The UCLA Owners Management Program (OMP) has been designed to be immersive and very hands-on, just the way founders and business owners love to operate.
Sameer Kamat (Founder of MBA Crystal Ball) interviewed Keith Groya (Senior Account Director at UCLA Anderson Executive Education) to find out more about the UCLA OMP program – including the tuition fee, eligibility, application process, essay tips and more.
MBA Crystal Ball: Describe how UCLA Anderson has been associated with entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial research & education over the years.
Keith Groya: Entrepreneurial courses were first offered at UCLA in the early 1970s by Professor Hans Schollhammer. In 1987, the Entrepreneurial Studies Center was established as an interdisciplinary program under the direction of Professor Alfred E. Osborne, Jr. Later named as The Harold and Pauline Price Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
Today, The Harold and Pauline Price Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation is a recognized leader in entrepreneurial education and research at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. The member board of Price center is a group of nearly 30 distinguished business professionals from the Southern California area.
The center’s board of advisors ensures that UCLA Anderson develops integrated academic program that affirms the vital role of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial activity in the American economic system.
The center currently offers more than 15 entrepreneurial elective courses, with approximately 30 sections offered annually. These Entrepreneurial course offerings complement the MBA program and the required courses that constitute the first-year core.
Area specialists and faculty who have distinguished themselves as business professionals lead courses that impart knowledge of the nature and environment of entrepreneurial organizations and the skills and methodologies specifically applicable to the successful management of such organizations. A carefully articulated internship and appropriately selected field study complete the recommended course of study.
Beyond the academics, The Entrepreneur Association (EA) is the largest student organization at UCLA Anderson. EA firmly believes that experiential learning is the most effective kind. That’s why the EA provides opportunities to strengthen entrepreneurial skills to students pursuing an Anderson MBA.
EA offers its more than 600 members a wide range of extracurricular activities to provide mentoring relationships and experiential learning, and organizes more than 30 programs that encourage and inspire members to start their own businesses or bring broader entrepreneurial thinking to their profession.
EA also curates and presents more than 150 events each year, including a speaker series on entrepreneurship and venture capital in many industries, hands-on workshops, company visits, intimate dinners with successful business leaders, a world-class business plan competition, and a year-end conference.
The Knapp Venture Competition at UCLA Anderson, now in its 37th year, has evolved into one of the premier academic business plan competitions in Southern California. The Knapp Competition encourages Anderson students to showcase their talents and learn from insights of successful entrepreneurs and business executives.
It has given more than 1,800 UCLA Anderson students a unique venture creation experience that has been instrumental in launching numerous businesses. The competition is named for Cleon T. (Bud) and Betsy Wood Knapp, who generously endowed the program in 1997 to support this annual event and other entrepreneurial initiatives.
MCB: How do the campus resources, professors and industry connections contribute in positioning UCLA Anderson as a hub of entrepreneurship education and success?
Keith: At UCLA, first-hand experience in an entrepreneurial environment is vital to the success of our curriculum.
The Harold and Pauline Price Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation brings together resources at UCLA to put startups on the path of rapid growth on campus and long-term success beyond campus. It drives numerous initiatives to help entrepreneurs innovate and flourish, from idea to venture to impact.
One such major initiative is The UCLA Anderson Venture Accelerator. It is an immersive 6-month program that brings together several UCLA’s resources to enable the success of promising startups within the Anderson community.
The Accelerator’s Entrepreneurs-in-Residence help startups sharpen their business pitches, marketing strategy and business models. Experts from the technology, marketing, legal and PR industries hold seminars and office hours at the Accelerator on a regular basis.
The Accelerator comprises of a 4,000-square-foot co-working space for teams, housed within a 10,000-square-foot facility in the basement of the business school’s Rosenfeld Library. In addition to co-working space the Accelerator features meeting rooms, a pitch deck, a kitchen and eat-in space, and small booths for phone calls.
The Price Center has also established programs such as the Galef Symposium in Business Innovation. It supports the research on projects that demand an openness to flexibility and new ideas, a predisposition to study innovative methods, and a capacity to see beyond existing paradigms.
The Price Center funds numerous fellowships designed to afford students real-world business experiences. The Price Center also maintains a strong commitment to serving the nonprofit and small business communities through management development programs and topical seminars.
MCB: Can you describe how the OMP program came into existence?
Keith: The Owners Management Program (OMP) is built on more than 40 years of expertise and experience in Entrepreneurial Research and Education at UCLA Anderson, now housed in the UCLA Price Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
The program has been designed to bring unique insights into action through applied research and its focus on and support to the owner / promoter driven enterprises and family owned businesses.
Over the years we have noticed that entrepreneurs and business owners come to UCLA Anderson to benefit from our expertise, and participate in many different programs in very specific areas.
They have always asked for a program that is tailored more specifically to their needs. This feedback and suggestions on what matters to this group has led us to design the UCLA OMP, a comprehensive learning experience that will serve the specific needs of owners and entrepreneurs.
The first class of OMP will come together in 2019 at UCLA from all across the globe.
MCB: Can you describe the program format?
Keith: The OMP is contextualized to the needs of founders, next-gen family business owners, successful entrepreneurs and senior leaders in large family run enterprises.
The program has been designed as a comprehensive learning journey that touches upon all aspects and addresses all needs of owner driven enterprises.
It comprises of 6 modules with a combination of in-classroom and off-campus learning, to ensure that participants get the most value from the program over the 9 month period, while they continue to run their businesses.
The classroom learning brings the best of UCLA Anderson faculty and research and exposes the participants to the latest management frameworks and informs them of trends and that are affecting the global business landscape as well as creating challenges and opportunities.
The time between the in-class modules is meant to be effectively used by participants to experiment with new ideas and approaches at work, analyze the results and build a feedback loop such that it becomes a great way to build the strategy for the next phase of growth.
This also allows then to ask further questions when they are back in the classroom, and benefit from both, the interaction with esteemed and highly experienced peers as well as the highly regarded UCLA faculty.
OMP aspires to bring forth the latest management concepts, best practices, deep expertise of our world-renowned faculty in the area of growth and sustenance of family owned enterprises.
MCB: Is the program helpful for someone who isn’t already an entrepreneur, but wants to launch a startup?
Keith: The UCLA Anderson OMP is very relevant for anybody who is embarking on a journey to build and/or grow their own business(es) and as such, can and will serve as a launchpad for new startups.
These would come from successful entrepreneurs looking for the next big thing, as well as first time entrepreneurs looking to launch their idea. These could be businesses that are supported by family or within a large company or a venture funded enterprise.
High potential business leaders and emerging stars with several years of management experience will find the content, structure and focus of the program to be of immense help in their journey to build the next global enterprise.
Established entrepreneurs and other professionals will rely on the program to expand their ability to drive growth and scale and take their businesses to the next level of success.
MCB: Considering the diversity of businesses and entrepreneurs (second generation entrepreneur in family business vs first generation tech startup founder) and the nature of challenges each would face, how does the program adapt itself to add value to each student?
Keith: It is true that the industry sectors that our participants operate in will be very diverse and also geographically dispersed.
This adds immense value to the program as participants, learn from each other, find gaps within their industries and geographies that can potentially be plugged with an offering from one of their peers, create new ventures together to capitalize on such opportunities and work together on disruption opportunities within the status quo.
The program focuses the participants on the common aspects that exist across businesses, such as managing talent, managing accounts, debt and finances and raising funds among others.
At the same time, most ventures face the challenge of scale and growth. They also need to think about understanding and determining their target audience and selling to this audience.
Hence, the program brings the best practices in these areas from the best faculty research to benefit the participants.
They can then choose projects that are very specific to their own challenges to work on, and hence adapt and apply the program learning to their own specific situations, adding significant value to their enterprises and to themselves.
MCB: Can you share some unique resources and opportunities that OMP participants will benefit from??
UCLA Anderson BusinessAccelerator
You can apply to be a part of the UCLA Anderson BusinessAccelerator after completion of Module 4 in the program.
Your application shall be reviewed by the Accelerator leadership team and if your business and/or idea is found suitable, you shall be offered a place for yourself and one team member at the UCLA Anderson BusinessAccelerator.
This shall enable you to have access to the opportunities offered by the Accelerator which include mentorship and networking, as well as access to VCs etc.
The Birkman Assessment taken during the program focuses on helping you realize your true leadership potential, understand your blind spots, identify and exploit emerging opportunities, and transform yourself and your organization.
You receive one-on-one coaching to advise and guide you on this transformation journey with experienced coaches.
And you get to know and build relationships with award-winning UCLA Faculty members and Industry experts who can help you answer some of the burning questions related to addressing challenges and capitalizing on opportunities.
UCLA Global Alumni status
As a member of distinguished UCLA Anderson alumni network, you will have access to more than 39,000 alumni who have graduated from UCLA Anderson since its founding in 1935.
It is a network of highly successful leader across the world and industry spectrum, one can rely on this network to find partners, vendors, investors, senior employees and advisors needed to take business to next level.
UCLA Anderson Alumni Events that occur globally thanks to the efforts of the school and/or the UCLA Anderson Alumni Network Chapters and Group will ensure that the participant benefit from the latest business practices, thought leadership and other successful alumni.
MCB: Describe the ideal candidate for OMP – age range, years of experience, career aspirations, industries/roles?
Keith: The typical candidate for UCLA PGP PRO will be 26 -45 years old with an average work / business experience of about 10-12 years.
The UCLA Anderson OMP is designed for high potential family business leaders and emerging stars within owner / promoter driven enterprises across industries and sectors, with several years of management experience and who direct specific functional areas of a dynamic enterprise.
MCB: How many participants in a class?
Keith: We are looking forward to building a very diverse and global cohort with ~40 participants in the class.It will create a very intimate and close knit peer group and allow for rich interactions with faculty and among themselves.
We are very selective with regard to the profile and personal characteristics of the candidates whom we admit into the program, as our goal is to a world class peer group that will significantly enhance the learning experience for the OMP participants.
MCB: When do you start accepting applications? How long does the process take?
Keith: We have started accepting applications for the program. It is a rolling admissions process, which means that as applications come in, they are processed and admission decisions are made. We advise individuals to apply as early as possible, since there are limited seats for the program.
Once an application is submitted, the admissions team reviews the participant profile and experience, application documents, essays and other details.
A personal or telephonic interview is conducted and the team also speaks to applicant’s references to discuss their feedback on the applicant and candidature for the program.
The complete evaluation process take anywhere between 2-3 weeks.
MCB: Why is a GMAT / GRE score not considered for this program, when most mainstream programs at UCLA do?
Keith: UCLA OMP is a program designed for individuals with significant business and work experience and largely in leadership roles within their own or closely associated organizations.
Their background and experience as well as interviews and reference checks provides us with all the data we require to make an informed decision of their suitability for the program.
We therefore do not require GMAT/GRE, since we have other very objective metrics and criteria for admission to the OMP that serve the require purpose.
We want to ensure that participant bring perspectives and experiences that would enrich the experience of an entire class.
MCB: Share some tips on creating a writing good essay for the questions covered:
– Please describe the personal objectives that you hope to achieve through OMP, and how they relate to the long-term goals of your organization.
– Please describe your company in terms of product lines or services and your responsibilities.
Keith: As prospective participants can gather from the questions asked, these are not reflective of the typical MBA admissions essays and the process we follow is also very different.
Instead, we use these questions to better understand the individual and their goals and aspirations.
We want to understand their organization and its current stage of growth. This information then helps us to develop the context of an applicant, their learning needs and the corresponding program fit.
We believe that it’s important for the program to also be a good fit for the participant, for it to provide the required boost to professional growth and organizational growth.
We therefore recommend that participants take time to give us an honest picture of themselves and their organizations.
MCB: How much is the total tuition? What are the other components (accommodation, transportation)?
Keith: The Program fee for UCLA OMP is USD 45,000 inclusive of all taxes. It covers teaching fees, accommodation for all in-class modules at UCLA, all academic materials, lunches, and select dinners.
The Fees does not include travel expenses and any associated visa fees etc. Also, if a participant wants to or expects to stay beyond the program dates in Los Angeles / USA, then the associated travel and stay costs needs to be budgeted for, as beyond the program fees.
Currently, OMP does not provide any scholarships to participants.
MCB: Are there any tie-ups with student loan companies for the program?
Keith: Yes, for Indian applicants only, prospective participants can avail an education loan from Credila (An HDFC Limited company) or Avanse (a DHFL Company), who recognize the program and can provide loans at competitive interest rates as per their own processes and eligibility criteria.
MCB: How does the on-campus and off-campus schedule work?
Keith: The OMP learning journey is spread across 6 program modules, which includes both in-classroom and off-campus modules. Each module packages approx. 100 hours of learning in the most appropriate format.
The program uses an effective mixture of in-class learning, online self-paced learning and live online interactions to ensure that participants are getting the most value from the experience and remain engaged at all times.
Classroom Modules are 2 weeks together at UCLA and in between the three on-campus residencies, participants have approximately 4 months to complete the required project work, online course work and continue to interact with faculty during this period through live webinars.
In terms of the coverage of materials as well as the overall effort, OMP requires about 5-600 hours of efforts from participants for the duration of the program.
MCB: Where and how is the off-campus teaching managed? Does this happen in-person (in a classroom) or virtually (using videoconferencing)?
Keith: The off-campus learning is delivered through self-paced online learning through a custom platform and live interactive online sessions where participants engage with UCLA faculty as well as peers at regular intervals throughout the off-campus module.
MCB: Is any of the content designed specifically for the Indian business world?
Keith: The OMP is a global program and its world class curriculum has been designed specifically for relevance and applicability across the world.
It builds on global best practices, entrepreneurial research and the vast knowledge-base and contextual experience of the highly regarded UCLA Faculty.
Its appeal lies in its global curriculum and examples as well as case studies taken from all over the world, including India, so that participants can learn from challenges as well as understand and appreciate the opportunities.
MCB: How different is OMP from the UCLA MBA, in terms of depth and breadth of what’s covered?
Keith: The OMP is not comparable to the UCLA MBA, Master of Business Administration, which is a full time experience meant for a much younger target audience, looking to grow in professional careers.
OMP is meant for owners / promoters of family businesses, who are looking to enhance their knowledge and get access the right set of tools, knowledge, expertise and best practices to grow their organizations in the current business climate.
MCB: Describe the practical aspects of the program and some examples of the kind of projects participants can expect.
Keith: The OMP is meant to be application driven in design and approach. Participants are expected to take on projects such as launch of a new product, entering a new geography, diversification of their existing focus, consolidation within market, working on an exciting M&A transaction and any other such topics that have a direct relevance to the participant and the growth of their organization.
MCB: Unlike programs meant for professionals where the RoI parameters are more tangible (e.g. career change, promotion, higher salary), what are the parameters for success for OMP participants? What specific outcomes can participants expect at the end of the program?
Keith: UCLA OMP is designed to give an edge to participants (business leaders) for long term and as such the ROI shall also be manifested in the medium to long term with respect to the growth of their organizations.
The learnings and program experience would manifest themselves in competitive advantage, scale and business growth the participants would be able to achieve after the program.
On an immediate basis we expect participants to emerge from UCLA OMP with new skills, knowledge and an expanded entrepreneurial toolkit, and leadership capabilities that will help you drive immediate and long-term success. They would