One Semester Done Already!

I can’t believe how quickly this semester has flown by! As of last Monday I was on holiday, and have actually spent the last week up at Lake Tahoe with about 30 Haasies. We had a huge house just a few minutes from both Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows, the 2 resorts where our season passes worked. Unfortunately there wasn’t a lot of snow yet, but we had a great time. We generally spent the morning on the slopes, before relaxing at our house around the bonfire or in one of our 2 hot tubs! It was an excellent way to kick start the holidays.

Now everyone is heading off on treks all around the world (South East Asia, Brazil, Columbia … the list goes on), and I’m off to explore California – Christmas in LA with family, followed by surfing in San Diego, and snowboarding at Mammoth for New Year’s. What an amazing place!

Prior to the holidays beginning, it was a busy few weeks for all of us. On top of working hard in our classes and studying for exams, other aspects of campus life did not slow down. Our ‘Golden Egg’ cohort competition came to an end, with my cohort (Go Gold!!) winning the competiti0n thanks to an extremely strong win in No-Shave November and the total number of service hours, and second place in the Walkoff – the final event that involved putting together skits in the theme of Haasily Ever After. Company and club events also continued – in just the final week of class I attended the GigaOm Net:Work Conference in the city as a volunteer (and got to meet all of the speakers from Bay Area tech companies such as Google and, and went to visit Facebook HQ in Palo Alto.

Semester then wrapped up with a masquerade ball in the city where everyone had an amazing night. It has been a wonderful first semester – I’ve learnt a lot, had heaps of fun and made lots of great friends. I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone again in January.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year


Community Events: EBC Fall Mixer & No Shave November

Just a couple of quick examples of events that have happened in the past few weeks, are already tradition here at Haas, and showcase the openness and values of our community.

The European Business Club recently held its Fall mixer in which students and partners from numerous European countries brought typical local food, drinks and trivia to share with all the other students and faculty. I think I have never seen the Wells Fargo room as full as I saw it during this event, which was a great opportunity to show the richness of Europe, in terms of cultures and flavors, to our non-European friends.

The second event I want to quickly mention is the reason why I have a beard in the picture above: No Shave November! During the whole 30 days, students agree to ignore the razor and we fundraise among friends and family to support Challenge for Charity (C4C),  a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that draws on the talents of MBAs from nine West Coast business schools to support local charities and develop business leaders with a lifelong commitment to community involvement and social responsibility.  On the final day of the month, the rights to be shaved are auctioned and the highest bidder, while donating all the money to C4C, decides how to shave the subject, who commits to stay in whatever facial situation the winner has decided for 24 hours. Yes, that includes going to class the following morning…Pictured below are the auction stage and the shaving area, which was busy until the late hours of the day. The result: 123 MBAs donated the rights to shave their beards/head/chest/legs raising in excess of $12,000!

2 Weeks Of Classes

Fall A classes finally started last week. The actual classroom experience doesn’t take up too much time in the MBA life, but there’s a lot of preparation involved; readings, cases…A very pleasant surprise came in the form of a subject called “Leadership Communication” in which we will be training our soft skills in general, and communication skills in particular, through speeches and improvisation exercises. The first class was a blast.

Club fair was also held this week, over the course of 2 lunchtimes.  It was an opportunity to talk to representatives from all the clubs present at Haas, and to better decide which ones to sign up for. Which, in my case, turned out to be a lot…

The one area I’m mostly focused on is Cleantech, and the Berkeley Energy & Resources Collaborative (BERC, is a very active club and spans across many other schools and institutions in campus. They held their Annual Lecture this week, which gave us the opportunity to listen to Samir Kaul (Founding General Partner at Khosla Ventures) and Chris Somerville (UC Berkeley – EBI Director) in conversation about the current clean energy and technology landscape. According to them, Cleantech is one of the best fields in which to invest given its potential, its market size and demand and and the rising issue of energy dependability. Small companies, like the ones Khosla Ventures and many other firms manage and invest on, can also easily have more than one successful technology or idea within a brief period of time, unlike other sectors like Healthcare or IT. Even though infrastructure (scale) and consumer behaviour remain the main hurdles in Cleantech, and will continue to be so for years to come, small companies can innovate, and are innovating , at a very fast pace and will be able to provide the technology to bigger companies which have already got the scale, supply chain…in place. Or as I like to summarize it: Cleantech – it’s bound to happen.

Another culinary note to end this post: some of my recent out-of-class activities have included another great San Francisco’s Mission taco and pub crawl, brunch excursion to Sausalito, soaking in the sun at Russian River and hiking at Briones Reservoir. After the hike, we grabbed a fried chicken sandwich from famous Oakland spot Bakesale Betty’s- delicious!

So much to start with…

Dear World, here starts my blogging life as a Berkeley MBA student! It has been already almost 4 weeks since I arrived in the Bay, and in this time there have been countless “wows!” escaping from my mouth. The most important activity has been Orientation Week, which took place between August 15th and 19th. O-week was packed with presentations, games and other tasks to ensure we got to know the school, our cohorts and our study groups. It was tons of fun, too! We had scavenger hunts, happy hours, cohort olympics and a Community Impact day in which we all did volunteer job at a local community. Not to mention the epic, 80’s-themed finale party…

However, my favorite picks from O-week have to be the amazing speakers that we had the privilege to hear from, in particular Biz Stone (co-founder of Tweeter) and Tom Kelley (IDEO GM). I think their presentations truly embodied the fascinating ocean of innovation, entrepreneurship and brilliant ideas that the Haas School of Business swims in…A combined 3 hours of wisdom in a nutshell: you can manufacture opportunity if you think like a traveller, cross-pollinate from everywhere and ask the right questions.

Like Ben, I also went to Outside Lands, I saw my first ever MLB game at the Oakland Coliseum, and literally ended up crawling in San Francisco’s mission district after a great afternoon of discovering local food and drink spots with classmates. Socially speaking, there have been an incredible amount of activities going on…

Another one of my favorite recent activities! After discovering a local Spanish produce shop and buying a 12-servings paella pan, I had a big group of fellow Spaniards over today to enjoy some jamón, tortilla, vino tinto and, of course, paella! First of many for sure…

I was gladly surprised to see how many of my classmates know/are interested in Spanish language, so I started a skills-exchange group in which I teach conversational Spanish and our classmate Abby teaches us the principles of yoga. Talking about win-win situations! Hopefully in the future some of the other participants will teach us some of their amazing skills: karate, juggling, salsa dancing, slacklining…

Life as a Second Year….

So the perception I had before I came to Haas was the MBA students had nothing but time on their hands. I mean, compared to working full time, going back to school was supposed to be the life of leisure – nothing but sleeping in, working out, pleasure reading, and vacations. I learned very quickly that this is not the case in my first year! Between reading for classes, working in study groups to get projects done, recruiting for internships, getting to know your fellow classmates, and taking advantage of all the top speakers coming to campus, I found myself busier that I had ever been working (albeit, having a lot more fun than working). But this was surely just a first year phenomenon, right? Once I got “promoted” to being a second year, I would be through all of it and have nothing but time on my hands….No Way!

Here is just a list of the things that have kept me busy around campus during the last two weeks:

Class – Second year classes are no cake walk! They get into deep into the subject matter and require a lot of prep. My Real Estate Finance class dug into the financing of the Rockefeller Center Buildings in 1986 and 2001 – talk about a lot of detailed prospectus reading!

Clubs – I’m involved in both the Consulting and Finance Club. This week both clubs had firm nights – so I was busy helping set up, welcoming the companies, and paying the tab on both Tuesday and Thursday nights. This is in addition to 2 hours of exhausting networking.

Talking to Applicants – I’m one of the 8 Haas Student Ambassadors and a lot of people are getting serious about applying. We’ve had tons of people at our information sessions and I’m having a lot of phone conversations about Haas. I absolutely love the position and always happy to talk about life here, but it takes a lot of time!

Golf – OK, nobody is going to cry for me with this one. I organized a beginner series of golf lessons for me and 6 classmates. This is a nice break on Wednesday afternoons, but I’m finding that between the lessons and practicing at the driving range, this golf thing is really take some hours. I figure that a lot of business is done on the golf course, so although I don’t get credit for this class, it could be the most enjoyable class I have this year…

Speakers – We do a great job getting some really big name speakers to come to campus. Just two weeks ago my favorite author, Michael Lewis, gave a talk about his new book The Big Short and some of his thoughts about Liar’s Poker and the finance industry in general. He also talked about the sequel to Moneyball that he’s currently working on. We also had an Entrepreneur’s Forum last night hosted by the Lester Center. I got to hear about some start-ups pitches and listen to two CEOs who hatched start-ups in the food industry.

Social – Just hanging out with my classmates. Seeing how my fellow second years are doing in their full-time interviews and getting a chance to meet all the new first years. There are so many cool people that you want to know and see how their doing – I find that I can talk all night, but sooner or later I need to go home and get some sleep before I have to get to class the next morning…

So what’s my advice for people who are applying? When you get into B-School, take some off before. Quit your job in May and travel or just relax for 3 months because when you get here, it’s no vacation…not even when you’re a second year with a fulltime job offer!

—Chuck Doppelt

It begins!

Well, I’ve landed in Berkeley!

After enjoying my first summer vacation since undergrad (sleeping in! traveling in Australia! catching up on Mad Men!), I’ve been eagerly anticipating my move to California and the beginning of business school. Granted, school hasn’t technically started yet. A hundred and fifty or so of us have just finished our first week of “Math Camp.” And you know, it feels a lot like drinking from a fire hose. My background is in marketing and communications, so a lot of the material is pretty new to me. But it seems like even the people with more of a quantitative background have been getting something out of our morning sessions. Plus, it’s been a great opportunity to start working with my new, incredibly helpful classmates. Just reaffirms one of the big reasons I chose Haas: its collaborative and supportive culture.

Not to mention, it’s already been a heck of a lot of fun! In fact, I don’t think there’s been a night yet when someone hasn’t organized an activity. Dinners at Biryani, beers at Triple Rock, and of course there was the alumni welcome party in the City (which later involved a visit to one of the best pizza joints in San Francisco—Golden Boy). All I can say is, make sure you set your Google Group membership to receive posts as they arrive, because there’s always someone doing something and inviting everyone to join, whether it’s trip after class to the DMV or an outing to AT&T Park for a Giant’s game.

I can’t wait to see what the next few weeks hold. Especially O-Week, which I hear is pretty epic.

—Eve A.