MBA course drills down on real estate
Students Louis Li, Sarah Walker, and Dimitar Goulev, all MBA 14, tackled a real estate challenge on Telegraph Avenue.
Not everything about real estate development can be contained on a spreadsheet, MBA students learned this spring.
“Buildings sink or swim on the developer’s mastery of core business disciplines,” says Professor Nancy Wallace, who co-taught the MBA Real Estate Investment and Market Analysis course with Professor Dwight Jaffee. “But the ability to think creatively across those disciplines is also a must.”
One student team applied creativity to a city plan to rejuvenate a Berkeley site surrounded by a vermin-infested lot, an abandoned storefront, and People’s Park. Their plan included preserving a historic mural, affordable housing, and a small grocery store.
Another team, tapped to address Cal Performances’ desire for a new facility, found shorter-term options appeared to have greater paybacks. “It’s a very real-world outcome,” says Wallace, “to find that very large-scale projects must be developed in stages.”
Reframing their challenge, students developed a plan to help Cal Performances expand revenue by leveraging Cal culture. “Our approach was inspired by Question the Status Quo,” says Brad Wolfe, MBA 13. “We have seen the power of the Haas Defining Principles as market differentiators and suggested a similar culture campaign for Cal Performances.”
Undergrad Program holds first Women’s Empowerment Day
As Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg was urging women to Lean In this spring, nearly a dozen successful alumnae did just that by returning to Haas to talk with 100 undergraduates at the school’s first Women’s Empowerment Day.
Kelly Wilson, BS 13, called the event “exhilarating.” “The women were candidly honest about the delicate balance of a successful career and personal relationships,” says Wilson. Among the advice she received: “The key to success is to have a supportive partner who will share the workload while encouraging professional growth.”
CPA Jennie Hoopes, BS 80, shared her experience working at a big firm, taking time off when her children were young, and returning when they got older. “The hardest part was the confidence that you lose when you take time off,” says Hoopes. “You need a mentor so you don’t lose faith.”
Haas@Work students prescribe digital remedies
What is the best way to help the estimated 347 million people worldwide who suffer from diabetes better manage their disease? That was the daunting question posed to students from the Berkeley MBA Program and School of Information this spring by Abbott Diabetes Care (ADC), a client of the school’s Haas@Work experiential learning course.
After generating insights on patient and health care provider attitudes, as well as the glucose monitoring and e-health landscapes, students developed and pitched several solutions and strategic partnerships to improve diabetes care. Students presented use cases, economic models, go-to-market plans, and ways to de-risk the trip to market though further research, experimentation, and pilot design.
“ADC was very impressed by how quickly the Haas team got up to speed on trends in diabetes care and by the breadth of ideas presented,” says Eric Davis, ADC’s director of new product innovation. “We are continuing to dig deeper to translate their concepts into real new products that we can take to market.”
Undergrads Embody Defining Principles
For the first time, Haas recognized four undergraduates with a Champion of Culture Award, one for each of the Berkeley-Haas Defining Principles, at commencement.
Brandon Pham (Question the Status Quo) served on the Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC) Senate as a freshman and interned in the Berkeley Mayor’s Office and the White House.
Lanny O’Connell (Confidence Without Attitude) played a critical role in applying his startup experience to a class project that required a business model and proof of forecasted success.
Hedy Chen (Student Always) was Berkeley’s first ASUC sophomore executive chief of staff and the only undergrad to participate in an MBA course that teams up students with nonprofits.
Michael Bloch (Beyond Yourself) organized student groups to raise money for Haiti, served as an ASUC senator, and created a nonprofit that offers free consulting to low-income business owners.
The awards were the brainchild of Haas Business School Association President Tyler Wishnoff, BS 13, who received the school’s Stanley J. Thompson Memorial Award. Wishnoff rebuilt the undergrad cohort system and chaired Haas and UC Berkeley’s senior gift campaigns. His favorite Defining Principle: Question the Status Quo.
“It’s easy to fall into the trap of mediocrity, but that’s not how progress is made,” he says. “You need people to Question the Status Quo, to say there’s got to be a better way.” Wishnoff did just that at Haas.
Make a difference in 15 minutes or less
Too often alumni think they don’t have the time or resources to give back to Haas. But there are so many ways to give back that don’t require you to write a check or commit a big chunk of time. These seemingly small five steps can add up, especially when many alumni take them:
- 1. Take the Call: When an alumnus or student you may not know calls you–whether it’s about a new venture or job advice—give 15 minutes of your time. After all, in the future you may be in a similar situation, seeking advice from an alum you don’t know.
- 2. Write an Alumni Note: The back of this magazine features our Alumni Notes—short updates from alumni about their personal and professional lives. They’re a great way to stay in touch with your classmates—and even network with other alumni.
- 3. Follow Haas in Social Media: Stay abreast of the school’s news by following and retweeting @richlyons and @BerkeleyHaas on Twitter and connecting to us on LinkedIn and at facebook.com/BerkeleyHaas.
- 4. Update Your @cal Profile: @cal is an amazing directory of more than 400,000 Berkeley alumni, including 38,000 Haas grads. Make sure your profile is current and allow others to email you through @cal. Creating the strongest @cal directory also will help you strengthen your own network.
- 5. Be a Berkeley-Haas Culture Carrier: The Haas Defining Principles codify our school’s unique culture and unite and distinguish us as alumni. Support Haas as a culture carrier by carrying your Berkeley-Haas culture card in your wallet and referring to it or the Defining Principles in conversation. Call the Alumni Relations Office (510-642-7790) to receive a card by mail.
Even more important, take actions that embody the Defining Principles. As a Student Always, take a class through our Center for Executive Education or promote the center at your company. Go Beyond Yourself like alumna Carol Meyer, BS 69, MBA 71, on page 18. Question the Status Quo, like hedge fund adviser Michael Belkin, BS 86, profiled on page 15. Or lead with Confidence Without Attitude, like alumni with international careers in our cover story.
We know you may not have time to take all of these steps right away. But taking just one or two will make a difference for Berkeley-Haas.
Rich Lyons, BS 82
“There is something different about Berkeley-Haas. At the cutting edge of all business schools, what truly separates Haas from the rest is the way in which students, faculty, and alumni are constantly challenging the status quo, redefining the terms and meaning of excellence, always with a special commitment to diversity and collaboration. In these and so many other ways, the Haas School reflects and contributes to Berkeley’s standing as one of the greatest universities in the world.”