The Berkeley MBA Experience

After two years of business school, I remain Australian.  This means I recognise both good and bad.

The good:

  • People – I am grateful for the fellow human intelligence that will form my closest network many years into the future.  It’s the closest I’ll have to corporate unconditional love and support in a professional setting.  My peers allowed me to experiment, grow and supported every move.  It’s a tight knit family I suspect no other top tier school can closely replicate.

  • Platform – Berkeley has given me an incredible platform to launch my new self.  I’ve found a founding team, learnt from incredible professors and been able to access things my previous self couldn’t.  The name “Berkeley” carries amazing weight in this country and beyond.

  • Fun – The last two years have been amazingly fun.  I’ve explored, experimented and learnt an amazing amount in a safe playground.   I’ve been to the best party of my life in Vegas.  I’ve experimented with negotiation tactics and put them into practice in the real world.  I’ve decided that the world is my oyster and I can do nearly anything.

 

The bad:

  • I’m now in some box.  Good or bad, I will be judged for the letters “MBA” and the institution they are awarded from.  That’s the American way.

  • Value/Cost equation – it’s surprisingly expensive.  I think if I was born American and had studied here undergrad the MBA equation would be hard to justify given the cost.

  • Politics – Berkeley is Berkeley.  We are extremely tolerant of everything except those who disagree with the left.  There’s an amazing expectation of self-censorship lest you be labelled a bigot or your name whispered in hushed tones in the corridor.  I didn’t appreciate the double standard.

  • Public school – Berkeley is a public school.  This means bureaucracy.  It means friction.  It means we have the most student led initiatives (because we don’t have enough staff to lead them).  It means awards and scholarships aren’t based on merit, they need to be spread out amongst the crop.  It means what is rewarded/praised is the loudest and most politically correct, not the most successful.

 

Conclusion

Berkeley was the right next step.  I chose Berkeley over my other choices for its location, and its technology/startup lean.  I came into school with specific goals and achieved them. With what I know now I would have chosen the same path.  As I move forward on the uncertain path, I look back and reminisce on the best two years of my life to date.

 

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