From Herat to Haas, Afghan MBA Student Creates a New Life

Sal Parsa, MBA 18, once believed his destiny was to become a tailor, or a mechanic.

Born in Afghanistan and raised during Taliban rule to a family without much education, Parsa didn’t have many options. By age twelve, he was going to school half the day and working the other half sewing clothes.

That would have been his future, too. But then something happened: the Americans arrived in his hometown of Herat.

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Going to business school could turn you into an MBA entrepreneur


Above: Berkeley MBA startup Planet Murple aims to help kids each more vegetables

If you've ever considered enrolling in an MBA program, you may have pictured yourself getting promoted to a prominent new position at your current company or transferring to an innovative startup after graduation, but have you ever thought about launching your own venture?

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MBA Student Perspective: How I'm Leaning In to Become One of the 7% of Women In Venture Capital

Photo: At my internship with my soon-to-be boss, Bee Partners Founder & Managing Partner Michael Berolzheimer, MBA 07

My passion is solving problems that matter. That passion often attracts me to disruptive industries and ways of thinking. My appreciation for risk-taking attracted me to entrepreneurship, and motivated me to apply to business school. 

I chose Haas because one of its Defining Principles, “Question the Status Quo,” deeply resonated with me. From my perspective, questioning the status quo is exemplified by Haas’ vast entrepreneurial ecosystem, the cultivation of emotional intelligence, and its emphasis on gender equity. These three things have defined and transformed my time here.

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Leaders Who Redefine: Danae Ringelmann, Indiegogo

 

Change with an MBA

She worked in finance for more than six years, learning about the world, business, and how things worked. Then she wanted to change it.

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MBA Student Perspective: Choosing a Graduate Degree to Maximize my social Impact

As I began thinking about graduate school, I knew I wanted to choose a program that would help me combine my two passions: entrepreneurship and international migration.

These two forces of creative disruption—driven by risk and ingenuity— seem to me to be the clearest and most hopeful forms of human agency. Yet for far too many of the 245 million people on the move today, constraints undermine their ability to secure their own futures. My ambition is to build a company that develops technology and data-driven solutions to help address emerging migration challenges.

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MBA Entrepreneurship: Recent Evening & Weekend MBA Ventures

 

MBA entrepreneurship thrives in the Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA Program, where students find numerous resources to support their interest, from electives and startup competitions to their well-connected and talented peers.

The result? Startups that offer solutions to everyting from healthy workplace eating to procuring senior housing for loved ones, making virtual reality affordable, and getting even better photos with your phone.

Here is a look at a few recent ventures launched by evening and weekend MBA students, with links to fuller stories on each:

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The Berkeley MBA Behind Pokémon Go

Haas alum John Hanke first put the earth in your pocket, then released pocket monsters on planet Earth. Hanke, MBA 96, is CEO of Niantic Labs, the innovator behind Pokémon Go.  


 Haas Alum/Niantic CEO John Hanke pays a surprise visit to a Berkeley Executive Education class

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A Sampling of Startups

Berkeley-Haas students are launching startups in record numbers.

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EMBA Startup Roundup

Inspired by Silicon Valley Immersion Week and by all they learn in the Berkeley MBA for Executives Program, a number of our students find an executive MBA and entrepreneurship go together, choosing to launch ventures while still in the program or soon after. From a concierge veterinary service to a hangover remedy and artesian water, here are a few EMBA startups.

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Evening and weekend MBA Student Founds "Smart Mailbox" Startup

Evening and weekend MBA student Shuai Jiang has come up with a better way to receive, track, return, and manage online packages.

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