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

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

Experiential Learning

One of the highlights this year so far is the interactivity of my courses. For Problem Finding / Problem Solving I took a Learning Styles Inventory which indicated I am a concrete learner (as opposed to abstract). This basically means I learn through hands-on experiences, as opposed to observation. So, the more I get to actually try new things as I learn them, the better!

In Problem Finding / Problem Solving with Professor Sara Beckman, we’ve been using Design Thinking techniques to try different frameworks. This often involves Post-Its (see my Information Map above). I particularly like how the large format (my map is approx 3 feet x 4 feet) and temporary nature of the post-its encourages you to “play” with concepts. There’s something very freeing – and qualitatively different – from typing on a computer. It’s messy, and less ‘final’ – and even though in this case it’s not necessarily something you’d share with others because it’s too messy – it still helps me visualize connections and make new insights that I may not have had without it.

In Negotiations class with Professor Holly Schroth (which yes, is as great as everyone says it is!), we actually practice negotiating every. single. class. This is absolutely a discipline you can’t learn without doing, so each week we’re given a case and a role to play. Some of the cases are between two people, others are multi-party. You have to be very well prepared – the rule of thumb is that you prep five times as long as the negotiation is supposed to take. This week, we’re working on a ‘shadow negotiation’ which means we connect with other class members outside of class to “pre” negotiate before the actual negotiation – it’s both part of the prep work by learning what’s important to your negotiating partners, and actively influencing them by sharing what’s important to you. It’s been very illuminating to try on the roles and practice your technique live, and with immediate feedback, each week.

In Strategic Brand Management with Professor Lynn Upshaw, my team just turned in our Customer Experience Audit. We picked a brand (Gap in our case) and analyzed their brand position, customer touchpoints, and marketing strategy and made some recommendations. It’s been very illuminating to look at a brand in real time – one of the comments we made in our paper was how so many of the postings on Gap’s Facebook wall are of fans posting pictures of their children in Gap clothing. And yet, it seemed Gap wasn’t participating in that outpouring of loyalty – no ‘likes’ or comments on the photos. And lo and behold, today Gap posted a photo album of their favorite fan photos! So it’s nice to see an insight acted upon (even if Gap had no idea we made the insight.)

– Jennifer Caleshu

Back and trying to get over the first year hangover…

It’s officially autumn and we’re already a month into the fall term for the 2nd/3rd years. And I thought 1st year flew by 🙂

I am a 2nd year student, used to be a Gold (Tue/Thu) last year although this year I have a combination of evening and weekend electives. Part of the reason for my switch is that work has become more hectic and I can’t take off early as often. I work with a South Bay based Hi Tech company as an engineer/technical manager. Another factor for this transition was that during the 1st year I found myself missing more than a few events during the weekdays. I am hoping to alleviate this with my weekend classes this fall.

Taking 4 classes in the fall, although it’s still a net of 6 credits. The good part is that the classes are staggered so that at no point of time I have to manage all four simultaneously. In fact I’ve only been balancing managerial accounting past few weeks. M&A and Risk Management start next weekend while Designing Financial Models won’t start for another 4 weeks.

I have also been involved in a few extra-curricular activities at Haas since my first year. I am a co-chair of the EWMBAA communications committee and am one of the editors of the eZine, the EWMBA newsletter. While I was apprehensive about whether I’d be able to manage this additional involvement during 1st year, in hindsight it was great to be a part of the thriving EWMBA student government. Folks involved in this effort work hard to make our experience as EWMBA students better. My colleagues find time from their busy lives and drive initiatives to improve our experience as Haas students, whether it’s academic or social or technological or …you get my drift. EWMBAA elections are around the corner and my suggestion to the first years is to try and get involved. At the very least, see if you can volunteer for one of the committees.

In one of my previous posts I promised to compile my top-n experiences from the 1st year. Here’s my top5 aha moments from the 1st year, in no particular order.

  • Communications Class: Experience of a life-time! This two-Sunday class was an ice-breaker and helped our cohort really connect with each other. Prof Rittenberg and his GSI’s were great.
  • Workshops: Haas Career Services organizes more than a hundred workshops over the course of an academic year. Some of these are soft-skill workshops (work-life balance) while others are hard-core quant/excel domain workshops like “Training the Street” focused on financial modeling for valuation/LBO/M&A etc.
  • Parties/Henrys/Jupiter/Bennigans: Our cohort had an end-of-the-year party in the city. Good old-fashioned bar-hopping/clubbing through the night. At various times we sneaked out to Henrys during the class break. Or shared a laugh after class in the South Bay shuttle and finally ended up at Bennigans at 11 in the night after a long day. Work hard, play very hard!
  • Course Projects: Almost half of my first year courses had group projects. Good opportunity to work with a diverse set of smart people. We accomplished a lot but more importantly built long lasting relationships.
  • Not just surviving, but smelling the roses: Work, school(academics+extracurriculars), partying, family(first-baby!), I’m glad to have not just survived, but enjoyed every moment of it.

    …until later,


Doesn’t feel like summer…yet

And Weather’s only part of it.

After the helter-skelter life in the past two semesters I was almost apprehensive about a quiet summer. Turns out I had no reason to be so. Work has kicked up a notch and our 3-month old has become more demanding 🙂 However, I’ve been able to catch up with my classmates with 3-4 events (Birthdays, Happy Hours, and so on) in the last few weeks. The annual end of the year party just finished with a Bar-Be-Que in the South Bay as well. And, the 2nd year evening cohorts are have a Sailing-Wine-Mixer two weeks from now (feisty Catamaran with Wine and chit chat).

In the midst of all this I am enrolled into a 1 unit Summer Course – Financial Statement Modeling (along with our fellow bloggers Anlei and Deanne). Can’t believe that I’m almost done with it. Next week’s the finals and then truly no classes until Fall. (And finally a complete weekend to myself).

Congratulations to all the new admits! As Tim said, enjoy your summer and things will become really hot in the fall. If you have any questions do not hesitate to get in touch with the student ambassador who reached out to you.

I started my top “n” list of experiences in the first year but in the hustle bustle of the past month I’ve not been able to complete it. Will post it soon.

Then and Now

As Tim and Divyang give a glimpse to the life of a first year, I look back with fond memories and a sense of relief that I’ve crossed that bridge. Indeed, it was rough, and it seemed that some of us recovered quickly enough to consider taking summer courses, while others like myself felt like summer could have been just a little longer to aid in the recovery.

So what’s different this year?
– Classes are 15 weeks for the semester as opposed to two 9 week sessions each semester.
– I sleep about 7 hours a night instead of 5 hours.
– On weekends, I’m only in Berkeley about once a month for seminars, whereas last year, I was going to Berkeley at least every Saturday or Sunday for optional discussion sessions (on top of my typical 2 class nights during the work week).
– I walk into a class about 5 minutes before it starts instead of 15 minutes early trying to get “my” seat 🙂

And I’m looking forward to MPAR (Mid-Program Academic Retreat) in January where we’ll be working hard in teams on a business simulation. Unlike the initial retreat that took place before our first year, this time we’ll know a lot more folks and have a chance to enjoy our peers at their best 🙂