UCLA: Anderson School of Management - High Tech Business Association
President Charlotte Baxter Maines talks about mining asteroids, Amazon's "war rooms", and LA as a tech hub
Charlotte Baxter Maines was Development Project Manager for Fisher Property Group, Inc. before going to UCLA: Anderson to do an MBA. She interned with Amazon over the summer and is now President of the High Tech Business Association.
Charlotte talks about the technologies that will have the biggest impact on society over the next few years, and about exciting guest speakers from Google, MySpace and more.
What were your club’s big initiatives this year?
This year the High Tech Business Association (HTBA) continued our existing quality programming, from Career Nights to company visits (“Tech Treks”) to attending the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
We grew these events to include more companies from more geographic regions, for example giving students the opportunity to choose from 22 different companies in the San Francisco/Silicon Valley area to visit during our Bay Area Tech Trek.
But our biggest initiative is bringing a High Tech Case Competition to UCLA Anderson. The competition will be held in October 2012 and is open to teams of 1st and/or 2nd year students.
Amazon, the hosting company in partnership with the HTBA, is providing a case with an actual problem the company is confronting. Teams will submit a document supporting their proposed solution, and Amazon will pick the best to present in front of their peers. A winner will be picked and receive their prizes, including guaranteed interview opportunities, during a reception open to all students.
The competition is intended to be the first of many annual ones to come, providing even more opportunities for Anderson students to learn more about and excel in the tech community.
What was your main event this year and how do you think it prepares your members for a career in technology?
The case competition prepares students for a career in technology because it replicates the experience of working in a fast-moving growth industry with new ideas, problems and situations coming up daily.
By presenting a complex problem students are not familiar with and asking them to work together as a team to come up with and analyze a strong solution in a matter of days, I believe the case competition creates an atmosphere that will give students exposure to the fast pace of the tech world.
After many days spent in “war rooms” at Amazon during my internship this summer, powering through big business problems that needed solutions in short order, I recognize many parallels in the experiences.
Who was your most exciting speaker this year?
UCLA Anderson is located in tech- and start-up rich Los Angeles, allowing us the privilege of many great speakers, company visits, school year internships at incubators and start-ups, and local conferences and shows. In addition, our West Coast location means we are easily accessible from the tech hubs of the Bay Area and Seattle.
Some of the speakers at Anderson this year included Susan Wojcicki, Senior Vice President of Product Management and Engineering at Google, and Mike Jones, founder of LA tech incubator Science, and the former CEO of MySpace, as well as event keynote addresses by executives from companies including Amazon, Cisco, Google, and Microsoft.
Does the recent resupply to the International Space Station by a purely commercial enterprise, and far-reaching plans to mine asteroids in orbit, signify a major investment opportunity or present an unacceptably high-risk investment?
One of the reasons I want to be a part of the tech community is it aligns with my belief that we should always seek solutions beyond the status quo. Certainly there are a lot of environmental, logistical, and social issues and implications with, say, mining on asteroids. But then, as recent conversations about the Dodd-Frank Act section barring companies from using so-called “Conflict Minerals” in their electronics have reminded us, are robots on asteroids worse than human lives being exploited in illegal, unsafe, militia-run tin mines?
I don’t have enough information about that specific issue to comment, but I do appreciate that the tech industry is always willing to not just ask the big questions but take action to get an answer.
What new technologies do you think will make the biggest difference to the human race in the next decade?
As exciting as the Instagrams of the world are, I really see the next movement focusing more on issues that are becoming increasingly urgent to society.
Two main sectors I see experiencing aggressive growth are health care and ecology/environment. These areas will become increasingly important as we continue to experience more and more problems with our personal health, the healthcare system, and global warming.
At UCLA Anderson, we make a concerted effort to foster cross-functional events among the different associations to further the discussion of these issues. For example, the HTBA works with the Health Business Association to expand our reach in biotech or the Energy Management Association to place students at the crossroads of technology and sustainability.