Thankful for…

It’s my first Thanksgiving weekend on the opposite coast from where I’ve spent my whole life to date, and I thought I’d ruminate via this blog on a few things I’m thankful for now that I’m at Haas:
-Day trips to beautiful Sonoma and Napa Valley (pics taken by yours truly!)
-Study group members who have taught me about Economics and Statistics…but much more importantly, the world
-Costume parties
-Thai Noodle on Shattuck–open until 2 AM (and often crawling with Haas students post-aforementioned costume parties!)
-Surprisingly entertaining Accounting professors
-Haas Cafe coffee — tasty and strong
-Seventy-degree days in mid-November (see next bullet)
-2-hour bike rides along the Bay
-Consumption Functions
-Fellow students passionate about social change and entrepreneurship
-Fellow students NOT pasionate about being competitive, ruthless and closed-minded
-Case competitions…and generally pushing yourself
-The ease of BARTing to the city (although decidedly NOT thankful that the last train is at midnight!)
-MBAA, Net Impact, GSVC, and the Education Club
-Having options (trips, career paths, classes, etc etc)
-In and Out Burger (worth the trip from Berkeley)
-Late-night conversations with roommies about business, politics and sports…and the business of politics and sports
-Spending all my time with my new girlfriend (her name is Haas)
-Being me in a new place
-Budding friendships and memories both had and yet to be had
-Being a part of a special community…for life

Lots to be thankful for indeed. That was only scratching the surface. Hope everyone enjoyed Turkey Day!


First-round applications due November 5

Just a quick reminder that round 1 application deadlines for the full-time MBA program are less than a month away. You can find all deadlines online at

Everybody here at Haas knows that the application process can be stressful at times. It is definitely worth it, however. If you are still working on your application of haven’t even started yet, here is some personal advice:

  • Manage your recommenders: Writing a good letter of recommendation takes time. You should give your recommenders the chance to actually take that time by alerting them well in advance, informing them about your plans to go to business school. It definitely helps to sit down with them and talk about why you want to get an MBA and why you want to go to Haas.
  • Think about a coherent story: Every essay gives you room to convey your story and your strengths to the school. Before you actually start writing tailored essays, think about why you want to go to school, what you want to do after school and what your strengths are. Then try and find stories and situations that demonstrate your strengths and the way you work. Having done all that, it will be much easier for you to actually attack the essay questions.
  • Get to know us: Visit Haas, talk to alumni, go to an information session, get in touch with the Haas Student Ambassadors, and of course read the blogs. Not only will this help you write more compelling essays, it will also give you a much better feel for the spirit at Haas.

Best of luck to all of you.


Visitors in Classes – MBA admission season

I guess this is that time of the year. We see a few visitors in classes. Our Organizational Behavior class has been very popular. Probably because it is in the afternoon. If you visit, please do plan on attending a class. Pick a first year course over an elective. For sure you are going to catch many of us first years who still remember the process and most importantly you could be in that class same time next year. Wow!

Make sure you introduce yourself to the professor before the class starts so she/he knows that you are visiting prospectives.

In the class listen not really to the content but how is it delivered, how the interactions go, how are the people challenged, how do study group members support each other etc

If I may ask one thing, you will see us raising our hands to speak throughout the class but resist your temptation to join in. You might have the perfect point to make but the context is not there. The professor may feel kindly towards you and let you speak, but you may not know what happened in the class the previous day or the week before. Yes it did happen in one of our class.

I hope I didn’t sound too rude in asking this.


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.