Life as a Second Year….

So the perception I had before I came to Haas was the MBA students had nothing but time on their hands. I mean, compared to working full time, going back to school was supposed to be the life of leisure – nothing but sleeping in, working out, pleasure reading, and vacations. I learned very quickly that this is not the case in my first year! Between reading for classes, working in study groups to get projects done, recruiting for internships, getting to know your fellow classmates, and taking advantage of all the top speakers coming to campus, I found myself busier that I had ever been working (albeit, having a lot more fun than working). But this was surely just a first year phenomenon, right? Once I got “promoted” to being a second year, I would be through all of it and have nothing but time on my hands….No Way!

Here is just a list of the things that have kept me busy around campus during the last two weeks:

Class – Second year classes are no cake walk! They get into deep into the subject matter and require a lot of prep. My Real Estate Finance class dug into the financing of the Rockefeller Center Buildings in 1986 and 2001 – talk about a lot of detailed prospectus reading!

Clubs – I’m involved in both the Consulting and Finance Club. This week both clubs had firm nights – so I was busy helping set up, welcoming the companies, and paying the tab on both Tuesday and Thursday nights. This is in addition to 2 hours of exhausting networking.

Talking to Applicants – I’m one of the 8 Haas Student Ambassadors and a lot of people are getting serious about applying. We’ve had tons of people at our information sessions and I’m having a lot of phone conversations about Haas. I absolutely love the position and always happy to talk about life here, but it takes a lot of time!

Golf – OK, nobody is going to cry for me with this one. I organized a beginner series of golf lessons for me and 6 classmates. This is a nice break on Wednesday afternoons, but I’m finding that between the lessons and practicing at the driving range, this golf thing is really take some hours. I figure that a lot of business is done on the golf course, so although I don’t get credit for this class, it could be the most enjoyable class I have this year…

Speakers – We do a great job getting some really big name speakers to come to campus. Just two weeks ago my favorite author, Michael Lewis, gave a talk about his new book The Big Short and some of his thoughts about Liar’s Poker and the finance industry in general. He also talked about the sequel to Moneyball that he’s currently working on. We also had an Entrepreneur’s Forum last night hosted by the Lester Center. I got to hear about some start-ups pitches and listen to two CEOs who hatched start-ups in the food industry.

Social – Just hanging out with my classmates. Seeing how my fellow second years are doing in their full-time interviews and getting a chance to meet all the new first years. There are so many cool people that you want to know and see how their doing – I find that I can talk all night, but sooner or later I need to go home and get some sleep before I have to get to class the next morning…

So what’s my advice for people who are applying? When you get into B-School, take some off before. Quit your job in May and travel or just relax for 3 months because when you get here, it’s no vacation…not even when you’re a second year with a fulltime job offer!

—Chuck Doppelt

Lunch with Prospective Students

I just had one of the most intense yet rewarding lunches of my life today during our lunch escort program. It was intense because Champa and I were responsible for answering questions, which included “why Haas” and “what classes do you like” to “what kind of social activities do you do” and “how do you manage a long distance relationship once you’re in business school,” from 14 prospective students during the one-hour lunch session. It was also very rewarding because I had time, for really the first time in the last two months, to reflect on everything that I’ve done at Haas. As I answered questions and witnessed my cheeseburger get really cold, I realized that, wow, I do love my experiences at Haas a lot.

For those of you who are reading this blog and thinking about applying this Fall, I strongly encourage you to come visit the campus, sit in a class, and have lunch with students like me. I assure you that we will give you a candid description of our experience.

—Eugene Lin

Keep the Faith

I have several friends who have heard disappointing news recently from a handful of business schools…including Haas. My advice is that you take a closer look at schools where you might still be competitive this late in the game. Or if you’re dead-set on a program that you know is right for you, see if you can get some specific feedback on where your application fell short so you’re ready for next year. I know every school says there’s no preferential treatment given to reapplicants, but I personally have a hard time believing that admissions offices don’t at least take note of your continued passion and interest.

And if you’re waitlisted, take full advantage of the opportunity you have to continue sell yourself (without overdoing it of course). Research each school’s position on supplemental materials, but if they’re allowed or even encouraged, make sure you send something in–a writing sample, an additional recommendation letter, an explanation of any academic flags, etc. This, I think, is a mechanism used to test out who is really serious about a particular school. And be proactive about getting feedback about any outstanding questions they still have about you and what might thus be able to bump you into the admit pool if addressed through additional materials. (Disclaimer: I don’t know what Haas’ position is on any of what I’m recommending, but look into it).

It’s a game of numbers, and anything to give yourself an edge is advisable.

And don’t take it personally. I appreciate the rigor and thoughtful, holistic approach with which Haas evaluates each applicant, but there is unavoidably a healthy dose of subjectivity in this process at any school.

Keep the faith. Being in an MBA program, and being a student more generally–despite its intensity (not to mention the near-heart attack your student loan statements will give you)–is well worth the effort.



So I have to confess that this is my first – desperately overdue – blog posting. Apologies! For the past month I’ve had every intention of dropping in and introducing myself, but there just never seemed to be enough time. Between stats problem sets, econ cases, company presentations, brown bag lunches, career workshops, OB meetings, club meetings, study group meetings…(yes, that’s a lot of meetings)…something always came up. And so now, for my first “hello” to future Haas students, I’d like to share my greatest insight from the first six weeks of business school…there is never enough time to do it all.

As you get into the swing of application season and hit up school information sessions or visits, you’ll hear students tell you about how busy they are. You’ll inquire about their class schedule, learn that on average they have just one or two classes per day (or like Haas, no classes on Fridays), and then wonder how they could possibly not have any freetime. So to illustrate my point, I’d like to share with you a typical ‘day-in-the-life’ of a Haas student (okay, it happens to be me). Let’s take, for example, this past Tuesday:

6:30am – Alarm goes off, 4 hours after being set. Head out for a run through North Berkeley residential neighborhood.
8:00am – Grab a granola bar and hike 15 minutes up the hill to campus (note to self, look up schedule for the Bear Transit bus). Arrive to computer center hot and sweaty from the walk. Print out lecture notes for Econ and rescan the case in the event I get called on.
9:00am – Micro with Tadelis. Lecture on pricing strategy and prisoner’s dilemma. As part of an in-class learning exercise, Tadelis raffles off 6 bars of Scharfenberger chocolate.
11:00am – Meet with study group to review deliverables and assignments for the week.
11:45am – Meet with Communications class Graduate Student Instructor to prep for my upcoming speech on Monday (this has been one of the most beneficial classes I’ve taken so far)
12:30pm – Club meeting for Women in Leadership. Planning for the WIL conference in the Spring, brainstorming panel topics and potential speakers. This is the fun stuff.
2pm – Library. Stats midterm is Wednesday and I’m freaking out. And judging by the afternoon crowds in Long Library, so is everyone else in my class.
4pm – Marketing Speaker Series Class (this is an elective, outside of the core requirements). Our speaker is from Old Navy and he shares insight into Old Navy’s new branding strategy.
6:30pm – Gym. Ahh, finally a few minutes to unwind with my iPod and the HammerStrength machines :) But don’t be fooled, this doesn’t happen every day. I’m happy with twice a week.
8:00pm – Grab take-out Thai, head home and hit the books…more Stats. Less than 12 hours till the midterm. Oh, and then there’s the Micro problem set and 2 cases to read.
Midnight – Reheat my cup of coffee from the morning, need a little fuel for the final kick
2:00am – Light’s out, finally.

All this in a day where technically I only had 2 hours of class. And the thing is, every day is just like Tuesday. But funny enough, now that we are six weeks into the semester and “into the swing of things”, I can’t really imagine it any other way. I am so used to moving from one activity directly into another into another, that I actually find myself scheduling meetings or lunches or study sessions when (if) I do have freetime. I have so much I want to learn, and all these incredible resources at my doorstep. How could you not fill your schedule?

So what’s my point, you ask? The point is that there is so much to do, so much we could do, that every day counts. And even though I haven’t slept more than 5 hours a night since getting to school (okay, maybe thats an exaggeration but you get the idea), I know that I am going to squeeze every last drop out of my MBA experience and look back with no regrets.

And now that I’ve taken up so much space talking about a day-in-the-life, I’ll have to introduce myself next time :)


Done. Almost.

Classes are over, finals are done, and we are almost done with Dis-orientation Week.


The Berkeley MBA experience exceeded my best expectations. I knew going in that it would be an incredible experience, and oh boy, was it.

For some reason, I’m at a loss of words on explaining exactly how amazing it was, but my previous entries shed a bit of light on that. The education, the way I think, the social scene, the networking… it’s all there.

I highly recommend getting an MBA, and for me Berkeley was definitely the right choice. I can’t help to think how lucky I am having attended Haas.

Some quick food for thought:
1. Living. Live near the action, that’s Berkeley the first year and San Francisco the second year. Preferably somewhere near BART for quick access and drivingless-drinking or, if in the city, in a great neighborhood with other classmates (cabs are great).

2. Participate. Go to football games, social events, golf outings, hiking/biking, dinners. Throw your own events. Whatever turns you on, do it. And then reach out and try something new. You’ll expand your horizons and connect with some new friends.

3. Audit. If you’re curious about something, audit a related class. You’ll enhance your learning experience and will be glad you won’t have to do the extra work, especially when it’s job hunting season. Then beef up on the classes you need for the next job or a future job.

4. Use add/drop. Shop around, look at more classes than the ones you want to take. Talk to friends. You may stumble upon a gem that you really want to take and perhaps receive credit for it.

5. Professors. Look for the great ones, and there are plenty. They’ll make learning better and you’ll get more out of your experience. Remember, you’re paying for this, to make the most of it.

6. Tahoe. Surf the web and see what’s going on with the El Niño and La Niña. Then buy (or not) your season pass and share of a house.

7. Waive classes. If you can, take a class or two before heading to Haas so you can waive out of the monster classes and take electives you’re interested. Finance and Data & Decisions (Stats) come to mind. Brutal classes.

8. Math Camp. A must. Make friends, settle in, get ahead. It will help immensely and connect you with lasting friends outside your cohort.

9. Fun. Sure, you’ll do a lot of work and spent countless hours cranking out projects, homework, prepping for tests, interviewing, competing, and all the other serious things that MBA Candidates do… and you’ll still manage to have fun. I promise.

Oh, the photos?

A few shots from Dis-orientation week (a student-run final week of fun and celebration between the last day of classes and graduation). The first two are 80’s prom, then Vegas… no… scratch that, then paint-ball aftermath, and a bike trip from San Francisco to Sam’s in Tiburon (via the Golden Gate Bridge).

—Colin C.