Introduction, Giants, Elections …

Wow, those are some great introductions. Welcome Archit, Jennifer and Joann. You guys have a fun few years of blogging in front of you, savor every minute of it (Uhh…that’s probably my senioritis kicking in).

Here’s my brief intro keeping with the introduction season. My name is Divyang Agrawal (Div). I started my 3rd year this fall and am hoping to graduate next year. When I started school back in ‘08, one of my goals was to really enjoy the Haas experience, academic and more importantly the amazing world outside of academia. In the past 26 months I’ve lived my goals by engaging in a variety of endeavors. From being the editor of eZine, the EWMBA magazine, to running for office as an executive member of the EWMBA association; from taking voluntary consulting assignments to finding myself stranded on the beach after a late night “field expedition”. Haas is now a part of my life, and my family’s life, what with my son being born 3 days before the Core Finance Exam. Now that was some timing. I should add that my first year Finance Prof was very understanding 🙂 If I ramble more it’s going to sound like a retirement speech and there’s still time for that so let’s move on.

So I have classes Wed (Corporate Finance, which incidentally has a midterm next week) and Sat (Negotiations). Today, the Negotiations class was in South Bay allowing me to watch the entire NLCS Game6 after a short ride back home. The Giants really tried to make things difficult for themselves but finally came through. I am not a big baseball follower. Back in 2002 when the Giants last entered the World Series, I didn’t really appreciate the game having come to the US less than a year earlier. Over the years I started understanding some of the nuances but most recently I think it’s the sweeping Giants fever that has just made me a convert.

The Giants are celebrating today and hopefully they’ll be celebrating even more in another 2 weeks. The upcoming midterm elections will also have quite a people celebrating by that time. Our own Haas EWMBA Association election winners will only get to celebrate by 2nd week of November though. Every year the Haas student community elects its four executive officers (President, VP, Treasurer and Secretary). This year’s slate is now out and we have 10 candidates in the fray. Good luck to all of them. For my fellow bloggers, make sure to vote once the elections open next week. This is a great tradition and these 10 people have stepped up to challenge the status quo and make a difference in our Haas experience. Please encourage your friends, project mates, classmates to exercise their franchise and choose the next executive team at Haas. And don’t be surprised if some of these candidates show up for campaigning in your next class!

Freedom, Parties and Elections

The end of this week marks the end of the semester for me in terms of academic responsibilities. And that is freedom indeed. A little early you ask? Yes, it is a little early. I opted to take two 2-unit classes which meant that my finals and lectures only went through the early part of November. Although it’s not viable to do that every semester, I was extremely fortunate to be able to do so this fall because of some 1-unit courses I had taken last year. Once my group paper gets turned in for Competitive Strategy, it will really be time to party.

The week my Managerial Accounting final was taken, I got to celebrate by going to the annual Haas Gala event. This year, UC Regent Richard C. Blum was honored as well as recent Nobel Prize Winner Oliver Williamson. Here I am with my fellow EWMBAA executive team members Amy Daily, EWMBAA Secretary, and Vijay Bhaskaran, EWMBAA Vice-President. Who is that other guy you ask? That’s Professor Paul Tiffany, whom has taught all three of us some form of Strategy (yes, it’s for his class that I have this 25+ page paper due). Three out of four executive team members this year have been challenged to consider new ideas by Professor Tiffany’s teaching. All kidding aside, it’s great to be able to mingle with alumni, professors, and other distinguished honorees and guests at the gala event.
As for elections, it’s hard to believe that a year has passed since I hit my own campaign trail and ran for EWMBAA President. Now, we’re in the process of listening to campaign speeches by new candidates, including our very own blogger Divyang Agrawal. Good luck Div!

Elections@Haas

It has been a historic election year, but elections are just now coming to Haas!! The EWMBA association and various clubs are holding their elections this month to establish the leadership teams for the next year. You may have read or heard that at Haas it’s all about collaboration, but did you know that this is really embodied in the way the leadership teams for different student run organizations are setup. Each association strives to elect a “Co-President”. We believe in sharing even the most coveted positions, and believe in listening to other opinions. Personally I feel this provides a great balance between decision-by-committee and my-way-or-highway.

The election process starts when platforms are invited for different positions up for grabs. Each candidate whether it’s for a co-president, vice-president (and there are a few of these such as vp-careers, vp-alumni, vp-communications, vp-admissions, and so on depending on the type of organization) or one for any other position, is required to submit his/her vision for the position and a game plan for the next year. This “platform” is then sent out along with the candidate’s background to the registered voters. This year almost all of the elections have been online via surveymonkey type of tools. Each candidate has tried to differentiate him or her (self) during this process and watering holes like Henry’s and Jupiter have been witnesses to “socials” where some of these platforms have been articulated. In fact I’ve had the opportunity to talk to a few candidates who were camped out in front of Jimmy Fifo’s café during evening breaks. All in all, a very exciting process with a real attempt to engage students across the spectrum of Haas’ current batches.

Election platforms did bring out some of the populist concerns shared by EWMBA students. There are some which can be mitigated with the help of school authorities – improving air conditioning, moving the video-taping from its current pre-historic setup to something which is more cognizant of the Haas brand. But there are still others which really require student commitment – networking between the 1st, 2nd and 3rd year students, forums for interaction between current students and alums and so on. At any point of time, there are over 700 students in the EWMBA program from hundreds of organizations in and around the bay area. Wouldn’t it be exciting to talk to someone who’s already working in an industry or profession that you want to target as a potential career destination?

Anyway, before I end, I want to wish all the candidates a big Haas “Good Luck”! I know the students and staff appreciate the passion and the willingness to change the status quo ya’ll have exhibited by throwing your hat in the ring. And to all the other EWMBAers, no matter who you vote for, make sure you vote. Take the time to read the platforms, and talk to the candidate if you have any questions or concerns. These are the people who will be driving issues which impact your daily lives.

– Div

Seasons of Change

What an exciting year it has been so far. With elections over and Obama as the new President Elect, it certainly is a “time of change.” Note: I can’t help but wonder whether this phrase alone will be repeated a million times over in the next weeks/months/years–I’m already sharing in that conspiracy. 🙂

Speaking of change, since my last post, it’s already midterms in the second set of first-year Fall classes (say that ten times fast). I think I’m already looking forward to Thanksgiving and a brief break (and turkey).

For me, Accounting has been a bit dry– we’re preparing for a midterm this Saturday, and some problems take a while– but practice makes perfect, I suppose. My wife is actually a CPA– though she’s now switched to something else that is detail-oriented: pastry and baking arts (go figure)– and has been able to give me some tips. One of her best ones was to just write off mismatches as “immaterial” (don’t worry, she was joking). 🙂

From my perspective, it definitely has made sense that we understand how to read and use financials, but I share many classmates’ frustrations in learning the sometimes painful ins and outs (read: the rules and procedures).

In Marketing, there are reinforcement of concepts from our previous Organizational Behavior class (like the adoption curve, with chasm included; Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, etc.), which makes sense if you expand OB to the behavior of our customers. The marketing class has also had many eye-openers for how to properly scale opinions on differentiators, create marketing strategies and identify routes to success and common pitfalls (e.g. customer vs. product-focus), etc. Speaking of which, BusinessWeek had a recent marketing-related article on how luxury brands are having to act more rational in this economy (http://www.businessweek.com/print/magazine/content/08_45/b4107060250193.htm)– it’s always nice to tie in current stuff!

By the way, we here on the blog site welcome constructive comments! Feel free to let us know what thoughts we may have piqued– or whether you agree, disagree, or have your own thoughts. Always nice to hear from other students, prospective ones or alum.

– Tim
P.S. Loved that extra hour of sleep from “Fall back” (daylight savings).

October Sky

With the month of October nearly over, the capricious stock market is as up-and-down as it’s ever been, work is kicking into high gear for some (possibly in preparation for tying off loose ends before holiday absences), and there has been the obligatory flood of political calls, flyers and letters with upcoming November elections/ballots (joy).

Thus, it’s a mere drop in the pond to put our first wave of Haas B-school finals behind us as first-years. But it is good to acknowledge the feat, and also to have that benchmark to see how well we’ve performed in our first chapter at Haas. For others, grades mark the momentous event of requesting tuition reimbursement to employers too!

At this point, there are still a ton of activities happening at Haas, including the Halloween Party, Haas Alumni Gathering, MBAA elections, Dean Speaker Series and more. Several of us went out to the San Francisco Food Bank for the Annual Volunteer Day, a few weeks back, and enjoyed sharing a fun time together, while helping the community.

All in all, it’s a busy time for everyone, no matter which angle you take. We are well into acclimating to new classes (Marketing and Financial Accounting, as Div mentioned), and to the teaching styles of our new professors over here in first-year land.

I don’t have any real point in this blog entry, other than to give a quick update on the goings-on. However, it is definitely nice to pause, take stock, and subsequently, re-evaluate and re-focus energies a bit. The challenges faced have been very rewarding, but the first-year has to be treated almost like a marathon– one has to pace and make a consistent effort to succeed!

To end on a high note:

  • Somehow it’s still high-70’s to low-80’s F out here in Northern California! Beautiful..
  • New TV episodes are still being aired (Heroes, anyone?), for those who can eke out the time, and…
  • The NBA season started yesterday! I’m sure I’ll find a way to spend a few minutes rooting on the Warriors at some point (what’s left of ’em anyway).

Onward, toward the holidays—and a pre-emptive Happy Halloween to all!

– Tim

A Round of Congratulations!!

Another exciting semester is coming to an end. Congratulations!! to all those who are graduating. I envy all the free time that you will start to enjoy.

The EWMBAA elections were held and we have elected our new officers – Jasmin Young – President, Krupa Singamapalli – Vice President, Dhiren Bhatia – Secretary and Amandeep Singh – Treasurer. Congratulations!! and best of luck for the next year. The EWMBAA is the student body that works with the Haas administration to provide feedback and continue to improve the experience for EWMBA students.

Now that the Fall semester is almost over – I can almost feel the winter break coming. Some of my classmates will be going to the New York Wall Street trip and the Hong Kong trip. There are others who will be going to Brazil and India for the Seminar in International Business. But for, I better complete my Competitive Strategy paper and work for my Corporate Finance final exam.

Election Time!

Well, it’s Election time at Haas. That means the student body is in voting mode for selecting officers for the EWMBAA (Evening and Weekend MBA Association) and for many of the student clubs.

What does this mean? For many (including fellow blogger Dutta who is on the campaign trail), it means putting together platforms so that students know your plans for promoting the Haas brand, for improving student services, and making Haas an even better place than it already is. For the rest of us, it means free cookies, pencils, brownies and more brought to us by outstanding candidates as they promote their platforms at the start of our classes and during break time.

These folks are amazing (or slightly nuts – or maybe both). Full time job, school, kids, and now, being an officer too…inspirational!

Time to go vote…