EWMBA IBD “São Paulo” is Archana Prasad, Sanat Kamal Bahl, Sireesh Potireddy, and Eileen Treanor. The group was paired with a public Brazilian Software Company to help with an M&A project. We were based in São Paulo for the two weeks.
Bon gia, Bon gia! First there were four, then there were three and at the last-minute due to the unfortunate events at SFO there were nearly two. The Team lost Archana to unfortunate Visa issues, meaning she wasn’t able to travel to Brazil and Sanat was delayed with the events at SFO, but thankfully made it in time for Team São Paulo’s first day and presentation to the CFO and direct reports.
The presentation went well even when the CFO asked us to do additional analysis and provide an updated presentation within 30 mins. It was interesting exploring the office, work environment, and culture. They work long hours here, and there are banks of coffee machines to keep everybody going. Our client didn’t have a cafeteria so everyday we got to sample a different flavor of local Brazilian cuisine. What was surprising was the availability of Japanese Cuisine in São Paulo, apparently the largest Japanese community outside of Japan is based here, which explained the availability of really high quality Japanese food.
That evening we took a walk along the famed Paulista Avenue, it feels like the center of São Paulo, a lively Avenue bristling with shops, restaurants, high-rise office buildings, and locals. One high-rise building was completely covered in a neon version of the Brazilian Flag.
Our second day in São Paulo coincided with the city’s national holiday, July 9th, the anniversary of the Constitutionalist Revolution, where there was a large parade of military and police vehicles in the main park in the city that went on for a couple of hours, it was really exciting to see and catch a glimpse of the locals relaxing and enjoying themselves.
We also got to see another side of Brazilian life when a union protest was scheduled in downtown São Paulo during our first week. Recent protests had turned violent so our client recommended we work from our hotel, we caught a glimpse of the protests, which had an almost parade like atmosphere, and thankfully the biggest disruption was to rush hour traffic.
The middle weekend we took a well earned break and the team split up into two groups, Eileen went to Iguazu Falls while the others headed to Rio de Janeiro for the weekend. Iguazu was truly amazing and a recommended stop for anyone visiting Brazil. It is truly one of the natural wonders of the world. Rio was stunningly beautiful with phenomenal views from the top of the Corocovado and the Sugar Loaf.
After our weekend of adventuring it was back to São Paulo for our last week, we had our big final presentation to the CFO on Friday and it was time to start putting everything together, although there were some late nights we took a break to catch a local soccer derby match where the winners would be crowned Copa Sudamerica, even the atmosphere on the way to the stadium was electric as these two titans of Latin American soccer prepared to face each other. The famed Pacembu was the venue for the game, it was truly an amazing and thoroughly enjoyable experience. We had never seen such loyal and enthusiastic support and when Corinthians won in their home ground the stadium erupted in a blaze of fireworks.
Back to work, and with only two days left the team was burning the midnight oil to get the presentation ready for the CFO on Friday afternoon.
Nothing could rattle this Berkeley team, even when the client asked us to start the presentation early, we were ready. Job done, and our IBD experience is almost over, such a fun and unique experience. Time to get back to reality.
When Haas unveiled its Defining Principles back in fall 2010, it was not an announcement of a new direction but an articulation of a culture that already strongly defined Berkeley-Haas.
One example: When Kevin Hill, MBA 07, returned to campus for his 5th reunion, he was so certain the Defining Principles had been in place back then, he bet on it with a classmate. Though he went home with a little less cash, he was glad to know his alma mater was clearly on to something.
From band names to life lessons for newborns, here are a few more stories Dean Rich Lyons has been told in recent months by students and alumni inspired by Haas culture:
Alicia Salmeron, BS 12, reached out to the dean about being contacted by prospective students regarding her Haas experience. “I have never enjoyed writing long emails so much. All I needed to write about was the undeniably powerful culture that is Haas,” wrote Salmeron, now an account manager for Microsoft’s public sector. “The culture really did define my experience and is very much a part of what I bring to my work today.”
Showing the potential staying power of the Defining Principles, Ajay Kshatriya, MBA 11, wrote Lyons in August following the birth of his first child. Ajay had asked friends and family to share three values in life that they thought would be important to little Nikhil. The top three answers: (1) A focus on education, (2) a perspective greater than oneself, and (3) resilience through tough times. That prompted Ajay to write to the Dean: “I realized these represent our core Defining Principles…the Haas culture transcends generations.”
The Dean also heard from a Berkeley undergrad who took Solomon Darwin’s Open Innovation course. At the time, Henry Do, who will graduate in 2013, thought he would become a dentist, but his myriad experiences at Cal have launched him on a broader exploration. He wrote to Dean Lyons that his aim is to “make a larger impact” and to thank the Dean and Haas “for inspiring me to be more than another cog in the world,” adding, “The values I found most influential and inspirational to me (in my time at Berkeley) were the four principles that Haas holds its students accountable for.”
Members of a new full-time MBA band apparently had Haas culture on their minds when naming the group: David Haaselhoff and the Four Chord Principles. Guitarist Michael Nurick, MBA 14, says the name is a look at the ways the band embodies Haas Defining Principles. “We want to serve the Haas community and make it stronger, shatter the stereotype that top business school students can’t also be artists, learn to work as a team in an artistic context, and not take ourselves too seriously, while making this band the best it can be.”
Namaste from the World Health Partners team! It’s been almost two weeks since Ken, Jason, Samantha, and I arrived in New Delhi, and we’re eager to share our adventures in this vibrant, diverse, and surprising country.
We arrived a few days early to take in some sights before diving head first into our project for a telemedicine NGO. Our client had warned us that India would be an assault on our senses, but we were still unprepared for the chaos and clamor that descended upon us as we walked out of the subway station into Old Delhi. The cacophony of auto rickshaw horns as drivers ducked around the cows in the road, the colorful saris of women balancing impossibly large bundles on their heads, the smell of fried street food mingling with the odor of sewers in the stifling heat – Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Berkeley any more.
Our ambitious plan of visiting all of the main attractions was quickly derailed after we got hopelessly lost among the maze of twisty streets lacking in signage and an auto rickshaw driver dropped us off in the wrong place. But all was well once we came across Moti Mahal, a famous restaurant chain credited with inventing butter chicken. Of course we ordered the signature dish, which was excellent, and got some Family Naan to go along with it.
At the end of the day, we finally made it to the majestic Lal Qila, also known as the Red Fort, constructed by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th century. Many of the elegant buildings in this sprawling complex are slowly falling into disrepair, giving the place a haunting, nostalgic feel. But the calm of the gardens was a welcome respite from the bustling street life outside its massive walls.
Just as we were making our way back to the main gate, the skies opened up to a torrential downpour, and we rushed to join the rest of the visitors in a mad scramble for auto rickshaws. We got home that night drenched, exhausted, but newly exhilarated for more adventures to come.
And in fact our next adventure began at 3 am the next day, when we set out to Agra in the hopes of beating the midday heat and seeing the Taj Mahal bathed in early morning light. Along the way, we got our fist glimpse of rural life. From the windows of our climate-conrolled SUV, we saw villagers sleeping on wooden cots just off the highway, likely because it was too hot inside their small mud huts, then getting up with the first rays of the sun to pump water from the nearby well and toil in the dusty fields. It was a striking contrast to the posh neighborhood in South Delhi where we were staying and to our magnificent destination. We had expected the Taj to be beautiful from the many photos we had seen, but the timeless elegance of its spender and symmetry was simply breathtaking in person. Inspired by its quiet grace, we took a moment to find our inner om.
The following week our project work began in earnest. We met with the key leaders from World Health Partners to understand their need for a more efficient process in the telemedicine center and for a reliable way to collect diagnostic laboratory samples from remote rural villages. After months of Skype calls and research stateside, it was very rewarding to meet our contacts face to face and really get an insider’s view of the organization. We also observed doctors in the telemedicine center connecting with rural patients via webcam, even getting remote temperature and blood pressure readings.
After gaining a solid understanding of how the consultation process worked from the Delhi side, it was time to get into the field and see the patient’s perspective. We traveled east to Bihar, the poorest and most rural of the 28 Indian states, where WHP launched its telemedicine program just last year. We spent six days driving from village to village, experiencing first hand the terrible roads, traffic jams, electricity shortages, inconsistent Internet connectivity, and unbearable heat (45° C / 115° F) that make it so difficult to deliver healthcare to these “last mile” areas. Along the way, the WHP field team made sure that we got to sample all of the local delicacies: miniature bananas, curly cucumbers, green mangos, and sweet lychees. The rural telemedicine providers we visited welcomed us into their centers, offering chai and sweets, while we observed consultations from the other end of the webcam.
The week’s research yielded a lot of insights to analyze.
We also had a chance to visit Bodhgaya, where Gautama Buddha is said to have found enlightenment under the Bodhi tree.
Now that we’re back in Delhi, only one week in India remains, but there are still adventures to be had. Will I resist bringing home an adorable baby goat? Will Jason ever get enough mangos? Will Ken find some relief from the heat on our trip to the Himalayan foothills this weekend? Will Sam realize her dream of riding an elephant in Jaipur? Stay tuned to find out!
More than 200 Berkeley MBA students–from the Berkeley-Columbia, Evening & Weekend, and Full-time MBA Programs toured Scotland without leaving Haas.
One Sunday evening in March, they turned out for the newly-revived Haas tradition of black-tie whiskey tasting. Started years ago by then-professor, now-Dean Lyons and Professor Andy Rose, the new event raised more than $5,000 for Challenge 4 Charity and, as Rose says, “provided a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the pleasures of a fantastically complex drink with friends and colleagues.”
Distilling the essence of a perfect evening: Whisky hand-picked by Rose; libations poured by Program Office staff; and music performed by Dean Lyons on guitar.
Andre Marquis, executive director of the Haas School’s Lester Center for Entrepreneurship, served on a March 5 panel on entrepreneurship in the city of Berkeley. The event was hosted by Berkeleyside, a news website for the city.
Marquis, who has experience launching startups in Berkeley, was part of a panel with Judith Iglehart, chief of staff for the Mayor of Berkeley, and Randy Butler, the senior VP of retail banking for Mechanics Bank. Each brought different perspective, but all addressed the conditions that need to be present in order for entrepreneurship to thrive.
Marquis emphasized the importance of building a sense of community and talked about how the university’s new Skydeck, a startup incubator-accelerator based in downtown Berkeley, is fostering just such community for students and recent alumni in search of cross-disciplinary insights. Marquis said a local component to community matters a tremendous amount. “A startup is by nature high-bandwidth and hard to do at a distance. I know that when I work with even one other person, my productivity goes up ten times from being able to bounce ideas back and forth.”
Read more about the Startup Berkeley Forum in this post on Berkeleyside.
Berkeley-Haas will inaugurate a new University of California career-building fellowship program this summer for students from historically black colleges and universities. The UC Summer Institute for Emerging Managers and Leaders (SIEML) will bring 25 of these undergraduate students to Haas this summer, with the location rotating to five other UC campuses in subsequent years. Students will receive all-expenses paid fellowships for the intensive program, which they attend for two weeks a year, for two consecutive years.
The news was announced this morning at a press conference in Pasadena, Calif., with Dean Rich Lyons as one of the speakers. “Bottom line: greater diversity of people means greater diversity of thinking and experiences,” said Lyons of the program. “This translates into leaders who are better able to produce the kind of innovation that is creating what’s next,” said Lyons.
Other Haas initiatives aimed at expanding the leadership pipeline have included the school’s rejoining of The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management and the hiring of Eric Abrams as the school’s first diversity director.
When famed El Bulli Chef Ferran Adrià spoke at Haas recently, he seemed to take mischievous delight in the puzzlement he causes with his decisions: Curtailing El Bulli’s thriving lunch trade; flouting the sanctity of menus (much to the consternation of Michelin); and, of late, shuttering the world’s most highly acclaimed restaurant to launch a foundation.
It was this new elBulliFoundation that brought Adrià to Berkeley-Haas, one of only five b-schools worldwide whose MBA students have been invited to participate in the “Ideas for Transformation” global MBA challenge competition sponsored by Adrià’s foundation and Telefonica, Spain. The students will develop strategies and models to guide the elBullifoundation in its plans to launch a pioneering center for gastronomic creativity and innovation in Costa Brava, Spain in 2014. “We are willing to hear anything under the sun, Adria told the students. “We are completely open to you.”
“Ferran Adrià’s visit to Berkeley-Haas is an amazing opportunity for the Haas community to help one of the world’s most famous chefs to turn his restaurant elBulli into a foundation that will contribute to society, ” says Iñaki Ruiz, MBA 12, who is from Madrid. “Adrià is definitely in tune with some of the core Berkeley-Haas values, as he goes beyond himself and questions the status quo.”
Learn more about the competition and Adriài’s visit to Berkeley-Haas in this Economist story.
Flee at dawn from the sprawling metropolis that spreads from glass skyscrapers in Pretoria to millions of ramshackle tin shacks in Soweto.Drive east into the sunrise, past the tree-lined Joburg suburbs with high adobe walls and electric fences that keep modern living nice and compartmentalized for the lucky ones.Loop along rolling golden hills that could be California except for factories in the background spewing coal into the sky, or steel mines dredging the earth, or paper mills churning out toxic exhaust, or townships choking in thick paraffin clouds.
Get past all that industrialism and find again the primordial bush.It seems elusive in a South Africa struggling with the bloodshed of the past while racing towards the gilded future.Yet in Kruger National Park the wild still clings to survival, awaiting international consumers of prehistory in bite-sized morsels conveniently packaged in football-funded asphalt.
The path to Kruger twists through land where water vapor hangs above rivers like ghostly Mohawks, where the red granite cliffs paint the hills with a thousand faces, where ancient valleys harvest every hue of green.In the Kruger, brush grows thick.Scrub and brambles hide troops of elephants stomping over saplings, or rare rhinos rambling to the next watering hole…
…or giraffes tongue-wrestling spiny acacias and contorting their gangly bodies just to sip a drink.
There the veldt is home to strutting warthogs, cunning jackals, endless birds and herds of grazing impala and kudu and nyala and zebra.Always do the grazers keep one eye open for predators, for the wild teems with packs of hyenas, hides cheetahs in plain sight, and nurtures leopards hunting at dusk (check out one we saw! – link to come when it doesn’t take over 12 hrs to upload a video).Even the big cats seem to prowl with open eyes, wary of the footprint of man.
South Africa seems destined to be sandwiched in change.Certainly, building a stable gateway into Africa will propel the regional economy with a pool of low-cost labor, a growing middle class and increasing global relevance.This economic growth will no doubt supercharge the fight against illiteracy, and political disparity, and pandemics like HIV/AIDS.
But courting development South Africa risks a tragic study in how the wild lands were lost.This is not an African challenge, it is a global challenge.Many nations – particularly developing economies – struggle with balancing the lust for growth with the fear of losing not only precious natural resources, but also a link to what humanity once was, back in the dreamtime.To this end, parks like Kruger are important conservation havens.When our children see Africa, these parks may be all that is left of a land lost in the undertow of progress, and help the next generation learn to live in awe of the wild.
After an eventful arrival in Joburg that Archit will blog about, we spent two days getting settled in the office and working on interviews.That, however, is not the subject of this blog, rather it is the fortuitous position that we fell into. Because Wednesday, May 18th was a national holiday for the country to vote, and the entire loveLife leadership team was going on a retreat the following Thursday and Friday to revise the vision for the organization, we were told that the team should take the time off.We decided to head to Cape Town, and had an amazing time!
Day 1: Arrived in Cape Town and went hiking on the Table Mountain which is a plateau, where lots of tourists go to the top for great views. There’s a cable car that goes to the top, but we hiked up, which was good fun, but a bit winding after none of us had gotten off our asses for the previous months. That surprisingly ended up being basically the only exercise we would get the entire trip. After that we took a city bus tour for the rest of the day and stopped all along the coast and in the city. One great stop was Camps Bay, which is the poshest area of Cape Town along the coast.We got some drinks, enjoyed the sunset and climbed around on some big rocks on the beach.
Day 2: Woke up at 4:30 am and left for shark diving (this was our normal wakeup time due to jetlag). It was a really amazing experience. Some 20 of us were on a big boat and went out to the sea where there is the highest density of great white sharks on the planet.This is because seals must swim the channel every day.
We were really lucky, because 6 sharks between 2 and 3.5 meters long came and stayed for quite a while. There was a cage in which 4 – 5 ppl could get in and basically just go a bit underwater to see sharks. Even in wetsuits, it was freeeezing cold!Since the sharks were floating very close to the surface, we could see them from the boat too.We had a close encounter with a shark when the 4 of us were in the cage; it caught the bait and was struggling to release it from the line and in the process thrashed right at the cage. Since the bars are really quite wide and open, it got its nose got inside the cage and freaked everyone out.It was a surreal feeling being less than a foot away from such a huge freakin’ shark. That was definitely the highlight of the entire experience.
The dinner was also a highlight as we got to eat Kudu, Crocodile, and Springbok, which were all surprisingly delicious.The culinary culture is really geared toward red meat, which is part of every meal.
Day 3: We also did some work on the trip.We went to loveLife’s (the NGO we’re working with) Youth center, 2 schools were they educate children on AIDS and other issues, and one of their clinics. We interacted with a lot of the people who make loveLife work on the ground, and it was a pretty great experience seeing the real Africa. It was remarkable to see the disparity between slums and poverty in the townships and the completely westernized and modern downtown.
Another highlight of the visit was that we got to go to Mzoli’s, which is a super well known butchery in the township outside of Cape Town.We got to pick our own meat and watch them grill it.Then we acted like real carnivores and tore at the meat with our hands and teeth.Archit can attest to how disgusting this was to a vegetarian, but to Pablo, Stuart and me, it was glorious.
That evening we met a girl who is joining Haas this coming year. She works at an NGO in Cape Town and took us around to a nice club where we got to dance to Dynamite and then to the shady bar district of Long Street at 4am.It was a lot of fun, and we’re looking forward to seeing her again around Haas!
Day 4: We rented a car and drove to Cape of Good Hope, which is almost the southernmost tip of Africa. We all thought it was the southernmost tip, but it turns out it’s not, which was devastating to Pablo, who had gotten very excited about being so far south.There were no people and it was a really beautiful, calm and peaceful place.
We also stopped at one place before getting there to see the crazy penguins that only live in South Africa. Look at these crazy little bastards sitting on top of their chicks:
From there we went to the wine country in Cape Town which was really beautiful. It’s just like Napa Valley in California, but much cheaper.
Cape town is HIGHLY recommended!