Summer 2000 @ucla.com
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fever has created another thorny dilemma for Anderson. Many students
are not only working part-time for Internet firms in order to gain
experience and make connections but, tempted by extraordinary opportunities,
some are leaving school to launch or join Internet start-ups. This
year's graduating class, for instance, will be shy five M.B.A.s.
"A batch of our graduates start these companies in their first
and second years," says Carsrud. "I had a student come
to me a few days ago and say, 'Alan, I am distraught. My board is
demanding I quit school to concentrate on the business.' He said,
'Alan, if I don't get this degree, what's my back up? I'm taking
classes that are helping this company. Help me convince the board.'
I had to walk them through things."
many faculty don't especially like this development, they also aren't
sure what can be done about it. And some see nothing wrong in the
trend. Osborne says that a student's decision to leave school to
pursue a promising business deal is no different than Tiger Woods
leaving Stanford to launch his pro-golfing career. "If this
whole world is opening up, and you have an opportunity, you ought
to try it. I think people can be responsible for their choices.
We admit bright people into higher education. Our challenge is to
not screw them up."
of those bright people is David Williams. The 27-year-old reflects
perfectly the new style of entrepreneurs being hatched by Anderson:
Self-assured, outgoing, goal-driven-not to mention extremely savvy
about high tech. "Business school is the greatest institution
ever," he says. "I've so enjoyed my business-school experience.
It's further solidified who I am. I've achieved every single goal
cool spring afternoon in early May, Williams arrives for an interview
at Anderson's in-house café starved, having been too busy
to eat. He orders a green salad and a baked potato, then apologizes
for eating so fast. In addition to his studies, Williams is president
of the Entrepreneur Association, the school's largest student organization
and, as such, he's been consumed with last-minute details for "Digital
Mania," a conference the group is sponsoring this weekend featuring
Razorfish head Richard Titus, among other heavyweights in digital
guy with a shaved head and a warm smile, Williams was raised in
a Detroit suburb by middle-class parents, who were civil rights
activists. "They always said, 'Never let race be an excuse
for not getting what you want.' My parents have been my inspiration
from the beginning."