Haas Faculty Bring Industry Leaders to Speak in Classrooms−and Out

From artisan chocolate to ice cream and airlines to eyeglasses, dozens of high-profile leaders from a broad range of sectors will visit Haas classrooms this fall, offering up-to-the-minute business expertise and networking opportunities for students.

Undergraduates in Adjunct Professor Jennifer Walske’s Introduction to Entrepreneurship (UGBA 96) will hear from a parade of colorful pioneers, including John Scharffenberger, who transformed the American chocolate industry by importing European techniques to make his Scharffen Berger Chocolate; Charles Huang, who enabled millions to express their inner rock stars with Guitar Hero music video games; and Fred Reid, founder of Virgin America, known for its aircraft's club-like interiors.

Cal alumnus Gary Rogers, BS 63 (Engineering), who built Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream into an industry leader with Haas alum Rick Cronk, BS 65, will share his lessons on effective leadership in Professor Jennifer Chatman’s MBA Leadership course (MBA 257 1-B). Servaes Tholen, former CFO of eBay North America and current CFO of online employment company Elance, will speak on fostering innovation, while alumna and Genentech Senior Vice President Jennifer Cook, MBA 98, will talk about leveraging culture for strategic success.

Evening and Weekend MBAs will hear from Robert Lynch, CEO of vision care giant VSP Global, in Lecturer Frank Shultz’s Leadership Competencies course (EWMBA 257). Schultz is bringing in speakers from Salesforce.com and Merck Serono for his Berkeley-Columbia Executive Leadership course (XMBA 256).

In some courses, guests are acting as sounding boards for students’ work.  Undergraduates will pitch their ideas much as they would in the agency world in Lecturer Krystal Thomas’ Product Branding and Entertainment (UGBA 167). The clients: alumni Michael Smith, MBA 86, general manager of The Cooking Channel, and Anika Nieh, BS 11, of Safeway Consumer Brands.

Home-run Speakers

High-profile sports business leaders will also offer real-world perspective in Lecturer Michael Rielly’s Sport Marketing (UGBA 167). Students already left the classroom for an optional field trip to AT&T Park in San Francisco earlier this month that featured a private, behind-the-scenes tour and meeting with Bill Lawrence, the San Francisco Giants' director of sponsorship sales, and Sara Hunt, senior director of Giants Enterprises, who oversees public and private events at the ballpark. One student even caught a home run ball during the game against the Rockies.

Reilly's speaker lineup also includes New York Mets General Manager and former A's exec Sandy Alderson and Cal Athletics Director Sandy Barbour.

Marketing Leaders

MBA students interested in marketing will hear from executives at Charles Schwab, Intuit, Clorox, and Levi's in Lecturer Lynn Upshaw's Strategic Brand Management (EWMBA 262) and Marketing Management (MBA206) courses.

In Lecturer Wasim Azhar’s International Marketing course (MBA 268, full-time MBA students will learn about international competition from Infosys Consulting CEO Stephen Pratt. Other visitors will include executives from Salesforce.com, Cisco, and Chevron. Guests to Azhar’s Marketing Organization and Management (EWMBA 206) course include Banana Republic President Jack Calhoun.

Professor Miguel Villa-Boas' Marketing Strategy course (MBA 299) will bring in several alumni, including Trevor Traina, MBA 96, a tech entrepreneur, and Steven Chan, BS 88, senior VP of strategy, marketing, and product management at the Automobile Association of America (AAA).

Women, Finance, Consulting

For her new Women in Business (MBA 291T-1) course, Adjunct Assistant Professor Kellie McElhaney has arranged guest lectures by several innovative women, including Tara Sophia Mohr, author of an article titled 10 Rules for Brilliant Women, and Libby Leffler, BS 06, a strategic partner manager focusing on community partnerships and programs at Facebook.

Former SNOCAP CEO and former Electronic Arts Senior Vice President Rusty Rueff will speak on transparency and management in Strategy, Structure, and Incentives (EWMBA 210), taught by Professor Jonathan Leonard, chair of the Haas Economic Analysis and Policy Group.

Lecturer Sam Olesky's Portfolio Management course (EW/MBA 236D) will bring in practitioners from such as firms as BlackRock, Wells Fargo, and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts to discuss their methods and strategies. Similarly, Lecturer Rada Brooks' Strategic Cost Management course (UGBA 128) will feature consultants from McKinsey, Deloitte, and PricewaterhouseCoopers talking on such topics as customer profitability and pricing.

Undergrads in Lecturer Ethan Namvar's Introduction to Financial Engineering (UGBA 137) will enjoy a look into quantitative investing in the Asia Pacific from visitor Ernest Chow, partner and founder of Sensato Investors.

Bill Lawrence and Sara Hunt of the San Francisco Giants meet students in a Sports Marketing class