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


Water Entrepreneurs Workshop Impressions

My classmate and friend, Andrew Collier, recently put together an awesome event on entrepreneurship and sustainability issues in the water sector. He kindly agreed to write a few words as a guest blogger:

On Wednesday, September 21st, roughly 60 students gathered together for a Water Entrepreneurs Workshop to explore and discuss business challenges and opportunities in the wastewater sector.  The event was co-hosted by the Berkeley Energy and Resources Collaborative (BERC) and Imagine H2O, and drew on the insights of six terrific panelists including Shilen Patel (Veolia, North America), Chris Morrison (Nalco), Bradley Mart (Fogbusters), Rachel Saperstein (Hydrovolts), Paul Straub (Claremont Creek Ventures), and Rachel Sheinbein (CMEA Capital).

As a first-year Haas student, I was excited to help plan this workshop.  I have an academic background in earth and atmospheric sciences and have been working in sustainability consulting for the past 3.5 years.  I was drawn to Haas because of its strong focus on social and environmental impact (BERC, Net Impact, Center for Responsible Business, Global Social Venture Competition, etc.).

One goal that I have for my time at Haas is to emphasize the importance of water issues within the BERC community by building bridges to outside organizations like Imagine H2O.  Since BERC has a far-reaching network that includes students, alumni, faculty, and industry professionals, it provides a terrific platform to enable this sort of cross-collaboration.  The workshop served as one tool to facilitate knowledge sharing and problem solving amongst students, corporate leaders, entrepreneurs, and investors.

Andrew, this was a great workshop and I learned a lot. Thank you!

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!



MBA294.1 Life as an Entrepreneur Speaker Series

One of my favorite courses at Haas School of Business right now is an elective course called “MBA294.1 Life as an Entrepreneur”. It is jointed hosted by Haas School of Business and the Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (CET) at UC Berkeley’s College of Engineering. Basically each week one guest speaker was invited to give one hour speech, either at Bechtel Engineering Center in the College of Engineering, or Arthur Andersen Auditorium in Haas School of Business. Most speakers are successful entrepreneurs or venture capitalists (usually these successful VCs used to be great entrepreneurs as well.).

This web page at CET center lists all the schedule and each speaker’s name and photo. Among all the speakers so far, I particularly enjoyed following speakers:

From left to right:

  • Ted Hoff, Inventor of the Microprocessor. I enjoyed his story of inventing the first generation CPU Intel 8086/8088.
  • Maurice Gunderson, Senior Partner, CMEA. Mr. Gunderson is a veteran in energy industry.
  • Charles Giancarlo, Managing Director, Silver Lake. Mr. Giancarlo used to be one of the most influential people at Cisco, LinkSys and Avaya. He is really a senior executive with tons of experiences in Telecommunication, computer network and IT industry.

Just today Oct 20th, the speaker is a cool young guy Charles Huang, co-creator of Guitar Hero.

As I am an international student, I was not familiar with the name of Guitar Hero before the speech. Now I learned it is a very popular music video game in the U.S.

Actually “MBA294.1 Life as an Entrepreneur” is just one of the many ”Speaker Series” courses under the same umbrella of MBA 294 series:

Course Title

MBA294.1 Life as an Entrepreneur
MBA294.2 Real Estate
MBA294.3 Careers in Marketing
MBA294.4 Market-Based Approaches to Poverty
MBA294.5 Investment Management Spkr Series
MBA294.6 Microfinance Speaker Series
MBA294.7 Managing Internet & Digital Media
MBA294.8 General Mgt. & Strategy Spkr Series
MBA294.9 Careers in Consulting
MBA294.11 Education Leadership Speaker Series
MBA294.12 Private Equity Speaker Series
MBA294.13 Careers 101
MBA294.14 Topics in Technology
MBA294.15 Health Care Speaker Series
MBA294.16 Alternative Energy Speaker Series

Haas MBA body is pretty much diversified, so many classmates are taking other MBA 294.x Speaker Series, and it seems that almost everyone is enjoying it!

—Freeman Ding

Berkeley Business Plan Competition, 2009

Back in March, my partner and fellow-classmate, Antony Passemard and I presented in the semi-finals of the 2009 Berkeley Business Plan Competition. With several days of intense preparation under our belts, we faced the panel of judges – some of the most high profile individuals from the venture capital industry – with confidence. Three hours later, the winners had been declared; we were moving on to the final round.

Antony Passemard, Sanjit Mitra
Haas MBA 2009

What’s unfolded through the course of the semester has been an unforgettable and unparalleled experience. The competition has been a big highlight of our two year journey at Haas, especially given the slim shot at making it this far (top 8 out of approx. 110 teams). The final round is in less than a week, and the excitement of presenting our venture idea – this time in front of both VC’s and the broader Berkeley community – is exhilarating.

Provided is a link to the competition website, which is open to the public on Thursday, April 30, 2009 from 6 pm onwards at the Andersen Auditorium on the Haas School campus. It promises to be a wonderful evening!

—Sanjit Mitra

The incubator

Last week I visited the incubator for the first time. The incubator is a place (in the basement of a hotel) the Lester Center provides to students who are working on their startups.

I was there because my classmate Thomas, who is working on MojaMix with Norberto, was conducting tastings for various cereal mixes. I couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to eat and opine (my favorite activities).

This was Thomas and fellow taster Kristina:

After five bowls of cereal, I strolled around the incubator to check out the space. Since it was early in the morning, most of the cubes were unoccupied. Nonetheless, I could still feel the entrepreneurial spirit in the air.

It must be so exciting to be starting a business…

—Helen Ip