My first seven weeks have been a whirlwind of learning, fun and extraordinary life. I reflect on two learnings currently salient.
Professors are insane
So the lecturers are at a top business school for a reason. They’ve come from amazing places and for some reason have ended up teaching dim witted neophytes for punishment.
My favourite lecture to date was a Private Equity case walkthrough with Peter Goodson – yep, the CD&R one. There’s a certain lack of care for what others think about you once you’re in his world and the honesty appeals to the core Australian within – just say it as it is. Super impressive teacher and backed by a litany of successful experience.
Then there’s the microeconomics professor who previously worked for Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors. He looks like any professor does then when pressed produces casual photos of the President and him chilling at the White House. No big deal.
Also, proudly for Berkeley, the next Head of the Federal Reserve will be a proud Berkeley-an. Yep, we don’t get this kind of calibre back home.
These wins help make up for the football team’s record of 1 win and 10 million losses.
MBAs are just people, and sometimes not that good
One activity which takes up a more time than initially expected is running bplan – Berkeley’s startup competition. As part of that, we try to connect up diversified teams amongst the various schools at Berkeley, e.g. engineering and business. However, we’ve recently found that business students have a less than ideal reputation with the engineers – something we’re working to reverse.
By walking a few miles in the engineers shoes, it’s easy to understand their point of view. These guys are pushing the boundaries of knowledge in machine learning, voice recognition, search algorithms and robotics. In contrast, I’ve mainly been pushing boxes around a slide (though amazingly beautiful and insightful thoughts, I might add :). These guys who have a modicum of business sense probably don’t need an MBA, and especially the kind of Type A personality that the MBA programs tend to attract.
Till next time…