All settled in!

It’s been 3 weeks since I arrived in Berkeley from Sydney, and it has been an amazingly jam-packed and fun couple of weeks settling in. There is so much to do exploring both Berkeley and the Bay Area in general – I can see now that I am going to be doing a lot of weekend trips to nearby destinations like Napa Valley, Point Reyes, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe and so on in the coming months!

My first 2 weeks involved Math Camp (Accounting and Finance refresher classes to make sure you’re up to speed for the semester) in the morning. I was pleased to discover that the professors for Accounting and Finance were both energetic and made the lectures entertaining – I never thought I’d enjoy learning accounting! :-) My afternoons were spent exploring Berkeley (or San Franciso) – there is so much more to Berkeley than I initially realised. There is the slightly quirky and unique Telegraph Ave area where tie-dye reigns supreme, as well as the cute areas along College Ave in Elmwood and Rockridge, Shattuck Ave in downtown Berkeley with its bars, and of course the Gourmet Ghetto restaurants of north Berkeley. My wife, Jacqueline, and I were happy to find a nice little apartment on College Ave in Rockridge so I’ll be biking to class! In the evening, the socialising with my new classmates really got underway. They are a fun and diverse bunch, and we had a great time trying out the different bars around town, as well as playing some sport in the parks. One afternoon about 40 of us even went on a Taco Pub Crawl around the Mission District of San Francisco, which was a great way to see a cool part of the city. In amongst all of this, we also had the chance to visit Facebook in Palo Alto, and the GooglePlex in Mountain View.

Last weekend was the Outside Lands Music Festival in Golden Gate Park, which quite a few of us went to. Although it is a 3 day event, I only went on the Saturday and it was awesome. There was gourmet food and wine, it was a beautiful sunny day, and we rocked out to Ok-Go, Arctic Monkeys, The Roots, Girl Talk and many more late in to the night!

The past week has been taken up by Orientation Week, and it has been intense! Each day there were presentations on everything from the career search to setting up your computer to scavenger hunts around campus – the list goes on and they kept us busy. We also had talks from Biz Stone of Twitter fame, and Tom Kelley from Ideo, both of whom were very engaging and spoke about there experiences and how they are ‘Students Always’ and ‘Challenge the Status Quo’. Biz has actually just been named Executive Fellow at Haas which is exciting. In addition to the presentations, a couple of highlights from the week were:

  • ‘Cohort Olympics’ which involved the 4 cohorts competing in Olympic sports like cupcake eating and slosh ball;
  • An Eighties themed finale party with more spandex then I’ve ever seen and an amazing cover band; and
  • Tailgating at the Coliseum before watching an Oakland A’s baseball game.
Overall, the past three weeks have been incredible, and I am excited to get into class which starts next week


Ben B.

the aftermath.. and now, it does, truly begin!

Time travel is a wonderful thing. No jokes. It is. Except for the fact that, we really can’t travel in time, can we? Anyway, the second best option, in my mind, is an amazing costume party. And after the breakneck O-week schedule, which in my mind, was as amazing as it gets, this was going to be interesting! Oh and did I mention that I have never, ever been to a costume party in my life!

20th August – 10 AM – Meet at Downtown berkeley
Objective: Costume shopping!
… after a couple of hours of walking up and down telegraph (which, in my opinion is the most lively part of town ;) ) i think we finally have our costumes. And a crazy idea, to take it over the top.
Fast forward to 5 PM, and anderson auditorium is a blast from the past. Quite literally. 240 haaskies dressed up as hair band artists, biker chicks, miami vice, rock and rollas, and the grand daddy of bling!… needless to say, we all had a tonne of fun that evening. All said, an amazing end to an amazing week!
.. Monday morning. My first case study session in a strategy workshop – did pretty okay, considering i have never done case studies before. Fall 2010 is getting more and more hectic by the minute. But God! I’m loving it!!!
Oh by the way, I should introduce myself. Aditya Ramachandran (known as ‘addy’ to the class of 2012), Engineer, worked in manufacturing ops for 5 years in India, before coming to Haas.
Cheers, and more for later!!!


A refuge

As a resident of New York City for over a decade before I arrived at Haas, I should have been well accustomed to the high-octane level of activities during O-Week… but man, these people never slow down!!! The “laid-back” reputation of Berkeley might need to be rethought in relation to Haas students… I was thoroughly impressed by my new classmates who managed to go out every night of the week after a packed orientation itinerary created for us by the valiant second-years (most of whom seemed to be still finishing up summer internships in whatever waking hours they had when they weren’t concocting competitive and/or costumed trials for us). Nursing a bad cold myself (it was going around – what do you expect when you start shaking hands with 240 people who just arrived from all over the world?), I took it easy until the big Friday night extravaganza. “If only our mothers could see us now,” I joked to my seatmate on the Pirate Bus (“Arrrrgggggghhhh!”) as I applied a skull & crossbones stick-on tatoo to my bicep — not an easy task when wearing an eyepatch, I’ll assure you, though liberal quantities of PBR from a can might have made me less fussy about the resulting crookedness…

One feature of the Bay Area that I’m beginning to enjoy immensely is the close proximity of natural beauty — when you just need to get away from it all and recharge. In stark contrast to the raucous fun of O-Week, I found peace and solitude at Muir Woods. Peering up, up & upward toward the tippy-tops of the giant redwood trees, I was pleased that “The Cathedral” area was designated a quiet zone. Yes – a refuge…


Awsome week!!!

This has been an awsome week!!!

The Haas staff and the 2nd year students are providing us such an exciting experiences. We had the opportunity to have inspiring speeches from Rich Lyons (Dean of Haas) and Paul Otellini (CEO of Intel and Haas Alumnus). We worked on real business cases for Adobe, HP, Lucas Arts, Del Monte Foods, Deloitte, Chevron, Abbott . Additional workshops gave us the opportunity to know better the resources available at the university: career services, student services, clubs, MBAA, alumni network…… But most important of all, this week has consolidated my expectations about the school and the classmates. Haas is about place, people and culture! And most of all, here LEADERSHIP THROUGH INNOVATION prevails!!!!!!!
Of course we had lots of fun too! The Go Game was a fantasctic integration experience. The happy hours were good times to know our classmates better and to play Flip Cup Game. The Cohort Olympics anf the Final Party… Well, for these ones I don´t have words to describe them! So here goes some pictures.

—Ricardo de Paula

Cohorts Olympics in First Year O-Week

Today August 19th is the third day of the Orientation week for our first-year new MBA students. It turned out to be an athletic day. After a whole morning of meaningful and fun volunteering labor work in a local community for homeless people, we had an afternoon of even more fun, more laugh, and very competitive Cohorts Olympics.

As an Haas MBA tradition, we have four cohorts every year: Gold, Blue, Oski, and Axe.
Gold and Blue are named by the California Golden Bears which is the nickname used for 27 varsity athletic programs of the University of California, Berkeley, and the official campus alma mater for UC Berkeley is “All Hail Blue and Gold”. Oski is the official mascot of the UC Berkeley. Axe is named from the trophy awarded to the winner of the annual Big Game, college football rivalry between the University of California, Berkeley and Stanford University.

—Freeman Ding

Intel CEO at Day One of Orientation week for first year Berkeley MBA

Wow, this Monday August 17th is the Day One of Orientation week for first year Berkeley MBA new students like me. I never expect that we could have Paul Otellini, President and CEO of Intel, also Haas MBA 1974, as the guest speaker at Day One!

Paul’s speech is simply great.
What a day! Stay tuned. This is just the first day of Orientation week. :-)
(Daniel, my deal Haas classmate, thank you for the photo.)

—Freeman Ding