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Janki Patel, MBA 22, on embracing her queer identity

A group of men and women sit in a gazebo
Janki Patel, second from left, with friends after graduation.

Haas Voices is a series that highlights the lived experiences of members of the Berkeley Haas community. 

Janki Patel, MBA 22, is a recent Haas graduate who identifies as a first-generation, queer, Indian-American woman. In this Pride Month perspective, she shares her story of discovering and embracing her queer identity at Haas.  

Growing up as a first generation Indian-American woman, I didn’t know anyone in my community who was queer. And as a cis-woman who is attracted to cis-men, I just thought any attraction I had to a woman was a “girl crush”. But when I started applying to business school, I realized some of my girl crushes were a bit more serious than the average girl crush. While I sometimes regret the fact that it took me so long to realize that I was queer, I am thankful that I am now closer to knowing myself fully. Every queer journey looks different and I’m sharing mine in case it helps anyone learn more about themselves, queer or not. 

Business school was the first place where I felt I could be openly queer. It was also the first time I was part of a queer community. It was beautiful to belong to a community that understood a part of my identity that others did not. Though the queer community at Haas still has work to do to center the experiences of BIPOC,  trans, and non-binary students, I am thankful I was welcomed into it at a time when I had more questions than answers. During my first year, three classmates shared their coming out journeys with other students for a special Story Salon. I was struck by how each coming out story differed from the next: from the moment my classmates realized they were queer to how they came out, to their loved ones’ reactions. I saw a bit of myself in all of these stories. After that event, I knew that I was getting closer to being ready to come out, but I wasn’t quite there yet. 

My classes both at Haas and across the UC Berkeley campus taught me about what it means to be a kind, humane, leader and what queerness means to me. Courses such as Sustainable Capitalism in The Nordics and Managing Human Rights in Business equipped me with the tools I needed to pursue a career at the intersection of business and justice. And an African American Studies class on the novels of Toni Morrison exposed me to language I could use to speak about my queerness in a way that felt authentic to myself and that eventually gave me the confidence to come out to my immigrant parents. 

Woman and man on a hike. They take a moment to take a photo.
Janki Patel, MBA 22, on a hike with her partner.

My professor Daerick Scott helped me understand what I loved so much about Morrison’s novels, especially “Sula.” Sula questions society’s expectations of women throughout the novel, and her relationship with her best friend, Nel, though not explicitly sexual, is one of equal partnership and deep understanding. It’s a queer relationship. Not simply because it is between two women, but because it questions the norms of how love exists. Re-reading Sula helped me articulate to myself to others that I am queer. Not only because I like women, but also because my attraction to people and my views on my role in a relationship do not fit into the mainstream. With that new language and the help of my closest friends at Haas, I was able to write a letter sharing how being queer has shaped my world view and share it with my parents. Although my parents have been struggling to accept what I have shared with them, they are trying. I am thankful that I am no longer hiding a core part of myself from them and luckily, I have been able to lean on my siblings and friends who have been endlessly supportive. 

I came across a quote that in typical Toni Morrison fashion is incredibly eloquent: 

I still write about the same thing, which is how people relate to one another and miss it or hang on to it… or are tenacious about love. About love and how to survive—not to make a living—but how to survive whole in a world where we are all of us, in some measure, victims of something. Each one of us is in some way at some moment a victim and in no position to do a thing about it. Some child is always left unpicked up at some moment. In a world like that, how does one remain whole—is it just impossible to do that? 

Morrison’s distinction between surviving and making a living is one that I think about frequently, especially as I decide on next steps after Haas. Although I’m not sure where my post-Haas journey will take me (I’m hoping it’ll be somewhere at the intersection between climate and DEI), I plan to keep questioning if I am surviving or making a living. I’ll also question if I am helping others survive and remain as whole as possible. As for my queerness, I’m happily dating a cis-man and feel as queer as ever. I met my partner at a time when I wasn’t planning to date cis-men. But he was patient enough to help me improve my tennis serve (it’s still not great but way better!), bake delicious lemon bars, and somehow genuinely enjoy doing dishes. All of this was a very unexpected bonus of my Haas journey.

EMBA 2022 grads told to ‘live life with no regrets’

64 graduates dressed in caps and gowns
EMBA Class of 2022. Photo: Jim Block

Graduates of the Berkeley Haas Executive MBA Class of 2022 were urged to have confidence in their degrees, to make a difference in the world, and to live life with no regrets during a joyous commencement last Saturday. 

It was a celebratory moment for families and friends, too, many of whom–including tots–crossed the stage alongside graduates.

Male graduate crosses stage with his two young daughters
Graduate crosses the stage with his daughters. Photo: Jim Block

In her welcome address at UC Berkeley’s Hertz Hall, Dean Harrison congratulated the 64 graduates for making the decision to invest in themselves and persevering through one of the toughest MBA programs during a global pandemic.

“We do not give out capes today,” Harrison said. “But maybe we should because what you showed was nothing less than a heroic commitment to your families, to the future, to going beyond yourself.”

Harrison encouraged graduates to look to the Berkeley Haas Defining Leadership Principles as guide posts throughout their career and to stay connected to the school’s 40,000-strong alumni network, which she called one of “the greatest gifts of their degree.” 

three female graduates take a selfie
Three EMBA 2022 graduates take a selfie. Photo: Jim Block

Commencement speaker Laura Adint, EMBA 14, praised the class for successfully completing the program amid a pandemic. “The EMBA program is always hard,” she said. “It’s demanding, it’s challenging, it’s frustrating, it’s consuming, and to do it all in the backdrop of the most global event happening in our lifetime. I say ‘well done and congratulations.’”

Adint, an operations and strategy executive, noted the many challenges faced by graduates in the last two years, including adjusting to remote instruction during fall semester and postponing a few immersion trips. But she urged graduates to not regret a single moment of their program as “regret gives you nothing in return” and that their experiences positioned them to make a difference in the world.

Three women donned in academic regalia
Commencement speaker Seo Yeon Yoon, EMBA 22, with Assistant Dean of MBA Programs Jamie Breen, and Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Programs Emma Daftary. Photo: Jim Block

Chosen by her peers as the student speaker, Seo Yeon Yoon reflected on the strong support she received from the class when she made the tough decision to drop her American name and change it back to her Korean birth name.

When I struggled, you made me believe that if I acted on bravery that resided in me, all will be well,” Yoon said. “You actively embraced my [Korean name]. You cheered me on…You amplified my voice.” 

“The legacy that you’re leaving behind today is of resilience and love. Proving that you can take the risk, acting on that resilience by moving forward in spite of the fear of the unknown. Believing that if you work and be kind, that success is guaranteed.”

Valedictorian Will Tuhacek thanked his classmates for helping him receive the highest academic honor. 

“I would not be here today if it weren’t for the 64 amazing EMBAs that we have,” Tuhacek said. “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants,” he added, quoting Sir Issac Newton. 

Tuhacek reminded the class that they’re now in the privileged position to be changemakers in their companies, communities, and the world. “Chance favors the prepared mind. Have confidence in yourself and in your degree. You are prepared and you can do anything.”

A woman and man dressed in academic regalia
2022 Cheit Award recipient Professor Veselina Dinova (right) with Jon Wong, this year’s Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor winner. Photo: JIm Block

Those honored at commencement included Distinguished Teaching Fellow Veselina Dinova receiving her second Cheit Award for Excellence in Teaching, and Jon Wong, EMBA 18, a former student of Dinova’s, who received the Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award. 

Student Honors: 

Valedictorian: Will Tuhacek

Question the Status Quo: Jeremy Johnson

Confidence without Attitude: Tomás Klausing

Students Always: Kunal Cholera and Seo Yeon Yoon

Beyond Yourself: Lokesh Mandava 

Berkeley Leader Award: Lokesh Mandava and Martha Ivanovas

Operations exec named executive MBA commencement speaker

White woman with blonde hair dressed in black blazer and red blouse. Laura Adint, EMBA 14, an operations and strategy executive has been chosen as the 2022 Berkeley Haas Executive MBA commencement speaker. 

The ceremony will take place at UC Berkeley’s Hertz Hall on June 4, 2022.

Adint, valedictorian of the 2014 EMBA class of 68 graduates, has focused in recent years on developing strategies for scaling organizations. Passionate about leading high performing teams, she said she’s applying many of the lessons from her Berkeley Haas program classes and classmates. (Read Poets & Quants profile of  Adint.)

Adint has held several executive leadership roles at prominent tech companies as vice president of sales operations & sales development at Drift; vice president of sales strategy and operations at Adaptive Insights, and vice president of sales operations at SugarCRM. She’s also held senior roles at Kelly OCG, Xilinx, Ford Motor Company, and Accenture. 

She holds a B.A.S. in mathematics and economics with highest honors from the University of California, Davis. She also received the 2010 YWCA Silicon Valley Tribute to Women Award. 

Five questions with HBSA President Anna Shim, BS 22

Woman wearing white dress holds up cap
Haas Business Student Association President Anna Shim, BS 22. Photo courtesy of Anna Shim.

With graduation ahead Monday, we interviewed Haas Business School Association President Anna Shim, BS 22,  about her experiences at Berkeley Haas and where she plans to go next. 

Best memory from your time as an undergrad at Haas?

One of my best memories as a Haas undergrad was not related to recruiting, coffee chats, or classes, but a social event: 2018 Haas Winter Formal. I was extremely eager to meet fellow Haasies and attend this formal dance organized by Haas Business School Association (HBSA) at the SF Conservatory of Flowers. There was food, a dance floor, a photo booth, and more. My team and I organized a similar Haas spring formal this year, which was a fun way to celebrate the end of the semester!

Favorite place to get food around campus?

I’ve grown fond of many restaurants here during the past four years so it’s hard to choose. Some classics are Mezzo, Sliver, and Gypsy’s. Healthier options include Freshroll, Poke Parlor, and Berkeley Thai House. My favorites that are closer to downtown Berkeley are Imm Thai, Berkeley Social Club, and Marugame Udon.

What are you most proud of during your time here?

I am most proud of the myriad of experiences I had during my time at Berkeley and Haas. Whether it was studying abroad in London through the Global Management Program during fall semester of my freshman year, representing Haas in the National Diversity Case Competition at Indiana University, or serving as president of the Haas Business School Association, Haas has offered me many unique opportunities that I would not have otherwise.

What was the hardest challenge you had to overcome?

The most difficult challenge that I had to overcome and am still coping with is the sudden loss of my only brother (also a Cal alum) three months ago. I urgently went home in the middle of the semester to support my parents and am fortunately still graduating on time. Experiencing grief at a relatively young age has undoubtedly taught me many invaluable lessons, including gratitude, humility, and resilience.

Where will you live and work next?

I will be living in SoCal with my family and working as an M&A management consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Los Angeles.

 

MBA Classes of 2020 and 2021 get official sendoff

Graduates of the Berkeley Haas Full-time MBA classes of 2020 and 2021 reunited at Oakland’s Paramount Theatre last Friday for in-person commencement.

The graduates crossed the stage and celebrated with classmates, family, and friends in downtown Oakland and on campus. (The ceremony coincided with Haas’ MBA Conference and Reunion.) The in-person events followed separate virtual commencement ceremonies held in May 2020 & 2021.

Here are some highlights from Friday’s ceremony:

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Graduates from the MBA classes of 2020 and 2021 gathered at Oakland's Paramount Theatre for their belated in-person commencement. The ceremony was held on April 29, 2022. Photo: Katelyn Tucker Photography.
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Evan Wright, MBA 20, hugs a fellow classmate. COVID-19 restrictions prevented graduates from having in-person commencements for two years. Photo: Katelyn Tucker Photography.
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Members of the class of 2021 take photos outside of Oakland's Paramount Theatre. Photo: Katelyn Tucker Photography.
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Graduates take a few photos before commencement begins. Photo: Katelyn Tucker Photography.
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"If you ever doubted whether you could lead through a crisis, overcome impossible odds, break through barriers, you have your answer," said Dean Ann Harrison who praised both MBA classes for completing one of the most rigorous MBA programs in the US during a pandemic. Photo: Katelyn Tucker Photography.
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Laura Clayton McDonnell, MBA/JD 85, gave this year's commencement speech. Photo: Katelyn Tucker Photography.
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"Haas taught me to show up as my most authentic self and to tear down my own walls and invite people in," said commencement speaker Joe Sutkowski, MBA 20. "Let's all continue to invite people into our lives and make this world a little bit smaller." Photo: Katelyn Tucker Photography.
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Student speaker Fede Pacheco, MBA 21, urged classmates to remember the joyous moments of their MBA program and to reach out to one another whenever life gets tough. Pacheco also received the Confidence without Attitude award. Photo: Katelyn Tucker Photography.
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David Brown-Dawson, MBA 21. Photo: Katelyn Tucker Photography.
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Graduates of the MBA class of 2020. Photo: Katelyn Tucker Photography.

Award winners for the full-time MBA class of 2020:

Academic Achievement Award: Brian Shain, the MBA student with the highest GPA.

Question the Status Quo: Evan Wright

Confidence without Attitude: Celeste Fa’ai’uaso 

Students Always: Nina Ho

Beyond Yourself: Benny Johnson

Berkeley Leaders: Molly Zeins & Ezgi Karaagac

Haas Legacy Award: Santiago Freyria and Francesco Dipierro

Award winners for the full-time MBA class of 2021:

Achievement Award: Devan Courtois

Student always: José Ramón Avellana

Beyond yourself: Kendall Bills

Question the status quo: Fayzan Gowani

Confidence without attitude: Fede Pacheco

Cheit award for Graduate Student Instructor: Devan Courtois

What’s your personal brand? New class helps students craft one

A man and woman bump fists to show solidarity.
Berkeley Haas Lecturer Kellie McElhaney co-teaches the class with Graduate Student Instructor André Chapman, Jr. Photo: Jim Block

“Classified” is an occasional series spotlighting some of the more powerful lessons being taught in classrooms around Haas.

On a recent Monday evening Berkeley Haas Lecturer Kellie McElhaney opened her class with a challenge, asking her students how others have defined them. “Too bossy” and “too sensitive” were among the responses that McElhaney quickly urged them to dismiss or proudly own as they began a journey of how to describe themselves.

“What do you want your brand to be?” she asked the class of 48 students, most of them Cal athletes—a group that’s at the heart of her new class, Equity Fluent Leadership & Personal Brand. It’s designed to teach primarily Cal student athletes and undergraduates how to create personal brands. 

This class comes after California and eight other states passed laws in 2019 that allowed college athletes to benefit from their names, images, or likenesses (NIL). In July 2021, the NCAA followed suit and adopted its own NIL policy for all college athletes. Similar to professional athletes, college athletes can now engage in sponsorships and receive cash payments and gifts. However, the policy continues to preclude students from entering pay-for-play contracts with colleges and universities.

“The NIL policy is in its infancy right now and many college athletes haven’t fully grasped the policy in its entirety,” said McElhaney, who’s also the founding executive director of the Center for Equity, Gender and Leadership. “My hope is that I can give students the tools to discover who they are and what they stand for, regardless of whether or not they enter contracts.”

Focused on core values

The Equity Fluent Leadership & Personal Brand class has drawn the interest of many athletes, including Cal football players, swimmers, and gymnasts, five of whom are Haas students. Non-Haas students are also enrolled in the course.

college students sitting at desks in Chou Hall classroom
The Equity Fluent Leadership & Personal Brand class has drawn the interest of many athletes, including football players, swimmers, gymnasts, and non-Haas students. Photo: Jim Block

“This class has really re-energized me,” McElhaney said. “It’s bringing my three passions together: Equity Fluent Leadership, Cal athletics, and the love for my dad, my role model.” (McElhaney’s father, Harold “Hal” McElhaney, played football for the Philadelphia Eagles, coached at Duke, and went on to become the athletic director for Allegheny College and Ohio University.)

Black undergraduate student wearing blue hoodie smiles.
Cal women’s basketball player Jazlen Green, BA 22, a brand ambassador for Stoko, is working to better define “the best version of herself” in the class. Photo: Jim Block

In addition to crafting their personal brands, students explore their core values based on their social identities, learn about the power of allyship, and discover their own brand of leadership. Throughout the semester, students have been tasked with giving presentations about leaders whom they admire, finding songs to represent the soundtrack of their lives, and designing social media accounts that reflect their brands. 

Cal women’s basketball player Jazlen Green, BA 22, (sociology) has already benefited from the NIL policy, serving as a brand ambassador for compression legging company Stoko. In exchange for using Green’s name and image, Stoko gives the Cal basketball player free products. But her primary motivation for taking McElhaney’s class was to be the best version of herself.

The personal brand hero assignment, which required students to write about a leader who reflects their brand, has been the most impactful exercise, she said. 

“I had a hard time narrowing my decision to one person, which highlighted the fact that I’m multifaceted,” Green said. “I am an athlete, a student, a Black female, and a creator.” 

Cal baseball player Garret Nielsen, BS 22, said he took the class to learn more about himself and to become more empathetic. 

Male undergraduate student with cap turned backwards. He's smiling.
Cal baseball player Garret Nielsen, BS 22, enrolled in the class to become a more well-rounded and empathetic person. Photo: Jim Block

“This class asks the hard questions,” Nielsen said. “The most important lesson that this class has taught me is you have to establish a foundation of who you are before success comes.” 

Conversely, Nielsen said he’s not interested in benefiting from the NIL policy. He’d rather use his status and expertise to help children become great baseball players.

“I would have been ecstatic if a college player had helped me with my game when I was a kid,” Nielsen said. “I now have the opportunity to do just that. I think that’s the true gift of being a Cal athlete.”

Looking ahead

Over time, McElhaney hopes to expand the class to include topics such as how to read contracts, money management, and investing. She wants to bring in lawyers and more professional athletes as guest speakers. Earlier in the semester, she invited former NFL player Lorenzo Alexander to talk about the value of having a board of directors. She’s also tapped the wisdom of her graduate student instructor André Chapman, Jr., a former UCLA 400-meter hurdler who was bound for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 

“At its heart, this is a leadership class,” McElhaney said. “Whether or not students, specifically my student athletes, enter sponsorships, this course sets them up for life.”

Haas team honored at Investing in Inclusion Pitch Competition

MBA students hold large checks.
MBA teams from top business school around the world competed in EGAL’s Investing in Inclusion Pitch.

MBA teams competed for top prizes at the 5th annual Investing in Inclusion Pitch Competition last Friday, pitching ideas to address issues of exclusion, marginalization, and belonging at the workplace and beyond.

The event was held in Chou Hall’s Spieker Forum and was organized by the Center for Equity, Gender and Leadership (EGAL).

The Berkeley Haas team, Firstly, pitched a virtual mentorship program that aims to help first-generation college students with on-campus recruitment and internship placement. The team tied for second place and won $5,000 in prize money.

Team members included Kevin Hu, Divya Vijapurapu, Elle Wisnicki, all MBA 22; Austin Long, MBA 23; Stacey Li, BA 15, and Leanne Do, BA 19 (both from UC Irvine).

Other winning teams included:

First place: Innerlytic
Innerlytic offers an online assessment tool that helps people detect their inner-biases. The team included Jordan Rose, MBA 22, (Yale School of Management) and Vernae Rahman-Smith, MSW 20, (Howard University). The team won $8,000.

Second place: Firstly and Paraventures
Paraventures provides outdoor excursions for people with disabilities. Team members included Yosuke Ochiai, Cassandra Christian, and Vincenzo Morla, all MBA 22, from IE Business School in Madrid, Spain. Firstly and Paraventures each won $5,000 in prize money.

Third place: Nema
Nema is an AI and natural language processing (NLP) tool that aims to help businesses better understand and reach multicultural audiences. Team members included Mbere Monjok, Keyaira Lock Adewunmi, Braylong Gurnell, Carmen Del Valle, all MBA 23, from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. The team won $2,000 in prize money.

The competition truly embodies the Berkeley Haas Defining Leadership Principles, said Genevieve Smith, associate director of EGAL. “Our hope is that this competition will help move the needle forward in creating a more equitable society for all,” she said.

“Competitions like these are changing the way people are valued at work and how they show up at work,” said Ulili Onovakpuri, who served as one of the judges and is a partner at venture capital firm Kapor Capital. “Companies are beginning to prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion issues and are changing organizational structures.”

MFE Commencement 2022: ‘You are at the heart of sea change’ 

Six graduates donned in academic regalia jump in the air
Graduates of the MFE Class of 2022. Photo: Jim Block.

Berkeley Haas Dean Ann Harrison urged the 79 Master of Financial Engineering (MFE) graduates at Friday’s commencement to “use their power wisely” as they are at the center of global change.

“Your work is at the heart–the very foundation–of business and governments around the world,” said Harrison who commended the MFE class of 2022 for completing one of the most rigorous financial engineering programs in the world. 

“You are at the heart of the sea change in banking, the financial system, global supply chains, and so much more that is transforming our world.” 

As parting words to graduates, Harrison encouraged them to lean into the Berkeley Haas Defining Leadership Principles whenever they’re at a crossroad and to never forget their 40,000-strong Haas family. 

two men and one woman dressed in academic regalia
L-R: Commencement speaker Dr. Robert Litterman, Jim Gilliland, MFE 02, and Linda Kreiztman, executive director of MFE program. Photo: Jim Block.

Jacob Gallice, program director of the MFE program, praised the tight-knit class who successfully navigated their program–amid a global pandemic–for their perseverance and their desire to better themselves professionally and personally. 

“If this year has taught you anything, it’s that life will throw many challenges at you. It’s up to you how you respond to those challenges,” Gallice said at the ceremony held in person at UC Berkeley’s International House.

“I hope you will take with you the tools, lessons, and skills which you have learned this past year to navigate your lives with the same prowess you’ve shown during your time at Berkeley.”

Commencement speaker Robert Litterman, founding partner of Kepos Capital, spoke to the importance of investing in oneself by developing strong social networks, finding work that will engage one’s talents, and exploring ways to give back to society.

“Take what you’ve learned here, think deliberately about your financial and social capital, and give back to society,” said Litterman. “You will be richly rewarded.”

About 10 master of financial engineering students standing on balcony
Members of the MFE class of 2022. Photo: Jim Block.

The commencement ceremony also included a tribute video to Linda Kreitzman, executive director of the MFE program, who established the program 21 years ago; a keynote from Jim Gilliland, MFE 02, president and CEO of Leith Wheeler Investment Counsel; and speeches from student speakers Joseph Yang and Edward Huang who reminisced about their class gatherings, including trips to Napa and Lake Tahoe.

Members of the class of 2022 will go on to work at leading global financial firms, including Barclays, Blackstone, Morgan Stanley, PIMCO, Goldman Sachs, Citadel, and Credit Suisse.

And now for the awards…

Award winners at commencement included: 

Valedictorian: Sarthak Sagar

Salutatorian: Pradeepta Das

Earl F. Cheit Teaching Award: Professor Eric Reiner

Haas Graduate Student Instructor Award: Nicolas Corthorn

Embodiment of All Four Defining Principles: Dmitry Silantyev

Alumni Award: Wen Luo, Morgan Kidd, Paul-Noel Digard, Atanas Vanchev, Peisen Ma

Morgan Stanley Applied Finance Project Prize: Krishna Goel, Apeksha Jain, Alec Madayan, Shrey Samdani, and Dmitry Silantyev for Using Option-Implied Correlations for Derivatives Pricing and Alpha Generation. Advisor: Professor Kevin Coldiron. (The award includes a $5,000 to be shared among all team members.)

New class arrives

Meanwhile, the MFE class of 2023–a total of 79 full-time and seven part-time students–began classes today. Students in the incoming class come from 17 countries, including the U.S., Chile, China, France, Malaysia, Morocco, India, Lebanon, and Switzerland. Women make up about a third of the class. 

Haas scores record number of gifts during Big Give

Three male students and one female student gather for a photo using Berkeley Haas backdrop
Students gather in the courtyard for Big Give 2022.

Big Give, the annual 24-hour online campuswide fundraising campaign, brought in nearly $2.5 million in donations to Berkeley Haas this year.

With a total of 911 gifts from donors, Haas broke last year’s record of 830 gifts, raising $2,475,738. (The entire Berkeley community raised $20,739,038.) The event kicked off virtually on March 10 at 9 p.m.

In addition to placing third on the leaderboard for the most money raised by a department, college, or program, Haas also claimed prizes for:

  • Top fund with the most faculty and staff 
  • Top fund with the most graduate student donors
  • Top fund with the most international donors during the designated challenge hours 
Two students stand behind a table. They're smiling
Armaan Ismail, BS 23, (left) and other undergraduate students help organize games during Big Give.

Other successes included $295,000 in challenge matches given by The Robert W. Witter Family Foundation, Leah Sutton, Regie & David Eberhart, Mike & Linda Gallagher, Jerry & Melody Weintraub, Ellie & Tom Wehlen, Tad Freese & Brook Hartzell, Marc & Rowena Singer, Dean Ann Harrison, and an anonymous donor. 

Throughout the day, undergraduate students, led by Armaan Ismail, BS 23, organized games such as Jenga and set up a photo booth in the courtyard to educate other students about the importance of philanthropy at Haas.

Big Give launched in 2014 to give the entire Berkeley community—alumni, parents, students, faculty, staff, and friends—the chance to support their favorite schools and programs and to help those schools and programs win prize money.

If you missed Big Give, it’s still possible to donate.

2022 Haas Healthcare Conference to focus on health inequities, precision medicine

Bear statues on the Berkeley Haas Campus.

Healthcare inequities, provider burnout, and precision medicine to predict and treat disease are among the topics on tap for the upcoming Haas Healthcare Conference

“Meeting this Moment in Healthcare” is the theme for this year’s event, which will be held virtually March 10-11. The annual conference, organized by the student-led Haas Healthcare Association, will span two days.

Conference organizers are Abhishek Gupta, Nick Helgeson, and Taryn Stromback, all MBA 22.

“COVID-19 has not only shined a light on gaps in the healthcare system, but it has also accelerated the funding and innovation in the industry needed to address those challenges,” said Stromback. “Our conference brings together leaders from across all healthcare sectors to discuss how the industry is using this momentum to drive change today, and how this will shape the future of health.”

Somesh Dash, BS 01, general partner at venture capital firm IVP, will kick off Thursday’s session with a fireside chat, followed by a panel discussion on growing early-stage startups and a pitch competition, where eight UC Berkeley and UCSF startups will present to healthcare venture capitalists. 

Friday’s line-up includes keynotes from David Rhew, global chief medical officer and VP of Healthcare at Microsoft, and Heather Mirjahangir Fernandez, CEO and co-founder of Solv

During the lunch hour, Marian Wentworth, president and CEO of Management Sciences for Health, joins Steve Davis, senior strategy advisor for The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, for a fireside chat about global collaboration during the COVID-19 pandemic. Other notable guest speakers include Amy Fan, MBA 19, co-founder of Twentyeight Health, and Jason Bellet, BS 14, co-founder and chief strategy officer at Eko Health.

The day also includes panel discussions on addressing systemic healthcare inequities in the US; the power of precision medicine in predicting, preventing, and treating disease; provider burnout and the future of the clinician workforce; and why women’s health should be everyone’s issue. 

The conference is open to the public. Tickets can be purchased here.

26th annual Women in Leadership conference to focus on entrepreneurship, allyship

Group of women talking on outdoor patio
WIL Conference guests gather outside Chou Hall’s Spieker Forum. Photo taken March 16, 2019. (All guests provided proof of vaccination to attend conference.)

Increased family responsibilities and burnout are just a couple of outcomes brought on by the pandemic, pushing many women to reevaluate everything from relationships to family planning to work. 

The 26th annual Women in Leadership Conference intends to carry that conversation forward and inspire attendees to redefine their professional and personal lives under this year’s theme “Re:set, Re:imagine, and Re:build.” The conference will be held March 5 in Chou Hall’s Spieker Forum, with optional programming on Friday, March 4.

“Coming to Haas was my way of reimagining what my life would be like,” said conference co-chair Clara Pomi who left her job as a project manager at fitness company ClassPass due to pandemic-related layoffs. “I could have found a new job, but the pandemic forced me to reevaluate everything, especially my career.”

Organized by the Women in Leadership club, the conference is one of the longest-running and most well-attended events at Berkeley Haas. It is expected to draw more than 300 students, alumni, faculty, scholars, and other professionals to campus. 

Conference organizers include Pomi, Emily Shapiro, Danielle Dhillon, Camila Rico, Pooja Bag, Charlotte Harris, Neha Dutta, Katherine Willcox, Bailey Daum, Julie Warshaw, Tess Krasne and Lily Sahn, all MBA 22. 

The one-and-a-half day event will begin with a Story Saloon, a homage to Story Salon, a Haas tradition in which students share their lived experiences through storytelling, on Friday evening.

Saturday’s events include a welcome address by Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer Élida Bautista followed by a discussion with Kim Malek, co-founder and CEO of Salt & Straw, led by Dean Harrison. Breakout sessions focused on negotiating salaries, entrepreneurship, and allyship are also planned. Vicky Tsai, founder of skincare line Tatcha will give closing remarks.

Other notable guests include Dr. Sahar Yousef, a Haas lecturer and cognitive neuroscientist; Michelle Kim, BS 11, political activist and founder of Awaken; Jordan Sale, MBA 19, founder of 81cents; Amy Fan, MBA/MPH 19, founder of Twentyeight Health; and Kellie McElhaney, executive director of the Center for Equity, Gender, and Leadership (EGAL).

Conference tickets are now available.