Dara McKenzie, IBD Program Coordinator, has been an integral part of the IBD Team for over four years. Dara is responsible for coordinating all international travel and accommodations for over 100 MBA candidates. She also supports the IBD Team, managing client contracts, and accounting for both clients and students. Executive Director Kristi Raube reports that Dara’s “upbeat, can-do attitude makes (her) a great member of the IBD team.” We wanted to share a little more about Dara with the IBD community. Please enjoy the following interview with Dara
Question: Where are you from and how did you end up in the Bay Area?
Dara: I am from Boston, born and raised. Four years ago, I decided to move to California on a whim. I had visited only once before, but I knew I wanted a change — so I packed my bags and bought a one-way ticket.
Question: Tell us about your career here at Berkeley-Haas. Why did you want to work here? What do you do here at Berkeley-Haas?
Dara: I first saw a posting for this position while I was working in Engineering as an admission specialist. I was immediately intrigued at the international component of the job, so I jumped at the chance to apply. Luckily, I got the job, and it’s been one of the best choices I’ve made. I’m the program coordinator, and I work with students, clients and staff on everything ranging from travel and contracting to accounting and much, much more.
Question: What is your favorite part of IBD?
Dara: My favorite part of IBD is interacting with students and hearing about their in-country experiences. I also love the Big Reveal—it’s the first class of the semester when they learn who’ll be on their team, what project they’ll be working on, and what country they’ll be working in for three weeks at the end of the project.
Question: What is the hardest part of your job?
Dara: The hardest part of my job is contracting. I have no legal background, and often times I’m the intermediary between two different organizations and their legal teams trying to come to an agreement on a contract. Although it’s a long and tedious process, I have to admit I’ve learned a lot from the contracting experience.
Question: If you could pick one Berkeley-Haas principal that is your favorite right now, which one and why?
Dara: My favorite Berkeley-Haas principle is Student Always — I strongly believe there’s always something new to be learned, and I’m grateful to be in an environment that not only encourages this but gives me the opportunity to pursue this principle every day.
Question: You travel a ton, tell me about your favorite place. Where would you like to go next?
Dara: This is a very hard question, because I’ve visited so many wonderful places. If I have to choose just one place, I would have to say Jamaica. My family is from Jamaica, and I’ve been visiting there since before I could walk. I’ve been to Jamaica a number of times, and it’s always been a blast, from the culture and people to the weather and nightlife — it’s never a dull moment. Jamaica is very laid back and everyone is always happy. My second choice would have to be Paris.
I have yet to visit Asia, and I’m hoping my next trip will be to Hong Kong or somewhere in Southeast Asia — maybe to Singapore or Indonesia.
Question: What is one thing on your bucket list that you have crossed off and one that you still have to accomplish?
Dara: One thing I have crossed off my bucket list is snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef.
That was an incredible experience and one that I’ll never forget. One item on my bucket list I have yet to cross off is to visit all 7 Wonders of the World. Although there are many different versions of this list, I can say that so far I’ve visited two of them (the Colosseum in Rome and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia)