MBA Career Advancement: From strategic pricing to SunPower promotion

By Julia Sprague

Iris Korovesi didn't necessarily expect a return on investment so early in her MBA studies.

But in her microeconomics course she discovered the true potential of the price tag. She credits this knowledge with helping her quickly advance at SunPower—to global sales operations—during her second semester in the Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA Program.

Korovesi, MBA 16, previously worked as a sales analyst for the solar panel manufacturer, running financial models to estimate the economic value of solar energy and to yield the highest benefit for the customer. 

Now, she’s in charge of using the power of pricing to give SunPower its global edge. “I gather competitive and market intelligence to look at our pricing strategy for all products, markets, and regions,” Korovesi says.

“The fact that I was watching for this kind of opportunity and that I found this job so interesting is almost completely due to my MBA studies,” she adds.

Ready to move on...or up

Korovesi had been in her analyst position for about two years and was ready to move on or move up. She knew she could become a sales executive, but wanted to do something more strategic and more global. “I wanted overall exposure to our business and to other markets,” she says.

“The hiring manager...knew I’d be able to immediately deliver what I was learning in class at work."

“A few months earlier I might have skipped right past this posting because I hadn’t realized the catalytic role pricing is playing in business strategy and brand positioning. It was at Haas that I learned how powerful value-based pricing can be for a company’s bottom line.”    

She began learning this in her first semester at Berkeley Haas. “Microeconomics with Greg LaBlanc was one of my favorite first-year classes,” she says. “We did a lot around the pricing strategy of products, and I really saw how important that could be. I was excited to see the exploration of pricing continue in the Marketing course as well, picking up additional tools such as the conjoint analysis, used with the Intel Inside case, that enables companies to quantify the main value drivers of a product.”

Using classroom learning at work--immediately

She says her studies, and the network that came with the program, made her an even stronger candidate for this new role at SunPower. “The hiring manager was a Haas alum and he knew I’d be able to immediately deliver what I was learning in class at work--and that I could also use what I was learning to shape this new position.”

“Just last month for example, I developed a model that helps us quantify certain product attributes our customers appreciate, coming up with the price premium we can justify in the market.”

This semester, Korovesi is looking forward to taking the Strategic Pricing elective taught by Haas Marketing Professor Teck Ho. She expects that the course will teach her the tools, analytical frameworks, processes, and policies that she will need to have in place to effectively identify pricing strategies that maximize profit for SunPower around the globe.

Strategic understanding and industry visibility

“Everyone I have talked to says it is the best class they have taken at Haas,” she says. “My boss was also very excited that I would be able to attend Teck Ho’s class and he counts on the knowledge I will be able to transfer to SunPower”.  

Prior to joining SunPower, Korovesi worked for an investment firm. Excitement about clean tech and renewable energy prompted her to move on. “It’s a cutting-edge industry that is radically changing the way we live,” says Korovesi, who wanted the chance to work in a less established, emerging sector.

“Ultimately, I want to advance to a more executive role. This position gives me a more strategic understanding of our industry and gives me more visibility with senior people at SunPower and within the solar market as a whole.”

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Posted on September 17, 2014
Themes: MBA Benefits
Julia Sprague
Julia is Associate Director of Admissions for the Berkeley MBA Programs for Working Professionals. She hopes these blog posts provide you with more personal insight into the Berkeley-Haas and Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA program experience.