A Haas Course that Wheeled a Rotisserie Food Truck to Success

Some people wish to meet celebrities or Olympic athletes, but I would want to meet an owner of a renowned culinary shop. I had the chance to live out this dream this past Saturday morning during my regular Ferry Building Farmer’s Market stroll. By chance, I met Thomas Odermatt, a UC Berkeley alumnus, who has—quite literally— been roasting up a storm at his food truck, RoliRoti Gourmet Rotisserie.

Upon arriving at the Farmer’s Market, you can’t mistake Odermatt’s food truck. Enveloped in the fresh aromas of tender chicken and rosemary potato cubes, the truck is flanked by a queue of customers that wraps around the corner of the Ferry Building. Once you see the line and get a glimpse of the crispy herbed pork sliced into Porchetta sandwiches, you know you’re in the right place.

IMG_0425Thomas Odermatt, the owner, making the Porchetta sandwiches himself for his line of hungry customers

A Class Project that Became Reality

Like all successful companies, RoliRoti had to start somewhere. For Odermatt, it started with a business plan project from an entrepreneurship class at Haas in 2001. It was with the encouragement of his professor that he really ventured off with the idea.

While an idea can form overnight, the actual research and behind-the-scenes effort take much longer to execute. Growing up with a family in the retail meat industry, Odermatt was inspired to center his business around savory rotisserie. Street food at the time was inexpensive and regulations were not strictly enforced. Taking advantage of this mostly unregulated sector, Odermatt chose to specialize in roasted chicken- an inexpensive meat that suits most people’s stomachs.

Creating a successful business plan often comes from a good idea. But ultimately, it must bring disruption into the industry. In 2012, no one had thought about getting a gourmet meal from a food truck.

Success Comes From Failure

When you take a bite into the juicy chicken and flavorful pork loin, your taste buds can rest assured the food is developed from a family recipe passed down for generations. However, it was not always this way.

Early fans of RoliRoti might remember how the food truck had once served a French dish called Ratatouille. This was due to the wildly popular Disney movie at that time, and so Odermatt thought he could use this for leverage in the market and offer his own version of it. However, he removed it shortly from the menu because of poor sales compared to its rotisserie chicken counterpart. From this experience, Odermatt learned a valuable lesson: do not change the business model to follow perceived popularity from the media.

Now the menu features only a handful of items. This is part of Odermatt’s philosophy: “instead of having many options that are all average, take one of them and make it your signature”. His philosophy has paid off visibly, as he reports that on any given day, he sells over 800 porchetta sandwiches and roasts over 500 whole chickens.


The famous Porchetta sandwich and chicken

Staying at the Forefront of Food Truck Industry & Beyond

RoliRoti’s success is partly due to its promise in its unchanged recipe from the start. It is almost “a little bit old fashioned,” as Odermatt puts it—retaining the same flavor that guarantees the same high quality dining experience every time.

Over the course of a few years, the food truck has grown into becoming a main chicken supplier in the Bay Area. It now provides the meat for Whole Cart, a mobile food service/catering company that brings groups of food trucks to corporate events; a concept similar to Off the Grid because both entities share the same owner.

Now in 2016, Odermatt has big plans ahead for the industry and his company. For the past 1.5 years, Odermatt has been preparing to bring Sous Vide cooking method, the ability to cook in a vacuum sealed bag of a temperature controlled water bath, to the production facility of mobile culinary operations. Sous Vide cooking is already well-known in restaurants for producing meat with an even doneness without dry edges or rare centers. Odermatt wants to introduce it into the business model of commercial driven operations.

Even though RoliRoti has expanded to more businesses beyond the food truck scene, Odermatt is still committed to his customers. You’ll occasionally spot him at the market preparing the Porchetta sandwiches because he believes in personally receiving customer feedback and quickly adapting to the change. As he puts it, “no matter how big we are, the key is always the customer.” So next time you stand in line waiting for your order, don’t forget to greet the staff. Did I mention that’s how I got to chat with Thomas about this food truck?

Advice for Incoming Haas Transfers



PreCore for Haas Transfers, 2015

In two days, I and my fellow transfer students will be celebrating the one-year anniversary of our acceptance into UC Berkeley and the Haas School of Business. Many of us (or quite possibly all of us) vividly remember the moment that we received the good news.

I was sitting in front of the computer screen, trying to decide if I was ready to log-in to the application portal. A few hours earlier, I had received the message that the system was being “updated.” Nothing can quite describe the heart-stopping feeling that I experienced as I stared at my laptop, not knowing whether my name was being added to the list of those accepted or not. So finally I took a breath, input my log-in information, and pressed enter. The first thing I saw was the face of our director of undergraduate admissions, Amy Jarich–also fondly known as “that beautiful blond woman,” to recent Cal admits. The second thing that I saw was, “Congratulations!” written in large yellow letters across the screen. I definitely screamed, hugged my mom, called my sister, and burst into tears on the phone.

Receiving the acceptance into Haas represented all of the energy, determination, effort, and time that we put in as transfer students. It represented the two part-time jobs and the night classes, the social lives we sacrificed, and the loved ones that we pushed ourselves for. Being a part of this community of incredibly diverse and talented students, I have been inspired again and again by the stories that my peers have to share.

So, as the date approaches for the reveal of the Haas Transfer Class of 2018, I and my fellow transfers would like to welcome you with a few pieces of advice born out of our experiences over this past year at Cal.

Advice for Incoming Haas Transfers from the Transfer Class of ‘17

Summer Preparation

  1. Do the PreCore program
  2. Have resume and cover letters written prior to beginning of semester — Polish up your professional profile (resume, cover letter, Linkedin), recruiting season starts before it begins!
  3. Get the Felkins stamp of approval on everything
  4. Have a valuable internship before coming in (whether that is defined as a brand-name company or valuable learning experience)
  5. Recruiting starts on the first day of school, be ready to hit the ground running by taking advantage of Haas resources over the summer!
  6. Figure out what you want to do before you get to Haas (by doing a lot of research and networking) because it could be very challenging to find an internship when you don’t know what you want


  1. Remember that you got in and you deserve to be here; it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, especially during the initial rush of info-sessions/recruiting/clubs
  2. Don’t stress about internships. Remember that it is just a summer job because while you are in recruiting it can feel  like the most important thing in the world
  3. Follow your own pace in preparing for recruiting, and don’t stress when you see your peers receiving interviews or internship offers
  4. The Career Center is an awesome resource that I discovered very late so be sure to use it from the beginning of your time here at Berkeley

Beyond Haas

  1. There’s more to Berkeley than Haas. Explore around, take the day off, read a book, take BART
  2. Events put on by the school might have cheesy names and themes, but they are a great way of meeting people!
  3. As a transfer student, you may struggle with the challenge of trying to fit a 4 year experience into 2 short years. Make sure to take advantage of the fact that you attend one of the best universities in the world. Whether it is to take elective courses outside of Haas, pick up an additional degree, join or start a club, or attend the multitude of events the greater campus has to offer, invest in getting the most out of your time at Cal

Building Community

  1. Find your people. Don’t be afraid to reach out to have coffee with fellow juniors or seniors
  2. Put yourself out there – your peers at Haas are extremely valuable resources.
  3. Try to create study groups from the beginning because studying together with people makes your life way easier
  4. Be around different types of people. Create a diverse and extensive network, you’ll never know who will be helpful in the future
  5. Get involved in an organization. Whether it be ASUC, HBSA, finance or consulting clubs, or even volunteering with Project Smile. Find friends outside of the business school to give you a better Cal experience

Within Haas

  1. Don’t overload yourself and do pace yourself–Haas is a marathon, not a sprint
  2. Your classes will be hard. You are now just one fish in a gigantic lake, and succeeding academically will be significantly harder than it was before in your little tide pools
  3. Work hard in your classes. But don’t place grades as your most important goal. Appreciate your education, spend time learning what you like. Go learn it in the real world. Read extra books, do research. It is supposed to be challenging, but it is also supposed to be enjoyable, and induce growth on a personal level. Worrying solely about grades steals that opportunity from you
  4. Although school is stressful, try to enjoy and find the beauty in the process. Take classes that are going to be interesting to you, take advantage of the great faculty, and try to absorb as much knowledge as you can
  5. You’ll make your time at Haas what you want it to be. Adjusting will be hard, but don’t try and do what everyone else is doing. If you have your own path, push forward and follow it!
  6. You’re here. Let yourself enjoy the fact that you’re at one of the best business schools in the world, and with that, comes a level of excellence you must demand of yourself—as these next two years will represent your greatest challenges to date

We’re looking forward to meeting you!

– Haas Transfer Class of 2017


*Many thanks to Yifan Gong, Nathan McWilliams, Michael David Dunn, Jiwen Zheng, Hank Sze, Sasha Tetera, Edgar Okorie, Silvia Ricchiardi, Nabil Hamade, Brianna Bottle, Ramzy Azar, Saim Ali, and John Prawira Aten for their contributions to this post. 

MBA Spotlight: Anthony “Ace” Patterson

Ace Rapper PhotoAnthony “Ace” Patterson is a Haas MBA ’16, and the son of Jamaican immigrants. Born and raised in Bridgeport, Connecticut, Anthony has been exploring all over the world. He chose to pursue an MBA after a mission trip to South America where he had a realization that he could use the tools of business to bring development and restoration to communities across the world. Anthony chose to come to Haas for its culture, but equally important, Anthony wanted to go beyond what was normal and travel across the country to foster new relationships and undergo much personal growth. Well, and also to enjoy the wonderful weather the Bay has to offer. Anthony interned at Deloitte Consulting last summer and will be returning full-time. Outside of school, Anthony is a traveler and artist.

What drives and inspires you?

I think of this scripture: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” In all of my actions, I desire to represent myself as an ambassador of Jesus Christ. I also remember something I learned while I was in South America: “preach the gospel every day, and when necessary use words.” Every day I seek to embody that. I’m not perfect at it, but God is merciful.

How have you made the best of your time at Haas?

While at Haas, I have taken full advantage of what life and the program has to offer. Last semester, I traveled to Barcelona, Spain where I was able to explore the culture and really advance my Spanish. To make things even more interesting, I started learning French. Oui oui, to date I know 1,000 words. Spain is just one of the many places I have gotten the opportunity to visit while at B-school; I’ve visited 16 countries (and 25 non-US cities). Two projects that have allowed me to give back and go beyond myself were co-directing the national MBA Believers in Business conference in 2016 and leading a pro-bono consulting project to help rebrand and restructure a Haas-affiliated nonprofit education program. I also restarted making music and performing again, and, best of all, I’m planning to get married after business school in May.

Why music and what it means to you?

Ha ha! I always loved rhyming thanks to Dr. Seuss.  By Kindergarten I made rhyming books and poems, and by the end of middle school, I started experimented with turning those same rhymes into rhythm over beats. My desire and passion for music grew from there. Music, particularly rapping, has always been a way of self-expression, authenticity, and telling a story. I’m particular with seeking to tell “non-fiction” stories. Music is a great medium for me to illustrate the things of life the way I’ve experienced it to be and dialogue with listeners in hopes to entertain, challenge, and inspire.

I hear you are also better known as “Ace”. How did you get this name?

I don’t remember who first called me “Ace” – but by 13 or 14 years old that’s how I was called. It was even on my High School diploma as my middle name because that’s what the administration assumed. Now it’s pretty interchangeable – although, I remember when I got my first real job post-undergrad and people were calling me “Anthony” – I wouldn’t respond sometimes. Took a while to get used to it. I think I’m fine now though!

Any words of wisdom for undergrads?

Chances are you don’t know what the future holds. Perhaps you don’t even know what you’re doing after graduation. That’s okay. I’ve been in those shoes. Five years ago I couldn’t even fathom the reality of me graduating from Haas. Never even on my radar. But life happened. Allow for life to happen in your life – the less control you try to have over it, the truer of a life you will live!

I couldn’t forget the most important question of them all. Do you have any songs out?

Yes I do! I started a new project called “Out The Wilderness” and released my first single from that last month called, “Truth.” I’m releasing another one from the same project this weekend – definitely be on the lookout for that! Everything can be found on my Soundcloud (http://soundcloud.com/acexpatt). And also my fellow classmate, Bomi Kim, and I made the “Official Haas Anthem” called, “YOHO” – everybody on campus has been singing that, which has been pretty dope!

If you haven’t run into Anthony, next time you see him at FIFO or the courtyard, say hello! He is one of the coolest, most genuine people you will meet at Haas. He truly enjoys connecting with Undergrads and sharing his perspective!

4 Reasons Why You Should Volunteer to be a Class Rep


Professor Alexander Nezlobin (UGBA 102B) and his class reps Mohsen Sheta and Kendal Madden after lunch at the Faculty Club

There is always that awkward moment at the beginning of the semester that you get the privilege of encountering over and over again in every single one of your Haas classes. The moment when your professor musters up the courage to ask, or more accurately, state “I need 1-2 student volunteers to be class representatives for the semester.” With no immediate response from the sea of students in front of her/him, the professor continues to list the minimal duties of being a class rep, as students continue to gaze blankly or hide behind their computers and phones. Finally after a long pause a student (always from the first or second row) volunteers. Not being able to stand the desperate, uncomfortable look on the professor’s face for a second longer, I am often that student.

The good news is, after being a class rep for the past four semesters for multiple classes, I have many benefits to report in an attempt to inspire you all to raise your hand for what should be a coveted position in an institution of individuals known for going beyond themselves.

  1. Improve your communication skills

Spontaneously practice your public speaking skills as you inform the class of the steps to completing their mid-semester and end-of-semester course evaluations. You can even practice your techniques of persuasion to convince the few students who immediately get up to leave early to stay and contribute to Haas’ growth and development.

  1. Know your classmates better

Often for large classes, there will be 2-3 class reps selected (if the number of volunteers allows). I’ve had several experiences where I became closer with my fellow class rep then I had been before the start of the course. We got together to discuss and summarize the class feedback to present to our professor and ended up swapping numbers so we could study together in preparation for our upcoming midterm. This is especially valuable if you don’t have close friends in the class and are looking for someone to ask when the homework is due or do group projects with.

  1. Know your professors better

In my experience this has been the most valuable benefit of being a class rep, even in a lecture of hundreds of students, your professor will know who you are (even if you don’t regularly attend office hours). Class reps typically meet with the professor mid-semester and give feedback on their peer’s impressions of the course. Sharing honest feedback and helping the professor strategize to better address student needs puts you in the ideal position to help solve pain points for your professor. Occasionally you’ll even have a professor who goes above and beyond by taking their class reps out to lunch to get to know their student volunteers better. Getting to know your professors better can be extremely beneficial for students looking for letters of recommendation for post college opportunities.

  1. Appreciation from the undergraduate office

The good news is this appreciation typically comes in the form of a gift card to a local eatery such as Pete’s or Jamba Juice. Who doesn’t love the added perk of a free drink as the semester comes to a close? Though I am in no position to say whether this gift card policy will continue in future semesters, I’m only speaking of my experience from the past. But just incase anyone from the undergraduate office is reading this- student class reps greatly appreciate the token of appreciation.

I hope you’ve all been moved to action so that at the beginning of next semester professors will be pleasantly startled by the swarm of eager students volunteering to be their class rep! Have another benefit to add or a unique experience as a class rep at Haas? Please comment below; we would love to hear your thoughts!

Career Profile: Lexa Gundelach, Global Sales

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


Lexa Gundelach is currently a 3rd year Business Administration student. She transferred to Haas from Diablo Valley College, where she was highly active on campus as the President of the Alpha Gamma Sigma Honor Society, among other things. Since coming to UC Berkeley, Lexa has been involved with the Undergraduate Marketing Association (UMA) as an event consultant and worked on social media marketing with the Latino Business Student Association (LBSA). This spring, she is co-teaching two UBGA 198 DeCal courses, Marketing & Networking, and Marketing Thought Leadership. She recently accepted an offer from LinkedIn as a Global Sales Intern in the San Francisco office for this coming summer.

Was it difficult recruiting for a “non-ABC” internship? What were some of the challenges that you faced throughout the process?

Although there aren’t nearly as many recruiting events on campus for “non-ABC” internships/full-time positions, I wouldn’t say it was difficult. Through self-directed online research, company info sessions on campus, and networking I was able to find many opportunities in the fields of marketing and sales. I also believe that the work you put into recruiting is made much easier if you’re passionate about the work and the companies you are applying for.

How important was networking before, during, and after your interviews?

Networking was the most important aspect of the recruiting process for me by far. Making a human connection with recruiters and interviewers is extremely important to make a lasting impression. I went to every info session and networking event LinkedIn held on campus last semester so I could connect with the recruiters and make myself memorable, knowing that they meet many, many students each week from top colleges. Staying in touch with recruiters during and after the interview process is also important and following up shows you are eager about the position.

Why did you choose Global Sales at LinkedIn? Was it a difficult choice?

I became interested in LinkedIn from an info session I attended about their full-time positions in Global Sales available for graduating seniors. I went anyways because I figured they would be able to answer the questions I had about internship opportunities, which they happily did. During the info session, the passion that the employees held for the company and the work that they were doing stood out to me. LinkedIn’s values and leadership resonated with me and the more research I did on the company, the more I became interested. I decided to apply for the Global Sales internship because I am intrigued by consumer behavior and understanding what motivates people, so I wanted to be in a client-facing role where I could help people reach their full potential using LinkedIn. This choice was not difficult for me as I did a lot of research on the company and work environment so I knew that it was the right fit for me!

What advice do you have for students who are currently recruiting or beginning the process this coming fall?

First, I recommend that incoming students this fall find a field of business that they are passionate about and then put their effort into networking with companies that they have shared values with. This makes the process much easier. Second, this may sound like promotion, but looking up the LinkedIn profiles of your recruiters/interviewers before your interviews is a great tool. Try to pick up on one fact about your interviewer from their profile that doesn’t have to do with their career and ask them a question about it at the end of the interview. There’s almost always time at the end of interviews for questions so prepare at least three questions to ask (this shows you are not only prepared but interested in the position). Lastly, remember to be yourself in interviews. Recruiting and being a full-time student is stressful and difficult at times but keep a positive outlook and remember that the outcome is worth it!

HBSA Election: Candidate Platforms (2016-2017)

HBSA Election – 2016 Voter Guide


Please note candidates are listed in alphabetical order by position.

Voting for HBSA Elections will take place beginning at 8am on Monday, April 4th, 2016 – 8pm on Friday, April 8th, 2016 via Campus Groups. Until then, please take a few minutes and carefully read though the HBSA 2016 Voter Guide below.

Grace Lee 

Grace Lee


Through my service as the HBSA VP of Technology & Communications and Axe Cohort Leader, I’ve realized HBSA has become my genuine passion because its purpose directly aligns with the matters close to my heart: the business education at Haas and student government. HBSA has challenged me, helped me grow, and made me understand what can be done for the Haas community I love. Now, I want to drive impact on a larger scale for this community we will have a stake in for a lifetime beyond graduation. My current involvement includes creating the HBSA website from scratch, spearheading Business Week’s video, social media campaign and photobooth, and providing resources for Pre-Haas and Transfer students. My work is rooted in 3 pillars: Community, Service, and Representation, inspiring specific platforms and initiatives I will continue to execute as President. I am well equipped to sustain and improve the many things HBSA has built this year such as our first Business Week, Mentorship Programs, and Case Competition Series, and developed strong relationships with MBA officers and undergraduate program office in this process to advocate for you. My platforms include (1) working with HBSA Executives to create a Farewell Seniors Haas Gala to celebrate graduating seniors and Haas community (2) scaling the MBA mentorship pilot program for all students, and (3) revamping the Cohort Program to better serve students. I encourage you to visit my Facebook page for more of my platforms and look forward to hearing your thoughts through this election process.


Mitchell Quon 

Mitchell Quon

Executive Vice President

As the Executive Vice President of HBSA, my goal is to bridge the connection between students in Haas, the Haas administration and the professional world. As someone that strives to create change whenever there is untapped potential, I envision HBSA as the student government that can develop and implement new solutions to create a better business community here at UC Berkeley. My platform consists of three goals:

(1) Provide more opportunities for students to better prepare for technical and case interviews – Currently, the Career Center offers mock interviews that prepare students for behavioral interviews, but it does not provide help with preparing for case interviews or technical interviews. My goal is to create a program where students can sign up for practice case or technical interviews with experts in their potential careers. (2)Create resources to help students develop their technical skills – Many Haas students do not feel they are sufficient with their technical skills (Excel, Access, Tableau, SQL) and want to have more proficiency with them before entering into internships or full- time position. My plan is to partner with experts in these tools that can help Haas students become more confident in their technical skills. (3) Connect the Haas community with other academic disciplines. – Business is a multi-disciplinary field that requires the perspective of people from different non- business backgrounds. By implementing opportunities such as Interdisciplinary Business Week or themed case competitions that combine different majors such as Public Health and Legal Studies, I believe more diverse minds can be integrated to join forces and create better solutions.


Rushil Surapaneni 

Rushil Surapaneni

Vice President of Finance

Hello everyone! It is my honor to run for the VP of Finance on the platform of developing our resources to continue to enrich our academic and social experiences at Haas. My plans of action include 1) Developing the opportunity to work with organizations and individuals both on and off campus through using our funds for the benefit of the Haas student body with incentives as scholarships and awards to students, 2) Continuing to seek possible sponsorships with businesses to increase our pool of resources, 3) Allocating more funds to social activities both on and off-campus that will benefit us in regards to professional networking and getting to know everybody in the student body better, and 4) Having the budget approved to keep our ASUC sponsorship. I’ve worked as the treasurer for multiple organizations on-campus and I know both the highs and lows that come with the job and how to respond to situations of varying degrees. Our Haas community is one that I hold dear to me and is a community that is truly unlike any other on campus. I would love for the opportunity to serve all of you so we can make our time at Haas the best it can be and ensure a strong foundation for our Haas family to continue to grow and evolve. That is my ultimate goal and if elected, I will work to the best of my abilities to ensure financially we remain healthy and active.


Kelly Bo

Kelly Bo

VP of MBA & Alumni Relations

My name is Kelly Bo and I am running to be your Vice President of MBA & Alumni Relations. My experience as a Decal facilitator and a participant in the Leadership Program at KPMG has given me the skills and knowledge to facilitate strong relationships among students and build networks with professionals. My goal is to build a strong community among Haas undergraduates, MBA students, and Haas alumni by hosting networking events, as well as the development of two key programs: the existing MBA mentorship program and a new Haas externship program. Many Haas students have voiced their desire to connect with MBA students and learn from their experiences. MBA students come from different backgrounds and industries and make perfect mentors for undergraduate students. I would like to extend the MBA mentorship program to all Haas students so that they are equipped with the necessary knowledge to navigate through their careers upon graduating. In addition, I would like to start a Haas externship program where Haas alumni would allow current Haas students to come and shadow them at work for a few days during winter break or the school year. As a participant in the Berkeley externship program during my freshman year, I can attest to how valuable that exposure to real- world working experience was, and I would like to extend this opportunity to Haas students by creating a program where more business opportunities are offered to them. I look forward to creating astrong network for all of you.
Sanjana Sathya

Sanjana Sathya

VP of MBA & Alumni Relations

Hello! My name is Sanjana and I would love to serve as your next Vice President of MBA and Alumni Relations. I know we are all extremely proud to be part of the Haas community, but what actually sets us apart? Our Haas experience is unique not only due to the knowledge we gain from outstanding professors, but also the exceptional networking opportunities outside the classroom. My goal is to bring networking, mentorship, and collaborative learning to the forefront of our undergraduate experience. I hope to accomplish this through 3 main objectives: (1)Establish an MBA-Undergraduate mentorship program to pair undergrads with MBAs, (2)Host monthly MBA- Undergraduate joint events such as Happy Hours and career and skill workshops, and (3)Create a Haas alumni database that spans various industries and helps you easily connect with alumni. Working at the Full-Time MBA office, I have interacted with many MBAs who are excited to help undergrads succeed. I would love to serve as the link between these two communities. Furthermore, as a Class of 2017 Cohort Leader and a mentor for the Haas Undergraduate Mentorship Program, I am committed to serving the Haas community.


Hank Sze

Hank Sze

VP of Professional Development

As a recent transfer student coming into Haas, I have been lucky enough to work with people coming from all walks of life and socioeconomic backgrounds. This background has influenced me to have a constant curiosity in exploring various career fields. Through my experience working as the Career Development Committee Chair at Ascend and my personal network at the Haas community, I have noticed many Haas students have the same characteristics as I do. Knowing that the majority of Haas graduates go to “ABC” industries, I aim to expand the spectrum of HBSA’s professional events towards non-ABC career paths. By doing so, I want to not only serve those who are pursuing career in non-ABC field, but I also plan to provide a different career perspective for those heading towards ABC industry. Below are the four main platforms I will implement as the VP of Professional Development, and I sincerely ask for your support to help me create a diverse and resourceful professional environment for the Haas Community!! (1)Increase the frequency of professional workshops that focuses on helping students get an insider look of different career paths (2)Host more workshops/ case competitions to help students get hands-on experience in solving real-world business problems (3)Invite professors/professionals that have expertise in corporate recruitment or human resources matter to conduct interview/resume preparation workshop. (4)Cooperate with VP of MBA & Alumni Relations to set up resume critique or mock interview between MBA and Undergrad according to their intended career paths.


Jennifer Hwang

Jennifer Hwang

VP of Professional Development

As the Vice President of Professional Development, I hope to 1) Increase support and resources available to students going through recruiting processes 2) Coordinate additional workshops, case competitions and teach- ins to better prepare students for interviews 3) Host career panels with MBA students to better connect undergraduate and graduate students at the Haas School of Business.
Ken Suh

Ken Suh

VP of Student Affairs

As the Vice President of Student Affairs, my main focus will be creating an inviting, comprehensive, and empowering experience for underclassmen who are pursuing Haas and business as a career. I am passionate about this cause because I remember how lost and overwhelmed I felt as an underclassman about the process of getting into Haas and succeeding in the field of business. It was such a stressful time that not only affected my studies and social life, but also my health. I was only able to persevere with the encouragement of some upperclassman Haas mentors who advocated for me and provided useful advice. I want to make the overall experience of pursuing business at Berkeley a positive and enriching experience for incoming students by focusing on providing mentorship and support, just as I received. I plan to do this by not only continuing, but also further developing the Haas Mentorship Program by turning it into the ultimate resource for underclassmen. In addition to serving future Haas students, I also want to support the current Haas students in the area of professional development by having consistent resume and interview workshops. Finally, I want to help facilitate more recruiting opportunities for Haas students not only in the ABC’s but also in other areas of business, such as entertainment or real estate, by bringing in more corporate representatives and recruiters from many different industries to Haas.

Tran Kim 


VP of Student Affairs

I want to serve my school and help it become the best program in the nation.
Noor Gaith


VP of Technology & Communications

I would like to attain more computers for the Haas undergrads to access and further deploy a personalized campus wide wireless system in Haas and other academic buildings with 100% proliferation. Additionally, I seek to better communications between Haas undergraduates, MBAs, and alumni to assemble a vast network of career opportunities.
Soo Song

Soo Song

VP of Technology & Communications

Hello! As an associate on HBSA’s Technology- Communications committee and the External VP of Blueprint, a student org that creates technologies for nonprofits, I’ve seen firsthand the power of technology in connecting communities and changing how they approach problems. This spring, I worked on creating the first ever Pre- Haas welcome guide and helped coordinate #HaasBizWeek. I am well- versed in WordPress and using code for our HBSA website. If elected, I have three areas of focus: a) transforming the website into an easily accessible resource hub for all students, b) increasing the effectiveness of online communications (i.e. social media) to keep our student body better informed, and c) creating more channels for feedback on Haas Computing Services and undergraduate technological support. I’m excited to work on making our online Haas community even stronger – and for your greater benefit!


Angie Nguyen

Angie Nguyen

VP of Marketing 

My name is Angie Nguyen, and I am thrilled to be a candidate for HBSA’s Vice President of Marketing. During my time in this position, I will enhance HBSA’s online presence by executing creative social media campaigns and increasing content consistency across all social media platforms. With the goal of further fostering the sense of community at Haas, I will utilize social media as a platform to engage online users and showcase current Haas students. Aside from increasing online presence, I plan to increase HBSA’s physical presence by developing more apparel designs and marketing materials. I aim to establish a partnership between HBSA and a local printing business so the association can develop marketing materials that are more captivating and aesthetically appealing to the students at Haas. My time as HBSA’s VP of Marketing during the current Spring 2016 semester has been an incredible experience and I would love the opportunity to further contribute to Haas during the next academic year.
Yasi Afsharnive


VP of Marketing 

I want to improve the way Haas students are perceived by the rest of the Berkeley community. I want to work to market Haas as an inclusive, welcoming environment, encouraging collaboration between many majors. I also want to work to better publicize HBSA events, increasing attendance and improving communications within the Haas community.

Dean Speaker Series: David Aaker on Brand Personality (Recap)


Last Wednesday Haas had the honor of hosting marketing icon, and professor emeritus of marketing and public policy, David Aaker. As a student having taken UGBA 162: Brand Management and Strategy with Professor Judy Hopelain, I read Aaker’s most recent work, “Aaker on Branding: 20 Principles that Drive Success,” and was exceptionally moved by his insight on brand management. I was eager to meet this speaker whose inspirational work truly broke down the basics of brand personality in an approachable manner.

Every seat in the Wells Fargo room was filled as Aaker elaborated on his brand theory explaining brands as having personalities, just like people, with certain features that help consumers associate a strong feeling or emotion to that product and brand. People do not purchase with their rational mind- they don’t buy attributes, they purchase the brand personality, one that helps them express their ideal self-image. For example, Aaker explained the Prius brand exudes a personality of someone who cares about the environment and takes responsible action towards helping remedy problems caused by climate change. Consumers who want to be associated with these ideals will align their purchases with brands that match.

But, as with most things, to establish and maintain a brand personality you need strength and consistency backing it. The product and marketing managers need to be able to identify what is on and off brand and only make decisions that support their brand’s clearly defined vision.

Both in his speech and his book Aaker acknowledges the Haas School of Business four pillars as an exemplary brand vision. Question the status quo, confidence without attitude, students always and beyond yourself, so clearly outline what we stand for as an institution and a community. These pillars serve as the guiding principles for everything we do and are not to be compromised.

For more detail you can view the full version of Aaker’s speech here and for a list of upcoming Dean Speaker’s Series guests please visit the Haas website. Come be inspired at the next Dean Speaker Series event with Danae Ringelmann, Founder and Chief Development Officer of Indiegogo on Thursday, March 3rd. I look forward to seeing you all there!

If there is another leader you would like to hear speak, or an industry you would like represented in the Dean Speaker Series please comment below!

Career Profile: Grace Lee, Investment Banking

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

12747974_10207424390201061_6931160318748461798_o.jpgGrace Lee is currently a 3rd year Business Administration student. Throughout her time at UC Berkeley, she has been involved in numerous organizations and activities on campus. Grace is currently HBSA’s Vice President of Technology and Communications, a cohort leader for the class of 2017, as well as the Assistant Director of the ASUC Student Legal Clinic. In addition to her more serious endeavors, she enjoys taking scenic photos, and playing basketball, piano, and strategic board games.

This past summer during her sophomore year, she was a summer analyst in the Corporate & Investment Bank at J.P. Morgan in New York, and she will be returning for the summer of 2016. 


Why finance? What made you choose Investment Banking at J.P. Morgan last summer?

I came across J.P. Morgan as I subscribed to their emailing list—they emailed me about an IB Risk dinner reception in San Francisco. The people I met were great. For the first time, I didn’t feel forced to network—one person I met I genuinely clicked with and wanted to know more about. I found myself asking questions out of genuine interest and desire to learn more, rather than from a predesignated list in my head. He helped me understand more about what finance was and was very patient with me, giving me great advice and direction that helped me as a sophomore. I even had a chance to work under him this past summer, and he was one of the big reasons I decided to stay at the firm—I think that role models and mentors are really important to have in the workplace, especially while we’re young.

Here are some reasons I like finance: Finance is the language of business, and it’s practical and can be used in so many different ways. It’s everywhere. It takes both a quantitative and qualitative approach. Most of all, there’s a steep learning curve, which is important to me—I’m always looking to learn new things!

What were some of the challenges that you faced while recruiting during sophomore year?

I don’t feel like there are as many resources for business/econ freshmen and sophomores in the recruiting season. Moreover, most firms are only interested in juniors and seniors, so I really wasn’t picky. Coming into recruiting as a sophomore, I was open to trying anything, although I did steer away from economics consulting, which is what I had done in the previous summer. I wanted to try something new, but there weren’t many resources or firms interested—every career fair focused on juniors and seniors.

At the same time, Investment Banking requires you to know a lot of technicals, and for the sophomore me who hadn’t yet taken accounting or finance, learning from scratch was incredibly difficult. I remember emailing random IB business clubs on campus asking if I could get an “interview” or a coffee chat to get some help. I emailed my business friend from Emory asking if he could share some IB guides with me. One of the campus IB clubs gave me some “phone interviews” on the Saturday a week before my Super Day with J.P. Morgan, and I got wrecked. I cried afterwards, humiliated, discouraged, and I realized just how much I didn’t know and how I would fly to New York just to embarrass myself.

That was my wake-up call. I locked myself in a room for 11 hours just learning and writing the 3 financial statements from scratch, solidifying the 5-8 stories I would have in my back pocket in STAR format, refining the way I shared my story, and practicing all the interview questions out loud. It was a huge game changer. I learned a lot in those 11 hours, and although I was far from perfect on technicals, it ended up being more than enough to get me by as a sophomore interviewee.

What advice do you have for students who are currently recruiting or beginning the process this coming fall?

Every situation is so different. Maybe except for the well-known advice like “don’t underestimate the importance of networking,” it’s difficult to find advice that’s one-mold-fits-all. And really, who am I to give advice?

More than advice, though, I would like to offer encouragement.

You’re not alone, and there are so many people, here, at Haas, at Berkeley, who are more than willing to help you. They’ve been there with you, they’re going through it with you, but you may need to get out of your comfort zone to find them and ask for their help. And that’s okay.

More importantly, your job, your internship, doesn’t define the person you are—you have so many unique things about you and your potential doesn’t start or end with your first internship or job. You’re more than the sum of your achievements, no matter how much the competition, the pressure, or society’s standards may make you feel that way.

Ultimately though, whether you do know or you don’t, you shouldn’t stop working hard or give up. It’ll take a lot of hard work, it’ll be stressful, it might even push you to your limits, maybe your 110%. But you’ll come out a better person, more mature, more experienced, and more prepared for the real world, and you’ll even learn more about yourself than you think. And when you look at it that way, it doesn’t sound so bad. 

This is my mindset: “At the end of this, no matter how or when it ends, at least I can say I gave it my absolute best.”

Apart from your career goals, what are you most passionate about?

Two issues are and have always been the closest to my heart: fairness, especially  in equality and justice, and helping others, especially through teaching, counseling, or coaching. I know that I have been remarkably blessed and privileged with the opportunities and education I have received. Not everyone has the chances like I did and many never will. I am constantly striving to find ways I can improve by gaining the skills, the wisdom, the knowledge, and the experience to be competent and qualified enough to make the greatest impact, especially to those without a voice.

Everything that I have been able to achieve and do today has been possible only with the help of others. I hope to always be able to do the same, particularly  for the underprivileged, on a larger scale one day.

5 Things Underutilized at Haas

Congratulations to all the newly-accepted students now part of the incoming 2018 Berkeley-Haas class! The Haas Undergraduate Blog Team has written much advice in taking advantage of your two years at Haas, including discussing what resources and perks Haas provides its students. However, there are a few activities and resources that many students end up underutilizing in their time here as a business student.

Free tutoring

All Haas undergraduate students have access to free tutoring. The tutoring offered is drop-in and the hours are located here. In addition to these drop-in hours, Haas majors can also request individual tutoring. Tip: Get to know the tutor first during his/her drop-in hours before e-mailing with an individual tutoring request and before midterm season!


Haas Undergraduate Lounge

undergraduate-lounge-1The Haas Undergraduate Lounge is a hidden gem located in Bank of America Forum (F371). The room hosts comfy sofas for in-between class naps, a refrigerator (cleaned out every week but still convenient for short-term usage), a microwave, plentiful work space, a printer, and computers that are almost always available for use. The Lounge opens and closes at the same hours as the Bank of America Forum.



Haas Happy Hourberkeley-pappy_s-grill-sports-bar

The Berkeley-Haas Cohort Program / Haas Business School Association hosts frequent happy hours on Thursdays at Pappy’s. Most importantly, free drink tickets are provided to Haas students. It’s a great way to meet fellow Haas students and catch up with current friends!



Mock Interviews

Haas arranges mock interviews for its students periodically. Students can meet one-on-one with an experienced consultant to conduct a mock interview and get feedback on their interviewing skills. The consultant will not be currently recruiting on campus; she/or he is hired by Haas with the sole purpose of helping students polish their interview skills. It is a great opportunity to practice interviewing before recruiting begins!


Haas offers its students exclusive “Teach-Ins,” which are workshops and lectures with business leaders in their respective fields. These teach-ins are opportunities to explore and learn about various business topics. For example, Jeff Chang, Managing Director at Qatalyst Partners, has participated in a “Practitioner Chat” to discuss competitive dynamics from the client perspective for a “boutique” investment banking advisory firm relative to a bulge-bracket firm. In October, Haas held Finance Teach-Ins on understanding LBO models and merger math for those preparing for interviews. Given that these learning opportunities are free, they are a great opportunity to gain knowledge and stay a Student Always.

Letters to a Young Businessman/woman: To those Overachieving Class of 2018 Haas Undergraduates

Before I start, in advance, I would like to welcome and congratulate the Class of 2018 to the Haas School of Business. As we all know, Haas admission decisions come out this Friday. And in that sense, it may have made more sense to release this post on Friday. However, as it will be highly unlikely that you will be reading this post in middle of your celebration, you are seeing it now.

Although this blog entry is entitled, “Letters to a Young Businessman/woman”, I would like to note that it may not follow a typical letter format and that the title is merely inspired by the book, Letters to a Young Poet. However, I am neither a good letter writer nor a good blogger, so please keep in mind that my letter will not contain any complex logic or any eloquent languages.

Before writing this letter, I was curious about what kind of advices upperclassmen mentors of other schools give out to their incoming freshmen. The list of advices included: say yes more than no, make good friends with professors, GSIs, and especially with fellow classmates, and be confident at career fairs building good relationships with recruiters. However, I have no doubt that along your way to Haas, you have all mastered these skills, or if not, have the potential to practice these skills at any time. Then what should I write about? What advices would actually help you?

About giving advice to someone, Alan Dershowitz said, “Giving advice is among the most hazardous of undertakings,” one of the reason being that “most advice turns out to be a series of instructions about how to become the person who is giving the advice”. To be honest with all of you, I have nothing better than any of you do. Just like I have noticed by my second day at Haas, you will too soon figure out that seniors do know things, but they are also figuring themselves out. They are not THAT cool and I am only one of them. Therefore, I will try my best not to be autobiographical, avoiding the mistake of telling you how to become me (not that you would ever want to) but rather tell you what I have seen and learned at Haas a year ahead of you.

Sometimes people ask me satirically, “Well, what do you get out of Haas, anyways?” My answer to this question is always, “Unlimited printing.” So let us start off with a list of free things you get as a Haas UG. The list includes the following:

  1. Access to the UG computers
  2. Printing, Scanning, and Faxing
  3. Scantrons
  4. Snacks (occasionally)
  5. Access to the library conference rooms
  6. Business card holder
  7. Haas UG backpack (that no longer has “Class of 20XX”)
  8. Printed lecture slides (well, most of the times)
  9. Some school supplies (pens, folders, and etc.)

How to get these list of free goods and services? Don’t worry. You will easily figure it out during your first week at Haas. If you think you are missing one or two from the list, please feel free to ask me or any seniors at Haas, but this letter is not meant to be “How to get free Haas goodie bags 101”. Now, let’s get down to real business.


1) Haas isn’t a magical place where you will instantly figure out what you want to do after graduation and for the rest of your life. Yes, Haas will open doors to numerous career options and opportunities. However, more options also mean harder choices. Therefore, you should be the one taking the initiative researching about the different career paths by checking out networking events and talking to numerous recruiters. Most of the interview and recruiting processes are up to you. The amazing statistics and numbers of Haas School of Business is built by nothing else but the tremendous individual efforts and geniuses of its overachieving students. Simply put, Haas does not babysit you.

2) Stop comparing yourself to everyone else. This is a cliché. However, especially here at Haas, it’s so difficult to stop. In the near future, your peer may go to Goldman even though he or she got a lower grade in UGBA 103 than you did. Your classmate may get the advisory position that you failed to get. In class, you may fear that your classmates won’t think you are ambitious enough. I can’t tell you how many students at Haas are interviewing firm after firm wanting to get the most prestigious position at the most prestigious firm. From my knowledge, they are never satisfied with the firms they get offers from. I have heard from a lot of faculty members that even the ones who are successful at getting into the most prestigious firms are sometimes dissatisfied with their jobs, having a hard time seeing themselves fitting in to the culture. Many students at Haas make the mistake of thinking that getting a job is one’s greatest accomplishment. This premise makes many Haas students think that they are always accomplishing less than someone next to them, constantly pushing themselves to submit resumes to more firms. Getting a job, in my opinion, is nothing more than finding an environment where you fit in. Getting a job, therefore, is not an accomplishment. Sure, apply for many firms and be open to numerous positions as some people say, “sky is the limit”. However, do so for yourself, but not to impress others. Thoroughly research each position for your future, but not just for your interviews.

3) It is okay if you don’t have answers right now. Most of us are in our early twenties and have spent our entire life at school. We do not know what is outside. Some students seem to know what they want, but do they reall
y? When you go to career fairs or networking events, you will hear stories of how many job transitions that one has made to find a firm that he or she truly fits in. We are in the learning process where we are still discovering where we fit into the world. Some junior internships do guarantee full time offers and that is why students at Haas are taking interviews and recruiting very seriously. However, signing with a firm for a junior internship means you are making your first choice in your career life. And that first choice, I think, is not binding. From talking to faculties and recruiters, I strongly believe that there are chances for us to make more educated second and third choices after graduation.

4) Think again about what motivated you to pursue a degree at Haas and what it would provide you with at the end. During your senior year at high school, you chose Berkeley. Unless you knew a number of students at each of the school that you have applied, you made a choice to come to Berkeley based on very limited information. If you have recently helped any high school students writing their college essays, I guarantee that there was at least one time you thought, “What do high school students know about college to choose one?” High school students, most of the times, choose colleges based on nothing. Sometimes it may be the colleges that are asking too much as they expect the students to know the difference between Biochemistry and Chemical Biology, and make them choose one that they will study for four years.

Pre-Haas students often consider applying to Haas analogous to applying to a college. This may be because they are required to write a lengthy application or may be because they are in fact transferring from College of Letters & Science to Haas School of Business. However, the truth is, deciding to go to Haas is simply declaring a major. Unlike high school students who have no clue of what they are choosing between, you have plenty of resources and considerations to make your best choice. For those who have interest in economics, you should talk to students who are majoring economics, business, or both to learn which major fits you better. You can meet with advisors of both department and talk about your interests and get to learn more about each major.

Before getting their admission decisions from Haas, students often question themselves, “How should I live my life: as a businessman/ woman?” However, after the decisions come out, students suddenly start to think to themselves with confidence and excitement, “How should I live my life: as a businessman/ woman!” Take a step back. Question again about what you want to do. For instance, if you are thinking about pursuing a career in academia, Haas may not be the best choice for you. Suppose you want to have a profound understanding in marketing. Maybe choosing psychology over business may be a better choice for you in the long run. Last year, of the 297 class of 2017 students (continuing UC Berkeley students) who were admitted to Haas, exactly all 297 students decided to enter Haas. While I am very proud of this number and glad to be one of them, the number worries me because there may have been a student who have chosen Haas over what he or she really wanted to do. While I do hope to see a lot of you next semester at Haas, if there is any subject or a major that you are truly passionate about, I hope you to choose that over Haas.

5) Try joining a research group. One question that Haas students are often asked with is “Why did you choose to study business at such a great research university?” My answer to that question is, “I do research at Haas.” One thing that some Haas students lack in their resume is the research experience. However, many choose to join a research group via URAP or other programs. In my opinion, research is one of the things that you cannot ever do after graduation unless going to a graduate school. The research experience may not be the best resume builder after all. However, because most of Haas students rarely come back to school after their graduation, I recommend you joining a research group that interests you before graduating from one of the best research oriented university.

6) Haas is a business school, not a prep institute for recruiting.  It surely is a stepping stone to a wonderful career and has classes that have higher flexibility with attendance in consideration of interviews and other recruiting events. However, this does not mean that you are free to skip classes. Please note that one of the four pillars of Haas is “Student Always”. And don’t forget this means much more than just getting good grades.

7) There is much more than just business in the world. Different from your first two years, you will spend majority of your time at Haas. You will meet friends here, eat here, and study here. While this is all great, this sometimes limit students’ views. For instance, I have heard a lot of complaints from Haas students regarding engineering students’ communications skills. We all have weaknesses and strengths. Try to learn from others before blindly judging them. Again, be a “student always”. Understanding this, I think, is what distinguishes Haasomes from Haasholes.

8) Become a Class Rep! Raise up your hand high and as quickly as possible if your professor is looking for a Class Rep. It is the easiest way to get close with your favorite professor.


I would like to close my long entry today by borrowing a story that was told by Harold Koh at the Yale Law School. Once upon a time, there was an old man and a boy. The old man always lectured to the little boy giving him moral lessons. The boy couldn’t stand it. The old man was always right and the boy hated that. One day, the old man and the boy were walking while the boy saw a bird with broken wings lying on the ground. The boy ran forward and grabbed the bird in his hands. He thought to himself,

“I’m gonna trick the old man. I’m gonna ask the old man, ‘how is the bird’. If the old man says, ‘the bird is alive’, then I will crush the bird and show the old man a dead bird. But if the old man says, ‘the bird is dead’, I will open my hands and let the bird fly away. Whatever the old man says, I will prove the old man wrong.”

Holding the bird, the boy runs up to the old man and he goes,

“Old man, old man! How is the bird?”


And the man says,

“The bird is in your hands.”


How should you live your life at Haas? The answer is in your hands. Thanks for reading.