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Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA Program

First-Person

Jeff Chen

Jeff Chen
MBA 13

Product Manager
Intel Corporation
Santa Clara, California

Previous Degrees:
BS, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Cornell University
Ithaca, New York

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As a member of the EWMBA Association Admissions Committee, Jeff Chen often describes his weekly schedule and commute to prospective students. He works Monday to Thursday at Intel in Silicon Valley, has evening classes Monday to Wednesday, and flies home Friday to spend the weekend at home in Los Angeles, where his wife is a full-time MBA student at UCLA. "Once people hear about my schedule, a commute from work to class seems simple." While difficult, Chen believes the sacrifices are worth it.

"Being at Berkeley exposes me to so much more of the business world. While I am a good technologist, I lacked the business acumen to become a really outstanding product manager. Many of my colleagues had MBAs and were able to look at issues more holistically. I'm getting a Berkeley MBA for that broader, more polished perspective. I attended a panel of Haas alumni talking about how they used their MBAs — whether it was to advance their career or switch careers. Talking with them was very insightful. I felt like I was getting to use their hindsight as foresight in planning my own career."

"The Evening & Weekend curriculum is incredibly well structured. The first year core curriculum is intense. It gets you up and running fast so you can start taking electives sooner. They really pack a lot into your first year. You end up exhausted, but secure that you have the strong foundation you need to succeed in your elective classes. The first class I took — taught by Professor Felix Vardy, a visiting research scholar and lecturer from the International Monetary Fund — set a really high standard for all other classes to live up to. He had been on the front lines of the global economy. He brought such relevancy and energy to the classroom."

"'Haas is very open to adapting technology to help students. For example, I can't attend the weekend review sessions in person, but I can log in using WebEx. Thanks to telecommuting, online resources, and submitting work online, there really are very few physical constraints."

"The 9-to-5 perspective that evening and weekend students bring to the classroom is a big part of the experience. We can use the classroom and our classmates to work through issues we are running into in our daily jobs. I've already used some of what I learned in Organizational Behavior on the job. Thanks to that class, I had several epiphanies about how I could employ a dynamic leadership style that was true to my personality to lead a diverse team of engineering, marketing, technical, and customer service staff."

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