“Is an MBA right for you?”

Today Haas welcomed over 100 guests (most of whom were prospective students) with the annual Women’s Workshop, hosted by admissions and Women in Leadership. This year’s theme was “My Journey toward an MBA.” The goal of the day’s sessions was to give participants an opportunity to learn more about the MBA and evaluate whether and/or when business school is right for them. Some attendees were locals, but many traveled in from across the country for the event. Having attended similar events before applying to business school, and having found them incredibly valuable in making my own decision to apply, I was eager to volunteer my time at this event.

Registration for the all-day event started at 8am (which, again, is like 5am in the student world!). I arrived on campus even earlier to help set up before our first attendees arrived. I don’t think I’ve seen Haas pre-sunrise in quite some time!

Good morning, Haas!

 I also managed to sneak a glimpse from the balcony of the Wells Fargo Room as we were setting up breakfast inside. I typically admire the Campanile (our clock tower) on a sunset backdrop, but sunrise might just be better!

Attendees arrived throughout the breakfast hour and after some coffee and mingling, headed over into the main auditorium for a welcome from Dean Lyons. As usual, Dean Lyons was engaging and personable as he shared about Haas’ four defining principles.

He acknowledged that many will read about Haas’ defining principles on the website and wonder if it’s just a heap of carefully crafted messaging with little substance behind it. I saw some in the audience nod. The dean then proceeded to share anecdotes that illustrated that the principles are present and thriving not only among students, but among faculty and staff as well. The defining principles aren’t hollow shells that we are seeking to fill. Instead, they are everyday life here at Haas, and it’s only in recent years that we have attempted to codify our culture and be explicit about who we are and what we value.

After the dean’s welcome, Professor Nora Silver, Director of the Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership, shared about her current research on multi-sector leadership (learn more here). She shared preliminary findings and engaged the audience in a discussion about the prevalence of multi-sector leadership and why we might be seeing this play out.

I had talked to several attendees over breakfast who were interested in the non-profit sector, so I was especially excited to have them hear Professor Silver speak. Checking in with the same attendees during lunch, many of them expressed that they felt incredibly lucky to have been able to hear from her and walked away feeling inspired, both personally and professionally. I wasn’t surprised. I first learned about Professor Silver’s infectious energy and her passion for the non-profit sector, when I took “Introduction to Nonprofit Management” with her years ago as an undergrad at Haas. Since then the Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership has continued to grow and its success is a big part of why I came back to Haas.

Lunch was served out in the courtyard – it was a beautiful 75 degrees outside today – and we all enjoyed a little sun. Prospective students interested in the Full-Time, Evening/Weekend, and Berkeley-Columbia programs sat with student volunteers in the respective programs and were able to ask questions about academics, student life, professional goals, the social scene and everything in between.

The rest of the day included sessions and panels with admissions, the Career Management Group, a keynote address and an alumnae and student panel. To close out the day, we had an afternoon reception with all kinds of snacks and plenty of drinks. Volunteers answered additional questions and did what they do best to show off Haas – they were themselves!

Overall, I thought the energy of speakers, attendees, current students (major shout out to the 2 dozen+ volunteers across all 3 Haas programs!) was fantastic today. It was a long day, but it was also energizing and definitely well worth it.

I often find that I enjoy talking about my experiences at Haas, especially on days like today, because it allows me (or pushes me) to reflect aloud on my experiences. What’s going well? What’s been fun? What do I wish I did differently? What’s next? There’s always so much happening each day that it’s easy to just let the days and weeks get away from me. So whether it’s talking about classes, a recent social gathering, my (awesome) study team, or an upcoming case competition, I love having the opportunity to reflect and be a student voice for Haas at the same time.

A beautiful morning in Berkeley…

After a jam-packed orientation week last week, first years have two (wonderful) free days before classes start on Wednesday. Most of us have been using the time to prepare for classes, catch up on a bit of sleep, and take care of general “life admin”.

If there was going to be a day this semester when I went out for a morning run, I figured this would be it. I managed to get out of bed before 7am (which, in the student world, feels like 5am) and headed out shortly thereafter.

The air was crisp, the sky was blue and the usual morning fog was nowhere to be found. I headed up through campus and was met with the quintessential Berkeley landmarks of Memorial Glade, the Campanile, and Doe basking in the morning sun. I took it all in, realizing how lucky I am to be back at Berkeley – this time as a graduate student – and here at Haas as an MBA.

Sighing a happy sigh, I continued to huff and puff my way up through the hilly campus while full of anticipation for the next two years of school!


Long time to blog

Ok. I must admit that I had planned to blog more often than this. And I can’t even say that I was too busy over the last few weeks. Yes, I had stuff to do, but overall, I guess I was just having a good time and every time I was going to blog, something else came up – these are exciting times after all.

The geek in me
Yesterday I attended the Free Culture Conference at Cal. Organized by Students for Free Culture and Free Culture Berkeley, this was not your typical MBA conference, but provided very interesting insights into the world of copyright and copyleft, open access and open source. Two years in management consulting and my time in b-school haven’t been able to entirely kill the geek in me, so I was especially pleased to listen to Lawrence Lessig and Mozilla CEO John Lilly (Photo copyright fczuardi – used under creative commons attribution license), but the panel on Politics and Transparency was equally interesting.

Today it was time for the annual Pig Roast in Golden Gate Park. Organized by one of our class mates, the pig roast brought a number of MBA students and friends together in San Francisco for drinks, talk and lots of food. It wasn’t just pork though: The menu also featured oysters, goat and sheep meat, salads, fruits, and more. The highlight of course was the pig. Or should I say: The highlight of course were the two pigs? Anyway: A wonderful day with lots of sun, lots of fun and lots of good food.

Now back to work. I still have to prepare for my negotiations class tomorrow.


The Greek Theatre ROCKS

We second-years know our way around this place. We know what we like, and we want to maximize every second in pursuit of those activities.

Though I’m busier than ever this semester — our last to ‘run’ the school (not to mention try to find, you know, a job) — one of my priorities this fall was to go to more live shows. I went to a grand total of ONE all last year…pathetic given the abundance of amazing acts, both large and small, that come through the Bay Area — and the Greek Theatre in particular, which a mere stone’s throw from Haas.

The Greek is a super cool venue — an outdoor ampitheater nestled in the tree-lined Berkeley hills that, despite its size, somehow manages to retain the all-important quality of real intimacy between artists and audience.

I’ve already checked out 4 shows since this summer at the Greek (this pic is of a bunch of us second-years at one of three Dave Matthews Band shows in early September…I’m the guy in the hat; can you tell I’m having fun by the width and toothiness of my smile?! :)).

Since the fall months are so temperate here, there are several shows still coming up. I can’t wait.

And by the way – me and my classmates will finally get OUR chance to rock the Greek in May as newly-minted Haas MBA grads. Check out this video for my favorite Haas graduation in recent history. Fast forward to about 30 seconds in…Pretty cool, huh?!


End of Pre-Term (and pictures, as promised)

Wow! Two weeks just went by like that! Pre-term officially ended today with the final Math Camp class (Comm Camp ended yesterday), and boy are we all busy already. The 2-3 minute speech in the final Comm Camp class was invaluable. It gave us the chance to try some extemporaneous (yeah, I had to look up that word too) speeches. I was quite impressed by how good everyone’s speeches were, even though we only had 1 day to think about them!

I must say, taking the Pre-term Workshops was definitely the right decision, and I will strongly encourage all future Haas students to take them if your schedule allows. I’ve probably met over 60 people (25% of the class) in the last 2 weeks, and have hung out with between 10-20 of them regularly (lunch, events, “study groups”). Now we’re all eagerly awaiting our cohort assignments (we find out next Monday) and hoping that many of our newfound “best friends” will be in the same cohort.

Planned a tennis get-together this afternoon, and got 11 Haas-ians (is that the right term?) to come out an enjoy the California sunshine. The weather was PERFECT today. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera, so you’ll just have to trust me on this; the weather does NOT change at all until October. Boy I’m glad I decided to come here! =)

The long awaited/dreaded Ropes Course is tomorrow at the crack of dawn (6:45am meeting time, meaning I have to leave my place around 6:15am and wake up before 6am!). I’m sure you’ll get lots of blog entries about that after this weekend. I’m definitely psyched (even though I’m fighting off a cold right now). If you don’t see my blogs in the future, then I’ve probably fallen off some tree…

As promised, some pictures from Math Camp, Comm Camp, and Karaoke Night.

Some Haas-ians singing Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” at Karaoke Night.

Top: Communications Camp in Dwinelle Hall
Bottom: Math Camp in the Haas Anderson Auditorium