Insights from Partnership UCLA’s Gerald Corporal

Q: Who are the Partnership UCLA Staff?

Partnership UCLA / Alumni Career Programs comprises of 6 staff members: our Director Gloria Ko; Associate Directors Christian Chavez, Gerald Corporal, Amanda Raymond, and Katie Russo, and our Coordinator Tzveta Mihaylov. Please feel welcome to reach out to any of us at any point. Email addresses can be found at the bottom of this page:, or you can reach us at

Q: What is Partnership UCLA, and can you speak about the resources and programs that are offered? What are some qualities that you are looking for in students in the selection process for these programs and how can students best prepare?

The overarching goal of Partnership is to bridge your academic experience to various career paths. We offer numerous career readiness programs that are distinct in that they connect you to our extensive alumni network. Bruin alumni are very enthusiastic about mentoring and hiring Bruins. Our program offerings span various academic disciplines (Communication, Economics, Engineering, Life Sciences, and Sociology) and, for the most part, are open to all majors and grade levels. Many of our programs are designed for students exploring career options, or are preparing to enter the job market. Job Ready is great for students wanting to learn and practice the mechanics of the job search process, while Bruin Development Academies (BDA) explore specific career fields and teach tangible skills. The UCLA ONE mentorship program pairs you with an alumni mentor – all done virtually through your UCLA ONE account.

We also manage a few highly selective programs, such as the Sharpe Fellows and Economics Research Fellows. Students selected for these programs become official stewards of the university, and so a common quality demonstrated among these Fellows include: excellent communication skills, leadership abilities, and outstanding academic performance.

Q: What is your outlook on the business landscape at UCLA and what do you think students should do to best set themselves up for future careers in finance, IB, consulting, etc.?

Before coming to UCLA, I actually worked as a career counselor for an undergraduate business school at a comparable university. I can say, with complete confidence, that UCLA students are just as exceptional and equally competitive for business roles (such as investment banking and management consulting) as students at universities with business schools. UCLA successfully produces generally the same amount of students in those competitive career fields as peer business schools, and that’s a testament to UCLA students and the business landscape on campus.

That said, positioning yourself for these highly competitive career fields require that students leverage the UCLA resources at their disposal. The UCLA brand and the top faculty on campus mean that several companies and firms are already interested in you. The next step is for students to expand their peer and professional networks to push them over the edge. Being involved with Undergraduate Business Society is one example of how students can opt in to a peer network, whereas Partnership UCLA can help you build your professional network.

Q: How do you see UCLA’s resources for students interested in business growing in the future and does Partnership UCLA and its programs have plans to expand?

The short answer is that I see resources continuing to grow and improve in the coming years.

To expand upon that, UCLA is and has been a reputable institution for quite some time. A common trend among colleges and universities is the emphasis on career outcomes for students, and UCLA is no exception to that. With a priority being placed on career outcomes, you can expect UCLA to continue investing in career readiness resources.

Partnership UCLA / Alumni Career Programs was actually originally designed to meet the needs of students pursuing roles such as banking and consulting. That is still a goal of our team, although the department has scaled up considerably in the past 11 years, growing in the number of staff, programs, and funding. Personally speaking, I have a lot of goals for the upcoming year with what I want to offer to our business-oriented students, and I also hope to draw upon my knowledge and experience at a B-school to help you all be successful in your endeavors.

Q: What’s the biggest piece of advice you can give to undergraduates?

Don’t compare yourself to your peers. That is just too commonplace at a top tier institution like UCLA, but it honestly just adds unwarranted anxiety as you’re trying to figure out what you want to do professionally. It’s absolutely okay to be inspired by what your peers are doing, but it’s another issue to pursue roles and companies only because that’s what everyone else is doing. Beyond your career goals, I think that this advice will also serve you well in life.

Q: For freshmen who don’t know what they want to pursue quite yet, what should they be doing to gain insights? For sophomores/juniors who are still unsure or feel behind their peers, what steps should they be taking?

For freshmen: start networking early and often – meet as many people as you can, do informational interviews, and expand your network. There is absolutely no pressure for you at this point in your college career, so have some fun with networking and build great relationships.

For sophomores/juniors: know that you have 2-3 years of a UCLA education under you built, so be confident in yourself and what you bring to the table. A lot of career programs and events on campus are seemingly tailor-made for you – so go to as many as you can and learn about what’s out there.. Don’t limit yourself to 1-2 career fields and, on that note, know that you do not pigeon-hole yourself to a career just because you accepted a particular type of internship.

Q: What are your biggest networking and interview tips?

For networking, have your elevator pitch down. Elevator pitches may seem very corny, but having spoken to several hiring managers and recruiters, elevator pitches are your first impression, and first impressions can be make or break for you. Also know that networking is not a one-time moment. Networking only works successfully when there are continued touchpoints, so plan to re-connect with those that you have met. If you’re not sure how to follow-up with someone, know that it’s okay to share updates on yourself – how school is going, your student organizations, your hobbies, etc. People appreciate these updates as much as they appreciate insightful questions.

For interviews, the two biggest tips I can offer is to:

(1) Train yourself to become organized in your answers – make it as easy as possible for the interviewer to follow where you’re going with your answers. Answering in an organized manner helps assure you cover all of the talking points you want to discuss.

(2) Details are everything! Provide as much details in your answers and stories: how did you feel in certain situations? How did others feel? What did you learn from certain experiences? How has it made you a better person or professional? The more details and information you can provide (in an organized manner) adds substances to your answers and strengthens your candidacy.