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Berkeley Haas MBA Admissions & Related Blogs

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Bosun Adebaki, MBA 19, plans a career legacy that goes beyond himself  [#permalink]

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New post 22 May 2019, 01:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: Bosun Adebaki, MBA 19, plans a career legacy that goes beyond himself
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At the end of the day, full-time Berkeley MBA student Bosun Adebaki, MBA 19, would like his career legacy to be one in which he leaves the business world a better place.

“I want to use my career to make business a more diverse and equitable field so my children will be able to say, ‘He did something important,’ rather than, “He joined the company at 21 and retired at 65,’” he says.

He’s only in his 30s now, but Bosun is one of those people who seems to have already had a number of careers. He came to the Berkeley Haas MBA program after almost a decade at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which he joined in London straight out of undergrad at the University of Nottingham. At PwC, Bosun served as a consultant in both London and Switzerland, scaled the firm’s international tax business across 15 jurisdictions including Hong Kong, Singapore, the Cayman Islands, and Bermuda, and built out PwC's mergers and acquisitions tax business in Mexico City.

His cosmopolitan work life arose in part out of his upbringing. Born in the diverse London borough of Hackney, Bosun was raised along with two siblings by their Nigerian-born mother. As a young adult, he witnessed how lack of access to financial resources could make or break an entrepreneur when his mother who ran a small business alongside her full-time job had to close shop when she was unable to obtain funding to ramp up to the next level. His sister, on the other hand, had Bosun to ask for help when her entrepreneurial moment came.

“My sister was importing boots from China and selling them on Twitter, and she needed some cash to get over that initial inventory hump,” he says. “The difference between my sister and my mother was that my sister could come to me because I was established in a career. She was able to ask a family member for a loan while my mother didn't have that option when she needed it. My family is a good example of how not having access to financial options can make starting a business almost impossible.”

His experience at PwC and with his own family prompted him to pursue an MBA at Berkeley Haas with a specific focus on fintech. His goal is to use tools like blockchain, alternative data, and mobile payment methods to make financial tasks simpler and more accessible for end users.

“I was on the partner track at PwC and I realized it wasn't what I wanted,” he says. “I wanted to work in an environment where the business objective was geared toward social impact.”

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Over his time at Berkeley Haas, Bosun has had a variety of opportunities to further develop his leadership skills and his interest in socially responsible business. He has participated in the Haas Impact Investing Network and served as a consultant for Blockchain at Berkeley, an organization focused on becoming the East Bay's blockchain hub. He was co-president of the Fintech Club and helped launch UC Berkeley’s new blockchain startup Xcelerator. Bosun also served as a graduate student instructor for Leadership Communication, Financial Statement Modeling, and Ethics in Business courses. Last summer, he interned at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in New York City, with a focus on fintech.

All of these opportunities have helped him hone his sense of mission in the fintech space: making business more diverse and making financial tools available to more people.

“Diversity happens when you select team members that reflect a different mix than what's typical,” he says. “The process has to be active and intentional.”

As graduation approaches Bosun has had a number of work offers to consider. But he also knows he'll start his own business one day.

“I see myself creating a company that has financial inclusion as its specific objective,” he says. “I want my work to reflect the passion I have for building a business environment that really represents my values – and that means helping create greater financial access for people who haven't had that before.”

Read more about Bosun, recently named by Poets & Quants among the Best & Brightest MBAs for 2019.

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Using tech to influence the healthcare sphere: Preethi Mukundan, MBA 1  [#permalink]

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New post 23 May 2019, 11:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: Using tech to influence the healthcare sphere: Preethi Mukundan, MBA 18
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Preethi Mukundan, MBA 18, was headed toward her senior year in college and set on becoming a doctor when she happened to sit next to a tech executive on a holiday flight home from Boston to San Francisco. The conversation turned to healthcare, and her seatmate encouraged her to think even bigger than medical school. “There are many ways to contribute to the healthcare industry including as a doctor,” he said. “But tech innovation benefits from a network effect that enables you to change people's lives at scale.”

That conversation planted a seed and instead of medical school, Preethi went to work in Intel's Digital Health Division. She held positions that ranged from digital health strategic planner to mobile client market analyst to future trends strategist.

After she'd been at Intel for a decade, Preethi decided to go to business school while continuing to work full time. So she investigated the Berkeley Haas Evening and Weekend MBA program which offers either twice weekly evening classes or a full weekend day of instruction over a three-year course of study. Part of what appealed to Preethi about Haas were the Defining Leadership Principles, key values she felt were already important to her even before she discovered Haas' dedication to them.

“The Defining Leadership Principles really set Haas apart. Not only in how they're explicitly stated but also in how they're woven into the core curriculum,” she says.

In 2015, Fitbit appeared on Preethi’s radar. First, she bought and “fell in love” with one of its products. “Fitbit is raising awareness of health metrics, even the ‘invisible’ ones like sleep quality,” she says. Drawn to a “brand that puts the consumer first and empowers them to take control of their own health,” she landed a job there in 2016, initially as a senior research manager in new markets and innovation. Now, she's senior director of research and brand strategy.

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“I love Fitbit's mission, and its commitment to the consumer,” she says. “Intel introduced me to strategic planning, strategy, and market research, and my work at Fitbit is a nice combination of those, not to mention all of the new information that I gained at Berkeley Haas.”

One of the benefits of being an Evening & Weekend student was the immediate applicability of what she learned in class. “I'd be sitting in my Corporate Strategy class learning about how to set effective objectives, goals, strategies, and tactics for an organization, and I'd take that information straight to work the next morning and implement it,” she says.

As for the concern that part-time MBA students can't develop a network as robust as a full-time student might, “Berkeley Haas offers networking events that go a long way toward helping students build their business and peer connections,” Preethi says.

“Haas held twice monthly networking events that included participants not only from the business school but from different divisions in the university – and these gatherings really fostered a kind of cross-pollination,” she says.

This type of interaction across fields is another way that Berkeley Haas prepares its students for the real-life work world.

“My fellow students had accomplished so many things, across a variety of industries, from tech, food, biotech, pharmaceuticals – it added so much to my Haas experience to get exposure to these other fields,” she says. “Add the Defining Leadership Principles, and the program at Haas offers an effective way to become a better leader in your own field."

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Berkeley Haas MBA Admissions & Related Blogs  [#permalink]

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New post 28 May 2019, 06:00
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FROM Haas Admissions Blog: 5 Soft Skills You’ll Sharpen at a Top Business School
When you think of applying for a job or going for a promotion, it’s common to only think of how your hard skills, like coding, proficiency in a foreign language, or a proven track record for business forecasting, measure up. Hard skills are the requirements to perform your job well, after all.

But, soft skills, even as they are more difficult to define and evaluate, are equally important for workplace effectiveness. Soft skills are your interpersonal abilities like communication and presentation skills, listening abilities, empathy, and creativity.

While earning your MBA, many of the classes at the best business schools incorporate lessons on improving your soft skills. In fact, honing soft skills is a reason, in of itself, many professionals go back to B-school.

In this article, you’ll discover what soft skills you’ll sharpen as a part-time or full-time MBA student, and why they are important in the modern workplace.

1. Creativity
Why it’s important: The new economy is continuously evolving thanks to new technology like artificial intelligence and autonomous devices. As these innovative technologies are doing tasks previously carried out by humans, creativity--an innately human skill-- is more important than ever. That’s because we need human creativity and ingenuity, to create new technology and disrupt the market, to fuel the machines. And, as it is now, machine learning cannot easily replace creativity.

How you’ll experience it in an MBA program: Design thinking is a topic woven throughout many courses in top MBA programs, if not a course topic all on its own. Design thinkingis the idea of thinking about humans before business for better fiscal results. It’s a philosophy that’s evolved from the start-up world where businesses identify a customer’s pain point, come up with ideas to solve their issue, then quickly prototype a solution before bringing it to market. This workflow requires thinking both critically and creatively, across many business sectors, and has become a core conversation in the MBA curriculum and in modern business.

2. Cross-cultural competency
Why it’s important: Understanding how people from different cultures communicate, solve business problems, and perceive the world is essential in the new economy where businesses commonly expand globally. Respecting and working within these differences is key to opening up opportunities inside the global economy, and is an incredible business advantage.

How an MBA program sharpens the skill: Top MBA programs focus on the diversity of their student body. And, as students come from varied educational, professional, and cultural backgrounds, classroom discussions reveal their unique perspectives to understanding global business topics ranging from supply chains to trading alliances, to borderless digital communities. Cross-cultural competence means you’re able to think deeply, and strategically about new trends and issues in the modern economy.

3. Negotiation
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Why it’s important: Negotiation techniques are used throughout your life in many ways, from your salary and home price to projects at work. Effective negotiation skills allow you to forge stronger relationships, avoid conflicts, and come to agreements that work in the long-term, as opposed to short-sided victories. For most people, negotiation is not a natural-born talent, but it is a skill learned from practice, feedback, and discipline.

How an MBA program sharpens the skill: Especially in executive MBA programs, negotiations are woven into many of the courses and co-curricular activities. Through classroom discussions and hands-on learning, you’ll gain skillsto interpret the behaviors of those you negotiate with, have the skills to anticipate other negotiation styles you’re up against, learn about conflict resolution, and pinpoint diverse perspectives that can help decrease the number of misunderstandings. Each of these experiences helps you arrive at agreements that are a win-win for all parties involved in the negotiation.

4. Communication
Why it’s important: From presenting and pitching ideas, to holding meetings, to speaking your mind on a day-to-day basis, communication is one of the most important tools we have as humans, yet many people are ineffective when it comes to articulating their ideas. For that reason, even some of the most intelligent people feel a lack of confidence when it comes to contributing to important conversations, which can hinder them professionally and personally.

How an MBA program sharpens the skill: Throughout your MBA program, you’ll experience a variety of verbal communication approaches like public speaking, teaching, training, and peer motivation. You’ll also experience non-verbal components of communication like critical thinking, body language, and cross-cultural competence. Combining these skills provides you the ability to effectively communicate, become aware of how others receive your message, and give you the ability to make snap, but sound judgment decisions so you can confidently contribute to any conversation.

5. Leadership
Why it’s important: In a 2018 Jobs and Salary Trends Reportby Top MBA, research reiterated that employers want employees with strengthened soft skills. The report drilled down further to identify the specific soft skills they often see lacking in candidates, and leadership skills were prominently highlighted. Leadership touches on nearly every aspect of organizational success, from initiating action and providing guidance to building morale and creating a strong work environment. Strong leaders make businesses more successful.

How an MBA program sharpens the skill: Project collaboration, problem-solving, integrity, and teamwork are just a few of the skills you’ll learn during a full-time or part-time MBA program that can refine your leadership abilities. Additionally, courses likeleadership communication and leading people are common topics squarely dedicated to improving leadership capabilities in MBA students.

Want to learn more about how an MBA in the Bay Area, from one of the best business schools, can improve your professional trajectory? Learn More about the Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley today.

 

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How to Transition From a Traditional Career to an Intrapreneur  [#permalink]

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New post 30 May 2019, 07:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: How to Transition From a Traditional Career to an Intrapreneur
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Organizations big and small are looking for employees who can inspire innovation from within. When ideas are big enough, companies are willing to expand their product lines and create new ventures within an existing organization.

One of the most high-profile examples of intrapreneurship working well for a company is Gmail, which was created by employee Paul Buchheit during his “20% time”, which is the personal project scheme that became a cornerstone of Google’s reputation for innovation.

Simply put, intrapreneurship keeps companies competitive and relevant. It’s also appealing to employees. Intrapreneurship gives you the ability to make calculated risks within the structure of an existing company while having the opportunity to innovate and work independently.

If you’re considering bypassing a traditional career path and moving toward intrapreneurship, consider the following changes you’ll need to make within your professional life before making the leap.

Focus on professional development
For professionals without a background in business management, it’s likely you have gaps in essential areas of business operations and decision making. To be an effective intrapreneur, you must be able to prove yourability to make a plan, align with your organization, and navigate changes even through ambiguity.

If these tasks aren’t something you handle on a day-to-day basis, it’s critical to advance your skillset to help you achieve your goals. Consider two common ways to be considered for intrapreneurship, and the hard and soft skills you’ll need to stand out:

  • Hackathons: Many tech companies host hackathons to encourage innovation, and hope to land on a new product or feature their organization can run with. Hackathons are a microcosm of a start-up, meaning apart from technical skills, it’s critical to showcase soft skills as well. Specifically, leadership, problem-solving, teamwork, sound judgment calls, and showing confidence without attitude.
  • Sandbox funding: To acquire financing from your existing company you’ll need to identify a market need, create a solution and effectively communicate why your company should buy into it. This requires skills like strong leadership communication, strategic decision-making, and creativity.
To run a sound start-up, or to land funding from your company, you may need a more comprehensive library of business knowledge than you currently have. By understanding your starting point, and what skills you need to acquire to reach your end goal, you can start making a plan to develop yourself professionally. Executive MBA programs are geared toward mastering the knowledge and vocabulary of the core business disciplines.

Zero in on innovation
The spirit of intrapreneurship is to create value within your organization through fresh ideas and thought-leadership driven by innovation.

So, how can you become more innovative?

Design Thinking
One way to zero in on innovation is through specialized training in design-thinking. Design-thinking is about making decisions based on evidence while maintaining an understanding of human needs and behaviors. Design-thinking uses a discovery-based framework to tackle problems by pushing ideas down the ladder of development:

  • Uncover
  • Develop
  • Model
  • Validate
  • Advance and take action
Specific techniques to arrive at innovative solutions via design-thinking are:

  • Ethnographic research
  • Qualitative research
  • Design sprints
  • Foresight work
With design-thinking, you’re able to think about business as “what could be” rather than “what is.” If you’ve never made decisions based on design-thinking, it’s worth investing in. It’s one of the most common methodologies businesses use to solve complex problems.

Learn more about leadership innovation for full-time MBA students at Berkeley Haas

Leverage your experience for incremental change
If you’re starting down the path of intrapreneurship, you’re likely focusing on a role change rather than an industry change. So draw from the experience you have in your current position and industry to make incremental changes within your corporation.

How do your past experiences open doors for new opportunities?

Think about how you can access small ideas that can solve an existing problem in your market. For example, if your current role is a product manager, much of your day is likely spent:

  • Talking to customers
  • Connecting interdepartmental work
  • Practicing time-management
  • Rallying support
Can you leverage your current assets to encourage innovation?

  • When speaking with customers, is there a pattern, or a market need you can uncover?
  • With access to customers, can you start to ask questions that help you solve a problem effectively?
  • When you generate ideas for change, can you start to confirm ideas with a broader audience, like your customers?
  • Are there colleagues who can confirm the viability of your product idea?
  • How can you use your leadership and collaboration to push through barricades that might advocate against your change?
You already might have some skills that are important as you pursue a path toward intrapreneurship. If you don’t feel confident in your ability to leverage change in your position, now is a great time to learn how to fine-tune your skillsets, and discover the next steps to bringing your product idea to market.

Master the art of operating lean
You might think becoming an intrapreneur is initially about creating a bullet-proof business plan and demonstrating your ability to size markets. But, it’s much more than that. In the real world, there are pressures and demands to ramp up quickly and ensure that your final product meets market needs, while only having few resources to work with.

Even if you’re operating under an existing business and may have access to more products, employees, cash, and processes that you would have as an entrepreneur, you’ll still need to know how to operate lean because your resources won’t be limitless.

To do this effectively, you’ll need to learn how to:

  • Analyze industry trends
  • Evaluate marketplace factors
  • Budget
  • Value assets
  • Evaluate risk
  • Forecast
These skills are in addition to core business functions like accounting, operations, and strategy.

Learning these skills won’t happen without diving in. Which is why having hands-on experience is a useful tool. Through MBA initiatives like emerging markets, and lean launch courses you can gain the hands-on experience you need to develop business concepts properly, receive feedback on products and analyze the life cycle and effectiveness of the strategies you put on the table.

Are you interested in making the career switch to intrapreneurship? Learn how an MBA from Berkeley can set you on the correct path.

 

 

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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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Evening & Weekend Program Allows Kaelin Merrihew, MBA 19, to Evolve He  [#permalink]

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New post 30 May 2019, 11:00
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FROM Haas Admissions Blog: Evening & Weekend Program Allows Kaelin Merrihew, MBA 19, to Evolve Her Career Without Breaking Stride
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Telling stories was always part of Kaelin Merrihew’s DNA.

As a journalism student at Boston University, she imagined a future in the magazine world. Then a post-graduate program in publishing led her in a slightly different direction: books. In her first job at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, she worked on marketing and publicity. There she launched creative campaigns for authors like Temple Grandin, Terry Francona, and Paul Tough and helped these authors plan their book tours.

“I loved being able to help authors push their books into the world,” Kaelin says. “It was exciting to be in the industry during this time when everything in publishing was uncertain. I learned to embrace change and try new things.”

She was there when Houghton Mifflin Harcourt partnered with Amazon to create e-books. Being part of that evolution was thrilling, but after a few years in an industry that can take a year or more to bring a book to market, she found herself craving a quicker pace. “Publishing is amazing in so many ways,” she says, “but being fast-paced is not one of them.

In 2014, she joined Late July Snacks, an organic snack food company with a small lean team. “At our largest, we were 26 employees doing about $150 million in business,” Kaelin says. Starting as a marketing associate, she advanced quickly under the mentorship of company founder Nicole Bernard Dawes, who valued Kaelin’s creativity. When the company launched a line of organic tortilla chips with taco-truck-inspired flavors, Kaelin converted a retired USPS mail truck into a sampling truck that became a vehicle for the brand’s evolving story.

As her responsibilities expanded, Kaelin became increasingly aware of the gaps in her business knowledge. “I had never taken a business course, and knew I needed to round out my education so I could continue to grow,” she says. “I loved my job and company and knew I would get the most out of a program if I could continue working while getting my MBA.”

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Though she was based in Boston, Kaelin found the Evening & Weekend MBA program at Berkeley Haas well worth the coast-to-coast transition. “I knew business school would be competitive, but Haas wasn’t cut-throat,” she says. “I’d never experienced such a collaborative environment. It was a place where I could thrive.”

As her business skills expanded, so did her entrepreneurial spirit. In an entrepreneurship class, she developed a concept—experiential retail with on-demand manufacturing—and tested its viability. “We spent the semester fleshing out a full business pitch, testing minimum viable products, and presented it to real investors,” she says. “Several of them said, ‘I think you have something here. Love the concept, keep working on the financials.’”

Meanwhile her career growth at Late July continued. During her first semester, she was promoted from Marketing manager to director of Marketing. When Late July was acquired in late 2018, she knew the opportunity to join the new large parent company would be tempting to most business school students, but she passed. Instead, she’s joining Late July founders in their next start-up venture: Nixie Sparkling Water, an organic beverage company launching this summer with both a line of organic flavored sparkling waters as well as a line of sparkling waters with tea and botanicals infusion.

“If you had asked me three years ago if I’d be comfortable turning down the opportunity to work for a large CPG company and opting to start a brand from scratch, I don’t know if I would have been ready,” Kaelin says. “Through my time at Haas, I’ve learned to take calculated risks and find a new comfort zone.”

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For Adrian Williams, MBA 18, His MBA Was About Sharpening a Blade in H  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Jun 2019, 11:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: For Adrian Williams, MBA 18, His MBA Was About Sharpening a Blade in His Tool Set
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Adrian Williams is fresh from working on a slew of deals at Credit Suisse where he is a dedicated investment banker. But whatever you do, don’t put him in a box. He loves art, music, and literature and has packed a lot of volunteer work into his career.

“At times, I even wanted to be a starving artist,” says Adrian, MBA 18. “But my career was about building a tool set. I wanted to build the tools that make me more dangerous like a Swiss army knife, and my pursuit at Berkeley was about sharpening one blade.”

Investment banking was the blade and the full-time Berkeley Haas MBA program was the place.

“I went to Brown University,” says Adrian, “so for an MBA I was thinking I could replicate that inclusive, civic-minded, socially aware community. I felt that energy in Berkeley; it had a special draw.”

When he came to campus, he says, “I quickly realized the business school wasn’t just about accountants, bankers, and consultants. Berkeley was interested in the total person. Not everything I wanted to pursue fit neatly into the investment banker role, and I found that was the case with my classmates. They didn’t fit into boxes. They wanted to be a consultant at McKinsey, but they also wanted to play the trumpet.”

The Right Fit for Berkeley Haas
Adrian doesn’t think there’s just one type of person for whom Berkeley is the right fit, but there are types for whom Berkeley would be the wrong fit.

“It wouldn’t be great for people who don’t like to be challenged and stimulated,” he says. “If you aren’t open to intense discussions on social, philosophical, and geopolitical issues you are going to be annoyed very often. If you’re only concerned about your personal outcomes, it’s not a good fit because everyone is very communal and collaborative. Most are concerned with growing the pie rather than their piece of the pie.”

Consortium Offers Community
Adrian credits several Berkeley-aligned organizations for helping him get in -- and fit in -- to the MBA program. One is the Consortium whose mission is to assist people of color or under-represented minorities gain admission to business schools and develop their careers.

“There are a lot fewer people who look like us in business school” than in society at large, he says. “And we have some of the same needs and questions. I think for minorities and people of color, the Consortium does a great job of helping people get into business school, offering financial support, preparing for your first year, and with career development. It gives you a sense of community.”

Coursework Demands Attention
When asked to tick off some memorable courses at Berkeley, Adrian says the hardest was Peter Goodson’s Mergers and Acquisitions course. “You had to do a ton of prep on cases and he has this Socratic method of questioning,” he says. “I guess I liked the pain so much I later became a graduate student instructor for the course.”

But the most influential was “Dialogues on Race,” a student-run course created by two of his classmates.

“It was an incredible survey and discussion class on race and ethnicity issues,” says Adrian. “It was probably the most impactful class and goes back to why I wanted to come to Haas. Not many places would have a class like that or would allow students to create and run it.”

The Right Side of the B-School Brain
Outside of class, extracurricular activities were a big part of Adrian’s experience at Berkeley. As VP of Social, he was responsible for a host of small- and large-scale social and networking programs: talent shows, cultural events, family outings. But his best work was likely Right Angles, a print publication that celebrated the artistic achievements of his classmates: singers, musicians, writers, actors, as well as a DJ, a break-dancer, a burlesque dancer, a leather crafter, a pastry artist, and a fashion designer.

Right Angles, says Adrian, was an exploration of the right side of the Berkeley business school brain.

So what did all this have to do with helping Adrian become a successful investment banker? Maybe not a lot, he freely admits. “But it was about being a whole person.”

Like he said, don’t put him in a box.

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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 Immediate Benefits of a Top MBA Program  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Jun 2019, 06:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: The Immediate Benefits of a Top MBA Program
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From improving your transferable skills to bolstering your professional credibility, there are many benefits of obtaining an MBA. But, don’t fall into the trap of thinking your hard work won’t be realized until after you’ve received your diploma.

From day one at business school, you’ll start to understand the payoff of your decision to obtain an MBA. Consider the following rewards you won’t have to wait for.

Participation in discussions
Classroom participation is not only useful for collective and individual learning, it also helps refine your soft skills through the practice of questioning, listening, and responding effectively to conversations.

Participation in MBA classrooms is carefully orchestrated. To encourage deep thinking, critical thinking and communication skills, instructors may call upon students with expertise in a subject to explain a difficult concept or strike up a different conversation by asking a student without background on the topic to guide the conversation. This style of fluid communication requires quick thinking and the ability to observe problems from multiple dynamics. The individual attention paid to every student ensures they are grasping critical concepts which will sharpen your intellect quickly.

Collaboration with peers
For many MBA students, going back to business school is an excellent opportunity to network and to grow their Rolodex with like-minded connections. Starting the process through collaboration with other students, whether in study groups, group projects or co-curricular activities will ramp up your networking initiative quickly. In fact, Berkeley Haas promotes collaboration for full-time MBA students through our Teams@Haas program, a semester-long study group designed to maximize diversity and prepare students to work in a global context across a wide-array of boundaries.

Further, while earning your MBA, you have immediate access to faculty and alumni who have connections with people inside your industry. By forging relationships through collaborative measures early in your MBA program, you’re able to spread your reach immediately and create promising opportunities for the future.

Improved research skills
The first year of business school is notoriously difficult. From the get-go, you can expect a high volume of coursework that requires research, analysis and evaluative feedback to peers. The fast-pace of year one helps you quickly improve your basic research skills like creative and lateral thinking as well as critical evaluation and synthesis abilities across a range of business disciplines.

The combination of these skill sets is a significant business advantage, and it’s what helps MBA students be more effective within an organization. It will also help you pull ahead of the prospect pack when applying for internships or jobs.

‘Real life’ experiences
Upon entering your MBA program, ‘real-life experience’ will instantly introduce itself.

MBA programs offer hands-on electives or applied innovation courses in the first year, which allows students to gain experience from top companies on topics ranging from corporate innovation initiatives to global consulting work. Furthermore, top business schools bring in leaders from well-known and influential organizations as guest speakers, keynotes at events, and judges in student competitions so you can gain insights and collect feedback from elite businesspeople.

New perspectives
Though core work will vary from year to year in B-school, the first year is typically dedicated to providing a broad overview of the major areas of business. By gaining a holistic view of business at all levels, you can start to understand more comprehensive business practices that will inform your perspective about how companies operate.

Additionally, top MBA programs will have a diverse student body with varying cultural, professional, and personal backgrounds. The blend of students in your classes will prompt you to think of your established business practices and beliefs differently and allow you to challenge why things are done in a particular way.

New perspectives are an invaluable lesson that can immediately impact a number of your life’s decisions: from the way you respond to interview questions, to the way you think about your professional trajectory.

Internship opportunities
Top business schools have deep relationships with organizations in their area, and can also help MBA students and graduates land internships and other career development opportunities, starting from the first year at business school. And, at high-ranking business schools, it's common for recruiters — looking for promising interns — to begin their recruiting period on campus as early as October, meaning you won’t have to wait long before realizing your MBA ambitions.

Though you might not have your piece of paper in hand for a couple of years, the skills you gain from your MBA program are noticeable from day one. Are you interested in learning more? Find out if Berkeley Haas is a good fit for you today.

 

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Innovation + the Modern MBA: A Recipe for Professional Success  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jun 2019, 06:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: Innovation + the Modern MBA: A Recipe for Professional Success
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In 2019, some executives confidently say earning an MBA is overrated and unnecessary, while other executives truly believe in the value of an MBA as a crucial springboard for long-term professional success.

MBA supporters tout business school’s ability to equip you with the foundational knowledge and business administration skills you need to grow and sustain a business in a globally competitive marketplace, while the naysayers criticize business schools’ lack of focus on fostering innovation within real-world business settings.

So who’s correct? It really depends on the MBA program’s specific curriculum.

While in the past, most business school curriculums focused solely on preparing you to understand all the aspects of running a successful business, over the last decade, top MBA programs have taken that education a step further. These more innovative MBA programs have evolved to cater specifically to entrepreneurs whose heads are already swimming with business ideas, but lack the skills to run their own projects or companies.

As a neighbor to the nearby and constantly buzzing Silicon Valley, the Berkeley Haas MBA program is one of those business schools that hold innovation at the forefront of the curriculum, integrating entrepreneurial thinking into the student experience to actually help students launch new ventures.

The Berkeley MBA program is designed for entrepreneurs
Within the Berkeley Haas Entrepreneurship Program, you as a student can nurture your entrepreneurial spirit while honing the business skills you’ll need to sustain a company. This innovative MBA allows you to:

These are a handful of the many unique opportunities you’ll be exposed to when studying within this incubator of up and coming leadership and innovation. Berkeley’s MBA program allows you to use your education as a test bed for real, sustainable businesses.

Don’t just kick off an idea. Sustain it.
Take customized courses that help you develop yourself as an entrepreneur. Berkeley MBA programs offer an experiential learning approach that fosters innovation through our Applied Innovation Course, which gives you experience working within agile and dynamic startup environments while applying your academic knowledge in an entrepreneurial context. Learn what you need to know to take that business idea and translate it into a viable, profitable real-world business.

Meet your future professional team members.
In business school, your classmates can quickly and easily morph into future business partners. When like-minded innovators dedicate themselves to a formalized business program that’s designed for entrepreneurs, business school becomes a safe and natural testing ground to develop new ideas within an encouraging and supportive setting.

Bonus: your MBA professors can coach you along the way as you build your business, offering expert insight that will help you develop your business plan.

As an MBA student, get inspired by these Berkeley MBA graduates who combined their passion for ideas with their formal business degree to innovate and run their respective companies:

  • Shantanu Narayen - CEO of Adobe
  • Barbara Desoer - CEO of Citibank
  • Donald Fisher - GAP Founder and Philanthropist
  • John Hanke - CEO of Niantic
  • Cathie Lesjak - CFO of Hewlett-Packard
  • Tom Fanoe, President and COO of Joe Boxer
Develop the skills to launch, run, and sustain a business
No matter which side of the debate you’re on about the value of earning an MBA, most agree that earning your MBA isn’t going to teach you how to be passionate or dedicated, or equip you to handle adversity, as those are characteristics that entrepreneurs naturally possess.

But earning a modern, innovative MBA will undoubtedly equip energetic and willing entrepreneurs who may be feeling stifled in their current roles with the knowledge, skills, and business acumen to turn their own good ideas into successful, sustainable businesses that can scale.

Combining your intelligence with on-the-job experience with a desire to excel will point you in the right direction toward success in business. But as many prominent executives with MBAs prove, adding an MBA to your arsenal in a fast-paced economy can be an even more empowering recipe to skyrocket your level of success.

If you’re a passionate entrepreneur who may feel stifled in your current professional role, business school can empower you to turn that business idea into a sustainable company that you yourself can successfully run. When you marry passion and innovation with a modern MBA that caters specifically to helping entrepreneurs grow, the future looks pretty bright.

Get started today. Consider earning a part-time MBA, full-time MBA, or executive MBA.

 

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Nick Johnson Examines the Future of Marketing and the Roles of a Leade  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jun 2019, 10:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: Nick Johnson Examines the Future of Marketing and the Roles of a Leader
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The director of Content Programs at Salesforce, Nick Johnson, EMBA 16, shares his views on “thought leadership,” the value of a Berkeley MBA for Executives and making the transition from entrepreneur to company executive.

You founded two companies and wrote a book on marketing. Why did you need an MBA from Berkeley?
Well, if there’s one thing I learned from running those companies and working on the book, it’s that the world of business appears to be changing faster than ever. Berkeley gave me access to tools, frameworks, and people to help build on what I had learned to that point, such that I was better equipped for such a fast-moving future.

The book was focused on marketing, and obviously Haas gives you a far broader set of courses that touch on the whole of the business world.

And why Berkeley?
A couple reasons. I was really interested in tech and the Bay Area is where tech innovation is happening. One of the best courses I took at Berkeley was on just that – Tech Innovation with Drew Isaacs. It talked about the different types of innovation - from basic product innovation all the way to business model innovation which is hardest to replicate and more sustaining. Apple, for example, didn’t just create a product, but with an app store and iTunes, created a whole new business model.

And then there’s the culture. Part of it is the Defining Leadership Principles, like ‘Question the Status Quo.’ Another part of the package is about collaboration. Ultimately, you get an MBA to learn and at Berkeley you learn from everyone. The culture isn’t about aggressively making your point as loudly as possible. The school reinforces the point that leadership is also about listening to and learning from others.

You’ve done a lot with what’s called “thought leadership.” Is that real or just a business fad?
I really dislike the term, actually. It seems designed to put the person on this superlative plane - that calling something ‘thought leadership’ automatically makes the person who wrote it a leader. Frankly there’s often little link between what claims to be thought leadership content and actual innovation, insight, and leadership. Too often, thought leadership is a synonym for hype and jargon.

At its best though, thought leadership is content that presents a unique view of the world and a set of original insights that someone can learn from. Originality is crucial. It’s also vital to be actually useful to someone -- focused on the reader’s pain, need, or opportunity -- and how to solve that pain or leverage that opportunity. It’s backed up by credible data and insights.

In our case at Salesforce, good thought leadership is about understanding the challenges our customers have -- or are going to have -- and marshaling our resources to provide them with insights and opinions that help them.

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You’ve been a marketer throughout your career. What draws you to that field?
Today, marketing is a role that affects the success or failure of a business more than any other. Today’s customers have more power than before because of developments like the Internet and social media. The old transaction relationships that companies had simply won’t cut it any more. The companies that succeed are those that build long-term, valuable relationships with their customers, understand their needs, and deliver products and services aligned to them.

The best marketing is not and never has been about taking a pre-baked product and ‘spinning’ it for the customer. It’s about understanding those customers and ensuring the company builds the products and services they need. And then it’s about building a trusted relationship with them.

Where’s this all going?
Well, I think that a lot of what I wrote in my book on The Future of Marketing still holds true, which is a relief. Marketing will increasingly be about authenticity, relevance, and transparency And the role of the marketer will expand across a business to have an ever-more important impact on everything from product, to sales, to service.

Since I wrote the book though, artificial intelligence has really reached maturity as a technology, and it enables marketers to capitalize on some of the priorities I mention in the book. From a marketing perspective, AI allows one-to-one engagement with the customer.

In 1950 you had a store at the end of the street, you knew every customer, and you could deliver them a 1:1 personalized service. As companies got bigger, they got further away from targeting individual customers. They moved toward marketing to broad consumer types like seniors concerned about healthcare or teens who wanted to look cool. But as a result they failed to address the unique needs of individuals.

Today, things are coming full circle. AI offers the potential for any marketer to offer individual, personalized experiences to everyone. Amazon or Netflix do it already with their personalized product and program recommendations, but there’s plenty more where that came from.

What have you learned about leadership, not only from Berkeley but also from working at small companies and now at a large company like Salesforce?
First off - whether it’s a small or a large company - leadership is about understanding and empowering your team. That’s the overall goal wherever you work, and the main input on whether you’ll be successful enough.

Good leadership is also about prioritization. As they put it in my strategy class at Haas, “strategy is about trade-offs.” The challenge is often not about working out what to do, but what not to do. Helping my team make those decisions through experimentation and data, is crucial to finding and capitalizing on the ideas that truly move the needle.

Finally, I’ve learned that succeeding in a company the size and scale of Salesforce is dictated by the relationships I build across the organization. That takes a lot of soft skills -- empathy, communication, negotiation.

One of the things I really appreciate about Salesforce is that even though I’m one of 35,000+, the company’s set up in such a way that our size doesn’t impair innovation, nor does it remove agency for the individual.

If you have a good idea, and you can prove it, and build that consensus, then management will back you and will encourage you to innovate and do new things. And given the scale of the company, the change you can make and the impact you can have is huge. That’s really exciting.

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How Your Professional Past Improves Your MBA Experience  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Jun 2019, 06:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: How Your Professional Past Improves Your MBA Experience
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While top business schools value a medley of students in their MBA programs, the coursework caters to students who have had full-time work experience. This is because students who have spent time in the workforce have had the opportunity to develop their professional and leadership skills and understand some of the responsibilities, challenges, and accomplishments that accompany a traditional job.

By gaining real-world experience, prospective MBA students gain awareness of key business topics that are critical in the modern workforce and understand how an MBA can help deepen their knowledge on these core topics.

Here’s how your previous work experience can improve your MBA program experience.

Meaningfully contribute to discussions
Enlightened classroom discussions are so crucial to the success of an MBA program, that many admissions offices specifically look for applicants with work experience — among other requirements — to ensure their classrooms include a diverse range of perspectives.

Having professional experience on your resume prepares you to offer informed perspectives during classroom discussions. You’ll understand the material you’re studying better because you can contextualize it within your professional experiences.

When it comes to professional experience, top MBA programs are often comprised of students from backgrounds in the following industries:

  • Consulting
  • High tech and communications
  • Venture capitalism and private equity
  • Financial services
  • Healthcare and biotech
  • Government, education, and nonprofit
  • Military
  • Energy technology
Representation from each industry — and from different functions within each sector — provides more comprehensive insight, and paves the path to increased business understanding as you and your classmates progress down your MBA path.

Understand modern business needs
Technology changes quickly. So quickly, in fact, that even within the last decade courses from your undergrad program could be nearly unrecognizable compared to courses being taught today. Your on-the-job experiences might be your sole source of knowledge for current business operational needs. And, even if that is not the most comprehensive source of truth, it’s a great starting point.

Have you experienced enough real-world business complexities to understand what skillsets you’re lacking?

Let’s say you’re a product manager. Consider how your organization brings products and services to market:

  • Does the process look different today than it did when you first started?
  • Does your company emphasize the importance of design-thinking?
  • Do you feel heard by upper management when you propose a change in the process?
If you answered ‘no’ to any of those questions — and that doesn’t sit well with you — you’ve learned enough to know that:

  • Best practices should always be evolving
  • Design-thinking is currently the best practice for defining your product roadmap and pushing you toward your solution
  • You may lack the skills to promote your ideas in the workplace
By shifting your focus to modern core business competencies, and practicing the hard and soft skills that help you succeed professionally, you’re preparing yourself to become more marketable in the workforce.

Realign your professional goals with personal preference
Just as modern processes change, so do market disruptions, job functions, and your personal preferences.

Think of blockchain, for instance. Since its invention in 2008, it has moved from the initial bitcoin transfer to governments like Switzerland accepting the currency for tax payments.

As blockchain technology evolves, new careers have popped up along the way:

  • Blockchain developers
  • Crypto-currency traders
  • Blockchain digital architects for decentralized exchange
  • Crypto-currency protocol engineers
These careers are available at both start-up level companies and in leading organizations like Visa, IBM, Facebook, and General Electric.

Your previous work experience has given you the foresight to know change happens quickly, and which market disruptions you want to follow. By combining your past work experiences with deepened business knowledge, you become more agile and able to reset your career trajectory.

Build from a foundational network
If you go for a full-time MBA, you may leave your current career to make way for the new opportunity. Before heading out the doors for the last time, don’t forget to take a good look at the colleagues you’re leaving.

Your current professional connections may cross your path again when you least expect it. Even though MBA programs are notorious for improving your network, it’s wise to stay close with the contacts you’ve already made.

In fact, with your added educational experience, contacts from your previous company might lead to viable options for career advancement in the future. Who knows, maybe you’ll even run into former colleagues during an alumni event.

Your professional experience helps you succeed in an MBA program
Having professional experience gives you time to reflect on what you excel at in the workplace, what areas need improvement, what functions interest you, and the types of networks you want to create. These are all valuable business lessons.

Don’t neglect your previous knowledge upon entering an MBA program, instead draw from it to catapult you into the professional you want to be.

Are you ready to deepen your understanding of the business world? Learn how Berkeley can help you advance professionally.
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Rage Against the MBA: Why Some CEOs Praise MBAs and Others Don’t  [#permalink]

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FROM Haas Admissions Blog: Rage Against the MBA: Why Some CEOs Praise MBAs and Others Don’t
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Not all CEOs have MBAs. Some, like Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg, don’t even have BAs. Steve Jobs famously said during his 2005 Stanford commencement speech that, “dropping out of college was one of the best decisions I ever made.”

But, then there are CEOs like Tim Cook, Warren Buffett, and Barbara J. Desoer (MBA 77) who hold MBAs from top business schools and continue to support their alma mater and the value of advanced degrees. A recent study by Harvard Business Review shows more than 30 percent of the top-performing CEOs in the global marketplace have an MBA.

With great divides between education level and success, what are the arguments for and against obtaining advanced degrees to support career achievements?

Get out of it what you put in
Advanced degrees aren’t for everyone. Not every career path requires an MBA. Not everyone has the determination and grit to withstand the challenges that accompany earning an MBA. But for those who are dedicated to advancing specific components of their business acumen to reach a predetermined professional milestone, a top MBA program can be life-changing.

This is especially true when you’re an active participant in classroom discussions, and student life, which can strengthen your network, improve hard and soft skills, and broaden your perspective.

Warren Buffett told the Nebraska Business magazine in 2001, “If you are interested in business, or likely to be in business, an MBA is very useful. But, what is really important is what you bring to a class in terms of being interested in the subject.”

In an MBA program, your classroom will be filled with students of different professional backgrounds, races, ethnicities, genders, ages, religions, languages, abilities/disabilities, sexual orientations, gender identities, political perspectives, socioeconomic statuses, and geographic regions. The diversity in an MBA classroom allows you to learn new thought structures, hear from students with varied experiences, explore new ideas, and improve your critical thinking abilities. The more you give to your MBA program, the more you will receive.

Welcome the real world into the classroom
A common hesitation with MBA programs is that a classroom has order and predictability, whereas real-world experience is messy and unpredictable.

However, top business schools with deep connections in their communities bring real-world experience into the classroom. For example, Berkeley’s Startup Lab, organized by 60 Berkeley students gives students the chance to work on real-world strategic business challenges startups face. In fact, Ben Ferrara, MBA 15, worked on the launch of San Francisco-based delivery service, Munchery, while in his Startup Lab.

The Startup Lab is a part of the applied innovation initiative at Berkeley--a program to ensure students are getting the most out of their MBA experience.

These hands-on opportunities are especially useful if you are working to improve your skills in highly specialized areas like corporate leadership or international business development. An MBA will empower you with the skills you need to participate and excel in the workforce post-graduation.

Understand leadership is more than data points
Critics of MBAs think that while many programs specialize in the training of critical functions of business, they don’t dig deep enough into the actual practice of managing. Instead, MBAs focus too much on data and analytics and need to allow more space for developing human-centric skills.

On the contrary, one of the most signification qualification standards to enter an MBA program is experience in leadership, something that’s difficult for students to have in their portfolio until they’ve been in the workforce for a few years. This is a purposeful requirement because exposure to the modern workforce allows students to gain a better understanding of their own leadership abilities (or lack thereof) to maximize their learning experience.

Perhaps previous work experience has shown that you:

  • Aren’t being shortlisted for the roles you want
  • Don’t feel taken seriously at work and want new ways to demonstrate your abilities
  • Lack hard or soft skills to be effective in your role
By internalizing shortcomings, you can focus on how to improve during an MBA program.

For example, Rachel Adams, MBA 17, says, “In my experiential Startup Lab I learned the value of working on your weaknesses, rather than just playing to your strengths.” While pursuing her MBA, Adams learned, “As people advance in their careers, they often try to seem perfect to their colleagues. What I saw from my teachers, classmates, and the business leaders we worked with was that authenticity gets you much further, and that recognizing and communicating both your strengths and weaknesses is key to authentic leadership.”

There are few other academic programs which develop these management skills in the same way as an MBA.

Strategically enhance your career trajectory
Getting a job post-graduation is not a guarantee, nor is an immediate salary increase. However, an MBA will give you the ability to accurately assess your opportunities before jumping into a stifling situation. For instance, as you weigh your career options post-grad, how can you be sure you’re jumping on a wise opportunity? Or should you pass?

  • Does the company you’re considering have a reputation for taking smart risks?
  • Does the innovation of the company match your expertise?
  • Does the executive team have a history of making market advancements or being on the forefront of new ideas?
  • How easy is it for you to make contributions within the company?
  • Do you have connections within your network that can vouch for the company?
Don’t waste time on opportunities that won’t further your career, or involve yourself with companies who restrain your growth. Instead, learn how to assess opportunities for long-term happiness and job satisfaction by finding an organization that continues to feed the professional development you’ve nurtured over the course of two years in business school.

Focus on execution
The argument against MBA graduates is that they spend too much time analyzing problems and organizing recommendations with too little emphasis on executing a solution. And, success depends on execution.

MBA programs will dispute this argument. Without the ability to get things done, an organization won’t survive. To emphasize this need, top business schools will teach you a series of techniques and questions that help assess the most logical solutions and pathways to execute, no matter what the problem is.

According to Kriya Chantalat, EMBA 16, an executive MBA was an excellent way for her to learn about execution and making decisions that impacted the big picture. “Accounting is a role where you know the ‘what’ and the ‘how’—this is what we’ve done and how we got here,” she say. “For a CFO, it’s about the ‘where’ and the ‘why.’ Where are we heading, and why? That’s more strategic and visionary.”

By learning strategic decision-making methods, you’re more equipped to solve big problems and make accurate, snap decisions to further your organization's success.

What’s your stance on obtaining an MBA? If zeroing in on your business and leadership abilities to improve your career trajectory in business is a part of your plan, let us help you.Learn more about Berkeley's MBA program today.

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Redesigning problem solving through design thinking  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Jun 2019, 10:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: Redesigning problem solving through design thinking
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Too often, businesses approach a problem with a tried-and-true solution already in mind. But that kind of approach makes innovation difficult – and can keep a business stuck in the same old patterns, according to Pradeep Khanal, a member of the Berkeley Haas Evening & Weekend MBA program class of 2019. “It's important to understand users and their needs well and get their feedback before getting to troubleshooting,” he says. In the business world, this human-centric approach is called design thinking, and it's very effective.

“Design thinking puts people at the center of the problem-solving process,” he says. “You identify something that needs to change and before jumping to a solution, you understand the persona better through user research and interviews and develop insights and a range of possibilities. It helps you frame a problem based on user interaction. The idea is to come up with a narrative about the problem that uncovers its key metrics in order to open up thinking about how to solve it,” he says.

Pradeep finds design thinking so important that during his time at Haas, he collaborated with Professors Clark Kellogg and Dave Rochlin on a course called “Fundamentals of Design Thinking” that rolled out in Fall 2018. Pradeep served as the lead graduate student instructor for both the full- and part-time classes. He also played a key role in teaching the concept at the EWMBA Mid-Program Academic Retreat, WE Innovate, held each January in Napa, and helped teach design thinking to a group of students visiting Berkeley Haas from Porto Business School in Senhora da Hora, Portugal.

Pradeep began his part-time MBA after seven years as an engineer at Intel. He'd been in a technical role leading engineering projects but wanted to better understand the business side of things. Since he knew he would continue working full-time, Haas' part-time program held appeal. He credits his MBA studies for facilitating his transition to his new role as senior product planner at Intel and his newfound ability to understand the bigger business picture.

He also had a hunch that a Berkeley Haas MBA could help him further integrate his long-held interest in social entrepreneurship and education: In 2008, he co-founded Daayitwa, an economic empowerment organization for youth. Two years later, he co-founded Mahim Ojha Memorial Community Library, both in his home country of Nepal. Since 2013, he's established a number of educational and mentorship initiatives including one that connects U.S. high school students with their peers in remote parts of the world. Currently, he's developing a business innovation course based on design thinking for a business school in Nepal.

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“Business education in Nepal is mostly theoretical; less focused on the practical,” he says. “The idea of talking to customers and using their insights isn't a common one, but it could really help change the business mindset in Nepal.”

“There's a misconception that evening and weekend MBA students don't get the same opportunities as full-time students”, Pradeep says. “But that just isn't the case.” He encourages his peers to use a design thinking framework to expand any preconceived notions of how they might leverage Haas resources during their program.

For example, Pradeep’s global learning experiences ranged from the Italia Innovation Program in Italy which he discovered through the Haas General Management & Leadership Club to serving as an MBA strategy fellow at Berkeley's Institute of European Studies to representing Haas at the Global Solutions Summit in Berlin, Germany and participating in the summer International Business Development (IBD) program in Beijing, China, consulting with fellow students for a fintech firm.

“Haas has so much to offer, and if part-time students can manage their time, there's much to be gained,” he says. “You can access these resources even while you work full time.

“My time at Haas has helped me see so many other opportunities that I didn't see when I was solely in the engineering space,” he says. “I'm aware of the many different directions my career can take – from social entrepreneurship, to teaching, to education technology.”

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How to Use Your MBA Experience to Become the Boss You Always Wanted  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Jun 2019, 06:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: How to Use Your MBA Experience to Become the Boss You Always Wanted
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People leave managers, not companies. However cliché that saying may be, it still holds true. If you have been in a management position before, you know becoming a strong leader is about more than perfecting the technical details of a job.

In fact, realizing you’re good at a skill like coding or project management, but recognizing you’re not quite as good at helping others develop those same skills, is precisely why many professionals go back to school in pursuit of an MBA: to work on the soft skills that help them become better leaders.

MBA programs give students space to learn and improve skills they may not flex during a typical, non-management day-to-day job. Below, we’ll explore the specific skills you’ll develop in business school that will empower you to become the boss you always wanted--before jumping into the demands of leadership.

1. Respect employee autonomy
Great leaders trust their teams and allow them to handle their jobs without micromanaging. Studies have proven that job autonomy has positive work outcomes:

  • Greater work satisfaction
  • Less intent to transfer
  • Fewer intentions to leave
By relinquishing some of the responsibility, leaders have more time and resources to devote to motivating team members, mentoring employees, and working on more significant business initiatives that result in further growth. To create a team that functions like a well-oiled machine, great leaders focus on:

  • Goal setting
  • Delegation
  • Time management
  • Staff assessments
Going through an MBA program touches on each of these management areas. For example, many MBA students juggle work, school, and family/social lives, which inherently requires effective time management. Students also work in group settings. Group projects range from typical coursework to more immersive initiatives like working in teams with top executives at major firms to conduct research and develop solutions for real-world business challenges. These initiatives require leaders to understand which team members are best suited for which project tasks, outline goals to ensure the project is completed on time, and delegate work so everything is accounted for.

2. Practice precise communication
Have you ever played the game telephone? In the game, players form a line, and the first player whispers a message into the ear of the second player. The second player whispers the same message to the third player, and so on. The last player of the game relays aloud the message they heard.

While it sounds simple, the final message in this game is often much different than the original. The game demonstrates how communication is easily lost, misinterpreted, or confused as messages are filtered through many people.

The principal of the game applies in a business setting because without crisp communication, it’s easy to:

  • Create confusion
  • Cause frustration
  • Misconstrue goals
  • Decrease employee engagement
As a leader, you must learn to clearly and succinctly articulate organizational goals, task requirements, and expectations. Throughout the Berkeley Haas MBA program, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to practice both verbal and non-verbal communication.

From pitch competitions, and the real-time feedback that accompanies your presentations, to strengthening your active listening during classroom discourse, you’ll learn how to reduce ambiguity with your verbal and written communication. You’ll develop the skills to convey a clear, concise message.

3. Strengthen decision-making abilities
Decisiveness is a valuable leadership skill for a number of reasons. It helps:

  • Move projects forward faster and more efficiently
  • Establish leadership credibility by demonstrating confidence
  • Eliminate frustration among team members who depend on your guidance
With strong decision-making capabilities, you exude confidence and efficiency, which is what an employee expects from someone leading the charge. An MBA helps you improve your decision-making abilities by focusing intensely on critical thinking--the tool business leaders use to arrive at the best decision possible, even when they don’t have all of the necessary information.

Throughout an MBA program, you’ll practice critical thinking as you debate and challenge the perspectives of your fellow students, and even your professors. By broadening your perspective and expanding your business knowledge, you’re training yourself to think quickly and strategically so you can make well-informed decisions with confidence.

4. Encourage excitement through innovation
It’s exciting to work with leaders who seek out nontraditional solutions to problems. Nonlinear thinking brings new solutions and perspectives to the workplace and allows your team to flex their creative minds. The invitation to pursue uncharted territory in the workplace opens doors to more productive collaboration, stronger engagement, and often, better results.

The Berkeley MBA program is designed for leaders who want to champion bold ideas while taking intelligent risks. An MBA program helps you fine-tune your analytical and cognitive flexibility skills, which helps you take calculated risks. You’ll also participate in innovation training, which improves your overall leadership acumen.

Specifically, programs offered through Berkeley’s applied innovation requirement like THNK School of Creative Leadership, Lean Launchpad, and the Startup Lab are real-world ways to practice marrying innovation with leadership.

5. Lead by example
Above all, a true leader leads by example. By applying for an MBA program, you’re already taking strides to improve yourself by exhibiting a suite of characteristics necessary in leadership:

  • Willingness to take action
  • Desire to work hard
  • Drive to beyond the tasks in your job description
  • Foresight for effective long-term planning
  • Ability to accept and applying feedback
  • Commitment to profession
  • Determination to further yourself professionally
An MBA program is your chance to practice your leadership skills and learn what leadership style suits you best. Earning your MBA teaches you how to become the best boss possible to your employees.

Are you ready to start down the path of leadership? Get started on your application to Berkeley today.

 

 

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Improving Healthcare Equity and Access for Women  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Jun 2019, 11:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: Improving Healthcare Equity and Access for Women
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What happens when an entrepreneurial spirit collides with the Berkeley MBA concurrent degree program? For the answer, consider the career of Amy Fan, MBA/MPH 19, co-founder of Twentyeight Health.

Fan’s digital health startup connects women with sex education, home-delivered contraceptives, and secure physician consultation and follow-up. Through a partnership with Bedsider, it also provides free birth control to those without insurance or the ability to pay.

Launched in December 2018, the company currently serves women in New York and New Jersey and plans to expand nationwide.

“I’m passionate about women’s health, and I think of healthcare as a right,” says Fan, who will graduate in December from the Full-time Berkeley MBA concurrent degree program. “We’re giving women more options about the lifestyle they want—whether they’re young professionals who want to wait before having children or someone living in a rural area who already has kids.”

For Fan, Berkeley proved integral to her success. She embraced every resource available to her—ranging from courses and faculty mentors to the alumni network and extracurricular activities—and leveraged them as she discovered, shaped, and launched her startup.

Pursuing her passion

Before Berkeley, Fan had already found success working at Brainchild, a New York-based venture studio, where she served as general manager of the beauty brand Onomie. The work, however, never ignited the kind of passion she had felt during an earlier Brainchild telemedicine project.

So, she decided to return to school to follow that passion and gain a deeper grasp of both business and the healthcare industry.

Soon after, she met her co-founder Bruno Van Tuykom who shared an idea that evolved into Twentyeight Health. “Bruno’s work with the Gates Foundation revealed how technology could be used to increase healthcare access in developing countries,” she says. “So we decided to leverage technology to increase healthcare equity for women in the U.S.”

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Berkeley Benefits

At Berkeley, Fan found herself surrounded by her startup’s main demographic: women in their 20s and 30s. This allowed her to quickly explore the needs and pain points of her target market.

Her coursework provided a hands-on way to shape her fledgling firm. A Life Science Marketing course, for example, aided her in forming her startup’s campaigns and messaging. Power and Politics moved her to think about ways to build trust and credibility in her business relationships. A Negotiations course helped her navigate discussions with Bruno about co-founder equity.

“Professor Juliana Schroeder and I took a negotiations worksheet created for class and applied it to Twentyeight,” she says. “It made me think about things like my roles and interests as well as what I’m willing to give up versus what are must-haves for me.”

Faculty member Ted Janus, who founded J Capital and lectures on investing and finance, provided “perspective on what it’s really like to be an entrepreneur and how to position yourself for success.”

Kim MacPherson, MBA/MPH program director, connected Fan with alumni who worked in healthcare along with those employed on the venture capital side of the industry.

“I found their input helpful when thinking about what metrics to consider and how to go about making Twentyeight a venture-backed business.”

Extracurricular activities such as Innovation Corps (I-Corps) and the Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC) helped her to further define her target market and placed her “in the shoes” of potential VCs. (Fan’s VCIC team nabbed second place in the 2018 global finals.)

Twentyeight also put a $5,000 Student Venture Fund to good use as early seed money.

Back to New York

After graduation, Fan will return to New York to pursue her passion of creating a business that makes a difference for women in healthcare. “I’m excited about all of it—growing our brand awareness, scaling the company, and, above all, building a stellar experience for our users.”

Eager to pursue your vision and passion for the healthcare industry? Explore the possibilities available through the Full-time Berkeley MBA concurrent degree program with School of Public Health.

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Taking a Big Risk to Do Great Things Along a 100-Year Time Horizon  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jun 2019, 10:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: Taking a Big Risk to Do Great Things Along a 100-Year Time Horizon
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How did a guy who launched his career trading derivatives during the great recession, then dove into hydraulic fracking, end up on the cutting edge of cleantech immersed in neural networks and deep learning?

It started, explains Kyle Bertin, MBA 18, about the time he began thinking in terms of a 100-year time horizon back in 2015.

Kyle was working at U.S. Silica which mines high-quality silica sand used in paints, coatings, and industrial and architectural glass. The oil industry uses it in fracking to help keep shale formations open. Unfortunately oil prices, which topped out at more than $150 a barrel for West Texas Intermediate in 2008, had plunged to $40 a barrel by December 2015.

“The business leaders I most respect in the world, like Jeff Bezos of Amazon, take a 100-year time horizon,” says Kyle. “So I thought: if you take a 100-year horizon, is the oil business the one you want to be in?”

The answer was clearly no. Cleantech however, did fit that time horizon.

Kyle already knew a lot about finance. Besides his economics degree from Northwestern, he’d traded energy derivatives, equity derivatives, interest rate swaps, and other exotics during the financial crisis.

“When people are scared, you can make money from the panic, volatility, and mispricing,” he says. “But”, he adds, “I wanted something more interesting than arbitrage or oil.”

To jump into the future, Kyle realized he needed an MBA. It was a risk because he was rapidly climbing the corporate ladder at U.S. Silica. “But”, as he says, “only people who take big risks do great things.”

Kyle didn’t decide on a Berkeley MBA until he visited campus.

“I saw how deeply ingrained Berkeley was in tech and energy and how it was close to the heart of the whole Silicon Valley ecosystem,” he says. “But the biggest turning point was during the interviews. Everyone—the students, the professors, the quality—just blew me away. They were nice, talented, good people. I thought, these are the people I want to be around.”

“At first”, Kyle admits, “the four Defining Leadership Principles seemed like a cute marketing gimmick, but when I met the students I thought, yeah, you nailed that.”

Kyle ticks off a number of courses that shaped his future like Energy and Environmental Markets taught by Severin Borenstein. But, he thinks the most impactful was Rob Chandra’s Entrepreneurship course, which he says, “peeled the veneer away from what a startup is like, discussing the hard decisions and the uncertainty. From that class I have my notebook of things I know I don’t want to forget.”

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Especially influential was Cleantech to Market, an experiential course that starts with a nationwide call for cleantech proposals. Students are then handpicked to try to commercialize the idea. Kyle was paired with another MBA student, two PhD candidates in physics, and a student getting a masters degree in transportation systems. The goal was to find ways to make electric vehicle charging more efficient and scalable in 15 weeks.

“It was a ton of work; the hardest thing I’ve done,” says Kyle, who notes there was no easy fix. In fact, EV charging is one of the thorniest problems in cleantech. “The U.S. energy grid wasn’t designed for the massive loads needed for EVs at scale and charging stations are still relatively scarce.”

Since graduating, Kyle has formed the Berkeley Haas Transportation and Mobility Group. Now with 100 members, its goal is to “educate and inspire” people about how to improve the transportation system. “My goal is to help Berkeley become the preeminent institution for developing future leaders in mobility and transportation,” he says.

Now at a Mountain View start-up called DeepScale, Kyle says he’s trying to solve another transportation conundrum: “How to help cars not hit things.”

It involves creating an artificial intelligence system, a deep neural network that accurately identifies objects and people and makes extremely fast decisions that govern the vehicle.

“At our core we are an AI company,” says Kyle. “We use deep learning which is a form of machine learning that has led to huge improvements in things like computer vision and natural language processing. The problem is that it’s extremely computationally intensive and has traditionally been very difficult to implement in vehicles.”

For Kyle it’s part of being along that 100-year timeline.

“We are helping create robust software for a safety-critical device that functions reliably,” he says. “If you think of the potential benefit to humanity at large, the net present value of that is hugely valuable. It’s not necessarily a quick cash thing.”

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Using MBA skills to incubate new MENA leadership  [#permalink]

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FROM Haas Admissions Blog: Using MBA skills to incubate new MENA leadership
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Nancy Hoque, MBA 19, arrived at Berkeley Haas in search of a fresh start in her career. She'd worked as an engineer at Nokia and Motorola for more than a decade, but a new interest in go-to-market strategy was emerging. Why? Because on the side she'd been running her own online business, SixteenR, which sold headscarves as tools of empowerment for Muslim women. The business had grown to a point where she didn't exactly know how to proceed.

"I needed more money to grow, but I didn't know how to approach investors," she says. "I needed help scaling up, perhaps transitioning from an e-commerce model to a brick-and-mortar business, and I didn't have the skills to do it."

When she started her Evening & Weekend MBA at Berkeley Haas, she closed down SixteenR, but the experience gave her the idea of establishing a virtual entrepreneur incubator particularly for women. And since Nancy herself is a Muslim woman of Bangladeshi heritage, she decided to focus the incubator's outreach on women in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and South Asia.

During her time at Haas, Nancy honed the skills she would later use with the incubator by facilitating a networking group called Lean In Circles, which gathered students to provide each other with peer support for professional goals. The circles resulted in a Women in Tech event that featured a panel of female executives from Visa, Netflix, and Kevala.

"These circles helped me learn how to foster dialogue, networking, and mentoring," she says. "And I began to see that an incubator could make these skills actionable."

Nancy also participated in the Haas Global Network Access Management Program which connected her to the G20 Young Global Changers summer school program and the Global Solutions Summit, which she attended in 2018 in Berlin. Her participation in Professor Rajiv Ball's Design Thinking course took her to Amsterdam last summer.

"That was a great experience," she says. "It really made us think through the particular business problem we were trying to solve and to come up with a creative solution."

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Finally, with help from finance and strategy professor Gregory La Blanc, Nancy conducted a study over the course of a semester to create her incubator. She met with staff from Haas's MENA Group which operates under the school's Center for Entrepreneurship and Development in Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa.

While she was at Haas, Nancy joined Symantec in New Ventures Product Marketing and will start a new job at Adobe this summer as a Go-To-Marketing Strategy associate. But she's also planning to launch her incubator, focusing first on a publishing startup in Bangladesh. To prepare for the launch, she's been developing a network of women entrepreneurs in the MENA region who can serve as mentors to those going through the incubator curriculum, which includes the three key aspects Nancy took from her Lean In Circles work: mentorship, networking, and dialogue.

"In particular the program will have what I call virtual 'fireside chats,' that will bring together women entrepreneurs to discuss topics of concern, like how to negotiate with manufacturers and how to find a mentor," she says. She will work with women leaders she met through the Young Global Changers network to build the global dialogue.

As the commencement speaker for her class, Nancy highlighted the bravery and support of her fellow classmates and the need for more women leaders in business. She also thanked family, friends, faculty, and mentors on behalf of the class for their encouragement, calling out her own husband as a great source of support throughout her Haas journey.

"I really want to establish a peer support system and network, much like I found at Haas," she says. "As women entrepreneurs, we need that to pursue our ambitions."

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Design Thinking: What Every MBA Seeker Should Know About it and Why  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Jul 2019, 06:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: Design Thinking: What Every MBA Seeker Should Know About it and Why
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At its core, design thinking is all about creating unique solutions to complex problems — no matter how big or small. In fact, nearly every aspect of modern business applies design thinking. At Berkeley Haas, we argue it’s one of the most crucial innovation methodologies for professionals need to succeed in the current job market.

This article will introduce the concept of design thinking, how it is used in modern business, and the steps you can take to learn this critical framework.

What is design thinking?
Design thinking is the concept of taking human desirability, technical feasibility, and economic viability to create business solutions that are meaningful, productive, and profitable.

Design thinking is human-centric. It's based on the idea that all solutions, when fully executed, should make the human experience more enjoyable in some capacity. However, design thinking requires you to think beyond ergonomics.

It’s broader than that.

Design thinking is also about understanding the context of the problem, and how technical innovation can meet both global needs and the needs of individual cultures to ensure the final solution is practical and advantageous.

The design thinking curriculum in Berkeley’s MBA program helps students understand the processes and strategies that creatively address complex business problems, using a non-traditional problem-solving approach.

How to use design thinking in modern business
Applying design thinking not only helps you create incredible products, solutions, and workplace efficiency; it also has a direct impact on an organization’s bottom line. According to the Design Management Institute, companies that focus on design thinking see 10-year returns yielding 2.19 times (219%) that of the S&P 500.

And, design thinking has a place in every sector, every organization, and every job title, though the applications will vary greatly.

For example, did you know that each year, millions of people skip scheduled medical appointments? This problem equals billions of dollars of lost revenue for healthcare providers.

As a solution, healthcare providers are now turning to design thinking to help improve the patient experience and minimize missed appointments. Applying a series of qualitative research methods like surveys, focus groups, and patient observations, healthcare providers can better understand people’s experiences and the root cause of missed appointments. Then, by better understanding the human problem, they are able to seek out patterns that can solve the real problem at hand.

Or, consider one of Berkeley’s very own professors of design thinking, Mariana Somma, who is also a senior partner of Experience Design at Employera, a specialized management consulting firm. Somma, and the mission of Employera is to combine data and design thinking to help organizations save money and improve recruiting practices — from lead generation to onboarding.

Furthermore, effective design thinking strategies can improve workflows within organizations and influence a variety of areas, including:

  • Product design
  • Service and experience design
  • Business operations design
  • Leadership improvements
  • Organizational change
The design thinking process
Design thinking calls for a shared understanding that everyone plays a role in the project’s success before, during, and after its launch, from identifying a customer’s needs to an engineer executing the solution.

The pillars of design thinking are:
  • Empathy — Learn who you are designing for, and the cultural or global needs to consider, so you can deeply understand the human-centric problems you’re solving.
  • Ideation — Generate many ideas for testing, reviewing, scrapping, and pursuing.
  • Experimentation — Leverage rapid prototyping to explore more products, quickly.
  • Test and review — Learn from real-world examples which solutions work, and which don’t.
  • Try again — Always iterate. By continuing the loop of experimentation, testing, and reviewing, you’ll eventually land on the solution that best suits the needs of your problem.
Because Berkeley has fostered connections with a valuable network of companies in Silicon Valley, the MBA program can give students a hands-on look at the innovation process and human-centered design. The experience includes working to solve the problems companies like Adobe, PayPal, HP, or Cisco face today, with a team of executives. It can also mean taking advantage of internship opportunities geared toward deepening your design thinking skill set.

Design thinking at Berkeley Haas
During a Berkeley MBA, you’ll take the Fundamentals of Design Thinking course. You’ll also have the opportunity to deepen your understanding of design thinking by joining the “design thinking squad,” which involves more in-depth discussion and participation on topics such as:

  • Ethnographic and qualitative research needs
  • Design sprints
  • Foresight work
The design thinking squad also works with other Berkeley MBAs on problem-solving and developing new ideas and approaches for outside work. The collaboration can include blended workshops, ideathons, prototype building sessions, or other participatory engagements.

Want to learn more? Explore Berkeley’s MBA Design Thinking curriculum today.

 

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Berkeley Entrepreneur Turns to Search Funds for a Place to Call Home  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Jul 2019, 10:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: Berkeley Entrepreneur Turns to Search Funds for a Place to Call Home
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Jeff Oldenburg, MBA 18, is a “searcher.” As co-founder of The Tusker Fund, he’s in the process of finding a business to buy with the help of financial backers. The model is called a search fund, and it’s gaining ground among entrepreneurs eager to own and run businesses. Jeff’s network at Berkeley Haas has helped him explore search funds and soft skill classes prepared him to make that move. Now the school’s Full-Time MBA program is developing coursework to prepare future searchers.  

Give us the thumbnail description of a search fund.
A search fund is a vehicle formed to enable an entrepreneur to acquire and operate a single business.

So, it’s like a private equity fund?
Sort of. Think of private equity funds as investors - a private equity fund would manage a portfolio of companies, however, they’re not actually running them – not getting their hands dirty.

Search funds, on the other hand, are run by operators who have been backed by investors with the objective of funding a single business to run full time. The crux of the model is that entrepreneurs, the “searchers,” are operators looking for a home.

In our case, a year and a half ago my partner and I raised $650,000 from 11 investors. That money covers our expenses: an office, salaries, travel, software tools, and such. The goal is to conduct a thoughtful search lasting 18 to 24 months to find a business that we get excited about running and our investors can be excited about funding. Once we find that business, our investors provide more funds to buy the business, which we then operate.

And the ownership?
A typical solo search fund entrepreneur can earn a 25 percent ownership in a company over several years. Typically you receive one-third of that 25 percent upon completing the acquisition, an additional third over four years, and the final third depending on the internal rate of return you deliver to your investors. 

Why wouldn’t entrepreneurs simply start their own companies?
Because the odds of success are much higher this way. We’re looking for businesses that are already profitable, have long-term customers, and have a proven product market fit in a growing industry. This gives you a lot of tailwinds. Once you find a business – and about 60-70 percent of searchers do find a business -- your odds of success are just higher because you are buying a successful business. 

Did you decide to get an MBA in order to explore the concept of search funds?
No, not really. I’d been a bond trader for 10 years and didn’t really know what I wanted to do next. I had never really wanted to get an MBA but changed my mind when I realized it was a great platform for experimentation. Berkeley gave me access to different industries, to VCs and start-ups, and to other ideas. I did an internship with a search fund, attended conferences on the subject, and met folks in the industry who ended up investing with us through the alumni network.  

The cool thing about the search fund space is that fundamentally it’s a model built on mentorship. While a lot of the finance world can be defensive toward new entrants, the search fund world is the opposite. I’ve heard it described as the “hippie commune of investing.” Everyone’s just so supportive, helpful, and sharing. One person introduces you to three others and so on. It became really easy to meet people who wanted to be helpful. 

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What about the coursework at Berkeley? Was that helpful?
Yes. After my first year, I had crystalized that raising a search fund was what I wanted to do. I talked to investors and asked them what would be most helpful. They said something surprising: double down on soft-skill classes. They said you might think you’re mostly going to do strategic planning and analysis, but really you end up dealing with personal conflicts and complicated interpersonal dynamics. So I took Mike Katz’s class on People Development; Arina Isaacson’s Storytelling for Leadership; Cameron Anderson’s Power and Politics in Organizations. That plus, of course, classes on private equity, LBOs, managerial accounting, etc. 

What kind of companies is a searcher looking for?
We start with the industry first. We look for industries that are fragmented and growing quickly, so it has really nice tailwinds and no one player dominates. 

As for the specific company, we want one with a strong competitive position and a high percentage of recurring revenue. Nothing capital-intensive, so we’re not looking at sectors like manufacturing. We want well-managed businesses that can grow quickly and profitably. One way to think about these characteristics is we’re looking for businesses that run themselves. 

Well, wouldn’t everyone want a business like this?
Yes, everyone would. That’s why the search is so challenging. There’s lots of competition, particularly in this economy. For us, often our target is an owner who is at least 60 years old, looking to retire and doesn’t have a succession plan. They may have their entire net worth invested in their business and aren’t paying themselves much. Or, maybe they like building companies and just want to cash out. Usually it’s serendipitous circumstances. Hopefully, the company is small enough to be under the radar of PE firms. Our message to the founder is the search fund mantra: We’re not investors. We’re operators looking for our next home. We don’t want to come in and gut your company. We’re here to preserve – and build on – the legacy you’ve built.  

What industries are you looking at?
Tusker is focused on education. It’s fast growing. And, related to cyclicality, we don’t think education will be hit hard in a downturn. We look cradle-to-grave: early childhood education or daycare centers all the way to corporate learning. It could be anything from K12 services, educational content, or tools for university campuses to operate more efficiently. 

Why is your fund named Tusker?
My partner, Rohit Agarwal, is Hindu and wanted a name that would reference Lord Ganesha, the elephant, the god of beginnings, and the remover of obstacles. Since you have to register your company name you have to find a name that hasn’t been used. It’s hard to find elephant names that haven’t been taken. 

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How an MBA Will Give You a Jump On Global Leadership  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Jul 2019, 11:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: How an MBA Will Give You a Jump On Global Leadership
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Fueled by fast-changing technology, products, information, and jobs have spread across borders and cultures to make our world feel smaller than ever.

Regions in all corners of the Earth have more opportunities to participate in the wave of globalization, allowing economies all over the world to experience growth. In fact, the world GDP grew from around 50 trillion USD in 2000 to 75 trillion USD in 2016 and continues to trend upward, according to the UN.

This all means leading and working with people across different regions of the world is more common — and more necessary — than ever. And, to be effective in a global marketplace, cross-cultural leadership skills are essential. This goes beyond embracing diversity. It’s about learning how ethical decision-making, management strategies, and cross-cultural communication skills will influence and impact your ability to perform well on a global platform.

Learn how an MBA will better prepare you to meet--and exceed--the business expectations of the new global economy.

Critical thinking with a broadened worldview
Though you may not believe it, we’re inherently biased. That doesn’t mean we’re prejudiced. Instead, it points to the fact that, at times, we all act on partial information or misinformation, or lack the ability to transcend our long-standing beliefs, all of which can blind us from actual truths or rational decision-making.

Critical thinking is the tool used to arrive at the best decision possible, despite ourselves and our biased thinking. This is a vitally important skill to learn as leaders, but it's especially important in a global marketplace, where cultural differences are abundant, and open-mindedness is critical.

When you enroll in an MBA program, you will have the opportunity to collaborate and debate with an astonishing diversity of students. They reflect different races, ethnicities, and ages. They speak many languages and practice many religions. They have different abilities/disabilities, gender orientations, and political perspectives. They come from many socio-economic statuses and geographic regions. This real-time communication with a diverse class can help you encounter and explore new ideas and thought structures that will improve your critical thinking abilities.

Understanding the science behind business behavior
Throughout your MBA studies, you’ll conduct relevant research based on behavioral sciences. Behavioral sciences touch on why humans act the way they do by drawing conclusions from fields of study like sociology, anthropology, and psychology.

In a business scenario, you will learn how employees, managers, and customers make choices by applying behavioral sciences to real-life business applications like:

  • Economics
  • Decision research
  • Consumer research
According to management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, behavioral science helps organizations address unconscious bias and instincts, and manage the irrational mind. By understanding and reacting appropriately to people’s behaviors, you’re able to create favorable business outcomes, without restricting the way your team operates.

Improving leadership skills around the world
While earning your MBA, you will have the chance to learn real-world problem solving and leadership techniques that give you a competitive edge in a global environment. Specifically, at Berkeley Haas, the Global Focus program and Trips and Treks initiatives allow students to build cross-cultural business understanding both in the classroom and on the ground, in countries around the world.

The Global Focus program includes initiatives like International Business Development (IBD), Global Network for Advanced Management (GNAM), student clubs and activities, and an exchange program. They allow students to:

  • Engage in consulting projects with for-profit and non-profit organizations worldwide
  • Explore business as it is conducted in fast-growing emerging nations and developed countries
  • Lead clubs, participate in fellowship programs, attend conferences, and conduct research that fosters global understanding and provides opportunities to grow and use your leadership skills
By immersing yourself in global initiatives, and taking advantage of travel opportunities, you can make international connections with fellow students, corporate leaders, and alums who are scattered across the globe.

Strengthen your existing skill set
You also might think about an executive MBA program designed specifically for professionals with a solid understanding of business and leadership who want to drill deeper into their skillset. By advancing your leadership skills, you increase your odds of assuming a top-level position within the corporate, government, or non-profit sectors.

In the Berkeley MBA for Executives program, you can expect to learn leadership techniques specific to a cross-border context, which are particularly useful within high stakes roles in corporations and within the government.

EMBA students have the opportunity to assess business models, suppliers, competitors, partners, and customers through a global lens, as opposed to a domestic view. You’ll also have the opportunity to apply your findings in real-world settings through programs like the Global Immersion initiative at Berkeley.

By studying to earn your MBA you’ll be able to practice global business strategies and business communication techniques so that post-graduation, you’ll be ready to jump into a global leadership position with confidence and skill.

Are you ready to start down the path of global leadership? See how Berkeley can help you today.

 

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Top Reasons You Should Get Your MBA at Berkeley This Year  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Jul 2019, 11:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: Top Reasons You Should Get Your MBA at Berkeley This Year
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Prospective students seek out Berkeley to earn their MBA for several reasons. Its rich history of activism and questioning the status quo is only the tip of the iceberg for free thinkers looking to push their professional limits.

Part of Berkeley’s appeal is its proximity to Silicon Valley’s bustling economic center. Additionally, Berkeley’s network of like-minded and driven people is invaluable for many prospects.

Are you interested in earning your MBA from one of the country’s top MBA programs? Read on to learn why Berkeley is an ideal place to pursue your MBA and discover if its offerings align with your needs.

1. Berkeley’s line-up of prestigious professors
Berkeley maintains high standards for its faculty, one of the key reasons the school earns accolades as a top business school in the country year after year. Berkeley’s faculty is known to push the boundaries of academia both inside and outside of the classroom.

Here are just a few examples of what we mean:

Professor Andrew Rose is an international finance scholar who has taught macroeconomics to three decades of Berkeley Haas students. He is the Bernard T. Rocca, Jr. Chair in International Business & Trade and has served as chair of the Economic Analysis & Policy Group. He was also the founding director of the Clausen Center for International Business & Policy.

In 2018, Rose received the Williamson Award from Berkeley, its highest faculty honor.

Professor Omri Even-Tov is an accounting scholar whose numerous awards include:

  • Poets & Quants’ 2018 Best 40 Under 40 Professors
  • Earl F. Cheit Award for Excellence in Teaching, PhD. Program 2017 – 2018
  • Earl F. Cheit Award for Excellence in Teaching, MBA Program 2016 – 2017
Even-Tov is known to take his teaching to extremes. Alongside Professor Jennifer Chatman, Even-Tov brought 10 MBA students on a six-day (two-credit) Andes Mountain Trek to show the power of teamwork and leadership in challenging and unusual settings.

Professor Maura O’Neill is an expert in entrepreneurship, leadership, blockchain, and policy. Before holding a position at Berkeley, O’Neill was a senior counselor and chief innovation officer for the U.S. Agency for International Development, and a chief of staff and senior advisor for the Energy and Climate for Under Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

O’Neill has also won the Berkeley Haas Cheit Award for Excellence in Teaching three times –– in 2016, 2017, and 2018.

Learning under professors who have a deep understanding of the curriculum they teach not only inspires deep thinking, it fuels the passion that will carry you through your professional career.

2. The Bay Area advantage
Berkeley is lucky to be located in the Bay Area,which overflows with innovation, technology, and opportunity. Thanks to its access to top businesses and the leaders who run them, Berkeley MBA students have three specific advantages over other business schools in the country in entrepreneurship exploration, starting salaries, and unique networking opportunities.

Opportunity for entrepreneurship
If the Bay Area is the heartbeat of entrepreneurship, the Berkeley Haas entrepreneurship program has its finger on the pulse. Students experience a breadth of coursework ranging from topics like new venture finance to social entrepreneurship. Additionally, students can explore experiential opportunities like:

  • Lean LaunchPad: an initiative that allows students to talk to potential customers and rapidly iterate to build products they could use and buy
  • The Startup Lab: a program geared to connect students across disciplines with local venture-backed startups to help identify, frame, and address strategic business challenges
  • Student-led competitions: Berkeley’s MBA-founded Global Social Venture Competition and LAUNCH Startup Acceleratorgive students the chance to apply their education to real business practices with the end goal of acquiring seed funding for their startups
These initiatives are also an excellent opportunity to expand MBA students’ professional networks. The combination of coursework, taught by highly regarded professors, and real-life experience which exposes them to a network of organizations and business leaders, helps accelerate students’ professional path and provide them unique opportunities post-graduation.

Above-average starting salaries
Our research shows that Berkeley MBA students land positions with a median starting salary of $125,000 after graduation. That figure climbs to an average of $171,000 after three years back in the workforce. The US median is roughly $110,000.

These high salaries are made possible by a combination of Berkeley's proximity to tech hubs, the caliber of companies within Berkeley’s network, and the exceptional education Berkeley offers its students.

Specifically, a high percentage of Berkeley MBA graduates accept internships and full-time jobs at financial institutions, consulting firms, consumer products manufacturers, and technology companies located in the Bay Area. Among the top employers hiring Berkeley MBA graduates are:

  • Google
  • Adobe
  • Deloitte
  • Tesla
Each of these organizations is either headquartered in or has a significant presence in the Bay Area.

3. Moments for networking
From networking with students who could become your business partners (or even bosses), to the extensive alumni network and business connections already established at Berkeley, the ability to forge relationships as an MBA student at Berkeley is limitless.

One way Berkeley caters to the significance of networking is through our experiential learning and applied learning programs. Haas@Work, for example, sends teams of Berkeley MBA students to work with top executives at major firms, such as:

  • Visa
  • Cisco
  • Disney
  • Panasonic
  • Clorox
  • Wells Fargo
While working in these organizations, students research and develop solutions for a competitive challenge posed by the firm. The firm’s executives choose the best ideas, which are then implemented by the team.

Students also have the opportunity to strengthen relationships with each other through the vast number of co-curriculars, student-led activities, and treks. These are a significant component of the comprehensive MBA experience at Berkeley.

4. Attention to career paths
As you consider returning to school for your MBA, you’ll want to evaluate the career paths that are available post-graduation. While MBAs can take many paths, some of the most common sectors that Berkeley MBA grads enter after-graduation are the following:

Technology
Berkeley offers coursework that zeroes in on new economy enterprise skillsets like product management and marketing, operations, finance, business development, and strategy. Specific courses for a tech career path include:

  • Blockchain and the future of technology
  • Biotech & pharma opportunity
  • Technology & entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley
  • Hands-on rapid innovation
  • Innovation strategy for emerging technologies
  • Design & evaluation of development
  • Technologies intellectual property for tech entrepreneurship
Additionally, Berkeley students can attend the Play Digital Media Conference or join the technology, innovation, and design clubs to advance their understanding of imagining, justifying, financing, producing, and marketing their latest innovations.

Consulting
One out of four Berkeley Haas MBA grads selects a consulting career.

To enter into consulting, you’ll need exposure to a wide array of coursework, including

  • Design Thinking
  • New business development from a corporate perspective
  • Data science and data strategy
  • Strategic leadership
  • Corporate finance
  • Power and politics in organizations
Similar to other career paths, students with a focus in consulting have opportunities to acquire experience and skills in the industry before graduation. For example, peer advisors and members of the Haas Consulting Club assist with internships and interviewing skills for recruiting season. Additionally, the Career Management Group assists in job placement to help you find a position that suits your aspirations.

Finance
Berkeley’s finance program consistently ranks among thetop 10 programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. In addition to professors with renowned backgrounds in the sector, MBA students have the opportunity to join clubs focusing on:

  • Finance
  • Investment
  • Private Equity
  • Fintech
  • Venture Capital
If the financial career path is one you’d like to explore, Berkeley also provides its students with the chance to participate in national competitions like the Alpha Challenge,Impact Investing Competition, as well as participation in experiential learning opportunities like the Haas Socially Responsible Investment Fund.

Each of these opportunities enhances the overall MBA experience and creates real-world experiences for ongoing professional success post-graduation.

Are you ready to join one of the top business schools in the country? If Berkeley’s offerings align with your personal career motivations, we’d love to talk with you about applying for an MBA.

To learn more about the advantages Berkeley’s Bay Area MBA can provide for you, contact our admissions office today.

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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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Top Reasons You Should Get Your MBA at Berkeley This Year   [#permalink] 23 Jul 2019, 11:00

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