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Real Humans of the UC Berkeley Haas MBA Class of 2022

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Cailin Todd, Haas MBA Class of 2022

Age: 29
Hometown: Menlo Park, CA
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Boston College, BA Human Development with a minor in English
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): Education, 7 years

Why business school? Why now?
I decided to pursue my MBA because I wanted to further accelerate my career while making a greater impact on the industry that I have been in. I worked on the management side of several innovative K-12 schools over the last 7 years and I saw how technology plays a positive impact on learning. In order to pivot from the non-profit school side to the for-profit technology side of that relationship, I needed the skills learned in an MBA program. Further, I wanted to continue to develop my ability to lead people for higher impact. An MBA will help me reach that goal.

Why Berkeley Haas? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
What drew me to Haas initially was their expertise around innovation, technology, and social impact, all of which I plan to pursue in the next chapter of my career. Further, as someone with a non-traditional background, I loved the fact that there was not a “typical” student at Haas. Everyone was passionate about something different. My experience working on the ground in schools was valued and celebrated.

What ultimately kept me engaged with Haas was their Defining Leadership Principles (Question the Status Quo, Student Always, Confidence Without Attitude, and Beyond Yourself) and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The Haas alumni I know are people that I greatly admire and aspire to emulate as a leader. What I learned during the admissions process is that each member of the Haas community shares a common theme in their life of living out our Defining Leadership Principles. In order to grow, you need a community that will push you in the right ways, and it was clear Haas will provide that for me.

Further, whenever I visited campus or engaged in Haas programming, it always felt right. When you make a decision about graduate school, it has to resonate in both your head and in your heart.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2022?
I feel that my most differentiating contribution to the class is that I worked directly in schools and I have unique stories to tell in relation to management from that angle. For example, I shared in our Leading People class a change management strategy that I helped lead immediately before coming to Haas. Though the industry was different from many of my classmate’s pre-Haas experiences, my work was in line with the framework that we were learning in class. With my experiences, I feel like I contribute to our Defining Leadership Principle, “Student Always”, in the classroom.

Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?
I love cooking and actually did projects around school food when I worked in education. Food equity is something that I am passionate about. Again, given that Haas has phenomenal resources around food sustainability and innovation, it was another appealing element to enroll and continue to learn more about the space.

Post-MBA career interests?
My plan A is to pivot to work as a marketing leader in the education technology space or lead marketing at an innovative education enterprise.

Advice to current prospective applicants:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
During the application process, I was exceptionally detail oriented about how many schools I applied to and I did a lot of research on these programs (from coffee chats, website information, and school events). I had sound reasoning as to why I would apply to each school. Business Schools want to see that you are just as excited about them as they are about you. I wanted to be thrilled about the prospect of attending any school that I applied to. I believe that enthusiasm supported my overall application process.

–One thing you would change or do differently?
Though it was a journey to get here, I have no regrets. I am enrolled at the school I wanted to attend and is far and away the best fit for me. No matter what happens in the process, things always work out the way that they should. Further, everything that you do in the application process (and yes, even the quantitative sections of the GRE/GMAT!), you will use in business school in some capacity. The hard work is not for nothing.

–Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
I could have skipped the waiting after submitting applications for interviews as well as waiting for admissions decisions. That uncertain time can be agonizing because there is so much lead up to get there. What got me through it was knowing that the timing for being called for an interview can be random (for example, I got my interview invitation for Haas at the end of January but did not interview until March). For admissions decisions, I knew that things always happen for a reason, no matter the outcome.

What is your initial impression of Haas’s students/culture/community?
The community at Haas is unbelievable. My peers are some of the most special people that I have ever met, both in their accomplishments as well as their character as human beings. That feeling has remained consistent since I received my admissions offer to Haas.

One thing you have learned about Haas that has surprised you?
What has surprised me most about Haas is how supportive academically everyone is with one another. We recently finished our first batch of midterms and everyone was willing to share their study notes for review and organize study sessions so that we were all set up for success prior to our exams. In addition, the women in my cohort have our own private Slack channel and we give each other shout-outs regularly for great points we make in class. It is an exceptionally collaborative and encouraging environment.

Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
At this point, it is what will a virtual recruitment process look like for summer positions and possibly for our first post-business school roles. However, everything that our Career Management Group (CMG) has shared has been thoughtful and solid, so I am sure my anxiety will dwindle as I get more involved in the recruitment process.

Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
In addition to continuing to get to know my phenomenal classmates, I am excited to more fully get started in clubs and club programming, as we all signed up not too long ago. For example, I am a Berkeley Board Fellow this year and will be serving on a non-profit board with a classmate and working on a strategic project on the organization’s behalf. I love learning by doing and I cannot wait to dive right in!

Christina Griffith
Christina Griffith is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. She specializes in covering education, science, and history, and has experience in research and interviews, magazine content, and web content writing.