10 Things I Learned at Haas

While I await my last class sessions (starting in April), here are a few things I learned at Haas. These are not to be taken as a full overview of the program or a record of everything you’d get out of Haas. However, I thought a little fun, ever-changing list of thoughts to get your own motor thinking about the Haas MBA and work-life was appropriate… in no particular order:
10. Your priorities always shake out when you’re in a time-crunch (which you will undoubtedly be in, if you work full-time, go to school part-time and have a life like us EWMBA’ers). In those cases, it’s good to keep organized and you’ll find out what’s important to you.
9. Every person you meet has something you can learn from. Never forget that. Doesn’t matter if that person’s supervises you, reports to you, is a colleague, a friend, has a dispute with you, or is in an unrelated field or position. Just another reason why networking is so important. And by the way, if you’ve ever met or talked to me, thank you for touching my life– I mean it.
8. There’s a fine line between confidence and hubris. You don’t want to waver far from that line in either direction. Unconfident and no one will follow you. Over-confident and you’ll bring yourself and others down quickly when you flame out (assuming they believe in your confidence in the first place).
7. Never be afraid to make a mistake. Use your concerns to prepare properly; but when it comes down to it, if you hinder yourself with fear, it’s all for naught. Besides, the best lessons are learned from our failures, as they say.
6. Learn how to improvise. We can’t just follow a script. What would be the fun in that? Dynamic interpretation and response. Learn the dance and relish in it. Good to go with your gut. Unless your gut always takes the easy way out. 😉
5. Almost everything is negotiable. And, some rules are meant to be broken (but not the law). Just don’t use that as your excuse when you get pulled over for a speeding ticket (and hopefully nothing worse).
4. Put in the work. Sometimes, things are just practice, practice, practice. Even when you think you got it down, you’ll find you forgot something or learned something new. Even when you “command from high,” lead by example and it’s easier for others to fall in line.
3. Never forget about your family and friends and all the people who made your journey worthwhile. Appreciate them and take the time to make sure they know it. This relates to #9, but it isn’t just about learning (which is important), but also sharing in the experience and remembering people for what they are: people. Not just floaty numbers, assets or what not.

2. Don’t always be so serious. Dedicate time to enjoy things and remember to see the humor in it all. That doesn’t mean joke around all the time to the point that nothing gets done, and make everyone else do the work. But a positive attitude and uplifting personality is worth just as much, if not more, than organizing logistics to the letter. Excitement for the challenge is one of the biggest motivators for teams, and a tight-lipped scowl doesn’t convey excitement. 🙂

1. The list will always change. I’m sure this isn’t an all-inclusive list. I hope to add to it (or see my fellow bloggers’ thoughts and yours). I was going to make this a “Top 9 list” (just to be different) but then it just feels right that the last point for this list is: it never ends, it never stops, it lives and breathes on through eternity!
Sure, a lot of this is common sense or may have been known before my time at Cal, but they’ve been reinforced time and time again during my Haas journey. Also, I should reiterate that I’m the guiltiest of people in not always using what I learned above, but as they come up so often, it’s always nice to share the common threads, ponder on them and grow from it.
‘Til the next time — looking forward to it.
– TL

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