A Berkeley Moment

Several protesters are holding up in the oaks outside Memorial Stadium (across from Haas), hoping to prevent UC Berkeley from removing several oaks for a new athletic facility and parking lot. A fellow student was overheard saying “Dude… I’ve finally had my Berkeley moment.” I do hope there’s a way to have it all.

On a lighter note, my Marketing Plan and Corp Fi final are off my plate. On to the next set of projects. Not too fast, though… I have a HaasWeek celebratory dinner tomorrow night and the MBAA Holiday Party on Saturday.

I was a bit hesitant signing up for Corporate Finance. It seemed beyond my scope, seeing how the Coast Guard doesn’t regularly issue debt or equity, but I figured it would be good to learn. Boy was I right, but who knew valuing debt for an unconstrained firm (amortization table people!), cranking out a European call option by hand with the Black-Scholes formula, or discussing violations of Modigliani-Miller assumptions would be so interesting? (Or that I’d be blogging about it?)

I’m not surprised, however, that someone did a Marketing Plan on Playboy (and submitted it all wrapped in plastic). Bet the research was tough on that one.

Oh, did I mention GOLD won the Big Games? Just checking.

—Colin C.


Too… much… going… on….

It’s my fault, don’t get me wrong. I tried to do too much this semester, especially as of late when I realized that I wasn’t participating in many social activities this semester. One TNAG, one Consumption Function, one HaasWeek event, one Football game, one tailgate & after party. So sad.

At the start of the semester we in Corporate Finance asked to move the exam up to December 7th so we could start our break earlier. We all figured we’d have plenty of time to study and complete our other projects. Boy was I wrong. I’m still cranking out my Brand Management Plan and have yet to review Corporate Finance for the final tomorrow, never mind the other assignments due next week.

Had I not taken half a day out of Saturday to attend the alumni tailgate and Big Game, I would have been done. I didn’t even hang for the crazy after-parties. But you need to balance the academics with some social. Folks always seem to remind me that I don’t attend many social events (see my photo on page 4 of the last issue of Haasweek). There’s a lot going on between academics, social, career, and life… and it requires balance.

I guess that’s one of the key lessons you learn at Haas. It isn’t all about work… you need to take time out for yourself. Work-life balance, I think they call it.

In the meanwhile, today (and the early morning hours of tomorrow) will be a busy day.

—Colin C.

Happy Halloween

First off, be sure to read the current edition (warning: PDF link) of Haasweek. We interview Professor Chris Hennessy (of Corporate Finance fame). We’ll interview additional faculty in upcoming issues.

Tonight’s the big Halloween in the Castro. Makes for a great time, although this year’s event will be smaller.

Haas’ Challenge for Charity sponsored our own Halloween party this past weekend at Harrington’s in the city.

We had a great showing (the photo shows one half of the bar), facilitated by a scheduled bus ride from Berkeley for the East Bay kids. Excellent drink specials, DJ spinning some hits, and a costume contest filled in the gaps as students, friends, and significant others mingled and met for the first time.

In the words of one attendee: “It was f&#*ing rad.”

—Colin C.

Tough Tuesdays

I treat almost every day as a work day. Almost, because during Spring B last year, I only had classes Monday through Wednesday. Thursdays and Fridays became the start to a Tahoe weekend or a relaxing long weekend. Fall semester first year was the toughest, and I actually spent Fridays getting school work out of the way (individually or with group projects) so I could enjoy Saturday and Sunday. I found that early planning and proper pacing prevented the all-nighters and last-minute rushes I saw other students dealing with.

I set my schedules so I get to Haas around 8am and leave between 4-6pm on school days, enabling me to get most of my coursework done at school. There were the occasional late nights in preparation for my busiest day (Fall semester Wednesdays) or wrapping up some first semester projects on a Sunday, but the 8-6 workday usually did it for me. Surprisingly, I found myself working longer hours at school than I did at work. Somehow, I thought this would be easier.

This semester, now that we pick all our classes, Tuesdays are my rough days, running until 9:30pm. I still arrive around 8am and find plenty of parking at the Stadium lot. I then hit up the FIFO café for a quick breakfast, grab a table in the student forum, and begin prepping for class. As other students arrive, I can either take time to socialize with my friends or find a quiet spot in the library, depending on how far along I am. Today, I head for the library and finish reading my Mountain Dew case for Brand Management.

From 9:30-11am, I have Brand Management with Lynn Upshaw, a great course that has me eyeing brands in a new way. Coming from a military background, I haven’t had much exposure to “brand management” and the class is enlightening, whether we’re talking about Vans, the current situation at HP, or Patagonia (see below). I enjoy the courses that make me think differently (most do) and don’t just teach me something.

As class lets out, I keep my seat and let a new set of folks flow in around me for Corporate Finance from 11:00am-12:30pm. The shift in thought process is big, but the 10 minutes between classes allows me to reset my brain, quickly surf the internet, chat with friends, and fire off a few e-mails before I pack the computer away for class. Our professor, Christopher Hennessey, is awesome; he guides us through the material in a way that brings clarity to a difficult subject while throwing in great one-liners that frequently appear in HaasWeek‘s Heard @ Haas column. Look for a HaasWeek “interview” with Professor Hennessey in the future.

After Finance, it’s off to lunch. I usually take a long from 12:30-2 pm so I can relax, socialize, catch some sun, and catch up with friends over at the Law School café. (It’s my daily extrovert moment to balance the greater introvert in me.) Today I had lunch with my first year mentee over at I-House, one of the favorite places to grab some good food in a hurry. We chatted about the balance between school, social, and career activities and how things were progressing for him thus far.

Now, after lunch, I have a few hours to read the cases/articles and prep for Service Strategy, my last class of the evening, just as soon as I submit this blog.

Before Service Strategy, I have the Real Estate Speaker Series from 4-6pm. With little experience in this arena, I’m taking the class to gain a broader understanding of the real estate world and I’m amazed at what I’ve learned already. There isn’t much prep work as speaker series courses are just that: top experts sharing their experiences and lessons on a given topic. It’s a chance to meet and learn from some great minds and even have dinner with the speaker after class, but my Tuesday isn’t over yet, so I have to pass on dinner.

My last class of the evening is Service Strategy with Tyler Comann, running from 6-9:30pm. The class is an evening/weekend course that’s opened up to a number of full-time students. As a full-time student, I didn’t expect to be taking a late evening course, but the course is interesting and has some great guest lecturers, so it’s worth it. In addition, evening/weekend cross-listed classes expand our peer group and enable us to gain further insight about the companies or industries in which they work. Granted, I’d rather not be in class until 9:30pm, but it’s worth it. There’s also a 45-minute break in the middle for dinner, which helps, and as most of the late classes break at the same time, we get to mix and mingle with a large group of interesting folks.

As my last class finishes, I’ll head home to sleep. I only have one class on Wednesday and it’s later in the morning, so I can prepare for it in the morning.

But now it’s time for Starbucks, the case for tonight’s Service Strategy class.

—Colin C.


We published our latest issue of HaasWeek yesterday, one of our better efforts since we second years took over the paper last fall. At the last minute, we expanded the paper from 8 pages to 12 after receiving a second full-page ad at the last minute. Our plan was to beef up the paper with various joke fillers and stand-by stories that have nothing to do with life at Haas. The act of filling space is something we enjoy as we never know what we’ll come up with (e.g. a fake ad about Entrepreneurialism in Developing Child Labor Markets).

If it isn’t already clear, let me note that HaasWeek is not serious, nor is it intended to be. I say this because non-student readers may not understand the nuances and the subtle inside jokes and may think we’re attacking something or someone when we’re not. Students at Haas get enough information about various real events from other sources that HaasWeek decided to go for entertainment over news. Call it The Daily Show meets The Onion. Or use it as kindling.

Sometimes the issues raised are real and we use humor to draw attention to them because most people read the funny articles and skip the serious ones. (As a case in point, you’re probably the only one still reading this blog entry.) So by using humor, we hit our two goals: make folks laugh and bring greater coverage to issues that can help the school continuously improve. Usually we just focus on the fun.

Sometimes we throw in a serious article, and sometimes… well, some of the contributing writers and stories aren’t even real. There’s usually a subtle theme with the fake names to identify the bogus stories, but sometimes there isn’t (e.g. the rafting article in this issue is a bogus story from a fake guide written around real students and two bits of truth).

I say all this because we at HaasWeek don’t want prospective students or other non-students to get the wrong impression about our school from the paper. We do want prospective students to read the paper to see the fun side of Haas students.

Paul D., for example, got the right impression when he picked up an issue while visiting last year. Paul read the paper, laughed out loud, and decided to keep reading our issues on-line. Today Paul’s a member of the class of ’08 and an Editor at HaasWeek. (We’re glad he’s joined us as he’s writing some great stuff!)

In HaasWeek, you’ll see some real stories about internships, vacations, and how international students invite their classmates to visit their homeland for a wedding or culinary adventure. You’ll also see the fun we have as a student body.

By all means, please don’t use HaasWeek as your sole source of information about Berkeley MBA students; you’ll miss the bigger picture on what an incredible student body we have here. The folks here are amazing and I’ll cover that in the future (and in fewer words). In the meanwhile, checkout HaasWeek. Just don’t take it too seriously, we don’t.

—Colin C.