Student Perspectives

Student Perspective

Amelia Kusar

Amelia Kusar

MBA 18

Associate Director of Marketing (Previously)
San Francisco Symphony

The Art of Business for the Business of the Arts

Amelia Kusar could have pursued a degree in Arts Administration, but she wanted to “get out my bubble and learn from classmates in completely different fields, who have different perspectives.” At Berkeley Haas, her classmates’ careers range from biotech to finance, from engineering to supply chain management—a veritable symphony of experience.

I got an MBA to be a more well-rounded professional

In the world of arts management, you tend to get people at two extremes: those who have a strong arts background but little business knowledge, and those with strong business skills, but little artistic background. I wanted to strike a balance between the two—confident in both my musical background and my knowledge of business fundamentals.

It was important to learn from other professions and sectors. Otherwise, you'd run the risk of talking in circles and never getting out of your pigeon-hole. I got an MBA to be a more well-rounded professional.

Professor Reed Walker’s Data & Decisions class set me up for success on a market research project at work. I was able to contribute much more meaningfully to our discussions of survey designs and analysis of the results, both quantitative and qualitative. I felt like I was treated as an equal at the table with our COO, CFO, and CMO.

Everyone's opinion was listened to with respect

I loved being able to return to the office on Monday morning and put to use a theory or framework we had studied on Saturday. That made the learning a lot more real and memorable.

I was a bit nervous about being surrounded by people wearing three-piece suits with haughty attitudes, but was blown away by my classmates’ warmth and openness. We were all human sponges, eager to take in as much as we can from our professors and each other.

Our classrooms were not echo chambers. You'd hear a different point of view from almost everyone, and everyone’s opinion was listened to with respect.”

The Haas Alumni Network and my classmates were such a rich resource. I posted a query about digital marketing on Facebook and a third-year student replied almost immediately. I’ve done the same for others by offering my expertise about the nonprofit sector.

Getting my MBA was a once-in-a-lifetime experience

As VP for the Incoming Student Experience, I’ve worked closely with the Admissions and Program Offices. During one of the admissions rounds, several of my classmates and I divided up a list of people who hadn’t finished their applications and called all of them to answer questions and give them more insights into the program. The applicants were surprised and delighted; many of them said no other schools had reached out to them in this way. But that really is just the Berkeley Haas way.

Before starting school, I would often stay beyond my normal working hours at the Symphony, working late into the night or on weekends. It’s been hard, but I learned to do my best in 40 hours each week, leave on time, and then shift gears back to school work. Getting my MBA was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and it was too important to shortchange yourself.

The Evening & Weekend students really are the bad-asses of all the MBA programs. We’re monsters, juggling full-time jobs, school, extra time to study, families, and other commitments. And we are in this for the long haul over three years of commitment, dedication, and hard work.

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