Patrick Awuah, MBA 99, propels an African renaissance
From the time he enrolled at Haas, native Ghanaian Patrick Awuah had a singular focus: to transform Africa by inaugurating a new type of higher education institution. It would be at the forefront of Africa’s socioeconomic transformation by preparing ethical, entrepreneurial leaders. Awuah spent his time at Haas gaining the skills he’d need to found and lead such a school. Launched in Ghana in 2002, Ashesi University was the continent’s first liberal arts college. It pioneered a multidisciplinary core curriculum teaching critical thinking, creative problem solving, ethical reasoning, and communication skills that went against the dominant rote learning culture in many African schools. Ashesi, which means “beginning” in the Ghanaian language Akan, is now recognized as one of the finest universities in Africa and has graduated more than 2,000 students determined to revitalize their communities and transform the continent. Here’s how a world-class university develops.
Patrick Awuah and three classmates, including Nina Marini, MBA 99, conduct a feasibility study for a private university in Ghana as part of Haas’ International Business Development program.
The Ashesi University Foundation is founded by Awuah, its president, and Marini, its vice president.
Having raised $2.5 million, Ashesi opens in a rented house with 30 students.
The first class graduates—all finding quality placement.
Ashesi students adopt an honor system to take exams unproctored, triggering a national conversation on the importance of values-based education. A capital campaign for a permanent campus begins. Ashesi achieves operational financial sustainability.
Phase one of the new campus in Berekuso, 100 acres overlooking Ghana’s capital Accra, is completed on schedule and on budget ($6.4 million).
Awuah is awarded Haas’ Leading Through Innovation Award and named Ghana’s 4th most respected CEO.
Ashesi launches an engineering program with 76 students (40% women) and a new facility. A record 55% of students receive need-based scholarships—29% fully funded.
The President of Ghana awards Ashesi a Charter, making it an autonomous degree-granting institution free from the supervision of a public university.
In March, Ashesi students are among the first in Africa to resume learning after COVID lockdowns, thanks to learning systems already being online.
Ashesi now offers nine degrees (three of them master’s) and enrolls over 1,400, 18% of whom are international (from 31 countries). Some 90% of grads find jobs, start businesses, or attend grad school within six months of searching.
Lisha Bell, BCEMBA 12, who leads the Economic Opportunity Fund at PayPal Ventures, has been chosen as speaker at the Berkeley Haas MBA for Executives commencement, which will be held June 3.
Bell brings over 20 years of demonstrated technology innovation focused on digital money movement. Her career has focused on building and investing in products that serve community needs to bridge the capital divide.
At PayPal Ventures, she leads the Economic Opportunity Fund, the 100M investment into diverse emerging fund managers. Prior to Paypal, she worked at Venmo, Wells Fargo, Kohl’s, and Feedzai in various payment related roles, building the earliest digital financial products including online banking, bill pay, and digital wallets.
Bell is cofounder of BLXVC, an angel syndicate comprised of moms funding Black and Brown founders.
She is also the host of the Sisters with Ventures Podcast, which tells the stories of women in venture capital, and the prior deal flow lead for Pipeline Angels, a group of impact investors focused on women. Bell is also board chair for Black Girl Ventures.
She holds a BS in Business Administration and Information Systems from USC, and an MBA from the (former) joint program between UC Berkeley and Columbia Business School. She was recognized as USC’s Widney Outstanding Alumna and a 2013 Berkeley Columbia Distinguished Service Award recipient.
Takedra Mawakana, co-CEO of autonomous driving technology company Waymo, urged Dean’s Speaker’s Series attendees to embrace the ambiguity required to bring true innovation to the mobility industry.
“One of the reasons this industry is so exciting to me is nothing is set,” said Mawakana, who joined Mountain View-based Waymo in 2017, and was named co-CEO in 2021. “Everything is up in the air. The regulatory environment isn’t set, the customer adoption plan isn’t set, and the technology isn’t done. I thought my relationship with ambiguity was quite advanced … but ambiguity at every level means never walking on solid ground.“
Some things are going to go wrong, she added, and that’s OK. “You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.”
Waymo operates in San Francisco and metropolitan Phoenix, with plans to expand to Los Angeles. Its taxi service, called Waymo One, does not require a human driver.
Watch the DSS talk here.
Prior to joining Waymo, Mawakana led global teams at eBay, Yahoo, AOL and Startec. She said she joined Waymo because the company reflects her values, with its mission is to make it safe and easy for people and things to get where they’re going. Research has shown that Waymo technology can prevent 75 percent of vehicle collisions, while reducing serious injury risk by 93 percent.
Mawakana said that two of her uncles were killed in “completely avoidable” traffic accidents, which has committed her to making driving safer.
“I’m just deeply tied to the mission,” she said. “What I can’t say is that the journey is always going to be easy, but I can say it feels worth it when it’s deeply tied to what you believe in, which is very different than chasing the next software release.”
Mawakana’s talk was sponsored by the Black Business Student Association and the Haas Transportation & Mobility Club.
UC Berkeley student Egbert Villegas was driving his girlfriend, Nelly Elahmadie, to a doctor’s appointment last November when the pair spied an SUV flipped over on the freeway in Oakland.
They were on their way from Walnut Creek to Berkeley; the accident came into view right before the Caldecott Tunnel.
Other drivers were whizzing past the unsettling scene, but Villegas “sprang into action,” said Elahmadie, pulling over to a safe spot and then running to the overturned vehicle to help the driver, who was still strapped to his seat.
Last week Thursday, Villegas, a molecular and cell biology major, was honored on campus for his effort with a $1,000 award, a framed certificate and a performance by the Straw Hat Band. It all was a complete surprise, he said, since “I never expected anything out of this … I was always taught to do things out of the kindness of your heart.”
That’s exactly why Alan Ross, a lecturer and distinguished teaching fellow at the Haas School of Business, founded the Chris Kindness Award, which Ross gives monthly for a random act of kindness to a person who lives, works or goes to school in the city of Berkeley.
Ross, who has taught business ethics at Berkeley Haas for 33 years, named the award for Chris Walton, who was a preschool teacher for his daughter Haley, 21, and son Danny, 18. Walton, who died in 2012, “imbued in his young pupils a strong sense of community, charity and care,” said Ross.
The kindness award also aligns with what Ross teaches in his ethics course, The Social, Political, and Ethical Environment of Business. “When I teach corporate social responsibility, I call it ‘citizens’ social responsibility,’ for the responsibility we have as citizens,” he said. “What responsibility do we have? What more can I do?
The award definitely ties into what we teach, and the students see me doing this and not just talking about it.”
Influencing national economic policy is not only about having the expertise, but also about being in the room at the right moment to be heard, two top economists who have served as government advisors told the audience a recent Dean’s Speaker Series event.
“I had this impression that there’s some deep thinking and careful preparation, and ultimately a bunch of guys get into a room, and later there’s a law,” said Professor Ulrike Malmendier, who in August was appointed to a five-year term on Germany’s Council of Economic Experts, which evaluates the government’s economic policies. The reality, she learned, is less concrete.
“I completely misunderstood politics and policy,” said Malmendier, Edward J. and Mollie Arnold Professor of Finance, in response to a student question. “It showed how if you are at the right place—if you can be in the room—you can help.”
Malmendier shared the stage by Professor Catherine Wolfram, who recently completed a term as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Climate and Energy Economics in the U.S. Department of Treasury. Wolfram and Malmendier were interviewed by Haas Dean Ann Harrison in a discussion titled, “In the Halls of Power: Berkeley Haas Economists on Advising World Leaders.”
Wolfram, an energy economist, and Malmendier, a behavioral economist, are internationally known in their respective fields. Both said they felt the call to step outside academia and use their expertise in the service of public good.
“Like a lot of my colleagues, I wanted to be relevant to policymakers, and I wanted to have my research influence decisions,” Wolfram said. “But I figured I really should understand what it’s like to be a policy maker and see how the sausage is made.”
Wolfram said that when Janet Yellen, a Berkeley Haas professor emeritus, was named Secretary of the Treasury in the Biden Administration, she reached out to her directly about a treasury position focused on environmental issues
“…Don’t wait for them to come to you. Life in DC is so, so hectic, they’re going a million miles an hour,” Wolfram said. “You need to raise your hand and say, ‘I’m ready. I’d like to be there.’”
“You need to raise your hand and say, ‘I’m ready. I’d like to be there.’” —Catherine Wolfram
Wolfram ended up having a front-row seat to the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act—the biggest climate bill in U.S. history—and played a pivotal role in enacting a price cap on Russian oil. Malmendier has been on the front lines of helping her home country navigate a tricky economic period roiled by inflation, the war in Ukraine, and the resulting European energy crisis.
Hear more about their experiences and their leadership advice.
Classified articles spotlight some of the more powerful lessons faculty are teaching in Haas classrooms.
It’s week four of the Climate Change and Business Strategy course at Berkeley Haas, and Senior Lecturer Andrew Isaacs kicks off with a slide that compares China’s CO2 emissions to those of the U.S. and other countries.
“What you notice right away is a three-fold increase coming from China,” he said, noting that the country’s blazing economic growth has come with a huge increase in demand for energy. “This is like nothing the world has experienced. China is the elephant in the room right now, even though the US still leads the world in cumulative emissions of planet-warming gasses.”
As class continues, Isaacs covers the different potencies of the main greenhouse gasses, presents a quick tutorial on the First Law of Thermodynamics—energy can neither be created nor destroyed, only converted from one form to another—and posts graphs that show how much countries have warmed over time and track loss of ice and snow around the world. “There will be a September within your lifetime that sees an ice-free Arctic Ocean,” he tells the 51 Haas Full-time and Evening & Weekend MBA students in the class at Chou Hall.
It’s a lot for students to take in. “I knew there was a crisis, but to see how it might play out is mind blowing,” said Harry Davies, MBA 23, who interned for Impossible Foods last summer and plans to pursue a career at the intersection of sustainability and food.
“I knew there was a crisis, but to see how it might play out is mind blowing,” – Harry Davies, MBA 23.
After launching the course two years ago, Isaacs’ worry about the planet’s fate has only escalated. “We’re only starting to grapple with these problems,” he said. “In the coming weeks of class we’ll look at the various solutions available to us. But if we get climate change wrong, it doesn’t matter what else we get right.”
One key to getting it right? Electrification—and moving away from the inefficiency of fossil fuels, particularly gasoline-powered automobiles, Isaacs told students. “If I’m driving to work in a gasoline-powered car, 10% of the energy in each gallon of gas I burn gets me to work, and the other 90% goes to heating up the air around the car. You wanted mobility, but you used something—an automobile —that instead is good at producing heat,” he said. “Our economy is built substantially on the inefficient and inappropriate use of resources.”
“Our economy is built substantially on the inefficient and inappropriate use of resources.” – Andrew Isaacs
Response to a wildfire
Isaacs created the Climate Change and Business Strategy course after being forced to evacuate his home in Napa, California, during the 2020 North Bay wildfires. A geochemist by training who started his career as a scientist at NASA, Isaacs didn’t end up losing his house. But the fire did lead him to examine how he could do more to educate students about climate change. Since introducing the course, he also helped Haas launch a summer minor in sustainability open to all UC Berkeley undergraduates.
The class has filled up every semester. It helps immensely that Haas Dean Ann Harrison and Sustainability Director Michele de Nevers have both supported the sustainability course since its inception, Isaacs said.
“Drew’s course is critical to ensuring that our students graduate equipped to take on both the challenges and opportunities that climate change poses to business and our world,” de Nevers said. “A basic understanding of the fundamental science of climate change is critical to implementing and evaluating whether a business’s sustainability efforts are effective or just greenwashing.”
“A basic understanding of the fundamental science of climate change is critical to implementing and evaluating whether a business’s sustainability efforts are effective or just greenwashing.” – Michele de Nevers
The class covers a sweeping number of topics, including climate governance, carbon offsets, carbon capture and storage, greenwashing versus informed decision making, and investing in climate solutions. Students also examine corporate strategies, studying Apple’s climate roadmap, Tesla’s impact report, and Unilever’s progress. Guest speakers this semester include Peter Fiske, MBA 02, director of the Berkeley Lab’s Water-Energy Resilience Institute, and Phoebe Wang, an investment partner at the Amazon Climate Pledge Fund, who will discuss climate startups.
In April, Graduate Student Instructor Natàlia Costa i Coromina, who has taught the class since fall 2021, will teach a session, exploring a case she co-wrote with Isaacs that questions whether Gen Z’s climate knowledge matches its climate concern.
Costa i Coromina, a second-year student in the Master of Development Practice at UC Berkeley, said she wants students who enter the course with “radical passion and a willingness to learn,” and to leave not deflated by climate anxiety, but instead with an action plan and a systems change mindset.
“They learn how hard it is going to be, because climate change will be (and is already) impacting every aspect of our lives” she said. “We equip students with the science, from the Keeling Curve (a daily record of global atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration) and GHG emissions to offsets and resiliency; and then their eyes open to what does this all means for business: that, in fact, every single department—marketing, supply chain, operations, finance, HR—has a role to play.”
Filling in the gaps
Students said they had a wide variety of reasons for enrolling in the class, from a desire to create more effective policies at work to exploring the science of climate change to making more effective changes in their personal and work lives.
Himanshi Arora, MBA 24, came to Haas after working as an operations manager at Procter & Gamble, where she considered how to make packaging more sustainable and delivery more efficient. “I’ve been thinking about getting deeper into climate change and sustainability for a while,” she said. “Climate change is such a huge problem that will impact every corner of the Earth, particularly people who are marginalized. I took this class because I want to know if my thinking (about how to make change) is right and to fill in the gaps in my knowledge.”
Some students, including Rathin Ramesh, EWMBA 23, enrolled in the course as part of earning the Michaels Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Business, which includes nine units of sustainability coursework over the course of the MBA program. Ramesh said the course will help him to make more impactful decisions for his company, a cannabis delivery service. “All of my drivers use cars, and two of them have a Prius. In trying to apply this knowledge one of the first things you’d do is figure out how to electrify your fleet or implement more sustainable growing practices at the farms we work with.”
Joy Wang, MBA 23, who is from China and has lived in the U.S. for a decade, said the world—not just China—shoulders the responsibility for turning the climate crisis around. Wang, who will work at EY Parthenon after graduating, said many projects she worked on while interning at EY required a sustainability strategy. “One day, these projects will be a bigger part of my job, so I want to prepare,” she said.
For more than six years, Danner Doud-Martin helped lead the school’s progress in sustainability—from leading the effort to make Chou Hall the first zero-waste building on campus to planting pollinator gardens around Haas to leading volunteers planting hundreds of trees in the community. Now, Doud-Martin, former assistant director of the International Business Development (IBD) Program at Haas, has been named the first full-time director of campus sustainability.
In her new role, one of her first projects is tapping what she learned in a night course to build a carbon roadmap for Haas that will quantify what sustainability goals Haas has attained so far and what remains to be done. Haas News recently interviewed Doud-Martin about her plans for further reducing waste, making Haas more energy efficient, and working across the UC Berkeley campus to be a part of the overall strategy for achieving net zero by 2025.
Over the past six years, you’ve worn two hats as assistant director of IBD and the school’s zero waste/sustainability lead. How did you turn the sustainability role into a full-time job?
We were able to earn three critical certifications, WELL Gold, TRUE (Total Resource Use & Efficiency) Platinum Zero Waste and LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Platinum for Chou Hall after more than a year of efforts to divert over 90% of landfill waste. That recognition helped lend legitimacy to the work that I was doing. It certainly helps when the dean says that sustainability is one of her strategic pillars because all of a sudden that work is elevated and folks are looking at it and asking questions. I feel really fortunate that Dean Harrison has made this a priority because it meant that I was able to convince Haas senior leadership that this is a full-time role.
I feel really fortunate that Dean Harrison has made this a priority because it meant that I was able to convince Haas senior leadership that this is a full-time role.
What are your first priorities?
One of the things about having a team and a true strategic plan is that our Office of Sustainability can spend time thinking through not only what zero waste means but understanding the data—and what we’re diverting from landfill. We also want to understand what emissions we produce at Haas and how we can reduce our scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions. Zero waste is a big part of our goal, but so is energy and transportation. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to understand Haas’ energy, water, and transportation data soon and that we will be able to tell the story of how Haas, within a huge university, is making significant reductions and changes.
What is Haas’s role in helping the UC Berkeley campus reach its zero waste goals?
UC Berkeley has committed to the strongest ban on plastic in the country and has mandated that we need to eliminate single-use plastic by 2030 Haas continues to be the place that the rest of campus watches. Zero waste is not only about Chou Hall but the initiatives that we’ve continued to roll out and/or pilot. The reusables (utensils, mugs, water bottles, etc.) program is one of them. We’re trying to think through how to make reusables work. There is a logistical piece: can they be washed on site or do they need to transported to be washed? What is the footprint? Are we really helping the environment with reusables versus a compostable?
How are you working now to eliminate plastic on campus?
This is about finding solutions to something as simple as eliminating single-use balloons and replacing them with vinyl reusable balloons that can be blown up many times. We’ve told our campus event planners about the vinyl balloons, so demand is up and we’ve expanded our inventory. We also want to completely eliminate single-use plastic water bottles from Haas, which is why we are planning graduation without plastic water bottles this year. We are all brainstorming on what we can provide to guests and graduates to replace plastic. Graduation gowns are another thing that we’re tackling. Haas has taken back graduation gowns for years and offers whatever is collected to next years’ students. We hope to scale this program to be able to eliminate single use gowns—and the UC Berkeley CAL Zero Waste team is trying to get it to happen campus-wide this year. They’re trying to turn it around fast. We’re really starting to put in these policies and find solutions.
We also want to completely eliminate single-use plastic water bottles from Haas, which is why we are planning graduation without plastic water bottles this year.
Haas moved away from plastics to “compostable” utensils years ago, and now your goal is to move away from these PLA single-use compostable utensils and clamshells made of materials like corn starch and sugar cane toward reusables. How compostable are the single-use “compostable” products?
You have to put all of it in a 40-day, high-heat commercial composting system. You cannot put it in your backyard compost.
Where do we send ours?
We send all of our composting to the Richmond Materials Recovery Facility (MRF), where we recently planted 150 redwood trees as part of our efforts to offset our paper use through printing. We also planted trees at Verde Elementary School across the street from the MFR in an effort to green their school yard.
How does the reusables program work?
FoodWare, a student startup that we’ve been working with since last spring, helped us replace 4,200 clamshell food containers with reusable containers between spring and winter of 2022. Our goal for the next semester is 6,500. The Dean’s Speaker Series lunches are done completely with reusables. We are having conversations with all the different program offices about expanding reusables at their events. I’m also working with a student team that’s part of a course called Zero Waste Lab. They’re going to put together a lifecycle analysis for us that will show the environmental and financial footprint of a compostable clamshell versus a reusable one. Reusable cutlery is a dream of mine because those are the hardest things to break down.
How has the pandemic impacted support for the reusable strategy?
We’ve seen pushback with reusables, specifically because of fear of COVID. We’ve been slowly working to get both our catering and the cafe back to a place of comfort around health protocols and reusables. This semester, Café Think is taking reusable mugs and filling them with coffee drinks. Guests save 25 cents each time they refill a reusable. Haas also gave all full-time MBA students bamboo utensil sets this year, building on the water bottles and coffee mugs given out a couple of years ago. It’s all about behavior change. I keep my bamboo utensil set in my purse at all times. When you see people pulling out their own forks, you feel more comfortable doing it.
How do you inspire more people to make the changes you need them to make?
Lots of education and incentives. Fill It Forward, a company we have partnered with over the years, makes an app that works with barcodes to track when you refill your water bottle or coffee mug. It sends the information to a central hub and tracks your impact. Fill It Forward also has a mission to donate water to communities in need. As we know, students like to have things gamified and many of these apps offer prizes for engaging. Now that I’m in this role 100%, I can think about how to utilize more incentives and gamification to engage people more and create behavior change.
Can you talk about planned upgrades to systems in other campus buildings, beyond Chou Hall?
We’re trying to figure out how to make energy-saving improvements and whether we can install solar in our Faculty Services, Cheit, and Student Services buildings. But our first priority is the new Berkeley Haas Entrepreneurship Hub. As the hub is being renovated, we have to think about what we can do during the construction and operations phases to hit all of the sustainability points. Because this is a renovation rather than new construction, we won’t be able to have the same level of certification on this project that we had with Chou, but I’m looking at what we can do in a smaller building. Regardless, we want to push ourselves to make a significant impact wherever we can from a sustainability standpoint.
Merrick Robinson Osborne is the first postdoctoral scholar hired in a new Berkeley Haas program focused on racial equity in business. Osborne, who grew up in Portland, Ore., studies how organizations address (or don’t address) prejudice at work and how that impacts social hierarchy.
The new role was created through a $1 million gift from Allan Holt, MBA 76, in support of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) efforts at Haas, which include building a pipeline for new faculty who have a commitment to racial equity in business.
As a postdoctoral scholar, Osborne will research new ideas, collaborate with Haas faculty, and advise doctoral students. He received a BA in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before earning a PhD at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business in 2022.
Osborne recently discussed how his family influences his work, his research findings, and his future teaching plans with Haas News.
Who are some researchers who inspired you?
At the beginning of my PhD program, I was fascinated by a lot of the work by Haas Professors Cameron Anderson and Jenny Chatman, and I’m still very interested in their work. But I also hold interest in how other fields of study speak to the work that I want to do. Recently I read Audre Lorde’s book Sister Outsider, which was provocative because it spoke to the way I’ve been seeing diversity efforts develop. She says that “Black and third-world people are expected to educate white people about our humanity. Women are expected to educate men. Lesbians and gay men are expected to educate the heterosexual world. The oppressors maintain their position and evade responsibility for their own actions”. I wanted to represent this in my field because I think it has a very practical application.
How do you see it applying?
There are a lot of social hierarchy-related questions in her book. How do white people see people of color explaining racism? How do these conversations that Audre Lorde describes lead to conflict? And how did that impact her status and power? I’m starting to see more intersections with my work outside of my own field, which is really exciting.
Your mom is an experienced social worker and therapist. Has she sparked any research ideas?
My mom, dad, and sister have all touched my research in different ways. My mom’s job as a licensed clinical social worker, and experienced therapist, is to dive under the surface and ask more about what her clients are experiencing. Part of what I want to do is understand the assumptions that we hold about the way our world operates and the way people operate together in the world. But I also want to challenge those assumptions. In talking with my mom, I get a sense for how I can start asking questions.
My dad had a career in corporate America, where he was the first and only person of color. While rising to an executive position, he had to navigate a lot of issues that play out in the work that I am doing. He’ll say,”Oh, that actually relates to this experience that I had or that relates to something that I saw somebody else doing.” An important question is how to make the workplace a better place, especially for people who experience it as a dangerous place, or at least a mildly unsafe place.
An important question is how to make the workplace a better place, especially for people who experience it as a dangerous place, or at least a mildly unsafe place.
My sister’s interests have also shaped my research. She graduated from Howard University, an HBCU, before coming home to work in Portland. Very white spaces are not completely alien to either of us, and I think she has been comfortable moving back. But within that comfort, she does experience some discomfort. And a lot of discomfort that we share comes with being asked to do diversity work at work. Talking to her about her experiences has helped inspire and motivate me to develop research that speaks to her experiences, because I know she is not alone in having them.
What did you focus on during your PhD program?
My dissertation was on confronting prejudice at work, and what happens to a disadvantaged group member who witnesses an advantaged group member confront prejudice and then asks for that person’s input. There’s a lot of depth to it. For example, two men and a woman are in a room. One of the men says something problematic and sexist. The other man speaks up, but then asks for the woman’s input on what she experienced. I was curious about how one disadvantaged group member views these confrontations—when a man speaks up before the woman even has a chance to—and how that woman feels about being drawn into these spaces involuntarily.
At a broader level, when there is a display of prejudice at work, people look for insight about how to address that display effectively and increase inclusion. And oftentimes, they don’t know whom to turn to so they turn to people who they think are best suited for addressing prejudice, which are usually the people who are directly impacted by the prejudice display. I think that can be good, and that can be bad. It’s just important for us to really dissect what happens to the people whose input is sought, and the outcomes they experience.
What will you be working on at Haas in 2023?
A lot of my work now for the next month or two is going to be finishing up my work from USC. I do want to explore more with the folks here on how disadvantaged group members view diversity efforts more broadly. I’m excited to do that through avenues like the Culture Center that Jenny Chatman co-directs, but also through the research and teaching of Drew Jacoby-Senghor and Sa-kiera Hudson, who co-teach the new core course called Business Communication in Diverse Work Environments. I think it’s really important and nice to see the work that’s being done here up close and in person.
How do you feel about racial equity efforts at Haas, compared to other academic environments you’ve experienced?
Something I realized a couple of years ago is that the onus is on academia to make it clear that these are spaces where it’s safe for a marginalized person to operate in. What’s becoming increasingly challenging is learning how to signal that effectively. Part of what I hope for as a postdoc is that I can be a Black man who experiences success here. I want to show other people of color and marginalized people that they can come here and experience success and signal that to other schools too.
Something I realized a couple of years ago is that the onus is on academia to make it clear that these are spaces where it’s safe for a marginalized person to operate in.
Do you plan to teach?
I did an introduction to organizational behavior class for undergrads at USC. I enjoyed it, but I realized that I just wasn’t excited about it in the way that I wanted to be. That was in very large part because I felt like I wasn’t talking about things that really interested me. The MBA classes here include some really stimulating material both for the students and the professors who teach it. So I’m hoping that if I work hard enough, I can put myself in a position next year to teach.