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UCLA: Anderson School of Management - Women's Business Connection

President, Alisa Sommer explains how women are regarded and their role in the business world


Sun Sep 30 2012

Alisa Sommer is pursuing a joint JD/MBA degree at UCLA. Prior to joining the dual degree program, she spent several years in the entertainment industry, most recently in the Finance Department at Lionsgate Entertainment. At Anderson School of Management, Alisa is the President of the Women’s Business Connection. We caught up with her last month to discover what it is like to be a woman in the business world. 

What are your club's main aims this year?

We have three strategic goals: 1) Weaving a social fabric of women at Anderson. 2) Creating an environment to help women reach their professional goals. 3) Building an engaged membership.

Why was the club initially founded? 

The club was founded to provide a space to for women at Anderson.

What proportion of women at Anderson are in your club, (and do you have any male members)?

No, we do not have male members. I am not sure what proportion of women are in the club, but we have over 200 members!

Who is the most exciting speaker you've had this year?

This past year, we had several amazing speakers. I think one of the most inspiring speakers was actually the dean of the business school, Dean Olian. She is incredible and hosted a lunch for women last fall. In addition, speakers have ranged from high ranking executives at companies from Google and Cisco, to Deloitte and Bain.

Where do you see yourself after you complete your MBA?

I am a JD/MBA and plan to work at a global law firm, Gibson Dunn, after graduation.

Do you think women have a leadership deficit compared to men, which on average disadvantages them in the business world? Or is it just that men are not inclined to follow women? 

I don’t think that men are not inclined to follow women, so I’m not sure I can answer that question. However, I think that women do face unique challenges in all stages of their careers – this leads to both advantages and disadvantages at various times.