Graduate Student Ambassadors
AGSM Graduate Student Ambassadors
AGSM Graduate Student Ambassadors are a select group of business student leaders dedicated to serving and representing the graduate business programs at UCR. Ambassadors assist the school as hosts for official events, work with school staff and faculty on projects and recruiting, and act as guides for prospective students.
Being a Student Ambassador gives you greater exposure to professional networks, puts you in front of leaders in the community and builds your leadership portfolio.
Get first-hand knowledge of student life and academics by contacting a graduate student ambassador.
Graduate Ambassador Leadership Team
While completing a bachelor’s degree in psychology at UCR, Viresha Anne Perera took an industrial-organizational psychology class, and she understood how psychology could be applied to business. So, she decided to pursue an MBA with an emphasis in marketing and management. As an international student, UCR’s STEM designation within the MBA program was also a deciding factor for her. While studying at UCR as an undergrad, Perera was involved in the International Student Union, International Peer Advisors program, and the Indian Student Association.
David Ayrapetyan plans to pursue a career in product marketing, and wants to focus specifically on positioning new services in the tech industry. He earned his undergraduate degree in business administration at UCR, and considers the university his second home. He chose to continue here as a graduate student due to a strong sense of belonging, as well as AGSM’s competitive rankings and accreditations. For David, being a student at UCR means pursuing a well-rounded academic experience by being involved in extracurricular organizations and activities to supplement his studies. He truly enjoys helping others embrace the Highlander experience.
Coming from a non-business background, Franchesca Jefferson was looking to grow and prosper within and beyond a professional network of graduate business students. Having studied both human biology and film production, she was working as a production intern and later as a social media manager, and realized that one way to intertwine two of her interests (film and marketing strategy) would be to pursue an MBA at one of the Top 100 business schools in the United States. Franchesca is a Vice Chief Ambassador and leads the Marketing Committee. She hopes to expand the A. Gary Anderson Graduate School of Management's online presence and recruitment outreach.
Before pursuing his Professional MBA in management, Caspar Gaviria was working in recruitment operations at Google. He knew if he wanted to climb the corporate ladder at a large tech company, he needed to return to his alma matter and earn an MBA. Now as the vice chief for professional development of the graduate ambassador program, he has made it his mission to build a bridge between UCR and the tech industry through inviting recruiters and other speakers to AGSM events.
At University of Maryland College Park, Jen Lai was a student ambassador, which was a very rewarding experience, she says, to be a helpful resource for students and to interact with a diverse group of people. She brings her supportive skills to UCR and helps fellow MBA students. While Lai was initially pursuing an academic career in law, she pivoted to business because she realized that management and interpersonal relations are where her true interests lie.
Florian Sterr earned his undergraduate business degree as well as his Master’s in Banking and Finance at the University of Liechtenstein, where he was involved in the entrepreneurial club of the university. He began his career in the Liechtenstein banking sector and after four-and-a-half years, decided he wanted to give his career a data-driven perspective. Florian decided to pursue an MS in Business Analytics at UCR and is looking forward to helping prospective students make the right decision for themselves.
Jack Adams contributes to EOI Records, an early-stage, full-service music label and music publishing startup owned by EDGE Original Inc. with his knowledge of financial strategy, intellectual property, and taxation law. After experiencing legal and financial struggles as a musical artist, Adams was inspired to study accounting and to pursue a CPA license. Adams spends most of his time playing music and studying for the CPA exam with plans of pursuing a career in public accounting.
Akanksha Agarwal plans to pursue a career in corporate finance. She has a double major undergraduate degree in business and law, and holds a professional license as a Company Secretary in India. As an international student, the transition of moving to another country was hard for Akanksha so being able to help other students with this process is one of the best things about being an ambassador, she says. Akanksha believes that learning in the diverse environment at UCR is helping with her networking and speaking skills.
Being a first-generation college student, Lesley Aguilar initially chose UCR because of the diverse campus and accessibility to financial aid. During her undergraduate years, she worked at the university’s housing department and facilitated students in finding their “home away from home.” She is appreciative of continuing her education at UCR, as the School of Business has given her the resources to intern for the Office of Technology Partnerships and most recently for FedEx Ground. She desires to be an asset to future students. Lesley has served as a graduate mentor with the TRIO Scholars program and is currently a mentor for the Women’s Resource Center on behalf of AGSM.
As part of a family of academics and businessmen, Ahmad Alajaji is a big believer in education before application. Before joining UCR, Alajaji was an engineer working for four years as a business analyst. He chose to pursue an MBA at UCR to develop his business acumen in a uniquely diverse environment. He is an international Student Ambassador, part of the Student Association at AGSM, and is passionate about learning more about data and its possibilities.
Yukta Amin is an international student and is passionate about research and understanding the “why” and “how” of things. This intellectual curiosity has driven her to pursue a Master of Science in Business Analytics at UCR, and with her time spent in the US, better understand trends, detect outliers, and develop a skill set which can help the companies she works for thrive. In the future, she would like to work as a marketing analyst in brand management. She loves UCR for its diversity and social mobility, “It’s a competitive but supportive environment.”
While serving as her city’s mayor, Daniela Andrade realized how important it was to have a deep understanding of business as she interacted with different entities within the community. As a result, she decided to pursue an MBA at AGSM, and is exploring starting a business of her own. Her role as an ambassador is a natural extension of her public service, and she continues to connect prospective and current students with area businesses for jobs and internships.
An international student from Taiwan, Po-Chun (Jeff) Chen is in a dual master’s degree program at UCR and National Chung Hsing University. He understands the particular challenges and cultural differences that international students may face. He is willing to share his experience at UCR with others. Po-Chun works as a teaching assistant and a mentor in the Master of Business Preparation (MBPP) program. This involvement allows him to help out others in need and gain new leadership experiences.
After graduation from USTC with a master’s in nature science, Chang Deng worked for HUAWEI technologies for three years as a project manager. He cultivated his leadership by leading a technical delivery team and managing customer relationships. Chang aims to contribute his professionalism and talent to help others both academically and with their careers.
Mohit Dhinakaran plans to pursue a career in the automotive industry owing to his lifelong passion for racing and automotive design. He was born in Mumbai, grew up in Singapore, completed his undergraduate degree in Boston, and ultimately moved to Riverside for his MBA. His wide range of experience enabled him to embrace several cultures and languages. He chose to do his MBA at UCR because of its reputation as America’s fastest rising university, and its ability to provide a holistic and culturally enriching educational experience.
Seth Freeman is an applied mathematics graduate from Cal-Poly San Luis Obispo and is pursuing a Master of Finance degree at UCR. Apart from education, Seth is an avid surfer and originally from Los Angeles. Through networking with the knowledgeable staff and tailoring his curriculum at UCR, Seth is working towards his career goal of becoming an actuary. Seth's advice for all prospective graduate students is, "Reach out to an ambassador to find out what UCR and AGSM can offer you!"
Victoria completed her bachelor's in economics at UCR, however she started her undergraduate program as a Biology major. A year later, she found her true passion for economics. This passion has guided her to pursue a graduate degree at UCR with a marketing concentration. Victoria hopes to use her BA and PMBA to help inner-city schools with their financials and attract donors. Apart from her studies, Victoria is deeply devoted to community service. She has been actively volunteering for over seven years at her community church.
During her undergraduate program at UCR, Jazmin interned for the Riverside mayor's office enhancing public understanding of policy related to small businesses, multicultural issues, and human rights. Currently, Jazmin interns for Disney’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion/Learning & Development departments. She is passionate about helping others by providing support, care, and resources to those in need. Jazmin believes an MBA will help her further develop skills needed to make a difference. She is excited to help prospective students and provide advice. She hopes that her presence makes a positive difference in their time at AGSM.
Before pursuing his MBA at UCR, Simon was an undergraduate student studying applied math/economics. He always loved analytics and the quantitative field, and wanted to apply that knowledge to business. Growing up in Riverside, a goal of his has been to encourage more young Riverside natives to pursue their education at UCR. Simon is truly grateful for the growth he has experienced in honing new skills in networking, professional development, and the application of business principles. He can’t wait for what year two of his program has in store!
After working with one of the Big 4 accounting firms, Gundeep decided to pursue his accounting career by joining the Master of Professional Accounting program at UCR. He is inspired to become a successful auditor at one of the Big 4 and wants to sit for the CPA exam while completing his master’s program. He earned his undergraduate degree in business administration in India in 2015.
Taehoon Kim earned his undergraduate degree in political science at UCR, and wanted to broaden his spectrum of possibilities so he decided to pursue an MBA. As an international student, he finds California his second home. He was inspired to study for an MBA by his father, who is a lawyer specializing in Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A). Taehoon also finds M&A interesting and is seeking his opportunity in the automotive industry.
Chia Hui (Ruby) decided to pursue her graduate degree at UCR due to the diversity of its students and the caring and involved faculty who have shown they truly care about students. As an international student, she enjoys getting to know peers from different countries and cultures. By getting to know and working with them, she is now more able to think outside the box, and can’t wait to explore more of UC Riverside!
While working for a leading IT services company in India, Renuka Kulkarni realized that she wanted to participate in strategy decision-making and work in a more customer-facing role, so she decided to pursue an MBA at UCR to enhance her career prospects. Being an international student, Renuka feels she can relate to the concerns new students from other countries may have, and likes to connect with them to address their queries.
Isla Li, who is currently part of the Chinese Student and Scholar Association and the AGSM Student Association, introduces UCR and its programs to potential students and helps them with the application process. An international student, Li says she received a lot of support and help from others and wants to pass that aid on to fellow students in the international community because she’s navigated the same new territory herself.
Emily Lor’s parents operated a family-owned business, and while growing up, she was intrigued by how different aspects of business shape the world. As a high school student, she had the opportunity to practice her marketing skills, and that sparked her interest in connecting products, services, and people. Lor is currently an adviser for the UCR chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, and while attending The Ohio State University, she was part of Pi Sigma Epsilon professional business fraternity, Kappa Kappa Gamma national sorority, and the Malaysian Student Association.
For Ramie Mousa, the MBA program at UCR offered the flexibility he was looking for as he is able to create his own course plans to best reflect his interests. He also values the relationships he has with faculty members, which were initially forged when he was a business school undergraduate at UCR. When he first arrived at the university, he says he fell in love with the diverse atmosphere on campus and appreciates the fact that the school’s staff truly cares about students and their successes.
Stephanie Moya is a first-year full-time MBA student concentrating in general management. Stephanie is passionate about mentoring and guiding domestic and international students in their potential journey at AGSM.
Laura Pullen is a first year MBA student planning to concentrate in finance. Most recently, she took a year off from school to work as a product performance analyst before deciding to return to UCR to complete her master’s degree. She is excited to connect other students to opportunities, and to grow professionally, personally, and academically alongside her colleagues. Her career passions lie in developing and leading data-driven strategies that advance company goals and ultimately bring innovation to society.
To learn more about management, Natalie Qaqish decided to continue her studies toward a master’s degree at UCR after earning her 2015 undergraduate business degree in marketing. She was inspired to study business by her father, who owns his own business. He encouraged her to explore the spectrum of possibilities she would have with her business degrees. She’s steadily built a professional network and continues to be involved in clubs and organizations, which, she says, all help her succeed.
Both a student and working professional, Edith Ren surmounted the challenges of being an international student during her undergraduate education. She says she understands how it feels to be in a foreign country alone, relates very well with new international students, and she reaches out to help them feel comfortable as they earn their own degrees. Currently a technical writer, Ren participates in the West Coast chapter of the Project Management Institute and is working toward a career as a business analyst.
An international student, Niracha Rinthapol is a member of the Thai Student Union, The Women’s Network, Beta Gamma Sigma, and the AGSM Student Association. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Food Technology from a top university in Thailand and worked in research and international marketing in the food industry. She decided to take her next step building her leadership abilities with an MBA from AGSM. After graduation, she would like to gain more experience and further develop her professional skills in the US. Her goal is to use her knowledge to help her home country. She is open to answer any questions international students may have about her experience and the application process.
Jason Roberts is a Riverside native who graduated with an undergraduate degree in economics from UC Riverside. As a member of the men's golf team, he learned all of the different skills required to lead a group and is fascinated by the different stories everyone brings to the table. While being a student means showing up, getting work done, and preparing for the future, being an ambassador adds a completely different outlook to someone's education. You have to learn how to help others before yourself, and you have to trust that it will work out in the long run.
Alex Rodriguez is planning to specialize in management consulting for some of his favorite brands. He completed his undergraduate degree at UCR in business administration, concentrating in management, and decided to pursue an MBA to further enhance his professional toolkit, gain networking opportunities, but most importantly, to contribute to a community. Creating an inclusive and engaging environment is what motivates him. As an ambassador for AGSM, Alex looks forward to being part of an organization that helps future business leaders pursue their professional endeavors.
The mix of research, math, critical thinking, and lots of collaboration is what Andrew Rodriguez says he loves about UCR and studying for his MBA. He also appreciates the diversity within the program, and he hopes to share his own experience and inspire future master’s students to expand their networks through the many events at the business school. He earned his undergraduate business degree at Cal Poly Pomona and participated in the National Student Advertising Competition.
Answering prospective students’ questions, listening to their concerns, and offering advice are what Gregory Romero most enjoys about being an ambassador. He was inspired to study business by a favorite professor at Riverside City College and knows how tough it can be to figure out a career path. Currently, Romero participates in the AlphaFamilia Club; as an undergrad, he was involved with the Phi Beta Lambda business fraternity, the DECA collegiate conference, and the Honor Society.
Nadia Said has worked with a number of nonprofits, including the International Society for Children with Cancer, Irvine Disabilities, Downtown Los Angeles Workers’ Union, and the Orange County Global Medical Center. Previously, as a student at UCLA, she worked at the university’s housing facilities. All of these experiences have fueled her desire to help prospective UCR graduate students. She says: You not only learn from what is around you; you also learn from who is around you.
As a business administration and management graduate, Merve Sekercigiller explored many industries during her undergraduate program until discovering that marketing was her one true passion. After five years of working in the field, she decided to pursue an MBA so as to focus on marketing even more. Thanks to the compassion of the admissions team, helpfulness of the professors, and the diversity of the school, she found her home away from home at UCR.
For Hafsa Sharafat, the UCR MBA program presented an opportunity to further explore the world of business, an area that has always intrigued her. She had a wide array of experience in leadership roles with multiple non-profit humanitarian and community outreach groups and wanted to further develop her skills and knowledge. She graduated from UCR with a bachelor’s in microbiology and no longer felt the medical field was right for her. Landing a job in the Department of Public Health made her realize that she could still make use of her STEM background and take a more active role in management and leadership with her MBA as she climbed the corporate ladder.
After earning an undergraduate degree at UCR in psychology and creative writing, Jesse Sun worked in various positions until he became an administrative assistant in a firm's tax department and discovered accounting—a field where he could use his passion for problem-solving, data analytics, and collaboration to tackle problems in the world of finance. With his sights set on becoming a CPA at a public accounting firm, he decided that pursuing an MPAc at UCR would be the best way to develop the knowledge and skills needed to achieve his professional goals. Currently, he works as a nonprofit administrative accountant and serves as a member in Beta Alpha Psi, the Accounting Society, Beta Gamma Sigma, and the AGSM Student Association. Upon graduating, he will be working as a tax associate at Ernst & Young. As an AGSM Student Ambassador, he is happy to chat with prospective students; please feel free to approach him with any questions you may have at any time!
Vincent Tan is passionate about providing assistance to minority owned businesses, and returns to UCR to expand his business education. During his undergraduate program at UCR, he discovered the importance of diversity and inclusion in networking circles and plans to utilize this skill to advance the MBA program as an ambassador.
Chenlu (Lucy) Yan’s work experience in sales and marketing motivated her to pursue her master’s in accounting because she realized how important the role of financial management is in any business entity. As an international student, she wants to reach out to potential students to help them know more about UCR and the application process. Lucy is also a member of the AGSM Student Association.
Edwin is currently a second year PMBA student and a first year Graduate Ambassador. As a first-generation college graduate from UCR, he is aware of the struggles students may experience and is passionate about helping others navigate their educational journey. Edwin’s professional background is in financial services where he works as a lending consultant. He is looking to expand his skill set with an MBA to grow within his field. Edwin sees the ambassador program as a great way to get to know fellow students, and help prospective ones.
With a bachelor's degree in statistics and math and two years of solid experience in the data analytical field, Yincheng realized how important and necessary a deep understanding of business is for data analysis in industry. While pursuing her master’s degree in business analytics at AGSM, she decided to become a Graduate Ambassador and hopes to expand networking both on and off-campus, as well as help current and prospective students.