$113 million

In case you haven’t heard about it already, UC Berkeley has received a gift over $113 million from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation this week. Through a challenge grant, the foundation will fund up to 100 endowed chairs. Matching other private donations dollar-for-dollar the grant will result in up to $220 million in new endowments and an additional $3 million will go into improved management of the endowed funds.

While the direct impact of this gift on Haas is unclear at the moment, this largest gift in the history of UC Berkeley will undoubtedly benefit the fantastic intellectual environment on campus. Haas students in the past have tremendously benefited from being on a campus that hosts top-ranked departments in almost all academic disciplines. By further strengthening UC Berkeley as a top research institution, this gift will help even more Entrepreneurs at Haas to connect to top researchers in all academic fields.

You can find more information on this record-breaking gift on the Hewlett Challenge Website at http://hewlettchallenge.berkeley.edu/

On a totally unrelated note, my study group has just finished the first midterm exam, analyzing corporate culture and culture fit at Cypress Semiconductors.

Also, social activities are continuing on a high level with Tuesday Nights at the Graduate and the MBA bar of the week on Thursdays as permanent cornerstones, and club activities are picking up with kick-off meetings for most of the professional clubs this week.


Tuesday Night at the Graduate


That’s what the whiteboard read in Game Theory yesterday morning. I saw it as a call to arms.

So after a fulfilling dinner with Simona and Schelbert at House of Curries on College (awesome Indian food by the way), the three of us headed on down to The Graduate at 10pm.

Turned out to be a stellar showing at The Graduate. Not in numbers, the place is far too small to hold even a cohort, but in who showed.

I had the chance to mix and mingle from some great friends that I don’t see as much as I’d like due to off-set academic and social schedules this semester. TNAG somehow brings everyone together.

The Graduate by itself is no big deal, but when you throw in $6 PBR pitchers, a group of great friends, and Photo Hunt, you get a surprisingly great evening.

So for a few hours, we caught up socially, chatted about various business ideas, set the high score (twice) on Photo Hunt, threw down some popcorn, had a couple of PBR’s, and, most importantly, had a great time. Not having classes on Wednesday helps.

Attendance varies, both in quantity and quality this semester. TNAG’s seen a packed bar and a sellout of PBR. TNAG’s also seen just a few regulars mixing it in with the locals.

You can improve your odds by getting a group to go with you, or you can take a chance and see what life brings you. Either way, TNAG works. Maybe we’ll even see you there.

—Colin C.


Too… much… going… on….

It’s my fault, don’t get me wrong. I tried to do too much this semester, especially as of late when I realized that I wasn’t participating in many social activities this semester. One TNAG, one Consumption Function, one HaasWeek event, one Football game, one tailgate & after party. So sad.

At the start of the semester we in Corporate Finance asked to move the exam up to December 7th so we could start our break earlier. We all figured we’d have plenty of time to study and complete our other projects. Boy was I wrong. I’m still cranking out my Brand Management Plan and have yet to review Corporate Finance for the final tomorrow, never mind the other assignments due next week.

Had I not taken half a day out of Saturday to attend the alumni tailgate and Big Game, I would have been done. I didn’t even hang for the crazy after-parties. But you need to balance the academics with some social. Folks always seem to remind me that I don’t attend many social events (see my photo on page 4 of the last issue of Haasweek). There’s a lot going on between academics, social, career, and life… and it requires balance.

I guess that’s one of the key lessons you learn at Haas. It isn’t all about work… you need to take time out for yourself. Work-life balance, I think they call it.

In the meanwhile, today (and the early morning hours of tomorrow) will be a busy day.

—Colin C.

Midterms are over!

Previously learned lessons that were re-learned, yet again, this past week.

1. The expected value of academic reading time on the beaches of Santa Barbara can be determined using a decision tree with two outcomes: 1) 0% completed with a probability of 99.9% and 2) 50% completed with a probability of 0.1%. Don’t forget to discount.

2. The expected value of academic reading on 101 from Santa Barbara can similarly be determined using a decision tree with two outcomes: 1) an 85% of 6 hours reading time and 2) a 15% chance of an accident which delays traffic and gives you 8 hours reading time. Unless you’re driving.

3. Open bars at wedding receptions are fun. Open bars at wedding receptions with a plush lawn and croquet are dangerous.

4. The odds of my Chargers disappointing me at some point during the season: 100%. The odds of my hoping I won’t be disappointed in my Chargers when the season starts: 100%.

5. Do yourself a favor: leave Thursday afternoon for a three-day, no-work weekend in Santa Barbara, you deserve it. You’ll arrive in time to hit State Street and party with some Gauchos. You can still prep for that in-class mid-term, complete that 10-page research paper, and finish that 5-page take-home midterm case, all of which are due the Tuesday after you return. Sure, you’ll regret the decision while you’re pulling two all-nighters, but you’ll thank yourself when you submit the last assignment.

6. On average, Gaucho undergrads are hotter than Bear undergrads. One of the many reasons you’ll thank yourself for going down.

7. And when you submit that last assignment on Tuesday night, treat yourself to dinner on College Avenue, write your blog, and then head over to The Graduate to celebrate. Because nothing feels better after 36 sleepless hours than a pitcher of PBR. See you in a few minutes; drinks are on me.

—Colin C.

People Are People

It’s triple Tuesday… a real treat as people catch up with blogs. With that, this entry is for those with an open mind, still evaluating schools. If you’re super-set on a school, skip this and play computer solitaire for 5 minutes instead.

Application deadlines are right around the corner. The admissions department of every major MBA is out selling their differentiated vision of business school and promoting their brand, and it’s time to narrow your focus.

A good friend of mine told me to go to the best B-school I was accepted to, but I ignored him. For me, it was Haas or bust. I knew for as long as I knew I wanted to go to Business school that Haas was the right fit for me.

People always remind me to examine the culture of the company/school I want to attend. I did that for undergrad and haven’t done it since. I saw Haas as the right school for me based on a variety of factors. I knew “how great” the people were at Haas, but I never attended a class or had lunch with students. I had done so much research, I thought I knew everything they’d tell me. What an idiotic assumption.

When I arrived at Haas, I found out how great the people really are and how lucky I am to be with my classmates. I got lucky, really lucky. I could just have easily chosen another school and gone someplace where I didn’t fit.

Is there more to business school than people? Absolutely. But if you research a bit, you can find out what makes a school tick by looking at their published material and the various rankings like Princeton Review or Wall Street Journal (subscription). You’ll notice that top business schools follow similar core courses and use similar cases, they attract top recruiters, they have great professors and facilities, and they offer great international trips. The formats may vary, the specialties may change, there may be a geographical bias with firms you’re interested in, certain recruiters may pass over a school, or there might be some other intangible factor that captures your interest. So take all that into consideration, identify your top choices, then do something I didn’t: visit schools.

Your application may be perfect and you may think you’ve found the greatest school. You can interview school ambassadors and send e-mails to admissions all day long and you’ll learn a lot. And then you’ll visit and learn more in one afternoon than all your other work combined. Sure, it’s expensive, but you have a job, so support America’s negative saving rate and put that money to use.

I am making a lot of strong life-long friendships at Haas, more so than at any other point in my life (and I’m in the military- where people get close). Surprisingly, my new friends come from backgrounds and walks of life that I never would have foreseen.

Will they be your best friends? Who knows… but you should find out. Visit Haas and the other schools and find the right fit for you. Meet us, see what makes us tick, look for your niche. Hopefully you’ll like it here, but if not, hopefully you’ll find the right fit somewhere else.

Go visit your top schools, see what MBA life is like for a day, meet a few current students and get their perspectives, eat the food, smell the air, sit at a desk. Are the students competitive enough? Are they relaxed enough? Do they laugh enough? Are they introverted? Are there enough international students? Not enough women? Do they surf? Do they have tricycle races? Do they live on campus? What’s it like to me married? What’s it like to be single? Do the ladies fantasize about their professors? Do the evening-weekend folks prank the first years? (see pajama photo below)

Maybe you’ll laugh with me at all the first years running around in their PJs carrying their stuffed-animals with them. Maybe you’ll think it’s stupid. Maybe you’ll realize that you’re a better fit at another school. But you won’t really know unless you visit.

Once you’re accepted to various schools, go back and attend their event weekends to get a sense of what your class would look like and meet the ones you’ll be making a strong and lasting connection with.

At my Days At Haas, a group of folks that had previously met at Duke’s admit weekend got-reacquainted and began to form a bond. For me, Days At Haas was when I knew I was at the right place, which is good, because I only applied to Haas.

And when you start your program, I hope you’ll continue to explore. I hope you reach out beyond your comfort zone and become great friends with someone unexpected. Maybe go to Japan for a classmate’s wedding, join the folks re-living their college years at Tuesday Nights at The Graduate, join a case competition with evening-weekenders, or even find love.

If Haas isn’t the school for you, I hope you find the right school. Get the most value from your MBA program and really enjoy your time at business school.

While I’m learning a lot, I’m having an awesome time. You should too, whether here or elsewhere.

—Colin C.