C4C Special Olympics Basketball Clinic

This gallery contains 12 photos.

This morning 10 volunteers from Haas headed down to the Haas Pavilion for a morning of basketball organised by the Cal Athletics Department and the Special Olympics. About 30 Special Olympics athletes came, and we were helped by about 10 student athlete volunteers. It was cool to get out on the Haas Pavilion Court! We […]

Are You Ready To >play?

Last Saturday was the 7th annual >play Digital Media Conference, a student run conference hosted at Haas that brings together over 500 business professionals, industry leaders and graduate students to discuss the most important trends in digital media and cast predictions for the future.

Let me step back to last Thursday, when >play actually kicked off with an amazing event at the headquarters of Couchsurfing in San Francisco – a great space with couches (obviously), but also swings, and cool murals on the wall. It was a great night with about 150 attendees – a mix of student volunteers, >play vips and friends of Couchsurfing – who all enjoyed the sushi, sake, tea, beer and wine.

Back to the conference on Saturday. I was blown away by how professionally run the conference was. There was definitely no indication that this was a purely student run event. My day began with a breakfast hosted by Groupon which was really informative and interesting given their upcoming IPO. After breakfast it was time for opening remarks from the Dean, Richard Lyons, followed by the morning keynote – Jeff Jordan who is a partner at Andreesen Horowitz, and a real Bay Area identity, sitting on a huge array of Boards, as well as being Chairman of the Board for Open Table.

The keynote took the form of an interview from Kara Swisher, and they both played off each other for a really enjoyable hour, in which they discussed topics from Steve Jobs (Jordan said: “He made science fiction a reality”), to how VCs make investment decisions (Swisher joked:”to me it’s like a bunch of teenage girls chasing Justin Bieber”).

After the keynote there were rocket-pitches from the companies showcasing their products in the expo including Kno, Yelp, Yahoo!, TubeMogul, Rakoko, Pulse, Bre.ad, Sifteo, Wallit, Snapette, OnLive and more. Other companies at >play were Sony Computer Entertainment, Microsoft, Rexly, localmind and many more. Between the rocket pitches and exploring the expo during the day I was fascinated with all of the exciting products and trends … although one of the more fun was playing with the XBox and the Kinect that Microsoft had set up.

Other highlights of the day included talks from Sony Computer Entertainment, and Kno, who are fundamentally shifting the textbook market, to a panel on Search vs. Discovery in which we heard about the need to balance tailored results with the problems of overpersonalization.

The day closed with a final keynote from Geoffrey Moore, a best selling author and chairman emeritus at TCG Advisors, who spoke about Crossing the Chasm vs Spinning Up The Web – the different strategies needed for B2B and B2C success in digital media, which was fascinating to hear.

All in all, it was an excellent day – I had a great time, and also learned a huge amount!

A beautiful morning in Berkeley…

After a jam-packed orientation week last week, first years have two (wonderful) free days before classes start on Wednesday. Most of us have been using the time to prepare for classes, catch up on a bit of sleep, and take care of general “life admin”.

If there was going to be a day this semester when I went out for a morning run, I figured this would be it. I managed to get out of bed before 7am (which, in the student world, feels like 5am) and headed out shortly thereafter.

The air was crisp, the sky was blue and the usual morning fog was nowhere to be found. I headed up through campus and was met with the quintessential Berkeley landmarks of Memorial Glade, the Campanile, and Doe basking in the morning sun. I took it all in, realizing how lucky I am to be back at Berkeley – this time as a graduate student – and here at Haas as an MBA.

Sighing a happy sigh, I continued to huff and puff my way up through the hilly campus while full of anticipation for the next two years of school!


All settled in!

It’s been 3 weeks since I arrived in Berkeley from Sydney, and it has been an amazingly jam-packed and fun couple of weeks settling in. There is so much to do exploring both Berkeley and the Bay Area in general – I can see now that I am going to be doing a lot of weekend trips to nearby destinations like Napa Valley, Point Reyes, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe and so on in the coming months!

My first 2 weeks involved Math Camp (Accounting and Finance refresher classes to make sure you’re up to speed for the semester) in the morning. I was pleased to discover that the professors for Accounting and Finance were both energetic and made the lectures entertaining – I never thought I’d enjoy learning accounting! :-) My afternoons were spent exploring Berkeley (or San Franciso) – there is so much more to Berkeley than I initially realised. There is the slightly quirky and unique Telegraph Ave area where tie-dye reigns supreme, as well as the cute areas along College Ave in Elmwood and Rockridge, Shattuck Ave in downtown Berkeley with its bars, and of course the Gourmet Ghetto restaurants of north Berkeley. My wife, Jacqueline, and I were happy to find a nice little apartment on College Ave in Rockridge so I’ll be biking to class! In the evening, the socialising with my new classmates really got underway. They are a fun and diverse bunch, and we had a great time trying out the different bars around town, as well as playing some sport in the parks. One afternoon about 40 of us even went on a Taco Pub Crawl around the Mission District of San Francisco, which was a great way to see a cool part of the city. In amongst all of this, we also had the chance to visit Facebook in Palo Alto, and the GooglePlex in Mountain View.

Last weekend was the Outside Lands Music Festival in Golden Gate Park, which quite a few of us went to. Although it is a 3 day event, I only went on the Saturday and it was awesome. There was gourmet food and wine, it was a beautiful sunny day, and we rocked out to Ok-Go, Arctic Monkeys, The Roots, Girl Talk and many more late in to the night!

The past week has been taken up by Orientation Week, and it has been intense! Each day there were presentations on everything from the career search to setting up your computer to scavenger hunts around campus – the list goes on and they kept us busy. We also had talks from Biz Stone of Twitter fame, and Tom Kelley from Ideo, both of whom were very engaging and spoke about there experiences and how they are ‘Students Always’ and ‘Challenge the Status Quo’. Biz has actually just been named Executive Fellow at Haas which is exciting. In addition to the presentations, a couple of highlights from the week were:

  • ‘Cohort Olympics’ which involved the 4 cohorts competing in Olympic sports like cupcake eating and slosh ball;
  • An Eighties themed finale party with more spandex then I’ve ever seen and an amazing cover band; and
  • Tailgating at the Coliseum before watching an Oakland A’s baseball game.
Overall, the past three weeks have been incredible, and I am excited to get into class which starts next week


Ben B.

Bringing Alums and MBA Students together for a night of Scotch

Guest Post: David Breger, Co-President of the Berkeley Digital Media and Entertainment Club (DMEC) gives us a peek into the different events hosted by clubs at Haas. This recap is cross posted on the DMEC Blog.

One of the best things about DMEC is our extremely passionate and fun alumni base.  Because the Club is less than a decade old, DMEC alums are recent alums that are awesome to hang out with and are always working on the most interesting things.

Case in point: a couple weeks ago was our First Annual DMEC Past & Present Scotch Tasting.  Sponsored by Johnny Walker, we held the event at the Yardbarker offices in San Francisco, started by two DMEC co-founders, Pete Vlastelica and Jack Kloster.

The night began with appetizers and cocktails, where dozens of DMEC members and alums alike had the chance to talk and catch up with one another.  Then began the scotch tasting.  The Master of Scotch explained to us the differences between the five types of Johnny Walker scotch we tasted that night: Red, Gold, Black, Green, and Blue.  It was a great chance to interact with DMEC students and alums working in the digital media and entertainment industries over some fantastic scotch!



Back Into The Swing

Spending the past year overseas far removed from the corporate world granted me many of the personal pleasures that my investment banking career so graciously stripped away during my 5-plus year tenure on Wall Street. To name a few: sleeping normal hours, walking in sunlight, eating at a table instead of inside a cubicle and, best of all, waking up when my body was ready (sans alarm clock). Yet, as good as a leisurely lifestyle is, matriculating to Haas is a very welcomed transition­. Moving to Berkeley from the Philippines; however, was not a joyful pleasure.

Long story short, moving is the worst chore ever. I’ll spare you the details. Actually, I won’t. I tried out the ‘San Francisco method’ roommate search, aka Craigslist, to hunt down the ideal living / roommate situation. I didn’t find it after 1.5 weeks and 30 apartment showings, partly because I’m picky and high maintenance but probably because I’m just not cool enough for a set of random people already living together. Not so pleasant was the short-term housing I arranged during my apartment search, listed as a ‘hotel’ which, at that address, was a euphemism for ‘halfway house’ (chair under the doorknob at night, check). I eventually found a sweet studio, though, basically on campus and right in my sweet spot for rent. So I guess it was worth the pain I put upon myself. My advice for any new student: find roommates among classmates and get a whole house for yourselves (basement, garage, backyard, deck, the works). My way was the hardway, but we aren’t playing craps in Vegas.

So, after getting my place, moving in and buying the essentials (TV, lounge chair, dishes, rice cooker, sham-WOW, etc on credit card), I am all squared away and set for O-Week next week. I did sign up and attend the two-week summer workshops, which for me was a great way to ease my body into a routine / rhythm after a long my time off. Plus, I needed some brain calisthenics. Plus plus, I’ve already met dozens of awesome people even before O-Week started! Plus plus plus, I had many afternoons off to work on the ol’ golf game at Tilden Regional Park.

With hundred-year-old redwoods, rolling hills, well groomed appointments and affordable green fees make Tilden a breathtaking gem of a public golf course in a state park in the hills just above campus. Tilden is a superb medium, along with the summer workshops, to adjust my mind and body for the MBA program and to help me get into the swing of things. Even after school starts, I can likely sneak in 9 holes before class if I can train my body to get up at 5am. Hopefully, I’ll soon get my score back into the double digits and perfect an all to critical business skill.