagues have been supportive so far, when I have to juggle both.
I had the option of working from home for 1 or 2 days a week, so I could use a few hours on those days to complete my studies.
Also, I use the weekends, at least the day time to do my studies, so that I did not have to give up on my weekly night outs!
During October I used to have a tough time with Factory and used to work in night shift as well. The UCLA faculty webinars would be in the early morning and then immediately after that I would go back to work again. It was a great experience that I can somehow manage both.
Managing studies along with full work schedule and personal priorities is challenging. So how did I overcome the challenge? – Actually, I haven’t. This has been an ongoing challenge, and there is no magic wand, but I have gotten better at managing my time and my priorities.
If I get breaks during my shift duty hours I study the conceptual parts of the course material. The nature of my job doesn’t require me to work after my duty hours so I get time at home to study. Thus my typical week goes well with both my work and PGP PRO course.
What were the big challenges? How did you deal with them?
Time will be always a big challenge in any intensive program and requires a lot of planning.
Also, the pace at which the courses are launched is really fast in the first half of the program, which could be overwhelming for some.
However, it can be managed comfortably with a disciplined approach to finishing the course, as procrastinating will always make things tougher.
Time is so far the biggest constraint that I have encountered in my journey. It is like Murphy’s law that most deliverables fall on the same deadline date. Planning properly and taking help from my support system have helped me in most of the times.
I work in shifts so getting leaves during the webinars and the classroom sessions is slightly difficult. I discussed the curriculum of this course with my reporting officer and its suitability for my career growth. I was able to convince him to sanction leaves for a few classroom sessions and webinars.
Time constraint and workload stress are the common challenges that I faced during this course.
To deal with them you always need to prioritise your work accordingly. If you don’t do it then you will always find yourself in difficult situations.
Describe the assignment & exam experiences.
The assignments helped me to apply the learning from the program in relevant context at my work and otherwise.
The inputs from the professors are also very helpful because it allowed me to gauge my thinking on an assignment viz the professors’ recommended solution.
Assignments are truly helpful in widening my thinking and practically apply concepts in real work environment.
My experience also includes a stint in an L&D organization and I was happily surprised with the way blended methodology was implemented. Assessments and assignments are interesting and challenging, they require an in-depth review of the modules as well as an understanding of the subject.
Assignments are mostly related to gain a basic understanding of the concepts be it communication, financial accounting or corporate finance. At the outset, they are challenging and time consuming but become interesting as one proceeds further.
In terms of module related assignment and final exam are to test the understanding of the concepts.
I take all the assignments and exams on weekends or on holidays. As you need to clear your mind and be focused while giving these exams. And you also need to concentrate on the learnings from these assignments and exams.
What were your expectations before joining? Share an example of how any lesson from the class helped you in your day-to-day work.
I have learnt extensively about other functional areas and strategy. I have also been exposed to new ways of thinking and problem solving as well as better operations management, which I have deployed at my work place and am getting great results and recognition from peers and superiors. The change in my work style is visible.
The learning experience has been very good, mainly due to the well developed and extensive content and fantastic insights from the professors.
I have already used the learnings from the course in the areas of communication and operations, very effectively in my work.
Apart from using the learnings in day to day operations, one of the biggest influencers was start-up discussions including start-up master class. That really made a lasting impact.
My expectations were to get introduced to the emerging concepts of management and to learn from practical case study based approach of learning. Most of my expectations are met. The strategy palate of BCG was once helpful in charting out of my clients’ strategic intent. They were very happy with the outcome.
I expected a world class course content from the program. UCLA PGP PRO course content has met my expectations.
The program has already met lots of expectations which I had before joining the program. Recently, in a session we have learnt about negotiation techniques, which are really helping me out in my day-to-day work either with clients or with my colleagues.
What were the best parts of the program? Was there any specific subject or professor you enjoyed learning from?
I enjoyed learning from professor Ian Larkin a lot when it came to strategy and its application as well as marketing.
The best part was the interactive full-day sessions at Bangalore and Delhi
Also, I found the reading materials very useful, as they were not typical text book content, but content from various research papers.
Yes. Of course. I loved this program from the bottom of my heart. Every professor’s lectures are of outstanding quality and a great experience, and one of my favourites would be Ian Larkin.
It has been a pleasing experience with all the faculty members, and have been a fan of prof. Ian Larkin.
Best part of the program are the case studies and face to face session with the faculty. Ian Larkin is one of my favourite professors. I also enjoyed Tamhant Jain’s sessions. Both put a lot of efforts into their sessions.
The classroom sessions were the best, specially the sessions delivered by prof. Sanjay Sood and Prof. Bob McCann. I liked the online courses such as competitive strategy and webinars by prof. Ian Larkin.
The communication and finance modules are excellent and very informative and useful.
It was a great interaction with prof. Sanjay Sood and prof. Bob MacCann, as my subject of interest is Marketing and Brand management.
So I really enjoyed learning some of the concepts of Brand management with several examples of Internationally Renowned Brands like ZARA, TOYOTA, APPLE, GOOGLE and so on.
What should other candidates know about the program before they join?
Other candidates should have an alignment of their basic career plan and how this course can help them. They should also be aware of the time commitment required for the program and the general management oriented curriculum of the program.
The candidates should fully understand the concept of blended learning course – an in person as well as self paced course where the student has to put as much effort as the course providers (be it faculty, course designers and organisers). If one is willing to put this effort along with career then the whole experience would be extremely rewarding.
This program is meant for working professionals who want to enhance their knowledge about the broad functioning of businesses across the globe and power their career forward. The program is world class in its content and delivery. It requires efficient time management for the successful completion of this course.
This program will take you to the next level, you will learn different best practices followed by the top organisations across the globe, in a very short time. But if you want to grab all the benefits of this course, you need to be more attentive, manage your time accordingly.
As time management between your professional life (sometimes personal life) and studies plays a big role in value you derive from the program.
Also read UCLA Owners Management Program (OMP)
This article is part of CrystalConnect, an outreach initiative by MBA Crystal Ball.