Putting Part-time MBA Academics to Work

By Julia Sprague

Berkeley evening and weekend MBA student Nikole Thomas

Being a good teacher is more than a popularity contest, but knowing which professors and courses consistently garner student praise can factor into class selection. Their popularity can relate to teaching style (students cite profs who are "collaborative," "energetic," "entertaining," and content that is"sticky," "inspirational," "dynamic"). For Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA students eager to test new knowledge out on the job, it can also be a matter of how just useful the academics prove to be.

It’s helped me effectively lead others out of their comfort zones.


Case in point: In the Fall 2014 semester, students rated Leading People among the top three core courses. (The others were Microeconomics and Marketing)  For Leslie Dineen, head of nonprofit marketing at Google, Professor Ming Leung boosted her “understanding of leadership, organizational behavior, and building great teams”—all skills she used when interviewing internally for an opportunity to support Google’s employment branding initiative.

Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA student Arvind RavishunkarThe same class gave Arvind Ravishunkar, corporate strategy manager at Fairchild Semiconductor, a new framework for analyzing a company’s management model. “The framework gave me a methodology to think about the problem, “ he says, and, “the real-life implementation showed me the pros and cons of the framework. I was able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the business unit and make recommendations.”

Outside the core, but among the required courses, Applied Innovation is a perennial favorite. Jason Merideth, brand manager, Nestlé USA, calls it “probably the most tangible example of innovative teaching at Haas. It’s also a class that I’ve used a lot on the job. I’ve used the frameworks to run ideation and brainstorming meetings. It’s helped me effectively lead others out of their comfort zones.”

Berkeley-Haas doesn't take a one-size-fits-all approach.


When it comes to electives, in this part-time MBA program, it’s the sheer volume of choices that impresses students and gives them the opportunity to tailor study to meet their goals. "You’re in control. Berkeley-Haas doesn’t take a one-size-fits-all approach,” says Nikole Thomas, retail business consultant, Chevron.

For his part Brian Lee, associate with Deutsche Bank, notes that elective courses, taught by “some of the most respected industry professionals,” are essential for students who want to reposition their careers.

Distinguished, intellectually curious, approachable, and open-minded are just a few of the ways students describe the Berkeley-Haas faculty. But one of the compliments we appreciate the most is that they “go beyond themselves. They do more than teach, they connect us with their networks, give advice, and encourage us to think big,” as Jack Song, principal of Speak! Communications, says.

We invite you to get to know a bit more about some of the passionate and dedicated professors you’ll encounter in the Berkeley-Haas Evening & Weekend MBA Program.

Meet a Few of our Favorite Profs 





Collections: Evening & Weekend  |   Student perspectives  |   Academics
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.