Haas Iron Chef

Back to my favorite subject: food. Below is the winning team (I’m in orange) and the judges from Sunday night’s first ever Haas Iron Chef.

The winning recipes were: roasted chicken on a bed of pumpkin; sweet cous cous with cranberries, pumkin, toasted almonds, garnished with mint; and caramalized onions with a fresh baby green salad dressed with a citrus vinaigrette.

50% taste, 25% creativity, 25% presentation. Apparently we won 2 of the 3 categories.

Special thanks to our AMAZING second year hosts: Karen and Jordan, 2nd and 3rd from the right. And, by the way, if anyone is wondering, all 3 of our little ones were upstairs snoozing away to the white noise machine.

Finals were fun. Not really.

I am looking forward to finance and accounting. I think they’re going to each respectively pound me, but I’m stoked anyway…I’ve always wanted to learn this stuff.

This thursday night we’re going into the Mission for some good eats. http://eatingasia.typepad.com/eatingasia/2008/10/this-morning-i.html
Oh yeah, baby.


MBA mother and gender communication

I haven’t gotten my grades back yet, but it seems you can be a woman with children at Haas, learn the core curriculum, make friends, join clubs, stay married, enjoy your children and get to bed by midnight.

I’ve noticed that men who know of my motherhood status most often introduce me to others as

  1. a fellow full time ’10er
  2. a mother of 3
  3. full stop

Men who don’t know my status introduce me as

  1. a fellow full time ’10er
  2. a doctor
  3. etc

So, how do I define myself? It’s funny. I am all of these things, to the core. But I don’t know that I really define myself by these other things. My offspring, or the structured knowledge I took years of my life to learn and hone. Admittedly they do define me.

So, has anyone noticed that Sofia (the photo above) has one blue and one green eye? In a previous post she was featured. No one commented about the eyes.

Bill Sonnenshein did a workshop on gender communication yesterday. It was very interesting. Interactive. He really allowed us to hear our classmates experiences and learn from them. I feel like every other experience at Haas provides, or sometimes demands, a good hard look at your self, assumptions, direction. It really made me think about how I define myself vs. how others define me. And how I define others through my implicit and explicit assumptions. Even though I feel like I am very aware and in touch with these issues. I still have a lot to learn.

Note, I have three girls. Gender is on my mind.

While we’re on the gender, mother, children, MBA topic, I’ll mention Christine. As I am the representative mom, I think it’s fair to say she is the representative mom-to-be, knocked up, bun in the oven classmate. No offense intended to anyone, she refers to herself as such, so I feel free to do the same. Besides, it’s been me often enough.

Needless to say we’re great friends. I want to cut my hair like hers (this is in fact coincidental – I’ve loved that cut for years and just haven’t sported it in a while.) Christine is doing well. She’s having fun, is part of everything, and is definitely an important part of the group.

So, all you woman, moms and moms to be, you can do it. And you can give me a call if you want to talk in more detail.

By the way, none of this would be possible without my near-saint husband. I’m going to see if I can get him to do the next blog. Haas MBA with a family, from the partner’s perspective. We all know they’re the ones who really make this happen.


An uncanny ability to eat cupcakes

The ropes course was worth it. Mainly due to my awesome classmates and the xylophone. The xylophone is a horizontal ladder consisting of alternating narrow boards and pieces of rope getting wider and wider spaced apart, all suspended 50 feet in the air. You climb to the top with a partner and the object is to get to the other side remaining in physical contact with your partner and not using the wires on the sides.

I’m not afraid of heights. However, this took everything to a new level. Tony, from France, and I became quick friends clinging (well, admittedly, I was the one clinging) to each other stepping across thin air aiming to land on a frayed, skinny piece of rope and stay balanced.

We made it.

Orientation (O-week) started Monday. Wow. Now I am really impressed. Haas has apparently pulled out all the stops. We have had terrific food, excellent organization, numerous outstanding speakers, brief and efficient orientation meetings, a reception 2 sessions with our study groups to work out our group dynamics, a personal performance by the UC Berkeley marching band, a lectures on the case study methodology and a case study class discussion, facilitated by our faculty. Today is Tuesday.

We started off with a full-on multi-media show put together by Brad Kittredge, one of our talented second year O-week chairs. The room suddenly went black, music started. Pictures and video, all set to music commenced.

Now, about the speakers.
Richard Lyons was the first to take the stage yesterday (8/18/08). What an amazing pick for a dean. He was incredible. He weaves anecdotes seamlessly into his talk. He is dynamic, he is funny, clear, smart and pithy. Wow.
Bob Haas gave an inspiring talk. It turns out the Levi company, through Mr. Haas, is an amazingly progressive company.
My favorite pieces of advice:

Express your personal values in a way that make a difference.

Be out in front on issues you know in your heart of hearts is the right thing to do.

I’ve never seen on any of our employees’ tombstones, “I sold a million pairs of jeans.” Be a good partner, be a good parent.

Priya Haji spoke at our reception. She commanded silence in a room of tired, excited, networking first years. She is doing beautiful work, I’m sure she sleeps well at night. As a family physician, I can relate. She had a lot to teach us. I just wish my feet hadn’t been hurting so much by the time she turned up to speak.

Tom Kelley, author of The Ten Faces of Innovation spoke this morning. This man raised the speaker’s bar, if that is even possible. Basically, I’ll be borrowing both of his books (yes, we have no money now) to read immediately. In my spare time.

From Kelley:

The supreme achievement is to blur the line between work and play

Arnold J. Toynbee

You’ve got to find the problem to solve.

I’ve been to my favorite sushi restaurant 400 times.

I’m not sure who discovered water, but I’m sure it wasn’t a fish.

vous ja de

Vous ja de is looking at what you see every day with new eyes. The reverse of deja vous, so to speak, seeing something new with the recognition of having seen it before. I have the distinct sense that Kelley’s ideas will change my life. Now, isn’t that awesome, in the truest sense of the word?

I belong to the Axe cohort. Apparently Rumana is great with baking cupcakes. She somehow got quickly roped into a cupcake contest that demands an (and I’m quoting) ‘uncanny ability to eat cupcakes.’ More on that after thursday. Our Axe chant contains something about ‘give them the axe, axe, axe. Give it to them in the neck, neck, neck.’ Is this the right time to remind people that I am a doctor?

The one deficiency in orientation surrounds the topic of family. There is no mention of children, no pictures, no discussions. It is somewhat isolating for me, and I imagine for other parents. I know I’m not the typical MBA student, but diversity is consciously celebrated in our school. Interestingly, Pete Johnson mentioned every country present in our class, some of the amazing and various talents and diversities amongst us, interesting stats about GMAT, honors, scholarships, % of women degrees (I did get a shout out for being a primary care physician), but again, nothing about our students with families and children. Don’t get me wrong, I feel complete support at Haas in every way, including any help I might request surrounding family and children, but I think that true acceptance and equality will come when students in my position are recognized and discussed publicly. It feels a little ‘in the closet.’ There are real issues I’m facing as a parent student that are as important as my academic orientation and getting to know my classmates such as daycare, transportation, support networks, local resources, financial implications, parent partner support.

Everyone is completely ‘impressed’ that I have 3 children and am doing an MBA. I guess we student parents, especially student mothers, will have truly arrived when people are a little less impressed. When things change enough that it is a little less impressive.


Settling in

It’s been 2 weeks. New Jersey feels like a lifetime ago.

I guess the first thing you need to know about me is that I am married and have 3 young children: Maya is 4 years old, Hannah is 2 years old and Sofia is 8 months old (today). I was a practicing physician until 1 month ago. And my husband is a dentist. So, if anyone is asking themselves whether they can really get off the treadmill, do an about-face, go back to school and handle life at the same time…well, that remains to be seen.

The transition was difficult for my children last week. At least, that is my interpretation of their crazy behavior. My in-laws were here helping, how wonderful. They are so giving, I’m very lucky. They spent every day with all 3 girls, bringing them to the zoo, aquarium, parks, and more. Elliot and I unpacked. And unpacked. And unpacked. And still need to unpack.

Our family moved from a 2600 sq foot house built in 1918 in suburban New Jersey to our 1000 sq foot, 3 bedroom apartment, in subsidized university housing. We tried to pack light. Needless to say, it’s been 2 weeks, and we’re still not settled in. However, we have gotten the children’s room, the kitchen and the living room more or less in shape. And that brings me to my favorite topic:


Berkeley and San Francisco is a foodie’s paradise. I know I am approximately the billionth person to note this, but it is the first time I am personally living it. We have already squeezed in 2 Berkeley farmer’s markets (expensive but sooooo fresh and yummy and beautiful), the Rainbow Grocery http://www.rainbowgrocery.org/ in SF and the Berkeley Bowl http://www.berkeleybowl.com/. Check it out. You’ll be so jealous. I’m jealous of myself. The bulk section has 10 types of rice, 10’s of beans, every seed known to man (ok, every seed known to me – but I’m not seed-naive), 10 bulk honeys, 10 bulk shoyus, 5 or so peanut/cashew/etc butters, 20 types of cereals and more. Oh, and I didn’t mention that EVERYTHING IS ORGANIC. More later.

Now, to the meat of the matter: math camp. So, I am a tried and true “poet.” As we were introduced during the first minute of quant class, we are the liberal arts majors. The language lovers. The philosophy majors. Or, in my case, the political science major who went to medical school. The exponents were fine and I had to pay attention to stats. I always thought I would like finance. Well, I do like it, I just know nothing. Same goes for Excel. Accounting: well, I like it so far, but only one day. So, business school was right for me! I love it all, I just really need to learn it all.

On that note, I’m off to read accounting for tomorrow.

One last word. My classmates are terrific. Almost every person I get a chance to really spend some time with is smart, funny, nice and has done something amazing or is devoted to improving the world. O-week is coming and I’m excited.