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Berkeley Haas MBA Admissions & Related Blogs

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The keys to shaping culture to foster gender equity  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Sep 2018, 11:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: The keys to shaping culture to foster gender equity
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Unfortunately, the American workplace has not been making significant progress towards gender and racial equity. According to Catalyst, there are currently only 23 women CEOs leading S&P 500 companies, which makes for 4.6 percent of the total. In addition, women hold just 26.5 percent of executive/senior level management positions in the S&P 500 and 36.9 percent of first/mid-level management positions. Data from Deloitte show that Caucasian women hold 18.3 percent of Fortune 100 board seats—not a particularly enviable number—while minority women hold only 4.6 percent of Fortune 100 board seats.

While most of us thought that women would be much closer to 50:50 parity with men in the workplace by now, we have stalled out. It’s become less clear that we will ever reach gender parity.

Diversity vs. inclusion
One of the big problems is that companies are focusing on diversity which is simply counting heads. They say, “Oh, we hired five more black women as coders last year,” but that’s a wholly insufficient component of gender equity. What’s even more important is inclusion, making those heads count. Most companies today aren’t looking at what’s really happening. Sure, they're hiring more underrepresented minority women (at a really slow pace, by the way), but these women are leaving at faster rates once they get in. Once hired, many aren’t feeling a sense of belonging within their organizations or that they are valued and that their opinions count.

So, what can be done?

It’s my belief that each of us can play a powerfully positive role in shaping the cultures of the organizations for which we work, persistently nudging them in the direction of gender equity while dismantling policy and organizational obstacles that stand in the way for women in the workplace. There are a variety of ways that women—and men—can accomplish this.

As leaders, we need to support one another in the workplace. Emilie Arel, CEO of Fullbeauty Brands and a Haas School alumna, firmly believes that we have to pay it forward and help those who work for us. She makes a point of regularly having coffee and lunch with her people. “Getting to know talent and helping people in their careers is part of your job as a leader. It’s very important that we as women think that way, and also that we encourage people who work with us and for us to say what they want.” says Emilie.

We all have a role to play
Men can and should play a key role in shaping culture in ways that promote gender equality. At Haas, we have what we call “manbassadors”—a program founded a few years ago by two 2nd-year MBA students. According to Patrick Ford, leadership coach, MBA 17, and one of the program’s founders, the goals of the organization are, “Getting individual men to educate themselves to become more aware of the reality of unconscious gender discrimination and of their own behavior, and bringing that awareness into the workplace to create a level playing field.” Imagine what an organization like this could do to shape the culture of your business.

Ultimately, women—and men—must speak up when they see things that aren’t right in their organizations. Too often, all of us have been guilty of letting sexist or racist comments slip by, or have seen sexual harassment happen. We fear the risk of retribution or don’t know exactly what to say or do to challenge it. We have to stand up and say, “That's not okay,” or, "Here's another way in which we might think about this.” I believe many men would welcome that consciousness-raising and feedback would use their power and voices as an advocate of change. Together we do have the power to shape our organization’s culture toward gender equity and away from the discriminatory practices of the past.

 

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Seeking greater impact on the creation of gaming content  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Oct 2018, 06:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: Seeking greater impact on the creation of gaming content
Even as a child, Laura Teclemariam sought to understand the merging of stories and technology—by pulling apart and examining a VHS tape. Now, as a lead product manager for game publisher Electronic Arts (EA), she works daily at the intersection of play and platforms, content and code.

She is motivated by a desire for children and people from around the globe to see themselves in her products. To do this, she wants to play a greater role in shaping content and saw earning her business degree from the Berkeley MBA for Executives Program as the best way to prepare for this.

Deciding to commit came down to asking herself, "Am I worth this price? I eventually figured out that I was, that I belonged here, and that the ROI of getting an MBA degree from Berkeley Haas was going to be there," she says. This was confirmed in one of her early classes; "You actually do the financial return on investment calculation in your first finance class, so it gets proven out," she says.

 

Finding balance between product management, parenting, and earning an MBA
Laura also had some concerns about how she would balance work, family, and school, ultimately realizing that planning is paramount. "If you really want to have a balanced life, you have to look at your support network and start to lean on it," she says. Prior to starting school, she let people in her professional and personal life know about her goals and plans and asked for help. "I invested in making sure I had infrastructure in place so my family could be supported when I was in class on the weekends and when I was away for the week-long immersions."

Laura has three daughters, the youngest of whom she gave birth to while in the program. "It's hectic at times, but we plan together and make sure we spend time with each other, whether it's a meal each day, or on Sundays, which we try to reserve as family time." She's also made her family part of the Berkeley Haas experience. "My kids come to to campus. They hang out with me. They're studying with me. My youngest daughter, she is the 'class baby'. All my classmates think of her as their daughter as well, so it's been a wonderful experience."

The EMBA's residency structure let's you focus on school—or weave in family
As she researched MBA programs, the EMBA schedule seemed like the most viable to Laura, as a senior executive and working mother. "I needed the flexibility to work around being a traveling manager and also my kids' activities and being at home," she says. "The executive program and its residency element was perfect for me."

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Berkeley EMBA students come to campus about every three weeks for a three-day block of classes and stay together in a nearby hotel. With this schedule, Laura either uses the time to focus fully on school or to make her family part of the experience. "My daughters and husband sometimes come on Friday or Saturday to hang out for dinner. They talk with my classmates. They bring hot chocolate. They have movie night in the hotel," she says. "Depending on your preference, you could try both; where you appreciate the focused time away and where you really interweave your family and your classmates together in the residency experience."

Making Laura's juggling act possible are her husband, mother, and EMBA classmates. "My classmates and study group really are my family away from family, offering to pick up my lunch for me when I'm headed off to nurse or sharing notes from a club meeting I couldn't attend."

Taking what you learn back to work
Back at the office, that ROI started to come almost immediately as Laura has been able to apply her learning at work. "I came from an electrical engineering, computer science background, so I had no business finance background, but taking finance classes helped me understand the investment needed in a lot of the projects I was reviewing. It also helped me understand the kinds of key decisions I would need to make in growing a new product line and how those could impact the bottom line."

Laura knows going back to school, later in one's career—and perhaps with a family—can seem daunting, but advises: "Think about all the things you didn't do in life, and don't let not applying to Berkeley Haas be one of those. Apply, put your best foot forward, and if you get in—go. It will the best thing you ever did."

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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How to get what you need to be a successful leader  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Oct 2018, 08:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: How to get what you need to be a successful leader
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No matter who you are, if you want someone to do something for you, the best way to achieve your goal is to simply ask. Unfortunately, for many of us, asking for what we want is not an easy thing to do. We may be concerned that someone will think less of us if we express what it is we really want, or that we’ll miss out on an opportunity if we ask for something that might disqualify us from consideration. Or we may just be afraid that the other person will tell us “No.”

In my experience, while many leaders have a difficult time asking others for what they need to be successful, this is especially true for women who often balance family and work in a more obvious way than men.

Emilie Arel, CEO of Fullbeauty Brands and a Haas School alumna, explains that being a successful leader as a woman requires asking for what we want and what we deserve. When Emilie accepted her current role, she was clear about what she needed to be successful as a leader. With a long commute to and from work, and two children ages three and under who were in bed by 7:00 pm, it was particularly important to Emilie that she communicated that as CEO, she would need to be home before her kids went to bed.

Asking for what you need can also be in the company's best interest
Says Emilie, “So much of it is deciding what we as women want—since we are often the ones balancing family and work—and then asking for it. The key is not feeling like this is a selfish act, but instead understanding that it’s in the best interest of the company for us to be productive and successful. Once you can phrase it that way, you can get more comfortable with it.”

Emilie recently interviewed and hired a woman for a VP position at Fullbeauty. During the course of the interview, the candidate said to Emilie, “I want to walk my kids to school every morning, so I’m not going to get to work until 9:30 am. That’s my nonnegotiable.” Emilie’s response? “Great—that’s fine.” Emilie knew that this minor concession wouldn’t have a negative effect on the office, and her new vice president would be happier, better able to focus on her work, more productive, and she would feel more fulfilled in her career and life over the long run—all great outcomes.

Remember: your boss and others with whom you work are not mind readers, so unless you tell them what you need to lead, you’re unlikely to get it. Instead of putting your own requirements on the back burner, be bold, be direct, and ask for exactly what you need to succeed as a leader—whatever it may be. You may be surprised just how often you’ll get it.

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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The value of an MBA for women aspiring to leadership  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Nov 2018, 13:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: The value of an MBA for women aspiring to leadership
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Many people think of an MBA simply as another qualification—a piece of paper to frame and hang on your office wall. While a degree from a quality MBA program has inherent value in and of itself—it’s often seen as a necessary credential to be taken seriously in the business world, and the starting salaries of recent MBA grads are generally higher than for those without one—I would argue that the process of earning an MBA is where the true value of the degree lies.

In this post: Three ways an MBA offers value to aspiring women leaders:

  • Builds the ability to execute quantitatively and to speak the language of business
  • Delivers a high-caliber network for future career opportunities, insights, and hires
  • Confers confidence in your value, so you can ask for what you need and want
Moving into higher-level positions with greater authority in organizations requires a working knowledge of the hard skills and language of business, and, generally, the higher you rise, the more you are expected to execute on the quantitative side of the equation. When you participate in a well-rounded MBA degree program, you’ll be immersed in the hard and the soft stuff.

Says Jamie Breen, Assistant Dean, Berkeley MBA Programs for Working Professionals (including the Evening & Weekend MBA and the MBA for Executives Programs), “An MBA gives you a point of view across all the different functional areas of an organization—finance, marketing, and so forth—whether it’s for profit, nonprofit, or government. An MBA also gives you insight into different kinds of decision-making models and how you can use those levers in different situations. But I’ve seen hundreds of students go through our programs, and I think one of the most valuable things we do is teach them how to hold their own in just about any business conversation; that’s of tremendous value to both women and men.”

Emilie Arel, a Haas School alumna, is currently CEO of Fullbeauty Brands, and she previously served as CEO for Amazon’s Quidsi subsidiary and as vice president and general manager for Gap. Emilie can recall the exact moment, while at Gap, that she realized she needed to up her game. “I remember sitting in a meeting and someone was talking about P/E ratios,” says Emilie. “I thought to myself, ‘I don’t really understand what they are saying—I think I need to get my MBA.’”

Earning an MBA gave me the confidence to sit at the table."

MBA programs bring together people from all sorts of backgrounds and life experiences; some are three years out from their bachelor’s programs while others may be executives with years of business experience under their belts returning to gain new skills and knowledge and to make a career pivot. MBA programs often have significant international populations as well, and meeting and working closely with a broad base of people creates tremendously powerful networking opportunities that can be carried throughout your career. This network can be a rich future source of job opportunities, business partnerships and collaborations, or even just a sounding board for ideas and initiatives.

Going through the process of earning your MBA can provide you with one more very important thing toward closing the gender gap at work: the confidence you need to excel, to know your value, to ask for what you want, and to rise up to your company’s top-leadership ranks. “Learning the vocabulary of business and networking with others were both important, but above that earning an MBA gave me the confidence to sit at the table with everyone else because I’ve learned the things I need to run a business,” says Emilie. As you work through an MBA program, you can hold your own in just about any business conversation. Should we do an acquisition? Should we roll out a new product? Should we reorganize? Should we introduce new technology platforms to support our business? Not only will you have more knowledge and more confidence to make decisions, no one can BS you—you can hold your own in any business discussion.

Regardless of their reasons for choosing to enter an MBA program, women will find that the benefits are many and that they last a lifetime.

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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This post has been originally posted on the Admissions Blog and re-posted here for convenience

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Re: Berkeley Haas MBA Admissions & Related Blogs  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Nov 2018, 22:07
i think rule#3 is perfect for me :)
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Six questions for U.S. Coast Guard veteran and Evening & Weekend MBA s  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Nov 2018, 10:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: Six questions for U.S. Coast Guard veteran and Evening & Weekend MBA student Andrew Price
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When most of us want adventure, we might visit a new city—or try a different kind of coffee. But when former Coast Guard Lieutenant Andrew Price craved adventure out of high school, he decided to move from his landlocked home state of Arizona to Connecticut and attend the Coast Guard Academy.

Andrew spent five years with the Coast Guard serving on three ships: On the first, based in North Carolina, he was the supply department head and law enforcement boarding officer; the second, based in Manama, Bahrain, he was the operations officer and supported the ship's mission to escort US. commercial vessels and conduct training exercises with other countries; and on the third ship, based in Connecticut, he served as the ship's commanding officer. That ship performed search and rescue missions, enforced fishery laws, and offered national security services.

Now, in addition to working toward his Berkeley Haas degree in the Evening & Weekend MBA Program, Andrew is a project manager for Flexport, a freight forwarding and software company focused on improving the user experience in global trade. Currently, he’s helping the firm establish a global network of warehouses.

How did your military experience develop you as a leader?
I didn't shy away from responsibility—in fact, I dove into it head first. It's easy to say, 'It's not my problem,' but the military taught you to be action-oriented, commit to a decision and carry it out. Know which decisions are reversible and which you could continue to iterate upon. When you were overseeing people, you had a duty to provide guidance. I was responsible not only for my own success or failure, but also for my team's.

Why did you want to pursue an MBA?
I felt that I had developed some great skills in the Coast Guard, but I wasn’t exposed to possible career paths on the outside. It seemed like the leadership, discipline, and judgement I learned in the Coast Guard would combine well with the business-specific knowledge—finance and marketing for example—that Haas had to offer. And I wanted to develop a strategy mindset. All my roles in the Coast Guard were operation oriented, and I wanted to learn to take a long-term strategy view.

Why did you choose Berkeley Haas?
In part because helping Flexport develop its warehouses was an awesome experience, and the EWMBA program was so close. But I also chose it for the culture and community. The Berkeley Haas community was broad-ranging, and represents every industry. Being here gave me connections with people at companies all across the Bay Area.

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What does your military experience contribute to the MBA program?
My Coast Guard experience gave me the ability to get to the root cause of an issue quickly and calmly – which was helpful when I worked with classmates on an assignment. I was good at getting the best out of teams, and I could offer structure to the study teams I was part of: If we were losing direction on a group project, I could provide some guidance to get us back on track.

What would you tell other veterans or active duty members who are considering business school?
I would tell them that it helps us combine the leadership, discipline, and judgment skills we learn in the military with fundamental business concepts, career exploration, and a strong alumni network. All that made transitioning from military to civilian life much smoother and offered us the opportunity to "pressure test" different career options before committing.

How does the Berkeley MBA program make your goals more possible?
I gained skills from my time at Berkeley Haas that I wouldn't have just by working at Flexport. I knew that my ability to go down to Los Angeles, set initial strategy, develop and team, and then hand the project off to another colleague is due in part to what I learned at Haas. And being in the MBA program allowed me to demonstrate to Flexport that I'm committed to my own career development.

I have gotten a better understanding of how financial factors drive business. In the public sector or in the Coast Guard, a budget is set and you carry out the job within that budget. But at Flexport, you need to be able to persuade people internally to support a project. I learned how to do that at Haas.

What could you learn at Berkeley Haas? We invite you to learn more about the military veteran experience in the Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA Program.

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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This post has been originally posted on the Admissions Blog and re-posted here for convenience

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Six Questions for U.S. Army veteran and MBA Student Jennifer Nixon  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Nov 2018, 10:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: Six Questions for U.S. Army veteran and MBA Student Jennifer Nixon
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Earning an MBA after serving in the U.S. military may seem like an unlikely career choice, but it actually makes a lot of sense: “Veterans tend to have leadership skills that can translate well from the battlefield to the boardroom, particularly when it comes to managing others,” says former U.S. Army captain and full-time Berkeley MBA student Jennifer Nixon. She served for eight years as a helicopter pilot. By the end of her tenure, she had achieved the rank of captain. 

"In the military, you're thrown quickly into formal leadership positions, even if you don't yet have the experience," she says. "As an officer, I was put in charge of 20 pilots and mechanics and four helicopters right away, so I definitely learned through doing."

What brought Jennifer to Berkeley Haas? She shared her journey with the Berkeley MBA Blog.

How did your military experience develop you as a leader?
I had some fantastic bosses who taught me that it wasn't necessarily my experience that made me a valuable contributor to the team, but my leadership potential. The Army has a strict hierarchy, with an enlisted level, a warrant officer level, and an officer level. I started at the enlisted level and by the end of my career was a captain at the officer level. I definitely learned on the job, leaning on warrant officers for help while I grew my own expertise.

Why did you want to pursue an MBA?
After eight years of active duty I accomplished what I set out to do – serve as a company commander – and I was excited by the idea of moving into the corporate world. There were many great things about my job in the Army – flying helicopters is pretty exhilarating – but I found the best part for me was leading teams and in-the-moment problem solving. I suspected that an MBA could help me translate the analytical and management skills I learned in the Army to the business world.

Why did you choose Berkeley Haas? 
I chose Haas not only for its prestige and its track record for job placement after graduation but also because when I came to Berkeley for my admissions interview, I fell in love with the culture of the school. Berkeley Haas has a very collaborative, supportive environment. The admissions office connected me to the Veteran's Club and I talked to a member about everything from how the GI Bill works for graduate programs to what it's like to live in "hippie" Berkeley. After I was accepted, I got outreach calls from alumni, current students, even some of the faculty. It felt like the school was a good fit for me and that I was a good fit for it.

What does your military experience contribute to the MBA program?
During my time in the Army, I learned how to cope calmly with stressful situations, and I bring that perspective to the Berkeley Haas MBA program. I'm finding that many of the concepts I learn in class are familiar to me, but that the language is different. A recent class, Leading People, was all about how to motivate and assess people, and those are skills I used throughout my years in the Army. As a veteran, when faced with a problem I take the approach, “Okay, we're in this situation, let's figure it out, and I think that works in the business arena, too.”

What would you tell other veterans or active duty members who are considering business school?
Go for it. Business school is a great way to find how you fit in the corporate world. And at the end of the day, business skills are good to have, no matter what line of work you go into.

How does the Berkeley MBA program make your goals more possible?
Berkeley Haas has so many resources, like the career management group, interview prep sessions, and job listings. And the networking aspect of the program is far more important than I expected. I get to network with classmates who come from industries I might be interested in, and also with companies and their representatives at informal and formal events the school hosts. It makes the prospect of finding a job much less intimidating.

Image

Image
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

_________________

This post has been originally posted on the Admissions Blog and re-posted here for convenience

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Six Questions for U.S. Army veteran and MBA student Jennifer Nixon  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Nov 2018, 15:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: Six Questions for U.S. Army veteran and MBA student Jennifer Nixon
Image
Earning an MBA after serving in the U.S. military may seem like an unlikely career choice, but it actually makes a lot of sense: “Veterans tend to have leadership skills that can translate well from the battlefield to the boardroom, particularly when it comes to managing others,” says former U.S. Army captain and full-time Berkeley MBA student Jennifer Nixon. She served for eight years as a helicopter pilot. By the end of her tenure, she had achieved the rank of captain. 

"In the military, you're thrown quickly into formal leadership positions, even if you don't yet have the experience," she says. "As an officer, I was put in charge of 20 pilots and mechanics and four helicopters right away, so I definitely learned through doing."

What brought Jennifer to Berkeley Haas? She shared her journey with the Berkeley MBA Blog.

How did your military experience develop you as a leader?
I had some fantastic bosses who taught me that it wasn't necessarily my experience that made me a valuable contributor to the team, but my leadership potential. The Army has a strict hierarchy, with an enlisted level, a warrant officer level, and an officer level. I started at the enlisted level and by the end of my career was a captain at the officer level. I definitely learned on the job, leaning on warrant officers for help while I grew my own expertise.

Why did you want to pursue an MBA?
After eight years of active duty I accomplished what I set out to do – serve as a company commander – and I was excited by the idea of moving into the corporate world. There were many great things about my job in the Army – flying helicopters is pretty exhilarating – but I found the best part for me was leading teams and in-the-moment problem solving. I suspected that an MBA could help me translate the analytical and management skills I learned in the Army to the business world.

Why did you choose Berkeley Haas? 
I chose Haas not only for its prestige and its track record for job placement after graduation but also because when I came to Berkeley for my admissions interview, I fell in love with the culture of the school. Berkeley Haas has a very collaborative, supportive environment. The admissions office connected me to the Veteran's Club and I talked to a member about everything from how the GI Bill works for graduate programs to what it's like to live in "hippie" Berkeley. After I was accepted, I got outreach calls from alumni, current students, even some of the faculty. It felt like the school was a good fit for me and that I was a good fit for it.

What does your military experience contribute to the MBA program?
During my time in the Army, I learned how to cope calmly with stressful situations, and I bring that perspective to the Berkeley Haas MBA program. I'm finding that many of the concepts I learn in class are familiar to me, but that the language is different. A recent class, Leading People, was all about how to motivate and assess people, and those are skills I used throughout my years in the Army. As a veteran, when faced with a problem I take the approach, “Okay, we're in this situation, let's figure it out, and I think that works in the business arena, too.”

What would you tell other veterans or active duty members who are considering business school?
Go for it. Business school is a great way to find how you fit in the corporate world. And at the end of the day, business skills are good to have, no matter what line of work you go into.

How does the Berkeley MBA program make your goals more possible?
Berkeley Haas has so many resources, like the career management group, interview prep sessions, and job listings. And the networking aspect of the program is far more important than I expected. I get to network with classmates who come from industries I might be interested in, and also with companies and their representatives at informal and formal events the school hosts. It makes the prospect of finding a job much less intimidating.

Image

Image
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

_________________

This post has been originally posted on the Admissions Blog and re-posted here for convenience

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Six questions for U.S. Army veteran and MBA student Jennifer Nixon  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Nov 2018, 17:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: Six questions for U.S. Army veteran and MBA student Jennifer Nixon
Image
Earning an MBA after serving in the U.S. military may seem like an unlikely career choice, but it actually makes a lot of sense: “Veterans tend to have leadership skills that can translate well from the battlefield to the boardroom, particularly when it comes to managing others,” says former U.S. Army captain and full-time Berkeley MBA student Jennifer Nixon. She served for eight years as a helicopter pilot. By the end of her tenure, she had achieved the rank of captain. 

"In the military, you're thrown quickly into formal leadership positions, even if you don't yet have the experience," she says. "As an officer, I was put in charge of 20 pilots and mechanics and four helicopters right away, so I definitely learned through doing."

What brought Jennifer to Berkeley Haas? She shared her journey with the Berkeley MBA Blog.

How did your military experience develop you as a leader?
I had some fantastic bosses who taught me that it wasn't necessarily my experience that made me a valuable contributor to the team, but my leadership potential. The Army has a strict hierarchy, with an enlisted level, a warrant officer level, and an officer level. I started at the enlisted level and by the end of my career was a captain at the officer level. I definitely learned on the job, leaning on warrant officers for help while I grew my own expertise.

Why did you want to pursue an MBA?
After eight years of active duty I accomplished what I set out to do – serve as a company commander – and I was excited by the idea of moving into the corporate world. There were many great things about my job in the Army – flying helicopters is pretty exhilarating – but I found the best part for me was leading teams and in-the-moment problem solving. I suspected that an MBA could help me translate the analytical and management skills I learned in the Army to the business world.

Why did you choose Berkeley Haas? 
I chose Haas not only for its prestige and its track record for job placement after graduation but also because when I came to Berkeley for my admissions interview, I fell in love with the culture of the school. Berkeley Haas has a very collaborative, supportive environment. The admissions office connected me to the Veteran's Club and I talked to a member about everything from how the GI Bill works for graduate programs to what it's like to live in "hippie" Berkeley. After I was accepted, I got outreach calls from alumni, current students, even some of the faculty. It felt like the school was a good fit for me and that I was a good fit for it.

What does your military experience contribute to the MBA program?
During my time in the Army, I learned how to cope calmly with stressful situations, and I bring that perspective to the Berkeley Haas MBA program. I'm finding that many of the concepts I learn in class are familiar to me, but that the language is different. A recent class, Leading People, was all about how to motivate and assess people, and those are skills I used throughout my years in the Army. As a veteran, when faced with a problem I take the approach, “Okay, we're in this situation, let's figure it out, and I think that works in the business arena, too.”

What would you tell other veterans or active duty members who are considering business school?
Go for it. Business school is a great way to find how you fit in the corporate world. And at the end of the day, business skills are good to have, no matter what line of work you go into.

How does the Berkeley MBA program make your goals more possible?
Berkeley Haas has so many resources, like the career management group, interview prep sessions, and job listings. And the networking aspect of the program is far more important than I expected. I get to network with classmates who come from industries I might be interested in, and also with companies and their representatives at informal and formal events the school hosts. It makes the prospect of finding a job much less intimidating.

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This post has been originally posted on the Admissions Blog and re-posted here for convenience

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Six questions for U.S. Army veteran and EMBA student Kevin Nguyen  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Nov 2018, 11:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: Six questions for U.S. Army veteran and EMBA student Kevin Nguyen
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What do you do after you've served over eight years in the U.S. Army, from deployment in Iraq as a platoon leader to conducting training missions as a counterintelligence officer? If you're Kevin Nguyen, you enroll in the Berkeley MBA for Executives Program, of course. Nguyen joined the Army out of high school prompted in part by the events of September 11, 2001. He served as an enlisted soldier for three years before enrolling at West Point in 2005 and earning a bachelor's degree. His last Army post was as a deputy brigade intelligence officer conducting NATO training missions in Germany and Poland. 

Nguyen holds a Master's degree in Learning Design and Technology from Stanford University. He was Director of Product Management at Education.com but very recently switched to being a product manager at Intuit while attending the Berkeley EMBA program.

How did your military experience develop you as a leader?
The military taught me how to focus my time on the team in ways that allow them to best prepare, train, and execute without micromanaging. When operating in dynamic and ambiguous settings, you learn to communicate both effectively and efficiently with people from all sorts of backgrounds - you figure out how to explain things to different people in the best way for them.

The other thing you learn is that a good leader knows how to be a good follower. I think that's a concept people don't often discuss when they talk about leadership. A leader isn't just someone who gives speeches and does the big stuff, but also someone who has humility, can recognize when they're not the expert, and be willing to give up control/follow instructions for the betterment of the mission and team.

Why did you want to pursue an MBA? Why does it matter to you?
When I left the Army, I studied learning design and cognitive science at Stanford and then became a product manager in the educational technology industry. I spent three years in a startup and learned a lot, but it seemed to me that my peers who went into the field right out of college had much more experience. I thought an MBA would give me the technical product management and business skills I needed to "catch up."

Professor Toby Stuart's Silicon Valley Immersion and Professor Maura O'Neill's New Venture Finance courses were incredibly powerful classes for me. I gained a better understanding of the startup world and perspective on how entrepreneurs and venture capitalists work together to create a new company, from raising money to sticking with the plan through the long haul. Drew Isaacs' Opportunity Recognition is another terrific class; it's addressed a lot of my curiosity on how innovation really works.

Why did you choose Berkeley Haas?
I thought about enrolling in a full time MBA program right out of the Army, and I visited quite a few campuses. But all of them felt a little artificial, and I tabled the idea for a while. When I started to investigate business school again, Berkeley Haas just felt different: The students I met showed genuine interest in me and even followed up months after I met them to see how I was doing. I saw that the Defining Leadership Principles weren't just a marketing ploy, but a true reflection of the culture of the school.

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What does your military experience contribute to the MBA program?
Military experience made us think about the big picture first. That has helped me contribute to class discussions, particularly for case studies. We’re able to level set conversations, bring some diverse perspectives and ensure we learn from the larger, key points instead of going to the granular level first or being pedantic to frivolous details.

We’re also able to effectively participate in group work. Having worked with people from around the world, this translates one-to-one with my classmates at Haas who are from all over, both geographically and industry-wise.

What would you tell other veterans or active duty members who are considering business school?
Generally speaking, do your research and have at least an opinion of what you want to do with an MBA. Many vets automatically turn to an MBA as the logical next step out of the military and hope they figure out what they want to do while in school. While that’s certainly a possibility, you’ll get a better return on investment if you know beforehand and pick a school that has a strong background in that.

How has Berkeley Haas made your goals more possible?
For one thing I was able to transition to a new job at Intuit! More importantly, Haas has opened my world to different opportunities to make an impact. Through the Center for Social Sector Leadership, I volunteered for a year as a board member for Stellar Academy for Dyslexics in Newark, CA, and saw how much I could help in the education space in meaningful ways other than teaching and building product.

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

_________________

This post has been originally posted on the Admissions Blog and re-posted here for convenience

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Six questions for U.S. Army veteran and EMBA student Kevin Nguyen &nbs [#permalink] 09 Nov 2018, 11:00

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