Paying it backward: Bringing EMBA experience to the family business

By Susan Petty

Berkeley-Haas students Dave Martinez Sr., and Jr.

Dr. David Martinez and his son, David Martinez, Jr., share a name and a workplace – their family-owned business, CLICKVIEW Corporation, has provided innovative reporting products for radiologists and ultrasound technicians for 25 years. Now they have something else in common: Both are bringing back to their jobs the tools they learned at Berkeley-Haas.

Dave Jr. has worked for his father’s company since he interned in high school, and gradually rose to chief operating officer. Seven years ago, he knew that there were some gaps in his skill set, but didn’t feel he had enough work experience for an executive MBA (EMBA) program. Instead he enrolled in UC Berkeley Extension’s certificate program in Business Administration. By the time he finished the certificate, he knew he wanted to go for a full MBA and that he had the necessary experience to qualify.

After visiting classes and meeting the students, Dave Jr. applied only to Berkeley-Haas. “I’d looked at other programs but Haas just blew my mind, from the faculty to the alumni community to the Defining Principles,” he says. “I knew that was the community I wanted to be a part of.” Dave attended the 19-month EMBA program in 2013-14; because he had a family and traveled for work, the EMBA schedule was a good fit.

Meanwhile, “Dr. Dave” Sr. was noticing a change in his son’s approach to the business. “I saw an increased understanding from a structural business point of view,” he says. “I observed almost monthly progress and a clear shift in authority from me to him. It happened much faster than I’d expected – I could actually see his intellectual evolution as he undertook more decision-making, negotiating of roles, and making us more competitive. It was like watching a flower blossom.”

Pull quote from Dave Marinez Jr. on Berkeley-Haas inspiring leadership self-reflection

Dave Jr. was eager to share his Haas experience with his father, since he’d also seen his own growth in the workplace. “On a practical level, I was able to do things like use financial statements more effectively,” he says.

“But the Haas program also inspires a lot of self-reflection aimed at making you a more effective leader. I now understand that part of my role is to help our employees achieve their own professional goals. And I’m better at empathizing with my coworkers – are they asking me to solve a problem, or do they simply want to be heard?”

The benefits were so great that the two decided to take Professor Toby Stuart’s week-long Silicon Valley Immersion course, “Strategy in Competitive Markets,” offered by the UC Berkeley Center for Executive Education, which delivers forward-looking techniques for assessing the competition and positioning a company for competitive advantage.

With the rapid changes in the medical industry, both wanted to learn how to position their company in the strongest possible way. Dr. Dave came away with “a set of intellectual and practical tools, including how to build a value chain and value proposition. "My son had already introduced me to these concepts," he says, "but I really needed to understand them.”

After their shared experience, both men identify more strongly than ever with the Berkeley-Haas Defining Principle of Students Always. “We’re both students of life, always looking into new projects and new ways of doing things,” says Dr. Dave.

What advice might the Martinezes give to those looking to launch or join a family business? “Just go to Haas!” Dave Jr. says. “To succeed in this competitive environment, you need to be grounded theoretically as well as operationally.”

Find More:  The Berkeley MBA for Executives Program

 —Kirsten Mickelwait

Collections: Alumni  |   Entrepreneurship  |   MBA for Execs  |   Career
Susan Petty
Susan is Director of Admissions for the Berkeley MBA for Executives Program. She has nearly twenty years of experience in marketing and advertising, having worked in several different industries including technology, travel, healthcare -- and many others from her media planning days at J. Walter Thompson where her clients included Chevron, Kaiser Permanente, Nestle, and Ford. She enjoys advising prospective students and guiding them through their personal MBA experience.