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Jay Devivo

The Anderson School at UCLA

Though initially unimpressed with the celebrity and smog of Los Angeles, East Coast native Jay Devivo says he has since learned to appreciate his adopted homeland. Since migrating from Boston last year, Devivo has devoted much time and energy to Anderson’s Entrepreneurial Ventures Club, which works closely with area startups.

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Meet, Greet, and Sometimes Delete
In the beginning, you should open yourself to everything. Get a little crazy in first few weeks, and then narrow down your interests to a few. Generally, students have one primary activity and a few supporting activities at which they are not the main point person.

Networking is by far the most important aspect of business school. The classroom is a distant second. If you want to be an investment banker or a consultant, you had better get a 4.0. GPA, but even those employers like to see that you are doing something outside of school. For the people who don’t want to go into either of those fields, networking is paramount.

I’m involved with the Venture Developing Program, which places MBA students with a team of entrepreneurs and allows them to work together over the summer. The MBA students help flesh out strategic issues and a business plan with the goal of going after venture capital or angel financing. This is really our last chance to try things without any serious consequences.

At the end of the day, the most important thing you take away from business school is your network.

Succumb to Peer Pleasure
I spent between 10 and 35 hours a week studying on my own. During finals that number went up to 40 hours. But far outweighing that independent study time is the amount of time spend in group studies. Everything is group related. Even in statistics class, you have groups. How do you have groups in math? You do. If it’s not a group project, it’s a study group so you can go over things together. I’ve been in 16-hour group meetings.

This is why choosing the right business school is so important. You’ll see these people more than anyone else remotely associated with your life, so you had better like them.

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Learn to Share
Before finals, students will send out study guides for the whole section. I’ve also seen people say, “I have information about this employer, do you want it?” In terms of anything academic, there is almost no competition.

In our core classes — which comprise 90 percent of the first year – there is an enforced curve and people are still willing to give you all they know. If everyone shares information, the pool of information rises. At the end of the day, you want to actually learn something. Whatever arbitrary grade some professor gives you really doesn’t matter.

Embrace IM
You have to have a Palm Pilot. Maybe not specifically that brand, but you have to have some kind of organizer. You’re always scheduling to meet and do things with various other people. I used to keep my appointments in a Day Runner, but it just gets too messy with paper.

Anderson is a very wired school. We have T-1 ports in all the classrooms, so a laptop is a necessity. During some classes, you sit in the back and Instant Message people all day. It’s also always good to have a cell phone, as well.

Make Friends With Second-Year Students
It’s important to talk to second-year students to find out who previously interned at the companies you are researching. Fall recruiting is mostly for second-year students, but it never hurts a first-year student to sit in on sessions.

UCLA is ranked #1 for entrepreneurial studies. In order to find jobs and internships in that area, you just have to be creative. That is where the UCLA Venture Development Program comes in. There are plenty of groups in the L.A. area attract entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. Internet things are happening in L.A. Startups don’t normally recruit on campus, but they do get in touch with our career center, and there is always email coming through looking for potential recruits.

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