MBA Students Launch Two Speakers Series

Recognizing the broad expertise and connections among their peers, full-time and evening-and-weekend MBA students have launched two new speaker series this semester.

The 40 Minutes Speaker Series created by the EWMBA Association kicked of March 19 with the first of many lectures to be offered during evening and Saturday breaks. The Students Teaching Students Speaker Series, launched by two full-time students, began March 21.

EWMBA 40 Minutes Speaker Series

Phil Jaber, founder of Philz Coffee, spoke at the first installment of the 40 Minutes Speaker Series. With his unique personality and focus on great customer service and personalized coffee, Jaber was the subject of a Harvard case study and numerous national media articles.

"The series was created in part because many evening-and-weekend students are unable to attend the Dean's Speaker Series due to professional commitments," explains Manu Parbhakar, MBA 15, who was instrumental in starting the series and signing up Jaber as its first speaker.

The EWMBAA Executive Board, which is taking the lead in organizing the series, plans to focus on bringing in alumni or friends of Haas who have been exemplary career advancers, career switchers, or entrepreneurs. It will target speakers who have special connections with the Evening & Weekend Program to demonstrate how the program has helped shape successful careers, says Katie McMahan, MBA 14, co-VP of the EWMBAA Alumni Relations Committee.

The EWMBAA is working with the Haas Alumni Relations Office to identify future speakers for the series. The next speaker is slated to speak during a Saturday class session.

Full-time MBA Students Teaching Students Speaker Series

The Students Teaching Students Speaker Series took off with a lecture titled "I Sang in Space!" by Soyeon Yi, MBA 14, South Korean's first astronaut, who launched into the sky on April 8, 2008. Future topics will include "Zara's Unique Culture;" "The Problem with Charter Schools;" "Fukushima—Nuclear Disaster and the Future of Japan;" and "Working through a Big-Ass Crisis in a Permanently Troubled Company," which will focus on a mining company in Mexico and Spain.

"We got to thinking that the biggest advantage we have at Haas is other students' experiences. We thought that we are not really leveraging this advantage," says Yaron Leyvand, MBA 14, explaining the genesis of the speaker series.

The series also offers speakers an opportunity to get feedback and improve their speaking skills in a friendly environment, adds Adi Rubinovich, MBA 14, who teamed up with Leyvand to organize the series.

"I think it may be an opportunity to learn and have fun at the same time," she adds.

Faculty also expressed interest in attending, Leyvand noted. About 15 students registered for the speaker series, and there is space for 10 more students and faculty members to show up without registering. For more details, email Leyvand at [email protected].