No Shave November 2012

My class is amazing – I always knew that! :) However, the November razor buzz and over $25K raised for charity showed that MBAs know how to make money… out of hair!

No Shave November - Creating new fashion

Every November Haas students commit to give up their razors for 30 days to support Challenge4Charity, a non-profit organization that unites MBA students from nine West Coast business schools to support local charities and develop socially responsible business leaders.

No Shave November - The true me

Upon 30 days of struggling to explain employers the new not-so-business look, students auction their faces, heads, chests and other body parts to be shaved in a way the highest bidder wants and wear that hairstyle for next 24 hours…going to class, doing career treks and interviews..

.No Shave November - Evil and pushy auctioneers

This year my classmates went above and beyond, generating even more cash flows via bake sale and bold Facebook campaign!

No Shave November - Gold Cohort selling home made pastries  No Shave campaign of 2012 doubled previous year’s bid. Will November 2013 beat that?

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!

And there goes Fall A…

Ahh…I’ve finally given my apartment the cleanup it’s needed. Those who know me know that the state of my desk is all too often a reflection of my state of mind. If that is, in fact, true then this week should be much better than last!

I’ve restocked the refrigerator and even replaced the “emergency food” I resorted to in order to keep me going last week during finals (not that I don’t like canned tuna, frozen pad thai and canned clam chowder normally!).

It’s just hard to believe that Fall A has already come and gone. As you may know, the way the first semester runs in the full-time program here at Haas is that the semester is split into two 7-week terms. Fall A this year included Microeconomics, Data & Decisions, Leading People, and Leadership Communications. Being used to 15-week semesters from undergrad, it was a bit of a whirlwind. But, we still managed to get through a lot of content and it’s perfect for giving everyone in the class an overview of the different business areas they may want to further explore come spring and 2nd year.

The first two days of this week have been spent in a Career Management Conference where the Career Management Group has arranged for a range of panels, speakers and sessions to help first years further explore career options and also begin to focus in on specific targets for internship recruiting which will kick off early in the spring semester. The two-day conference also included very practical things like extended drop-in hours for resume reviews, mock interviews and even a “photo booth” for each of us to get a current professional photo taken.

Tomorrow we have a day of review sessions – Finance in the morning and Financial Accounting in the afternoon – to serve as a quick refresher before we dive right into Fall B (Financial Accounting, Finance, Marketing, Problem Finding Problem Solving) on Thursday. The brief hiatus from classes in the first half of this week has been helpful for all of us, I think, to get things back in order, think about recruiting and also prepare a bit for Fall B. With how hectic even just these last couple of days has been (without classes!), I know that Fall B will no doubt be just as packed as Fall A and hopefully just as memorable!

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…

3-2-1… Dodgeball!

Becoming a student again has been great. Still, student life still has its pressures and stress points. Further adding to the problem, my motivation to keep up a regular gym schedule has been lacking. Enter dodgeball. At the start of the year, my good friend Phil decided it would be nice idea to see if there was interest in fielding an intramural dodgeball team. Many of us thought it was a great idea that we ended up fielding two teams (Haas Hooligans and Hungry Hungry Haasies)! Every Monday night we play for 45 minutes against other teams from the Cal community. While some of these teams posses superior athleticism and spryness (read: undergrads), our experience and team cohesion more than makes up for it.

—Matt S.