Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Admit Weekend WrapUp (1): Haas

I am back. What a packed 11 days those were. Oh boy. I hope I can still remember it all, because I basically survived on an average of around 5h of sleep per night throughout the entire time.
I'll give it my best shot:

April 9th
Direct flight to San Francisco. One of my friends who is a flight attendant chose the same flight and made sure I got in last and told me to introduce myself to the crew. She said there might be something in store for me. 20mins into the flight a crew member is asking for me and tells there was "a mistake". A minute later I am sitting in a business class seat, sipping wine, and having the biggest grin on my face. I think I was playing around with the controls for about an hour. :)
You can imagine I got into SFO quite relaxed and took the crew bus to downtown San Francisco. After a few drinks and some dinner I went to bed.

April 10th
The BART took me to Berkeley. Glorious weather. Around 25 degrees celsius which I think is around 80 fahrenheit. No cloud in the sky. Just walking up to Haas through the amazingly beautiful Berkeley campus was an awesome experience. You gotta love those little streams and bridges everywhere. I will already say: Berkeley has the most beautiful campus of all schools I got accepted to. I sat in on a strategy class before heading to the reception. The class wasnt that exciting and I noticed a lot of students watching TV or checking email on their laptops. The reception was okay and was held in one of the bigger rooms of the b school. We then headed out in smaller groups to current student houses where we were invited for dinner. This was actually a great chance to get to know people better and learn more about the program and lifestyle. After that we went out to bar on Shattuck in downtown Berkeley. The bar was nice and all, but the music was deafening and it was almost impossible to have a decent conversation. Plus, and many internationals might be able to relate, I need conversations in English to be with as little background noise as possible, because I need to concentrate more. (Although I guess my hearing has been better, too)
So I left around 11pm and headed to see a friend in the SF marina area to have even more drinks until something like 2am.

April 11th
After a breakfast that I was late to we had our mock-class with Prof. Morgan. Quite on the sharp side that chap and a very exciting class. I was actually fooled by my hindsight bias. We had to read a RyanAir case before the class and as I recalled the company to be successful I guess I was reading through the case with a heavy bias. It was interesting how it turned out that the market entry strategy that RA was going for was highly questionable.

Following the class there was a career fair with the various industries represented at tables. I was talking to a few of the consulting guys. I will speak about Haas consulting record more later.

After the career fair we were listening to some of the faculty and why the chose to come to Haas. Most of them emphasized Haas' track record in research and that at Haas you are at a place where people are on the cutting edge of research - whereas at other schools you merely learn what is already known. (I am wondering however: how much of what is being researched makes it to the classroom? and how fast?)

Lunch was held at a hotel near the school and was quite yummy. I spoke to a very senior marketing professor who was interesting but quirky. :)

The student life panel was fun as it was hosted by a guy who does stand-up comedy. I felt inclined to ask a question and the following dialogue between the guy and me cracked everyone up. But it was also good to find out about where you should live in Berkeley as an MBA student (and what you will have to pay for it).

The ensuing scavenger hunt around campus was quite some fun. every station was hosted by one of the clubs and we had to do several crazy things such as do a karaoke performance or a TV commercial.

"Dinner" was had in the courtyard of the Haas business school with BBQ and texmex food everywhere. Plus several performances of bands and cheerleaders and what not. I actually wasnt paying attention as I was talking to a few of the current students and had beers with a friend who will do his Phd at Cal. The event was fun and good to bond more with the other admits.

April 12th
I was late. Really late. By the time I got to Haas the alumni panel had already begun. Those guys were fun to listen to, but to be honest I didnt like some of their reasoning why they came to Haas:
"If you consider b-school a vacation, where would you rather spend it? In a place where there is a lot of snow, or somewhere warm and with a lot of sunshine and with nice people?" Wasnt convincing enough for me. But oh well.

The wrap up was awesome though. Especially compared to that of Tuck. More about that one in the next post though. During the entire 2-3 days some of the current students had taken pictures. They presented the best of those in a nice, animated presentation featuring some great music. That one was quite the heartbreaker, and I am sure that is what tipped many people. It almost tipped me to Haas. :)

Pete Johnson held a nice little wrap up speech and then we went off to the optional tours: Wine tasting, SF tour and hiking. I decided for the later and had an awesome hike somewhere north of San Francisco on the coast. Perfect weather too. I wish I had brought shorts. But who knew?

That was it. Days at Haas. A great event, very well organized. I didnt drink the cool-aid though. Oh and what is it with those "t-shirts" they gave us? their neither short nor long-sleeved but something in between. You look ridiculous in those...

I stayed a few more days in San Francisco trying to get some sleep with no success. I am sure about one thing, though: I will definitely try to get an internship in San Francisco. I just LOVE that city.

...more about Ross and Tuck in the next posts...

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