Searching for impact in big tech, finding it at Google

By Eric Askins

His three years as senior manager of strategic operations at KIPP DC, part of the nation’s largest network of public charter schools, gave Joseph Hassine, MBA 21, a strong appreciation of the social impact to be had in the nonprofit space. As he pondered his next career move—A graduate degree in public policy or public administration, perhaps?—friendships with two recent Berkeley Haas grads opened up his thinking to the value of an MBA program.

“I talked with a lot of alumni and not one of them regretted going to Berkeley or enrolling in a full-time MBA program,” he said. “The benefits in terms of extracurriculars and relationships seemed well worth it, and that has definitely been true in my experience.”

For Joseph, business school would be a good way to build out his academic knowledge in the core curriculum. He had never taken an economics or finance class, for example. He used electives like Growth Marketing, Tech and the City, and Social Impact Marketing to gain insights and tools that relate directly to his career interests. Throughout his two years, he made the most of the experiential learning opportunities at Berkeley Haas to explore variations in the social impact career path, from start-ups to big tech. “I came to Haas curious to explore the intersection of business and social impact,” he said.

Three student consulting projects and an internship later, Joseph is a principal on the Ad Grants team at, a role that allows him to “bring the powerful people and products of the technology sector to mission-driven nonprofits worldwide, ultimately helping connect people to causes to amplify impact.”

Joseph’s introduction to the Ad Grants team came during his summer internship when he focused on measuring the impact of the program, which provides qualifying nonprofits with advertising grants and assistance in using Google Search effectively. That internship built on a similar, earlier experience at Facebook, where Joseph and two classmates worked with a global philanthropy team under the auspices of the Center for Responsible Business.

While his focus was on large firms, Joseph also explored the vibrant start-up environment at UC Berkeley and in Silicon Valley. On a consulting project with Landed, a Series A startup helping teachers, nurses, and government employees buy houses, he managed a variety of communications and marketing efforts. As part of his Equity Fluent Leadership class taught by Kellie McElhaney, Joseph worked with SkyDeck, UC Berkeley's in-house incubator. His team of four MBA students developed a playbook and a collection of research to support diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts at the earliest stage of a start-up’s journey.


In addition to strengthening his academic foundation and expanding his business toolkit, Joseph built community at Berkeley Haas. As a Consortium student, he found a ready-made community. He gave back by co-leading its Cheetah Tank program, an entrepreneurship program for fourth- and fifth-grade students in the nearby Oakland Unified School District.

Joseph also got involved with Q@Haas, the school’s organization for LGBTQ MBA students, partners, and allies. “I hadn’t been part of a strong queer-identifying community and was excited about finding such a thriving community at Haas,” he said. “People reached out to me during the application process and offered buddies and connections. That positive experience encouraged me to put my hand up as VP-Admissions for Q@Haas. I was proud to have been the point person for all Q-identifying applicants at Haas and was grateful to be able to help recreate some of that welcoming spirit for the classes of 2022 and 2023."


As he leaves Berkeley Haas, Joseph is “more convinced than ever that I can drive positive outcomes in the private sector. I just hadn’t anticipated the amount of potential that exists and the scale that’s possible. The private sector has a unique role—and an obligation—to improve social outcomes and racial and gender equity. I’m excited to support that mission by helping to bring the powerful people and products of the tech sector to impactful, mission-driven, nonprofits.”

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Posted on May 18, 2021
Eric Askins
Eric is the Executive Director of Full-time MBA Admissions. He partners with students, faculty and staff to recruit a diverse student body that enhances our community through innovative leadership and academic excellence.