Category Archives: Berkeley MBA

All about my two years as a full-time MBA student in Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley.

VMware trek

Today I attended the trek to visit a cool company, VMware.  The visit was organized by Haas Technology Club.

(You can read a blog post with photos at HTC Club blog)

I think I am one of the early VMware users.  It should be about seven years ago in 2003, when I was working as a pre-sales and post-sales specialist.  As a pre-sales, I often had to do product presentation and demonstration to potential customers, and I found VMware was a great tool for pre-sales, because by using VMware, I can easily run Unix/Linux/Solaris system within my Windows laptop, and I can then demo my product on various Operating System easily (or even simultaneously) just on my Windows laptop.  VMware also make great sense for post-sales job, because as a post-sales, I often need to troubleshoot complex technical problem for customers, and very often I want a “clean” Unix/Linux/Solaris system so that I can try to reproduce the problem, then by using VMware, I can install a new and “clean” Unix like system very easily and quickly within my Windows laptop, and I can also remove those “testing” system easily by simply deleting the virtualization file.  I remembered when I saw a “VMware Virtual Machine” running inside a window for the first time, it was simply amazing.  Wow, how can they do that, running a Linux inside of Windows?  So cool.  I immediately had a gut feeling that this company has great potential, and I began to keep on paying attention on VMware’s growth since then, till today.

Let’s go back to today’s visit.  A group of 10-20 Haas MBA students visited VMware headquarter (3401 Hillview Ave., Palo Alto) this afternoon.  The region is quiet with beautiful trees (after all, it is spring season now in California).  We are hosted in their cafeteria (I think they want to keep the visit pretty informal and relaxed), which is quite spacious.  And we were served by various nice fruit, coffee, soy milk and snacks, and free VMware Workstation and VMware Fusion license 🙂 .

The VMware Campus Relations manager invited several managers from various functional group: Finance, Corporate Business Development, Ecosystem Engineering, Product Management and Product Marketing.  The visit was kick-off with a short introduction by a senior manager and then each different function group manager talk to our students at respective tables.

In the introduction part, the manager actually talked a lot from his own personal perspective: why he joined VMware four years ago etc.  He emphasized that in terms of size, VMware is not a start-up, either VMware is not an established giant company.   Exactly.  With 7000 employees and 2 billion revenue, VMware is a medium size company between a typical 10-20 people start-up, and a well established giant such as Microsoft, Google, Amazon or Yahoo.  And more importantly, VMware is in a unique market leader position and keeps fast growing.  I think this is particularly interesting for a certain group of MBA students who might prefer to work in a fast growing environment with entrepreneurial sense.

After the short intro part, basically it became a free talk.  We can approach any manager to talk about their team and specific job.  It was great to talk with different function group and get a comprehensive sense of how the whole company is running, and how each function group is running to fit with the corporate’s growth.

A great cool company and a great trek!  Huge thanks to VMware for hosting us, and very grateful to Haas Tech Club for organizing this event!

A long day

After a long long time quiet in this blog, I felt I need to write something to show I am not idle.  Actually just too busy with too many things.  For example, today is a really long day:

7:30 AM, go to school.

8:00 – 11:00 AM, three hour long class MBA 295A Entrepreneurship.

11:00 – 12:00 PM, meeting with two fellow classmates for a project.

12:00 – 1:00 PM, grab lunch and do reading for classes in the afternoon.

1:00 – 1:30 PM, meeting with two other classmates for another project.

1:30 – 2:00 PM, meeting with teammates to discuss Oil shock case for Macroeconomics class.  The case write-up is due tomorrow Friday Feb. 19th.

2:00 – 4:00 PM, Operation class.  I usually do not have Operation class on Thursday, but because of time conflicting with next class, I switched to another cohort’s class today.

4:00 – 6:00 PM, Macroeconomics class.  I have two (four hours) Macroeconomics classes every week: Tuesday and Thursday.

6:00 – 6:30 PM, meeting with my teammates for Entrepreneurship project.

6:30 PM, go back home.

Tonight:  read and reply 50+ unread emails, do research on the IBD (International Business Development) project that I am working on, prepare for conference call tomorrow morning, and company visit trek to Palo Alto tomorrow afternoon.

What a long day!

MBA294.1 Life as an Entrepreneur Speaker Series

One of my favorite course at Haas School of Business right now is an elective course called “MBA294.1 Life as an Entrepreneur”.  It is jointed hosted by Haas School of Business and the Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (CET) at UC Berkeley’s College of Engineering.  Basically each week one guest speaker was invited to give one hour speech, either at Bechtel Engineering Center in the College of Engineering, or Arthur Andersen Auditorium in Haas School of Business.  Most speakers are successful entrepreneurs or venture capitalists (usually these successful VCs used to be great entrepreneurs as well.).

This web page at CET center lists all the schedule and each speaker’s name and photo.  Among all the speakers so far, I particularly enjoyed following speakers:

From left to right:

  • Ted Hoff, Inventor of the Microprocessor.  I enjoyed his story of inventing the first generation CPU Intel 8086/8088.
  • Maurice Gunderson, Senior Partner, CMEA.  Mr. Gunderson is a veteran in energy industry.
  • Charles Giancarlo, Managing Director, Silver Lake.  Mr. Giancarlo used to be one of the most influential people at Cisco, LinkSys and Avaya.  He is really a senior executive with tons of experiences in Telecommunication, computer network and IT industry.

Just today Oct 20th, the speaker is a cool young guy Charles Huang, co-creator of Guitar Hero.

As I am an international student, I am not familiar with the name of Guitar Hero.  Now I learned it is a very popular music video game in the U.S.

Actually “MBA294.1 Life as an Entrepreneur” is just one of the many “Speaker Series” courses under the same umbrella of MBA 294 series:

Course       Title

MBA294.1 Life as an Entrepreneur
MBA294.2 Real Estate
MBA294.3 Careers in Marketing
MBA294.4 Market-Based Approaches to Poverty
MBA294.5 Investment Management Spkr Series
MBA294.6 Microfinance Speaker Series
MBA294.7 Managing Internet & Digital Media
MBA294.8 General Mgt. & Strategy Spkr Series
MBA294.9 Careers in Consulting
MBA294.11 Education Leadership Speaker Series
MBA294.12 Private Equity Speaker Series
MBA294.13 Careers 101
MBA294.14 Topics in Technology
MBA294.15 Health Care Speaker Series
MBA294.16 Alternative Energy Speaker Series

Haas MBA body is pretty much diversified, so many classmates are taking other MBA 294.x Speaker Series, and it seems that almost everyone is enjoying it!

Intentions & Conversations

I talked to Liz Rockett, Haas 2010 and the President of Haas MBA Association about my blog post “Doing an MBA is like shopping in a grocery” from her speech in the Orientation week.  Liz is very generous to share the text of that portion of her speech about setting intentions and “grocery shopping” through business school.

Here is that part of Liz’s speech:

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