Part-time MBA Students Take Careers in New Directions

Evening and weekend student Craig Hashi, MBA 12, co-founded a medical device company before changing course and working in investment banking. Chris Fuller, MBA 12, transitioned from earth science consulting to management consulting at Boston Consulting Group.

They are two of many students in the Evening & Weekend MBA Program to change careers while earning a Berkeley MBA. Hashi and Fuller were among seven students who shared the method behind their moves with fellow classmates in a panel discussion this fall.

The first step for all was to pull into sharp focus a target position, company, or industry. The students then employed a variety of tools, from career advising to on-campus recruiting, from networking to … more networking.

Then there are a few students, like Hashi, who went even farther. To make his change from biotech to investment banking, he worked in an internship at a hedge fund from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m., then headed to work as CTO for his medical device startup, NanoVasc, and capped the day with evening classes (and homework). It was not a path for the faint of heart, but one that has placed him squarely on an investment banking track. Hashi completed an internship with Citigroup this past summer.

These students also worked hard to land their informational interviews. Hashi estimates that in his biotech-to-finance move he spent seven months purely on building a network of contacts. Kathy Benemann, MBA 12, transitioned from senior strategy and product manager at UC Berkeley to associate brand manager at LeapFrog. She emphasizes the importance of building “a meaningful relationship with someone in your target company who is willing and able to help.”

Meaningful is exactly what Omer Ansari, MBA 12, aimed for in making his connections. Ansari wanted to work in clean tech and moved from an engineering role at a semiconductor company to product marketing with Soladigm, a developer of energy-efficient glass.

But Ansari says he doesn’t like to “schmooze.” “If someone is going to give me their time, I make it valuable,” he says. When requesting one informational interview, for instance, Ansari researched the company thoroughly and submitted a two-page brief analyzing its new product with his interview request. “I got a call within two hours,” he says.

Read about more career switchers on the Haas Achieves blog