2006 UC Berkeley Haas MBA Admissions Chat with Pete Johnson

2006 UC Berkeley Haas MBA Admissions Chat with Pete Johnson

Please feel free to let us know if you would like to be informed of future chats by sending e-mail to chat@accepted.com. We would also be interested in knowing if you would prefer a different format or different topics.

Linda Abraham (Sep 29, 2005 10:13:10 AM)
First I want to welcome you all to Accepted.com's Haas Happening.

Linda Abraham (Sep 29, 2005 10:13:22 AM)
I also want to welcome Peter Johnson, Co-Director of Admissions, and Brian Jordan and Margaret Rhee, second-year students at Haas.

MargaretRheeHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:13:49 AM)
Greetings from Haas!

Linda Abraham (Sep 29, 2005 10:13:56 AM)
Here's a little info about the Haas students who are joining us.

BrianJordanHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:13:57 AM)
Hey there!

Linda Abraham (Sep 29, 2005 10:13:58 AM)
Brian Jordan - Brian was born into a military family and spent his youth in exotic locales like Spain, Pakistan, and Colorado. With Bachelor degrees from the University of Pennsylvania in both Business and Communications, Brian moved to Boston to become a Strategic Planner at a regional ad agency. While on a business trip, he fell in love with the green hills of Napa and its justly famous Chardonnays. Luckily, he was able to get himself a job at a highly respected ad agency in San Francisco and moved for what he hoped would be the last time. Five years later, after almost eight years in advertising, Brian knew it was time to try something new, so he applied to business schools. Haas immediately impressed him with its friendliness and relaxed, Northern California style. Brian is now the President of Q@Haas, the lesbian and gay MBA club; a Vice President of the Marketing Club; and a member of both the Wine Club and the Consulting Club.

Linda Abraham (Sep 29, 2005 10:14:15 AM)
Margaret Rhee - Margaret Rhee was born and bred in the heart of Texas in Dallas/Fort Worth. "A growing itch to move east led her to attend the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business where she studied finance and developed an interest in international business. Upon graduation, Margaret was thrilled to accept a job with Enron, a "cutting edge" energy company based in Houston, Texas. During the company's hey-days, Margaret dabbled in merchant banking and broadband services, but she spent most her time developing LNG and power generation projects in Latin America. After Enron's bankruptcy, Margaret stayed with the company for over two more years, helping to prepare a restructuring plan for their international companies. During her time in international project development, Margaret's fascination with the politics and economics of regional development grew and eventually led her to pursue business school at Berkeley.

Linda Abraham (Sep 29, 2005 10:14:32 AM)
Thanks to everyone for joining.

PeteJohnsonHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:14:41 AM)
Our pleasure-

Linda Abraham (Sep 29, 2005 10:17:06 AM)
Your website emphasizes certain qualities in the Haas MBA program. I am going to ask a series of questions and I would like both the students and Pete to discuss concretely how those qualities are reflected in the curriculum and student life at Haas:

Linda Abraham (Sep 29, 2005 10:17:17 AM)
Interdisciplinary: What does that mean practically to you?

PeteJohnsonHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:18:12 AM)
This is a reflection of the fact that many of the subjects taught in business school are not applied in a vacuum--accounting relates to finance which relates to venture capital, etc.

MargaretRheeHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:18:45 AM)
I also find that I have had a number of opportunities to leverage the greater Berkeley university in my MBA program.

Linda Abraham (Sep 29, 2005 10:18:49 AM)
Margaret and Brian, as students, how do you see that value realized in your studies?

BrianJordanHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:18:56 AM)
To me, it means that I get to meet tons of different people with different backgrounds. I have classes with students from consulting, real estate, marketing, etc. You get a really well rounded view of things.

PeteJohnsonHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:18:57 AM)
We encourage our students to take full advantage of the resources of UC Berkeley by having the opportunity to interact with graduate students in other programs and to take some of their elective courses in other discipline areas that make sense for their career goals.

anthem (Sep 29, 2005 10:19:24 AM)
Margaret and Brian: I've been to several info sessions for top MBA programs and it seems to me that most cite similar reasons for their "uniqueness." I'd be curious to hear responses from current Haas students about Haas' "uniqueness."

MargaretRheeHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:19:43 AM)
For example, I've done some consulting work in inner cities with the law school, a summer development project with a student in Energy and Resources, and taken classes with Public Policy, etc...

BrianJordanHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:21:01 AM)
To me, most of the top business schools teach the same things. Econ is econ. The people, though, are different, and what they value is different. At Haas, we believe in working together to create something bigger than the whole. At the same time, we've got a unique location -- we're in the center of technology, biotech, and innovative business practices.

Tassilo (Sep 29, 2005 10:21:28 AM)
Would you describe the spirit at Haas competitive or collaborative among the students? Also, does it count which job, or company you worked for, or is is individual experience and a unique background valued more?

MargaretRheeHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:21:30 AM)
Tassilo, again, I'd have to say I find the ability to meet and work with students from other graduate programs at Berkeley something quite unique.

PeteJohnsonHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:22:21 AM)
Echoing what Margaret discussed, we are quite integrated with other grad schools at Berkeley, giving our students access to top minds in many disciplines--unlike many other business schools which are islands unto themselves.

BrianJordanHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:22:37 AM)
We are definitely collaborative here more than competitive. Part of that has to do with the fact that we are from so many different backgrounds, both professionally and personally. You can get more out of people if you listen more than you speak.

Linda Abraham (Sep 29, 2005 10:23:13 AM)
Pete: I meant to post, but somehow lost Marina's question. She asks how Haas takes advantage of its ties to the bio-tech world. Are there specific bio-tech/pharmaceutical courses?

Skram (Sep 29, 2005 10:23:46 AM)
Brian and Margaret: What longstanding relationships have you established from Haas with fellow students and faculty?

MargaretRheeHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:24:27 AM)
To add to what Brian said about our collaborative nature, I find that Haas students are extremely curious and willing to learn from each other - in other words, the finance folks don't just learn from the other finance folks, the real estate folks learn from the entrepreneurs, etc.

PeteJohnsonHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:24:42 AM)
Haas has taken advantage for the biotech world in a variety of ways--we have guest speakers from the Biotech industry in specific courses, we have them as speakers in our evening lecture series, we place many students in internships with leading companies like Genentech and Amgen, we have biotech leaders on our board of advisors...the list is pretty long.

BrianJordanHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:24:49 AM)
Let me put it this way: during the summer, I missed my friends terribly. We have a Yahoo! group that continues to function and we got together frequently during the summer for happy hours or for major events (one of our classmates held an engagement party that we all went to.) I also know of many alums who keep in touch for years afterward. As the Yahoo! groups keep functioning for years, I expect to stay in touch for the foreseeable future.

poetker (Sep 29, 2005 10:24:59 AM)
Brain and Pete: Do the interviews for first round applicants start in January?

Skram (Sep 29, 2005 10:25:26 AM)
Margaret and Brian: Upon walking away from Haas, were there any activities/clubs that you had not participated in which you believed would have enhanced/enriched your experience?

PeteJohnsonHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:25:31 AM)
Poetker, most of the US interviews for Round 1 will take place in January. Some of the international interviews may happen earlier, as most of them will be with alumni interviewers outside the US.

MargaretRheeHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:25:40 AM)
Skram, the Haas program has only 240 students per class so we get to know each other quite well. I've made some great friends here - we don't just study and work together, but we go hiking, skiing and traveling together, too.

Linda Abraham (Sep 29, 2005 10:26:17 AM)
A few schools, notably Wharton and UCLA have decided to reach out to early-career applicants, those with less than two years of experience. Is Haas doing so too?

poetker (Sep 29, 2005 10:26:25 AM)
Thank you, Pete.

BrianJordanHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:26:33 AM)
Skram, I guess I would like to participate more in the business plan competitions. As the VP for the Marketing Club, a Haas Student Ambassador, and President of Q@Haas, I simply don't have time to do it all. Still, there's always more to do. I'm not sure that there's such a thing as too much here but definitely I feel like I've get a TON out of this experience!

Marina (Sep 29, 2005 10:26:47 AM)
Brian and Margaret: Can you name a few of the qualities that all HAAS students have in common?

PeteJohnsonHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:27:29 AM)
Linda, we do not have a minimum work experience requirement. Having said that, our faculty feels strongly that for the case-study method and group projects to be effective, we really need individuals with some significant experience. For this reason, it is rare that we offer admission to an applicant with less than two years of professional experience. We also hear from employers that they are not interested in filling post-MBA jobs with applicants who have no post-undergrad experience. The companies that hire individuals with no experience often do so at lower salaries, too, so they do not realize the same benefits from the MBA.

BrianJordanHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:27:44 AM)
Marina, it's tough to categorize everyone that way, but I guess I'd say that we all want to create something or make it better. We're not the power-hungry types, but we do see a vision for what we want. Everyone here has something they're reaching for, though it is different for all of us.

Marina (Sep 29, 2005 10:27:50 AM)
Pete: Are interviews by invitation only?

MargaretRheeHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:28:03 AM)
Skram, hmm - I've made it a point to try and do as much as possible here so I don't have many regrets...I feel like I've taken advantage of almost too much while I've been here.

poetker (Sep 29, 2005 10:28:25 AM)
Margaret & Brian: What differentiate Hass from other top business schools?

Linda Abraham (Sep 29, 2005 10:29:02 AM)
Thanks, Pete.

Linda Abraham (Sep 29, 2005 10:29:11 AM)
Pete, how do you use the interview in the admissions process?

PeteJohnsonHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:29:14 AM)
Marina--yes, our interviews are by invitation only, which happens after our initial review of the application.

MargaretRheeHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:29:45 AM)
Marina, yeah, I agree with Brian. We're quite diverse so it's hard to categorize us in any way. I guess another thing is that we work well together - appreciate each other's strengths and what we bring to the classroom.

BrianJordanHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:29:52 AM)
Poetker, as I said earlier, we've got opportunities for businesses that are unique to the Bay Area: Silicon Valley, venture capital, real estate, etc. We also have the coolest people around. ;-)

PeteJohnsonHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:30:02 AM)
Linda, we use the interview both to confirm information that we already have from the paper application and also to get a sense of an applicant's communication skills, interpersonal skills, ability to think critically, etc. It is important to remember that the interview is just one of the things that we are considering, however, and it is rarely the interview alone that makes or breaks a candidate.

Linda Abraham (Sep 29, 2005 10:30:05 AM)
Brian and Margaret, why did you choose Haas?

Skram (Sep 29, 2005 10:30:42 AM)
With Corporate Social Responsibility being a more widely used term across the globe, how has Haas embraced this business practice?

MargaretRheeHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:30:57 AM)
Linda, I was looking for a program strong in real estate and international business. Haas had strong programs in both of these areas and had a number of opportunities to do related work in these fields. Then I visited the school and just felt like I belonged here.

BrianJordanHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:30:59 AM)
For me, I chose Haas because of the feel of the place. I went with my gut. The people just "felt" right: smart, comfortable, confident but not arrogant. Plus, it's such a small school that everything here is personalized. There's no such thing as a cookie cutter here!

aussieg (Sep 29, 2005 10:31:25 AM)
Hi all! Is the on campus recruiting open to part time students too? If yes, is there a lot of competition for jobs there? How does it affect full time recruiting?

BrianJordanHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:32:25 AM)
Aussieg, yes, the part-timers can go in for interviews. The exception, though, is that if a company is sponsoring a part-timer, that company must approve their going in for other interviews.

PeteJohnsonHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:32:27 AM)
Skram, Haas is one of the first MBA programs in the US to incorporate CSR into the business school. We offer courses in CSR, and we have a Center for Responsible Business, which does research in this area and also places students with corporations to do consulting projects in CSR. We currently have student CSR teams working for McDonald's and the Gap, and have had student teams at HP, Levi Strauss, and other corporations with a significant presence in this area.

anthem (Sep 29, 2005 10:32:47 AM)
Pete: From the administration's perspective, what areas are you trying to improve?

Linda Abraham (Sep 29, 2005 10:33:01 AM)
Brian and Margaret, what do you like best at Haas? What would you like to see improved?

aussieg (Sep 29, 2005 10:33:27 AM)
Thanks Brian!

BrianJordanHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:33:27 AM)
The competition for jobs is not as tough as one might expect -- there are a LOT of jobs out there right now and we are a very egalitarian lot. I've actually had friends walk out of their interviews and give me tips on how to approach things. We want everyone to do well here and that means making sure the right person gets the right job.

MargaretRheeHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:34:22 AM)
Hmm - I really like the breadth of opportunities here at Haas the most. I can take classes across the university, attend an Entrepreneurship Forum one night and go on a property tour with the real estate club the next night. If I want to start a digital media and entertainment club and/or class, I can - and students have done that. People are very self-motivated here, and they give back a lot to the community while they're here, too. It really is a shared learning experience & I'd say that contributes to the things I like most about Haas. As for what I would like to see improved, perhaps just more classroom space, but that's in the works now. We've got a great campus, but extra space for meetings and such would be nice. The school is working on designs for a new building next door.

BrianJordanHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:34:41 AM)
The thing that I like about Haas the most is that you can make the program what you want it to be. If you want to get tons of real-life experience in real estate development, you can do it. If you want to lead a series of teams, you can do it. If you want to expand your knowledge of specific areas, you can do it. Over all, we get to broaden our skills far more than I every expected. As for improvements, we are working on increasing the physical space the school occupies so there is more room for students to meet and hold team gatherings. Otherwise, I think it's a terrific place.

jay (Sep 29, 2005 10:35:33 AM)
Pete: Is there an age limit for applicants? If someone is reaching their mid-30, will this be held against him?

PeteJohnsonHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:35:36 AM)
Anthem, one of the big drives right now is additional space and additional faculty--although this does not envision (at least in the near term) any increase in the program size. We have a great facility, but could use extra space. One of our alumni just gave $25 million for an executive education facility, which will enable us to move those programs out of the main building, thus freeing up additional space; plans are on the drawing board for another new building that will be shared by the Haas School and Boalt Hall (the Berkeley law school). In terms of faculty, our dean feels that adding more depth to some of the discipline areas will be helpful, and we have been adding 5-6 faculty each year.

Marina (Sep 29, 2005 10:36:35 AM)
Brian and Margaret: is it common for Haas students to study abroad for a semester - or go on an organized trip with other students?

BrianJordanHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:36:56 AM)
Jay, I'm 31 and don't feel too out of place. There are people who are younger than me, but there are people who are older, too. It's all about your perspective -- can you learn something from these people?

PeteJohnsonHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:37:02 AM)
Jay, age is not something that we even consider. We are interested in sufficient experience, however, which may sometimes work against younger candidates. In the incoming class, we have a student in his 40's.

Tassilo (Sep 29, 2005 10:37:10 AM)
Pete: How familiar is the admissions office with the German university system, since most schools do not provide statistics about their graduates and the requirements for graduation from schools outside the US? What is your experience with applicants from Germany?

MargaretRheeHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:37:49 AM)
Marina, Haas students do take advantage of opportunities to study abroad. I believe approximately 20 students do each year. As for traveling together, I went to Argentina last winter break for 3 weeks - and probably about 15 other Haas students were there as well.

Guest (Sep 29, 2005 10:38:58 AM)
Most schools emphasize its focus on international business. How is this really integrated in the curriculum? How can I narrow my studies down, if I am already pretty sure in which international region I want to work? Do specific electives relate to certain regions/business environments in the world?

PeteJohnsonHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:39:04 AM)
Tassilo, we are quite familiar with the educational systems of a number of countries from which we receive applications. Germany is particularly interesting in this regard, since the education system is somewhat complex and offers a wider variety of options at the post-secondary, including Fachhochschulen and universities.

BrianJordanHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:39:09 AM)
Marina, yes, there are lots of trips that people go on together. Some of them are sponsored through the school, like International Business Development. Some are student sponsored, like the trips that the Digital Media and Entertainment Group went on to LA where they met with executives from Disney, Warner Brothers, and Yahoo!. There are also trips for fun where lots of students go on vacation together or get a ski house together. There are many, many opportunities for travel with your fellow classmates.

Diego (Sep 29, 2005 10:39:21 AM)
Hello everybody, I think that Haas is strong in entrepreneurship...I am very interested in that since I am currently developing a businesses of my own, and want to keep working myself after Hass. What else could you tell me about entrepreneurship at Haas, maybe something not on the website? The IBD program looks very interesting. Thanks.

Marina (Sep 29, 2005 10:39:39 AM)
Margaret - is it only 20 students because they are the only ones who want to study abroad, or because it is competitive to get the opportunity?

MargaretRheeHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:39:49 AM)
All in all, the school definitely encourages travel and work experiences abroad and provides the opportunities as well.

Marina (Sep 29, 2005 10:39:56 AM)
Pete: Can students take classes from the other graduate programs, like Boalt? If so - how many classes?

PeteJohnsonHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:40:30 AM)
Diego, there are a number of things I can tell you, although I think most of it is found somewhere on the web site! :-)

BrianJordanHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:41:09 AM)
Marina, we are definitely encouraged to take classes from other schools. Quite a few of our classmates do that -- about one third take a class outside Haas. A lot are foreign languages, but many are law, public policy, and of course we have the joint MBA/MPH program in public health. We can take up to 6 units that count toward graduating at Haas, but I'm not aware of any limits to the number of classes we can take after that.

MargaretRheeHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:41:46 AM)
Marina, I'm pretty sure all the spots for study abroad fill up. Students have to weigh their decision to go abroad with the fact that they're away from on-campus recruiting for a critical semester (fall of 2nd year). Nonetheless, many of these study abroad programs have reciprocal recruiting arrangements where you can use their on-campus career services while you're there. this is great if you want to work abroad.

PeteJohnsonHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:41:55 AM)
The E program includes courses, a center for research in entrepreneurship (the Lester Center), 2 business plan competitions, a business incubator, the monthly entrepreneurs forum (which brings Bay Area entrepreneurs together at Haas on a monthly basis to network and to discuss their successes/failures); the Mayfield Fellows program, which places interns at local VC firms, etc.

aussieg (Sep 29, 2005 10:41:57 AM)
I am interested in working in the tech industry post-MBA and Haas is really strong in tech. What kind of industry interfaces does Haas have to network with the leaders in the industry (something similar to Sloan's Meet the industry program where they fly to the silicon valley and meet with Tech industry's top brass)? Thanks!

Linda Abraham (Sep 29, 2005 10:42:33 AM)
Margaret and Brian, what has been your favorite class or professor?

MargaretRheeHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:43:47 AM)
To add to what Brian said, you can take more than 6 units to apply to Haas credit, but you have to get special permission. The criteria is how well the additional credits relate to your future career interests.

BrianJordanHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:44:00 AM)
Aussieg, first of all, we're IN Silicon Valley. All of the tech CEOs come to us. In fact, I'm still working at Yahoo! part-time (8-ish hours a week) after my summer internship program. Most of the people I know who are interested in technology are either visiting companies through the Career Centers "Tech Treks" or go to on-campus recruiting events. There is no shortage of tech focus at Berkeley given that so many technologies were invented here!

PeteJohnsonHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:44:06 AM)
Marina, one of the issues with the number of study abroad slots is simply that many students choose not to participate, since they have many other international opportunities during their time here, including the IBD program, study trips, etc. The window for study abroad is during the 3rd semester, which is also when certain industries (including banking and mgt consulting) do the bulk of their recruiting--many students do not wish to be away at that time.

MargaretRheeHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:44:21 AM)
I would have to say my favorite class thus far is one I'm taking with John Morgan, Game Theory. Brian's in that class, too. He's incredibly engaging. We're applying game theory analysis to strategy decision-making in businesses. Of course, he doesn't completely leave out behavioral dynamics, competitor analysis, and industry analysis, either. The class participates, we play games (ha!), and I feel like the whole experience is very effective.

Marina (Sep 29, 2005 10:44:22 AM)

Linda Abraham (Sep 29, 2005 10:44:39 AM)
Pete: Is there an advantage to applying in different rounds? What percentage of accepted students were accepted each round?

Marina (Sep 29, 2005 10:45:06 AM)
This is for the students - What was the biggest challenge you faced in your first semester?

BrianJordanHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:45:12 AM)
I also really enjoyed my classes in finance. I'm a marketing person, but truly enjoyed learning about the things I know least about. Bond covenants, yum!

BrianJordanHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:46:14 AM)
Marina, the biggest issue for me was fitting it all in. Classes are intense, study group meetings are long, lots of companies were coming to campus to recruit, and I wanted to have a bit of a life outside school (I'm married.)

PeteJohnsonHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:46:17 AM)
Linda, there is an advantage to applying in earlier rounds, although we do not have a set percentage of offers that we plan to make in each round--it is different in each year depending on the strength of the applicants. If applicants in the first two rounds are particularly strong, there will be few places left by the time we get to round 4.

Marina (Sep 29, 2005 10:46:40 AM)
Pete - Can you talk some more about the IBD program?

anthem (Sep 29, 2005 10:47:32 AM)
Do most students live around campus? Is it ill-advised to commute from SF? Sorry - I am from NYC and am not too familiar with the geography of the bay area.

Diego (Sep 29, 2005 10:47:46 AM)
About the IBD program, do students know which projects are available before applying? Can students collaborate in the process of generating new IBD projects? (I work in tourism in Peru, where there is a lot of potential projects, and I know that Haas students have come to work in Peru in this field before). Thanks.

MargaretRheeHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:48:10 AM)
I would have to agree with Brian that the greatest challenge was fitting it all in. I really liked the work hard - play hard ethic last year, and I didn't regret it. The more you can keep on top of things, the more opportunities you can take advantage of - and that's how I think I was able to learn about opportunities to do inner city business consulting and do a research project in Mexico this summer, for example.

onist (Sep 29, 2005 10:49:09 AM)
Thanks all for the great insights! Two questions: 1. How large is the Haas alumni base in Southern California? 2. What are some of the pre-term activities before beginning classes for 1st years?

BrianJordanHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:49:16 AM)
Anthem, I live in SF and don't have any problems. I drive in and it takes between 20-30 minutes every day. Now, it has to be said that I live near the bridge, so it's easy. Choosing where you live is critical to having an easy entry to the Bay Bridge. About 15% of our class lived in SF during the first year and maybe 25% in second year. Many take BART in, but it's about an hour door to door. Not my favorite option, frankly. Parking is pretty easy and cheap ($300/semester). You just have to pay the $3 toll to go back to SF.

aussieg (Sep 29, 2005 10:49:37 AM)
Thanks Brian! Can you give us an insight on the Management of Technology program?

MargaretRheeHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:50:48 AM)
Hi onist, the Haas alumni base in Southern California have a happy hour, welcome party, and a number of other activities for new admits and students graduating from Haas. I'm not sure about the size of the alumni base there, but I imagine it's sizable. I already know a few classmates who will definitely be there after graduation. I know last year the Digital Media and Entertainment Club sponsored a trip down there and met with companies, new admits, and alumni.

BrianJordanHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:51:11 AM)
Actually, aussieg, I'm not in the MOT certificate program, but I can tell you that there is a lot of interaction between Haas and the school of engineering. The faculty who teach the MOT classes create many opportunities to mingle with the engineers et al through get-togethers, parties, and in-class activities. The people who are in the MOT program are very committed, too, so they hook each other up with companies and opportunities all the time.

Tassilo (Sep 29, 2005 10:51:22 AM)
Pete, in addition to researching your website, what would be the most efficient steps to learn the most about the Haas program and its community? How do I get access to an alumni base in Germany/West Europe?

PeteJohnsonHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:51:33 AM)
Diego, students do not usually know all of the projects before applying, and the program director normally assigns students to specific projects depending on the needs of the projects, although the students have input into this process too. Students can help generate projects as well--the issue is usually locating the sponsor, since the projects are paid for by outside companies wanting the consulting or other organizations. You are correct that we have had past projects in Peru.

Linda Abraham (Sep 29, 2005 10:52:06 AM)
Brian and Margaret: What do you wish you would have done before starting your MBA that would have made the beginning/transition easier? Did you do anything especially effective that helped you return to academia?

BrianJordanHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:53:04 AM)
Linda, I wish that I had taken more time off. I worked right up until I started school, then took two weeks to get married. I wish I had eased into things a bit more. I highly recommend, though, the Math Camp class. It's a great way to start to meet people and to get used to being back in school. Otherwise, I think I was well prepped for school.

MargaretRheeHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:53:17 AM)
Aussieg, I did the UNIDO-MOT fellowship this summer and did a study on a water technology in Mexico this summer. There is also a China MOT fellowship where students travel to China over winter break. Both programs give credit for the work and involve travel abroad. There are a ton of MOT classes you can take - in engineering, sims (school of info mgmt), and haas.

PeteJohnsonHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:53:57 AM)
Tassilo, if you attend the MBA Fair in Frankfurt, you will meet some of our alumni there, as they will be at the Berkeley table with Jett. I will be visiting Germany in November and will hold a Berkeley info session in Frankfurt, hosted by one of our German alumni who is a principal with McKinsey & Co. For information about all of our info sessions in Europe, please visit our web site at http://www.haas.berkeley.edu/MBA/events.html

MargaretRheeHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:55:06 AM)
Linda, I did a few informational interviews before coming back to school, and I believe that helped me be more focused in my first year here. I would advise you to do that and try to learn as much as possible about what you want to do before getting here. You're going to have so many opportunities thrown at you while you're here, if you're not somewhat focused when you begin, you can go crazy trying to do too much. I was thinking of real estate, and I recall being tempted to switch to entrepreneurship because it just sounded so awesome!

Linda Abraham (Sep 29, 2005 10:55:35 AM)
Pete: Are there any special considerations for re-applicants? Do you reviewers also like at least year's application when reviewing the application of a reapplicant? Do they just look at the reviewers' notes? Or do they ignore last year's application?

anthem (Sep 29, 2005 10:55:43 AM)
Barian and Margaret: What were your biggest pre-conceptions of Haas and to what extent were they true once you arrived on campus?

PeteJohnsonHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:55:51 AM)
Marina, there are courses in the curriculum about the business of biotech--but not technical courses in this field. Those types of classes are offered in other departments, including biotechnology, biology, etc. Again, our focus is on the business end of biotech. Many of the students who are interested in this field have also done the joint MBA/MPH degree program. We even have a student Bio-business Club, which also organizes their own biotech speakers series as well as visits to Bay Area companies.

MargaretRheeHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:56:28 AM)
My biggest pre-conception was that the people were quite diverse in their interests, and that came to be totally true the more I got to know my classmates. I was looking for a school where you wouldn't be a 2nd-class citizen for studying something like accounting, for example. I like that everyone really respects each other, their backgrounds, and where they're headed.

Marina (Sep 29, 2005 10:56:49 AM)
Thank you Pete.

PeteJohnsonHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:57:37 AM)
Linda, we review reapplications in much the same way that we review first-time applicantions. We do, however, consider both the previous and current applications, and we are generally looking to see how an applicant has improved--and we ask them to describe this in the optional essay. Submitting an identical application is not a good strategy, as the second decision will probably be much like the first.

Diego (Sep 29, 2005 10:57:58 AM)
Margaret and Brian, as students, can you tell me something about a couple of courses that contributed to business idea development and entrepreneurship in general? Thanks!

BrianJordanHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:58:05 AM)
I was a little worried that people were going to be really arrogant and intense -- I went to B-school undergrad so had that notion in my mind. As it turns out, though, people here are amazing. One story -- I sat down on a bench in the courtyard here because I was tired. A guy I had never met formally but who was in one of my classes came up to me to see if I was alright and if I needed something. I was just tired from the day, but this guy was really concerned about me. Very cool.

Tassilo (Sep 29, 2005 10:58:46 AM)
Have to go. Thank you so much for all the kind information. Best regards from Germany!

PeteJohnsonHaas (Sep 29, 2005 10:59:10 AM)
Diego, I hope that was sufficient info re: IBD. If you visit the web site, you can see some profiles of last summer's projects.

BrianJordanHaas (Sep 29, 2005 11:00:15 AM)
Diego, I would say that the biggest thing is that many of our classes are project-based. We do a project for a real company in real-time and get real-world experience. We also get to take a class in the spring semester that works with Accenture to bring consulting skills to non-profits. Finally, I'm taking two classes that are along those lines: New Product Development and New Business Development. Both are great in terms of teaching you how to approach creating a new product/business and what to watch out for in terms of pitfalls. If you have more specific questions, I'm happy to talk about them.

MargaretRheeHaas (Sep 29, 2005 11:00:51 AM)
Diego, as for entrepreneurship, I'm taking a class called the Entrepreneurship of Broken, Stuck, and Unloved Companies taught by a successful practitioner in venture capital here in the Bay Area. We're learning how to evaluate whether or not a business really is in the dumps or if it has something that just hasn't been exploited... I think it's a great class for learning how to evaluate entrepreneurial ventures.

Marina (Sep 29, 2005 11:01:33 AM)
Pete: I know that each school has their own preference when it comes to the essay writing. Does Haas prefer more formal writing approach, or is it better to write the essays in a more casual tone?

PeteJohnsonHaas (Sep 29, 2005 11:02:49 AM)
Marina, I guess I would say more casual--provided the answers are well-structured, use good grammar, and provide us with information that helps us get to know you better. I think it is very important to make sure that the application reflects you as an individual, and helps us to understand your achievements and motivation.

Linda Abraham (Sep 29, 2005 11:04:04 AM)
Haas describes its program as "provocative" among other qualities. I am wondering if that is some PR writer's imagination or is it something that you feel in the program? You see I'm in the middle. I read the web sites and the essays and it is remarkable, but each party is trying to distinguish themselves and failing because they use they same terms.

PeteJohnsonHaas (Sep 29, 2005 11:05:37 AM)
Linda, I don't think it is imagination in the sense that our faculty push students to stretch themselves--it's not enough to simply learn about what the best practices in business are--we expect our students to develop new things, to challenge the status quo, and to come up with new ideas/processes/products, etc. I don't think that is true of many other MBA programs, to be quite honest.

BrianJordanHaas (Sep 29, 2005 11:05:56 AM)
The best way to find out what makes a school different is to visit it. The programs all offer the same classes and the same disciplines. The question to ask is whether one program will set you up for success in your chosen area of endeavor. Sorry to be so vague, but I'm not sure what else to add.

Linda Abraham (Sep 29, 2005 11:06:14 AM)
Thanks Pete.

Linda Abraham (Sep 29, 2005 11:06:28 AM)
Thank you also Brian.

Diego (Sep 29, 2005 11:06:36 AM)
Yes Pete, thank you. Just wanted to know a little bit more about the chances of  getting in an IBD tourism related program in a foreign country (Asia maybe). I guess this last part just depends on luck, right?

PeteJohnsonHaas (Sep 29, 2005 11:07:42 AM)
Linda, I also think that if you visit the programs and scratch the surface, you will either see evidence that these terms ring true, or evidence that it is simply a concept that someone in marketing thought was cool. I know of a program that uses the word "innovative" incessantly in its materials, and yet looking at the curriculum of that institution, I can find little evidence of it.

Linda Abraham (Sep 29, 2005 11:07:42 AM)
Margaret and Brian, how is recruiting going this year?

MargaretRheeHaas (Sep 29, 2005 11:08:03 AM)
Yeah, Diego - you can express an interest in tourism and in Asia (I believe you list your top 3 choices of industry and location) and hope for the best! It's hard because they have to match student interests with client needs. But, I almost always hear that the students end up really enjoying whatever they end up doing.

Linda Abraham (Sep 29, 2005 11:08:18 AM)
I'm sure that it is true Pete. Innovative and leadership are probably among the most used terms on MBA web sites.

Marina (Sep 29, 2005 11:09:20 AM)
Pete: Am I wrong to think that my resume along with the essay about goals and the interview should address enough of the professional experiences and that I should use the remaining essays to address personality and outside of work achievements?

PeteJohnsonHaas (Sep 29, 2005 11:09:21 AM)
Diego, not only luck--also knowledge, desire, etc. For example, if the IBD director (Sebastian Teunissen) were staffing a tourism-related project in Peru, he might select one student with professional background in the tourism industry, another with area and language knowledge, and another with a specific discipline expertise, like marketing or RE development. It really depends on the project.

MargaretRheeHaas (Sep 29, 2005 11:09:30 AM)
Linda, I am staying for a third year to do an additional masters degree in international economic development. So, I'm actually doing internship recruiting this summer which means I'm going to company presentations at the moment. My resume dropping and interviewing won't start until later in the year. But, so far so good!

BrianJordanHaas (Sep 29, 2005 11:09:45 AM)
Recruiting just started, but I think there is a good sense of momentum from last year. We've got a number of companies coming for the first time this year (Google among them) and the rest are coming back from last year. We'll have a better sense of recruiting in the spring. I do know a lot of people with offers from their internships, though.

Linda Abraham (Sep 29, 2005 11:10:17 AM)
That's great. The HaasNews also reported outstanding recruiting from last year.

PeteJohnsonHaas (Sep 29, 2005 11:10:34 AM)
Linda, I have to agree with you. It's also amusing to see that certain words become trendy. But at the end of the day, I think you're just trying to be provocative :-)

Linda Abraham (Sep 29, 2005 11:10:51 AM)
LOL. Maybe a tad.

PeteJohnsonHaas (Sep 29, 2005 11:11:52 AM)
Marina, that is certainly one possible strategy. I would try to answer the questions that are asked, and view the entire application process as an opportunity to tell us (the adcom) who you are, what is important to you, and where you want to go with your career.

Linda Abraham (Sep 29, 2005 11:13:03 AM)
Margaret is going to have to leave and I want to thank her for taking the time to participate.

MargaretRheeHaas (Sep 29, 2005 11:13:48 AM)
De nada! Sorry I have to jet, but I had a good time. I hope this was helpful. And yes, contact the Haas Student Ambassadors if you have any other questions.

MargaretRheeHaas (Sep 29, 2005 11:14:10 AM)
Thanks & hope to see you all visiting Haas sometime in the near future!

yoeddy (Sep 29, 2005 11:14:25 AM)
Can you let us know where applicants who are explaining career changes in their essays usually run into problems?

PeteJohnsonHaas (Sep 29, 2005 11:14:35 AM)
We will also host chats on our site later this fall--anyone registered with our web site will get invited...

Marina (Sep 29, 2005 11:16:11 AM)
I also have to run to a meeting. Thank you all for great advice and information!

PeteJohnsonHaas (Sep 29, 2005 11:16:23 AM)
Yo, typically by not clearly explaining what they wish to do OR having career goals that are a poor fit with b-school. For example, if you are in finance and want to transition to consulting, we are interested in knowing why you are interested in consulting and how you have begun to prepare for that transition. If you are in finance and want to become a DJ on MTV, we probably can't offer much to help you realize that transition!

PeteJohnsonHaas (Sep 29, 2005 11:16:35 AM)
Bye Marina!

Linda Abraham (Sep 29, 2005 11:17:03 AM)
Pete, what is the most common mistake applicants make on their application?

yoeddy (Sep 29, 2005 11:18:25 AM)
Pete: Is it ok to say you want to make a career change into a certain industry but are looking to get ideas of the exact position during b-school?

PeteJohnsonHaas (Sep 29, 2005 11:18:45 AM)
Linda, trying to figure out what the adcom wants to read is probably the biggest and most common mistake. Applicants try to pick career goals and interests that they think will get them into b-school rather than honestly expressing their goals and achievements. Misspelling "Haas" is fairly common too! :-)

PeteJohnsonHaas (Sep 29, 2005 11:19:05 AM)
Yo, yes--but you should still explain why you are pursuing that industry.

Linda Abraham (Sep 29, 2005 11:19:24 AM)
Thank you again all for participating today. Special thanks to Pete, Brian, and Margaret.

Linda Abraham (Sep 29, 2005 11:19:51 AM)
Good luck with your applications!

PeteJohnsonHaas (Sep 29, 2005 11:19:54 AM)
Thanks everyone, we look forward to the honor of reviewing your applications!

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