From Assistant Dean Courtney Chandler: The Year Ahead For EWMBA


Assistant Dean of the Evening & Weekend Berkeley

Berkeley-Haas welcomed backed 500+ returning students and 250+ new students this fall to the Evening & Weekend MBA Program, which seemed like a good time to hear from EWMBA Assistant Dean Courtney Chandler about the 2015-16 academic year. Here she highlights the numerous opportunities for career-building, intellectual challenge, friendship, and fun that lie ahead.

Richer relationships and stronger connections.

That’s my theme this year as we infuse the program with even stronger academic support services and more abundant student activities.

On the academic side, we’ve launched a series of small-group advising sessions to target the specific needs of first-, second-, and third-year students. This allows advisors and students to form closer relationships as they map out the program together.

Our goal is for advisors to know students better and provide more specific guidance, and for students to know they can always come to advisors and feel supported.

More Opportunities to Network with Each Other

Our part-time MBA students in the evening and weekend program also now have more opportunities than ever to network with each other, with numerous social and career-focused events organized by the Evening & Weekend MBA Association (EWMBAA), from networking gatherings to fireside chats on industry issues.  

With such great momentum, we’re seeing more and more students coming out to volunteer and support each other. A record number of second- and third-year students created a superb welcome for the incoming class at our fall orientation, known as WE LAUNCH, demonstrating the power and enthusiasm of the Berkeley-Haas network right from the start.

Building something great together starts at orientation, known as WE Launch

Building something great together starts at orientation, known as WE Launch

Students also form close connections at our Mid-Program Academic Retreat (MPAR) for second-years. The program is more experiential, with the addition of our Applied Innovation course now part of this January retreat.

A team of students from the Berkeley Evening & Weekend MBA Program at the mid-program academic retreat

Meeting the real-world innovation challenges of leading companies at the Mid-Program Academic Retreat

Against the inspiring backdrop of Napa Valley’s Silverado Resort and Spa, students directly apply their learning from our required course on framing problems—Problem Finding Problem Solving—while working with companies and each other on rigorous innovation challenges.

Of course, our emphasis on enhanced relationships and connections would not be complete without WE Connect, a state-of-the-program event held each semester that gives me the chance to share my EWMBA program priorities and the feedback I’ve received as well as hear from students about what is on their minds.

Global Learning Popular with Students

Things stay just as busy in spring and summer, with two distinct opportunities for global learning.

During our International Business Development course, students spend a semester working in small project teams, preparing to tackle the very real real business challenges of NGOs, companies, and nonprofits overseas. They then spend two weeks in-country, in locales from Senegal, South Africa, and Rwanda (pictured below) to Hungary, China, and the U.K.—and return energized and excited about what they’ve learned and the impact they have.

A team of students from the Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA Program's International Business Development course in Rwanda

On our Seminars in International Business, students spend two weeks exploring the culture, history, and business environment of various countries, such as South Africa, Brazil and Japan.  Traveling in groups of 20, they come home incredibly bonded with their classmates.

As the year progresses, I look forward to getting to know our students even better and to hearing their personal stories.  I am always amazed by all they are doing while juggling classes, full-time jobs, and the demands of their personal lives. Not only that, they are getting promoted, switching jobs, and starting companies—the impact of their efforts is felt far and wide.

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About The Author

Assistant Dean and Berkeley-Haas alum Courtney Chandler oversees the Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA Program.