“The Power of One Another” – Executive MBA Networking Panel & Happy Hour

Photo Courtesy of HBSA Facebook page
Photo Courtesy of HBSA Facebook page

Last week, Haas undergraduate students and Executive MBA students from the classes of 2015 and 2016 joined for a unique event on the Haas campus. From 6:00pm to 7:30pm, we heard from a panel of four EMBAs: Prashant Chouta from Apple, Julia Felts, from The Sourcery, Saurabh Verma, from Twitter, and Elizabeth Lowry, from Isolation Network Inc.

Photo Courtesy of HBSA Facebook page

The four professionals answered questions ranging from, “What advice do you wish someone had given you?” and, “How do you find a mentor?” to, “What’s your favorite food at FIFO?” (Note: the EMBAs have a well-supplied snack room, so they actually never eat at FIFO).

After the panel, undergraduate and EMBAs mingled at the Bank of America Forum, snacking on pizza and continuing the conversation in an informal networking session. This was a fantastic opportunity for undergraduate students to ask any questions that they were unable to fit in during the panel earlier.

Vice President of Alumni and MBA Relations, Daniel Phan (undergraduate class of 2016), gave his perspective on bringing this event together: 

What was the main goal of the EMBA Panel and Happy Hour?

The main goal of the EMBA Panel & Happy Hour was to foster a relationship between the Undergrad Program and MBA Program here at Haas. This is the first time that an event has been planned between the two degree programs and ultimately, it was to give undergrads the chance to get advice and insights regarding their careers and possibly furthering their education through getting an MBA in the future. These Executive MBAs are a huge asset for Haas and undergraduate students, as they have so much experience in their careers that they can answer and relate to many of the things that Undergrads are going through right now.

What were some of the challenges in coordinating and bringing together the event?

The biggest challenge of planning and putting together this event was probably scheduling. The Executive MBAs have a unique schedule where they are only at Haas for a few days every couple of weeks, so it was important to find a date where all the panelists could be here. On the Undergrad side, I wanted to choose a date and time when not too many people had midterms or other obligations to attend to. In addition to scheduling, another challenge was the vision and concept for the event. It definitely took time to plan out exactly how the event was to be run and what we wanted both sides to get out of it.

Who did you work with primarily, during the planning process?

I primarily worked with Lucky Sandhu, who graduated from the Undergrad Program here at Haas in 1996, and is now back for his EMBA, and Alessandra Demmons, who is the Associate Director of Undergraduate Student & Alumni Engagement. Without these two, the event definitely would not have been possible.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

This event is hopefully the first of many between the Undergrads and MBA students. If anyone has any ideas for events or programs that they would like to see happen, please contact me at danielphan@berkeley.edu!

Adding another perspective, EMBA Lucky Sandhu (class of 2015) shared his thoughts on the panel and networking event:

As an EMBA, what was the goal or value that you saw in creating a panel and networking event to bring together Executive MBA students and Haas Undergraduate students?

I have been honored to have earned my undergraduate degree from Haas, hence, I know first-hand how special our undergraduate (UG) program is. Similarly, the Haas EMBA program is also amongst the elite programs, in its category, across the U.S. All of my EMBA classmates are thought leaders in the management ranks of their respective companies and industries, each having a median work experience of 13 years. When I returned to Haas to pursue my EMBA, it was very clear to me from the onset that our EMBAs could and should add more value to our esteemed UG program. Our specific goal was to build a bridge between our EMBAs and UGs where the UGs had an opportunity to receive career advice, professional insights, and recruiting tips from some of our most seasoned students and industry practitioners, right here on campus.

How long did it take to bring this event together?

The vision for this event took shape at Haas’ signature annual alumni event – The Haas Gala in November 2014. Along with terrific support from Development and Alumni Relations (Alessandra Demmons, Meg Roundy), UG student leaders (first, Sam Choi, VP of alumni and MBAs and then Dan Phan, Sam’s successor) and EMBA Program Office (including all of our amazing EMBAs), we started the planning activities for two ‘first-of-its-kind’ EMBA/UG events as early as February of 2015. The first event, UG Etiquette and Networking, took place in late March. The second event was the recently concluded EMBA/UG Panel and Networking event.

What is the biggest takeaway that you wanted undergraduate students to have?

At Berkeley-Haas, the foundational principle that keeps us connected as one family, long after our time as students is over, is a wonderful concept that Dean Lyons aptly calls “The Power of One Another” (http://www.haas.berkeley.edu/groups/alumni/). As Haas students and alumni, each one of us carries a unique ability to contribute towards the transformational success of one another. We want our UGs to know that the entire School stands behind them in their success. And, when they reach dizzying heights in their careers and lives, we hope that they will come back to help others and continue to further our School’s defining principle of #BeyondYourself.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

My hope is that in future years the events that we started with our UGs in 2015 continue to evolve, add more value, and be adopted by future classes of all MBA programs, including the FTMBA and EWMBA. Together we can continue to take Berkeley-Haas to new heights.

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