EWMBA Summer IBD draws to a close

With the last team returning home earlier this morning, the first ever IBD session for Haas EWMBA comes to a close. For the past two weeks, five teams have been busy helping for-profits and non-profits with various challenges, across three continents and five countries. Along the way all twenty of us have had an opportunity to immerse ourselves in the culture of our host nations in ways few tourists can ever dream of doing. To read more about our experiences, check out the following blog posts:













That’s all folks!!

– Shamik

IBD Summer Pilot Program

Jambo! Konichiwa! Ni-Hao! Nomoshkar! Olá!

The International Business Development program has been a cornerstone of the Haas fulltime MBA for over 20 years. It is a unique program providing students an opportunity to apply their in-class learning in real life consulting projects. IBD clients comprise of both for-profit and non-profit organizations, and IBD teams have worked in more than 70 countries.

This summer the IBD program has opened its doors for the very first time to EWMBA students. As part of a summer pilot course (EWMBA 296.11), five teams of four EWMBA students each, will be undertaking IBD consulting projects across the world. Yesterday, in our first class, we discovered our projects and countries as part of the “Big Reveal”. The projects span a mix of both for-profit and nonprofit clients.  On the for-profit side, the projects include strategic analyses for SAP (Shanghai, China) and Box.com (Tokyo, Japan) and the development of a product marketing and sales strategy for ePrimeCare (Belo Horizonte, Brazil). The development of a primary health care strategy for Amar Lata Gramin Seva Foundation (West Bengal, India) and a strategy for the deployment of solar suitcases to health facilities for We Care Solar (Uganda) round out the non-profit projects.

In yesterday’s class we had a team from CapGemini Consultants come in and train us on project scoping and project planning. For the next five weeks, the teams will be working remotely with their clients from Berkeley. On July 7th, all teams will head out on the two week long in-country phase of the project to work directly with their clients on-site. My team (ePrimeCare, Brazil) has its first client call set for 6AM tomorrow morning – such are the realities of consulting across time zones. Here’s to an adventurous and exciting summer!!

That’s all folks!!

– Shamik

An ode to EWMBA Class of 2012

On my flight back to Berkeley for commencement tomorrow. Can’t help but reflect back on the experiences from the last three years.

On one hand, time has flown by as it always does when one is having delirious fun. On the other hand, it feels like so much has happened in the past three years. We no longer live in the same world. Steve Jobs, one of our greatest inspirations, is no longer with us. USA is no longer a AAA rated country. Most surprising of all, vampires are not cool anymore *ahem*.

Some events are so dramatic that I will always remember where I was and what I was doing when I first heard the news. One such event that will stay with me forever was Navy SEAL 6 team taking out Bin Laden. The operation was convoluted, risky and heroic. But against all odds, the team executed it flawlessly. For days, I stayed obsessed and followed every update on the mission. After a week of irrational “event-stalking,” I stopped to wonder what about this incident got me so fascinated.

Then it hit me.

The Navy SEALs remind me of someone very close to me – The Class of 2012. In some cases, I feel my class is even more accomplished than the SEALs.

I should explain.

The Navy SEAL program is famed to be tough – physically, emotionally and mentally. Sound familiar? That was first-year MBA. Now try first year along with full-time work, commute and family.

Only about 33% of the candidates that enter the SEAL program make it through. I believe almost all of the original class will walk tomorrow.

SEALs are trained to do impossible tasks. Well so are we. I need to use only two words to make my case – Amit Paka. Amit, a classmate of mine (and a total BFF), quit Microsoft about a year ago. He moved to the Bay Area to start his own company. In the past year, he has not only envisioned Flockish and released initial versions on iPhone and Android, he has also successfully navigated his company through an acquisition by eBay. Impressed yet?

To sum up – this is what I have to say to The Class:

Be bold. Stay inspired. Do fabulous things.

Most importantly, remember me when you achieve super-success.

Littlefield Technologies

It started as the final assignment for our EWMBA 204 – Core Operations class. It ended up as a three-day addiction and obsession. It took over all discussions on the EWMBA 2014 Facebook page. Several throwdowns, challenges and a nail biting finish later, the winner was crowned at 11:05PM yesterday night. It was over… the Littlefield Technologies simulation was complete.

Littlefield Technologies is an online simulation of a high-tech factory that brings together all the concepts from EWMBA 204. It runs for continuously for 3.5 days simulating an entire production year at the factory. In teams of four, we became the operations managers of the factory, making decisions regarding inventory purchases, factory capacity and capital investments, order sizes and contract types; all with objective of ending the simulation with the highest possible cash balance.

The simulation really brought home everything that we learnt through the semester. It also challenged us to use our core analytical skills in accurately predicting demand, supply and factory utilizations. With the simulation running continuously, it became an obsession to refresh the internet browser every few minutes to check on the status of our factory. Some of us stayed up into the wee hours of the morning just to make sure out factory stayed on track. Many strategies, regressions, moving averages and trendline analyses later, we ended up in 10th place. Oh well!! We did not end up on top, but we learnt a lot. The Littlefield simulation turned out to be one of the most exhilarating experiences in the EWMBA so far.

And now, time to head back to the non-simulated world …

That’s all folks!!

–          Shamik

Guest Blog: Women’s Entrepreneurship

The following post is from current EWMBA student, Oscia Wilson (EWMBA’13):

The MBA program has not only encouraged me to set ambitious goals, but given me the tools to execute on them.  After taking the core classes our first year, I pulled the trigger on launching my own firm over the summer break.  I wanted to attend some kind of conference or retreat with other female entrepreneurs, to learn the kind of things that you can’t get from school, and also to share in the camaraderie of the community of women who launch companies.  Strangely enough, I looked around and couldn’t find anything for entrepreneurial women that wasn’t tech-related or in a different state.

So obviously I decided to organize one.  The first annual Women’s Entrepreneurship Retreat will take place at the Asilomar conference grounds, March 9-11.  This retreat will be great for women who are already entrepreneurs, who are considering becoming so, or whose positions involve entrepreneurial thinking.  Take three days to get away to a beautiful seaside resort where you can meet other women like yourself, choose from lots of targeted skills workshops, and come away with a peer mentoring group.  Men, what a great gift to give your wife or girlfriend for Valentine’s Day!

There will be workshops in four different areas of study:

– Technical skills [Business formation, accounting and taxes for non-accountants, legal requirement of hiring people, etc]

– Managing people skills [Best practices in hiring and firing, motivating your team, negotiating, etc]

– Holistic approach [Improving health and nutrition to be more effective, the link between generosity and prosperity, transparent business practice,s etc]

– Marketing and differentiation [Growing your client base, using connections effectively, media-based marketing, public speaking, quantifying and articulating your value to the customer, etc]

Amazing things happen when women create a supportive community for each other.  Please attend and spread the word.



Can we MPAR again?

It’s been a full week since my fellow c/o 2013 friends and I returned home from MPAR.  Even though the spring semester is in full swing, I would be remiss not to speak about the awesomeness of the mid-program academic retreat.  The resort was comfortable, the staff was great and the weather was perfect.

First and foremost, a round of high-fives to my outstanding teammates Matt, Purav, Rohit and Sam of Team Erie.  We clinched the victory in Industry 5 of the retreat’s main event, the Capstone simulation.  The simulation ties together lessons from our core classes in an eight-round battle, running a commodities company in a competitive market.  The biggest lesson?  A great management team makes all the difference, but I may be a little biased.

Outside of the sessions, the weekend was for catching up with old friends and networking with classmates we haven’t seen since orientation weekend.  A few highlights include roasting the perfect marshmallow for bonfire s’mores, mastering the art of cup flipping and dice rolling, cramming into the resort’s bar to watch the 49ers take down the Saints, raising a glass with Prof. Schultz and defying physics with the people to golf cart ratio.

A solid weekend of learning and fun.  So, when do we go back?

Back from Abroad!

Alas, my semester abroad in Barcelona has come to an end and after four months, I’m back in the Bay Area.  It was an absolutely amazing few months, one that exceeded my expectations for the trip.  It allowed me the opportunity to travel through Western Europe, though I didn’t get to travel as extensively as I had hoped.  I managed to see much of Spain, France, and northern Italy.  But due to a very busy schedule, I left with a long list of cities still unvisited.

I also met an amazing group of people at the ESADE Business School in Barcelona.  The diversity of students from both a geographic and experience perspective was amazing.  I’m hoping that I get an opportunity to visit my extensive network of friends who are scattered worldwide!

It really was an eye-opening experience for me, especially since I’ve never lived outside of California.  The pace of live is vastly different, not to mention people’s daily schedules with dinner being eaten no earlier than 9pm.  Living without a car for 4 months was also a shock, though it’s easy to forego driving when the city you live in has an amazing subway network and distances to amenities can be measured in blocks instead of miles.

It’s been two weeks since my return and already, my daily life in Barcelona is slowly becoming a distant memory.  It has already started to feel as if I never left.    Still, I’m so glad I made the decision to study abroad, and that my work was able to accommodate my time off.  I’ve certainly created countless memories that will last for a lifetime.


If there is one thing you really get good at as you progress along the EWMBA road, it is multitasking; or rather, learning to switch between different tasks and make a lot of progress in short bursts. Fall B has proved to be more challenging than Fall A and things have also picked up quite a bit at my workplace. All of this has really brought out a need for thoughtful orchestration of my daily to-do list.

Financial Accounting is definitely something that becomes natural only after a fair amount of practice. Learning accounting feels somewhat like learning a new language with its own grammar, rules and non-intuitive nuances. It takes a bit of getting used to. However, it has definitely given me a fresh perspective on analyzing earnings reports and announcements. My ears perk up every time I hear about really rosy “non-GAAP” earnings or “one-time charges and write-offs”.

Marketing has been a blast – from truly understanding how customers value products, to critiquing companies tripped by the inventor’s dilemma, to learning about strategies for sustaining long-term product differentiation. To top it all – a business case on marketing and pricing contact lenses for – wait for it – chickens. For our marketing project, my team has been working on developing a market entry plan for a startup in the cosmeceutical industry. The level of access to the company, the quality of industry reports available via the Haas business library and the heated debates on strategic marketing options, have made each and every one on the team feel like a product marketing manager on the company payroll.

Well, its Friday night and time to hit the books…

That’s all folks!!

–          Shamik

Bidding for Spring

It’s a pretty chilly morning, but that’s not why I’m thinking about spring…it’s actually time to bid for spring semester classes!

After the first year of all-required core classes, your schedule becomes (almost) completely wide open. Since the Berkeley MBA is a general management degree, there are no set classes for concentrations. This means you can go as broad or as deep as you want, in whatever interests you.

This semester, I took negotiations, strategic brand management, and Problem Finding / Problem Solving (a required 1-unit design thinking course) and as I look to the options for the next semester, I’m realizing how few classes really remain. Since each semester is 6 units, and most classes are 3 units, I really only have 6 more classes to take, so I need to pick wisely!

I find so many classes appealing, it’s actually really hard to decide. As a second year, I get 1,500 points to allocate to my first choices of classes – third years get 3,000. There are two rounds of bidding for spring – so if you don’t get into the classes you want the first round, you get another chance for the second round. Plus, most classes have an add/drop period once the semester starts, so you get a third chance to get in off wait lists as well. The amount of points required to get into a course varies each semester, depending on what’s offered and student interest, so it’s hard to know exactly how to bid. But I was able to get into my classes on the first round last time, so I’m hoping my luck will hold for the spring!

Tonight we have a presentation on electives during the dinner break – so we’ll get to hear from various professors about the classes they’re offering – so we can decide wisely. I already have some thoughts on what I want, but I’m definitely keeping an open mind!

-Jennifer Caleshu