The Adventure Begins, Team Ananda in Bangkok

Written by Kevin Cottle, Gian Gentille, Jordan Taylor, Mike Solarz and Elspeth Ong

Lunch with fellow classmate and IBDer, Harsh.

Lunch with fellow classmate and IBDer, Harsh.

After a whirlwind week of finishing finals, packing up our apartments and saying goodbyes to our friends in Berkeley, our team of five – Elspeth, Mike, Kevin, Gianfranco, and Taylor – headed to Southeast Asia to complete our consulting project for Ananda, a premier real estate developer in Thailand.  Ananda, founded by a Haas alum, is one of the largest condominium developers in Bangkok.  We were tasked with conducting a competitor analysis and developing a growth strategy plan to help Ananda achieve its aggressive growth targets. 

Team Ananda in front of Marina Bay Sands

Team Ananda in front of Marina Bay Sands

The Adventure Begins

The team decided to take a detour en route to Bangkok and spent the weekend before our official start date in Singapore, our team lead Elspeth’s home country.  Harsh, another classmate and IBD team lead, was also in town and the two of them were incredibly gracious hosts, showing us all of their favorite Singapore hotspots.  We explored Orchard Rd, Clarke Quay, Gardens by the Bay, and the beautiful Marina Bay Sands hotel, where we took breathtaking photos of the city.  We enjoyed an incredible dinner with Elspeth’s family and a great day at Sentosa, definite highlights of the weekend.  The weekend was the perfect start to our Southeast Asian adventure and was a nice mini vacation prior to arriving in Bangkok and hitting the ground running with our client.

       Enjoying dinner with the Ong Family.

Enjoying dinner with the Ong Family.

Ananda Week 1

Our client met us in the lobby of our hotel Monday morning to bring us to the office, which was conveniently located next door; the proximity proved to be a huge blessing as we came to know the huge challenge that is Bangkok traffic.  We spent the first week introducing ourselves to key stakeholders within the company and conducting interviews to validate the work we had done in Berkeley.  We spoke to employees who had worked at other real estate development companies and pulled on the expertise of strategic business development VPs.  We made use of consumer surveys and other market intelligence research the company had conducted and incorporated all of this new information into our analysis.

By the end of the first week, we had validated our competitive analysis processes and reworked some of our strategies based on client feedback.  We had spent most of our time with our main point of contact, Khun Lloyd, who was incredibly generous with his time and went out of his way to ensure we had a proper introduction to Bangkok.  He kept us busy with lunches and dinners throughout the week, and it quickly became evident how important relationship building is to doing business in Thailand.  We had also discovered the magic of Thai massages and began planning our spa visits for the remaining time in country!

Angkor Waaaat

After our first week of work, we headed out to Siem Reap, Cambodia!  Our trip to the airport was our first real taste of Bangkok traffic and we ended up using multiple modes of transportation, running through the streets and the airport, and convincing an airport employee to help us cut the immigration line in order to make our flight.  The crazy travel experience was well worth it and we very much enjoyed our time exploring various temples in Siem Reap and hanging out at our fancy Airbnb, equipped with a pool in the living room.  We had a relaxing day on Sunday at Phnom Kulen where we swam and played in waterfalls all day.

Team Ananda in action at Ankor Wat

Team Ananda in action at Ankor Wat

Week 2

Week two began with a day of site visits to both Ananda and competitor properties.  We were impressed by our client’s showrooms and model units, which clearly stood out from their competitors.  The attention to detail and beautiful interior design made us all want to invest in Thai property!

The team contemplating purchasing some Thai property

The team contemplating purchasing some Thai property

The rest of the week was spent conducting final research and putting the finishing touches on our final presentation deck, which we presented Friday of Week 2 to the CEO and our main points of contact, Dr. John and K. Lloyd.  The presentation went well and we had a great discussion about our recommended strategies, learning that many of the workstreams we suggested were already under consideration. Additionally, we discovered our client’s passion for technology.  The team is quite visionary and frequents tech hubs such as Silicon Valley and Tel Aviv to scope innovations that could be used to improve their properties and/or work processes.

All smiles after the final presentation.

All smiles after the final presentation

Week 3

Having completed our presentation and main assignment at the end of week two, we spent week three networking and exploring Bangkok.  Our client put a strong emphasis on us using our time in country to understand Thai culture and life in Bangkok and encouraged us to use week three to gain this knowledge.  We met with another Berkeley alum, K. Paul Ark, who heads up the VC arm of SCB, one of Thailand’s major banks.  We connected with a Haas 2015 alum who started his own VC fund and learned more about his post-Haas experience and the work he does in bridging Thailand and San Francisco.  We are grateful to have had this free time to further explore Bangkok and to gain a deeper understanding of business in Thailand.  We feel spoiled to have been connected with so many interesting people and feel lucky to have spent these three weeks at Ananda.  We look forward to staying in touch with our new contacts and will see many of our Ananda contacts in August when they visit the Bay Area!

Competing with Team Indonesia’s teddy bear mall picture

Competing with Team Indonesia’s teddy bear mall picture

Exploring the old Siamese capital of Ayutthaya

Exploring the old Siamese capital of Ayutthaya

Tackling the Youth Skills Gap in Uganda: An Update from Makerere University

Written By: Team Makerere, Hans Klinger, Elizabeth Foster, Matthew Hamilton, Jeannie Valkevich, and Carolyn Chuong

Our sweet ride while in Kampala that we affectionately call the “Mute-mobile” (our IBD team is creating the strategic plan for the Mutebile Center at Makerere University)

Our sweet ride while in Kampala that we affectionately call the “Mute-mobile” (our IBD team is creating the strategic plan for the Mutebile Center at Makerere University)

We arrived in Uganda around midnight, which meant we needed to wait an extra day to see the bright blue sky, rich red clay, and lush green foliage of East Africa. However, what we didn’t have to wait for were the bright smiles of the welcoming Ugandan people. Charles, one of our clients at Makerere University, was awaiting our arrival with a Berkeley baseball hat, personalized sign, decaled car, and a grin ear to ear. This would become standard during our first week in-country, when we would meet Makerere students, university professors, the Governor of the central Bank of Uganda, the Prime Minister, and many others.

Our team is working specifically with the Makerere University Private Sector Forum (PSF), which was established 11 years ago as a public-private partnership in the country’s largest and most prestigious university. The Forum’s mission is to bridge academia and the private sector to foster socioeconomic development throughout the country. It’s now launching a new center, for which our IBD team is creating the strategic plan, that will address the youth skills gap in Uganda.

Jeannie Valkevich demonstrating how to create a journey map

Jeannie Valkevich demonstrating how to create a journey map

Before arriving, and continuing into our first-week in-country, we’ve conducted over 50 interviews across what our client calls the ‘trinity’: Academia, the Public Sector, and the Private Sector. Part of the process was understanding the student perspective and, in particular, their pain points as they enter the workforce. To that end, we carried out a design thinking workshop for 23 students, led by our team’s former rockstar teacher (and timekeeper connoisseur) Jeannie. After a silly icebreaker that involved some pretty embarrassing dance moves on our end, we asked students to draw out their “journey maps.” Students mapped out the high points when they felt encouraged and confident about the career development process, as well as low points when they felt confused or discouraged. Given that the students were overflowing with ideas Jeannie had her work cut out facilitating the group discussion.

Matt Hamilton showing off his flawless dance moves during the icebreaker

Matt Hamilton showing off his flawless dance moves during the icebreaker

The workshop really started to get rolling after the break. Four groups of students, each paired with one IBD team member, began to ideate on potential programming for the new Center. After diverging, we encouraged students to converge around an agreed upon set of programs. The groups came up with a number of creative ideas–everything from a student-run farm, to a marketplace to share student ideas with the private sector, to a cross-faculty idea sharing platform. The groups then presented their ideas and recommendations (Shark Tank style) to PSF leadership. And they weren’t shy about asking questions or challenging each others’ proposed programs. As we closed out the session, we had to cut off half-a-dozen raised hands and ask them to keep the conversation going after the workshop. It was pretty inspiring to see how much energy the students had at the end of the three hours. One of the PSF staff members Patrick remarked afterward, “Our students often feel like their voices don’t matter–they were so happy to have their perspective considered.”

Hans Klinger working with the students as they begin to converge on a program idea for the center

Hans Klinger working with the students as they begin to converge on a program idea for the center

After wrapping up the design workshop, we headed over to the Parliament of Uganda to meet with the Prime Minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, who just happens to be a Cal Alum. Dr. Rugunda has been a staunch supporter of this new center at Makerere University from the start. Before getting down to business, he was eager to hear which states in the U.S. we hailed from. He was back on campus just a few years ago for a class reunion, which I’m sure made some of his classmates feel unaccomplished. Apparently, Berkeley hasn’t changed much since 1978. He also mentioned there was an East Africa Berkeley reunion in Kampala just a few months ago–pretty cool knowing there’s a Cal Bears community in this part of the world. Before heading out, we gave Dr. Rugunda a Cal pennant as a gift, which we’re sure certain he’ll hang behind his desk, right next to the flag of Uganda.

Left to right: Jeannie Valkevich, Matt Hamilton, Khamisi Musanje (Makerere University), Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda (Prime Minister of Uganda), Carolyn Chuong, Beth Foster, and Hans Klinger

Left to right: Jeannie Valkevich, Matt Hamilton, Khamisi Musanje (Makerere University), Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda (Prime Minister of Uganda), Carolyn Chuong, Beth Foster, and Hans Klinger

More to come from Kampala soon!

IBD in the World

IBD Director of Development, David Richardson and Executive Director, Kristi Raube, have been traveling around the world the last couple months meeting with alumni and prospective clients to talk about the IBD program.  In fact, Kristi and Dean Lyons were all in Santiago, Chile, this past week at the spectacular venue, Los Majadas de Pirque.

Haas Alumni in Santiago at Las Majadas de Pirque

Haas Alumni in Santiago at Las Majadas de Pirque

120 Haas alumni were in attendance, including the Chilean Haas Alumni Network Chapter President, Marcello Vasquez ( ’02) and one of the owners of Los Majadas de Pirque, Pablo Bosch (’15).  Pablo is also an IBD alumnus and in 2014, he went to Haiti to work with the Haitian Education & Leadership Program (HELP), which provides scholarships to low-income, high-achieving Haitian college students.

David’s travels took him to Bogota, Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires, this past week and Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Beijing in October.  Meanwhile, Kristi has been to four continents in the last 3 months.  Her travels have taken her to Nigeria, Ghana, Sweden, Norway, Shanghai, Ecuador, Vietnam, and Chile.  All the fruits of Kristi’s and David’s travel will soon reveal themselves in January when the 16 team leads will be assigned to their projects.   We can’t wait to reveal the clients, projects and destinations in March 2017.  Stay Tuned!

Berkeley-Haas alumni dinner in Bogota

Berkeley-Haas alumni dinner in Bogota

Please enjoy photos from both of David’s travels.  To view photos from David’s trip to Latin America, click here and to view photos from his trip to Asia, click here.

Dinner in Hong Kong with Berkeley-Haas alumni James Man and Alan Cheng

Dinner in Hong Kong with Berkeley-Haas alumni James Man and Alan Cheng

The “United Nations Delegation” to Ghana

IBD team members Kaajal Baheti, Pedro Navarro, Howard O, Hassan Rashid, and Cecilia Toscana traveled to Accra, Ghana to work with Ashesi University, an innovative, private liberal arts college founded by Berkeley Haas alum Patrick Awuah (MBA ’99).

One Peruvian, one Guatemalan, one Chinese-American, one Indian-American, and one Pakistani-American in Ghana… sound familiar? The United Nations in a nutshell. It wasn’t until we got to Accra that we realized our diversity across cultures, ethnicities, personalities, work styles, and even religions. A team that was so different that it balanced itself out perfectly.

One of the main reasons why I signed up for IBD was to get a chance to learn from an international client. I couldn’t have imaged that I came out of the experience learning as much, or even more, from an internationally diverse IBD team. I learned that Guatemalan enchiladas are very different than Mexican enchiladas, that the Peruvian football team made it to the 1982 World Cup (crossing my fingers for Pedro that it happens again soon), that Chinese characters are based on ideas that build upon each other, and that northern Pakistani mountains are more beautiful than the Swiss Alps.


The IBD team at Ashesi University, from left to right: Hassan Rashid (MBA ’17), Kaajal Baheti (MBA ’17), Cecilia Toscana (MBA ’17), Howard O (MBA ’17), Pedro Navarro (MBA ’17)

We continued to embrace our unique interests during the three weeks we spent together—from learning Hassan and Howard’s new card games despite not having any electricity, to making it a team mission to watch the Champions League finals live over tapas for Ceci and Pedro. As we arrived in Cape Coast for a weekend getaway, much to my excitement, the team even jumped on the idea of learning Western African drums and dance. (Ask any of us to show you the chicken move or swing move next time you see us! We’d be more than happy to perform.)

The IBD Ghana and IBD Côte D’Ivoire teams met up at Cape Coast and took an African drumming and dancing class.

The IBD Ghana and IBD Côte D’Ivoire teams met up at Cape Coast and took an African drumming and dancing class.

5 different ethnicities, 4 different religions, 3 home countries, 2 dietary restrictions, 1 project and many nicknames later—this experience would not have been the same without this unique combination of bright, funny, hard-working, caring, loyal and ridiculously diverse teammates.

The Challenge: Transforming a Continent
The founder of Ashesi University came to us with a grand vision to help develop the next generation of leaders to transform Africa and solve its biggest challenges. Ashesi had achieved remarkable success in a short time, and now, it wanted to develop an Institute to scale its successful model and share its best practices with other education institutions. After 3 months of working remotely, we finally arrived to Ashesi campus and, even though we had already seen pictures of the campus, it was much more gorgeous than we could imagine—a perfect place to spend the following 3 weeks.

In our time in Ghana, we conducted interviews with different stakeholders, all of them passionate about revolutionizing education in Africa, to validate our findings from previous research. What we found was that the higher education system in Africa is broken, resulting to high rates of unemployment, corruption, and little innovation. There is gap that Ashesi can help to fill, and other education institutions were eager to learn more about Ashesi’s secret sauce.


The IBD team brought over 1,400 Post-Its to Ashesi for brainstorming with the community.

We facilitated an ideation session with internal stakeholders where we validated Ashesi’s core competencies that the market was demanding and the programs to deliver them. During the last week, we conducted a pilot with potential customers interested in the Institute to test which programs were the most appropriate and effective to achieve the Institute’s goal.

With all these inputs, we created a comprehensive business plan that we presented to the Executive Committee to recommend the implementation of the Institute and start working with a potential customer as part of a pilot initiative to validate our findings.

Patrick Awuah (MBA ’99), center, and the Ashesi University Executive Committee with the IBD team

Patrick Awuah (MBA ’99), center, and the Ashesi University Executive Committee with the IBD team

The Ashesi Family
The people at Ashesi made our time in Ghana truly memorable. From setting up workspaces to finding a bespoke tailor, our gracious hosts ensured that our stay was incredibly smooth. Ashesi provost Marcia shared her remarkable experiences and found a connection with each of us, from working at FC College in Lahore to doing an exchange program in Peru, to having her daughter working in Guatemala City. Patrick was the inspirational leader we heard so much about, and he inspired us to think broadly about the impact our project could have for higher education across Africa.

Ashesi means ‘beginning’ in the Akan language, and our team is very much looking forward to the beginning of the Institute when it launches—hopefully, a future IBD team will have the opportunity to be a part of this meaningful transformation.

Haas Undergrad Seeks (and Finds) Spanish Perspective

Javier Rapallo, MBA 00

“Berkeley-Haas is everywhere,” wrote Nathan Tudhope, BS 14. Tudhope is in Spain this semester and, while in Madrid, looked up Haas alumni and found a few dozen of them. He connected with Javier Rapallo, MBA 00, managing director at Deutsche Bank. In this Q & A on the Haas Undergaduate Students blog, Rapallo discusses his junior high school experience in small-town Maine, business customs in Spain, and Confidence Without Attitude as the most important of the Berkeley-Haas Defining Principles. Though he adds, “All four are outstanding principles and important in education and business.”

“Javier is a great example of someone who came to Haas bringing with him his international work experience, his culture and his language,” wrote Tudhope. “It is clearly evident that he got a lot out of it, and doing this interview is a great example of what he is putting back into it.”

Alumni Spotlight: Angela Dorsey-Kockler – Dual Degrees and a Delicious Career

Angela Dorsey-Kockler EWMBA 06, RD, a native of Lacon, Illinois, first came to California to complete her dietetic internship, which would allow her to become a registered dietitian.  Since she was passionate about her work and her independence, and wanted to stand out in her field  she came to Berkeley to continue her education.

Working full-time and attending Berkeley-Haas at night, Angela was driven to complete her MBA.  During her tenure at Berkeley, Angela worked as an Infant Nutrition Representative for Nestle, USA, educating physicians and nurses about infant nutrition products. Once graduated, Nestle promoted Angela to a Marketing Associate.  She says her Haas experience taught her to be competitive and confident and gave her the essential business skills she needed to take on this new role.

Though grateful for the exposure and experience she received at Nestle, Angela was happy to move on to a smaller, more entrepreneurial firm called Promax (an energy bar company).  There she was able to have her “hand in many pots,” which made the work more demanding, but also more interesting and fulfilling,.

Angela found success, – not shocking given her determination to “do [her] own thing,” and consequently, all those pretty letters after her name.

Currently Angela works as a stay at home mother, yet still gives back to her field and community by volunteering as the President of Portland Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The organization aims to promote the success of RDs in their communities as well to improve the health of local citizens through food and nutrition.

In her current volunteer role Angela applies her Haas foundation to the great work she does. Managing volunteers to maintain focus on the common vision presents challenges, but she is excited to be learning more about non-profit work.

Angela is taking steps toward her ultimate dream job, which would be to own and run a non-profit restaurant for low-income, high-obesity families in her community.  The idea would be to provide an affordable alternative to people in need of a fast food option due to time constraints. Angela is thrilled about this “next phase” in her life, and the entrepreneurial dream really does suit her reality.

In her free time, Angela works on edible landscaping, and even envisions a chicken coop in her backyard to further promote ecologically and financially sustainable foods in her own home. Her work and her goals are truly inspiring, and she advises that Haas grads be open minded to all opportunities they may come across.  This “wavy curvy road” can lead to many places you wouldn’t predict, she says, and indeed it can. Admittedly, “it’s scary to go out and try something new,” but Angela is proof that it is well worth the risk.

Risky business meets its match as team Triplejump hops, skips, and jumps through Auckland


Team Triplejump is working for a company providing human capital risk management solutions through a cloud-based platform. They want to expand the business globally and are exploring a licensing strategy for major banks and accounting firms around the world.


The Haas network remains strong even in the farthest corners of the world.  We were welcomed at the airport by ’04 alum, Ross McConnell, a Non-Executive Director at Triplejump, who served as our liaison for the project and hosted us in the New Zealand countryside for our first weekend in town.









Arrival in Auckland, New Zealand










Pukekohe, New Zealand


Following some sightseeing and a drive on the beach, we ventured into Auckland on our first night where a future member of the Haas class of 2015 joined us for dinner and drinks in the Central Business District of Auckland.



Haas Dinner at Agents & Merchants in Auckland with Ross McConnell (Haas ’04) (top center)  and Andrew Hinton (A new Haasie! Class of 2015) (top left)


We then enjoyed a traditional Kiwi roast (for the meat-eaters among us) with the team Sunday night before getting to work Monday morning.



Our Project

Since January we have been working with Triplejump, exploring expansion opportunities for their human capital risk solution.  Triplejump provides a breakthrough solution to managing human capital risk for small and medium sized enterprises and has been successful offering this solution through its franchise network in New Zealand for the past seven years.  Though successful, the franchise business model is not scalable on a global level, and Triplejump has been exploring licensing their IP to commercial banks and accounting firms which can serve as distribution networks, bringing these solutions to their clients around the world.  We have been researching a number of value propositions to the potential licensees, above and beyond the proven revenue and profitability benefits this offering would bring.  Initially we were tasked with looking into the hypothesis that there was the potential to reduce the capital reserves required by banks under Basel III, by reducing the risk of issued loans to firms which utilized human capital risk solutions. After much research and a number of interviews with industry experts in the US, we found that this was unlikely and had to change our focus.  Fortunately, our work uncovered several other potential value opportunities.  We explored those with the strongest potential value: increased cross-selling enablement, regulatory risk management, and an improved lending portfolio, but a lot remained to be uncovered in country.



Our Work in New Zealand

During our first day in the office we sat down with the CEO of Triplejump, Cecilia Farrow, who patiently answered all of our questions, brainstormed with us about our plan of attack, and provided us with much of the proprietary information we couldn’t access while were in the States.  We could not believe what one day could do for our understanding!  Later that first week we walked through the in-process minimum viable product with the head of technology, so that we had an in-depth and up-to-date understanding of the product and could get all of our technical questions answered.


working @ TJworking @ TJ 2

Hard at work in Triplejump’s headquarters


Armed with our pre-trip research and a greater understanding of Triplejump’s offering, we entered the field where we had the opportunity to interview some of Australasia’s leaders in the banking sector, including Sir Ralph Norris – former CEO of Commonwealth Bank of Australia and former CEO of Air New Zealand, John Body – Head of Private Banking at Australia New Zealand Banking Group, and several leading private bankers with Bank of New Zealand.  Through these interviews, we gained incredible insight into the perspective of our potential licensee market and validated many of our hypotheses, while also opening the door for others.


At the end of the first week we also had the opportunity to attend the annual Triplejump Advisor Conference.  Here we met with many of the current financial advisors who operate through Triplejump’s franchise network, and were able to gain a better understanding of their work from a first-hand perspective.  We also managed to have a little bit of fun at the same time!

Advisor Conference

Triplejump Advisor Conference



Sharing Our Findings

Our final day of work was filled with presenting the findings of our project – so much more in depth than we could have ever imagined just three months prior!  We began the day by presenting to some of the bankers that had shared their time with us, and who could one day benefit from licensing the Triplejump solution.  It was interesting to hear their reactions and provided valuable insight into how our work will be received by actual customers.


We then had an in-depth session with the Board of Directors.  How incredible to have the opportunity to present our work to them!  And we learned so much from their questions and comments.  It was such a great way to bring the work full circle and to see how much of it will actually be used!


presentation 1 presentation 2 presentation 3 presentation 4

Presenting our findings



Finally, we presented to the team at Clearpoint, who is developing the platform for the new system, as well as key investors.  What an incredible, whirlwind day.  It took a lot to get here but it was incredible to see all of our hard work come together and hear how much it meant for the business.



And a little Kiwi culture

On the weekends, we managed to squeeze in a little bit of fun and some Kiwi culture.  We caught dinner while fishing in Tairua, made our own mini hot tubs at the famous hot water beach in the Coromandel, witnessed the beauty and the vineyards of Waiheke Island, enjoyed even more vineyards and beaches in Omaha, saw the black sand beaches of New Zealand’s west coast, and soaked up some Maori culture at the Auckland Art Gallery.


omaha beach

The team at Omaha beach


It’s hard to believe three weeks could fly by so quickly.  We wish all the best future success to the entire team at Triplejump, and know we will see them again as I am sure we will all be back!




Bloomberg Businessweek Features Alumnus Patrick Awuah

Patrick Awuah, center, opened Ashesi University in 2002

Patrick Awuah, MBA 99, shares with Bloomberg Businessweek how he came to Haas with the intention of founding a private, secular liberal arts college in his home country of Ghana, a dream he’d had since his first son was born in 1995. Ashesi University is now regarded as one of the premier universities in Ghana. Learn how Haas played a role in making Awuah’s vision a reality.

Haas Alumnus, Food Entrepreneur Alejandro Velez, BS 09, to Compete on The Bachelorette

Alejandro Velez

Alejandro Velez/Photo by ABC

Alejandro Velez, BS 09, co-founder of Back to the Roots, a company that sells kits to grow gourmet mushrooms from coffee grounds, will show off his romantic side in the upcoming season of The Bachelorette, which premieres Monday, May 14.

Velez will be one of 25 bachelors vying to win the heart of Emily Maynard, a young full-time mom who appeared on the 15th season of The Bachelor and whose fiancé died in a plane crash in 2004. An Inside Scoop SF blog post on Velez points to his appearance on the show as proof that urban farming has reached “its inevitable culture apex.”

Velez, originally from Medellin, Colombia, and co-founder Nikhil Arora came up with the idea for Back to the Roots while still at Haas, after hearing Lecturer Alan Ross speak on the potential to grow gourmet mushrooms on recycled coffee grounds.

By the end of last year, the company had used 1 million pounds of coffee grounds, primarily from Peet’s, for its $19.95 home mushroomgrowing kits, which have been featured in Sunset Magazine, Oprah, and the New York Times.

Velez’s competition on The Bachelorette includes a biology teacher from Nova Scotia, Canada; a race car driver from the Netherlands; and a fitness model from Chicago.

Read more about Velez on The Bachelorette website.

Read more about Back to the Roots in the latest Berkeley-Haas magazine.

Polar Vision: They Made It!–Alumni Reach the South Pole

After 39 days on the ice, the Polar Vision team reached the South Pole on Jan. 3, 2012.

The team’s arrival means that alumnus Alan Lock, MBA 11, is the first visually impaired person to have made this trek of more than 500 miles from the coast of Antarctica to the Pole. He was joined by Haas classmate Andrew Jensen, MBA 11, and Tuck MBA student Richard Smith. The endeavor also raised awareness and funds for sight charities.

The team reports having favorable weather on their final day, but faced one last challenge as Jensen’s bindings gave way mid-day. The team redistributed the weight he was carrying and marched on. Immediate plans upon completion called for picture-taking followed by a cup of tea and a warm meal.

The team took time in their finish-line blog post to thank sponsors and supporters, including students, staff, and alumni at Berkeley-Haas. They raised some $25K for sight charities—much of it through IndieGoGo, a crowd-funding platform co-founded by Danae Ringelmann and Eric Schell, both MBA 08.

In a blog post the night before the final trek, Lock reported an overriding sense of relief–relief that all of the elements of the expedition came together to result in success, but added that “Along with the relief, there is a sense of humility. Having the opportunity to be here, in such a special place with the knowledge that this challenge is of our own choosing – and how people supported by Sightsavers and Guide Dogs have a far greater challenge than skiing to the South Pole.”

Congratulations, Polar Vision!

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