Why I Joined Leland—Mike Mella

Mike M., a Leland PM and Product Management Coach, outlines why he chose to join Leland.

Mike M.

By Mike M.

Posted January 10, 2024

It’s been more challenging than I thought to articulate all the reasons why I wanted to join Leland. Not for any lack of motive, but rather, a challenge of finding words adequate to reflect the depth of my feelings.

After some reflection, I’ve boiled it down into three reasons:

  1. The importance of education
  2. Providing equal opportunity for all
  3. Working with incredible people

The importance of education

Personally, almost nothing is as interesting and impactful as enabling the education of others. Ask almost any parent what they hope for their child, and they’ll say something along the lines of: “A good education.” Where you go to school affects almost every aspect of your life, from your career earnings to your romantic partner. My dad’s life and career trajectory were completely changed for the better because he attended a top MBA program. I’ve benefitted from that altered trajectory, and I find it indescribably satisfying to help others alter their own trajectories through education. At Leland, I’m able to do that directly.

Providing equal opportunity for all

Leland’s vision, unlocking higher education, highlights the truth that, historically, higher education has been reserved for those with the resources and connections to successfully prepare their applications. Every year, countless candidates throw their hats in the ring without those resources; millions of hopeful applicants are rejected because they didn’t have the right tools or coaching. Leland strives to give everyone those tools and resources, so everyone can have a shot at attending their dream school. This company can’t totally level the playing field, but by giving everyone access to the tools and resources to submit their best possible higher ed application, they can at least broaden access to education. That’s something worth working for.

Working with incredible people

There’s a famous quote that goes: “You become the average of the five people closest to you.” Whether or not that’s true, the people around you make a profound impact on who you are. Thankfully, I couldn't ask for better people at Leland. Working with them is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. Everyone (and I mean literally everyone) is the highest caliber of human: incredibly smart, positive, kind, and driven by all the right motives. I am inspired after every interaction, and can only hope that I start to become a little more like them.


I’m beyond excited for the opportunity to work at Leland. In the week that I’ve been here, I’ve already derived so much satisfaction knowing the impact we will have on the lives of others. The work we do at Leland, the doors to education will open and change the trajectories of families for generations.

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