MBAA Elections are coming up!

Andrea (MBAA VP International) and I (MBAA VP Diversity) were tabling for the upcoming MBAA Elections, which is where 1st years declare their candidacy for various offices. Unfortunately, this meant we were unable to attend the Haas Talent Show info session that was happening at the same time. This is a REAL conversation from today.

I *heart* Andrea. Andrea is HILARIOUS.


Looking back

With my two years at Haas are coming to an end, I have recently started to reflect back on my time here in Berkeley and on the intense period of time ever since I have started applying to business school.

When I started the application process in the summer of 2007, I spent a long time thinking about my goals for business school. I will use this post (warning: long post) to share some of those goals and whether I was able to achieve those goals here at Haas. In case you don’t want the read through all the details, here is the short summary: Mission accomplished.

Like most people applying for an MBA program, I wanted to develop and refine my leadership skills. In my career goals essay I wrote that I wanted to “
improve my interpersonal skills and gain confidence leading teams through applying my leadership skills in clubs and through classes…“. Let’s see: I ran for and won an elected office, held speeches in front of 240 classmates and really enjoyed the leadership communications class, the Peers @ Haas coaching program and my Power & Politics class. As a member of the MBA Association, I was the voice of the international student community and led a workshop at the Graduate Business Conference. I organized events for the international student community, led a consulting team, and developed and delivered a communication skills workshop. Confidence building? You bet. Improve my interpersonal skills? Absolutely. Applying my leadership skills? Sure.

International exposure
From my application:
“The program will allow me to meet people from different backgrounds, to learn from their experience, and to contribute my own perspective. At the same time electives like the International Business Development program, international study trips and the possibility to spend time at a business school in another country will help me to build on my existing international experience and to improve my understanding of doing business all over the world.
I went to class with students from more than 40 countries. I traveled to Japan with some of my Japanese classmates and really got to know the country and its culture, worked in Finland (IBD) and Italy (Internship), and explored Mexico. I worked on project teams with people from at least 5 countries and lived with housemates coming from 4 countries and moving to 4 (different) countries after graduation. I also worked on case studies dealing with companies from at least 10 countries, learned from professors from countless places all across the world, and saw speakers from a variety of countries who are doing business all over the world. Oh, I also spent 2 years in the US. For me, that counts as international exposure. Meet people? Check. Build international experience? Check. Improve my understanding of doing business all over the world? Check again.

Business fundamentals
Even though I had worked as a management consultant for two years before coming to Haas, with my background in Computer Science, I felt I could use a more structured and formal introduction into business and economics. I also really wanted to better understand the various functions within a company, and the different economics and strategic challenges of various industries. “At the current point in my career the Berkeley MBA will give me a solid foundation to take on new business challenges of various sizes and shapes: It will be a good opportunity to deepen my understanding of business fundamentals
Without going into too much detail about my classes here: Check. I also worked on consulting projects in mobile communications, social networks, payment services, building materials, and renewable energy. Check again.

I won’t copy anything from my applications essays, because that would sound really cheesy, but I met a bunch of wonderful people here at Haas and have been able to build up an extremely strong network and to make great friends. Fortunately some of my good friends are going to Europe after graduation, but I am sure I will stay in touch with many of my class mates in the years to come.

Giving back:
I knew I would get a lot out of my years at Haas. Over my two years at Berkeley, it also became increasingly clear, that I wanted to give back to the wonderful community and to contribute to the success of the Haas School. I was amazed by how much every single one of us was able to do to make Haas a better place and by how much room the administration gave me and others to improve the student experience at Haas, to support our classmates, and to form a stronger community.

To sum things up: Has Haas delivered? Yes. Has the program enabled me to achieve my goals and aspirations? Yes. Have I been able to grow during my two years? Absolutely. So once again, mission accomplished.


Haas for Students

I just made my pledge and donated one day of my summer income to Haas for Students. Haas for Students is our matching fund for students with internships in the non-profit sector. It is mostly funded by students (pledges and fund-raisers) and matching donations from employers.

This year’s pledge drive started a few days ago and within just 4 days, our chief fund raiser and MBAA VP of Community Service, Omar, has already collected more than $20,000 to support our fellow students over the summer.

Over the course of the fund raising drive, I also had a chance to see some of the projects my class mates will be working on. I have never really considered a career in the non-profit sector, but I must say that some of the internships my class mates have secured for the summer look really tempting. Interested in setting up a WiMax network in Ghana? Come to Haas.


The Graduate Business Conference

Today was the first day of this year’s Graduate Business Conference (GBC), an annual gathering of student leaders from MBA programs across the world. For the first time since 1996 the Graduate Business Conference is hosted by Haas this year. Tomorrow will again be packed with activities (and I will host a best-practice workshop session myself tomorrow afternoon) but I can already say that the first day was a great success with workshops directed at facilitating the exchange of best practices between student leaders from different schools and leadership development programs run by respected coaches. After the professional part of the program, a fantastic BBQ in the Haas courtyard provided ample opportunities for networking and if i weren’t still suffering from a cold (the aftermath of late-night sake drinking in Japan) I would now be out with the conference participants.

BTW: If you are a sports fan, you should check out YardBarker, a blog network, news aggregator and community site for all things sports. The company was founded by Jack Kloster and Peter Vlastelica during their time at Haas (both are MBA06 and were also involved in starting up both DMEC and the Play Conference at Haas) and just received second round funding of $6m to expand its operations. Congratulations and Go Bears! (Jack and Peter also frequently come back to school to speak as part of Haas’ entrepreneurship curriculum.)


Baby Carrots and the MBAA

I spent the last weekend in Healdsburgh, California, for the kickoff and strategy retreat of the newly elected Haas MBA Association and wanted to use this opportunity to write a little more about the role of the MBAA in our program. Pretty much every full-time MBA student at Haas is a member of the MBAA. The MBAA is the umbrella organization for all student clubs and activities at Haas and acts as the representative of the student body towards the administration. Haas students who join the MBAA will get access to

  • Haas student clubs and organizations, including all industry clubs and cultural and special interest groups
  • A wide variety of social events, including monthly consumption functions, the Haas Bar of the Week
  • MBAA sponsored career activities, including club fairs, networking activities and conferences

In addition, the MBAA sponsors technology investments to support students and student organizations, supports outreach to prospective students and organizes activities in the broader community. So what happened at our retreat? As the incoming MBAA we had to agree on a budget for the next 12 months, discuss our strategic priorities for the year (which we will presented to the student body soon), resolve open policy issues and of course also used the opportunity to get together as a team for an extended period of time. We worked hard, but we also partied hard, enjoyed our home-made food and had a fun time.

While I can’t publicize all the details here, we had some great (and sometimes heated) discussions and I can proudly say that as the new VP of International Student Affairs I am part of a group of amazing people with an incredible commitment to supporting our students, our school and the greater Haas community.

Apart from budget issues, we also delved into a much more mundane question: Where do baby carrots come from. Wikipedia of course had the answer and it seems like most baby carrots come from Bakersfield, California. Did you know, that some baby carrots are simply carrots harvested early, while others are full-grown carrots, cut into smaller pieces? Also, round 1 decisions have started to go out: Congratulations to all the admitted students! I know some of you will be disappointed because you did not make it into Haas. Just know that your business school admission decision does not define who you are,


Long time no post

I haven’t posted in quite a while, so this is a short update about what’s been going on in my MBA-life over the last weeks

My housemates rock
3 weeks ago we celebrated Halloween with almost 400 other MBA students at a bar in San Francisco. Not only did the organizers manage to raise almost $10,000 for several local charities, we also had a fantastic night out and I was amazed by the costumes on display that night.

What does this have to do with my housemates? There are 5 of us. See what happens, when 5 MBA students dress up as Shaggy, Velma, Daphne, Freddie and Scooby-Doo:

(That picture was taken at our house before we left for the party.)

Last week also saw the elections for the Haas MBAA, our MBA Student Association. After 3 hours of candidate speeches, all students had the opportunity to elect our new president and 12 officers in a first round and a subsequent run-off. I am glad to report today, that I was elected VP of International. Together with my fellow officers and our new president I will work as a liaison between the student body and the administration, champion new initiatives, and partner with clubs, the admissions office, career services and alumni relations, to help make Haas an even better place. We have a fantastic leadership team in place, and I am looking forward to an exciting year as an MBAA officer.

Random news

  • We are already halfway through Fall-B. I just finished my accounting midterm, and my marketing midterm is coming up next week.
  • I just back from another great trip up to Sonoma this morning. We spent yesterday afternoon in Sonoma Valley, visiting several vineyards and then met up with a larger group of MBA students for dinner and more drinks.
  • Play was a fantastic conference. Congratulations to DMEC, the Digital Media & Entertainment Club for organizing this exciting event.
  • Just in: Haas alum Shantanu Narayen will take over the CEO role at Adobe. He has been president and COO at Adobe for the past 3 years and was one of the keynote speakers during this year’s orientation week. Shantanu Narayen graduated from Haas with an MBA in 1993.
  • Link of the day: Vivian’s MBA Blog – Vivian worked for McKinsey’s Taipei office before coming to Haas. Check out her blog to learn more about her MBA journey.