Career Profile: Monica Diliberto, Retail Management

Career Profiles is a series of posts that will feature Haas students who have accepted an internship or full time job offer across various industries. 

Monica Diliberto is currently a 4th year Business Administration student who transferred from Skyline College in San Bruno,monica CA.  Known as the “Retailing Girl”, Monica not only teaches a Retailing DeCal, but also is involved with the Cohort Program as the Shattuck Cohort Leader for the Class of 2015 and is a writer for the Haas Undergraduate’s Blog.  Outside of Haas, Monica is the Executive Administrator for Fashion and Student Trends (FAST), UC Berkeley’s student-run fashion organization which hosts bi-annual fashion shows on campus, and was a host for last semester’s fashion show, Legacy.  During her time at Haas, Monica had acquired an internship with Macy’s for their Store Management Development Program and, after graduation, will be joining Bloomingdale’s for a full time offer, starting August 2015, for their Executive Development Program in San Francisco.

Why Retail Management? What made you join Bloomingdale’s Executive Development Manager Program?

In high school, I was very much into fashion.  I made all of my Homecoming, Winter Formal and Prom dresses; however, I never really though of a career in fashion.  It was not until community college, where I was presented with the opportunity to work for Nordstrom in Palo Alto as a sales associate that I began to think of a potential career in the retail industry.  At the time, I was pursuing business with the intent of going into Forensic Accounting, like my dad.  But then I though to myself, “Can I honestly go to work every single day in the same boring business suit and sit in a cubicle crunching numbers all day?”  While I enjoyed the satisfaction of balancing my books in my accounting courses, I found myself more excited to develop and grow as a leader in the retail industry—and that began at Nordstrom.

While going to community college as a full time student, I was able to work part time at Nordstrom and gain tremendous experience in the fields of sales, product knowledge, and management.  I found that I could not only apply what I was learning in the classroom on the job, but vice versa as well.  And then it hit me: everyone needs and will always need clothing.  That was when I decided to pursue an academic degree in business, with an emphasis in retail management, so that I could become a leader in the retail industry.  And that has led me to Haas.

I’ve learned to never apologize for having high expectations.  Therefore, throughout my experience at Haas, I set the bar high and wanted to see myself end up at a premiere retail company that had a management program which would allow me to grow throughout the company as quickly as possible.  I met two college recruiters at the career fair during my Junior year and was very impressed not only by the program itself, but also by the people with whom I was conversing.  They made my feel as though I were already part of their executive team and showed me the endless career paths that I could pursue with Bloomindale’s.  With the retail experience that I had, in addition to the goals I had laid out for myself, I could definitely see myself exceling with a company like Bloomingdale’s and the recruiters believed the same to be true.

How did you avoid the pressures of ABC recruitment?

Prior to applying to potential business schools while I was at community college, I made a very conscious effort to decide what I wanted to do with my business degree.  Obviously, deciding ahead of time made it easier to write my personal statements, but it would also allow me to stay focused while studying such a broad major.  Therefore, when I decided that I wanted to go into retail management while studying at the Haas School of Business, I knew that I would be going into a program that was renowned for its emphasis and career opportunities within the ABCs.  And while I certainly felt the pressure to become a consultant, investment banker or accountant, I knew that I would never be happy in those careers.  Retail makes me happy and is an industry that can combine my creative and analytical side through a fashion focus.

We all know, by heart, the Four Defining Principles here at Haas; but I really do believe they all resonate with the person that I have become.  I like to question the status quo here at Haas and be that “retail girl”. I like to be confident in my abilities, of course without attitude, while I study retail management.  I am always yearning to learn more about the industry that I’m going into, and the way I can give back is by teaching others, through my Retailing DeCal, how to be successful in retail.  And I am always going beyond myself by trying to make a name for myself as a leader in the retail industry, and that starts with my career at Bloomingdale’s.

How did you land your offer at Bloomingdale? What was the process like?

During my first semester at Haas, I went to the career fair and made a beeline for the Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s recruiting tables.  Bloomingdale’s did not have a management summer internship, so I decided to get industry and management experience through the Macy’s Store Management Internship Program.  I made sure to introduce myself and establish a relationship with the Bloomingdale’s recruiter so that I could keep updating him on my interest in pursuing a career with Bloomingdale’s.  In the end, I figured that if I loved working for Macy’s I could acquire a full time offer after the summer or I could use this experience as leverage if I ever decided to switch companies.

After my summer internship at Macy’s, I really fell in love with the company; however, I wanted a taste of management with a company that focused on designer fashion and haute couture.   Therefore, I reached out to the Bloomingdale’s recruiter and submitted my application for the Bloomingdale’s Executive Development Program.  Since I had been working for Macy’s, I had to be referred to the Bloomingdale’s EDP through my Macy’s College Recruiter and, from there, be given the opportunity to interview for this management program.  Needless to say, I had a very positive experience during the recruiting process because I earned myself a full-time offer with Bloomingdale’s.  The final round interview consisted of a one-on-one interview with the Store Manager, who is also the founder of the Bloomingdale’s flagship store, Alan Svensen along with an interview with the Bloomingdale’s head college recruiter and a final interview with a manager who is currently in the Executive Development Program, all at the Bloomingdale’s San Francisco store.  The experience in-itself was very rewarding.

Do you have any advice you would give other Haas and Cal students in general, who are also interested in working in retail versus traditional ABC industries?

Dare to be different.  Don’t look back at your experience at Haas and wish you could have gone into another field.  This time is about finding out what you want to do with the rest of your life.  Don’t feel as though you have to go into the ABCs just because everyone else is doing it.  You get one chance to go to Haas, and Cal for that matter, and it is such an amazing opportunity to go to one of the most prestigious undergraduate schools in the country, so make it count.

My favorite quote from Coco Chanel: “In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.”

Business Club Profiles: The Berkeley Group

The Berkeley Group (TBG) is one of Berkeley’s student organizations that offers pro-bono consulting services for non-profits and social enterprises in the Bay Area. TBG aims to help create a better world while encouraging its member to grow professionally and personally through hands-on experience on high-impact projects.

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Josephine Kao, a current TBGer, reflects about her experiences. Here is what she shared about TBG:

Before I joined TBG, I looked upon the club with an odd blend of aspiration, curiosity, and reverence. I attended an info session and scrolled through its website to try and gain a sense for TBG’s core qualities, but didn’t truly arrive at an understanding beyond the slick navy blue logo and the phrase “pro-bono consulting for non-profits” until I went through two semesters of meaningful work and relationship building in the club.

In two semesters of consulting for TBG, I was graced with the opportunity to work on a corporate sponsorship strategy for the urban, classy arts organization SFJAZZ and a marketing project for the passionate and more homegrown Aspire Education. By engaging with two very different clients, I gained exposure to everything from the shiny corporate realm to the specific struggles of local non-profits. Though I enjoyed the experience of interviewing key stakeholders, crunching numbers, and engaging in rapid discussions with my teammates, the beauty of each project was not simply the work itself. As I learned about Bay Area industries and communities, I also developed a passion for others’ stories and dreams. SFJAZZ helped shape my views of the human capacity for expression through music and art. Working for Aspire reaffirmed my personal commitment to furthering equitable, high quality education for students from all backgrounds.

This type of personal growth has stemmed not only from my project experiences, but from the relationships I have built in TBG. We are bound together by more than a mutual interest in consulting or business (in fact, the club is known to have a good deal of non-business majors, ranging from Media Studies to MCB), but rather, a commitment to causes outside of ourselves. Some of my fondest memories include cooking a meal for Project Open Hand and volunteering to teach a financial literacy class for students in Oakland with friends and alumni from TBG. Over many ice cream, coffee, and foodie outings, I realized that these people were not just “my TBG friends”, but genuinely concerned peers and mentors. I have become confident in expressing myself on things related and unrelated to TBG: my faith and my future, my highs and my lows.

Digging deep into the club’s familial culture, resources, and network helped me to sift through preconceived notions of “legitness” and pre-professional buzzwords throughout my first year at Cal. As a result, I have developed a strong grasp for both TBG’s mission and my personal trajectory in college. The personal impact I have encountered from aligning myself with a social impact oriented community is more than I could have asked for. I have realized that the very essence of the TBG experience is not meant to be self-elevating, but empowering to selflessly driven communities—both in and outside the club.

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Josephine Kao is a sophomore at Cal majoring in English and Economics. She has been a member of The Berkeley Group since Fall 2013 of her freshman year, when her backpack was too large for her. Outside of TBG, she works for Student Affairs-Information Technology as a Residential Computing Consultant and is involved in Klesis, a Christian fellowship on campus. When she’s not drinking coffee or scribbling down random things in her small notebook, she enjoys playing the harp and exploring the Bay Area with friends. 

URAP: Open Innovation In The Wine Industry

*The Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (URAP) is designed to involve Berkeley undergraduates more deeply in the research life of the University. The Program provides opportunities for you to work with faculty on various research topics.*

This article was contributed by current students, Isabelle Lee (’16) and Brandon Pearl (’17). Information about China’s Counterfeiting Wine Industry was contributed by exchange student, Kang Liu.

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Picture Courtesy by Google Images

Last semester, I had the opportunity to research the wine industry with a fellow student, Brandon Pearl. Together we conducted research for areas in need of improvement, namely, open innovation. Open innovation is a term coined and popularized by resident UC Berkeley professor, Henry Chesbrough, and encourages seemingly unrelated businesses to share technologies which could lead to overall industry growth. With the guidance of Dr. Sohyeong Kim, our research project consisted of answering theses, among other, fundamental questions: what is the business model of the wine industry and what are some ways open innovation can disrupt the wine industry? We broke our research into three parts: The consumer base, industry outlook, and a case study featuring China’s counterfeiting wine predicaments.

The Consumer Base

The wine industry’s lividity hinges on the loyalty of its consumer base. Unlike products such as baby formula and elderly-care, wine currently finds its way to consumers who hold onto the tradition of wine-drinking/tasting. However, as more wineries are opening up, each offering quality wine at a fraction of the vintage price, the opportunity to involve a greater variety of consumers in the wine market beckons the innovators.

A big problem on the consumer side lies in the branding of wine as a product. The current product design, all class and greater than a single serving, targets adults in their late-20’s to late-50’s. A large portion, however, of potential and active adults of drinking age lie in the 21-27 year old range. The current product design, however, loses to that of canned beer or other homemade beverages. Union Wine Co. (http://unionwinecompany.com/) and Barokes Wine (http://wineinacan.com/) each take their own approach to the “wine-in-a-can” idea to reach a broader demographic. The first provides a personal, 2 serving can while the second keeps the traditional wine bottle’s shape but reduces it to a single serving. Each has the potential to draw in new customers, but the choice to shift packaging lies on the production side.

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The wine industry has been growing over the years (especially with the jump in 1994 from the Boomers), but is starting to suffer with the now rapid rate of Boomers leaving the age where wine is a relevant commodity. Now, because there isn’t the same type of jump to carry the wine industry from the declining Boomers to the rising Busters and Millennials. One of the most critical questions to be answered by wine companies/makers, as we learned through hour research is how to arrange external ties with other companies and research organizations – potentially leading to a successful innovation system – without compromising unique and highly specific assets. Based upon the consumer revenue model, a given producer should be able to tailor marketing efforts to target largely affluent customers. While there are middle and lower class consumers, the producers generally focus on selling wholesale to larger distributors, therefore needing the targeted marketing effort towards these larger figures in wine industry. The wine industry overall, needs means for cheaper/more effective marketing, making harvests more consistent with one another, reducing production costs (water/labelling) and bringing wine to consumers at a more reasonable cost with lower turn-around time.

China’s Counterfeit Wine Predicament

Moving abroad, we encountered the problem of counterfeit wine production in China. This counterfeit wine can be broken into three distinct categories: wine with a fake brand, genuine wine with fake label information and overall production counterfeiting. To clarify, production counterfeiting can be anything from fake corks to bottling *non-wine* liquids.

In 2009, Oak Ridge Winery noticed that Guangzhou Red Blue Trading Co. labeled their products with fraudulent information and stated that these products were produced by Oak Ridge Winery. According to a wine dealer, this type of counterfeiting is not rare in the Chinese wine market (http://info.tjkx.com/detail/774243.htm).

Unlike Europe or the US, China has a very limited culture of drinking wine. It’s fairly common for a European family to have their own wine grape vineyard, but generally rare for Chinese families. Most Chinese people cannot tell the difference between genuine and fake wines, let alone that manufacturers go to great lengths to spot the counterfeits. This explains why a non-technical Chinese counterfeiter can easily sell millions of bottles of fake wine, which is unheard of in Europe or the US.

Buyers and sellers are facing information asymmetry in the Chinese wine market. No matter how much effort European or American wine sellers put into their bottles, the Chinese market will remain relatively unaffected. If wine producers want to change this trend, they need to make this information accessible to consumers and also, cultivate China’s wine culture.

As our research concluded at the end of December, we were blessed to have the opportunity to meet some of the most dedicated people in the industry. Having encountered a breadth of information through this research project, one could say our critical analysis and organizational skills have improved tremendously. We now know how to conduct scholarly research, as well as how to sift through the myriad of data that is available. This research project was definitely one of the most valuable experiences a student could receive at a world class institution like UC Berkeley-Haas. Anyone that has a desire for independent research, please visit, http://research.berkeley.edu/urap/, to find out more about the URAP program and how you can get involved next semester.

Stress-less Semester

Welcome back undergads!

As the second week of classes comes to an end we have finally been introduced to all of our new courses and professors, plunged head first into our various clubs and extracurricular activities, and began our hunt for employment.

Coming from four blissful weeks of vacation, with days of nothing but Netflix and home cooking, all of this may seem overwhelming. Which info session should I attend? How do I prepare for the job fair? How do I prepare for the interview? Wait, I have a quiz tomorrow?!

You all know how stressful being a student can be, and as juniors and seniors I am sure you have all come up with a variety of different ways to cope with your stress. Though you may know what you should do, applying these practices to our lives, especially when they seem to be spiraling out of control, is not always that easy. Today I want to share with you a couple of my easy go-to strategies for keeping my worries in perspective and dealing with stress. Though simple, don’t underestimate how effective they can be.

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Image courtesy of tryenerc.com

  1. Drink lots of water: All of your organs needs water to function properly, by keeping them well hydrated you help make sure your body is running well leading to decreased stress levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone whose levels increase when you are dehydrated. Keep your cortisol levels in check by drinking up!
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Image courtesy of dietdoctor.com

  1. Get more sleep: I’m not saying 8 hours a night is always possible, but by consciously making an effort to get to bed earlier you will be less vulnerable to stress. Tips to improve sleep quality include creating a dark, quiet, comfortable sleep environment, establishing a calming routine right before going to bed, and maintaining a consistent sleep-wake schedule.
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Image courtesy of drleonardcoldwell.com

  1. Exercise regularly: Physically activity produces endorphins, your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, making you feel happier and less stressed. Focusing on your body’s movement while exercising helps you forget and let go of the day’s frustrations. Plus if you are exhausted from a good workout you will sleep more soundly at night, lowering stress levels.
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Image courtesy of jsparkblog.com

  1. Be grateful: We often forget how fortunate we are just to be alive. Gratitude research shows that feelings of thankfulness are extremely beneficial in helping people cope with stress. Some ways you can practice gratitude in your everyday life are by saying thank you to people that make your life better, keeping a journal of things you’re grateful for, or remembering times when you felt exceptionally happy.

As easy as this advice is to give, it is not always that easy to apply to our own lives. Given that you are all driven Berkeley students who don’t back away from hard work and who love a good challenge, I challenge you to pick one of these stress-reducing tips to apply to your lives for the next month. I will be working on getting to sleep at a decent hour, drinking more water, and letting my loved ones know how grateful I am for their impact on my life.

I would love to hear all of your tips for reducing stress! Please leave a comment sharing a tip of your own, a success story, or one goal you will be working on to reduce your stress over the next month.

Kendal Madden

Class of 2016

3 Tips for a Successful Resume

Welcome Back! Hope you all had an enjoyable and relaxing winter break.

With recruiting taking off again, I wanted to share an article I posted on LinkedIn about some helpful tips for writing a successful resume. Hope this helps! 

Landing that dream job after college is every student’s vision. It’s what we’ve worked so hard for all these years. But landing that job is no simple task. It’s a bit like applying to college all over again. It takes time, energy, patience, and accepting lots of hurdles along the way. And it comes down to impressing the recruiter and hiring team to even consider you for an interview. It’s not about getting the job just yet, but getting an opportunity to even present yourself.

Fortunately, when applying from a top business school like UC Berkeley-Haas, there is a bit of an advantage, but competition is very high; everyone applying is going to be a stellar student. So it is very crucial to focus on what is going to differentiate you and showcase your uniqueness. This is best shown through your resume when applying for jobs.

Recruiters and hiring teams spend less than a minute per resume. That’s only a few seconds to sell yourself and convince them you are worth their time. Therefore, it is essential that your resume advocate for you in those few second. After taking a job success decal, I have learned some helpful tips to make your resume stand out.

Keep it Clear, Simple, and Error-Free

Your resume should be easy to read, period. This means that the format needs to be consistent throughout your whole resume and organized logically. There are general templates and formats to help get you get started, but also make sure you add personal touches to help your resume stand out from the stack. Also be sure to only bold or italicize what is necessary. Often times less is more. Lastly, make sure your resume is 100% error-free; make sure to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. So go ahead, ask a friend or stranger to look at your resume and be very critical.

Get to the Point

One of the common mistakes with resumes is putting too much information just to fill up space, when in fact, wording should be concise and to the point. Be sure to add flavor to your resume by using active verbs and language! One recruiter I spoke to advised that every sentence should follow an Action-Context-Result format to describe your achievement or role. You want to start out with a strong action verb, give context of what you did, and what was the result or outcome of the achievement. Don’t forget to use exact figures if necessary. Be sure to pick only the experiences and skills necessary to the job you are applying for. Yes, this means you may have multiple resumes each tailored to different jobs.

Give a Holistic View of Who You Are

Companies want to know who you are as a person. Yes, they care about your excellent grades, handy experiences, and outstanding skills, but they also want to know you are a fun, sociable person who they want to spend 8 hours a day with. So don’t forget to leave out interest, hobbies, and what makes you, you! Show them that you are able to balance school and work, but also have an exciting personality.

success1These are just a few tips that I think are helpful to keep in mind when crafting your resume. Recruiting season is around the corner, so whether you are looking for a full-time job or a summer internship, a successful resume is your first step to getting there. Be sure to allocate time in your schedule to work and improve your resume and always be open to changing it up. I have lost track of how many times I have edited my resume, and just when I think it’s good to go, I find and learn new ways to improve it.

Happy job hunting and good luck to landing that dream job!

Creative Approach to Teaching Preventative Health

The World Bank estimates that handwashing with soap and water reduces diarrheal diseases by 48 percent, preventing over one and a half million children from dying each year. However, research shows that traditional lesson plans teaching handwashing only result in modest behavior changes at best.

Our Students Playing “Germ Tag” in Chennai, India

Our Students Playing “Germ Tag” in Chennai, India

Two years ago, this problem in mind, Haas Professor David Levine and a team of student researchers, coined Hygiene Heroes, began thinking of new ways to teach preventative health. Through ethnographic research and prototyping, they learned the most effective way to change behavior is through interactive styles of learning, such as stories, games, and songs. Consequently, Hygiene Heroes has created a curriculum that uses interactive game-based learning to teach handwashing, sanitation, and safe water.

I have been fortunate enough to work on this initiative from the beginning. I serve as an international liaison, working with our partners from Teach for India. Internally, I help with both story and game development. One of my favorite projects that I’ve worked on is the Grandma Wants You to Eat Candy board game that reinforces handwashing, boiling water, and using a latrine. I find our project to be powerful because it takes successful pop-culture games and adapts them to teach health in an engaging way.

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Haas Professor David Levine

Project manager David Levine says, “I enjoy learning the great ideas of educators and health workers. This project means part of my job is reading folk tales and learning games from around the world and adapting them to my lessons. I get to work with artists, writers, musicians, computer game designers, researchers on disease prevention, NGO staff, doctors, and teachers from around the globe.  I have always enjoyed my research, but never this much. While the activities are intended to be fun, the purpose is the most serious challenge I can imagine. The overlap is a great place for me to be.”

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UC Berkeley Student Gautam Srikanth in Chennai, India

For the last two summers, we have piloted our lessons in Chennai, India and experienced positive results and growth. Our initiative is currently raising money to send undergraduate researchers to Chennai again this summer to implement the adapted curriculum. The researchers will train local teachers in the new approach and their reports will allow us to further improve and scale our curriculum. Please learn more about our initiative and the potential to donate at Berkeley-Haas’s official crowdfunding platform, crowdfund.haas.berkeley.edu.

Day 6 in India

Today we had the opportunity to have a very vibrant interactive engagement with the senior executives

DSC_00621of HCL. Mr. Param Sigh, Chief Adviser on Smart Cities to the Mayors of San Francisco and Los Angeles, also joined and suggested a frame work for building smart cities.

HCL describes a smart city as a way to effectively deliver public services to citizens and businesses in an integrated and resource-efficient way, while enabling innovative collaborations to improve the quality of life. The primary factors to be considered when building a sustainable smart city is economic prosperity, quality of life, and participatory social engagement. This equation is extremely important to remember when we start building our smart cities, as this equation incorporates the importance of financial, social welfare, and happiness of the relevant community (technical and psychological importance).

DSC_0058One main takeaway from HCL’s presentation, was that one Smart City model will not fit all, and that all the sectors need to be connected seamlessly and be able to work together. In this technological age, dealing with a city and country with multiple complex issues, the concept of an omni-channel medium is of utmost importance as cities or countries attempt to keep up with technological innovation. If things are not connected, there will be discrepancies in the flow of information, which leads to even bigger problems in the future. It was intriguing to notice that HCL similarly follows the smart city concept emphasized yesterday by AIMA and other organizations about identifying and satisfying basic needs first (obtaining an identity), before moving into financial inclusion (implementing a solution which produces concrete data and accurate monitoring of information). This serves to directly address the main issues of incorporating technology to solve a multi-layer problem.

Regarding Param Singh’s present approach to building smart cities: the framework shouldn’t be changed, but should adapt to his original proposal. I personally do not see categories such as technology, social, economic, political assessment, intelligent city design, and participative group as horizontal silos because they are not mutually exclusive in the consideration of a smart city model. Agreeably, with the focus of a human centric design (HCD) process, there should be an emphasis that directly reaches out to locals within the community to better understand the major problems that they face everyday. Every smart city framework will be different depending on the city’s unique problems and needs of the community, and by addressing these issues holistically to create a more productive, sustainable, and happier community, it can only be effective as a long-term solution. After identifying the basic needs of the community, the social, economic and political assessment should be prioritized and combined with HCD to create a foundation that the smart city model can be built upon. Comparing potential case scenarios of other countries or cities that face similar issues and identifying the effective technological solutions that may have solved the problem would be useful information. This would combine the technology and intelligent city design categories thereafter, and by constantly involving a participative select group throughout the process, the increase in transparency and constant consultation with the locals would ultimately increase the quality of the smart city solutions, which would eventually derive from the revised framework.

Day Five in India – AIMA, IIT Delhi, TERI Visits

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Haas Students with The Director General of AIMA, Ms. Rekha Sethi

We were given a warm welcome by The All India Management Association (AIMA) upon arrival to New Delhi. The Director General of AIMA, Ms. Rekha Sethi, gave us a broad-brush view of AIMA’s mission in working with the government, universities, and businesses. She also offered her personal views and solutions in bringing about change in India.

The following morning, we visited India Institute of Technology (IIT) New Delhi where the leading expert faculty in India presented their views on the topics of Energy, Water, and Waste Management and how IIT creates public awareness for social action. In the afternoon, we visited The Energy Resource Institute (TERI) where we learned a different definition of a smart city from three directors of the institute. Ms. Sethi’s dialogue with us gave us an in-depth breakdown on the overall issues within India’s infrastructures. In terms of building a smarter city, it is imperative to take into consideration the unique needs of different cities. That is, even with the rapid growth of technology, it is important to scale initiatives and plan at local levels when tackling the concept of smart cities.

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Haas students listening to the Sampurna Approach to a Swachh (“Clean”) Delhi by Professor Gosain at IIT Delhi

As the premier technology institute in India and a “dream destination” for most students, IIT strives to push beyond the standard boundaries of education and seeks real change. We were introduced to the – an initiative undertaken to improve the environmental and living conditions of India. Currently IIT engineers are building a mobile application for the Indian community to communicate with companies within info-systems to make real time adjustments and real time results. I believe this notion of a Swachh Delhi is a step in the right direction. In order to build sustainable cities for the future, it is important for cities to collaborate with each other and share resources to bring the overall cost of goods down.

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Haas Students in front of The Energy Resource Institute (TERI) office in New Delhi, India

Meeting the three directors of The Energy Resource Institute (TERI) served as an inspiration for the potential of changing mindsets and social behavior within India. One of the three directors, Priyanka Kochhar stated that in order to build sustainable cities for the future there needs to be a shift in incentives. Rather than trying to simply target or focus incentives for those below the poverty line in changing their ways, it is important to not forget about the rich. Ms. Kocchar supports this idea with the example of rural villages that are not easily swayed to change their ways to a more feasible one for our environment. Although if we tackle the other side of the spectrum, such that of the wealthy, then maybe it would be an unconventional way towards tackling the hardest issue at hand, changing mindsets and social behavior. TERI already has positioned themselves as a global company working towards building a more sustainable future.

The Vibrant Government of Gujarat Recognizes Haas School of Business

This article was contributed by current Haas student, Christina Yu.

Professor Darwin accepting   the award from the Ministry of Education

Professor Darwin accepting the award from the Ministry of Education

Today the Chief Minister of the State Gujarat recognized the Haas School of Business in a Special ceremony. A special award was issued by the Minister of Education on behalf of the Chief Minister to welcome future collaboration from UC Berkeley. At this ceremony the Haas Students who visited the smart city were acknowledged personally by the minister. The students were called to the podium by the minister for a photo shoot and the award was presented to Professor Darwin for welcome future collaboration.

Given a special award issued by the Minister of Education, we were honored to receive an award recognizing Haas’s involvement in the smart city dialogue with the Government of Gujarat, the home of the first smart city in India. With this award comes several potential partners that are interested in partnering with Haas to transform Bay Area cities at home, including the government, corporations, and field experts in sustainable technology in India. Partners will be the key to value creation in smart cities, and Haas students are excited to forge this partnership with our global counterparts. It’s inspirational and humbling to see just how far the Haas Network has come and how our status as a top business school has given us recognition worldwide.

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Heritage Walk

With a day to reflect on our learnings thus far and immerse ourselves in the day-to-day of Ahmedabad city residents, we boarded a bus to visit the Gandhi Ashram and the Heritage Walk. Although Gandhi Ashram was a sacred hub of Gandhi’s wisdoms and journey, I was only able to truly appreciate his philosophy after observing the lifestyles and behaviors of Ahmedabad citizens through the Heritage Walk.

After commuting in a tour bus for extended periods of time, only observing India’s streets and culture through a dusty glass window, it was refreshing to stroll down forgotten alleyways and narrow corridors where a large majority of city residents actually live—not the high-rise apartments and white-picket fences Americans are so familiar with. Our guide led us down cobblestone paths splattered with sewage water and residual rain, pointing out the intricate details in traditional Indian houses that used to shelter 60 people in a handful of rooms at a time and secret passageways that protected residents from crime outside. We also visited a bustling marketplace where small business owners stood outside hole-in-the-wall shops and pushed around carts and wagons full of food and accessories in hopes of drawing the attention of us foreigners walking by. Each of them was an entrepreneur by their own definition.

Haas Students in front of Gandhi's House at Gandhi Ashram

Haas Students in front of Gandhi’s House at Gandhi Ashram

Although living quarters were humble and sanitation was a privilege, it seemed as though every small alleyway bred a tight-knit community of neighbors who shared both pain and happiness with each other throughout the seasons. In the absence of the glitz and glamour of startup incubators and Silicon Valley aspirations, the poor must be the masterminds behind frugal innovations for everyday survival. I longed to be welcomed into one of their homes to see it for myself.

Day Three in India- Smart City Visit: GIFT

Haas students with Smart Cities’ CEO, Ramakant Jha

Haas students with Smart Cities’ CEO, Ramakant Jha

On our last day in Ahmedabad, we had another busy schedule ahead of us. We began our morning by learning about people’s tendency to sell their assets for less than half price, compared to when they first bought it. This is due to the fact that we, as human beings, have a myriad of assets and some end up going to waste — eventually becoming what business innovators call a dead asset. With this in mind, entrepreneur Maulik Pandga built the business model for his newly developed phone application called Sharehero.

By reducing duplicates through crowd sourcing a sharing network, Sharehero is a solution for sustainable living. What we found extremely intriguing is the fact that, compared to its competitors, Sharehero is a one-of-a-kind app that cultivates a positive sharing culture.

After listening to Mr. Pandga speak, we had the opportunity to listen to Tyco representative, Akhand Kumar, share about Tyco’s goal of becoming both a smarter and a sustainable brand. Mr. Kumar then introduced a subsidiary of Tyco called Proximex, which is a company that was established in 2005 in Silicon Valley. With Proximex products (such as smoke detectors, surveillance cameras, etc.) being implemented (where?), we now see a positive trend in the industry of conserving of costs. For instance, you could access the CCTV at the park and watch your kid through your phone by tapping into the CCTV’s camera IP number. Like Mr. Pandga stated, a smart city has smart safety.

After our first two morning lectures and Indian breakfast we headed on the bus for a long one-hour drive to visit the prestigious Indian Institute of Management (IIM) University. Once we were there, all of the Haas students began to joke around and point out the similarities of the campus to that of ours. They even had a grand entrance with what we called the “Haas Steps” because it emulated very similar to ours back home. We then listened to a very inspirational lecture from the famous professor, Anil Gupta as he talked about Frugal Innovations, building bridges across boundaries, and emerging tension in open innovations platforms. He asked us how must we address the problems between different socioeconomically societies and classes. He noted three pillars of sustainability: technology, institutions, and culture. While technology is like words, institutions are like grammar and culture is the thesaurus. He then introduced his database, Honey Bee Network. This network allows someone to share his or her research in a specified topic with the mission to solve problems by sharing research globally. He ended his lecture with a word of advice: that if you make a smart city for only the rich then it’s not a smart city at all.

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At GIFT

After listening to multiple lectures defining a smart city we finally had the opportunity to visit Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT) located at the outskirts of Ahmedabad. GIFT is Gujarat’s gift to India and the world. GIFT aspires to cater to India’s large financial services potential by offering global firms world-class infrastructure and facilities. GIFT is funded by the Government of Gujarat and private companies in a novel public-private partnership. We had the utmost pleasure discussing with CEO Ramakant Jha on the smart city and it’s future buildings. In the future, the CEO welcomes Haas students to further invest and engage with the smart city agenda. GIFT is attracting global attention with planned visitants from Bill Clinton, Dr. Jim Young Kim, Ms. Christine Lagarade, Mr. Takeihko Nakaso, Ms. Janet Yellen, Mr. Jeff Immlet, CEO, GE, Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman, Volkswagen Group, Mr. Jeff Bezos, Mr. Michael Dell, Mr. Ben van Beurden, CEO Shell Global. It was inspirational to see this first step in making a city in India an international hub. Just like Prime Minister of India, Shri Modi said, “The vision of Gujarat would be incomplete without capitalizing on the in-house financial business acumen.” Creating this city to intertwine with technology, meet the needs of modern Gujarat, modern India, and really create a space in the global financial world is an inspirational leap for India that I am excited to see take place in the near future. GIFT is estimated to be completed in 2022.

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Haas Students Celebrating the New Year in traditional Indian clothing.

With 2015 right around the corner, we headed back to our dorms and MICA to get ready for the New Years Eve party. I’m sure most of the students would agree that the most exciting part of that night was being able to wear the traditional clothing and learn the Indian way of celebrating New Years. It was a pleasant sight to see everyone dancing together, eating both traditional Indian food and barbecue, and launching lanterns with their New Years resolutions! 5-4-3-2-1 Happy New Years!!