Mila Skulkina, class of 2001 has lived a storied life. In this profile she shares her UCLA story and how lessons learned on campus have impacted her career.
When Mila was a teenager in the 1990s, she and her father emigrated to the United States from Moscow. She had a rudimentary knowledge of the English language and had to learn to adapt to a new life in Los Angeles. Witnessing the stark contrast in economic and political models between the two countries at a young age and the subsequent effects they played on the lives of citizens in each really fueled her curiosity in economics and the world of finance. She chose to study those subjects at UCLA and vividly recalls learning the history and the practical implications of various economic theories. She especially enjoyed the variety of classes offered both throughout the core curriculum up through the electives offered during Junior and Senior year. Mila encourages every student to evaluate all of the classes UCLA offers and to not only focus on areas where students feel like they have an edge. Pushing deeper into where one may have blind spots is what makes the art of inquiry and learning so enriching.
Mila was impacted by the mentorship and support of others during her time at UCLA, which has shaped her own passion for giving back. She considers herself fortunate to have had the opportunity to interact with Dr. Ken Sokoloff, first as a student of economic history, then in a smaller self-designed class study, and finally as one of his research contributors. She continues to carry his lessons of imparting a global and historical perspective to understand how institutional frameworks were created and fared over time across different political and economic models. Now, as an investor in Emerging Markets at Lord Abbett she uses that framework to think about the path of global economies and geopolitical environments which allows her to discern and recognize patterns. She credits her time spent at UCLA, the wide array of offered classes, and her relationships with peers, faculty, and specifically Ken, to be the foundation for her successful work product.
Mentorship is a theme throughout Mila’s career- her current mentor from UCLA Anderson helped her advance her efforts in volunteering and community involvement. Throughout her life, she worked closely with organizations focusing on the support and advancement of women, underprivileged youth, and veterans. As a member of the Bretton Woods committee, she contributes to work on economic and global cooperation, as well as initiatives on climate finance. To influence the next generation of students, she is working closely with UCLA as a member of the Board of Visitors to give back to the school that was so instrumental in her own career and life.
Mila Skulkina is the Head of Emerging Markets Fixed Income and a portfolio manager at Lord Abbett. She manages emerging markets sovereign and corporate debt across fixed income and multi-asset portfolios. Ms. Skulkina leads the ESG Sovereign analysis and integration for Emerging Markets. Prior to joining Lord Abbett in 2013, Ms. Skulkina was a research analyst at Sanders Capital working across long-only, long/short, and multi-asset portfolios. Previously, she was a strategy consultant at Bain & Company and an investment banking analyst at Merrill Lynch. She has 20 years of investment experience and holds an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management. She received her undergraduate degree in business economics from UCLA, graduating summa cum laude. She is also a member of the Board of Visitors of the UCLA Economics Department and a member of the Bretton Woods Committee.