We had our second session of my “Marketing in Web 2.0” class this week. The class is taught by Andreas Weigend, formerly the chief scientist at Amazon.com and and a respected expert in data-driven marketing and what he calls the social data revolution.
The class is an introduction into the world of emerging social media and the use of social media and social data for marketing and business. Importantly, the class is not just a lecture, it is very much a hands-on experience: I am now on Twitter (even though I still get all the hype around it), we work with Andreas on developing improvements for important elements of the social web, and will implement a social media campaign for a cause of our choice, trying to use all the instruments discussed in class to generate buzz and engagement.
Andreas also brings in some of his friends: Experts from industry working on the forefront of social media. Pretty cool and one of the great things about going to school in the Bay Area.
The Lifelong Connections Campaign (LLC) is our student pledge drive. During the campaign students pledge their future financial support to the school and commit to a first gift to Haas. To kick of the campaign, our class got together last night for a reception organized by the LLC committee. (As with so many other things here at Haas, LLC is organized and run by a group of current students.)
While the LLC team did solicit pledges during the event, the key purpose was to bring a class together once more, and to share some of our experiences here at Haas. Moderated by our favorite stand-up comedian (and Haas second year), 10 current students talked about what Haas meant to them and shared some of their most important Haas moments with the group. I can’t post their speeches here, but it was amazing to see and hear so many different experiences and to relive many of the greatest moments of our two years at Haas.
Our time at Haas is coming to an end, and I am starting to realize just how much I will miss being here, and how much I will miss the school and my wonderful classmates.
Since I haven’t blogged in a while, I figured now is a good time go give you all an update on the last few weeks.
Interviews: As I mentioned in a previous post, I am a student admissions interviewer this year. I had my first few interviews before Super Saturday and then three interviews on Super Saturday. I won’t talk about the actual interviews here, but the entire process was both really interesting and very rewarding. The admissions office did a great job training us interviewers, making sure we were all on the same page when it came to assessing candidates, and while the interview process is challenging not just for the candidat, but also for interviewers, I felt good getting the chance to influence the next generation of Haas students and helping to ensure that the class of 2011 will be another great class.
Travel: I was back in Germany for a few days in February preparing for my move back home and will go back there over spring break to find an apartment. To make sure I also had some spring break fun, I went to Tulum, Mexico, for a long weekend. Great scuba diving and a very relaxing weekend away from the MBA crowds. (I love my class mates, but sometimes it is nice to get away from everything.)
Classes: The academic semester is going well. I just got back from a great discussion with John Denniston, Partner at Kleiner, Perkins, in my Energy class (directly after a mid-term exam), have been working on a number of interesting group projects, and tried to make sure my OPEC country (Iran) did well in our simulation. We ended up coming out ahead of last year’s Iran team, but were a bit too careful towards the end of the simulation, expecting a breakdown of the cartel. I also just bid on a portfolio of power plants last week for yet another energy markets simulation. We got our portfolio for cheap, but aren’t really sure if we got it for a good price. Other teams were clearly better prepared for the auction, but some of them also got carried away during the bidding process, raising their bids to (what seemed to me like) unreasonably high level. But then, they had pretty fancy spreadsheets, so maybe they actually knew what they were doing.
Other: The last semester is a lot of fun. Trying hard to cram in as many activities as possible. I am actually excited about going back to work this summer, but I already know that I will miss my friends, I will miss Berkeley, and I will miss Haas. Which is why I am trying to get as much out of this semester as possible on all fronts.
Just came back from a long weekend of skiing at Tahoe. Great snow. Too much snow…
This morning I also had the first class meeting for my “Seminar in Applied Innovation” a class complementing the Haas at Work program. I will be working on a project for Visa in the regular 3-day Haas at Work project format and also participate in the implementation phase – a longer small group project with our client company. The seminar will support the project work and provide skills training in areas such as facilitation, influencing, and fostering creativity. This will be an interesting final project for me before I graduate and a great way to once more bridge the gap between the classroom and the real world.
In other news: Two new endowed chairs at Haas. Yeah!
First-years had their welcome back lunch with Dean Lyons a while ago. Yesterday it was our turn to get together for an update on the state of the school and future plans. I don’t what to repeat what has already been said in an earlier post, but still wanted to highlight a few of the exciting things ahead for Haas and the Berkeley MBA Program.
- Core changes: I can’t publish any specifics yet, but there will be some exciting adjustments to the first-year core classes that will make the core even more tightly integrated and will equip students with an even better understanding of business issues early on.
- Faculty: Haas plans to increase faculty to a record size next year with 11 new faculty positions.
- Strengthening key functions: Along with new faculty hires, a few special initiatives will help to strengthen key functions at Haas and to further integrate research, teaching and the business world.
It also looks like there will be good news for incoming international students. This is not an official announcement yet, but it looks like Haas will be able to continue to offer student loans to international students without co-signers. I know some of these announcements sound fuzzy, and I am sorry that at this point I can’t tell you more about the upcoming changes, but trust me: Haas will be an even more exciting place to be in the years ahead.
Of course we also got to celebrate key achievements: Students winning case competitions and scholarships, student leaders’ outstanding achievements, and of course Professor Leland winning the Stephen A. Ross Price for the most influential paper in financial economics over the last 15 years. (Professor Leland is teaching Corporate Finance this semester.)