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.

New Admit Series – Part I

Sonny: Here’s a guest post from Shamik Bandyopadhyay (class of 2014) who recently started his first year in the EWMBA program. Shamik has the unique perspective of having made a decision to move to Bay Area from Seattle in order to be closer to classes and other EWMBA folks. To find out how he made the transition and what he would do differently if he had to do it all over again, read on…


I moved to the Bay Area a couple of weeks back. My move had been in the works for a while. As I started my applications for Haas I also started engaging with current students and alumni to get to the bottom of the question – “Are you better off commuting to Haas on weekends, or being a Bay Area local?” My conclusion was that it’s a matter of personal choice. The program is designed to be very commuter friendly. The program office and the professors go out of their way to make sure the program works for commuters.

For me, it came down to a desire to both be deeply engaged in the Haas community on a day-today basis and to work in the Silicon Valley. It was a big decision, given that I was a Round 3 applicant. I barely had a couple of months from the time when I received my acceptance letter, to the start of class. In this short span, I had to find a position in my firm’s Silicon Valley office, relocate and settle down. I learnt a lot of lessons and given a second chance I would do things differently. Let me share with you what I learnt, so you can prepare yourself better if you decided to move to the Bay Area:

  • Apply in the early rounds:  If you are planning to move to the Bay Area, apply in Round 1 or Round 2, the earlier the better. This would give you ample time to cherry-pick your job in the Bay Area, settle into your job and truly plan out and manage your relocation.
  • Get your statistics and math pre-requisites out of the way:  If you apply in the later rounds and plan to move after receiving the admission decision, get your pre-reqs done early. Start your necessary pre-req courses or take the waiver exams well before you even receive your admission decision. Finding a job and managing your relocation while trying to complete a pre-req class is definitely not fun.
  • Give yourself time to settle in: Moving to a new location and settling in is not trivial. There are a lot of little things that add up. Moving your stuff, finding a new apartment, getting your car registered, getting a California driver’s license (they make you take the dreaded written exam), getting your insurance and bank services transferred over and on and on. The list gets pretty long and you really need to find time to get all of this taken care of before the start of class, while drinking from the fire hose at your new job.
  • Enjoy the summer activities: The fun starts well before Orientation weekend. This summer there were at least half a dozen happy hours and dinners, a picnic and a few other outings for the Class of 2014 – all before we had even started reading a single page from our textbooks. These events really help you to get to know your classmates and get comfortable in your Haas community. Add to that the all-day Accounting Review Workshop, and Haas starts filling up your calendar pretty quickly
  • Enjoy the sunshine: If you are moving from some of the sunshine deprived cities and states, you need to give yourself time to just stare at the sunny blue sky. There has not been a single cloudy day in the past two weeks and I find myself just staring out of the window trying to convince myself that it can actually be sunny most everyday.

That’s all folks!!