Inspiration and Momentum at the Haas Business of Healthcare Conference

Last Friday I rose at 6 a.m. feeling giddy. Instead of heading to campus, I left my house in North Berkeley for the BART station and San Francisco. Just underground and through a turnstile, I ran into Dan, one of my amazing MBA/MPH classmates.

We took the 25-minute BART ride together from Berkeley to Union Square to meet the rest of our team ahead of the Haas Business of Healthcare Conference. More than 40 students in the Haas Healthcare Association, our health hub at Berkeley-Haas, had been working together since fall to create this 8th annual daylong event.

Once at our conference site at Hotel Nikko, I checked in with our volunteer coordinator, Zoe, saw our conference leaders Chris, Manuel and Mary Claire, and ran into more of my MBA and MBA/MPH classmates as the first, then second wave of our 300+ attendees arrived. Minutes later the conference was in full swing with speakers, professionals, alumni, and entrepreneurs from VC, consulting, global health, health tech, biotech, pharma, devices, providers and services, and other fields.

Throughout the day, thought leaders in health took the main stage. We heard from incredible leaders like Dr. Robert Pearl, CEO of the Permanente Medical Group, Matthew Douglass, co-founder at Practice Fusion, and Amir Dan Rubin, president and CEO of Stanford Hospital & Clinics.


Stanford Hospital & Clinics CEO/President Amir Dan Rubin discussed the importance of effective care coordination and shared how his medical center implemented changes to achieve success. (Photo credit: Peter Brock)


Practice Fusion Co-founder Matthew Douglass closed out the day. (Photo credit: Peter Brock)


For the first time at our conference, nearly 20 entrepreneurs pitched their products in a back-to-back speed round and later met attendees at a high-energy health tech expo. An attendee turned to my co-president after the pitches and said he had never seen start-ups featured this way and how much he enjoyed it. We took this as a sign that we continue to challenge the status quo whenever we have the chance! Start-up health companies who joined us for the day included Augmedix, Lift Labs, Proteus Digital Health, ThriveOn and many others.

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Entrepreneurs shared their inspiring stories and products with student and professional attendees on the main stage and at a hands-on expo. (Photo credits: Peter Brock, Nate Keller)


Six breakout sessions helped grow excitement and momentum around targeted areas of health. Groups of attendees joined together to discuss Obamacare’s winners and losers, reverse innovation and global health, changing the culture of care delivery, funding life sciences, and big data. With a team of three 1st and 2nd year MBA students, I organized a session about transforming wellness and prevention through technology. It was exciting to look out to see a packed room and to bring great speakers and perspectives to my classmates and our attendees.


Adrian James, co-founder and president of digital healthcare company Omada Health, shared his company’s evidence-based, human-centered approach to designing tech products for prevention. (Photo credit: Nate Keller)


Speakers on our VC panel discussed finding, funding and delivering therapies of tomorrow. (Photo credit: Nate Keller)


The conference ended but we stayed another hour longer to connect with speakers, alumni, professionals, and each other at a reception at Hotel Nikko.

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Berkeley-Haas MBA students at our conference reception at Hotel Nikko in San Francisco. (Photo credit: Peter Brock)


My classmates did a fantastic job working together to organize every aspect of the conference start to finish. As I rode home with three classmates over the Bay Bridge, I realized I had learned just as much from all of them as I did from our esteemed speakers. The experience left me inspired to stay curious and keep following my own journey and reminded me why I decided to join this incredible program and community. It was a great day to be a Haasie!

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Our incredible 2014 conference leaders Chris, Mary Claire and Manuel. Some of the Haas Healthcare Association members on our organizing team celebrating a successful event! (Photo credit: Peter Brock, Nate Keller)

Contributed by Jessica Jarvis on March 8, 2014


Culinary Club AgLocal Trek

I came to Haas with a background in environmental nonprofit work, a passion for food, and a desire to find a role where I could have a strong impact in improving the food system. Now, in the second half of my first year, I am Co-President of the Culinary Club and VP of Sustainable Agriculture and Food for the Net Impact Club. These leadership positions give me a strong platform to interact with companies and give myself and other students an inside view on what is happening locally in the food industry.


A few weeks ago, I organized a trek for eight Haas students to spend an afternoon with the founders and staff of AgLocal, a tech startup that connects sustainable meat producers with chefs and restaurants. AgLocal is a great representation of what the Bay Area has to offer – cutting-edge technology, an entrepreneurial culture, a love of food, and a strong commitment to responsible business.

On our trek to AgLocal, the founder, Naithan Jones, walked us through how and why he started the company. His team shared the opportunities and challenges they have faced since launching and candidly shared stories of the mistakes they’ve made. They asked for our input and engaged us in a meaningful discussion about a pivot they’re making as a company. We were also able to see the co-working space they share with other startups, giving us more of a sense of what it’s like to work for a new tech company.

Being a student and club leader at Haas has given me significant access to companies I’m interested in networking with as well as space to focus on the skills I want to develop. In addition to treks, the Culinary Club organizes potlucks, food outings (taco truck tour, anyone?), cooking classes (Rollin’ with my Homies, a lesson in Vietnamese Rolls), as well as “Haas Mystery Meets” that enable Haasies and other grad students to get to know each other better. The Net Impact Club connects students with a variety of socially responsible businesses through internship opportunities and treks, the Net Impact Conference, and a variety of events to meet alumni and students at other schools interested in social responsibility.

Contributed by Julia Silbergeld on March 3, 2014

No Shave November 2012

My class is amazing – I always knew that! :) However, the November razor buzz and over $25K raised for charity showed that MBAs know how to make money… out of hair!

No Shave November - Creating new fashion

Every November Haas students commit to give up their razors for 30 days to support Challenge4Charity, a non-profit organization that unites MBA students from nine West Coast business schools to support local charities and develop socially responsible business leaders.

No Shave November - The true me

Upon 30 days of struggling to explain employers the new not-so-business look, students auction their faces, heads, chests and other body parts to be shaved in a way the highest bidder wants and wear that hairstyle for next 24 hours…going to class, doing career treks and interviews..

.No Shave November - Evil and pushy auctioneers

This year my classmates went above and beyond, generating even more cash flows via bake sale and bold Facebook campaign!

No Shave November - Gold Cohort selling home made pastries  No Shave campaign of 2012 doubled previous year’s bid. Will November 2013 beat that?

HTC & DMEC Alumni Mixer @ Abobe SF

Lastnight 60 HTC & DMEC members and alumni from a wide variety of companies around the Bay Area descended on Adobe’s San Francisco office for an informal mixer.

Adobe generously sponsored the event, providing delicious food and an abundance of beer and wine in a very cool venue, while Diageo hosted a Don Julio tasting station where attendees could learn about tequila and taste 4 varieties of Don Julio!

Everyone had an excellent evening of eating, drinking, tequila tasting and meeting new people and networking (perhaps the tequila helped ;-) )! The evening was a huge success!

One Semester Done Already!

I can’t believe how quickly this semester has flown by! As of last Monday I was on holiday, and have actually spent the last week up at Lake Tahoe with about 30 Haasies. We had a huge house just a few minutes from both Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows, the 2 resorts where our season passes worked. Unfortunately there wasn’t a lot of snow yet, but we had a great time. We generally spent the morning on the slopes, before relaxing at our house around the bonfire or in one of our 2 hot tubs! It was an excellent way to kick start the holidays.

Now everyone is heading off on treks all around the world (South East Asia, Brazil, Columbia … the list goes on), and I’m off to explore California – Christmas in LA with family, followed by surfing in San Diego, and snowboarding at Mammoth for New Year’s. What an amazing place!

Prior to the holidays beginning, it was a busy few weeks for all of us. On top of working hard in our classes and studying for exams, other aspects of campus life did not slow down. Our ‘Golden Egg’ cohort competition came to an end, with my cohort (Go Gold!!) winning the competiti0n thanks to an extremely strong win in No-Shave November and the total number of service hours, and second place in the Walkoff – the final event that involved putting together skits in the theme of Haasily Ever After. Company and club events also continued – in just the final week of class I attended the GigaOm Net:Work Conference in the city as a volunteer (and got to meet all of the speakers from Bay Area tech companies such as Google and, and went to visit Facebook HQ in Palo Alto.

Semester then wrapped up with a masquerade ball in the city where everyone had an amazing night. It has been a wonderful first semester – I’ve learnt a lot, had heaps of fun and made lots of great friends. I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone again in January.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year


Community Events: EBC Fall Mixer & No Shave November

Just a couple of quick examples of events that have happened in the past few weeks, are already tradition here at Haas, and showcase the openness and values of our community.

The European Business Club recently held its Fall mixer in which students and partners from numerous European countries brought typical local food, drinks and trivia to share with all the other students and faculty. I think I have never seen the Wells Fargo room as full as I saw it during this event, which was a great opportunity to show the richness of Europe, in terms of cultures and flavors, to our non-European friends.

The second event I want to quickly mention is the reason why I have a beard in the picture above: No Shave November! During the whole 30 days, students agree to ignore the razor and we fundraise among friends and family to support Challenge for Charity (C4C),  a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that draws on the talents of MBAs from nine West Coast business schools to support local charities and develop business leaders with a lifelong commitment to community involvement and social responsibility.  On the final day of the month, the rights to be shaved are auctioned and the highest bidder, while donating all the money to C4C, decides how to shave the subject, who commits to stay in whatever facial situation the winner has decided for 24 hours. Yes, that includes going to class the following morning…Pictured below are the auction stage and the shaving area, which was busy until the late hours of the day. The result: 123 MBAs donated the rights to shave their beards/head/chest/legs raising in excess of $12,000!