A flexible path to community and connections

By Jenny Clare

When Jeric Huang, MBA 25, was considering an MBA program, even his most valued mentors told him he didn’t need to do that. They assured him that, over the course of a 15-year career in consulting at Deloitte, he had gained the skills, the network, and the business acumen to achieve his goals without another academic credential. Yet, as Jeric reflected on his core values and the impact he wants to have in his career, he respectfully disagreed.

“I’ve always wanted my career to connect the dots between public policies and actions in ways that improve the lives of people on the margin, like low-income or immigrant communities, for example. Working in Deloitte’s Government & Public Services Practice, I’ve been able to do that. But I also value personal growth and fostering connections with communities that matter deeply to me personally. That is where I believe getting an MBA will allow me to extend my impact. I’m particularly interested in the healthcare sector, which offers so many opportunities to drive solutions by working across government and business,” he said.

Having earned a master’s in public policy at UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy and being aware of the university’s top-notch School of Public Health, Berkeley Haas was Jeric’s first choice. He knew he would “find like-minded people who care about business and about businesses’ role in society.”

As much as he loves the Berkeley campus, Jeric chose the Evening & Weekend MBA Flex program, a hybrid option that empowers students to combine online learning with in-person electives and applied learning experiences. The Flex option combines core classes attended online as a cohort with pre-recorded lecture components and self-paced reading assignments. In particular, Jeric appreciates the opportunity to “learn from classmates’ experiences in their own jobs and in their own countries,” he said. “The international aspect of the Flex cohort really surprised me. It has been eye-opening and very useful to hear different national and cultural perspectives expressed and debated in case studies. We can compare and contrast different approaches and solutions.”

Being a Flex student has not limited Jeric’s ability to participate—and lead—in the full array of student activities that Haas offers. Even before he enrolled, Jeric knew the Q@Haas community, the school’s organization for LGBTQ MBA students, partners, and allies, would be important for him. What’s more, Jeric wanted to “create and define opportunities for the entire EWMBA and MBA for Executives communities to engage fully with Q@Haas.” In his role as EWMBA Q@Haas co-vice-president, Jeric spearheaded a review of the allyship, speaker series, and other club initiatives with the goal of broadening outreach and participation, to make it “more realistic” for part-time students to engage. One example was a virtual club mixer designed for part-time students, to increase their awareness of all club opportunities and to help clubs understand the desires and constraints of part-time students.

On a broader scale, Jeric is one of the organizers of ROMBA 2023, the largest gathering of LGBTQ+ business students in the nation. “Meeting Berkeley Haas students at ROMBA last year helped confirm that Berkeley Haas was the right place for me,” Jeric said. “The conference is outstanding, and it is a great place for recruiting and networking.”

Networking is one reason Jeric ran for VP-Alumni Relations, EWMBAA, the part-time program student government association. From his home in Los Angeles, Jeric fosters local Haas Alumni Network relationships, and is reassured to note that Confidence Without Attitude is “alive everywhere, among my classmates, the alumni, and the faculty. Having that principle, and all of the Defining Leadership Principles, makes it easier to approach people and engage with them from a shared foundation.

It wasn’t until he let out a sigh of relief after completing the last final exam of his first year, that Jeric “truly felt that I can do this, that I am in the right place at the right time. That was a moment of deep reflection and connection with my values.”

Building on that moment, Jeric is already looking forward to RE Launch, the in-person event that kicks off the second year for EWMBA students. He “can’t wait to reconnect with classmates and start a new year of exploration and innovation.”

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Posted on August 17, 2023
Themes: Flex MBA
Jenny Clare
Jenny is Senior Associate Director of Admissions for the Berkeley MBA Programs for Working Professionals. She hopes these blog posts provide you with useful insights into the Berkeley MBA experience and answer questions you may have about the MBA in general.