Changing the World 

In the 20th century if you wanted to change the world you studied law. In the 21st century if you want to change the world, study business. 

I first heard this advice when given to a group of law students. Ironic, right? For them, it was the start of a cautionary tale to go beyond the study of law, but for me, an unintended listener, this was a new understanding of global dynamics. Despite the sudden, recent focus on government and lawmakers, our society is profoundly influenced by the scope and power of business. For better or for worse, through financial markets or revolutionary high-tech innovation and product, our lives and futures are shaped by businesses.

As Haas students, we are being armed with the necessary tools to make an impact- an impact even larger than we ever imagined. We have likely established a deep conviction in the merit of our Haas defining principles. We will always be students, always learning. We will go beyond ourselves, without self-imposed limits. We will be confident but with humility. And, perhaps most importantly, we will question the status quo. The experience of studying, working, and problem solving with our extraordinary classmates has revealed a fifth defining principle. As we achieve, acquire, and succeed, it’s important that we also find a way to serve.

Past Haas-student-CEOs profiled in the Undergraduate blog exemplify all ‘Five’ Defining Principles.

Pedro Espinoza, founder and CEO of SmileyGo, created a connection between the nation’s largest businesses and millions of charitable organizations. Espinoza, inspired by his Haas coursework, used the power of business to do something good for everyone. His philanthropic platform is helping change the way businesses interact with communities. Within his own company, he has established clear philanthropic initiatives and together, with his employees, volunteered over 300 hours in the bay area during the past year. With enthusiasm and determination, Espinoza and his team are committed to change the way businesses do business.

Noor Gaith, founder and CEO of Nuurglass, transformed bonding activity with his father into a booming new company that saves lives, one iPhone at a time. His Uber-like, on demand phone and computer repair service, will bring your device ‘back to life’ quickly and cost-effectively while reducing e-waste. Gaith is determined to keep his business for and by students. He team of technicians are young Berkeley undergraduates, learning valuable business and technical skills that will eventually make them ambassadors for the company as Gaith expands to other UC campuses.

Alfredo Figueroa, founder and CEO of Canaan Express, makes financial services and package delivery possible for the Bay Area’s immigrant community. Influenced by his own childhood struggles and his parents’ determination and resilience, Figueroa has created a safe, reliable, and vital neighborhood service at his various locations. He is determined to make decisions that will benefit the greatest number of people, and has used that passion and commitment to drive his enterprising spirit. Threats of crime, corruption, and lack of protected postal service create substantial challenges for Hispanic immigrants who want to send help to their families back home. Despite the obstacles, Canaan Express is open every day, helping families maintain global connections.

Sebastien Werz (CEO) and Chai Mishra (CPO), Co-Founders of Movebutter, have created a better, healthier, and smarter food delivery service. Playfully calling themselves the ‘Milkmen of the Future’, Werz and Mishra bring customized, high quality produce direct from local farms to your front door. Determined to transform all things food, this duo is trying to improve the multi-trillion dollar US food market by establishing excellent quality and experience as standards. Movebutter will fix the broken food system by pairing real, fresh, wholesome ingredients and produce with today’s technological innovations for ordering and delivery. By cutting out the supermarket middleman, Werz and Mishra are giving customers a healthier, personalized, and more convenient grocery experience.

These CEOs are just some of the creative minds and eager innovators in the Haas undergraduate campus. Although they may have been some of our first success stories they are certainly not our last. Haas has given us the tools, training, experience, connections, and opportunities to succeed. Now it’s up to us to take those four (arguably five) defining principles and do something great with them.

So who’s with me?

On a personal note-

I want to take advantage of my last blog to tip my cap and tassel to my accomplished and remarkable Haas School of Business Undergraduates Classmates. To our esteemed and talented faculty, thank you for your support, enthusiasm, and expertise. It’s been a privilege to study and work with you.

Now, we scatter to the four corners of the earth. I know many of our paths will cross (I hope so). I look forward to sharing our progress, successes, and the use we’ve made of the defining principles learned here. “In the 21st century, if you want to change the world study business.” There is no better place to begin that endeavor than Haas.


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