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?

Summer, Summer, Summertime

Now this is a story all about how,
My life got flipped and turned upside down,
And I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there,
I’ll tell you how I survived my EWMBA first year.In Berkeley and Santa Clara, tired and dazed,
In the classroom where I spent every Saturday,
Problem sets, case studies, papers all cruel,
Ten units in the spring seemed like just too much school.
We analyzed firms, why they were up to no good,
Started talking GDP with Mr. Wood,
Got addicted to Littlefield, to see how we compared,
Hit up Henry’s after class for a couple of beers.

I prayed for passing grades and when the end came near,
Facebook posts entertained, speculating Greg’s career,
If anything I think we were exhausted to tears,
But I thought nah, forget it, we’re almost there!

I walked out of my finals, around 4PM,
And I said to my classmates, “it’s the end of our first year!”
Looked at everyone, we were finally there,
To sit on our thrones, now as second years!

Mythbusters – Haas EWMBA Edition

Mythbusters is an awesome show on the Discovery Channel. The premise of the show focuses on proving and disproving common myths using various scientific methods. After a long unintentional Mythbusters hiatus, I happened to catch an episode yesterday on my plane ride to Taiwan (more about that later). The show got me thinking about frozen newspaper boats (great episode) and the many myths of the Haas EWMBA. I’m not going to lie; I thought I had a good idea of what I was getting myself into when I started this part-time program over three months ago. But, just like the show, some of these myths were ‘busted’, albeit not always in a scientific way. So, I present to you: Mythbusters – Haas EWMBA Edition.

Myth #1:
I was a Haas undergraduate business major. As a Haas EWMBA student, I will be relearning mostly the same things, just with a new set of classmates.
We probably learned 16 weeks of undergraduate microeconomics material in the first class. In financial accounting, most (if not all) of what I learned as an undergraduate isn’t even part of the core curriculum as an EWMBA. It was the pre-course workshop. The learning approach is also quite different. As an undergraduate, it was more about memorization and number crunching, whereas, the current curriculum is catered towards every day management and decision making. And trust me, it’s not any easier the second time around.

Myth #2:
I work in marketing/advertising. Why do I need to know (insert core class)? Can’t I just hire a (insert subject matter expert) if I need one?
The beauty of the part-time program is to be able to apply what you learn in class immediately at work. Just this past week, I referenced every single class I’ve taken thus far. I was on a conference call with a client and was able to explain the budget accrual process and the back-end accounts receivable reversals. Next, in a request to the yield management team for a discount pricing exception, I calculated the opportunity cost as part of my argument for approval (and approval was granted). Lastly, I put together a 90-day plan for management development focusing on early wins and excellence in execution. Instant application is amazing and totally under rated. Meghan, Nancy and Suneel would be so proud!

Myth #3:
It is impossible to take personal vacation during the school year.
As I mentioned earlier, I am currently in Taiwan and will be going to Japan in a couple of days. I’m taking advantage of no classes on Thanksgiving weekend and celebrating turkey festivities with peking duck and sashimi. Some of my fellow classmates are doing the same with trips to Belgium and Hawaii, to name a few. With the ease of emails, conference calls and PDF notes, it’s easy to stay on track with homework and in touch with group members, even if you’re 5000 miles away. Heck, I have classmates who travel to Argentina and China for work during a normal week and they still manage to not miss a beat.

Consider these myths BUSTED.

Knock Knock…

Who’s there? Joann. Joann Who? Joann Hu! (really, that never gets old)

I’m another one of the new kids on the blog. I’ll piggy-back off of Jennifer’s post and share a little bit about myself. I was born in Taipei, Taiwan. I currently live and work in San Francisco. My Starbucks drink of choice is a double tall no foam soy latte. I hate parsley and cilantro. I was an undergraduate Haas student. And, as Sonny mentioned in her previous post, I also used to write for The Daily Californian, UC Berkeley’s independent student newspaper. I was a sports writer and had the opportunity to cover a variety of sports, including men’s soccer, tennis and women’s softball. I even had a chance to interview Natalie Coughlin, the 11-time Olympic medalist, while she swam for Cal. As you can tell, I’m a pretty big Golden Bear sports fan.

Last Saturday, Cal football hosted UCLA for our annual homecoming game. Coincidentally (or not, thanks to the EWMBA program office), the weekend cohorts finished their first session of classes and we were done for the day at noon after our Microeconomics final. How did I celebrate the end of MC=MR and Performance=A*S*E? With a 35-7 win alongside 60,000+ of my closest friends at Memorial Stadium, of course.

My first piece of advice (of many more to come in the future): Attend a Cal football game. It’s an all-around great experience. Even if you’re not a football fan, the Cal Band puts on fantastic half-time performances, such as last week’s “Sounds of Latin Music” and the famous video game show. I believe the athletic department may even offer discounted student tickets (3rd degree price discrimination). If and when you do attend a football game or any other Cal sporting event, I would advise you not to wear anything red, or be prepared to spend the rest of the game shirtless/hat less/sock less.

If you need any other game day fashion advice, I’m here to help. GO BEARS!