Arman Zand is a very busy person. On his LinkedIn profile, he lists four positions that he currently holds: Head of Finance at Farmstead, Advisor at Eyelevel.ai, Advisor at SkyDeck, and Lecturer at the Haas School of Business. Arman is also a father of a three year old, and he has just been named as the summer 2019 Evening & Weekend (EWMBA) IBD program Faculty Director. As a Berkeley Haas EWMBA alumnus and former IBD project client, Arman brings with him first hand knowledge as to what makes IBD a success for both MBA students and project clients. He also has extensive international experience, having lived and worked in China, India, Africa, Latin America, and EMEA. Recently we interviewed Arman and discussed his new role as EWMBA IBD program Faculty Director. Please see the results of our interview with Arman below.
Question: What was your motivation for taking on the Faculty Director role for the summer 2019 Evening & Weekend MBA IBD program?
Arman: I hosted IBD in China for two consecutive years when I lived there. I believe international experience is an important part of the MBA program and I wanted to help IBD continue its great success.
Question: What do you hope to get out of the position? What skills or experience do you hope to bring to the position and your students?
Arman: I hope to help our students deliver great projects for IBD clients while helping provide an environment where our students can have a great experience. I bring 18 years of international business development having lived/worked in China, India, Africa, LatAm, and EMEA. I’m also a life-long student of leadership and entrepreneurship. I aim to to bring my personal experience to the class.
Question: How will your former role as an IBD client shape you in this new role?
Arman: As a two-time IBD client, I was able to help the teams define the scope to a project that can be successful. This was proved to be very important as the project progressed and our business requirements changed mid-project. Furthermore, expectation setting can be crucial in good project management and we did that well in the projects I hosted.
Question: You have a very busy life. How do you manage all of these priorities?
Arman: Great question. I’m also a father to a 3-year old with whom I really enjoy spending my free time. I’m not known to be super organized. But I’m really good at compartmentalizing. I’ve trained myself to multi-task and prioritize really well. I have very little time for hobbies (no TV in our house). But I truly enjoy my work.
Question: What do you want your students to know about you?
Arman: I’m super passionate about my work and I don’t hold back. I’m very transparent and I speak my mind. I’m super committed to my class and I sacrifice a lot to be present both physically and mentally. I expect the same from students.
Question: You also lead Seminar in Business (SIB) trips for Berkeley Haas. How are these experiences different or similar in your mind?
Arman: SIB is a great class but it’s very intense. We only have 3-4 hour classes at Haas and then a week on the ground. That leaves very little time for content but a lot of time for the immersed experience. IBD has more class time and the immersion is less intense. But the workload is a lot more demanding. (Editor’s note: the current EWMBA IBD program includes two weeks of in-country teamwork and the presentation of a final deliverable to the project client.)
Question: As a Berkeley Haas MBA alumnus, do you take your experience as a student into your teaching philosophy?
Arman: Absolutely. I’ve made it well known that I didn’t have a great SIB experience as
a student (11 years ago) so I have a good sense for what to avoid and what to focus on. I also know that many of our students are working full-time and have families. I try to be as flexible as possible while being fair to everyone.
Question: What is your favorite country to visit and what country is on your bucket list?
Arman: My favorite country to visit is Japan. I can never eat enough Omakase. My bucket list is Cuba.
Question: What do you do for fun outside of work?
Arman: I try to exercise when I have free time. As a teacher, I also like being a student. I have a tennis coach, a basketball coach, and a ski instructor. I learn quickly and I’m very coachable.