IBD Welcomes Arman Zand to the Summer 2019 EWMBA IBD Program

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.  

2019 EWMBA SIB China class in Shanghai

2019 EWMBA SIB China class in Shanghai

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.

Featured is the Haas Alumni News: Ted Hartnell, MBA 99, Arman Zand, MBA 09, and Ann Hsu, MBA 98, in a Kazakh yurt while visiting uibek Dairy Products in Xinjiang

Featured is the Haas Alumni News: Ted Hartnell, MBA 99, Arman Zand, MBA 09, and Ann Hsu, MBA 98, in a Kazakh yurt while visiting uibek Dairy Products in Xinjiang

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

Arman Zand Skiing

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.

Jon Metzler Joins the IBD Faculty Mentor Team

Jon Metzler speaking on panelIBD is excited to welcome our newest Faculty Mentor to the Spring IBD program, Jon Metzler.  Jon is a Lecturer at Berkeley Haas, where he teaches competitive advantage in technology, telecom and media markets (Strategy for the IT Firm), and international business.  He teaches MBA and undergraduate students at Berkeley Haas, and has led EWMBA students on Seminar in International Business (SIB) class trips to Japan. Jon is also associated faculty for the UC Berkeley for Center for Japanese Studies, and a faculty mentor at Berkeley SkyDeck, our local accelerator for Berkeley-affiliated startups.

When Jon is not teaching, mentoring or leading SIB class trips to Japan, he is managing the consulting firm that he founded in 2007, Blue Field Strategies.  Blue Field Strategies helps clients accelerate service innovation through market research and entry support, investment sourcing and due diligence, and market and policy advocacy.  Jon has supported new business launches in online media, print, edtech, wireless infrastructure, geolocation, events and services.

Jon is also an alumnus of Berkeley Haas, where he earned his MBA/MA-Asian Studies. He co-founded the Berkeley Asia Business Conference, now called the Bridge Conference.  

Jon can now add IBD Faculty Mentor to his extensive resume, and we are thrilled to have him on our team.  Recently we tracked down Jon to ask him some questions about himself and his career. Please check out his answers below.  

IBD:  What excites you most about being an IBD Faculty Mentor, and what would you like to get out of the experience?

Jon Metzler: “ What I enjoy most about teaching is working with students and getting to know them — how they think, what they aspire to, and then working with them to help them grow.  I also come from a client services (consulting) background and derive satisfaction from helping clients, so IBD is very aligned with both of these!”

IBD:  What skills or qualities do you hope to bring to your new role and/or offer to our IBD MBA students?

Jon and David Richardson, IBD Executive Director eating soft cream

Jon and David Richardson, IBD Executive Director eating soft cream

Jon Metzler:  “I have launch experience in print, wireless broadband, events, edtech, wireless infrastructure and innovation spaces, and have experience helping clients assess new opportunities and figure out how to go to market, or, as incumbents, how to harness a growing market.  In general, I enjoy helping new enterprises get off the ground and hope to bring this to the IBD program.”

IBD:  What brought you to Berkeley Haas, and how has your experience been teaching these last 4+ years?

Jon Metzler: First, some context.  When I was a student at Haas (MBA/MA-Asian Studies), I really enjoyed the balance of tenured and professional faculty, and with regards to the professional faculty, I always enjoyed the pragmatism of classes led by practitioners.  

Fast forward to 2014.  There were two paths that led me to teaching at Haas. First, I felt like I had value to provide to students after years working at startups and in services, particularly in the fields of tech and telecom. This is what eventually led to teaching Strategy for the Information Technology Firm. Secondly,  my Master’s thesis advisor (Steve Vogel in PoliSci) suggested that I teach on Japan. This is what led to leading SIBs on Japan in the EWMBA program, and a business in Japan class in the UGBA program.”

Jon Metzler- moderating panelIBD:  Tell us about being the Founder & President of Blue Field Strategies, and how this work relates to what you can offer to IBD students or clients?

Jon Metzler:  “I will answer this question as:  I feel that teaching and consulting feed each other — consulting allows me to deep dive into current industry issues, and teaching helps me digest and synthesize that into more broadly applicable lessons and material.“

IBD:  What do you like to do when you aren’t teaching, mentoring or working at Blue Field?

Jon Metzler: I am board chairman of a non-profit in San Francisco – the Japan Society of Northern California. It’s a 113-year-old non-profit, and I take that heritage and history seriously. It’s been fun working with the board and staff making sure a venerable institution is addressing market needs today.

I also have two children, one in sixth-grade and one in third-grade. Both are far smarter than I am. This keeps me on my toes!  And also helps me keep perspective on what’s important.

Lastly, I play – albeit not well – soccer as often as my schedule and body permit.”

The IBD team feels very fortunate to have Jon as a Faculty Mentor, and we look forward to his contributions to the upcoming 2019 IBD Spring program.  

The 2017 International Business Development (IBD) Program Holds its Final Event of the Year, Celebrating the Teamwork of Berkeley-Haas MBAs

Full Audience and KristiThe International Business Development (IBD) program yearly cycle officially came to a close on September 15, 2017, with the final event of year, the IBD Conference, held at the Haas School of Business.  IBD student teams, both from the Full-Time (FTMBA) and Evening and Weekend (EWMBA) MBA programs, were tasked with creating posters that showcased their international consulting journey.  Berkeley-Haas faculty, guests and fellow classmates mixed and mingled among the 20 posters as teams shared their projects, final recommendations and in-country experiences.  The IBD Conference represented the first time IBD student teams came back together after the conclusion of their MBA summer internships in order to talk about the exciting project work they did in-country.

Judy and Aramis

IBD Faculty Mentor, Judy Hopelain, talking with EWMBA Team Aramis

It was a great time for reflection for many students, as well as an opportunity to speak publicly about the accomplishments of their IBD projects and the impact on the organizations and individuals they served.  Said EWMBA candidate Joe Layton about the Conference experience: “It was nice seeing that people wanted to hear about our project that much, since we love talking about it.”  Frank Schultz, an IBD Faculty Mentor and Instructor for both FTMBA and EWMBA programs, observed, “it is great to see students from both the Evening-Weekend and Full-Time MBA programs coming together, interacting, and sharing their projects.  You could clearly see why both programs are ranked so highly!”
The IBD Conference was also a great opportunity for Berkeley-Haas faculty and staff to engage with MBA’s in their element.  EWMBA Director of Academics, Mark Gorenflo, attending the Conference for the first

Mark-and-Beth-showing-Makarere

Team Makerere’s, Beth Foster, chatting with Haas Staff, Mark Gorenflo

time, said,

“I attended the IBD Conference to get a sense of the scope of IBD opportunities and the depth of each team’s consulting experience. I was amazed at the number of very different opportunities, with huge variety in geography, culture, and types of customers (private companies, public companies, non-profits, and government entities). I was also deeply impressed with the enthusiasm, rigor, and imagination that the IBD teams brought to their engagements.”

Poster-Session-in-actionAll the Conference posters, teams, and projects as presented were impressive.  Ultimately a vote was held to select the two best IBD teams to make a presentation to the general Conference audience.  IBD Faculty Mentors and students voted separately, picking EWMBA Team Samai and FTMBA Team Agripacific Holdings, as the two winners.  Click here to read more about their respective presentations.  

 

Following the two IBD team presentations came the announcement of the annual project

Sarah and Seva talking about project

Sarah Evans, from Team Seva, presenting their project poster

photo and blog award winners.  Upon returning home from their in-country journeys, students were asked to write blogs about their experiences working and living in a new country.  IBD student team blogs were posted weekly on the IBD Haas in the World Blog site.  IBD students are also asked to submit their “best team photo” and “aesthetic or art photo” to be judged by the IBD Staff.  Winners of the IBD photo contest will have their photos featured later in the IBD Hall of Fame in the Faculty Building at Berkeley-Haas. Click here for the Winners of the Blog and Photo Contest

After all the IBD team presentations and awards were handed out, and the last group photo was taken, it was time to say goodbye to the 2017 IBD program. As Executive Director and Faculty Mentor Kristi Raube concluded, “I’ve left the IBD Conference on a high, and although it is sad to see this all come to an end, we are ready to do it all over again.”  All of us in the IBD program look forward to another year of IBD in 2018.  To view the photos from the Conference, click here.  

IBD full class 

 

Whitney Hischier, Member of the “A Team” IBD Faculty Mentors

Whiney in Busan, Korea

IBD Faculty Mentor Whitney Hischier spent most of her career in change management and system implementation consulting, primarily on international assignments.  She is a Berkeley-Haas MBA alumna, but not an IBD alumna.  While an MBA candidate, Whitney was denied admission into the IBD program while because “she already had too much international experience.”

Thankfully, this rejection early in her career didn’t dissuade Whitney from joining the IBD Team in 2009 as a Faculty Mentor so that she could combine three of her passions:  international work, consulting, and experiential learning.  As an IBD Faculty Mentor, Whitney’s role is to coach student teams throughout the IBD course (she is currently mentoring four IBD teams during the spring 2017 IBD program), but Whitney goes beyond guiding her students to figure out a direct solution to their clients’ business challenges.  

“The IBD experience for students is really powerful”, reports Whitney.  “For some, it creates a lifelong love of

Whitney in Jeddah

international travel and work; for others, they realize it’s the last thing they ever want to do.  Either way, this ‘try before you buy’ experience is fantastic to help our students better determine what they want to do when they graduate.”

Ideally, Whitney wants her students to come back from their IBD projects overseas and say “that changed my life” and “I love international work” — but she would settle for good client management and awareness of the wider world.  “Given the current nationalistic political climate in the US and creeping xenophobia, I think IBD is more important than ever to encourage our students to be global citizens”, says Whitney.

As for teaching students to learn or hone their consulting skills, Whitney believes that the role of IBD student consultants is to help their clients gather and structure information to make better management decisions.  Whitney emphasizes that consulting is about the ability to build relationships by listening, asking good questions, and establishing trust.  It goes beyond the skill of researching online.  “Our projects may have a scope around strategy or technology but bottom line, this is all about relationships and people.”  

Whitney and American Univ. Mongolia

Whitney practices what she preaches and her student Team Leads can’t say enough good things about her.  “Whitney is so cool, and so real.  She is unpretentious, approachable and yet gets right down to business to accomplish what is needed”, said Nikkei’s Team Lead, Kasey Koopmans.  “In one particular high stressful moment, Whitney defused our nerves and brought everyone back to earth so we could feel good about our part in the situation.”

For Whitney being a good Faculty Mentor is leveraging her networks “to help students connect with experts and customers who can help with their research.”  Whitney’s network is far and wide, said the Nikkei Team Lead. “Whitney was able to set up many expert interviews for our project. She also offered to connect me with contacts she might have that would help me in my internship hunt.”

Even with this kind of support, Whitney doesn’t micromanage her teams but encourages “students to take risks and learn enough about a subject to be dangerous.”  Her students agree that she does an excellent job of walking the fine line of being there to help when she is needed and remaining hands off.   “She allows us to be creative and to manage the relationship with the client”, according to one of her students. “ I have been able to be the lead on the project and actually do the real-world consulting work.”

Above all, Whitney is fun, says Team Lead Elspeth Ong.  She invited all of her IBD Teams to come over to her house for a team bonding event where they jumped on her trampoline, rode a zipline, and climbed up into a tree house.  As one of our outstanding IBD Faculty Mentors, Whitney Hischier clearly personifies the Berkeley-Haas defining principles of “Confidence Without Attitude” and “Beyond Yourself.”  Thank you, Whitney!

Frank Schultz, IBD Faculty Mentor and Instructor

frank-schultz-compressedThe Haas “Student Always” principle resonates strongly with Faculty Mentor and Instructor, Frank Schultz. “Each time I teach it’s a learning opportunity for me” shares Frank.  “I get to learn about new, exciting places, companies, technologies, and I get the opportunity to work with new students.  Every team, every project is so different.”    

This is Frank’s 7th year of being a Faculty Mentor for the Full-Time MBA IBD program and he has been the Evening-Weekend MBA IBD instructor since its inception in 2012.  As an IBD instructor, Frank loves that he gets to keep one foot in academia and one foot in the business world.  “With IBD I get to apply the theories I am teaching in class to the real world and see what is changing in the business world on a global level.”  

Frank wants his students to adopt this same methodology of applying the skills they are learning in the classroom to real-world situations. “This is where the rubber meets the road”, says Frank, “These are real organizations with real situations that need to be solved. This is valuable work and I want my students to see the value they are giving to their clients and getting from the class.”

To get the full experience, Frank stresses to his students that before they try and “solve” anything, they need to first build a relationship with their client.  He realizes this can be tough, but by slowing down and asking more questions, students can really get at the true root of the problem. “I want my students to walk away from this saying it is the best experience that they had as an MBA.”

Frank has been teaching at Berkeley-Haas since 2005 when he left Michigan State University and followed his wife, former Haas COO, Jennifer Chizuk, to Berkeley.  He has taught Executive Leadership, Competitive Strategy, and International Seminars in Brazil and China in addition to spring and summer IBD. His teaching has consistently placed him in Haas Club Six for outstanding teaching.  Frank says the role of IBD Faculty Mentor is very different.  He regularly works on balancing the different roles he has to play as a mentor, supporter, instructor, and grader.  

Frank coaching Technology Team Leads, Raphy Chines and Harsh Thusu.

Frank coaching Team Leads, Raphy Chines and Harsh Thusu.

Frank admits, “I am always trying to figure out the nature of the relationship.  Sometimes I need to be more hands off and other times I need to offer more support to my students.  I want them to learn for themselves but I also have to be task driven.  Each team dynamic is different and each person reacts to my approach differently.  Relative to teaching my other classes, I have to feel comfortable with having less control over the process. There is no determined journey and as we teach our IBD students’ to be flexible, I, too, have to be flexible with the uncertainty.”  He also jokes that a good Faculty Mentor has to be available to be on calls at all hours, especially very early and very late.  

Frank and Jennifer in Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska

Frank and Jennifer in Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska

One of the perks of teaching international courses is traveling abroad. Frank’s favorite city is Rio de Janeiro because he loves the beautiful scenery, happy people, caipirinhas (Brazil’s national cocktail made from lime, sugar, and cachaça, a spirit distilled from sugarcane juice), and picanha, a popular Brazilian cut of beef.  When asked if he had any travel advice, Frank laughed and said, “Travel business class.”