Outside the Ivory Tower
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entered the program in 1996 and for the next eight months he and
some 50 other Fellows all working professionals spent
their Saturdays attending all-day seminars that incorporated lectures
and case studies presented by Anderson faculty, visits from members
of the L.A. corporate community, field trips to local companies
and one-on-one mentoring from current Anderson School students.
Lawrence, "It's an environment in which you can ask someone
from the corporate world, 'What do you do on a daily basis?' I could
ask people in consulting, 'Who are the Big Five?' Unless you're
in that industry, you hear all these terms being thrown around and
don't know what they are."
program today is coordinated by one of Lawrence's Riordan classmates,
Ardena Bartlett. For many of the Fellows, the Riordan Program is
the first opportunity they have to meet people in similar circumstances.
Says Bartlett: "You have this diverse group from similar backgrounds,
people who haven't ever had things just handed to them, and one
might say, 'I'm the only African American at my mainstream company.'
Or, 'I'm the only Latino,' or, 'I'm the only woman in my position.'
It's tough dealing with that kind of issue, feeling like they always
have to mind their p's and q's."
the end, Lawrence felt confident in his ability to hold his own
among the nation's best graduate business students. "I got
to the point where I could say, 'Yeah, I can do this,'" Lawrence
says. "I learned the way to go. Before, the whole process was
focused on general-management studies at The Anderson School, and
today he travels the world as a management consultant for Cap Gemini
Ernst & Young.
was definitely important to have the program's support," Lawrence
says. "I'm a very extroverted individual so I feel comfortable
going into just about any situation. But it's always nice to be
with people who look like me, talk like me. Being in the program
felt like going home."