Dan Kanivas (right), MBA 12, with Lt. Col. Eric Kail, his battalion commander in Korea

Joel Gutierrez, of the Berkeley-Columbia Executive MBA Program, says his military experience has given him the ability to “tolerate a lot of multiple tasks and prioritize,” as well as “a great sense of humor to lighten the atmosphere when things get tense.” Gutierrez, BCEMBA 12, is one of a group of veterans at Berkeley-Haas with not only combat training  in common, but an interest in rounding out leadership skills they’ve honed in the military with those they are gaining in Berkeley MBA programs.

Blake Coleman, of the Evening & Weekend MBA Program, just returned from a flying trip for the Navy, and says Haas has “greatly broadened my spectrum of experiences.”

“The business-school approach to problem-solving often comes from a very different angle than the rigid approach taken by the military,” explains Coleman, MBA 13. In his Equity Valuation and Negotiation classes, for example, he has learned a more flexible approach to problem-solving and, particularly from Negotiations, that many problems have multiple solutions. As a military aviation man, Coleman feels he brings a mindset of having a goal, being objective, and “attacking the complex questions posed in class.”

Dan Kanivas, MBA 12, is finding that his U.S. Army background, including the time he spent in Korea and Iraq, is helping him find his leadership style. “The most effective leaders in the Army did not rule with an iron fist and they were well liked,” Kanivas (pictured above) says. “Even in the Army, you would invite dissent. But then, once the decision was made, everyone had to march to that step and follow along.”

Kanivas was a summer intern for the Prudential Capital Group in San Francisco, and even though there is no direct connection between fixed-income investing and the military, Kanivas says, “the interpersonal skills I learned in the Army are huge. You have to convince the customers to trust us and our team.”

All appreciate the welcome they’ve found at Berkeley-Haas. “Veterans need to know that UC Berkeley, and especially Haas, are very receptive to veterans and the military,”says Gutierrez.

A number of the vets connect through the Haas Veteran’s Club, which recently participated in a panel with undergraduate veterans to discuss the graduate application process. The club hopes to soon bring its 30 members together in a mixer with Berkeley Law veterans.

As for what veterans bring to Berkeley-Haas, Dean Lyons reflects on how those who bring the military spirit of service to their studies align well with the school’s four defining principles: Question the Status Quo, Confidence Without Attitude, Beyond Yourself, and Students Always.

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