MBA Students Gain Advice from Marketing and Finance Professionals

LMU MBA Career Services hosted a Marketing & Finance Networking and Panel Discussion on the evening of April 1st for current students looking to make new connections and learn more about their chosen industries. The event, geared toward MBA marketing and finance students, kicked off with a networking mixer. For the second half of the evening, students split up into separate rooms based on their area of interest for the engaging panel discussions.

“Hands down one of the most useful and informative events this year,” said MBA student Viet Ta.

All panelists except one were alums of LMU’s MBA Program. “I was very happy to be invited and felt very much at home here,” said Karen Papazian, the lone panelist who did not attend LMU. “And I was impressed by the MBAs I met.”

Marketing Panelists:

Michael Huber – Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships at PrimeSport. Michael has worked in the live event ticketing industry for over nine years. In his current role, he oversees the company’s retail marketing strategy as well as management of PrimeSport’s official partnerships. Prior to PrimeSport, Michael worked at Ticketmaster managing marketing for the organization’s sports teams and leagues. He received his Bachelor of Arts from UCLA in 2003 and his MBA with an emphasis in marketing from LMU in 2013.

Karla Prida – Senior Manager, Strategy & Insights at Univision. Focusing on the Hispanic market, Karla uses consumer insights, category analysis, competitive benchmarking and market research to bring the Hispanic consumer to life, and helps clients discover their growth potential with this market segment. Prior to earning her MBA from LMU, Karla worked in the Univision TV Sales Department where she learned about the world of media sales and discovered her love of marketing.

Justin Thomas – Web Analytics Manager at TVGia. Justin gained hands on experience with enterprise-level marketing systems including digital analytics, marketing research and strategy while interning at Rubin Postaer and Associates (creative agency of record for Honda). In addition to his position at TVGia, he works as a freelance consultant in the realm of digital strategy and analytics. Justin earned a Bachelor of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications from San Diego State University and an MBA with an emphasis in marketing from LMU in 2012.

Finance Panelists:

Paul Leach – Wealth Management Advisor at Merrill Lynch. Paul started his career in 2007 as a financial advisor at Citi Smith Barney and joined Merrill Lynch in 2009. Paul specializes in wealth planning and investment strategies for wealthy families and business owners. Paul earned his undergraduate degree in Economics from the University of California, San Diego and his MBA with an emphasis in finance from LMU.

Adrian Pantoja – West Region Field Finance Manager at Coca-Cola. Adrian has over 13 years of experience working in finance with companies such as Coca-Cola Enterprises, Activision Blizzard and currently with the Coca-Cola Company. His responsibilities have mainly dealt with financial planning and analysis, and supporting multiple functional areas within the company. Adrian earned both his undergraduate (2001) and graduate business (2010) degrees from LMU.

Karen Papazian – Director, Dealer Lending Operations at Toyota Financial Services. Karen began her career at TFS in its Treasury Department where she managed the unsecured and asset-backed funding programs in order to raise cash for TFS in the bond markets. Karen oversaw these programs through the financial crisis of 2008 and then through Toyota’s challenging years related to recalls and production shortfalls. Karen completed her undergraduate studies at UCLA and graduated with an MBA from USC in 2001.


Each panelist started off by introducing himself/herself and providing detailed information about their background, career experience and how they got to where they are today. Afterwards, students had the opportunity to ask questions and get advice on everything from job outlook to industry trends to interview etiquette to recommendations on how to get your foot in the door. Key takeaways included:

  • Just be yourself during interviews. You’re already qualified for the job based on the fact that they called you in for an interview. Now employers are looking to see if you can communicate well and fit into the company culture.
  • One thing the panelists would do differently if they had the opportunity to do b-school over: take advantage of everything outside the classroom that the MBA program has to offer. They regretted not spending more time at events, building connections with classmates, networking with potential employers, and learning more about various opportunities available after graduation.
  • Take advantage of the LMU MBA network. Reach out to alums and connect with fellow students in the classroom as well as online. For example, several panelists said they got their jobs through connections made on LinkedIn.
  • Online marketing and finance continue to be two of the top industries for projected growth and high salaries. While you’re an MBA student, it’s important to gain experience through internships and learn as much as you can about your area of interest. Always look for ways to build your skills and knowledge.


“I’m thrilled that the event was a success, and I’m so grateful to all of the panelists for taking time out of their busy schedules to join us,” said Mark Lucas, Director of Career Services for LMU’s College of Business Administration. “The panelists were glad to be able to share their insights and experiences, and all the students with whom I spoke were extremely pleased to have the opportunity to meet and learn from accomplished MBAs who were in their same shoes just a few years ago.”

“Many MBA students asked me for more events like this one – even larger in scale, if possible,” Mark continued. “Career Services is planning exactly that, and the key to making that happen is active MBA student participation: the more students that attend, the bigger, better and more diverse the events we can offer – and more importantly, the higher number of quality companies and individuals who’ll want to come to LMU and meet our MBAs. We will have more events in the fall, and I look forward to seeing even more students, faculty and staff joining us.”

A special thanks to Lesley Adams, Assistant Director of Career Services, and Joanne Seto, Graduate Assistant for Career Services, for their help in making this event happen.