International Opportunities for Part-time MBAs at Berkeley-Haas

By Eileen Jacob

Berkeley MBA students in Ghana

Nachiket (5th from l.) with his International Business Development Team with the Ghana staff of Reach for Change. 
Gaining international business knowledge firsthand is a goal for many Berkeley MBA students, and part-time students in the Evening & Weekend MBA Program are no exception.

Each spring and summer teams of EWMBA students take advantage of the school’s well-regarded international programs, offering intimate knowledge of different business cultures and the chance to apply key skills in diverse global environments.

Some 60 students participate in the Seminars in International Business (SIB) course, according to Kristiana Raube, Executive Director of the International Business Development program. After eight hours of classroom sessions, groups of 20 students travel for a week to destinations such as Brazil, South Africa, and Japan. At each location, the students visit two to three organizations per day to fully immerse themselves in the business practices of the country.

Student Lea Mouallem joined the SIB program in the Netherlands last year. “During our trip, organizations didn’t just give us presentations about themselves,” Lea says, “they described a challenge they were facing, and then asked us to help solve the problem.”

Throughout their visit—led by Haas lecturer Rajiv Ball, a partner at the Amsterdam-based THNK School of Creative Leadership—Lea and her classmates applied concepts from previous coursework, including collaboration and innovation skills taught in the core class Problem Finding, Problem Solving.

For example, they worked with Jumbo, a large Amsterdam-based supermarket chain, to generate ideas to help motivate temporary teenage employees. Their solutions ranged from helping workers identify and describe their job skills—such as customer-facing communication—on college applications, to creating incentives like “food scholarships” that provide free food for the hardest-working employees.

Berkeley MBA team in Amsterdam

Lea (far right) with her SIB team in Amsterdam

Other challenges the students addressed included helping the bicycle-heavy city of Amsterdam reduce the number of discarded bikes in rivers and developing strategic initiatives to maintain and grow traffic through the Port of Amsterdam.

“We were doing very rapid innovation trouble-shooting,” Lea says. “In the process, I learned a lot about how the Netherlands does business, and because so much of the business there is international, I also learned how many other European countries do business.”

Other global management opportunities include the International Business Development (IBD) Program . This summer approximately 40 students from the part-time MBA program at Berkeley-Haas will join the IBD program, which has sent over 1,200 students to more than 80 countries during the last 20+ years, according to Professor Raube.

Grouping into eight teams of five students—a new format that includes four team members and a team lead—the participants first spend a month remotely consulting with their assigned client, followed by two weeks in-country to gain valuable international management consulting experience.

Berkeley MBA student Nachket TorwekarLast spring, Nachiket Torwekar joined an IBD team working in Africa to help the Swedish-based social impact incubator Reach for Change in its mission to improve the lives of children. 

After developing a financial planning toolkit for the incubator’s social entrepreneurs, the team traveled to the organization’s African headquarters in Accra, Ghana. There they fanned out everywhere from rural villages to local markets to modern offices to visit the entrepreneurs and obtain feedback on the toolkit.

At the same time, they also interviewed Reach for Change’s partners, as well as other Accra-based incubators to help facilitate greater networking and sharing of resources.

Nachiket drew on many skills learned during his Berkeley-Haas studies to complete the project, including concepts from the Entrepreneurship and New Venture Finance courses. Leadership Communications was another core course that provided valuable background.

“Leadership Communications teaches you to be authentic and encourage questions that help people tell their stories,” Nachiket says, stressing the importance of this for international consulting. “This really helped us connect with people, build trust, and get to the heart of their issues.”

From global destinations to career transformations, find out where the Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA Program could take you.

Discover the  Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA Program


Topics: Evening & Weekend  |   Academics  |   International  |   Experiential
Eileen Jacob
Eileen was Senior Assistant Director of Admissions for the Berkeley MBA Programs for Working Professionals from 2017-2019. She enjoyed meeting prospective students and helping them explore the benefits of an MBA, and hopes these blog posts provide valuable insight into the Berkeley MBA experience.