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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MBA Student Perspective: Sharing Haas with a Partner

It wasn’t an easy decision to uproot my life—and my partner Ben’s life—to move across the country from Boston to pursue my MBA at Berkeley-Haas. 

I had been working in the energy sector for seven years, and I knew I wanted to stay in the industry. However, I wanted a more formal business education than my job or my undergraduate psychology and environmental science degree could offer. And I was drawn to UC Berkeley and the Bay Area, as one of the top places in the world for clean energy innovation and investment.

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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 Student Perspective: "I am from Saudi Arabia, and I am a Feminist"

My name is Khalid Alali and I am a full-time MBA student in the Class of 2018. I am from Saudi Arabia, and I am a feminist. 

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Humans of Haas Podcast: Two MBA Love Stories

Tianyi Ma, MBA 17, and Joanna-Xiaojun Guo, MBA 18, fell in love and married in China before Tianyi enrolled in the full-time Berkeley MBA; when Joanna visited him, she also fell in love with Berkeley, set her sights on the program, and joined him a year later.

Joyce Barua and Mate De Quesada, both MBA 16, fell for each other in their native Peru, where they were not always comfortable being out as a lesbian couple. They enrolled together in the Berkeley MBA program, and it was there, as students, that their relationship blossomed into marriage.

The couples’ love stories—both deeply entwined with their Berkeley MBA experiences—are featured in the 3rd episode of the Humans of Haas podcast, "Love at Haas."

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"Best & Brightest" in FTMBA Class of 2016

Leading changes in MBA culture to make it more inclusive for women and minorities; launching the Nairobi office for a mobile micro-lending startup; serving as student government president; creating a "Hot Topics" discussion series focused on hard-to-talk-about issues; and piloting a new leadership program for 1st-year students.

Those are just a few of the accomplishments of four students in the full-time MBA Class of 2016 recently featured by Poets & Quants in their lists of The Best & Brightest MBAs in the Class of 2016 and 2016 MBAs to Watch

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We Came To Haas To Dream: EWMBA Class Of 2016

When Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA 2016 student speaker Luis Bellon wrapped up his commencement speech at the Greek Theater last week, he produced a pair of scissors from under his gown. 

"Join me in throwing away our old boxes, the ones that are now too small...and here's shedding boxes!" And with a flourish, he snipped off his long ponytail. 

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An MBA Trek across the Andes, Into the Heart of Chile & Peru

Student-organized treks are a longstanding tradition in the Full-time Berkeley MBA Program—many students say they are a highlight of their time at Haas.

Over the past two years, students have organized treks to Morocco, Japan, Tanzania, Southeast Asia, Ireland, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Peru. They’ve bonded while climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, riding camels through the desert, and traversing the Andes on horseback. 

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This Time It’s Personal: EWMBA Students Hack To Fight Lyme Disease

Photo, left to right: Team members Michael Cohn, Jose Luis Pacheco, Faith Kirkpatrick, and Shannon Herline, with Lia Gaertner of the Bay Area Lyme Foundation

The first-ever hackathon to find innovative solutions to fight Lyme Disease—a potentially devastating tick-borne illness that infects some 329,000 people per year—took place at the Berkeley-Haas Innovation Lab and Skydeck over the weekend of April 16 and 17. The winners were two Berkeley-Haas MBA students, Faith Kirkpatrick and Shannon Herline, both EWMBA 18.

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A Sampling of Startups

Berkeley-Haas students are launching startups in record numbers.

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