On this Veterans Day, we would like to recognize all the men and women who have served in uniform past and present. We are fortunate to have veterans among our student ranks here at Berkeley-Haas. They exemplify our Defining Principle of Beyond Yourself and their global perspective and leadership enrich our community. Thank you for your service.
Making it even easier for industry innovators to attend, >play, the Berkeley-Haas digital media conference, this year moved across the Bay to San Francisco’s Nikko Hotel and from Saturday to Friday; Non–student attendance doubled over last year. Below, five more things about >play 2013:
1. Who made it happen: Co-chairs Noa Elan and Chao Li, both MBA 14, along with 67 MBA student volunteers
2. Broken records: 600 people in attendance–the most ever.
3. “Always On”: A Body Electric panel on wearable technology and a Cutting the Cord on Cable panel were two ways of exploring the “Always On” theme.
4. Just one observation:
He is dedicated as well to supporting the entrepreneurial aspirations of others. In his time here, Jung has already vetted startups for two business incubators, co-written a paper covered by Forbes, and launched an experiential cross-disciplinary elective.
“At Haas, it has been a lot about the Defining Principles of Question the Status Quo and Students Always,” says Jung. “To me, this outlook was a huge advantage in thinking about what I wanted to get out of the experience and how I would move toward gaining skills.”
Jung came to Haas with experience managing a portfolio of VC relationships for Silicon Valley Bank. “I got to see a lot of ventures up close through this work and wanted to learn more about building successful startups myself,” he says.
Much of Jung’s opportunity capture has come through the Haas Venture Fellows Program. He applied to Venture Fellows soon after arriving on campus, interested in the opportunities to meet with leading VCs, help fellow students hone their entrepreneurial pitches, and be part of evaluating ventures for Berkeley’s SkyDeck startup accelerator.
Venture Fellows also gain hands-on experience through a required project. For his, Jung teamed up with Byron Deeter of Bessemer Venture Partners to write a white paper exploring pricing strategies in cloud computing.
“Byron is one of the top VCs for enterprise software,” says Jung of the opportunity to work with Deeter, which came through a connection in the Haas Alumni Network. “Byron is very influential in Bessemer’s thinking, and they are one of the top investors in this area.” Their paper has been posted on Bessemer’s site as well as written about on Forbes.
Jung has also helped launch Cooperative Innovation, a cross-disciplinary team-based course in which students develop and launch new products or services in conjunction with local nonprofits and international organizations. Jung’s team, for example, is working with Sanergy in Kenya on an in-home toilet for use in Nairobi slums that uses chemical waste processing.
Jung also weighs in on pitches from UC Berkeley startups hoping to work with the SkyDeck accelerator and he is a member of the Bay Area investment team for the Dorm Room Fund, a national student-run venture firm investing in student startups. “It’s been a great experience for me to meet passionate student entrepreneurs working to solve big problems and to support the growth of the startup ecosystem at Cal,” Jung says.
These myriad learning opportunities have reinforced Jung’s original goal: “Building the skills to take an idea and turn it into a successful business is fundamentally what I came to Haas to do and what I’m still focused on. Having the freedom to explore at Haas has allowed me the space to pursue these interests and initiatives,” he says, adding, “Access to all of these great opportunities would not have been possible at other business schools.”
Indiegogo Co-founder Danae Ringelmann, MBA 08, shares the story of how her Berkeley MBA experience helped her build the leading international platform for crowdfunding—an industry that did not exist when she began her career at Haas.
By guest bloggers Will Leuchter-Mindel and Danielle Platt, both MBA 15
The Sports Business Club is one of the dozens of industry and “extra-curricular” clubs that first-year students like the two of us could join as we started our time at Haas. We can safely say we picked well. Members range across the spectrum of having worked in the sports industry, being interested in the sports industry, just enjoying sports, or just enjoying fun. A Career Trek, for some additional context, is a slightly abstruse term that could describe almost any trip with a career focus. Typically this involves visiting interesting companies and meeting the interesting people that work there.
The last weekend in September, we had the tremendous opportunity to join a Sports Business Club Career Trek to Portland, Ore. On Thursday and Friday, we went to the headquarters of Columbia, Adidas, and Nike (maybe you’ve heard of them), as well as to Wieden+Kennedy (the advertising company that created Nike’s “Just Do it” campaign), and to the Portland Timbers/Thorns stadium (Major League soccer men’s/women’s teams). At each location, we had meetings with Haas alumni or connections in roles ranging from strategy, marketing and brand management to product innovation and creative production to finance and operations. We got to ask questions, make good contacts, and see how our MBA skill set might fit in at each firm.
We also had the opportunity to try and locate a non-compostable garbage can in one of Portland’s hippest “pour over” coffee shops (hint: it doesn’t exist) and to tour some of the city’s tastiest breweries on a 20-person bicycle (this does exist).
On Saturday, we drove to Eugene, met with the Director of Marketing for the University of Oregon’s Athletic Department, and braved a Pacific Northwest typhoon at the notorious Autzen stadium to watch the Cal Bears take on the #2-ranked Oregon Ducks. On Sunday, we returned to the Portland Timbers stadium to watch a soccer game and experience the most intense soccer fan-base in the nation.
We were busy.
It was a wonderful experience in so many ways. We had unbelievable access to people at some of the most exciting and well-known brands in the world and it was a truly invigorating reminder of the opportunity that Haas provides. As a first year, the thought of career management can be more than a little bit daunting., but our fearless leaders put together an all-star line-up of activities that left us feeling excited, not anxious.
Louis Li, MBA 14, gained insights on the ROI of going green, thanks to a summer internship at Verizon as part of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)’s Climate Corps. Climate Corps dispatches students to corporate clients as energy problem solvers and shared this interview with Li on the EDF Climate Corps Blog:
Name: Louis Li
Hometown: Hong Kong
School: Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley
Host Organization: Verizon
Q: What is one interesting fact about you that might surprise people?
A: In the past seven years, I have worked and lived in several very different places. I have worked in Hong Kong, Beijing, Bangladesh and currently reside in the United States. I am currently attending school in California, and spending the summer working for Verizon in New Jersey.
Q: Why did you want to join EDF Climate Corps?
A: I am very interested in the intersection of the environment, business and technology. EDF Climate Corps links my three interests together, providing insight into the business case for energy efficiency. Also, investing in energy efficiency is one way to have a great environmental impact. In terms of professional development, EDF Climate Corps is a great program that provides training, and places fellows with companies and organizations where we can make a meaningful impact.
Q: What did you work on this summer?
A: I have primarily focused on energy efficiency opportunities at data centers. I am also involved in a solar energy and fuel cells project, which will help provide power to roughly 20 Verizon facilities across the United States.
Q: What is the most difficult part about tackling the energy efficient data center project in your opinion?
A: One of the most difficult parts is finding the best way to fast track a project. I think that people want sustainability improvements, but they also have many other priorities.
Q: Have you found ways to overcome this?
A: I think it is very important to have an internal champion for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. My supervisor, Alan Scott, is quick to make new connections with key stakeholders within the business who can also help drive results. Second, I must be thoughtful when I shape the project scope and identify what my priorities are in order to execute in a timely manner. I also must consider other people’s time and make sure I focus on high value projects. And in order to attain approval for moving a project forward, we must reveal the project’s value to our customers and the business.
Q: What is one thing you have learned this summer?
A: I have learned a tremendous amount about energy efficiency, especially in regards to data centers. I also gained a tremendous amount of experience in understanding the return on investment of going green. And in my conversations with Verizon’s IT team, I have learned much about real world applications and strategies for success.
Q: What have you learned from your supervisor, Alan?
A: I have learned a lot just by looking to Alan as a mentor. Alan is always meeting new people and networking in a large organization to help solve challenging problems. He is continuously working to improve the sustainability of the business, and keeps customers at the forefront of what is important. Alan knows how to quickly explain what he is trying to accomplish and how to achieve results.
Q: What is the best part of working at Verizon?
A: Sustainability is embedded in the culture here at Verizon. The company has a dedicated sustainability team overseeing many different green initiatives, from clean energy to paper reduction. They work hard to provide powerful solutions for real-world issues. There are also more than 12,000 employees that are part of Verizon’s “Green Team,” which practices and promotes “working green and living green,” so it is energizing to be around so many people who share my values.
Q: What is the mark you want to leave on the world?
A: I want to solve environmental and business problems at the same time. This is the reason I joined an MBA program with a focus on clean energy. It has been inspiring to part of the team here, and I hope to one day inspire others.
A team featuring Haas faculty, staff, and a PhD student teamed up Tuesday to run the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge, which raises funds for San Francisco’s Larkin Street Youth Services.
Assistant Professor Alastair Lawrence put out the call for runners and got ten takers to form a Haas team for the 3.5-mile footrace, including faculty members Zsolt Katona, Leif Nelson, Marcus Opp, Christian Puscasiu, Richard Sloan, and Catherine Wolfram; PhD Student Kate Ashley, of the Operations Management Group, and staff members Cathy Garza, Marco Lindsey, and Monica Porter.
“I thought this would be a good opportunity to bring faculty and staff together and to start a new tradition,” says Lawrence. “It’s a highly regarded event in the business world and it was nice to have Berkeley-Haas be represented with businesses in the area.” Lawrence hopes to expand Berkeley-Haas presence in future years.
Find a recap of the event here.
From powering pearl milk tea shops to revving up local restaurants, an undergraduate consulting initiative is working to help local businesses boom.
Kiron Chandy, BS 14, is president and co-founder of the new program, Consult Your Community (CYC) at UC Berkeley. Chandy got her first taste of consulting when she offered marketing assistance to a Bay Area dry cleaner. She was 14 years old, but saw even then an opportunity for business and philanthropy to intersect.
“I’d walk in with my dad and we would casually talk with the owners about marketing strategy. They wanted to promote that they were the first in the city to use green technology and I realized I had the skills to help,” she says. Chandy designed a website for the cleaner which led to a photo opp with the mayor and an influx of new clients. “I saw that the work I had done made an impact and they were so thankful they gave me free dry cleaning after that,” she says.
CYC provides pro bono consulting services to low-income and minority small business owners in college communities. Launched February 2013, CYC has been featured in The New York Times and rapidly expanded to 15 college campuses nationwide, including Harvard, Stanford, and Columbia.
Recent Haas graduate and Founder Michael Bloch, BS 13, and winner of Haas’ Beyond Yourself award at graduation, saw the need for an organization that would help students develop business experience while also giving back to the local community. Last spring, he jumped into action, recruiting Chandy to take the reins in Berkeley while he promulgated the initiative nationally.
“So many organizations flounder after a change in leadership,” says Bloch. “I was graduating, so I needed to find people who were passionate about our mission who could continue the great work we’ve been doing this summer, from recruiting board members to getting nationwide publicity.”
The CYC model helps small businesses to develop strategies for sustainable growth, students to gain consulting skills and hands-on experience, and consulting firms to develop promising talent. CYC is negotiating partnerships with McKinsey & Company, Bain & Company, and Deloitte Consulting, who have agreed to offer training, advising, and support.
“As students, we saw potential to help these businesses because, in many cases, we are their best customers,” says Chandy. “We know what we’re looking for in the services they provide, so we have an active interest in trying to help.” She points out that small businesses constitute over 99% of employer firms in the U.S., yet many struggle to stay afloat. “Only half of small businesses make it to their fifth year,” she says.
Last spring, the Berkeley chapter consulted a small grocer, a Korean restaurant, and tapioca drink (pearl milk tea) shop. CYC founding member Andrea Perez helped the grocery store with a marketing campaign and says customer acquisition was the challenge, not loyalty. “They are known for their sandwiches by their most loyal customers, but people just walking by wouldn’t even know they had a deli.”
CYC has set ambitious goals, aiming for 25 chapters and 800 members serving 100 businesses in 2014. The Berkeley team put in long hours this summer, many of them interning by day and working in the Haas Undergraduate Lounge by night.
Sophomore Kristie Chang recently joined CYC as a marketing intern to be part of a cause that helps people. “As an account executive for the Daily Cal, I hear a lot from local businesses fighting to barely break even,” she says. “This made me wake up to the fact that we as students can do something about it. We all have some business knowledge, and they are people who can really make use of it.”
Asked to describe the ROI on his executive MBA studies at Haas, Matthew Cooper, MBA 11, has no difficulty with the calculation: Lifelong connections and 25 percent of the funding for his new venture, Carmenta Bioscience.
Cooper, previously Global Head of Non Clinical Safety Information at Roche, co-founded Carmenta in April 2012. The startup is developing a highly accurate diagnostic test for preeclampsia, a high blood pressure condition affecting pregnant women that can lead to life-threatening seizures. Cooper, who nearly lost his wife to preeclampsia, says, “I am passionate about making this disease irrelevant.”
Apparently, several of his classmates are as well. When Cooper went out for a recent round of funding, this group of alums from the Berkeley-Columbia Executive MBA Program (Haas now offers the Berkeley MBA for Executives Program) invested nearly $500,000 of the over $2 million raised by Carmenta.
Among the investors are Tim Campos, MBA 11, CIO, Facebook; Bala Kudaravalli, MBA 13, IT architect, Symantec; Sonal Sinha, MBA 11, VP, industry solutions, Metric Stream; and Krishna Srinivasa, MBA 11, VP, Manthan Systems. Cooper, who also holds a PhD in toxicology, was greatly moved by the support, but says he knew he had chosen the right MBA colleagues before he even began the program.
“I initially had a very difficult time choosing between two EMBA programs,” Cooper says, “but I went to admit receptions for both and was most impressed by the attitudes of people in the Berkeley-Columbia program. They were genuinely interested in you as a person and what you wanted to accomplish. They were all impressive and completely without attitude and that was extremely refreshing.”
Bitten by the entrepreneurship bug at Berkeley-Haas, Cooper, previously “a big company guy,” launched one venture while earning his MBA. Then, as an adviser for the SPARK biotech accelerator at the Stanford School of Medicine, Cooper was approached by two Stanford professors, Atul Butte and Bruce Ling, to discuss their research on preeclampsia. Cooper immediately became a strong advocate for their research. “Atul and Bruce subsequently asked me to join and lead Carmenta’s commercialization efforts,” Cooper says.
He was so “all in” that he left his previous venture and sold his house to seed Carmenta—a level of commitment that did not go unnoticed by his BCEMBA colleagues. “A number of them approached me about investing, but I had to hold them off,” says Cooper. “I was uncomfortable accepting funds from my friends and colleagues until I had bona fide life science investors on board.”
An initial bid to raise $300,000 resulted in more than twice that, so Cooper increased the stakes to $1.8 million and opened the door to additional investors. That funding round closed oversubscribed at $2 million, with a quarter of that coming from Cooper’s BCEMBA colleagues.
“The investment in Carmenta was at its core a great business opportunity,” says Tim Campos, “but it was also an opportunity to do something with someone that I have grown to respect and appreciate. I would consider investment with any of my classmates—a cohort of incredibly smart, ambitious, and capable people—who have great business ideas. I see this as a perfect example of what Berkeley-Haas has to offer to its alumni network.”
Cooper agrees. “Beyond the financial support, there was a ton of advice, guidance, and mentorship from many of my classmates,” he says. “I am so glad to be able to share this potentially lucrative opportunity with them and work together towards saving lives of mothers and their babies.”
Experience in M & A due diligence for a “Big 4” firm sparked Landon Mizuguchi’s interest in getting involved with a wider array of financial transactions. “After speaking with friends and soon-to-be classmates, I knew that investment banking was a perfect fit–I could develop skills in valuation and business strategy, and continue to work on M&A transactions, while also advising clients on IPOs, takeover defenses, debt offerings, and all things corporate finance.” This summer he interned in the San Francisco office of a global investment bank.
Student: Landon Mizuguchi, MBA 14
Thrilled to be with this investment bank because: “This firm has such a strong culture of promoting teamwork, doing right by clients, and adhering to a set of business principles that resonate with me personally. And the people are quite similar to those at Berkeley-Haas: insightful and impressive, yet pleasant and down to earth.“
Can’t believe he’s getting the chance to: Participate in live M&A negotiations. “This experience provided me with invaluable insight into the tactical approaches and preparation necessary to execute large-scale transactions.”
New skill applied: Financial modeling. “Over the course of the internship, I worked on several financial analyses, including discounted cash flows, merger consequences, comparable companies, and leveraged buyouts.” He says his Corporate Finance and Mergers & Acquisitions courses provided the theory and context necessary to conduct these analyses in practice.
Banking Geeks Out: “Our SF office periodically holds ‘Geek Out’ sessions where an employee presents the art or science behind an interesting topic. One Managing Director (“MD”) shared his secrets behind earning/using Frequent Flier Miles, and, during our internship, summer analysts/associates taught the office about subjects ranging from unique forms of electricity, to the art and history of DJ’ing.”
Advancing career goals by: Learning. “I am working on interesting transactions with incredible people who have loads of experience, so whether I remain in investment banking or pursue another path, this internship has been wonderfully rewarding for my career.”